By Pastor Hal Mayer
Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry. Thank you for joining me today as we explore a very important principle of faith. That principle has to do with our confidence in the Bible and its role in our lives in these last days. I hope you are pleading with God for the outpouring of His Spirit in your life. We so much need the Holy Spirit to overcome the enemy. We are about to face the test of our lives and yet so often we fail of receiving the Holy Spirit.
As we begin our study today, I would like to begin with prayer. Our Father in heaven, thank You for Your loving kindness that is so patient with Your erring children. We are so thankful for Your grace that brings us salvation when we look to You in faith. May the presence of Jesus be felt as we open Your word today and study how the Bible is to be the center of our lives in the end times, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Turn with me in your Bibles to Psalm 119:105. You may have memorized this verse in the past. It is certainly a familiar one. Let us say it together. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
This powerful passage gives us so much to think about. First, let us understand that the Bible, God’s word, lights the dark world in which we live. Without it the world would be much worse off than it is, perhaps completely destroyed. Those who have rejected the Bible have no idea how much they owe the Bible for the modern conveniences they enjoy. For instance, it was the Bible that developed the intellect of Europe and stimulated the economy with new efficiencies that brought Europe into the modern age. It is as if these people want to go back to the dark ages. I guess they don’t realize how powerful the Bible actually is. It radically changed society, undermined papal tyranny and the feudal system. And, starting with the Reformation just over 500 years ago, it provided literacy education for many generations and powered the rise of the middle class.
Think about how much sin and its related costs would be avoided if people lived by the Bible. Without the Bible, we wouldn’t be spending money on doctors, psychologists and medications for physical and mental illness. Well, actually, that is what is happening today, isn’t’ it? We’re spending huge sums, just to deal with the sin problem in our lives.
Think about how much money true Christians save by not drinking alcohol, smoking weed and tobacco, among other addictions. How many lawyer’s bills, accountant’s bills, and other expenses would be saved if we followed the Bible and didn’t get divorces. And this doesn’t even account for the emotional pain that most people, who do some or all of these things, suffer.
Isaiah 60:2 says that in the last days the earth will be in gross darkness. Since we are human beings, and cannot see where to go unless someone gives us a light, God in His mercy to us-ward, has provided a lamp so that we will not fumble around in darkness and can find our way through it. Now anyone can have this light. But even when it is offered to them, many turn their backs on it because they would rather wallow in darkness than in light.
The Bible points the way to God. It explains God to us and also it explains us to ourselves. It shows us what is right and wrong and what is safe and what is dangerous. The Bible also shows us how to think about ourselves and God and how to relate to the increasingly wicked world around us.
The Bible is to be taken in our hands and used to enlighten our understanding and as a guide in our own particular circumstances, characteristics and personalities. It is actually uniquely suited for every one, with all the differences in culture, qualities and background. It directs us in our work and in the way we live our personal lives when we apply it actively to ourselves.
And it lightens every dark corner that we need to see. The Bible is like the candlestick in the sanctuary service. The candlestick cast its beautiful light over the whole room. The Bible casts its light in all the corners of our heart that we may see and understand what is in there. It also explains how to clean and purify our hearts.
So, what is the light and lamp that Psalm 119 is talking about? Proverbs 6:23 says, “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light.” The Bible must be seen as the law or rule by which we live. By its arguments we are given light, which our understandings must subscribe to if we are Christians. Whatever the Bible says is light. And if we disagree with its clear statements we will remain in darkness. And if we turn our backs on it long enough, we will become so confused in our minds that right will seem wrong and wrong will seem right.
Do you think that is what it is going to be like in the last days? The whole world will see right and God’s people, based on the Bible, will see wrong. For instance, when the world thinks that God requires everyone to observe Sunday, they think they are right. But they are not following the Bible. They will accuse God’s people who follow all that the Bible teaches, especially the Seventh-day Sabbath commandment, of being wrong. But they are actually right. It is very important to be right in the sight of God. You may be wrong in the sight of men, but that doesn’t matter. You must live by the Bible if you are going to survive the coming crisis.
So, this verse, Proverbs, 6:23, means that we must go to the Ten Commandments of the Decalogue to find our way in truth and righteousness. It is the law of God that is the light for our feet. The rest of the Bible, essentially, explains how to live by the Ten Commandments in practical ways.
If you do not want to live by the Ten Commandments, you will end up groping around in darkness. And for those who make the law a delight, the Bible will be refreshing and they will sense the guidance of the Lord in their daily life.
The “lamp unto my feet” will show me where there are stones in the path so that I don’t plant my feet on them and twist my ankle. It will show me where the potholes are so that I will not step in them. It lights the path so that any danger can be seen.
This has a moral lesson in it. You will sin if you do not live by the Bible. Did you know that? And if you don’t know your Bible how will you be able to follow it and keep from sinning? How will the Holy Spirit teach you and speak to you when a circumstance arises that requires a decision, if you haven’t stored its content in your mind. The Bible is designed to keep you from falling into sin by following its instruction. Therefore, we must read it and understand it if we expect to have the enemy’s temptations exposed.
The Bible will tell us what to say and when to say it. The Holy Spirit will flash into our minds and hearts when we are in danger of saying the wrong thing, and it will remind us to be silent or say the right thing. In other words, the Bible, along with the Holy Spirit influence, will steer our conversation in the right way both with our choice of words, and in the ideas that we think. It will also guide our behavior, so that we do not sin with our bodies. I don’t know about you, but I need the Bible! The Bible leads us in our general way in this world, and it guides us in our particular needs, circumstances and situations.
The Bible makes us sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice. He can speak to us in the still small voice even when there is all manner of noise and confusion around us.
The word of God reveals to us truths of eternal certainty, and is built upon the highest reason. Those who refuse to accept the Bible as a book of eternal certainties will lose their way. The Bible’s authority is a law, to which we must submit every day. If we do not submit our will to the authority of the Bible, we will remain in the darkness of pride, selfishness and egoism. If we do not submit to the authority of scripture, we set ourselves up to judge the Bible as millions have done over the millennia. But the Bible should judge us and point out our pride and arrogance. We must not cavil with its clear precepts and obvious meaning. We cannot explain it away, we cannot overthrow it with arguments, and we cannot invent new meanings to words, or spin ideas in ways that are opposed to its plain teachings.
No prince ever issued a law like the Bible. No philosopher had such insight into the mind of God. Therefore, we must receive the written word as our “Father’s commandment” and the “law of our mother. That’s what Proverbs 6:20, 21 says, “my son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother. Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.”
Oh my friends, what kind of claim is this? The Bible is to be like our mother and father to us. Psalm 27:9, 10 says “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” That is saying that if you are faithful to the Bible God will look after you no matter how your earthly family treats you. The Bible reveals God’s goodness, His faithfulness, and how He provides for our needs.
And notice that you are to bind God’s law around your heart, so that your emotions will not wander into ungodliness on unchastity. We are to bind it around our neck or throat, so that the things we put inside are only approved by the Bible, and the things that come out, our words, are also filtered by the Bible.
The Bible is also a guard, and we must put ourselves under the protection of it. If we govern ourselves by the promises and instruction of the word all day long, and make conscience work of the duty God has commanded to us, we may shelter ourselves under the promises of the word at night and take the comfort in the deliverances God does for us and will command for us.
The Bible is amazing. If we make it our companion, and we converse with it by memorizing its verses or meditating on its ideas, when we lay awake at night, and don’t know how to go back to sleep or how to spend the time, we can let the word of God talk to us. Recite verses that you know and it will speak to you holy thoughts.
When you wake up in the morning, and are planning your work for the day, let the Bible talk to you first, and it will tell you how to plan in the best way and for the best results. Friends, there is prosperity in the word of God. If you live by the word, you will have success in your life. You may not be rich in worldly goods, but you will be rich, very rich in experience with God.
Think of Joseph. God made him to prosper as a slave in Potiphar’s house. The Lord made Joseph to prosper when in Potiphar’s prison. The Lord does not promise you money. He promises you prosperity. There is a world of difference. The Bible brings you prosperity, and maybe wealth, but maybe not. God knows what you will do with wealth, so He decides what is best.
If you live by the Bible, your personality will mature. Your joy will increase. Your pleasure will not sour as worldly pleasures do. The Bible will show you your mistakes, but it will also instruct you on how to do better.
Isn’t the Bible a wonderful and powerful blessing, my friends? And I’ve only scratched the surface on the benefits of following the Bible. There are a gazillion more.
But, let us consider a statement from Selected Messages, Vol. 3, and Page 339. This is one of those one-sentence-wonders that have so much profound thought tied up in them. They are amazing gems that will give you insights that often deserve much more attention than we give them. Listen carefully to what it says. “The Bible has accumulated and bound up together its treasures for this last generation.”
Isn’t that a powerful statement? It is one of those one-liners that we should memorize, type up and put on our refrigerators so that we can remind ourselves of it when we reach in for something to eat. It is worth repeating. “The Bible has accumulated and bound up together its treasures for this last generation.”
Now, let us think about what this is saying. What does the word accumulated mean? It means to gather or collect. Do you accumulate things all at once? No, of course not. To accumulate refers to a time period. In other words, the Bible’s accumulation took time to organize. Thousands of years, in fact. Likewise, you cannot accumulate knowledge of the Bible overnight. It doesn’t happen that way. It takes time to develop a deep and broad understanding of scripture.
Notice that the statement is also talking about the past. In other words the accumulation of the Bible has already happened. But how did it happen? How did God communicate His will in the patriarchal age? Through word of mouth, right? Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all heard God’s voice to them personally. They told their children and their grandchildren and even their great grandchildren what the will of God was.
But once there were multitudes of Israelites, God had to put His express will in a format that would be remembered, and could be referred to over and over again. It needed a way to protect it so that it would not become corrupted. So, he instructed Moses to write it down. How many books did Moses write? Did you think he wrote only five? If so, you have forgotten or perhaps never knew, that Moses actually wrote six books of the Bible. Beside Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and almost all of Deuteronomy, he also wrote the book of Job.
The writings of Moses contain the Torah, or the Pentateuch, and also the book of Job. He was quite a writer, when you think about it, wasn’t he? He was also a powerful historian.
When Moses wrote those six books, they were present truth for the Israelites at that time. Present truth is the truth that is especially relevant and instructional for those living at the time it was communicated.
Then came along Joshua, Judges, Ruth, the writings of Samuel, the Kings, and other historical books. Each of them has powerful lessons in them. They were present truth when they were accumulated. And they too were accumulated over time.
The amazing thing however, is that though they were especially written for the people of their time, their message is even more powerful in our time, because they are collected and connected to all the other inspired writings. More on that later.
After these historical books came the wisdom literature, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. These are loaded with wisdom and instruction for the people of God in every age, but especially in the last days.
Then there was added the prophets. And they were wonderfully equipped with messages for their own times. But they also have much to say to us too. And this takes us right down to the end of the Old Testament. After they had given their testimony, which was present truth for their time, they were added to the existing inspired word and the accumulated text gave guidance to God’s people wherever it was accepted and wherever they lived by it.
Then came the 400 years between the old and new testaments where there was no prophet or any other inspired writer to speak to God’s people.
Then after Christ came and died, rose and ascended to heaven, four of the apostles wrote the four gospels. These writings were unique because they were the inspired record of the prophetic fulfillments of the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the first coming of Christ.
And did you notice that the Gospel of John is different from the other gospels? Yes, quite different in fact. There is a reason for this. Matthew, Mark and Luke wrote their gospels in the early part of the first century, and by AD 60 or so, they were all dead. But John lived until about AD 90 and wrote his Gospel just before he died. That would make the book of John the last book of the Bible written. No, the last book to be written chronologically is not Revelation.
John was released from the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the book of Revelation, and lived around Ephesus where there was a huge flow of traffic through trade, commerce, and business and diplomatic travel. By being in Ephesus, John could stay in touch with the churches throughout Asia minor and guide and help them from there.
While in Ephesus, the Holy Spirit showed him the apostasy that would come into the church over the nature of Christ. He saw that there would be those that would argue that Jesus was not the son of God. So, he wrote his gospel to protect this key understanding, giving a widely different set of stories than the other gospel writers. Their mission was to point out that Jesus was one with us. So, they often used the words, “Son of Man” in referring to Jesus and they told stories that made that clear. But John, on the other hand, had a different mission with his gospel. He wanted it to be known that Jesus was also the Son of God. And he told many stories that explained this clearly.
Then there were the epistles of the apostle Paul, Peter, James, and Jude. These epistles provided present truth guidance to help the early church deal with its unique and difficult circumstances. It also gives us guidance in our day.
Our statement says, “the Bible has accumulated and bound up together its treasures…” The treasures of scripture are so abundant that it is difficult to enumerate them. But the Bible has treasures that are easy to see and understand, like the love of Jesus and His free and full salvation provided for mankind. But there are also treasures that are hidden, like the symbols of Bible prophecy of beasts, dragons, women, stars and seas, to name a few. Parables are a source of hidden treasures too. Jesus told many parables and those who opposed him could not understand their true meaning. It was deep, broad and comprehensive. And since the Bible wasn’t designed to match the carnal mind, the Jewish leaders could not understand.
Everywhere you turn in scripture there is treasure to comprehend to enlist the highest resources of the mind and soul. It speaks directly to us of the mind of God. God has designed the Bible to match His mind to ours. Some who have more capacity than others get more from God. Some less. But God always gives special insights to those who study the Bible.
Have you ever been studying along and all of a sudden you’ll read a verse that directly explains another verse somewhere else in scripture that you had wondered about? All of a sudden you understand the idea in a new way. Or a new thought pops into your mind that reveals new meaning of the verse, even though you’ve read it a thousand times? I have. Many times. But just imagine the Holy Spirit. He can hardly wait to plant the seed in our mind. And He will do it if you start to think about the words you read in the Bible. And when He does you are overwhelmed with enthusiasm for what you have just learned.
I find myself empowered by scriptural insight. I’m amazed at the way God works. He’ll drop a seed here and there, and then mature your mind on a topic that those seeds were meant to address. Then as you study, you find the right verse that just opens up a whole new understanding.
Isaiah 30:26 is that way. In that verse is contained so much about creation and the flood as well as the new earth, it just makes my mind spin. It tells us a lot about our solar system and what it was like before the flood. I’m sure there is more there that I don’t understand. But I’m just thrilled about what I have learned. I’m also sure that God is setting me up to use that verse powerfully at the right moment when it is needed in some future setting.
Here is the verse. Isaiah 30:26, “Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.”
One of the treasures there is the word “healeth.” When God heals the earth from the stroke of their wound (the flood), He will restore the earth and the solar system the way it was before the flood. And that goes off into other verses in Genesis where it talks about how God made the solar system. Genesis 1:16, for instance, tells us that God made two great lights, not just one great light plus a reflecting device. In other words, the moon, in its own right was a light, a burning orb.
But that’s not all. There is so much more in that one little verse. If you understand a little high school physics, you can understand the mighty hand of the creator it setting up the perfect environment for man to live eternally. But it also explains the incredible forces that came into play when the fountains of the deep were broken up, and the destruction of the flood ensued. It changed everything, including the solar system.
Then there is another treasure in the story of Esther. I bet most of you didn’t know that the story of Esther is an allegory of the whole Great Controversy in summary form. The story contains all the people in position that represent every major character in the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan. It is not in their personal characters, but in the position they hold.
Ahasuerus, for instance, is the king whose laws cannot be changed. He represents God, whose law cannot be changed. No, he doesn’t have God’s character, but he nevertheless holds the position of ruler of the empire, the same way that God holds in the universe.
While it is an historical fact that his laws were unchangeable, one wonders whether God guided the Persian king in doing this just so that he could arrange a disguised account of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan.
Then there is Vashti. Who does she represent in the Great Controversy? She is a woman, which makes her represent a church. But which church? Well, this is the church that was once God’s church and which was eventually rejected by God for not revealing her beauty to the world. Yes, Vashti did the right thing in not going into the drunken banquet. But again, God set this up, so that we could see how the principles of the controversy would develop in spite of her good character. This woman, who was once the king’s bride, is now an outcast. That makes her symbolic of the Jewish church doesn’t it?
Who is Mordecai? Well, chapter 2 verse 21 tells us that Mordecai sat in the king’s gate. He was the one who was responsible to frisk anyone who came into the palace so that there would be no attempt on the king’s life. That reminds me of a verse that says that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6.
Mordecai also goes to the king’s palace every day to check on Esther, who represents another church that is to become God’s church, to see how she is doing. He is the one who is the target of the enemy, represented by Haman.
Haman is the easy one to figure out, because he is the great villain in the story. He represents Satan. He intends to hang Mordecai on a tree. So, whom does Mordecai represent? Yes, of course, Christ. These two are arch enemies just as in the great controversy.
And whom does Esther represent? Chapter 2:8 tells us clearly who she represents. Notice that it says, “when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.”
How many women came after her? None. Then that makes her a representative of the last church, doesn’t it? Esther represents the remnant church. I bet most of you never saw that before. And notice what it says in the next verse, verse 9. “And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification.”
Oh, so now we know enough to determine who Hegai is. He is the one who gives gifts to the women, gifts for purification. Who does that for God’s church today? Yes, that’s right, the Holy Spirit.
So, in this story of Esther you have the Father, the Son, and the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. You have the Jewish church, you have the remnant church.
But now think about this. Ahasuerus commands everybody to worship Haman. That’s a worship law. It’s found in chapter 3:2. “And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.”
So, the ruler of the land made a worship law, which is a type of the end-time Sunday laws. Remember, Revelation 13:4, which says they worshipped the dragon, or Satan? And the worship law ended up with a death penalty for all the Sabbath keepers, or Jews, that were in all the empire. This law is made to worship Haman the representative of Satan, just as predicted of the end-times in Revelation 13. The king is bribed by Haman to proclaim the killing of all the Jews, because Mordecai refused to worship. So, again, just like in the last days, there will be a death penalty for refusing to worship in the enemy’s way.
And there was even fake news. Haman told the king that the Jew’s “laws were diverse from all people, neither keep they the king’s laws…” Well, the Jews did have religious laws that were quite different from the Persian’s laws. But they did not intentionally disobey the king’s laws. Only if they conflicted with the law of their God.
The rest of the story of how God delivered His people is nothing short of amazing and miraculous. And there are still many parallels to our times that I have not shared with you today. If you want more on this study, please order our 3-part series called Esther, Type of our Times. You will find them to be an amazing blessing.
As I was growing up, I thought of this story of Esther as a wonderful story of rags to riches, deliverance and victory over an evil foe that has a good moral purpose. Little did I realize that it is full of prophetic significance. I did not understand that it contains far more than a mere story.
Then one day as I was reviewing the story of Esther, I suddenly realized its significance. It was as if the Holy Spirit suddenly shed light into my mind and I understood the basics. I could not wait to sort out all the various bits and pieces of the parallels to the end times. I had been studying end time events and all of a sudden things just seemed to take shape right in front of my eyes. All of a sudden I realized that God had just given me something very special. I had never heard these concepts from anyone before. I had never, ever bumped into this way of seeing the story of Esther before, and the Lord just drew me in.
Friends, I believe that God does that often with us. He has done that for me quite a few times in my life. Has he ever done that for you? He will, if you study your Bible and seriously think about its overall message and how each passage fits into it. Little verses here and there will pop up from time to time and you’ll see them in a different light.
I believe that God has special unique insights for each one of us, my friends, special insights that He has not given to anyone else. That’s because God wants to develop an individual relationship with each one of us through the word of God. It speaks to our unique circumstances and challenges, so that it uniquely fits our individual mind. That is one way He binds us to Himself, by sharing a unique part of His mind with us. And God is unlimited, so He must have enough unique insights that He can give to every person on the planet and then some if He could.
But unfortunately, the vast majority of people on the planet are not interested in what God has to say. The whole world, almost, has gone mad. It is so anti-God that it is becoming as bad as Sodom and Gomorrah or the times of Noah. They think God will not do anything about their wickedness, just like the Sodomites did. They delight in turning the backs on God.
God is big. He has the capability to engage everyone all at once, while coming very close individually with each of us as if there is no other person on the planet. His word teaches us about how He thinks. It is designed to strengthen our intellect and warm our hearts with His love.
God uses the Bible to bond us to Himself in such a way that the more we study it the more we hunger for light. It becomes so enjoyable that we lose ourselves in studying the Bible and in God.
It’s like gardening in a way. I didn’t do a lot of gardening in most of my life. But eventually I decided that since I was preaching a lot about country living and the need for gardening, I had better get out and do some gardening. You know, practice what I preach.
So, I cranked myself up to go out and do some gardening and till the soil and make something grow. I carved out an hour a day to get out and work in the garden. I didn’t really dislike it, but I didn’t really like it either. But you know what? The more I went out to my garden, the more I liked it. Then I found myself out there two hours, or even three hours. Then I realized I was also neglecting my other responsibilities. I really love working in my garden. Now, I’m frustrated if I don’t get out as much as I would like to work in my garden.
I love working my blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. I have tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, watermelons, cantaloupes, and other garden goodies. I tilled the soil, hauled manure and mulch until I was sun tanned. I got my exercise and plenty of it. And now I love it!
It’s the same way with Bible study. When you start having results, and the Lord shows you some things, you begin to really enjoy it. It all starts to make sense, and you begin to see things that you never saw before. It is amazing how it changes your mind about how to live. What you once thought was the way to live, is no longer the best way.
I don’t know about you, but when I study the Bible, I want my mind to be clear and crisp so that I can understand what God wants to say to me, and also that I can develop the convictions of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Let us now come back to our little one-sentence-wonder. What does it mean when it says that the Bible is “bound up together?” That’s an interesting comment. Does it mean that the Bible is bound up in a binding that makes it look and feel like a book? I don’t think so.
The Bible is bound up together with ideas and concepts. It is not laid out like a normal book. Most books are laid out so that you can read through them in a chronological way, or logical way. The stories, of course, are chronological, but the lessons are not necessarily in logical sequence. The Bible is different. It is designed to test our faith, strengthen our intellect, and excite our spiritual energies.
You have to study it. You can’t just read it. People, who are too lazy to study it, will find themselves superficial and reading only for devotional purposes. But when we study properly, we learn how to understand the Bible deeply and broadly. We must think about what is being said. It must not go in one ear and out the other.
And even though it was written more than two thousand years ago, it is still relevant and addresses our issues today. And most of all it changes the heart and brings it into obedience with the Divine law. And it is obedience, the purity of heart, that we need the most. The Bible transforms the heart to be like Jesus. It gives us His point of view on everything.
Listen to this statement from Desire of Ages, page 668. It speaks right to the issue of how to be like Jesus.
“All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.”
This only happens when you connect with Christ through the Bible. He comes into your life, changes its core principles and obeys God’s law for you. You do the actions in harmony with the law with your muscles, sinews and bones. Your mind learns to love the Bible and Jesus. But it is Christ that does the work of purification and obedience.
Here it is from Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me…” Did you hear that? Who lives in you? Christ. Do you still live? Not your carnal man… He is crucified and dead. Christ takes over and gives you freedom from addictions, freedom to obey God’s law, and freedom to love as Jesus loves. You have new life, spiritual life.
And it is a powerful work that comes straight from heaven. Do you want to tap into heaven’s power? Then tap into the Bible and Jesus.
Now let us think about how to study the Bible. Turn with me in your Bibles to Isaiah 28:9 and 10, if you can. Listen carefully.
“Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little…”
That’s how we are to do our Bible study. Like a little child, we are to come to the Bible to learn. A small child loves to learn and has lots of questions. They are trusting and accept the answer as it is given. That is the way we should approach God in the study of His word. But so many think they know more than God. They want to cavil or complain that the Bible doesn’t really speak to them. They think they can judge its precepts and laws and decide for themselves, which ones apply to them, or which ones are acceptable. They somehow think that God will still bless them even when they reject His teachings.
A child can’t take too much, so God has to give us a little here and a little there so that we do not become wearied by our learning; precept upon precept, idea upon idea, concept upon concept, a little at a time. Line upon line, adding a little bit, then another little bit, and repeating it over and over again. Line upon line, line upon line.
It is a painstaking process that God must go through with us limited and short-sighted human beings. He must be very patient, just as a parent is with a child. He teaches a little at a time.
And when we come to the study of the Bible, we must approach it the same way. We cannot expect to get it all at once. It takes discipline and self-control to come back to the Bible again and again, in order to learn all that God has for us. One day God will teach us one thing, one precept, one idea or concept. The next, he will add something to it. And then the next day He will add a little bit more. Even the most intelligent among us must come to the Bible in the same humble way, expecting that God will teach us. We make fools of ourselves if we come to the point where we think we know everything there is to know.
What does the idea “precept upon precept” convey? What is a precept? A precept is a rule that is designed to regulate thought and behavior. So, the Bible is full of precepts that will regulate your mind and body in harmony with heaven if you study those precepts, and let the Holy Spirit teach you what they mean. As I said previously, the Ten Commandments, found in Exodus 20 are the law of God. And the rest of the Bible explains what it means to live by those commandments. It does this through history, through promises, parables, prophecies and direct instruction.
At all times we are to surrender our hearts and minds to those precepts. And if we do, we will be purified. Whenever the Holy Spirit reveals something to us that we have done wrong, we will make it right. Whenever the Bible points out something that needs to change, we will change through Christ living in us. Friends, that is the process of purification.
But there is more in this verse. We must add precept upon precept into our lives. For instance, Peter tells us in his second epistle chapter one verses 5-7 that we are to add character traits one upon another.
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
To apply this according to Isaiah 28, we would have precept upon precept, one precept should follow another and reinforce and strengthen the previous ones. In other words, we are to add to the law and practice of faith, the law and practice of virtue as instructed throughout scripture, and to the law and practice of virtue we are to add the law and practice of knowledge, and so forth.
There are other precepts too. The precept of justice should be added to the precept of piety. The precept of love should be added to the precept of justice, creating a very balanced character before the Lord and our fellow man. And we may need to repeat these over and over again in our minds and in our experience so that we mature in them.
God never asks us to do something that is not really for our advantage. And for those who are tired of sin, the precepts of righteousness are the only solution, the only true rest. They will bring refreshing to your soul. If you are weary of sinning, there is no better way to be refreshed than to come under the yoke of the Lord Jesus. Oh, my friends, what a blessing to live by the precepts of the Lord.
What does it mean when it says “line upon line?” The word of God, my friends, commands our serious attention, and very careful consideration of every word, every line, every sentence and every verse.
Verse 9 asks a question. “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.”
So, if you want to understand what God intends to tell us we cannot just be satisfied with the milk of the word. We must get into the meat.
As children, we have need of milk until we are weaned. But God wants us to go deeper than mere devotional reading, or superficial knowledge. So he instructs us to pay attention to the word, “line upon line, line upon line.”
We are to take it seriously. We are to think about it one line at a time, one word at a time, one detail at a time. Often the most profound ideas come from studying the details. We are not to let the word of God go in one ear and out the other. We have to think about what we read. Compare it with other bits here and there throughout the Bible. That’s why a concordance is so important to have at hand when you study the Bible. The Bible must make an impression on our minds if we want to win the war with the enemy. The Bible must come into our lives and become like our meat and drink, so to speak, on a spiritual level. We eat our food to stay alive. We must digest the Bible with our minds and hearts if we are to be spiritually alive.
We need experience in the word. If we just let it pass by us without making an impression, we will be like the Jews in the days of Isaiah the prophet. They listened to him continually. His words were constantly in their ears. But that was all. It had no effect on them. It had no response. They had turned a deaf ear to his pleadings. So, all the seriousness that God laid out before them, they treated it as if it was of no significance. They ridiculed it. They laughed at his sincerity. They bantered with him. Eventually, they accused him, and like his Lord, they killed him.
My friends, it is a great impiety to make a jest of sacred things. It is a high affront to God when we speak vainly of that which should make us serious. How severely do you think God will deal with the rejecters of His law? How will God handle them?
God will first deprive man of the privilege of the plain teaching of the word. And many churches today do not have the plain preaching and teaching of the serious truths of the word of God. He will speak to them, as it says in verse 11, “with stammering lips and another tongue, will he speak to his people” so that they cannot understand what His truth is. It is not because He is unwilling. It is because they are unwilling.
If they continue to despise his precepts as trifling and worthless, then God will send them a conflict that is intended to wake them up to their spiritual lethargy. Eventually, those that refuse to hear the comfortable voice of God’s word shall be made to hear the dreadful voice of his rod. In other words, God will punish them; not just for their iniquity, but for the way they treated His messengers.
And ultimately, if they still persist in their evil ways, God will bring them ruin. By their vain contempt of God’s word, the people of God are hastening on to their own ruin and ripening themselves for it, as the scripture says in verse 13, “that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”
They have here a little and there a little of the word of God, but they cannot take it. It is too much for them. And if it is not a “savor of life unto life” to them, it will become a “savor of death unto death.” 2 Corinthians 2:16.
It’s interesting that when Isaiah penned these words, the Bible had not been completed yet. It still had a long time of accumulation ahead of it. But it was already functioning in the way the prophet describes, precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little there a little. That tells us that God shaped the scripture to be the most beneficial to us intellectually and spiritually in this fashion.
Let us come back now to our one-sentence-wonder. “The Bible has accumulated and bound up together its treasures for this last generation.”
The treasures are everywhere and we must take advantage of them. They are given to every generation in the history of the world. But they are especially for us in these last days.
But we need to understand this. The Bible has accumulated many treasures for our benefit. But it is not just that they are meant for us. That accumulation is particularly unique in that there is special power added to that accumulation for the last generation when it is all considered together.
It is the last generation that has been given the “best place in the house of women” as it says in Esther 2:9. God’s remnant people, His last generation, have been given the most comprehensive, systematic, complete, mature and clear system of truth ever given to the human race.
That’s no small matter. There is no other people that have the level of understanding of the Bible than those who have developed the end-time message of the three angels, the seventh-day Sabbath, the truth on the state of the dead, the prophetic principles, etc. All of them are found in the Bible.
And while many religious leaders who have something vested in Sunday worship, perhaps their livelihood, or their reputation, etc., teach that the law of God regarding the seventh-day Sabbath is no longer applicable, they have been left with mere crumbs of truth compared to the richness and fullness of the truth that God has entrusted to His final generation of faithful followers.
There is no better or clearer understanding of the great principles of salvation found in scripture, no more balanced understanding of faith and works, the nature of man, the nature of sin and the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan than among those who live the word in their lives and study it daily in THESE last days. The Bible has been provided for every generation, but now we are living under its complete influence. Each piece of truth, each precept, each line, has its proper force on the whole. We are to profit by the study of the whole.
My friends let us take advantage of what we have. Why have we neglected to gain every opportunity to understand God’s will for us? The Bible gives us all the light we need to navigate the unique and difficult circumstances of our times and come out the other end successfully. The Bible opens to us the knowledge of the holy. It strengthens the powers of the soul so that they respond to the truth in ever-increasing obedience, through humility and awe.
What a treasure we have! And it is not really hidden from the sincere seeker for truth. There are parts of it that are hard to understand, but they are designed to pull the best out of you as you dig into it and try to comprehend it.
All that has been accumulated in scripture now comes to bear in the last generation before Jesus comes. Each part has its impact on the other parts. Each precept, each line, impacts and relates to all the others. There is no subject that isn’t broad, deep and complete in scripture. You don’t need anything else.
I would like you to notice the next sentence in this amazing paragraph in third volume of Selected Messages, page 339. Here it is. “All the great events and solemn transactions of Old Testament history have been, and are, repeating themselves in the church in these last days.”
Did you hear that? All the highlights of history are repeating themselves today. And they are doing so in God’s church. So we can expect that the Bible and its instruction, the stories, parables, promises, all of it, will impact us in a way that no other generation has been impacted before. History truly repeats itself.
Oh my friends, we need the Bible and we need to study it like never before. There are so many precious truths in the word of God that it will take millennia to get them all. But what we do get is really worth it.
Friends, I hope that my message will stir your soul so that you are inspired to begin your quest to understand God’s will through your personal and individual relationship to God’s word in Christ.
Let the precepts sink into your heart and mind. Give it a go. Don’t delay any longer. Let its richness settle in our mind and heart.
Let us pray. Thank you Father in heaven for your wonderful word, the Bible. Thank you that You have accumulated all the treasures we need for salvation and righteousness and put them together in scripture. We pray that we will be able to comprehend its fullness and completeness at least in some little way during our earthly journey. In this age when men no longer think the Bible is relevant for them, in this era where lifestyles and ideals and goals are all opposed to God’s word, at this time when addictions, pornography, sinful pleasures, abuse, and evil reigns on every hand, please show us Your glory through the word, like You showed Moses and Elijah Your glory on Mount Sinai. May we make the best of the time we have left before Jesus comes in the clouds of glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.