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Bible Readings

by

Ron Parsons

Introduction 1:

Some of the comments in these readings are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in these readings, right or wrong, are my own.

The text is the normal King James version, with some alterations to the “thee’s” and “thou’s” and the words ending in “eth” and “est” etc. to make it conform to modern speech. Because of this, occasionally a word has been re-spelled, or added, to enable the reader to understand the sense more easily.  Also, extra punctuation has been included where necessary, or the original altered to make easier reading. 

None of these changes are intended to alter the meaning of the text.

All emphasis and the words in square brackets [like this] have been added by the compiler.

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The aim of this series:

“Then He said to them, ‘O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:25-27.

 


Introduction:

Many Bible students have a real problem with interpretation of the Bible because they do not understand the cardinal rules regarding it. There are just three of them.

1. There can be no PRIVATE interpretation of the Bible.

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2 Peter 1:20-21.

Knowing this FIRST, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. 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.

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This simply means that we cannot decide for ourselves what any word or verse means. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to tell us its meaning for today, and for us as individuals. The Spirit is the Guide of the Scriptures therefore these are not to be twisted and turned to mean what any man or woman may want them to mean, or to put forward their ideas, sentiments and human schemes.

Neither was the Spirit given - nor can it ever be bestowed - to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the Word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.

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Isaiah 8:20.

To the law and to the testimony: if they [including what We think is the real Spirit as well as the counterfeit] speak not according to this word, it is because there is NO light in them. [NOT, maybe a little which I can pick out for myself, but NONE AT ALL, for we cannot trust our minds!]

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We must also allow the Bible to tell us what its prophetic symbols mean. e.g. bear (and the ram) = Medo/Persia in Daniel (8:20), and not Russia as its modern counterpart illustrates.

In the same way some words must be put to the test of God’s explanation. For example, the word "blood" is used in the first of the plagues which fell on Egypt in Moses’ time. Exodus 7:19. Was that the same literal fluid that flows through human veins, or was it a liquid which resembled blood?

To find the answer we must enquire as to who could turn river water into real blood? And not just in the river, but in the jugs and storage facilities in the houses too. Only a Creator can do that for it requires a change in molecular structure.

Satan’s counterfeit would not, could not, be real blood.

Consider when God told Aaron to throw down his rod and it became a snake - He showed that His was real by its eating of the magicians’ counterfeits.

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Exodus 7:8-12.

And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, "When Pharaoh shall speak to you, saying, ‘Show a miracle for you’: then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent'."

And Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.

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The same word is used of both but some only looked like serpents, while one was really a snake.

Satan cannot create blood, so if it was real blood in the river in the first plague then God would have had to make the change. But does He punish? Or does He have to allow us to retreat from His protection and take the consequences of our action? This is the big question.

The plagues were the RESULT of sin and not a warning to turn from it. They were NOT a sign or a wonder at all but a punishment of sin. The "blood" was not real, but something which warranted the use of the adjective (for that was what it looked like).

In like manner we sometimes speak of "golden" apples and "golden" sunsets. We all know that word then to be "gold-like" and we would not be silly enough to assume that they were really made of the precious metal if someone mentioned them to us. Let us allow the Spirit to show us where this kind of language is used and we will have less problems with interpretation. Have you read the message in Isaiah?

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Isaiah 1:18.

"Come now, and let us reason together", says the LORD: "though your sins be as scarlet [cloth], they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

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Would you take those words literally? Or these?

God declares,

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Isaiah 44:3.

"I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground."

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This is explained by

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Psalm 112:4.

"To the upright there arises light in the darkness."

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Surely both of these mean that to those who are seeking for knowledge, and who accept it with gladness, bright rays (!) will shine from the throne of God.

And how can we tell the difference every time, especially if we don’t have knowledge of an explaining verse? One way is to apply the test of God’s character as a Saviour to the verses which cause us a problem. In the snake incident God was showing to Pharaoh through a sign or wonder His power to save. So the miracle was a warning and a plea.

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Exodus 4:1-5.

And Moses answered [Jesus] and said, "But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken to my voice: for they will say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you’."

And the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?" And he said, "A rod." And He said, "Cast it on the ground." And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

And the LORD said to Moses, "Put forth your hand, and take it by the tail" (and he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:) "that they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you."

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The plagues, on the other hand, were the results of NOT LISTENING to God. They came without the direct intervention of a loving Father. In fact, they came despite His attempts to stop their disastrous effects by getting the Egyptians to follow His counsel. Later, when the Israelites listened, they were protected completely from the last seven of the ten. And when some Egyptians did likewise they did not suffer the effects of disobedience, as we are told.

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Exodus 9:19-27.

[Moses told them] "Send therefore now, and gather your cattle, and all that you have in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die."

He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses: and he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.

And the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch forth your hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt."

And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt [this was most unnatural weather in Egypt]. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field.

Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.

And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked [disobedient]."

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The pointing of the rod did not create the plague, it merely signified God’s permission for Satan to take over. "Permission" here equals God’s acceptance of the sinner’s choice. Again, God did not do this, but it does show that Satan’s abilities are very great. He can actually control the weather when God is not present to protect. See Mark 4:35-41.

We must give up our dictionaries and ideas as to what the words mean and listen instead. The only tool we should use is a concordance because that can show us where the same thought or word is used again so that we may compare their usage.

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Isaiah 28:10.

For precept [a saying or thought] must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

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This said, the next point is:

2. We should take the literal meaning of the words first before we apply a spiritual meaning to them unless they are part of a vision. BUT, be careful. All that appears to be plain English is not necessarily so. The Bible is a collection of books written by many authors over a period of 1,300 years. Nationality, customs and culture are shown in their original writings, and we are using a translation.

What the Spirit did was show them the truth so that they could speak or write it in their own way. Just as the Word of God [the Son] is both God and man, divine and human in one body, so the word of God [the Bible] is both human and divine in one book. There are no mistakes or contradictions, only problems in our understanding, which the Spirit can sort out if we allow Him.

The truths most plainly revealed in the Bible have been involved in doubt and darkness by many learned men and women, who, with a pretence of great wisdom, teach that the Scriptures have a mystical, a secret, spiritual meaning not apparent in the language employed. These folk are false teachers. It was to such a class that Jesus declared, "You know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God." Mark 12:24.

Therefore the language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed, with the character of God as a Saviour always shining from the background. Christ has given the promise, "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine", and we should believe Him. John 7:17.

If people would but take the Bible as it reads, if there were no false teachers to mislead and confuse their minds, a work would soon be accomplished that would make angels glad, and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands who are now wandering in error.

 

 

The third cardinal rule:

3. It is THE PRINCIPLES of righteousness in the Bible that we should look for, not just the illustrations of them. The stories of the Book were collected and put together to suit all nationalities, all ages, all cultures, in all the centuries since the time of Moses (about 1200BC). Its principles are simple enough for baby (new) Christians to grasp as well as deep enough for philosophers and mature Christians to think about for decades. Here is one of them.

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Isaiah 28:14-23.

Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, you scornful men [and women], that rule this people which is in Jerusalem [addressed to the apostate leaders in the churches].

Because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death [we have come to terms with it], and with hell [the grave] are we at agreement [we think it’s a stepping stone to a greater existence]; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come to us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves". Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I lay in Zion for a Foundation a Stone, a tried Stone, a precious corner Stone, a sure Foundation: he that believes shall not make haste [or panic]." [Jesus the Foundation Stone did not want to die, as we have seen. He was terrified at the thought. Luke 22:41-44.]

"Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet [the straight edge of strict justice]: and the hail [the truth] shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters [the Spirit] shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge [plague] shall pass through, then you shall be trodden down by it."

"From the time that it goes forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report [just to hear about it]. For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it."

For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim [where He protected king David through his obedience, 2 Samuel 5:19-21], He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon [where He saved the liars of Gibeon through His people, Joshua 10:8-10], that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act [of allowing total withdrawal from His protective cover of grace].

Now therefore be you not mockers, lest your bands [chains] be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption [a using up], even determined upon the whole earth. Give you ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech.

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What is the principle here?

It is that NATURAL men and women would rather listen to a lie than search out the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12. No matter how hard God tries there are always many who would rather "do their own thing", "think their own thoughts" than believe the word of God. Even to the point of saying that death is a good thing, a way of passing over into a new world, when God says that it is His enemy and a separation from Him.

Disregard all those tales of leaving the body and progressing into a tunnel of bright light, hearing a pleasant voice, etc. See them for what they are, lies and visions from the rebellious one.

God says:

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1 Corinthians 15:26.

"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

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Think on these things,

Ron.

 

    Introduction #2       or you can go on to Genesis for the first reading


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