(The web formatting is different from the book )
RECEIVING TRUTH OR BLINDING DECEPTIONS
2 Timothy 2:15
15. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The verse above states that there are right ways to “divide,” put together, and interpret the word of truth. If biblical truth is put together incorrectly, it is no longer truth bringing light and life, but rather deception bringing darkness and confusion. Biblical Truth is like a jigsaw puzzle. You can sometimes get the wrong piece to fit, but the pattern will be incorrect. The picture will be distorted, confusing, and misleading. The way most people begin a jigsaw puzzle is with the border outline. It’s usually best to start your Biblical journey with a basic foundation or outline and then fill in the details. “Study” is not a bad word. It means you take time to think, be consistent, and stay connected to the foundation of truth revealed in God’s word. This is where meditation comes in. Meditation does for the mind what exercise does for the body. Meditating on the Bible is important and life changing because it strengthens, renews, and sharpens the mind. In order to grasp some truths, we must take time to refocus and organize our thoughts before we can see all the ramifications of the information. Whether you spend time on one verse or one book of the Bible, try to picture what is being said and consider the meaning behind each word. Remember the principle and consider how you can apply it to your life. Look for God’s voice to you in His word. If you don’t know where to start, you might want to begin with the powerful truths in the Gospel of John of the New Testament. Do not just speed read to finish the book, but take the time to ponder and pray about what it is God is saying to you. I remember as a boy seeing books that only had dots with numbers next to them. They didn’t make much sense until I connected the dots. The dots were points of change, and once connected in order, the picture was obvious. In that same way, let’s connect these points of Biblical Truth in order so that we can see the powerful pictures hidden in Genesis 1 through Revelation 22.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
The Bible is like a map containing God’s personal instruction and direction for life. God is the Author. He used a variety of different Godly men as instruments, just as an author might use different pens or fonts, each having its own color or style. Nonetheless, the message comes from the author, not the instrument. All God’s word is true, but not necessarily all translations of His word (more on that later). First, let’s look at 2Timothy 3:16 and define the four important benefits mentioned there.
Doctrine: the foundation or basis of our belief. True Biblical doctrine must include all of what the Bible says on a subject.
Reproof: a strong discipline that calls us to repent from sin.
Correction: a more subtle course correction, an adjustment to refocus our motives, refining and growing in the direction God has for our lives.
Instruction in Righteousness: the key to abundant life, the blueprint for right thinking and living, bringing peace and fulfillment, showing us how we overcome evil by doing good.
Notice that verse 17 ends with “good works.” “Good works” is a result of knowing and doing what the Bible says. That is when we are furnished with rewards and abilities, both here and in Heaven. If we have no idea what the Bible says and think we are hearing God, it may actually be Satan, the Angel of Light, trying to deceive. We always need to test the spirits to see the source of the information. The tool for this test is God’s word, the Bible.
1 John 4:1
1. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
8. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
The Gospel is the Good News. It tells us how to receive eternal life in Paradise. After the risen Christ appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, Paul quit following the man-made theology and traditions of his time. Jesus began revealing to him God’s plan for his life. Paul was to be an instrument to record God’s word in the Holy Bible, which is now completed.
11. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Luke 21:33, Mark 13:31
33. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away.
God’s word is not only historic and true. It is also eternal. The earth as we know it will pass away, as pointed out in Chapter 16; but the book for life, the Holy Bible, will never change or go away. In the end, only the distortions and counterfeits will be disintegrated, leaving the pure true word inspired and authored by God.
1 Peter 1:23-25
23. Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever
24. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25. But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Is the Holy Bible less true if it contradicts many or any of our popular beliefs? Are we deceived if we believe a lie?
30. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee until thou be increased and inherit the land.
In 1977, God used this passage to show me that being set free from deception and bondage is a process and that I must not get impatient or discouraged, but rather allow God’s word to drive out every deception.
32. And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.
Start with securing the foundation of Truth. Know what you believe and why. You build a strong wall with one solid block of Truth at a time. If you find an imposter crumbling, pull it out and replace it with strong Truth for that area. The integrity of the wall will be strengthened, and it will stand firm against the test of time and any storms that may come along. This is illustrated in the parable about a house built on a rock instead of on shifting sand (Matthew 7:24-27).
13. My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:
14. So shall knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward and thy expectations shall not be cut off.
16. Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith and vomit it.
If you don’t want to lose or forget the information (honey), the information needs to become revelation. To receive personal revelation, you need to start with wisdom, grow in knowledge, and remember to pace yourself, because digestion takes time. Digestion time is prayerful meditation time. Then insight will become a part of your perception. In a sense, a light turns on in your head, and you see things a little differently. Wisdom comes from God opening our eyes to the proper application of Truth.
6. If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and unbraideth not: and it shall be given him.
7. But let him ask in faith nothing wavering. For he that waverth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
8. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Ask God to open your eyes to focus on Truth. Then walk in the Truth. It is wise to build your life on a solid and stable foundation of truth.
14. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
23. Who so keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
The Bible has much to say about our words and the power they have to affect our lives. It is dangerous to talk like a fool because the words come from our old nature. When our old nature is magnified and empowered by our words, our vision suffers and blindness begins. Once darkness has set in, we start living our lives based on feelings and assumptions instead of faith and truth. When you have foresight and see clearly, you don’t need to feel something to know that it is real and true. In Luke 8:22-25, Jesus told the Disciples to take Him to the other side of the lake (Sea of Galilee). After it got dark and a storm came upon them, the Disciples misplaced their faith, focusing on their changed circumstances. Their words reflected their lack of faith in God’s word, which is the foundation of Truth (they were going to the other side). The result was Jesus asking them, “Where is your faith?” Is our faith rooted in God and His word or in something else? Although the Disciples’ words where fearful, at least they turned to Jesus for help. It is wise to have faith in the Truth, not upon our feelings or changing circumstances. Feelings are important, and they can happen. However, feelings are not the engine on our train of success. They are the caboose.
17. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.
Faith is complete trust in God and His word. Faith in God’s word is the key. If we get onboard the train empowered by this faith, everything else will fall in line eventually, including our feelings. Since God’s word is key, true, powerful, and eternal, what does the Devil do about it? He surrounds the diamond of God’s word with cheap glass and plastic. Then he attempts to draw our attention to them as a good replacement for the precious rock of Truth. However, it does not matter how nice the glass looks or how much plastic you possess. It all proves to be valueless junk when tested by fire.
2 Corinthians 11:14-15
14. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
We do not need to examine the many counterfeits of Satan, but rather remember his deceptive strategy. It’s his main tool of destruction.
2 Peter 2:1-2
1. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privately shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction
2. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
With a casual reading of 2Peter 2:1, you might assume that “swift” destruction means soon, almost immediate. Then you might look around at all the false teachers deceiving for years and say, “I don’t see it, the Bible does not fit my reality.” However, with a closer look at the word of God, it becomes very evident how patient God is, giving men time to repent (as we will see in Chapter 5). Therefore, “swift” does not necessarily mean soon. It does mean that after judgment finally comes, all the bad fruit will quickly and suddenly be separated and cast into Hell Fire. There is no halfway point. For example, read Psalms 73 and 37. From the perspective of eternity, our time is short, and judgment day will be here soon enough. There are many religions teaching different ideas regarding life after death and how to improve it. The most dangerous of all deceptions are the false teachings that rise to the level of damnable heresies. These are the heresies that destroy our lives and condemn us to Hell. They deny that Jesus Christ is the only Redeemer, the only way for us to get to Heaven (as explained in chapter 10). For example, they may say that Jesus was a good teacher, but that the key to heaven is joining their religious group, not receiving Christ as your personal Savior. They may preach that you will go to heaven if you radically sacrifice your life as a suicide bomber or martyr. All these poor deceived people will be shocked at the judgment seat of God, when they try to cash in their man-made plastic belief systems. Then judgment fire will melt away the deceptions, leaving them no value and no savior. Even atheists will see the foolishness of having a creation without a Creator and that their evolution leads from life to death. These are referred to as “damnable heresies” that will eventually “bring upon themselves swift destruction,” because they are “denying the Lord that bought them.” You see, Jesus died on the cross to pay for the sins of the whole world.
16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17.For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.
With His death, Jesus bought everyone back from destruction. Even though the payment was enough for all mankind to be saved, many will not receive salvation, but will continue “denying the Lord that bought them.” Their destiny will be the same place as Satan, forever missing their life with Jesus.
18. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather then light, because their deeds were evil.
If you feel wrapped up in confusion and deceptive darkness, then do what Lazarus did. Even though he had been dead four days, Lazarus heard Jesus’ words, moved toward Him, got into the light, and allowed Jesus’ friends to help him get free from the bondage of corruption (John 11:40-44). Once you are free, don’t go back and try on the corrupting grave clothes of the past. They still have the power to bind and blind you, even after you are alive in Christ. Now let’s look at something less dangerous, but still very important, if we desire to walk with freedom in the light of Truth.
2 Peter 1:20-21
20. Knowing this first that no prophecy of the scriptures is of any private interpretation.
21. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Some Scripture may have more than one meaning or application. For instance, there is a surface truth, and with meditation on the passage, you may see deeper truths or multiple applications and principles, and they do not contradict the Biblical theme. However, if the interpretation contradicts the Biblical theme, it must be rejected in order to see the Truth. All Scripture is God’s word, but not necessarily all translations. A translation may contain the truth in general, but on some details some translators have misunderstood or misinterpreted the original text, giving the appearance of contradictions. In that case, the mistranslations are just plain wrong and bring darkness and confusion. For example, Israel was not in Egypt 430 years. That would contradict Galatians 3:17-18, in which all translations record that it was 430 years between Abraham and Moses. In Exodus 12:40, the NIV states “the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years.” The 430 years cannot apply to both statements. One is incorrect. Plainly written, “length of time” brings deception because it is an incorrect translation of the Hebrew word “moshab.” If you open an NIV Concordance, you would see that “moshab” is found 43 times in the Old Testament, but only once is it translated into the three words “length of time.” The other 42 times, the word “moshab” was translated as places where lived, settlements, dwellings, etc. None of these 42 times had anything to do with chronological time. Not to go into detail on the different styles of translating the Bible, but if you look closely at the NIV and the King James in Exodus 12:40, you may notice that the sentence structure is different. The emphasis is clear in the NIV but wrong, whereas the King James translation can be read with the correct emphasis. The King James translation is the only Bible I know of that properly translated this word and sentence. Rather than “length of time,” the King James Version uses the word “sojourning.” “Sojourning” means to rest or stay temporarily in the midst of a journey. That is exactly what Israel was doing in Egypt. They were in the midst of their journey of becoming a nation in the Promised Land. The Israelites knew this journey began with Abraham and the promise given to him by God. Many years later during the annual Feast of First Fruits, Israel was to remember the important points of their humble beginnings and the journey to become a nation in the Promised Land, by reciting the following phrase:
5. And thou shalt speak and say before the Lord thy God, a Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:
6. And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage:
7. And when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression:
8. And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:
9. And He hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey.
Notice that there is an obvious gap between verses 8 and 9. There is no mention of the 40 years spent wandering around in the wilderness. I would like to use this passage to point several important things. First, I believe there is a less obvious gap earlier in this statement. Verse 5 may seem to apply to Jacob going to Egypt, but Jacob and Joseph were called Hebrews, not Syrians. The 430 years did not start with Jacob going to Egypt. We will see conclusively in Chapter 5 that the 430 years started long before Jacob. It started with the covenant promise given to Abraham, the Father of the Jewish Nation. When we get to Chapter 5, we will also see why this is important for us today. Returning to verse 5, we see that the “father” was called a Syrian. Abraham did live in Syria before going into the Promised Land. There was a famine the year Abraham entered the Promised Land, so he kept going south and “sojourned” in Egypt for a short time before making his home in the Promised Land. Most Israelites refer to Abraham, not Jacob, as their father. Here are a few examples.
2. And he said, men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; the God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,
73. The oath which He sware to our father Abraham,
12. And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
16. And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?
Deuteronomy 26:5 addresses the origin of the Nation of Israel. What is not obvious is the gap in time and information. It begins with Father Abraham going to Egypt, but then jumps to Israel’s population multiplication. Such gaps are not uncommon in the Bible. The Bible is a big book. It is full of the Truth we need, but many times there are gaps of information. This does not mean there are errors. The Apostle John addressed such gaps in the Bible.
1 John 5:13
13. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
24. This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
25. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
Some may say John exaggerated to make the point, but the point he makes is true. There was a lot that John did not record, and there was much more that Jesus did when John was not present to see. For instance, there is not a full report on what Jesus was doing at the angelic rebellion when Satan took one-third of the angels with him to corruption. Jesus was present at Creation and sometimes showed up in the Old Testament, but only a few sentences are given to us for all those centuries. The point is that Jesus is God. Although we have only a short glimpse at His life in the Bible, it is all we need. We must be careful and not be quick to say the Bible has errors or exaggerations. If we begin with that mindset, we will often miss the Truth. I read translations like the NIV as a commentary and to get the flow of the story, and I sometimes notice things I might miss in the King James Version. In some places the wording in the King James Version can be difficult to understand. However, I believe it to be a more accurate translation. Therefore, I have found the King James Version to be a better study Bible, although the best Bible is the one you can read and understand. When a word is italicized in the King James Version, it is the translators’ way of telling you the word was added by them to help clarify the text. In Exodus 12:40, the word “was” is added, not translated. The sojourn was 430 years at that point and would continue another 40 years in the wilderness. The children of Israel did not claim possession or control of the wilderness at that time, even though it was actually part of the land promised to Abraham.
18. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
Instead of causing confusion and blindness, the correct translation brings harmony, new understanding, and insight, as we will see in Chapter 5 regarding the timetable of the last prophetic generation. Sometimes it is not corrupted manuscripts or misinterpretations that lead to confusion, but rather our own traditions and popular beliefs. For example, if Jesus were put in the tomb on Good Friday night and rose before sunrise Sunday morning, it would contradict Jesus’ own words when He said that He would be in the grave three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40). This is a mathematical contradiction. We must disbelieve one–our choice. The Biblical point of view is found in Chapter 8. Those who choose to disbelieve Jesus’ plainly spoken words open themselves up to further and deeper deceptions and confusions. Instead of growing stronger, trust and faith will be confused and blindness will begin. We find ourselves wondering, “Did God really say or mean that?” “Can the Bible, God’s word, be trusted?” Sound familiar? These questions sound like the Tempter in Genesis 3, the beginning of all our trouble. These kinds of doctrinal differences do not rise to the level of missing our redemption and, therefore, should not be a point of contention. Just because someone does not agree on some of these less dangerous areas is no reason to not treat them like a brother or sister. Love, fellowship, and respect for one another will bring more light than trying to prove a point to the point of division and contention. Always keep the fruit of the Spirit the focus of importance, even above the gifts of the Spirit. We must avoid pride and live our lives as examples of love and wisdom. We must always be sensitive to each other’s journey of faith. If someone is going the right direction, we should encourage them to keep going, not criticize where they are right now.
17. Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
We should be “sharpening,” encouraging, and helping each other so we can defeat the Deceiver, not doing Satan’s work for him by backstabbing or wounding each other. We should be willing to let God use others to sharpen us because we can all use some improvement. Look for the good. Do not make a habit of, as the old saying goes, “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” Regarding the concealed or less obvious truths in the Bible, some may say, “I don’t care about that” or “It does not matter.” Maybe they are working on another area of the puzzle, or they may not realize the value of the details to the big picture. The question is, do you want to walk in the light of Truth and see where you are and what God is doing? In war, a general sees the big picture and the little details a little differently than a new recruit. Now is a time of spiritual war. Later all the lights will be on, and we will see clearly all the hidden mysteries of this life. I do not want to believe or fight for a lie, only find out I was wrong. In the end, God will show all of us what is true and how it fits His pattern. I decide now to walk in that light, no matter how small or how life changing it may be. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my own dark human nature. I am not perfect yet, but at least I can hopefully see where I am missing the mark or that God will show me soon afterward. My ongoing prayer is for God to correct me quickly when I am wrong. He has faithfully shown me many times were I misspoke, misunderstood, or acted badly. It is my desire to stand corrected.