Tag Archive | "truth"

A Silly Prank with Tragic Results

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It’s not only in England that there is great interest in Queen Elizabeth II.  At one time, the British Empire extended all over the world.  According to the online source Wikipedia, the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly known as the British Commonwealth) now consists of over 50 sovereign states.  Many of these were colonies in the British Empire.  As a result, today people all over the world want to know any news about the queen or her family.

 

Interest in the royal family definitely continues to be very great in one of these nations – Australia.  During the Queen’s most recent visit there in 2011, thousands turned out to greet her.  You can see a very brief video here:

 

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/queen-elizabeth-II/8857106/Royal-tour-of-Australia-The-Queen-ends-visit-with-traditional-Aussie-barbie.html)

 

More recently, the news media sprang into action when it was learned that Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and wife of the queen’s grandson Prince William, had been hospitalized for acute morning sickness.  In Australia, a pair of radio announcers (Mr. Michael Christian and Ms. Mel Greig) thought they had found a way to entertain their listeners in connection with this.  They decided to call the London hospital where Kate was being treated.

 

The phone call went through and, by impersonating Queen Elizabeth II and her son Prince Charles, the two were able to get confidential information about Kate’s condition.   The first nurse with whom they spoke was a woman named Jacintha Saldanha.  She believed the callers were genuine and cooperated with them.  A short while later, the radio station revealed the prank and broadcast details about Kate’s condition.   The phone call took place on December 4, 2012.  A couple of days later, on December 7, Jacintha Saldanha was found dead in her apartment.  She had taken her own life.

 

After this incident, a great deal of anger was directed at the two announcers.  When it was revealed that the radio station’s management had to approve the decision to broadcast the recorded call, many people became angry with them too.  Of course, no one at the radio station could have foreseen the prank’s result.

 

 

God’s Laws Protect Us

 

Sadly, many people view God’s laws as restrictions on their freedom.  The fact is, the freedom they have in mind is actually harmful – either to themselves or others.  Only God knows whether or not a silly prank will result in tragedy.   However, by following God’s laws people can often guard against unexpected outcomes that might be harmful to themselves or others.

 

The Australian radio station’s prank illustrated their disregard for truth, and the Bible has a lot to say about truth.  In fact, we find that word over 200 times in the King James Bible.  Besides those verses, God has much more to say about this matter.  In Exodus 20:16, we read:

 

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.    

 

This is one of the Ten Commandments.  Even though it doesn’t have the word “truth,” it is obviously telling us that we need to be truthful.  God even warns us about the danger of pranks.  In Proverbs 26:18-19, we read:

 

As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,  So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?

 

Pranks involve deception, and this verse is concerned with the act of deceiving one’s neighbor “in sport.”  That’s exactly what happens in a prank.  Everyone is supposed to laugh when it’s over; but it doesn’t always work out that way.

 

Another verse is also relevant when we consider God’s view of pranks.  In Leviticus 19:14, we read:

 

Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.

 

Someone might think it’s funny to speak unkindly about a deaf person who is present in a group, or to cause someone to trip because he or she can’t see an object in the way.  In this verse, God warns against doing such things.  (Of course, we know that many verses teach on more than one level.  Leviticus 19:14 appears to be one of these and to also be concerned with the harm caused by bringing a false gospel.)

 

 

Truth is a Characteristic of God’s People

 

Only God can see someone’s heart and only He knows whether or not anyone is saved.  In some verses, He tells us about differences He sees between saved and unsaved people.  In Psalm 15:1-2, we read:

 

LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?  He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

 

Here we learn that a person who “speaketh the truth in his heart” will be in the Lord’s tabernacle and “dwell in thy holy hill.”  About a thousand years after King David recorded that verse, God gave us another verse with a similar idea.  In Revelation 21:27, we read:

 

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

In contrast to those who love truth are those who “defileth,” or “worketh abomination” or lie.   They will not be able to enter.  Earlier in chapter 21 of Revelation, God tells us about the place they won’t be able to enter.  It is the new Jerusalem, which represents all the elect and is in the new heavens and earth.

 

In Psalm 15:1-2, God mentions His tabernacle and His holy hill; in Revelation 21:27, He refers to the new Jerusalem in the new heavens and earth.  These are different ways of telling us the same thing: those committed to truth will be with the Lord after this earth and universe no longer exist.

 

This will happen on the last day, when all the unsaved people of this world are destroyed along with the remains of all the unsaved people who have died since the world began.  Revelation 21:8 tells us about the fate of these people:

 

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

 

 

God Tells Us About Truth

 

Usually when we read or hear about truth, we think of it as a dictionary defines it.   Something is true if it is in accordance with the facts or with reality.  On the other hand, a lie is not in accordance with all the facts or reality.  When God tells us not to bear false witness against our neighbor (Exodus 20:16), He is commanding us to be truthful in our dealings with everyone.

 

In 2 Thessalonians 2:10, we read that a love of the truth is needed in order for someone to be saved:

 

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

 

The word translated in this verse as “truth” is Strong’s number G225 (aletheia).  It is helpful to see how this word is used in some other verses.  John 17:17 is one of them:

 

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

 

This verse is from a prayer by the Lord Jesus for His disciples on the last evening He spent with them.  Here, we see that truth is identified with the word of God, which is the Bible.  Since a love for truth is required in order for someone to be saved, it follows that a love for God’s word will be characteristic of anyone who is a child of God.

 

Another verse in which G225 appears is John 14:6:

 

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

 

Notice that in this verse the Lord Jesus tells us that He is truth.  So we see that truth is identified with God Himself.  It is only possible to love truth if we love God.

 

 

Conclusion

 

People all over the world learned about the Australian radio station’s prank and its sad aftermath.   This is because it involved the media and the Queen’s family.  However, we may be certain that many pranks that never made news headlines resulted in much suffering and even tragedy.  It is sad to think that there is even a day every year – April Fool’s Day – when people believe it is permissible or even expected of them to participate in a prank.  This clearly shows that the world does not have a love for truth.

 

On the other hand, a love for truth is a characteristic of God’s people.  In fact, we may say they love truth in three different ways.  First, they love truth because they would not want to violate the commandment against bearing a false witness (Exodus 20:16).

 

Secondly, God’s people look to the Bible as their source of truth and help in many ways.  John 17:17 tells us “thy word is truth.”  God’s word, which is the Bible, is also referred to as God’s law in many verses.   One of those verses is Psalm 119:163:

 

I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.

 

Therefore, God’s people love truth because they love God’s word, which is His law.  As God works in their lives, He draws them to His word.

 

Thirdly, God’s people love truth because they love God.  Romans 8:28 tells us:

 

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 

Recall that the Lord Jesus told His disciples “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).  If someone loves truth as God wants him or her to love it, that person loves God.

 

At a time when God no longer restrains evil in the world, we may expect to see an increase in every type of wickedness – including pranks.  God’s people, on the other hand, know that pranks are a violation of truth.  The Bible tells us what it means to love truth, and Romans 8:28 tells us that God works in the lives of those who love Him.  These are the elect for whom all things work together for their good.  We can be sure that this work involves drawing them to truth.

Have You Been Amazed?

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In many verses, the Bible tells us something about itself and how it relates to man.  Some verses show us how we got the Bible.  For example, in 2 Peter 1:21 we read:

 

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

 

On some occasions, God’s prophets actually heard His voice speak to them and later recorded what God had said.   Moses, for example, was one of these men (see Exodus 33:11).  In most cases, however, it seems that the “holy men of God” who recorded the various books of the Bible didn’t actually hear God’s voice in their ears.  Rather, they simply recorded the words that came into their minds.  They sat down to write and wrote the words God wanted them to write.  God gave them the words by putting into their minds exactly what He wanted them to record.

 

Some of the verses they recorded deal with the Bible itself, even though there may be no obvious words in them to suggest that.  For example, in Matthew 7:6 we read:

 

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

 

Is this verse telling us not to give any holy objects to dogs, and to be careful with any pearls we may have if we are ever around swine?  Of course not; but it is telling us something about the Bible.   That which is holy is God’s word, and the truths we find in it are like precious pearls.  However, many people will not accept those truths.  Even some people who appear to be very devout Christians have no real interest in God’s word.  That’s because God motivates His people to search His word for truth.

 

 

Eyes to See, Ears to Hear

 

If God has truly allowed someone to hear or read His word with understanding, it’s because he or she is one of the elect.  God reveals spiritual truth to such people through His word.

 

When God tells or shows us that a person has ears to hear or eyes to see – and we find verses like that in several places in the Bible – He is telling us about someone who understands spiritual truth and has a desire to do God’s will.  For instance, in Proverbs 20:12 we read:

 

The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them. 

 

This verse is telling us about God’s children: they have hearing ears and seeing eyes.  The Lord Jesus also used this idea when He was teaching.  In Matthew 13:43, He said:

 

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

 

Most people cannot really “hear” God’s word.  However, those who can will inherit eternal life.  We find these ideas in John 10:26-28:

 

But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

 

 

Multiple Meanings

 

Even those whom God hasn’t saved can understand certain things in the Bible.  That’s because many verses teach truth on more than one level.  A verse may have one or more spiritual meanings, but also teach about morality.  Such verses tell us how man should conduct himself with his fellow man.  God gave such teachings to anyone who might take a little time to read His word.

 

In some Bible verses, we find what can be called practical wisdom.  Their spiritual meaning may not be apparent, but they may very obviously teach morality or something helpful.  People from different cultures all over the world have such sayings based on common sense or practical experience.  Here are a few of them:

 

“If you want your dinner, don’t insult the cook.”

Chinese proverb

 

“A stitch in time saves nine.”

English proverb

 

“He who refuses to obey cannot command.”

African proverb

 

“There are those that cluck but never lay an egg.”

Mexican proverb

 

“Little by little, the bird builds its nest.”

French proverb

 

The above proverbs (even the ones about birds!) tell us something about man and various aspects of life.  They are based on worldly experience.  The Bible, on the other hand, is a spiritual book.  If we find a Bible verse that appears to be like one of the world’s proverbs, we should expect it to have more meaning than we see at first.

 

 

Ecclesiastes 12:12: A Proverb About God’s Word

 

It isn’t only in the book of Proverbs that we find Biblical proverbs.  For example, earlier we saw that in Matthew 7:6 the Lord Jesus spoke about dogs and swine in a verse that looks very much like a proverb.  We might say it is a proverb for God’s people, to teach them something about living in a world where most people are unsaved.

 

In Ecclesiastes 12:12, we find another verse that looks very much like a proverb:

 

And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

 

Without doing any investigating, we might think this verse is telling us something about all the books men write and about the effort required to learn by studying those books.  However, notice the verse that precedes it.  Ecclesiastes 12:11 states:

 

The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

 

When we read about “words of the wise,” we should expect the verse to be about God’s word.   Many Bible verses are concerned with wisdom, and wisdom is associated with God’s word.  We also know that the Lord Jesus compared Himself with a shepherd caring for a flock of sheep, as in John 10:14:

 

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

 

Our Good Shepherd is also the Word of God who gave us the Bible (John 1:1).  Therefore, based on the context of Ecclesiastes 12:12 we expect it to be about God’s word.  But if it has to do with God’s word, there is a problem understanding it.   How can the “making of many books” continue?   After all, we know that the Bible is complete and nothing else will ever be added to it (Revelation 22:18).  So how can it be that the “making of many books” has no end?

 

In Ecclesiastes 12:12, the word translated “books” is Strong’s number H5612 (“cepher”).  It appears in many verses and is most often translated as “book” or “letter.”   For example, in Isaiah 30:8, we read:

 

Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:

 

The word for “book” here is the same word we find as “books” in the phrase “of making many books there is no end.”  Also, notice that here the “book” is compared with a “table.”  The word translated “table” in this verse is the same word God used in some verses about the Ten Commandments: those commandments were written on tables of stone and were God’s words.   However, Isaiah’s book was a scroll – the same kind as Jeremiah’s.  In Jeremiah 36:2, we read:

 

Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.   

 

The “books” of Ecclesiastes 12:12 have the words of God, just like the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah.  The original language word used for “books” certainly agrees with the verse’s context.  It indicates that the verse is concerned with God’s word.  But why is there “no end” to the making of these books?

 

The word translated as “making” in Ecclesiastes 12:12 (Strong’s number H6213, “asah”) is used over 2,000 times in the Bible.  It’s translated in many different ways.  Besides being translated as “make,” it’s also translated as “do” (over 1,300 times), and as “work,” as “deal,” as “keep,” and in some other ways.  These different meanings can tremendously change our understanding of the verse.

 

We know that God has finished writing the Bible, so the word translated as “making” cannot mean that He is still giving us new books to add to the Bible.  The number of Bible books is frozen at 66.  Instead of the word “making,” we can see how another one of the possible meanings for the original word allows the verse to make sense.  God isn’t “making” new books and He’s not telling us anything about books written by men; but He is telling us that there is no end to our “working” at His books!

 

The Bible reflects God’s mind, and there is more in it than anyone can understand in a lifetime.  God wants us to be interested in His word all of our lives; that’s why there is no end to our “doing” these books or “working” at them.

 

 

Studying to Exhaustion?

 

This way of understanding the verse fits with other things we find throughout the Bible.  However, there still appears to be a contradiction.  Notice the last part of Ecclesiastes 12:12:

 

And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

 

In the words “much study is a weariness of the flesh,” it looks like God is telling us we might spend too much time in His word; but that doesn’t agree with other things we find in the Bible.  For example, in Joshua 1:8, we read:

 

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

 

Here, God told Joshua to think “day and night” about the “book of the law.”  God had even told Moses to instruct the children of Israel to sew a “ribband of blue” onto their clothes so that they would remember His commandments whenever they looked at it (“ribband” is an archaic form of “ribbon”).  We find that law in Numbers 15:37-40:

 

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:  And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:  That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.

 

Whenever they saw that color on their own clothing or someone else’s, they would be reminded of God’s commandments.  This was one of many ceremonial laws God gave the children of Israel.  Although God’s people today are no longer required to keep the ceremonial laws (see Acts 15:28-29), they should always be aware of His commandments.  We find this idea in the New Testament too, for in Matthew 4:4 the Lord Jesus emphasized the importance of God’s word:

 

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  

 

This verse tells us that man should live by every one of God’s words.  Like several other verses, it stresses the Bible’s importance – for that is where we find God’s word.  The last part of Ecclesiastes 12:12, on the other hand, appears to teach something entirely different.  In order to reconcile these verses, we need to do some investigating.  Perhaps there is something about the words in the original language for that last part of Ecclesiastes 12:12 to help us understand.

 

When we use a concordance to check the word translated “flesh,” we find many verses where it refers to man.  Whatever the last part of Ecclesiastes 12:12 means, here it definitely applies to man.

 

The word translated “much” (“much study is a weariness of the flesh”) is Strong’s number H7235.  It’s a verb that is most often translated as “multiply” or “increase.”  The word translated as “study” is used only that one time in the Bible.  It seems to carry the idea that someone is eager or devoted to study; so the words “much study” seem to be telling us about someone who has become more eager to study God’s word.

 

There’s another key word in the phrase “much study is a weariness of the flesh,” and that’s the word translated as “weariness.”  In the original language, it is Strong’s number H3024: “yegiah.”  It is used only that one time in the Bible, and it comes from H3019: “yagiya.”

 

“Yagiya” is also used only once (Job 3:17) and is translated “weary.”  It’s sometimes especially difficult to understand a verse having a word that’s used only once, but that is the situation with these words.   “Yagiya” in turn comes from H3021:”yaga.”

 

Now this word is used in 25 verses.  It conveys the idea that someone is doing hard physical work.  According to a concordance, “yaga” (a verb) is a primitive root word meaning “to gasp.”  Therefore, the idea is that someone is working so hard that he or she is gasping for breath.  However, someone reading or studying isn’t doing hard physical work.

 

When we think about it, we realize that physical exertion isn’t the only reason for a person to gasp: a person might also gasp in amazement.  This makes sense when we consider that people have all kinds of wrong ideas about the world, themselves and God unless He opens their eyes to truth.  If and when He does, they may be so shocked that they will gasp at what they have read.

 


Conclusion

 

Ecclesiastes 12:12 states:

 

And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

 

Even though it looks like one of the world’s proverbs, we know from its context that this verse is telling us something about the Bible.  When we check a concordance for individual words in the verse, we discover a meaning very different than what the King James translators gave us.

 

Rather than telling us there is no end to the making of books, it tells us there is no end to our working at books of the Bible; and rather than telling us we will be fatigued by too much study, it tells us that those who are eager for God’s word will be amazed at what they find there.  This idea is also found in Psalm 119:18:

 

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

 

There really are wondrous things in the Bible; but no one can discover them unless God allows it.

 

If we only checked Ecclesiastes 12:12 in the original language, it would be difficult to state with certainty that we have understood it correctly; but when we compare it with other verses in the Bible, we find its meaning confirmed.  In several verses, God emphasizes how important His word is.  He wants us to think about it all the time, and He has hidden amazing truths in it.  He does not reveal these truths to everyone.

 

There’s something else about Ecclesiastes 12:12 that we should notice.  It’s the word “admonished.”  The verse tells us:  “And further, by these, my son, be admonished.”  This is a warning that some things in the Bible are disturbing and a cause for sorrow.  In Ecclesiastes 1:18, we read:

 

For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

 

Some truths in the Bible are painful to learn.  In fact, they may cause a person to gasp, just as someone who experiences a sharp physical pain may gasp.  Perhaps it is at just such a moment that God saves people – when He opens their eyes to something in the Bible, and they are amazed.

 

 

The Truth Shall Make You Free

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Other than a child, you will probably have trouble finding someone who has never heard of Adam and Eve.  People all over the world know at least some Biblical names, words or sayings.  One well-known saying from the Bible is “the truth shall make you free.”  These words were spoken by the Lord Jesus and come from John 8:32 (KJV), where we read:

 

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

Very often, the second part of this verse is quoted as “the truth will set you free.”  That’s how it’s translated in the NIV.  These words don’t mean the same thing to everyone. 

 

As we try to understand this verse, we should be aware that there is not even general agreement on the meaning of truth.  Some people may tell you that truth for one person is not truth for someone else, or that truth depends on the situation.  Perhaps Pontius Pilate’s thinking was something like that.

 

 
What is Truth?

 

In John 18, we read about the Lord standing before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, waiting to be sentenced.  Pilate asked the Lord several questions.  The one that is perhaps most memorable is recorded in John 18:38:

 

Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

 

The Lord never gave Pilate an answer to that question; but He answered it for us even before Pilate asked it.  We find the answer in John 17, where God has recorded for us the words the Lord Jesus prayed shortly before leaving the upper room where He and His disciples ate the Passover meal.  Of course, the Lord knew what Pilate would ask even before he asked it several hours later.  In John 17:17 we find the answer to Pilate’s question:

 

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

 

God’s word is truth, and the Bible is God’s word.  It is God’s word that sanctifies.   However, the Lord Jesus himself is also identified as the Word of God, as in John 1:1-3:

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

 

God used the same Greek word (Strong’s number G3056, “logos”) in both John 17:17 and John 1:1 to tell us about the “word.”  Also, if we check a concordance for the word translated in John 17:17 as “sanctify,” we find that it can mean “to separate and dedicate to God,” or “to purify.”  This is what God reveals about the power of His word.  It’s what He does when He uses His word to save a person.  Romans 10:17 is a verse that helps us understand how God uses His word:

 

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.    

 

This verse tells us that God uses His word to impart faith to the hearer –if that person is one of God’s elect.  In other words, God uses His word to save people.  They are sanctified by the truth, and it’s in the Bible that we find truth.

 

Free From What?

 

Most of the world doesn’t accept the Bible as the exact word of God.  They don’t accept it as truth.  Even those who think there is at least some truth in the Bible are, in most cases, far from understanding it.  They don’t understand what the Lord meant when He said the truth shall set you free.

 

A number of educational institutions, both famous and not so famous, have used all or some of the verse from which those words are taken  – John 8:32 – as inscriptions on their buildings.  For example, the seal ofJohnsHopkinsUniversityhas the words “Veritas Vos Liberabit.”   That’s Latin for “the truth will set you free.”

 

Johns Hopkins is famous for its scientific research, and science has certainly freed people from much ignorance.  As knowledge has increased and as education has become widely available, life has improved for many people all over the world.  They have been freed from many difficult circumstances to live better lives.  If you ask enough people to explain how the truth can set you free, you are likely to hear something like that as an explanation.

 

Among Christian church members, you may hear that God’s truth frees people from fear or bondage to harmful superstitions, customs or habits.  As an extreme example, we know that among some peoples human sacrifice was considered necessary to appease angry gods.   Such practices are clearly against Biblical teaching.  In many cultures that have been exposed to the Bible, customs and laws have changed to prohibit such things.  Individuals have been helped by the Bible to overcome sinful behavior, such as addictions.  And entire nations benefit when its people understand that they are to be subject to their government – even praying for their leaders, and that bribery causes corruption and is against God’s law. 

 

All of these are ways in which truth has served to free people from difficult circumstances and greatly improve their lives; but is this what the Lord Jesus meant when He spoke of knowing the truth and being made free?  When we find such a statement in the Bible, we can be certain it has a specific meaning that concerns the Gospel or God’s salvation plan.  To understand what that meaning is, we must compare the verse in question with other verses.

 

We can begin by considering verses having the word “free.”  A concordance helps here.  If we check a concordance to find the Greek translated “make free,” as in the words “the truth shall make you free,” we find that it is Strong’s number G1659: “eleutheroo.”  We find that word used in Galatians 5:1:

 

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

 

If you continue reading Galatians 5 after this verse, you find that it concerns freedom from the law.   How are we to understand this freedom? 

 

We must remember that besides the moral laws, the Bible contains numerous ceremonial laws.   They concerned animal sacrifices, trips toJerusalem, and other requirements.  Even the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8-11) must be understood as part of the ceremonial law.  It’s a sign pointing to the Lord Jesus.  Christians are not required to keep any ceremonial laws: they are now free from them.

 

Other verses having the word “eleutheroo” help us understand the most important freedom of all.  In Romans 6:18, we read:

 

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.   

 

God, through His word, makes His elect free from sin.  He frees them from Satan’s kingdom and brings them into thekingdomofGod(Colossians 1:13).  This is the freedom to which the Lord Jesus referred in John 8:36:

 

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

 

God’s word is truth; but the Lord Jesus is identified as “the Word.”  Therefore, a logical conclusion is that the Lord Jesus makes us free.  And that is what we read in the preceding verse.

 

God’s word can bring many different blessings into our lives, but the most important one is the one we read about in Romans 6:22:

 

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

 

We know that when God saved a person, He paid for every sin that person ever committed or would ever commit in his or her entire life.  In that way, God’s children appear before Him as being free from sin.

 

Freedom from sin means freedom from the law’s penalty for sin.  The Bible reveals that this penalty is death.  Even God’s children are subject to physical death.  However, only they inherit everlasting life after death.  For the non-elect, death is the end.  It’s as if they never existed.  That is the penalty for sin under God’s law, and freedom from this penalty is God’s gift to His children.  It is the ultimate freedom, His ultimate gift, and His ultimate blessing.

 

 

The Universe of Man: Truth at the Cost of Belief

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If intellect is the engine that drives the vehicle known as man, it is emotion that provides its fuel.  Self-awareness and rationality separate mankind from the rest of the animal kingdom, placing him at the top rung of the hierarchy.  Yet, emotions – both positive and negative – provide us the impetus to employ our intellectual abilities to gain mastery over our environment.  But, like gasoline and other fuels, emotion is highly volatile and its instability can cloud or even blind reason, making one more animal-like than human.


Man’s freedom and dignity lie in judicious use of his intellectual capacity.  Lower orders within the animal kingdom and other less highly advanced forms of life act instinctually, based upon pre-programmed sets of instructions.  The behavior of such life forms is completely predictable, following established patterns or natural laws.  A thinking being, conversely, may choose to adhere to some regimen or from a virtually limitless array of prospective responses.  Such choices offer man the unique opportunity to create and innovate.


The creative act is both life-affirming and necessary for the advancement of man and civilization.  It springs from a primal urge in the human species to understand the origins of life itself and the process that led to the creation of a universe from nothingness.  By mimicking this process, man can aspire to the level of the Force or Being responsible for its creation.


Virtually all of the globe’s cultures have produced myths to explain the creation of the world and the place of Man in its Creation.  The Judeo-Christian tradition, as illuminated in Genesis, has God creating the world in six days.  On the sixth day, God creates wild beasts, livestock, and reptiles upon the Earth.  He then creates Man and Woman in His “image” and “likeness” and gives Man dominion over all the Earth and its creatures.


Man individually and mankind collectively have never been entirely comfortable with this authority.  Adam and Eve, the mythical ancestors of the entire human race, desired the knowledge and creative genius of their own Creator.  Thus, when tempted, they each ate of the fruit of the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,” only to learn that with power comes responsibility.  Living, to that point, in a state of ignorant bliss, they learned, via the knowledge imparted them by the act of eating the fruit of the “Tree,” the duality of nature.  With good comes evil; with happiness, sorrow; with life, death.  Whether fueled by envy or simple curiosity, Adam and Eve – by virtue of the intellect with which they had been endowed – could not simply exist in an artificial “Paradise,” but were driven by their emotions and passions to question the nature and source of their existence.


The search for knowledge about ourselves, our world, and our universe has been the quest of mankind for as long as man has roamed our planet.  Philosophers, theologians, mathematicians, and scientists have all participated in the search, each from his own perspective, for the truth about human life and its origins.  Whether their conclusions are termed belief, theory, or empirical fact, they have all advanced our understanding of ourselves.


As the “Fall” from grace taught Adam and Eve, mankind, like the rest of nature, possesses a dual nature.  He has a physical body under the control of a mind and animating spirit.  He has an intellect that is capable of deducing patterns and theorizing universal laws from apparently random stimuli in the natural world.  Yet, his cognitive abilities are frequently tempered and even stifled by fear and other negative emotions.


True to the duality of nature, mankind’s greatest advances come with a cost – the negation of contradictory beliefs and theories, no matter how long or widely held.  And since the believers or theorists are vested in their respective beliefs and theories, the refutation of same is not a cause for celebration, but rather for contention.  The heliocentric model of the universe posited by Copernicus and later championed by Galileo met with severe criticism by Church authorities who considered it heretical to Christian belief.  Tried by the Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (commonly known as the Inquisition) in 1633, Galileo recanted his position and spent the last years of his life under a form of house arrest.


This is but one of a virtually infinite number of examples of mankind deterring advancement of knowledge and progress.  Spurred on by desire and held back by fear, mankind is in a constant state of turmoil.  His progress resembles not so much a flight of stairs as it does a wave in which every peak is followed by a valley.  And yet, we continue to progress however fitfully.


Today, science and technology can open doors to a level of knowledge and cultural advancement never before available to mankind.  We can truly achieve the unachievable and know the unknowable, if we but have the courage and willingness to set aside our established beliefs and preconceived notions if they are proven false.  If we discover new Truths about ourselves and our universe, nothing really changes except our perceptions.

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