We will be starting another online Bible study class soon. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join us. Include days and times (morning/evening) that would work best for you and we will send you more information – we would like to accommodate as many as we can.
Spread the word and bring your friends.
Here are a some of the topics we will be covering:
- How to use the Bible as a ladder
- Our duty as believers
- Does God have secrets?
- What kind of field am I?
- Who has the right to call God “Father”?
- Knowledge vs Understanding
- Figurative Language: Why did Jesus speak in parables?
Looking forward to studying God’s word with you!
Every country has its own language, and in fact, even those countries that speak the same language have their own colloquialisms or phrases that are native to them.
As Christians, we want our citizenship to be in heaven (Phil 3:20), and just like other countries and places of citizenship, heaven has its own language. Can a person function well in a country if they don’t understand the language at all? Can one obey all the laws of that country if you don’t understand the language?
When Jesus came he said everything to the crowd using parables, he used this figurative language – the language of heaven. However, when he was alone with his disciples, those who truly belonged to him, he explained everything (Mk 4:34). His disciples received the explanation and knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but those on the ‘outside’ did not (Mt 13:10-11; Mk 4:10-12).
Jesus admits to speaking figuratively, however, he promises a time when things will be spoken of plainly, when those things that have been hidden will be revealed (Jn 16:25). God designated another time to explain all the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. There is a time for it to be sealed up and closed, and there is a time when it will be opened and revealed.
“He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.”~Daniel 12:9
If you went to visit a friend, but their house was locked and they were not home when you got there, what would you do? Break into the house, or wait until they returned, unlocked the house and invited you in?
In Isaiah 29:9-13 the scroll of the Old Testament was sealed. Nobody could understand it. The proverbial house was locked. In Habakkuk 2:2-3 we are told that the revelation awaits an appointed time. There is an appointed time when the book will be opened and revealed, when what was impossible to understand, will become plain.
When Jesus came at the time of the first coming, he brought the revelation of God (Mt 11:27). In order to know God you had to go to Jesus. This was the appointed time, when all the prophecies in the Old Testament could be explained, because the fulfillment had come. The master had come, the house was unlocked, and those who wanted to come in could.
However, there is a time the master locks the house once again and leaves, but not before promising another Counselor (Jn 16:7), and a time when what was sealed in figurative language will be understood plainly (Jn 16:25).
In Revelation 5:1 there is a scroll sealed with 7 seals in God’s hand. This sealed scroll gets given to Jesus, who is the only one worthy to open the scroll (Rv 5:7). The scroll gets given to the mighty angel who takes it to Apostle John in Revelation 10. Apostle John is told to eat the opened scroll, and then speak to all the people and nations (Rv 10:8-11).
Once again God shows us a sealed scroll, like in Isaiah 29. It can only be opened by the one who sealed it, and since Jesus spoke figuratively at the time of the first coming, sealing up the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, he is the one who has to open the scroll at the appointed time – the time of the second coming. Once the scroll has been opened, Apostle John has to give the revealed word to the servants (Rv 1:1-2).
Instead of waiting for the master of the house to return and unlock the house, people have been breaking and entering, creating their own interpretations, understanding, and teachings.
We need to hear the explanation of the fulfillment before we are able to understand clearly, just like the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8.
We have to learn how to distinguish good from evil, the truth from the lies. We have to be mature believers.
“But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” ~Hebrews 5:14
Have you ever been locked out or your house?
“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” ~Romans 10:1-2
The passage shows that is it possible to have zeal without having knowledge. We have to have zeal that is based on knowledge of God’s word. This knowledge is not referring to pure ‘head knowledge’, but rather a true understanding of God’s word that comes from knowledge. If we do not have the correct understanding, then we run the risk of establishing our own standard of righteousness, instead of submitting to God’s righteousness.
Jesus prophesied that at the time of his return there would still be people whose zeal would not be based on knowledge. Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Only believers would call Jesus “Lord”, yet these ‘believers’ do not have faith and deeds that are based on God’s word or His will. Only those who do the will of God will enter the kingdom of heaven, but we can only do God’s will if we know what it is. For this we need knowledge, and true understanding.
Proverbs 19:2 says, “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.” Who was “the Way” at the time of the first coming? Jesus (Jn 14:6). We must make sure we have zeal that is based on knowledge and true understanding so that we do not “miss the way,” and so that we are not those whom Jesus prophesied about in Matthew 7.
Have you ever been really zealous about something?
Knowledge and understanding are two totally different things. You can have a lot of knowledge about God’s word, but ultimately still not understand it. How does this work? Well, you can have many verses or passages memorized, or lots of knowledge about the historical facts and stories, but that does not mean that you have true understanding of the Scriptures, it just means you are very knowledgeable.
If I send you an invitation to a party, and the invitation is in a language that you cannot understand, you might be able to recognize that it is Russian, or Chinese, but you won’t be able to understand when, where, and what the details are. Because of this you would not be able to attend the party.
Matthew 22 tells the parable of the Wedding Banquet. There are invitations that are sent out, but those who receive them keep refusing to go to the wedding, saying that they have better things to be looking after and taking care of. Eventually the master says “those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite anyone you can find”, and so the wedding hall was filled. However, when the king arrives he sees a guest who is not wearing wedding clothes. Because of this guests incorrect attire he is thrown outside into the darkness (you can read the whole parable here).
This parable is speaking about the kingdom of heaven (Mt 22:2), clearly those who refused to attend did not truly understand what the invitation was for, and that it was inviting them to the wedding banquet. In Revelation 19 we read about the wedding banquet of the Lamb, and once again there is a dress code. “Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear” (Rv 19:8). Are these literal clothes, or do they represent something spiritual? How about the great multitude in Rv 7:1 who are dressed in white robes? And most importantly, what are the robes that need to be washed in order for us to have the right to the tree of life and entry to the Holy City (Rv 22:14)? We have to understand what these robes or clothes are, otherwise we cannot partake of these blessings, or be part of God’s kingdom.
What is the darkness that the badly dressed guest gets thrown out into? Well, to figure that out we should understand what ‘light’ is? In John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” Spiritual light is accepting, believing, and understanding Jesus’ words, and so just like darkness is the absence of light, so is spiritual darkness the absence, of accepting, receiving, and believing in the one sent by the Father – not being in the presence of the Light, Jesus. Is this referring to physical nighttime, or is it a spiritual darkness?
How about 1 Thessalonians 5:2?
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet always makes me think of these verses:
“However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” ~Luke 18:8
Who would Jesus be inviting to the wedding banquet? Only believers, those who ‘deserve’ to come. However we see in the parable in Mt 22 that those who were invited were actually not deserving. Why? Because they clearly didn’t have true understanding, and therefore could not have the correct faith. This verse, like the parable in Mt 22, is referring to the time of the second coming. The question is actually for us…Will the Son of Man find faith on the earth?
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” ~1 Corinthians 1:27-29
Those who thought they were working hard and going about the things that they should have been taking care of, actually ended up losing their ‘spot’ at the wedding banquet. Ultimately those who were foolish, and weak, were used to shame those who thought they were wise and strong.
If we do not understand the spiritual language used in the parables then we cannot truly understand them. We have to understand all the parables clearly, because they contain secrets that have been hidden (Ps 78:2; Mt 13:34-35). What does the lamp, oil, and light represent that the wise virgins had (Mt 25)? How about the sheep and the goats that are separated (Mt 25)? What are the weeds and the wheat, or the good and the bad fish? And how is a mustard seed that grows into a tree with birds perching in its branches like the kingdom of heaven (Mt 13)? We might know all these parables by heart, but do we truly understand them? If we don’t it will be like trying to read an invitation in a foreign language. We won’t understand it, and therefore we won’t be able to attend the party
…or the wedding banquet.
Have you ever felt inappropriately dressed for a wedding, or any other function?
Have you ever had a fear of the dark?