|Dearly Beloved In Christ Jesus,|
These are days when we come across a number of doctrines and claims pertaining to many subjects including the End-time from the Scriptures. We find very often that the interpretations of many portions of the Word differ from person to person and denomination to denomination. In spite of it all there is a lot of emphasis on Standing on the Word and Checking everything with the Word by each denomination and from all quarters concerned.
Questions concerning the Godhead, Baptism, Rapture, Tribulation and many other subjects keep the people of God divided. Instead of looking for the revelation by the Holy Spirit people apply their own thoughts and conclusions to matters of vital importance. Mostly they are found to be at error because they put their own translations or interpretations to the Word.
Many people fight over the meanings of certain controversial words and try to impose their interpretations according to their whims and fancies. To suit their convenience they even recommend their pet translations of the Bible which they think are suitable. One is left confused and wondering what to believe since there are many contradictory views and interpretations. They apparently seem to be right if viewed from their respective angles.
There is a story of a man who tried everyday to get a verse for the day by opening the Bible at random with his eyes closed and placing a finger on some verse. One day it so happened that he had a problem to solve and he needed a good verse for encouragement. After trying three times in a row he happened to find the following verses:- Judas "went and hanged himself" (Matthew 27: 5), "Go, and do thou likewise" (Luke 10: 37) and "That thou doest, do quickly" (John 13: 27) in their respective order. He was said to have given up the habit of looking into the Bible at random thereafter.
If he had had to obey and follow those Scriptures, he would have had to Go quickly and hang himself like Judas did. This is the way many people quote the Scriptures at random and arrive at doctrines, calling them revelations. They bring together Scriptures from different places and make them agree according to their desires without verifying the facts.
|Languages And Translations|
People fight over things such as which language the Scriptures were written in. There are students who believe that the New Testament was written in Greek. There are students who claim that the original manuscripts were written in the Aramaic which was the language of Jesus and the people of His day. We find also those who believe that the New Testament was written in Hebrew.
Greek Scholars say that a refined and accurate grammarian in Greek can truly know exactly what the New Testament Word teaches. On the other hand every Greek scholar of repute from one denomination debates another student of another denomination. Their arguments too are based on identical Greek words and identical rules of grammar. Certainly that is how it is.
Surely God did not intend us all to know the Greek or the Hebrew, did He? Right today we are having arguments over the Greek. Now we can see that we can not base interpretations upon students' profound knowledge of the language the Bible is written in. There is always bound to be some dispute.
There are many different translations too of the Bible of which some are good. If we compare some of those translations we can find that the words used are almost the same so that there is no difference in content or doctrine. The stories and the incidents are the same. The prophecies are the same.
We may even conclude that God has allowed these newly discovered manuscripts and recent publications of already known scripts to come before us to prove the authenticity of what we already had. And we find that though translators may fight each other, scripts do not.
I was privileged to meet a great scholar who was the President of a Bible Society at Wimbledon, London in 1982. He had read the Bible nearly 300 times. He was very thorough with the King James Version. Any new translation of the Bible, he could read once and point out all the places where differences in words existed. I was really astonished at the pamphlets he had printed about each translation of the Bible bringing out the differences.
The Scribes and Pharisees and the great scholars of the days of Jesus knew the exact laws of grammar and the exact meanings of the words in which the Old Testament was written. But for all their superb knowledge they missed the revelation of God's promised Word manifested in the Son. It was written about Jesus from Genesis to Malachi, with whole chapters devoted to Him and His ministry. Yet except for a few who had Spiritual Insight, they missed him entirely.
|Revelation - The Need Of The Day|
We believe in trying to find the oldest and best manuscripts to get the best record of the Word possible. But we will never get the true meaning of it by study and comparison of Scriptures no matter how sincere as we may be. Therefore we need something according to the Word to get the true meaning.
It will take a revelation from God to bring it out. That is why Paul said, "Which things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth" (I Corinthians 2: 15). The true revelation is God interpreting His own Word by vindicating what is promised.
We all believe in the accuracy of the Word as we now have it. We know that this Bible is accurate. Jesus completely authenticated the Old Testament when here on earth and it was compiled exactly as was our New Testament. Make no mistake about it, we have the infallible Word of God today and no man dares take from it or add to it (Deuteronomy 4: 2, 12: 32, Revelation 22: 18-19). But we need the same Spirit that gave it, to teach it to us.
What we need is the revelation by the Spirit. We don't need a new Bible, we don't need a new translation, though some are very good. But we need the revelation of the Spirit. And thank God, we can have what we need, for God wants to reveal His Word to us by His Spirit. If we get Word oriented revelation and become one with the Word, we would do the greater works and glorify God our Father in heaven.
God is a Spirit. God is also the Word. The Spirit always leads to the Word for the Age (John 14: 26). The Bride has to be on the Word. The Bridegroom is the Word. Then they both can unite. Any revelation has to be according to the Word. But the enticing spirits lead to the world and not to the Word. Therefore the authenticity of any revelation has to be checked and compared with the Word.
|Urim And Thummim|
In the Old Testament days, they had the Urim and Thummim which was the breast-plate of Aaron with 12 stones on it representing the 12 tribes of Israel (Exodus 28: 30, Numbers 27: 21, I Samuel 23: 9-12, I Samuel 28: 6). Sometimes there were people said to be prophets or men of God who prophesied or claimed to have a Word, a Vision or a Dream from the Lord.
When there was a need to confirm that those prophecies, words, visions and dreams were from the Lord, the High Priest had to put on his holy garments and the Urim and Thummim. Then the prophet or dreamer was asked to speak out the word, dream or vision before the Urim and Thummim.
If it was not of God, the Urim And Thummim was dormant. But if it was of God, a supernatural light reflected on the stones resulting in a rainbow colouring across there, confirming it. If the supernatural light did not flicker on there, the prophecy was wrong and not from the Lord no matter how real it might have sounded to the listener.
Today there are enticing spirits that cause doctrinal deviations. Instead of turning the people back to the Word of God, they try to make things pattern like the world. Many people are listening to enticing spirits instead of taking the Word of God. The enticing spirits come down trying to substitute something for the Word of God.
God has no substitute for His Word. It's eternal and forever. God has nothing to substitute faith. Faith has no substitute. Hope will never take the place of faith. Faith is alone, stands alone. To differentiate between the Spirit of God and the enticing spirits, we need an Urim and Thummim to understand the Truth correctly.
Today we have an Urim and Thummim which is God's Word. If any man has any kind of a revelation or any doctrine or prophecy which is not according to the Bible in its entirety and simplicity, he is in error. God's secrets were simple enough to be understood by even fishermen like Peter when taken in their simplest possible meaning as given in parables by Christ. But the educated Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees missed Him a million miles (Matthew 11: 25, Luke 10: 21).
|The Need To Check|
God did not ordain man to act like an animal without sense and fall in line with an unscriptural thought or doctrine just because a majority follows it. He wanted men to be sober enough to know and understand the difference between Truth and Error and be free by following the Truth.
It is essential to know the deep things of God because To Know is Power. God has appointed many deep secrets (hitherto hidden) to be revealed at the end time to bring forth power and blessings to His people. But care should be taken to keep to the right track and not to be deceived through wrong interpretations. Satan tries to sidetrack people using false doctrines. Therefore it is essential that we divide the Word rightly (Ephesians 4: 14-15, I Timothy 6: 20-21, II Timothy 2: 15).
The enticing spirits come down trying to substitute something for the Word of God. God has no substitute for His Word. It's eternal and forever. To differentiate between the Spirit of God and the enticing spirits, we need to check with the Word.
|This gives rise to the following questions.|
|1. How do we find the difference between a man-made doctrine and a revelation by the Holy Spirit?
2. Which is the right way to follow the Word and to check with the Word?
3. Why do we have to read and study the Bible?
4. Do we really need a new Bible translation?
5. How do we divide the Word of God rightly?
6. What is the measuring yard for a doctrine? And etc.
|Satan Quoting The Scriptures|
In our daily life we find many people quoting the Scriptures to place themselves at an undue advantage over the others and not for the glory of God. They make others do things which they normally would not do by misquoting the Scriptures and instilling an element of fear in them. This is what happens to people getting involved in personality cults.
Misquoting of the Scriptures helps the cultists to enslave others to do their bid. On the other hand, Truth does not enslave others but sets them free. If we are not watchful, we are in danger of falling into the trap of the devil and be subdued by him. A real truth-seeker can not be held under bondage for long. When he discovers the truth, he becomes free.
The devil tried to make Jesus Christ do his bidding by inflating his ego and quoting the Scriptures. This was in order to enslave Him and make Him bow before him. If Jesus had taken them to be Scriptures and obeyed them, He would have played into the hands of Satan to obey him and bow before him. If he had obeyed the Scriptures quoted by Satan, he would have obeyed only the devil.
But Jesus Christ showed the devil that there was a right way to use the Scriptures. He used the Scriptures to resist Satan's temptation. He did not use them to glorify Himself. He used the Scriptures to glorify God. Therefore He could not be subdued and enslaved by Satan (Matthew 4: 1-11, Luke 4: 2-13).
There is a story of two men who were journeying through a forest. One man had a food packet to be eaten on the way. The other man had taken nothing with him for food. When the time came for food the man with the food packet opened it and started eating. The other man too was hungry and he wanted some of the food from his neighbor. Therefore he used a Scripture and said, "Love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 19: 19). The man with the food packet did not want to share it with the other man and therefore he too used a Scripture and said, "Thou shalt not covet ..... anything that is thy neighbour's" (Exodus 20:17).
In the above example we find both the men using the Scriptures. One man wanted a share of the other man's food. He could have asked directly without quoting the Scripture. The other man did not want to share and he could have simply said no without quoting the Scripture. Both used the Scriptures for their selfish needs without any element of love. The Scriptures were not used for the Glory of God and therefore both were wrong.