An Open Mind to Understanding

A Guest Article by Rudy Ross

Rudy Ross and I are concluding our study in Deuteronomy on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Our study today covers Deuteronomy 27 and why we should remember what God has done for us.

Today blog article continues Rudy’s study on the subject of Light.

Understanding Jesus’ attributes requires an open mind. The old standards used to see Jesus in the flesh need expansion to a size larger than the Big Bang.

We’ve regarded Jesus’ life in the flesh as more than that of a man; however, the Church as a whole has not fully embraced the larger themes of His titles: Son of God, Son of Man, Emmanuel, Suffering Servant, God Almighty and Light of the World. Our comprehension is enlarged only with His help.

In faith, we believe Jesus laid down His equality with the Father to become a man. Without trying to perceive all that means, we can’t see Him for who He is and recognize Jesus as the Creator. If we miss that, we miss all the echoes between the Old and New Testaments.

At first, this may seem to be an overreach, but we find his perspective helpful if we listen to Isaiah. The LORD used Isaiah’s language skills to merge concepts with our imagination. Most prophetic writings contain images that are hard to imagine on our own. The 26th chapter of Isaiah is an excellent place to see how this applies.

Isaiah is quoted in the New Testament more times than anyone else except for the Psalms. The reason for that, I believe, is found in their voices. The biblical writers have unique voices in the same way that characters in every story do. That coincides with my experience of Isaiah’s and the Psalm writer’s voices being the closest to Jesus’ voice in my head. I believe that likeness comes from their humbleness, clearly illustrated by their adherence to absolute truth.

No one ever expected God to come in the flesh, die, and return later. They expected God to act immediately in the ways He had in the past by supernaturally stepping into their situation to rescue us, but did He always work that way?

Regardless of how we’ve pulled these images together in the past without a biblical timeline, they are difficult to understand. The Twelve Themes are not magic; they are a tool that gives us the boundaries of His plan.

There is a balance between light and dark, good and evil, that has stayed constant from the beginning but will not always be that way. As the world gets darker and darker, we should expect Light to increase.

That balance has been accomplished by His infusion of wisdom (Light) into His people, which keeps the playing field level. Our problems stem from being overpowered by darkness. As we are sensitized to His light, the right path is illuminated.

In seeing and expecting Light to increase, we encounter Heaven on earth. The principles behind the Twelve Themes have always existed because He never changes. Rereading the Bible with Jesus’ life in the flesh and His equality with the Father, is the only way to counterbalance the darkness.

The battle between light and dark is spiritual. Now more than ever, it seems to be breaking through the spiritual walls into this existence. The war has been allowed to continue so humanity would have the wherewithal to freely choose Jesus to be the only one worthy to reign – forever!

Seeing His Plan Via the Prophets.

There are three critical pieces of prophecy, given hundreds of years apart, that show how Isaiah 26 has continuity. They relate to two aspects of His plan.

One, is God was going to send a Messiah; the other, he would be like Moses, a man anointed for the job.

It was never apparent before the Resurrection that the Messiah was going to be God; but, when we read between the lines of prophecy, they always hinted that the one called the LORD was going to be The Savior.

He did it that way because He was the only one who could live a sin-free life; and in doing that, He also fulfilled the Law as the only perfect sacrifice possible.

One of the ways we see Jesus’ consistency is by pulling the prophets alongside each other and taking into account what they say, which demonstrates that the LORD doesn’t have a life span and must exist outside of this reality. It also shows us that this life (our existence) has a purpose, because everything He does has a reason.

The three prophecies that I’m using unquestionably reveal why Light is the second most important Bible concept. They are the Gospel of John, Isaiah 53, and Isaiah 6.

John 12

“The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees, they did not confess it so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.

“I have come into the world as light so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

“The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.

“And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me” (John 12:35-50).

It’s obvious there was something (darkness) that stopped people in Jesus’ day from seeing who He was. John says that Isaiah saw His Glory.

Later in his life, John perceived the problem of seeing Jesus and used Isaiah to describe the issue. It is interesting that Jesus hid after saying He was the Light of the world.

Jesus’ action tells a story that I believe corresponds to the partial blindness spoken about by Paul and Isaiah. Something was going on then and is still going on now.

John reminds us what God told Isaiah about this condition: He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they see with their eyes and understand with their hearts, and turn, and I would heal them. That seems easy to understand, but without time’s role, it has caused us to judge the Jewish people as being eternally lost.

In reality, how we think is a condition that hasn’t changed since the beginning. Within that process, I find we frequently act in our own self-interest.

That being true, why is it hard to imagine we lack the insight required to read the Bible independently? Is it because we are partially blind?

The LORD spoke the scriptures in ways that need His help to understand, and discernment reinforces the idea that He remains the same, and that knowledge leads to eternal life. I believe His Light is the counterbalance to the darkness in the world, and He uses it to keep the playing field level.

Paul explains that like this: “For now, we see in a mirror dimly but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Paul wrote that 20-25 years after Pentecost. However, Moses wrote about this mystery 1500 years before Paul.

“The secret things belong to the LORD, but the things that are revealed belong to us and our children and to us forever, that we may do all the words of the law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

As we read and reread the Bible, new insights are revealed by the Holy Spirit. That’s the reason reading the Bible is so exciting; we just never know when He will show us something new!

Insights that open our perspective to His plans are miracles, but aren’t always seen that way. Because of that, we’ve lost some of the glory attached to miracles. That not only restrains our imaginations, but it also makes listening for His directions less likely.

I believe if small miracles aren’t recognized, it’s hard to believe for the big one: He is coming back to get us.

In considering how relationships work, we find silence is not golden. Over time, prayer and reading the Bible are what develop that relationship. As we trust in Him, we see Jesus has always been there.

The still small voice is hard to overlook when we become reliant on His guidance, but we have to choose to do so, and that brings free will to the center of life. After all, free will is something that never goes away. If it did, how would we be able to freely choose Him as our King in heaven?

Pride has overshadowed our decision-making process because it blinds us to His will. When pride is the driver of a decision, it creates something other than satisfactory outcomes. We shouldn’t be surprised because He is the only one who is all-knowing.

It is a scientific fact that we miss things right in front of us all the time. I believe that to be an example of how our light is blinding. To be clear, even though I know this to be true, I can’t resist pride (self-interest) and put it where it belongs.

One more reality check, the two quotes from Isaiah (6 and 53) fused in this part of John’s Gospel were written 40 years apart. That illustrates consistency and why we can expect His Light to be there in the middle to help. If we learn anything from these experiences, it is that they are miracles.

(Tomorrow’s article will cover how Isaiah speaks about the Messiah.)

Rudy Ross and I continue our study in Deuteronomy 27 on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Today’s study considers how God set in place remembrance and worship.

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