There are four men standing in front of an elephant. They have been blind from birth and have never before seen an elephant. Each man is asked to describe the animal using only his hands as his ‘eyes’.
Man #1 touches the elephant’s trunk and says, “The elephant is this rough, bumpy feeling animal that is long and skinny, and quite flexible.”
Man #2 touches the elephant’s tusk and says, “An elephant has a very smooth and hard exterior, with a slight curve to its shell.”
Man #3 touches its body and says, “Wow, the elephant is a very large animal. Its skin has a leathery texture, and its shape is rather rotund.”
The last man touches the elephant’s ear and says, “Ah, the elephant is a very flat and flimsy animal. It appears to flap and move around quite a lot, which is probably its way of escaping danger.”
Depending on what part of the elephant each man touched, they described completely different things. Because of this, if you only heard one of those descriptions you would have a very different understanding of what an elephant actually is. The blind men had not seen the animal as a whole, and therefore could not accurately describe it as a whole. They had not seen the whole picture.
Today we do the same thing when listening to God’s word. We listen to, and accept words from those who have not seen the “whole picture”, those who do not understand God’s hidden secrets (1 Cor 2:6-8). They are like blind guides (Mt 15:14).
At the time of the first coming, who had seen the “whole picture”? Who came to fulfill and explain all the prophecies of the Old Testament? Jesus.
And who were those who had not seen the “whole picture”? Who did not understand the Old Testament prophecies, and could not explain them, even though they studied them and read them every Sabbath? The Pharisees, Sadducees, and teachers of the Law. They were the ones whom Jesus called “blind guides”, and those who shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces (Mt 23:13). They did not have the full understanding and wisdom, and so their teachings were only rules taught by men, they nullified the word of God for the sake of their traditions (Mt 15:6-9).
Now is the time to understand God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that was once hidden (1 Cor 2:7). Let’s make sure we are not following blind guides, but are following God’s word of truth that goes out from the ‘mountain of the Lord’s temple’, Mount Zion (Is 2:2-4; Rv 14:1).
“Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.” ~Psalm 43:3
Here is a video of the “whole picture” – a few elephants (and a sneezing baby)
Have you ever seen an elephant in real life?