UNDERSTANDING THE SCRIPTURES
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (II Peter 19-21)
And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place. The passage above is telling us to pay attention to the Old Testament. The modern teaching that our Christian salvation is a parenthesis in God’s plan of redemption, and that the exhortations to righteousness found in the Old Testament no longer are apply to us because we are under a special “dispensation of grace,” is totally in error.
The is no such thing as a “dispensation of grace,” nor is this phrase found in the New Testament, except where Paul is speaking of gift given to him to explain the transition from the Law of Moses to the new covenant.
All of the teachings of righteous behavior found in the Old Testament apply to us today, except that now we have more grace by which to overcome our sinful nature and live righteously.
We do well to pay attention to such words as, “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but that you practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.”
To think that it is being taught today that such as verse as the above no longer applies to us reveals that such teachers are not hearing from the Lord with their teaching of lawless-grace.
Of course God requires of us that we practice righteousness.
Of course God requires of us that we love mercy.
Of course God requires of us that we walk humbly with God.
How could anyone who professes to be a Christian teach that God no longer requires these things because we are “saved by grace”?
Indeed we are living in a time of deep, profound apostasy. Will Christ in His love come and save us from our error?
As to a light shining in a dark place. The entire Old Testament, including especially the writings of the Prophets, are a light. Wise men sought to understand what God was saying. But that was impossible without the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Christ came to us, there were two Witnesses. The first Witness was the Father who was dwelling in Christ and was speaking the words and performing the works done by the Lord Jesus.
The second witness was Jesus Himself. These two witnesses brought into being the Day of Light. Now we have insight into the Godhead. There is a Father. There is the Son of the Father. There also is the Spirit of God, a Person who brings the understanding from the Father to us. Now light is being thrown upon the utterances of the Prophets of the Old Testament.
Until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Since the Lord Jesus Christ has come, it is as the dawning of the day, the Day of the Lord. It is true that Christ through His Person and teachings has brought understanding to the nations of the earth in which the Christian religion has made substantial progress.
But that is not the important dawning of the day. The important dawning of the day is the rising of the Morning Star in the heart of the believer. Until the Morning Star rises in our heart we are a member of a religion. The rising of the Morning Star surmounts religion and makes us a member of the Body of Christ.
The Morning Star, in the physical world, in the planet Venus. It looks like a star when it appears in the early morning. announcing the new day.
The salvation that Christ came to bring us is infinitely more than another religion among the religions of the world. It is the conception and growth of the Seed of God within us until we are an integral part of the Divine Nature.
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (II Peter 1:4)
You can see at a glance how participation in the Divine Nature is vastly more than being a member of one of the religions of the world.
I really think that God is moving forward in His plan of redemption, in that I do not see, when reading the Christian literature of time past, a proper emphasis on our being a participant in the Divine Nature. Perhaps it was not time previously for God to reveal His purposes in Christ.
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. I now am going to include the writings of the Apostles of the New Testament in the discussion that follows.
What the Lord Jesus said, and what the Apostles wrote, came from God. The did not originate in the mind of man. Yet in courses of Theology we act as though both Testaments can be understood by study.
They can’t! This is what has gone wrong in today’s preaching. Scholars are interpreting the Bible according to their own mental understanding. They are not hearing from God? They are not being given understanding by the Spirit of God? They take a verse or two and deduce Divine truth, and so we have the masterpieces of deception that fill the Christian churches of our day. For example:
- There are three God’s equal in authority. The Father is no greater than the Son.
- There is one God in three manifestations.
- God has given up trying to get people to obey His laws. He has given us “grace” such that we can continue in our unconverted personality and be received into Heaven when we die, or caught up in a “rapture.”
- Once we “accept Christ” we never can be lost to God’s purposes.
- There will be a “rapture” into Heaven of all who “accept Christ.”
- The goal of salvation is eternal residence in the spirit Paradise.
- Each person who “accepts” Christ will have a mansion in Heaven.
- The exhortations to righteous behavior found in the Old Testament now are worthless because we are “saved by grace.”
- We are a new creation by imputed righteousness, not by actual transformation of character.
- There are no conditions attached to the Divine promises. God loves us with an unconditional love. Whether we obey Him or not is not a consideration.
- All of our judgment was completed on the cross. Once having “accepted Christ” we no longer can be judged for our sins.
- The Judgment Seat of Christ for the Christian has to do with more rewards or less rewards. It has nothing to do with sinful behavior.
I have answered these misunderstandings in previous writings, so I will not do that now, other than to say they all are incorrect.
You may notice that, except for the incorrect understanding of the Godhead, each of these doctrines detracts from the need for righteous behavior on the part of those who would be sons of God. That fact alone should warn the Christian that something is wrong here.
And indeed there is something wrong. These misunderstandings of the New Testament are producing spiritual babies who pose no threat to Satan’s determination to rule the world without Christ. They work against the Kingdom of God; against God’s determination to impose His will on the people of the earth.
But how did we get into such doctrinal confusion? The confusion came as the various scholars and teachers applied their intellects to the interpretation of the Scriptures. One cannot understand the Scriptures except as the Spirit of God gives understanding.
The Spirit of God does not necessarily give us understanding as we study the Bible; although it is absolutely necessary that we give some time each day reading the Scriptures prayerfully.
The Spirit of God gives us understanding only as we obey Christ.
We cannot understand the Godhead by studying, although that is how we arrived at the present doctrine of the Trinity. We can understand the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit only as we experience them. When we are living by the Life of Christ, listening to Him and obeying Him at all times, He makes the Father real to us.
We have to experience the Godhead before we can understand the Godhead. Otherwise the Godhead remains inscrutable to us; and in our inability to understand what Jesus said about God, we postulate either three separate Gods all equal in authority, or one God in three manifestation. While such an analysis may please the mind of the scholar, each position can easily be refuted by the test of the New Testament.
You have to know God personally to understand the relationships among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
One time a minister of the Gospel, who adheres to the one God in three manifestations, asked me my opinion of the relationship between the Father and Christ. I said, “Jesus is God’s Son.” That seemed to end the conversation, because everyone knows that a son is not the same as his father, and his father is greater than he and is to be obeyed.
We make these errors because we are attempting to understand the sayings of holy men of God moved by the Spirit when we are not holy men of God move by the Spirit. It is as simple as that.
For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Please think about this statement for a minute.
The Scriptures did not originate in the mind and will of man. The Prophets and Apostles did not plan on what they were going to say, although when you read the various introductions to the Prophets you would think that is what took place.
You know, it is very difficult for us to work with the Spirit of God, with the revelation of God. We immediately want to “build three tabernacles.” We want to lay hold on the revelation, systematize it, make it predictable. We want to reach out and steady the Ark lest it fall into the mud, so to speak.
It is my opinion that for the two thousand years of the Christian Era, with notable exceptions, and it is equally true today, that well intentioned people are trying to build the Kingdom of God by means of their own wisdom and strength. It seems difficult if not impossible for us to “let go and let God have His wonderful way.”
I do not understand why this is. It is so much easier to follow Jesus and do that He commands us than it is to labor in the fire, as it were, and try to do with our talents, strength, and money that which Christ can do with a wave of His hand.
I am not suggesting that there are no times when we are to work until we are worn out. I am sure there were times when the Apostles were exhausted as they followed the Lord. But the work and the words never were from them. It was Christ who was working with them and confirming the Word with signs following.
I think the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter Eleven, dressed in the sackcloth of repentance, will be clothed with the power of the seven thunders. Why? Because they have set aside their own lives that they might think, speak, and act as Christ thinks, speak, and acts.
Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. If this is the manner in which the Scriptures were written, how then can theologians interpret what has been written unless the theologians are holy people who are carried along by the Holy Spirit?
The truth is, they can’t. In order to arrive at truth they will have to live by the Life of the Lord, obeying Him strictly every moment of every day, and permit Him to put the meaning of the Spirit into their hearts and minds.
There is no other way. The intelligence of the mind of man cannot possibly arrive at Divine truth.
Let’s you and I forget what is being taught today and keep looking to Jesus every day and night. If we do that, He who is the Truth will give us the understanding we are going to need in the coming moral and physical chaos in the United States of America.
(“Understanding the Scriptures”, 3924-1)