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The Hundred-Fifty-Seventh (Limitations)

This week's topic probably requires a reminder that we each must let the Holy Spirit lead us to the truth and not let any man tell us what to believe. To go along with that, a reminder that I do not presume to know all truths, nor do I expect you to take anything that is presented without studying it and proving it to yourself first. I truly believe that YHWH leads each person to the truths that they need for various reasons. I think sometimes it's just to open someone's mind and cause them to start to question things so they don't fall into some trap down the road. Sometimes, I think it's to give someone the answer to something when it's time for man to know, or so that individual can provide it to someone else as a key to a much larger puzzle.

Whatever the reason is, we need to understand what limitations we have with scripture as we search for truths in it. The first limitation is probably obvious: we cannot come to know the truth from scripture without the help of the Holy Spirit. As you can tell from those in the world, the understanding of scripture for those without the Holy Spirit is just not there, and that's because they are of the natural mind vice spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:14). They look at it as a work of fiction, some fantastical document like the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh or the Greek Bibliotheca. Which, by the way, likely have more historical accuracies than literary experts would care to admit.

You see, we know the truth of the historical (and future-ical ;) accuracy of scripture because not only do we have the Holy Spirit guiding us but we have faith. This faith is not just our own, but also a measure is given to us by that same Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:9). We can look at those other ancient writings, seeing the bits and pieces that are the same, if not similar, to scripture, and see that they are a perversion of the truth that is recorded in scripture. Likely, they are attempts by evil to instill doubt in scripture of its authenticity as a historical document. In other words, those ancient writings are the narrative Satan was trying to project onto the people as a counter to the truth of what is in scripture.

Back then, the fact that there were supernatural beings that interacted with the natural was just an accepted truth. Perhaps it was because they had an oral history passed down through generations that recalled larger than life kings and superhuman feats by individuals they understood as half human and half god. To lead people away from YHWH, Satan peddled a narrative of many gods (which were actually him and his fallen angels) and their ability to influence man and nature such that the people would worship them instead. Not so coincidentally, the belief of multiple gods is also one found in the Mormon religion. Now, ever wanting to keep people from the truth, the narrative now is that all those ancient writings were just made up by man and the real truth is that there is no supernatural. This has resulted in man making himself out to be the god, even going so far as to decide that we are sufficiently evolved enough that we can define our own morals. And you can see the perverted result all throughout the world in various forms. To continue with parallels, one of the Mormon beliefs is that they can also work toward and become gods themselves, eventually being in charge of their own world that's like ours.

So, we know that we cant just read scripture and know what it's trying to tell us. We need the Holy Spirit to lead us. Another limitation is that what we have is what we have. We're not getting any more writings, nor have we received any new writings since Revelation. We have to do our best with what we've got and the Holy Spirit to understand YHWH's word in scripture the way it's been given to us. If there are gaps or hard to understand parts, we have to do our best using other parts of scripture to help us figure it out.

We also need to realize that scripture does not, and is not intended to, give us every answer to every question we could possibly ask. We're not going to find the chemical composition of air or how a cumulonimbus cloud forms, for example. We are going to find that YHWH and Yeshua can control these things though, which makes you wonder how they actually work!

We have to make sure we're not looking to scripture for answers it is not intended to give. If we do, we risk coming to the incorrect conclusions and spreading those falsehoods to believers and even non-believers. The latter of which will just add to the reasons to stay away from Christianity, or even go so far as to use it as a basis to persecute Christians. If we are so bold as to promote things that are contrary to the mainstream view of things and these things come from a place that scripture is not intended to provide a basis for, we run the risk of being categorized as crazy or having "lower cognitive ability" and having the masses convinced that we should have terrible things done to us.

They're already publishing studies and articles talking about "cognitive impairments" causing "religious fundamentalism" (psychologytoday.com). In case you're not yet aware, "religious fundamentalism refers to an ideology that emphasizes traditional religious texts and rituals and discourages progressive thinking about religious and social issues." I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I fall into that category already just based on things scripture is meant to teach us, and I'm fine with that. If challenged, I can provide chapters and verses, with the help of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 10:18-20, Luke 21:14-15) and hopefully bring some individuals to Yeshua in the process. I'm not so sure we would be provided the same help if we are spouting things that scripture is not intended to teach us.

We've looked at many verses over the past three years, and most of the time also dug deeper into the original language to find a deeper meaning, or even just to gain an overall understanding because the translation to English missed the mark slightly. As we've read, you may have noticed that there is a wide variety of literary styles in scripture and an array of reasons that each of the books were included. There is figurative language, literal language, poetry, historical accounting, prophecy, and there's even a book on worldly values. Keeping each of these in context is key. Not only that, but unless you can read Hebrew and/or Greek, we read a translation of what was originally written, and translations also cause some things to be lost from the original meaning. Not to mention, all those original writings are long gone and we're reading the translation of a copy of a copy of a copy!

Obviously, that doesn't mean it's impossible to find deeper meanings and hidden treasures YHWH meant for us to discover. We just need to keep in mind what types of treasures those things would be. Moral values, ways to connect with our Father and His Son, how we should think about and act around others, His glorious plan for humanity, why things can be so terrible in this world, etc., are all things for which He gave His Word. While there are certainly aspects of how the natural works and how it came to be in scripture, His purpose was not to give us the technical manual of nature. He also did not intend for it to be a step-by-step guide to our day to day lives. He provided guidelines with which to live by to give us a standard to strive towards, knowing that with our ability to choose and when sin entered that there would be a few bumps along the way.

We need to stick to messages YHWH intended us to receive, and subsequently share, as we study. These are the things He wanted us to live by as we witness to others, keeping our message pure and not tainting it with erroneous distractions. Yes, we should dig deep and find those treasures He's put in His Word, and yes, sometimes we'll forget to let the Holy Spirit lead and find we're down a gopher hole rather than a rabbit trail. That's the nature of being made of flesh and trying to walk in the spirit, but as long as we keep checking in with Him, He'll lead us back to where we need to be.

Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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