Sunday, May 21, 2017

Understanding Kingdom Mysteries

(1) Many do not realize that within God's Plan for humanity there is good news for every man, woman and child upon the face of this earth! The word often used in popular translations to describe the message of Jesus is "Gospel," which means "Good News." And what Good News an understanding of God's Plan brings! Those that are entangled in drugs, alcohol, and crime can certainly use the good news that God loves them, and that his Son died for them. (Romans 5:8) He promises that even those who have erred in spirit will be given opportunity to come to understanding, and even those who murmur will learn doctrine. (Isaiah 29:24) Isn't this good news?

No More Sickness!

(2) None of us can say that we have never been sick at all. Some have suffered more from sickness than others; some of us have chronic illnesses from birth until death. Is there any good news in God's Plan that can give them hope? Surely the One who made man is not unaware of his creatures' plight. He knows the suffering, the pain, the hurt, and the death of everyone of his creatures, not only of man, but even of the animals. (Matthew 6:26) He hears the cries of those who suffer and he will bring them to their desired haven. (Psalm 107:26-30) Yes, our Creator is very much interested in the suffering of mankind!

(3) The promises of our Creator tell of a time when there will be no more mourning, nor crying, nor pain. And what a beautiful place this earth will be then! Even death, which has caused so much sorrow and pain, will be done away with! "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:4) Scientists do not even hope to fulfill such a prophecy! But God can bring about these conditions upon the earth! He has promised to do so. Isn't this really what all mankind wants? Nobody really wants to die. True, there are some who prefer death to the extreme suffering they may have encountered in this present evil age. (Galatians 1:4) Should life be enjoyable for them right here on the earth, they would not want to die. What good news the Bible has for any who have become disillusioned with life's present ills!

The World Does Not Understand!

(4) But alas! the world does not know or understand about the good news of God's Plan! Indeed, the popular forms of Christianity believe in a good news that falls far short of the truth! The prevalent idea of the good news would have us believe that Christians are God's instruments, amidst earth's present turmoil and confusion, to lead as many as possible to Christ in order that they may not suffer an eternity in some horrible place. This kind of good news has been preached for many centuries. Still millions of earth's population have died, and there are still those now living who probably will die, without not even hearing the name of Jesus, and without knowing of his saving power! Less than a hundred years ago, it was still popular to believe that the nominal church would convert the world to Christ! Every now and then we still hear some misguided minister urge his flock to save the world for "Jesus"! Billions of dollars have been spent trying to convert the world, or at least as many as possible of the world. But is this what the true Good news is about? Did Jesus commission his followers to "save the world"? Is God trying to convert the world? Is God trying to convert as many as possible of the world? Are we to think that millions, perhaps even billions of God's human creation are on the road to some eternal doom without even hearing the `only name given whereby we must be saved?' -- Acts 4:12.

Darkness Now Covers the World

(5) Often we read of the great works being accomplished by missionaries of the popular churches in foreign lands. Are the churches accomplishing what they consider to be their mission? Actually, when we look at the statistics, the percentage of those professing Christ hasn't changed that much over the past century, despite the billions being spent on world evangelization. Most will admit that there is much darkness in many part of the world. Most will agree that almost total darkness enshrouds hundreds of millions of men and women -- people who were born in darkness, who have lived constantly in that darkness, and who every day are dying in darkness. According to the popular idea of the Gospel (Good News), these are doomed to spend an eternity of conscious indescribable suffering unless they can be reached with this Good News. Can this really be the "good news" for all mankind -- that the vast majority are to spend an eternity in indescribable suffering, whatever that means?

(6) Yes, It is true that the world is lying in darkness. And it is probably more dark than most Christians realize. According to adherents.com, in 2005 there were about 2.1 billion who claimed Christianity, which includes Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostal, Anglican, Monophsite, AICs, Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), Evangelical, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Quakers, and others. This represents about 33% of the world's population. Approximately 1.3 billion (21% of the world's population) are numbered for the "Islam" religion, including all of its sects. Judaism is numbered at approximately 14 million (.22% of world's population). The heathen religions, including Buddhism and Hinduism, make up approximately 30% of the world's population, while athiests, agnostics, etc., make up about 16% of the world's population. It is not important whether these figures are 100% accurate. The fact is that at least about 67% of the world's population does not profess Christianity. And according to many who preach in the name of Christ, all those who are dying without Christ are sure to spend an eternity in horrible pain, every day, every night, every hour, every second, every nanosecond, without any let up at all!

(7) This is truly a sad picture. Some may think that this picture is too dark and overdrawn. However, we think just the opposite. The figures we have given probably show popular Christianity in its brightest colors possible. Many of the major denominations count almost any who walk through the doors of their churches, including infants. In many cases, some are counted as "Christian" who are still practicing Buddhism, Hinduism, Voodooism, or other pagan religions. Almost all must agree that just professing to be "Christian" does not make one a real Disciple of Jesus. Of the two billion or so professing Christians, only a small fraction could be counted as genuine disciples who "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints." (Jude 3) Thus, even many more who are falsely professing to Christian, according many who preach in the name of Christ, will also suffer the same fate of an eternity of horrid misery!

(8) And yet there is a darker picture: the billions who have died and are not represented above. In mankind's history, there have been countless millions that have lived and died without ever hearing any message at all about Jesus. According to the view often presented in the name of Christ, these millions are now suffering unimaginable torments for eternity in a fiery hell. What an awful picture!
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See our online studies regarding the bible hell and the resurrection hope:
http://bible-hope.blogspot.com/2017/01/on-this-site.html

(9) As already pointed out, from the standpoint of what has been traditionally presented as the "gospel," earth's present billions who are ignorant of the only name under heaven by which we must be saved, are also sure of the same doom unless, according to this theory, they can be evangelized into accepting Jesus as their savior. G. Christian Weiss, states in his book, God's Plan -- Man's Need -- Our Mission, (Copyright 1971, The Good News Broadcasting Association, Inc., page 135) tells us: "We need to realize not only that men apart from Christ are separated from God but also that they face eternal perdition. Their present status of being lost in spiritual darkness and of being separated from God will become an eternal plight unless they come to know their Saviour, Christ Jesus....Because of this, I feel we can leave no stone unturned in the endeavor to get the message of Jesus Christ to the world." According to this often-accepted view of the good news, the good news is actually bad tidings that every man, woman and child that has lived and died upon this earth, without ever hearing about Jesus, is now suffering "eternal perdition." Those who believe this "good news"(?) of great eternal misery for the vast majority of mankind should be very zealous in forwarding missionary enterprises -- the wonder is that they are not frenzied by it!

(10) We must remind you that this gloomy picture as presented above represents what many have taught, in the name of Christ, by tradition. However, when we look to the Word of God, the Holy Bible, we find that God's great plan of salvation was never intended to be, or ever will be such a failure. The prophet Isaiah foretold the very darkness that has spread over the nations of the earth, but he also foretells its remedy. "Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but Jehovah will arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the nations will come to your light." (Isaiah 60:2,3) How happy we can be that God will not leave the nations of the earth in darkness! He has promised that they will come to his light.

(11) The religious world of today finds itself with hundreds, even thousands, of religious philosophies each professing to represent a divine being or beings. From the popular Christian standpoint, almost 75% of the world is "heathen", that is, nonbelievers in Christ. Over half of the world still knows practically nothing about Jesus. Popular Christianity has been puzzled at the continued misery and darkness of the world, and the slow progress of truth. Neither the world nor the Church is able to stop the growing crime rate, the food shortages, the sexual sins, and the many other ills that plague mankind, even though they might consider it their mission to do so. Many of their missionaries often give up in despair, not realizing that they have been trying to accomplish something which God never intended to be accomplished at the present time.

(12) But why does God permit such a great portion of the earth to remain in darkness? Why is the Bible, to a large degree, a book of parables, symbolisms and dark sayings? Why is it not completely open and clear so that everyone, everywhere would be able to understand it? Why is it that even Doctors of Divinity find its details perplexing, mysterious, incomprehensible? What excuse can be offered for the secrecy connected with a subject in which all should be interested? The answer to these questions are discussed in our next study and will open doors of truth, to a proper appreciation of the Bible as the Word of God.

Why Is the Bible So Mysterious?

(13) We should note that the Bible does declare itself to be a book of mysteries, or secrets. The four gospels of the Christian Scriptures (commonly called New Testament) are supposed by many to be the simplest and plainest portion of the Bible. They tell about the deeds and words of Jesus Messiah while he was on this earth. However, in harmony with the prophecies, the Great Teacher himself delivered his message in parables and dark sayings. "He never spoke to the people without using a parable," that "Hearing they might hear and not understand; and seeing, they might see and not perceive." (Matthew 13:14) There are many mysteries or secrets connected with the Bible. We have not reached the time when absolutely everything can be understood in the Bible, not even by the true servants of God. No one on earth today can grasp absolutely everything about the Bible. The conditions of Isaiah 29:18,24 have not yet come. But the Bible does say that "the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more until the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18). We have not yet attained that perfect day.

"Therefore I speak to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand." -- Matthew 13:13

(14) Someone might say that Jesus spoke in parables or illustrations so that the people might understand better, but this is not the reason Jesus himself gave. The followers of Jesus once asked him why he spoke to the people in parables. In giving his answer he said: "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand." (Matthew 13:13) Jesus then quoted from Isaiah 6:9,10, which we will quote from the Jerusalem Bible: "Go and say to this people, `Hear and hear again, but do not understand; see and see again, but do not perceive.' Make the heart of this people gross, its ears dull; shut its eyes, so that it will not see with its eyes, hear with its ears, understand with its heart, and be converted and healed." Then Jesus said to his followers: "But happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear!" (Matthew 13:16, JB) In Mark 4:11,12, Jesus' answer to his disciples is very clear: "Unto you it is given to know the mystery [secret] 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 perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand." If this explanation is to make any sense at all, we must conclude that he was saying that he spoke in parables to keep the multitudes of people from understanding his message, while a few, his true followers, were permitted to understand.

"This is good, and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, the witness of which will be in due time." -- 1 Timothy 2:5-6

(15) This, of course, must be the way that God has intended for it to be. But why? Because God knows, even as he promised, that eventually 'all will be saved, and come the knowledge of the truth.' (1 Timothy 2:4) He knows that the time will come when "the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and darkness" and that those "who erred in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmured will learn doctrine." (Isaiah 29:18,24 -- New King James Version, hereafter referred to as NKJV) Yes, the time will come when he will "turn to the peoples a pure language" that they may all call upon him with one consent. -- Zephaniah. 3:9.

"For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all." -- Romans 11:32.

(16) Thousands may read the Bible but fail to understand it's deeper meanings. God is keeping its truths secret from the people at the present time, not because he does not love them, but because he does love them. Under the present conditions the truth would be injurious to the majority of people. This is because of the sinful nature of mankind as shown in Isaiah 29. But God still loves them, and whom he loves he disciplines. (John 3:16; Hebrews 12:6) So God has "shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all." (Romans 11:32) How well the true believer today may exclaim: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" -- Romans. 11:33.

(17) There are many scriptures that speak of the secrecy connected with the message of the Bible. The apostle Paul refers to its tidings as the message "which was a hidden mystery for generations and centuries and has now been revealed to his saints [dedicated ones]." (Colossians 1:26, JB) At this point we want to emphasis that the Good News of the Bible was not made known to the world at large, but only to his "saints". Jesus also, when speaking to his Father in prayer, said: "I bless you, Father, Ruler of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do." (Matthew 11:25-26, JB) Often those that are well spoken of and respected by men are passed by, while those who may be considered by men in general as outwardly despicable people may be chosen to receive His secrets. -- 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

(18) Proceeding the apostle Paul shows us the necessity for this secretiveness as respects the true message of Good News. He shows that if it were generally known amongst men, the Divine program would at times be interfered with. He tells us that none of the princes or prominent ones of the world understood the wisdom of God -- for had they known it, they would not have put Jesus to death. As he explains: "But as it is written [in Isaiah 64:4]: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit .... 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." -- 1 Corinthians 2:8-13.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," says Jehovah. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." -- Isaiah 55:8,9.

(19) But isn't God interested in converting the world? Doesn't he want to save as many as possible? And if he is, why didn't he make the Bible so that everyone could easily obtain and understand it? The God who created the Universe is thoughtful of all the interests of his people. All their needs have been supplied as far as He has seen good. He made food for the nourishment of our bodies, and beautiful things for our eyes to see, and sweet sounds for our ears. If he would provide these for us, would he not also provide things for our minds concerning the future?

(20) If we had been living before God gave His people a Bible, and He had told us that He would give man His revelation in a book, we would have looked forward to it eagerly, and with pleasant anticipation, and we would wonder what kind of book it would be. A man who writes a book generally tries to make his subject as plain as possible, so that his meaning can be easily understood. Likewise some might conclude that if God should provide a book, He would make it so plain that none could fail to understand. We might expect that it would be so wonderful, that it could not be written by man, but by angels; that he would put a bright shining light around it, so all would know that it was His book; that it would have a miraculous power which would heal the sick; and if anyone should say anything against it, he would drop dead instantly; and that all might be born with this wonderful book, and be able to understand it. But when we read scriptures such as Isaiah 55:8-11, we answer: "NO! God thinks differently from man." Therefore, God has given us a Bible, and a message, very different from what man might expect. Instead of angels writing it, poor imperfect men wrote it. There is no bright shining physical light gleaming from it. No one drops dead talking against it. There are millions on earth today that still do not even know that there is a Bible, much less be born with it or understand it. Yes, God could have made the Bible so plain that one could not get more than one meaning from it. How easily we might think that the world could be converted if such were the case. But God knows better than we, and therefore the Bible that we have is the best kind of Bible, better for us than the miraculous kind would have been.

(21) However, it is a mistake to suppose that God is not interested in converting the world. (Psalm 22:27; 150:6; Romans 14:11) He is more interested in it than any human could possibly be. Why then did He not give us a simple Bible? The reason for its obscurity must be that men have failed to understand the heavenly Father's design and purpose for the present world. We have already given evidence that He confirmed that there would be much misconception and misunderstanding of Him and His purpose. But once we understand God's purposes, then we can answer the question.

God Is Not Now Trying
to Convert the World

(22) We must get rid of the misconceived idea that God is NOW trying to convert the world, or that he is NOW trying to save as many as possible from some eternal doom, as most religious people suppose. If God were trying to convert as many as possible of the world to save them from some eternal doom, would he have not been anxious for his disciples to go to all peoples? Instead he told his disciples NOT to go to the Gentiles. (Matthew 10:5) Jesus was not here being cruel, but he knew of His Father's purposes to enlighten the whole world at a future date. We know that God is not now trying to convert the world, because the world is not converted -- far from it! God accomplishes everything he purposes to do. (Isaiah. 55:10,11) If it were God's purpose to convert the world NOW, then the Good News failed -- it did not accomplish its work. But God has not been trying to convert the world. He does not have to try, because He is omnipotent (John 12:37-40). If people of the world had understood the true Bible message, they would have believed, but that was NOT God's purpose (Matthew 13:10-17; 11:23; 10:5,6; Acts 16:6,7; 1 Peter 1:10-12). God did NOT intend that they should NEVER be converted, because he has promised a time to come when they will be converted, but this has not yet begun, nor will it be accomplished as long as this present evil world continues (2 Timothy 3:1,2; 2 Peter 3:3,4; Matthew 24:37; Isaiah 6:9-11; Dan. 12:1; Zephaniah 3:8-13). The Bible tells us that in "the time of the end" of this world there will be a "time of trouble". This will mean great distress and sorrow for the world of mankind. But this does not mean the destruction of this planet, for the promise is that the earth will blossom as the rose. (Isaiah 35:1,2; Genesis 8:21,22; Ecclesiastes 1:4; Isaiah 45:17,18; Genesis 13:15; 15:18; Acts 7:4,5) The present order of things will be destroyed, and a new order of things will be established. God's Word will continue to be misunderstood until this age (this present evil world) is over. (Zephaniah 3:8,9) Then the darkness surrounding the true Good News will be removed (Isaiah. 25:7; Haggai 2:7). God has purposed the conversion of the world, but not during the past 2000 years. The reason why the Good News is kept secret is that his plans might be hidden from all but the truly meek and lowly at heart who respond to his call, until the due time for all to know. Our Lord was glad that these things were hidden, and thought it right for the Heavenly Father to keep them hidden from the worldly. -- Matthew 11:25,26.

A Bright Future for the World!

(23) In Isaiah 29:11 it is declared prophetically that the vision of all things (Lesser) is become as the words of a sealed book. Men have turned things upside down, as was foretold (vs. 16). The world needs to be enlightened! Will the world be enlightened by missionaries being sent out in this present evil world? The facts indicate that it will never happen this way. The day in which the world will be enlightened is called in the Bible the "judgment day". It is not a 24-hour day, but as shown in 2 Peter 3:7,8, it is a 1000 year day. During that judgment day the inhabitants of the earth will learn righteousness. -- Isaiah 26:9.
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See our study: "Mankind's Course to the Day of Judgment"
http://prophecy-rlbible.blogspot.com/2016/11/course.html

(24) What now stands in the way of the enlightenment of world? -1- Satan the Devil puts evil thoughts and desires into men's minds and hearts. (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9) Hence, if the world is to be enlightened, Satan must be removed that he might not use his power to mislead people. (Revelation 20:2,3) -2- Imperfect missionaries now lack the power and means to accomplish the work. Worldly governments interfere. It will not be so in that Millennial day, for the entire world will then be under the control of Jesus and his authorized agents. (Daniel 2:35,44; Isaiah 11:9; Psalm 72:2-8) -3- Suitably trained teachers must be chosen. Men have thought that they could chose and train them, but only God can do that, and instead of a three or four years' training, it takes all of a dedicated lifetime (Romans 8:18,19; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Isaiah 26:9). -4- Ignorance, darkness, confusion prevail now, and there are many confusing, contradictory, false religious teachings; but in that day the knowledge of God will fill the whole earth, and all will know him. (Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:34) The Good News message contained in the Bible will come out of its obscurity as its message is made plain (2 Corinthians. 4:4; 1 Corinthians. 11:13-15). Will God give mankind a new Bible? We do not think so. However, provisions will be made so that its books will be opened and all will be judged by the things written in those books (Revelation 20:12,13; Isaiah 29:18; John 12:46-48). God will remove the vail that is spread over all nations (Isaiah 25:7; 2 Corinthians 4:3). The way will then be made so plain that even a foolish man will not err therein (Isaiah 35:8). Now the Good news message is so obscure that even the wise men stumble at it (John 6:60,61). Yes, the day of judgment is coming, when Jesus will judge everyone in righteousness, and the books that now appear to be obscure will be opened and will be understood. -- Acts 17:31; Revelation 20:12; Isaiah 29:18.

(25) But what about those who have died -- especially those who have died without ever hearing of Jesus (Jesus)? How will they benefit from this enlightenment if they are dead? God has promised that he will awaken all of these from the sleep of death. "Marvel not at this, for an hour is coming, in which all those in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have practiced good to a resurrection of life; and they that did evil, to a resurrection of judgment [Greek -- krisis]." (John 5:28,29 -- King James II Version). Jesus is the true light that enlightens every man that comes into the world (John 1:9). The light will enter their hearts also (1 Timothy 1:4). Jesus speaks of those who did not believe in his day, that they would be saved, so as to be judged anew in the last day. (John 12:47,48) God wills all men to be saved [delivered from death], and to come to an accurate knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4) The salvation spoken of here is not salvation into life for all eternity, but rather salvation [deliverance] from the death state. Having arisen from the dead, they are then taught the truth that they might live and never die again. -- 1 Corinthians 15:54; Isaiah 25:8.

(26) Someone may ask, "Does the Bible declare that everyone will live forever?" We answer: "No." (Psalm 18:44; 66:3) As soon as they understand about God and his purposes, many will obey him, but will still not develop the right heart attitude. With some, as they see the goodness of God and happiness righteousness brings, this feigned obedience will change to meekness and heart obedience. But others will refuse to obey at heart. "Show favor to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness, in the land of uprightness will he deal falsely." (Isaiah 26:10) Some will thus show that they are wicked at heart. For such there will be no excuse. There will then be no inherited weaknesses, and none will suffer for the sins of others; it will no longer be said that "the fathers have eaten the sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." -- Jeremiah 31:27-30.

Will The World
Receive A Second Chance?

(27) Will it then be a second chance? This question could be answered yes and no, for it depends on which way you are viewing matters. We must remember that our first chance to live forever was lost for us through Adam when he disobeyed in the Garden of Eden (Romans 5:12,15-18). The human race that descended from Adam never received an individual chance in that trial. But in the Millennial day each person will be tried individually -- and in that sense it will not be a second chance, but the FIRST real opportunity they have ever had to understand and respond to the Good news. Yet none who have had a full opportunity in this present evil world will have another one (Hebrews 6:4-8; 10:26-29). A full opportunity means one that is broad and complete, such as few have had amidst all the confusion and turmoil in this present evil world. Even in countries where the Bible is printed in abundance, children are raised with such incorrect training of mind and inclinations, and there is so much confusion as to what is and what is not right, can one honestly say that these have received any complete and absolute chance for life? Jesus said that such are not judged NOW but that they will be judged in the "last day" -- that judgment day when they will be enlightened. (John 12:47,48; Isaiah 26:9; 29:18,24) This will actually be their FIRST individual chance to live forever.

(28) There is yet another reason that the Bible message is kept secret from the world of mankind. It is only by keeping it secret from the world that the world seeks to try out all its own devices separate from God. God wants to teach man a lesson concerning the vanity of life separated from him. As the wise King Solomon said concerning all of man's own works: `Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.' (Ecclesiastes 1:2) `Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better? For who knows what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spends as a shadow? For who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?' (Ecclesiastes 6:11,12) `What profit is there for the worker in that which he works? I have seen the travail which God has given the sons of men to be exercised by it.' (Ecclesiastes 3:9,10) Man tries to better this world in many ways. He tries one thing after another, not realizing the vanity of his efforts. All of mankind's experimentations are being permitted by God. Due to Adam's sin (Romans 5:12-19), the world has been subjected to a bondage of corruption and vanity, which is only escaped through faith in Jesus (Romans 8:20,21; Ecclesiastes 1:2,14; 2:11,17; 3:19; 9:9; 12:8; 2 Peter 1:4), and every man, born through Adam is born into the world as a child of wrath, a son of disbedience, having been born in an unjust state, crooked, from which none can make himself straight, justified, thus leaving his salvation from such a condition on through Jesus. (Ecclesiastes 1:13,14,15; 7:13; Ephesians 1:1-3) Nevertheless, God is allowing man to rule over another to his own hurt, so that they will better appreciate who Jehovah is and the righteous rule that will come. (Psalm 83:18; Ecclesiastes 8:9; Isaiah 2:1-4) It is a disciplinary process that will eternally benefit all who avail themselves of Messiah's righteous rule. While the whole world is now being subjected to this vanity by the will of God, God knows that he will bring the world of mankind out of this corruption and back into harmony with him (Romans 8:19-22). What a happy prospect for those who are now blinded by Satan's evil influence!

(29) For a proper appreciation of the true Gospel, more is required than what has been taught by man's traditions and creeds, even if they have proclaimed by men as "orthodox". Jesus said that true worshipers must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23) It is not enough to say that you claim Jesus as your savior and lead what is considered a good moral life. Jesus said, "Not every one that says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he who is doing the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, `Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works?' And then will I profess to you, `I never knew you: depart from me, you who work illegally [outside his commands].'"

(30) In Proverbs 2:3-6, we are given some guidelines for obtaining true wisdom from above: "If you cry for discernment, lifting up your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as hidden treasures, then you will understand the reverence of Jehovah, and find knowledge of God." See what is required? This seeking must become the most important thing in our life. Our minds must rise above everything we see, feel and touch so that we might receive the holy spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:10,12) Jesus said: "True worshipers will worship in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such who worship him. God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:23,24) Without this total dedication to seeking and the doing of God's will, one may understand a few bits and pieces here and there of God's word, but he will not be given the more precious things of the treasures hidden in its pages. With whole-souled dedication, we will continue to seek and understand more and more each and every day. These words of our heavenly Father become to us more precious than any earthly treasure. Praise Yah!

Walking In The Light

(31) It is a mistake to suppose that those without faith, and consequent justification, should be able to have a clear appreciable understanding of truth. An appreciation of truth is given gradually to those who are justified [declared righteous] before God. The Psalmist says: "Light [truth] is sown for the righteous." (Psalm 97:11) For each of God's people a lamp is provided whose light dispels from his pathway much of the darkness. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105) Actually, there is none just, "none righteous, no not one." (Romans 3:10) The class referred to is "justified by faith." (Romans 5:1) This justified class is privileged to walk in the pathway that shines more and more. (Proverbs 4:18) Having this light separates them from the world of darkness around them. They see and understand things that are hidden from the world of darkness. The world cannot see or understand the true gospel with true appreciation, nor can those Christians who remain as "babes" in Christ all their lives. While it is true that the path of each individual true worshiper is a shining one, yet the special application of this statement is to the just (justified) as a class. Faithful men of old have walked in its increasing light; and the light will continue to increase beyond the present -- "to the perfect day." It is one continuous path, and the one continuous and increasing light is the greater revealment from God as His Divine Plan progresses.

(32) Nevertheless, many who believe in Christ fail to make progress in their walking in the light. They do not concern themselves with trying to understand but a few basic principles from the Bible. Because of their unfaithfulness and unconcern, they are permitted to a degree allowed to sit in darkness, when they might have been walking in the increasing light. -- 2 Peter 1:5-9.

(33) To aid us to walk in this path of light, God gives us his holy spirit. If we submit to his spirit, the spirit of dedication to what he declares to be right, then it will guide us into truth through the only channel of truth that is given, that is the Bible. The holy spirit will take the things written and show them to us from the Bible itself, although in doing some other servants of Christ may be used in teaching such truths. But be careful that you do not develop a spirit to go beyond what is written. (1 Corinthians 4:6) Satan and his demons are ever actively trying persuade the followers of Jesus to accept philosophies and imaginations that appear to be light, when it is really darkness. (Isaiah 5:20; 2 Corinthians 11:14,15; Galatians 1:8; 1 Peter 5:8) Satan will use family, friends, neighbors, state powers, as well as professed Christians, in an effort to dissuade a consecrated Christian from following the light of truth as revealed in the Bible. (Matthew 10:16-42; 2 Corinthians 11:26; Galatians 2:4; 2 Timothy 4:3) God has revealed his truth by means of his holy spirit through the prophets in the Old Testament and through Jesus and his apostles in the New Testament. (Mark 12:36; Luke 4:11; 10:21; 24:27,44; Acts 1:16; 2:33; 10:38; 28:25; Hebrews 1:1,3; 3:7; 1 Peter 3:10-12; 2 Peter 1:21) God, by means of his holy spirit, especially led the apostles into all the truths concerning Christ and what he said. (John 14:26; 16:4-13; Acts 1:2; Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:2) We who live today are not apostles through whom the truths were delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3) in the first century, thus we receive the truths only as related to recorded Word of God. The truths revealed to the apostles and made available to us are recorded in the Bible (the commonly-accepted 66 books) itself. (Ephesians 3:3-12; Colossians 1:25,26; 1 John 4:6) Of course, without the holy spirit, these things that are recorded will still be a mystery to us. (Mark 4:11; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10) It is the Holy Scriptures alone that are able to make us wise unto salvation, and which provide the lamp that can guide us in the path through faith which in Christ Jesus, not vain philosophies that have to be imagined, added to, and read into the Scriptures, no matter how popular, revered and cherished such philosophies might be held in the tradition of men. -- Psalm 119:105; Colossians 2:8; 2 Timothy 3:15; 2 Peter 1:19.

(34) Before Jesus came, the early worshipers of God knew very little about the gospel. Abraham received very vague promises about the coming blessings for all the families of the earth. (Genesis 12:3; 22:18) The laws and ceremonies given to the fleshly nation of Israel only gave dim shadows concerning the wonderful good news. (Colossians 2:17) Then when Jesus came, true worshipers received a great increase in light. Until then God's people had been expecting a deliverer to come who would save the fleshly nation of Israel from its enemies and exalt them as the greatest nation on earth. When the deliverer came, however, he was so different from what most of them expected that the majority were blinded to the gospel. To them it was hidden, a secret or mystery. (Romans 11:7-10; 16:25)

The Foretold Apostasy Has Produced Strong Delusions

(35) Before Jesus died, he foretold that there would be even greater increase of light to follow. He said: "I have many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear them now; howbeit when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth...and he will show you things to come."--John 16:12,13

(36) But as Jesus foretold, it was not long before teachers arose who were teaching false doctrine. (Matthew 7:15; 24:10-12) Even before the apostles had died these false teachers had begun to deceive many. (1 Corinthians 11:13-15) They had begun to teach another gospel and another Jesus other than what the apostles had taught. (Galatians 1:6,9; 5:7; 1 Corinthians 11:3,4; 2 Timothy 4:3-4) These false teachers in time corrupted the entire organization of the early church. As a result, traditions and rituals of men began to be observed, and customs from the false religions were adopted. The philosophies of the Greeks and Romans were introduced as a supplement to help understand the scriptures. As true worship became polluted with false teachings and practices, a distortion of Christianity was born, as illustrated by weeds being sown amongst the wheat. (Matthew 13:25) This popular Christianity was nothing more than the ancient pagan Roman religion with the name of Christ attached. Thus the given light was gradually hidden so that its light could not penetrate the strong delusions then prevailing. -- 2 Thessalonians 2:11.

(37) Through the centuries, some have tried to break away from the traditions of men and return to God's word. Among these were Luther, Zwingli, Melanchthon, Wycliffe, and Knox. These called attention to the fact that the apostate church had laid aside the word of God in favor of the decrees and traditions of men. (Matthew 15:3-20) The shining light, although present in the recorded Word itself, was not generally appreciated then, but there were a few men who were walking in what light they could understand. Very few had actual access to Bible for a long time, and depended on their "priests" or others for what morsels could actually come from the written word. As some began study the bible itself, they began understand more and more that the traditions and creeds of men were not in harmony with what they reading. While many of these men discarded much of the false teachings and practices that had arisen, they still retained a large amount of the false traditions that they had learned as a result of the apostasy. The undeveloped Christian, babes in Christ, often allow carnal thoughts to influence they way they think, and find justification for such in the Bible. Thus, many who have listened to these men of God (often referred to as "reformers"), have refused to progress in understanding, and thus many seek only to believe what their favorite "reformer" taught, and fail to realize truths simply because they are thought to contradict the teachings they have accepted. Thus, they may blind themselves to many truths that might go beyond what their favorite "leader" said. They have set stumbling blocks for themselves, so that they do not progress in the way of the truth. They cling to the "traditions" of their religious fathers, without given thought as how such might not be fully in harmony with God's word.

(38) Furthermore, although the faith itself was delivered in the first century, there are certain truths that God allows to be understood when they are due to be understood. Those who hold to tradition miss out on these truths. For instance: In Noah's day, it was truth that God was going to bring a flood to destroy that world. For Noah to walk in the light that was then due, he had to put faith in obedience to that truth. However, Abel remained faithful without having any knowledge of that truth. So today, we would not be preaching truth if we were to preach about a coming flood. But there are other truths that are due to be understood by the just in our day. So if we have all the light that was understood several hundred years ago, or even 60 years ago, and that only, we are measurably in darkness.

A Storehouse Of Treasures

(39) The way we receive all light, however, is through the Bible! There is indeed a storehouse of knowledge contained in the Bible, providing food for the spiritually starved who will walk in its shining pathway. There is milk for the babes, and strong food for those more developed. (1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:14) Not only this, but we can also find food in the Bible that is suited for different seasons or conditions. Jesus told us that the faithful servant brings forth food in due season for the master's household -- "things new and old," from the storehouse. (Luke 12:42; Matthew 13:52) If we are entirely dependent on the writings or beliefs of men who have died a long time ago, we will miss the new things being brought forth from God's word. We might be able to bring forth many good old things, along with a degree of error, but nothing new.

(40) In addition to this, the various teachings of the popular churches conflict with each other. So much so that many have said: "The Bible is an old fiddle upon which any tune can be played." This represents the apathy and lack of faith that prevails in our day. And no wonder! The Bible has been misrepresented and confused with human traditions. People no longer bow blindly and superstitiously in reverence to the opinions of fellow-man. They demand reason. And the true worshiper is told to always be ready to provide a reason for the hope that is in him. (I Peter 3:15) This reason should be based on the word of God as contained in the Bible. It is only this source that is able to make us wise, "that the man of God may be perfect [complete], thoroughly furnished." (II Timothy 3:15-17)

(41) "The path of the just shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Proverbs 4:18) That perfect day did not come in Luther's day; nor are we yet in that perfect day. We still need to take heed to the word of prophecy, "as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn."--II Peter 1:19

(42) Not only this, we need to "walk in the light," continue to make progress. If we don't, the light will continue on down the path, leaving us to walk and stumble in the dark. This is what happens to many people who profess Christ. -- Isaiah 42:7; Psalm 1:1; Hebrews 12:1

(43) We have the accumulated light of what is usually called the "Old Testament" as well as the "New Testament." Yet the complete light has not yet been revealed. It will not be so revealed until that perfect day. And what is understood today is not comprehended by the world in general, but only by those who through repentance and faith in Jesus earnestly seek it. (Ephesians 1:9,10,17,18; 3:4-6; I Corinthians 1:6-7; Matthew 13:10,11,16,17; Proverbs 2:1-5) We might note that neither the prophets nor the angels understood the meaning of the prophecies that were given before Jesus came. The truths of those prophecies were kept secret until the due time for them to be understood. And even more prophecies can be understood now than in the days of the apostles. -- I Peter 1:10-13; Daniel 12:8-10

(44) Jesus promised that the Spirit of truth would guide his followers into all truth. This promise appears to be directed toward the apostles, and through the apostles to all Christians. While this has been fulfilled in the revelations given through the New Testament Scriptures, yet we believe that there is a further revealing yet to be accomplished in the "perfect day" spoken of in Proverbs 4:18. The revealing of truths has been gradual, little by little. Not only is this true of the justified as a class, but it is also true of each individual walking the path of light. Not everyone of God's people understands everything revealed all at the same time. Some may understand more in one direction, while another may understand more in another direction. To illustrate, Peter was told to go to the uncircumcised Gentiles with the message of the gospel. This was something different. He at first spoke against it. Later, many of the other disciples of Jesus still did not demonstrate an understanding of the new light that had been revealed. Only the apostle Paul stood out as having a complete understanding of the adjustments in the divine arrangement revealed at that time. (Acts 10:28; 11:1-3; Galatians 2:11-1) Additionally, Paul speaks of some who are babes in Christ, and yet carnal in the way they think. -- 1 Corinthians 3:1.

(45) Furthermore, the scriptures shows that we are now iving in the time when many prophecies of the Bible can be understood. Indeed, some of these prophecies tell us what we should be doing right now. Some of the prophecies have special application to us who are living now. We, therefore, need to be aware of the prophecies and their meanings for us today.
(46) There is truly a storehouse of hidden treasures for everyone within the pages of the Bible. If you are not aware of these wonderful treasures, isn't it time for you to take the Bible and become acquainted with it? And even if you are acquainted with many things in the Bible, as you search even deeper into its hidden treasures, you could be amazed at what beautiful gems you may uncover within its pages that you did not know were there.

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Questions

(1) For whom do we find good news in the Bible?

(2) What good news is found in the Bible for those who are suffering from sickness?

(3) What conditions do all people yearn for, as described in the Bible at Revelation 21:3-5?

(4) a) What is the prevalent view of the gospel message? b) What questions are raised concerning this message?

(5) Are the churches accomplishing the mission they suppose that God wants them to do? Explain.

(6) What can be said about the world religious statistics?

(7) What can be said of the millions who do profess to believe in Christ?

(8) What does the popular Christian theology believe has happened to the billions who have lived and died without hearing any message about Jesus?

(9) According to popular Christianity, what fate awaits the billions on earth today who remain ignorant of Jesus?

(10) What brighter picture does the Bible give concerning the fate of the non-believing nations?

(11) What is the state of religions in the world today?

(12) What questions are raise concerning the vast ignorance prevalent in the world regarding Jesus and the Bible?

(13) Have we reached the time when everything in the Bible can be understood?

(14) Did Jesus speak in parables to help people understand, as many believe? Explain.

(15) Is God being cruel in making the Bible hard to understand?

(16) If God loves the human race, why doesn't he make the Bible plain for all to understand?

(17) What are some of the scriptures that tell of the secrecy connected with the message of the Bible?

(18) How does the apostle Paul show the necessity of this secretiveness concerning the divine program?

(19) What questions are raised concerning God's desire to convert the world?

(20) If we had lived before God had given a Bible, what kind of Bible might many have expected to receive?

(21) If God is interested in converting the world, what question arises concerning the Bible, and what is needed to answer the question?

(22) a) How do we know that God is not now trying to convert the world? b) Will the world ever be converted during the reign of this "present evil world?"

(23) When will the world be converted?

(24) What hinders the enlightenment of the world in the present age?

(25) Will those who have died also be enlightened?

(26) Are we to understand that everyone will gain eternal life?

(27) Will the judgment day be a second chance for the present-day unbelievers to gain eternal life?

(28) What other reason is given in the Bible for the secretiveness connected with its message? How will this aid mankind?

(29) What is needed in order to understand the true gospel?

(30) Thus what does one have to do to understand the secrets of the Bible?

(31) Who only are able to "walk in the light"?

(32) What happens to many who receive some light but refuse to progress in it?

(33) What has been given us as an aid to "walk in the light"?

(34) Trace the increase of light up to the time of Jesus.

(35) How do we know that even more light would come after the death of Jesus?

(36) What happened to the early Christians after the death of Jesus?

(37) What happened to the shining light during the centuries that followed up to the nineteenth century?

(38) How have many missed truths when due?

(39) a) Where should truth-seekers go to be fed? b) What kinds of food may be found there? c) What happens if we center our beliefs entirely on writings or teachings of men who have died a long time ago?

(40) What condition exists in the popular churches?

(41) Have we reached the perfect day yet? If not, what do we still need to do?

(42) What happens to many who profess Christ?

(43) (a) Has the complete light yet been revealed? (b) What examples show that the revealing of light has been increasing, and to whom?

(44) Do all Christians understand all the revealed light at any given time, and what shows this?

(45) Why should we come to understand the meaning of prophecies?

(46) What invitation is open to any wishing to understand the Bible's secrets?

Originally published around 1990; updated several times since. Updated March 2013; Last Update July 2014.

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