Chapter 18

Is The Holy Bible Easy To Understand?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, one might also conclude that parables or stories are great teaching tools. Indeed, the teachings of Jesus to the public at large were accomplished through parables. The disciples specifically asked why He spoke to the masses using parables:

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever have not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. (Matthew 13:10-13)

Incredibly, Jesus spoke in parables so He would not be understood! Later, in private, Jesus would explain the meaning of the parables to His disciples:

And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples. (Mark 4:33-34)

The disciples were a very special group in that Jesus explained all things to them. Are these mysteries known by many other prophets and righteous men?

For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (Matthew 13:17)

It was originally difficult for me to understand one verse in Jesus' explanation as to why He spoke in parables:

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever have not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. (Matthew 13:12)

When mankind speaks of have, we consider physical possessions; food, shelter, clothing, cars, boats, money, etc. Why would God give more to those who already have in abundance while taking away everything from those who hath little? I pondered this question some time before considering its source, Jesus Christ. From the perspective of Jesus physical possessions are unimportant:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also, (Matthew 6:19-21)

Jesus would categorize the richest and most powerful people on earth with the "have nots" if they did not have a relationship with Him and be heirs to eternal life. On the other hand, if a person did have a relationship with Jesus, lived a Christian lifestyle, and would inherit eternal life, he would include that person with the "haves" even if he were penniless. The only possession you really have is your life. The goal is to extend that life to eternity with God. Having said that, look again at verse twelve and see how easy it is to understand:

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever have not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. (Matthew 13:12)

Regardless of their physical possessions, those who do not believe in Jesus Christ have very little, only their mortal physical life. If they never accept Jesus, the one possession they have will be taken from them forever at the second death:

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14-15)

On the other hand, those who have much (Christians), shall have even more in abundance:

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (I Corinthians 2:9)

What Christians have is their name written in the book of life. They are heirs under the New Testament to inherit eternal life. Their earthly possessions, whether many or few, are trivial when compared to what their future holds:

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

So those that have will be given more. Those that have not will lose even that which they have, their life. Have you ever considered the ageless saying that, "You can't take it with you?" When considered as physical possessions, this statement is obviously true. You will not need physical possessions anyway. But in another sense one does have an account in the spiritual world:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

But how can humans lay up for themselves treasures in heaven? Of course, the most obvious treasure is to have one's name written in the book of life, thus assuring oneself of eternal life. Those resurrected at the second resurrection will be judged by their works. Of course, works alone will not save anyone:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Although our works cannot save us, they remain very important. Those who face the judgment are going to be judged by their works:

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:12)

Therefore, you can be banking good works in the books against any future judgment. In that sense, you can "take it with you." So what constitutes a good work? Definitions of good works are scattered throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament teachings of Jesus. The Beatitudes list many characteristics and works which we should strive after:

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:5-12)

If Jesus Christ himself came to you hungry, thirsty, naked, or sick, would you help him? If you did, would it be considered a good work? The Bible states that you can do this today:

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was ahungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee ahungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:34-40)

The most general definition for good works is what we call the "Golden Rule:"

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

So Jesus spoke in parables so that He would not be understood. In addition, there are several verses which indicate that the scriptures are "sealed." That is, people cannot understand their meanings until the end times:

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (Daniel 12:4)

And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot for it is sealed: (Isaiah 29:11)

Why would Jesus speak in parables so that people would not understand, and why would God put all the answers to life's questions into a book, then seal up the book? Does this make any sense? It is a great mystery of the Bible. Between the two following horizontal lines are my thoughts on this mystery:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and placed a host of angels on the earth as caretakers. These were spiritual beings who understood all mysteries of the universe. Some of these spiritual caretakers, led by Satan, rebelled against God's authority. As a result the earth came to be without form, void, and dark.

At this point God intervened and went to Plan B. He recreated the earth and made mortal mankind a little lower than the angels to be trained as replacement caretakers for those who rebelled. Now, if the original angels who understood the mysteries of the universe rebelled, why give the new caretakers this knowledge initially. Let them learn it the hard way through on the job training, the old school of hard knocks. That way they will appreciate the gift of eternal life more when it is given. How does this new "mankind" achieve eternal life? Through believing in the Son of God. The original angels assigned to the earth were obviously not respecters of God at the time of their rebellion. These lower beings (mankind) must respect and believe in the Son of God as a prerequisite to becoming a spiritual being which lives forever.

Man is in training to learn that the best way to rule the earth is under the rules of God. Meanwhile, Jesus has gone to prepare a new place for humans who accept Him. When He returns to save man from decimating the earth as the original caretakers did, He will bring the new place He has prepared with Him. The Genesis recreation required six days, after which God rested on the seventh day. The age of man's dominion over the earth will follow this same pattern, but in God days. Remember that to God a thousand years is like one of our days:

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (II Peter 3:8)

Mankind thus has six thousand years from the Genesis recreation to rule the earth. A sabbath "day" of rest, the thousand-year millennium, will follow these six thousand years. Upon Jesus' return, those who believed on Him will be born a second time as spiritual beings. They will then become keepers of the earth under Jesus' rule. Those of mankind who are not born again as spirits will be cast into the lake of fire and their resurrected physical bodies will be killed a second time. This second death is permanent. There is no way to return from the second death, it is eternal. That is the end of them. There is no Plan C.

Is the process of teaching mankind through the school of hard knocks working? Possibly the second most brilliant man to ever live reached the following conclusion when reviewing his life on earth:

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:11)

That man was Solomon. Solomon was asked by God in a dream what God should give him. Solomon requested wisdom and knowledge:

In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee. (II Chronicles 1:7)

Give me now wisdom and knowledge...   (II Chronicles 1:10)

One of the world's wisest men after a lifetime of seeking treasure, women, and whatever appeared to bring him pleasure; reached this final conclusion of the whole matter of life:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Is this the lesson we are here to learn in our short lifetime, that we should fear God and keep His commandments? Yes! We learn this lesson by trying our way and failing. The answers about the best way to live are sealed in the scriptures. We learn them through trial and error and hard knocks if at all. The Bible is sealed until after the six-thousand-year training and weeding out period. The harder you have to work for something the more you appreciate it.

Of course, the most brilliant human who ever lived was Jesus Christ. As proof of this statement I submit the following sentence He spoke to a mob as they were preparing to stone a prostitute to death. This fifteen word sentence saved her life:

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. (John 8:7)

Those in the mob looked about at each other, then began to wander away one by one or in small groups until only two people remained. The prostitute and her Savior.

Given that the scriptures are sealed, can we understand the Bible? Can it be unsealed? One suggestion is that before reading the Bible you get on your knees and ask God to open your understanding of the scriptures. After all, Jesus said:

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. (John 14:14)

Do not feel ignorant that you might not understand the scriptures without help from God. The twelve disciples were in the same predicament! They did not understand the scriptures until Jesus "opened their understanding." He did this as one of His last acts on earth before ascending to heaven:

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. (Luke 24:45)

If the Bible in general is sealed, then the book of Revelation would appear to be especially sealed as much of it is written in symbolism. That is, the word woman can mean the church. Therefore, the great whore would mean the false church. The word star can mean an angel. There are giant weird beasts which have hidden meanings, as well as the 666 riddle of the antichrist. But incredibly, with all this symbolism, John is told the following:

And he said unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophesy of this book: for the time is at hand. (Revelation 22:10)

So, is Revelation unsealed? Do we understand it? Entire books have been written on the book of Revelation. David Koresh of Waco infamy claimed to have unraveled the "mystery of the seven seals." But let's skip over the really complicated verses for a moment. Most people do not even understand the simple meaning of the second death as defined in the book of Revelation. From the first three or four pages of the Bible their fate was sealed. When they read in Genesis that man was created a living "soul," and then Satan states, "Ye shall not surely die," they believed a part of them would live forever. Therefore, the second death cannot mean death at all. It means eternal punishment. When John 3:16 states that nonbelievers will perish, they know it cannot mean perish because their "soul" lives forever! Therefore, Satan's lie and man's ignorance combine to keep the Bible sealed. When will it be unsealed? In the end times:

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. (Daniel 12:9)

And why will the book be unsealed in the end times?

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (Daniel 12:4)

Knowledge is increasing dramatically. Today, fewer and fewer young people are attending or supporting the church. Why? The reason is not drugs, alcohol, dancing, infidelity, economics, rebellion, or any of the obvious answers. It is because they are getting smarter. They sincerely sense there is something after their death. As children, they sing "Jesus loves me," and "red or yellow, black or white, they are precious in His sight." When they reach the rebellious teenage years and begin to question their basic beliefs, they realize something is amiss. Why would a God equated with love allow the bulk of humanity to suffer in hell eternally? The church cannot answer their questions. Some of the old answers were:

       1 - There are a lot of things man simply cannot understand.

       2 - Believe it on faith.

Or   3 - Believe it because the church states it as fact.

The old answers do not work with today's or tomorrow's youth. If the immortal soul myth is true, the church should be able to successfully and logically defend it through the Bible. Since this is impossible, the youth become discouraged and leave.

Sadly, the main impetus which might induce change today is not logic and knowledge, but something the churches consider to be really important, money! If finances suffer substantially, the churches might be driven to discovering the answer to their problem.

Proceed to the next chapter.                                                               Print this chapter

Return to Myth One home page.                                                         Email us questions or comments.

Short Subject Articles