It is most important for us to realize that spiritual things are veiled and hidden.
Anyone who reads the Bible has often laid it down, saying, "I can't understand it. I don't know what it means."
Acts 8 records the story of the Ethiopian, riding along in his chariot, reading the passage of Scripture about the death and sufferings of Christ ( Isaiah 53 ) .
Philip went over to him and said, "Do you know what you are reading?" He replied, "No, I don't know. Is the prophet speaking of himself or about someone else?"
He could not figure out the meaning of the prophecy. Philip had to expound to him the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many prophecies in the Old Testament are given in visionary form and are difficult to understand.
This is true of the prophecies of Ezekiel- speaking of the cherubim, the wheels within the wheels- as well as the description of the beasts with the great number of heads and horns in the book of Revelation.
The parables in the New Testament are also difficult for the average man to understand.
After reading such passages, one is left wondering just exactly what they mean.
The average person will put the Bible aside and say, "It is foolishness. I don't understand any part of it."
It is important for us to know that God has veiled the truth.
God has veiled the truth in Scriptures for a very essential reason.
This truth is unveiled a little at a time, as people are prepared in their hearts and in their dedication to walk on with God.
If you read the Word of god with an open heart, you will receive the truth you are ready for, and God will progressively open up more truth to you.
Let us examine a few Scriptures which show that this is true.
Jesus answered and said unto him ( Peter ), What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt understand hereafter. John 13:7
Jesus told His disciples: I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He shall guide you into all the truth...
We read in Hebrews 5:11-14:
11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
I Corinthians 3:1-3:
3 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3 For ye are yet carnal...
These passages lead us to a very important truth: Knowledge is withheld from an individual until he is ready to receive it and to walk in it.
You cannot talk to the average person about deep spiritual things.
Often people make this mistake.
They are guilty of what Jesus called "casting their pearls before swine" (Matthew 7:6) .
Most people do not appreciate your talking to them about the mysterious and wonderful things that have come to mean so much to you.
They do not understand them.
They will choke to death on them.
They turn away and say, "Those people are crazy."
They may even be good sincere Christians, but they are only babes in their understanding.
You give babies milk; you do not give them meat.
The Bible is written in words that are plain and clear, yet spiritual revelations contained in it are hidden, and they are opened up only as you are ready in your spirit to know them and to walk in them.
A progressive Christian, who is aggressive in his walk, can read the Word of God two or three times a year, never failing to receive new revelation each time he reads it.
The Word of God will change that much from season to season.
You can scarcely read the book through before it is time to read it again and have new light shed upon it and new revelation brought forth in it.
As you wait upon the Lord, He may speak to your heart, "now go to the Word and I will show you more."
As you read it, you will be lost in wonder, because when the spirit of revelation is upon you,
God lifts the veils so that you see truths He has hidden- truths you are then ready to receive.
( I recall pastor Greg Laurie, when we both were very young men in Newport Beach CA, coming up to me and sharing the marvelous things that were being highlighted and revealed to him by the spirit of revelation.
He was always in the Word and getting so much out of it that he just had to share it with everyone or he would burst.
As valuable as Bible schools are, the average Bible school approaches the teaching and training of ministers from a scholastic viewpoint, and that method is entirely inadequate.
Learn to read the Word of God by the progressive revelation of the Holy Spirit.
It is the Holy Spirit who will open the Word of God to your heart.
If you can learn some Greek and Hebrew, so you can arrive at the exact translation; this is very helpful.
However, the thing that will really keep you from being distracted by a lot of nonessential details is to read the Word with the revelation of the Holy Spirit, as He shows you clearly the truths you are ready to know and receive.
The Spirit will lift the veil from the Word and you will learn to walk in it.
I think I have the ability as a scholar , but the thing that has enabled me to be a shepherd who can feed the flock is not the depth of my scholarship; it is the depth of the revelation in the Word that God has given me.
The main things that I have preached have not come out of any commentary.
My library contains three thousand books, and yet at least fifty percent of the truths that I have taught from the Word of God cannot be found in one of those commentaries.
It is the Holy Spirit who illuminates the Word.
He highlights it to us.
It is the Holy Spirit who teaches us.
We must learn to read under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, because spiritual things are veiled and hidden.
In this generation, a great deal that we receive will come through spiritual perception.
Spiritual perception does not only mean that you can look at your brother and discern him. It also means that you can understand the truths in the Word.
In cryptic sayings and parables, in dark and hidden phrases, the Word of God has hidden in it a great many truths. It will open up as you want to see it and perceive it.
Matthew 13 contains a number of parables, called the parables of the Kingdom.
As the multitudes stood on the beach, Jesus spoke many things to them in parables.
After beginning with the parable of the sower and the seed ( which should be called , "The parable of the four kinds of soil" ) , He was asked a question by the disciples, "Why speakest thou unto them in parables? And He answered and said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. Verses 10-11.
Jesus was deliberately preaching by a method of communication which the people could not yet receive.
Later, when some of them became Christians, they would remember, and the sayings would then open up to them.
It is wonderful to hear a sermon, to be impressed by it, to hold it like a time bomb in your heart; and then find later, one day as you are seeking God, that it suddenly explode with deep truth.
That is what God does.
When a Word of God is planted in your heart and deep truths are preached to you, you become a walking revelation.
One of these days those truths will be greatly made known through you.
Grains of wheat have been found in the pyramids that were built as far back as 2600 B.C. When some of these kernels are taken out and planted, they will grow.
There is still life in the seeds.
Do you see the analogy?
You also may be carrying around a seed of truth within you.
All you have to do is open your heart, seek God, and come into a little dedication, and the Lord will begin to rain upon the seed that is in your heart and bring some of that life for you.
However, it will be veiled and hidden until the hour that you are ready to walk in it.
( To Be Continued )