Let There Be Light

The Church has taken the source of Light—the Holy Scriptures—and put it between two black covers, has called it a "dead letter" and associated it with funerals. When that wasn’t enough, they confused the picture by producing several alternative translations—which they said would help us to understand it—with the result that today, clerical paraphrases of the Bible have cast a cloudy mantle over the light of the Word,

If things were to continue in this direction it is certain that within less than a century, society will have returned to the Dark Ages—if not the savagery of the jungle. That this is so can be seen from modern philosophical thought, from modern art and music—and it can be seen in that frightening and dangerous place that they call school. Through a process called education—which in some areas is really brain-washing—human minds are again being shut up behind the steel bars of spiritual ignorance.

It is the ignorance about God, and of the ways of God, that alienates men and women from the fountain of life itself. This is what Scripture says:

"Gentiles walk in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart"—Ephesians 4:17,18.

To be alienated from life is to be joined to death. Speaking of, and personifying the wisdom of God, the Proverbs declare this, saying: "...all they that hate me love death" (Prov. 8:36). Again, God says through His prophet:

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee..." (Hosea 4:6).

We cannot escape this Bible teaching: knowledge and ignorance (sometimes called "light" and "darkness") are inseparable from the issue of life and death.

The Knowledge of God

When Scripture speaks of "knowledge" in this way, it is not referring to a knowledge of Hebrew or Greek; it is not recommending a degree in what is called Theology or anything of that kind. No; the "knowledge" that Scripture urges us to obtain is "the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:10). It is expressed by Jesus thus:

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."—John 17:3

The vital question for all of us is: How can we come to know God? The first thing we must do, as is demonstrated by Moses, is pray. We must ask in prayer., Thus we read of that man of God speaking in prayer and saying:

"...If I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy ways, that I may know thee..." Exodus 35:13

In the case of Moses, he was informed of God’s ways— that is to say, His characteristics—through a proclamation of God’s Name (see Exodus 34:6-7). This was given to him by direct revelation. In our case, we must seek this knowledge of God" from His revealed Word, for it is written, "...thou hast magnified thy word above all thy Name" (Psalm 138:2).

The Bible is the word of God. Through this He speaks to us. Through this written word we can come to know the mind of God. We can come to know and appreciate what God’s mind is towards the issues of our time. We can come to know His mind towards our own personal circumstances. This only becomes possible however when we have absorbed the principles upon which God works—balancing Truth with loving kindness and mercy.

"...and Jesus Christ"

John 17:3 tells us that eternal life is accessible through knowing the true God and Jesus Christ. This introduces us to a feature of Divine things which was not in evidence during Moses’ time. We have an added help—a "comforter" that Moses did not have. This further assistance is seen in Jesus Christ, who came as "the word...made flesh" (John 1:14). Here we see God’s ways set before men in the example of Christ who was "full of grace and truth." A human example is set before us.

Now if we come to know God through prayer and through the study of Scripture—How do we come to "know" Christ? The answer is, through the writings of the Apostles. Later disciples are referred to in John 17:20 as: "thou also which shall believe on me through their (the apostle’) word." This idea is seen again from 1 John 1:3. It is through what the apostles declared—.their written word—that we can know Christ.

So we conclude that if we are to know the Father and the Son— if we are to behold "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6)—then we must become familiar with what the Bible says. The only way to do this is to read and study its pages diligently.

Superficial reading is not good enough, we must give honour to God by studying it and by meditating upon it—Jer. 23:18; 29:13; 2 Timothy 2:15.

Rejecting the Word

Human beings are very prone to deafness when they do not wish to hear something. We are all susceptible to this trait. When we don’t like what we hear, we switch off—we can rationalize ourselves into ear-plugging. Scripture draws attention to this and likens the wicked to the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; which will not hearken..." (Isa. 28:12), and Jesus quotes from another passage and comments, "For this people"s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them" (Matt. 13:13-15).

We all do well to examine ourselves on this point. It was because the established Church didn’t want people to hear the Bible that they burned it, chained it, produced it for centuries in a dead language, confined it between black covers lest the light should get out—and imprisoned, tortured and put to death those who translated it. In short, they rejected the word of the Lord.

The Word of Life

The Apostles of Jesus Christ heard, saw, looked on and handled the word of life in the person of the Lord. Once, when asked it they would leave Jesus, one of them replied: "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). So these words give life; everlasting life. They are not a dead letter—it is the living word—"For the word of God is living and active" says Hebrews 4:12 (Revised Version).

These things being so, people who tell us that the study of God’s word is unnecessary, or who in ;any way discourage it, are very foolish. Those who choose (and we all make the choice one way or another)—those who choose not to give their time to the word of God are not helping themselves or their families.

The Bible then is this Word of life; therefore we are wise to immerse our minds in it. We must set aside time for this—the issue is one of life and death. Your life, you death!

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