The Age of Knowledge
“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)
“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
We live in the time when knowledge has increased enormously—the increase is almost beyond human comprehension. The knowledge of mankind in fleshly matters and in the things pertaining to time and place has been allowed to mushroom—it has exploded. The amount of knowledge in these areas dwarfs the accumulated knowledge of the ages beforehand. We are awash in this ocean of knowledge. Men have been allowed to intrude into the microscopic world—the world of germs and of atoms. The physiology of the body and of the brain is more comprehended than ever before in the history of mankind.
Along with this flood of this kind of knowledge, the spiritual knowledge of mankind has not increased at all. (Why should spiritual knowledge increase? Have not “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) been given unto us?) In fact, the spiritual knowledge of mankind is crowded out of the minds of men by the gigantic increase in physical knowledge.
Both of these factors are plainly identified by the two scriptures quoted above. The increase of physical knowledge is one of the characteristics of the last days. The spiritual problems of mankind are not resolved by the increase of this knowledge. Instead, we observe the truth of the Word of God: “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7) This is an apt description of the frantic and intensive pursuit of education all around us. “Ever learning….” New discoveries all the time. New breakthroughs constantly. And yet the moral challenges of the human race are not resolved. People cannot trust each other anymore than they ever could. As a general population, we are cursed with adultery, lying, and wars. “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” (James 4:2) “Never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” The awful irony is that real help and deliverance have been available from God all along, but the general condition of men is that they were never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, nor are they able to do so now.
It is exceedingly dangerous and deceptive to get caught up in this rat race of earthly knowledge. It is hazardous to your soul to go to school, whether it be elementary or high school, college or university. Few things are so damaging to our faith as today’s secular educations. We are taught the “scientific approach,” and we find that “the little scientist” has been created in us. “Wonder what form of fever she had?” we think, when we read the account of Jesus healing the mother-in-law of Brother Peter (Matthew 8:14-15). “Was she as careful in her diet as she should have been?” We read the account of the man healed by the power of God in Acts 3:1-12, and the inward conditioning of this earthly knowledge starts its little dialogue: “Wonder how he would have responded to physical therapy? Did his mother eat things that she shouldn’t?” Then we encounter the warning in the Bible concerning physicians: “And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.” (Luke 8:43) (Is it not amazing how many still spend all their living on the physicians, neither can be healed of any? Or for that matter, all kinds of health diets, with the same result?) Immediately the educated spirit of unbelief begins to argue, “Well, the physicians back then didn’t know enough. We are light-years beyond the practice of medicine back then.”
Well did the Master say, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” This is a doleful nevertheless. It is a solemn warning to which we do well to take heed.
The overall effect of all this temporal knowledge is to present a completely lopsided view of the meaning of our existence. We might well say that the veil of the flesh has become thicker and darker in our outlook than it was when mankind lived with and suffered from a much greater lack of physical understanding. It never has been easy to see spiritual truths and eternal values while in the body of flesh, but the surge in earthly knowledge has made it harder. Yet, even in these perilous times, the spiritual standard is this: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
“God has given the doctors their knowledge,” a “Church of God” minister stated. “He meant for us to work with them in dealing with the afflictions of mankind.” This is a false and deceptive conclusion. God has allowed certain knowledge to increase, but He knew that the effects of that knowledge would not be good for us. Consider the inspired wisdom of the man of God in Ecclesiastes: “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; But they have sought out many inventions.” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) We would particularly call your attention to the “but.” God has created man in uprightness, subjected his immortal soul to a body of vanity, in a world that is temporary— “the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10) God has hid Himself from mankind to an amazing degree, although there is a way to see Him and be still before Him. But we are so constituted that we must walk by faith, without the use of our physical senses, to hold communion with our Creator. Our time of probation and the rightful working of our free will demand that we be kept in ignorance of many things, both spiritual things and physical things. But the drive to think and consider, to resolve mysteries and master learning, is strong in people. Instead of being content with just how much that God would be pleased for them to learn, “they have sought out many inventions”—and this relentless pursuit of knowledge, unguided and untempered by the Holy Ghost, has put them in possession of a knowledge of which they are unable to see in true perspective and of which they have no grace from God to bear the result. “Intruding into those things which he hath not seen.” (Colossians 2:18)
Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the practice of medicine. The existence of the flesh is imperfect beyond belief, and it was meant by divine degree to be imperfect. Suffering in the body is appointed unto us down here. It is needful. We cannot grow and develop spiritually without physical suffering. And these physical afflictions and disappointments take many, many forms, accompanied by pain and horror. Now we do not like this. If it was up to us, we would never be sick a day in our life, and we would have all the money we could ever use. The weather would be just what we desired all the time, and we would be surrounded by pleasant circumstances and congenial people always. We would not choose to suffer at all.
But, beloved, it is not up to us. The Bible tells us that Paul “sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.” (1 Thessalonians 3:2-4) It is the uniform desire of all in the flesh to escape suffering, yet we find that God has appointed suffering for us. “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” (Ecclesiastes 7:14) Note that not only has God set the day of prosperity against the day of adversity, but He did it for a solemn purpose: “that man should find nothing after him.” In other words, that we might freely choose the spiritual things of the world to come over the physical realities of the temporal world that now is—that we might discern the vanity of physical existence and the awesome reality of eternity.
Now none of us want to suffer unnecessarily. None of us long for more trials than God has appointed for us. And most of mankind is completely unreconciled to the idea of suffering at all. They just want to have as easy a life down here as possible, and most people do not care about their souls or the things that are eternal; they have made this world their god. But they that fear the Lord want Him to have His way, whereas they that fear Him not do not care at all about the will of God. They do not acknowledge it; they resent it; and they do their level best to escape it.
The medical world has evolved from the efforts of mankind to deal with the afflictions that attend existence in the flesh, and the philosophy of this profession has developed without the least regard for the spiritual impact of suffering and the purposes of the will of God. It has attracted people who are motivated by three primary things: the love of money, a certain fleshly empathy for human suffering, and an ambition to thoroughly understand and master the physical complexities of the body and the natural world. They want to heal what ails you or correct what is less than fleshly desirable, regardless of any spiritual aspect to the situation, and their focus is entirely and completely on the removal of human affliction. If it were up to them and those who patronize them, we would never get sick or stay sick long, and we would never die. Because of this focus, they are entirely at odds with the purpose of God’s appointments in our afflictions. Therefore, we find nothing whatsoever favorable in the Bible about earthly physicians, but quite the contrary.
1. Why do we not have a single instance in the Word of God of some one of His people being engaged in Israel as a physician?
2. Why is it that we read nothing good of physicians anywhere in the history of God’s people?
3. Why do we not read of one case of healing by physicians—just one, somewhere in the Word of God?
4. Why does Job speak of “physicians of no value” (Job 13:4)?
5. Why do we have it so definitely stated in sacred history concerning King Asa, that he “sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians” (2 Chronicles 16:12)?
6. Why did not God appoint and provide physicians among His people in the days of Israel, when He made the health covenant with them?
7. Why is the account so plainly given in the New Testament concerning the woman who “suffered many things of many physicians, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse” (Mark 5:26; Luke 8:43)?
8. Why did not Jesus select some of these physicians for His medical staff, when He “went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil” (Acts 10:38)?
9. Why did not the apostle James instruct the church, ">Is any sick among you? let him send for a physician”?
10. Why is it that during the first two-and-a-half centuries of the church there was no other than divine healing known in the church?
“I am the Lord that healeth thee.” (Exodus 15:26)
“Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” (Matthew 8:17)
[Jacob W. Byers; The Grace of Healing]
Let us imagine that a sufferer goes to the doctor’s office. He complains of certain physical symptoms. The doctor says, “Well, I can help you with that physical affliction. But I believe in complete healing. How have you been treating your companion lately? Are you at odds with someone whom you need to forgive?”
You can see at a glance, that in the world as we know it, this would never do. The paying public would not put up with it. Such a doctor would not stay in business. Yet, God’s healing plan ties our physical welfare and our social welfare to our spiritual welfare routinely. He constantly deals with the normal frictions of different people getting along by appointing afflictions to get our attention and conditioning divine healing upon us making adjustments as He deals with us.
The medical profession gives men another option for dealing with the appointments of God. By focusing on the fixing of the physical symptoms and ignoring the spiritual lessons in those afflictions, men are largely able to frustrate the purpose of the suffering. God has allowed the medical profession to exist so men have a choice to avoid His direct dealings in their lives. If I choose to deal with my suffering in this way, I pay a penalty in my faith and in my vision of spiritual things; I become poorer in the things of God and more spiritually vulnerable. Let us take note that the sufferings of this life have the ability to move us from God and His will for us. “That no man should be moved by these afflictions.” (1 Thessalonians 3:3) Beware of the moving, the distance between us and God that can result, if our sufferings are not taken with the right attitude and in the right spirit. Yea, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15)
The medical profession deals up close and face-to-face with the horrible realities of physical death and awful pain. Anyone who deals with such terrible realities needs a great deal of grace to keep their perspective, to be wise and understanding what is the will of God (Ephesians 5:17). Most doctors and nurses have been completely destroyed in whatever faith in God they once possessed. They have faith in certain human methods and the result of human research, but prayer for most of them is, at best, a last resort, and is anything but the prayer of faith that brings healing and deliverance from the Almighty. It is sobering to trace the persistence of infidel persuasion among doctors. There is something about dealing with human suffering without a lot of help from God that leaves one open, sooner or later, to the utter destruction of faith. Satan is well aware of this opening and exploits it fully. Especially today, with and because of the apparent success of many medical attempts, a close examination will reveal a great amount of unbelief in God. There is certainly little praising of God in the medical profession. There is certainly very little in terms of giving Him credit, even when He does interfere and works miracles and mercies to human sufferers in the hands of the great temples and lesser temples of unbelief—even the hospitals and clinics of the medical profession. These places are alien to the Biblical approach to affliction.
“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:13-16)
This spiritual process does not start with calling the elders for prayer and depending on their walk with God to get results; it starts with the one who is afflicted. He is to pray. He is to consider (Ecclesiastes 7:14). He is to face the fact that this is an appointed test for him. What lessons lie behind the affliction? What is God after in his life? What adjustments need to be made? When we pray according to the mind of God, He hears us, and our faith is inspired. It is time to share the burden and the inspiration with others who also believe in and are living up to God’s healing plan. It is time to pursue the prayer of faith, an inspired prayer—inspired of the Holy Ghost—that will bring about the results that God had in mind from the beginning of the affliction process. When done according to the mind of God, great spiritual benefit is experienced by all, including the sufferer. If sins have been committed, “they shall be forgiven him.” Confession of faults, a great humbling. The ability to effectively intercede for each other. A wonderful spiritual outpouring, bringing rejoicing and benefit in every direction. We are continually amazed at how much mileage God can get out of a test of affliction. “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Now where is the doctor in all this? Where is his scientific approach? Where is the need for analytical reasoning? How does he and his approach affect faith in God?
A brother was very sick. As he suffered on the bed, he was praying. He began to feel that the Lord wanted him to get up and lie down on another bed in the room. He could see no point to doing so. But the impression kept coming, and finally, after considerable struggle to arise and get to the other bed, he was able to do so. He had done so simply out of obedience; he could perceive no reason by human wisdom for the change. But after he had managed to obey (with considerable personal difficulty), he immediately fell into a deep and restful sleep. When he awoke, he was healed. There was a closeness in his heart to God. The Lord had sanctified the trial to him. It became an Ebenezer to him— “hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:12)
These kind of experiences cannot be reduced to a textbook. They cannot become a formula or a code. How can it be taught in medical school? It is highly unlikely that moving from one bed to another when sick will bring the same result. And this is so like the Lord. There is something about God’s dealings with us that help us avoid getting into a rut. In the Old Testament record, God varied constantly how He helped them fight their battles. Sometimes they just sang songs. Sometimes they assaulted the walls. Sometimes they set ambushments. Sometimes they were helped by hornets. The one constant is that they benefitted, both physically and spiritually, by the reality of God helping them. God’s way of doing so was such that they put their faith in Him, rather than in His methods.
With regard to putting your affliction in the hands of the doctor and attempting to work with him, I would beg of you to ponder these words:
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)
Let us abhor the wisdom of this world. “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22) It is better to be afflicted and trusting the Lord than to be physically well at the doctor’s hand with the spiritual sorrow that comes with receiving a way of healing that is not of God.
But of course, the increase of knowledge and the attendant results does not limit itself to the areas of sickness and affliction.
A sister was having a Bible study with a group of mothers and their children. One of the children said, “If I do wrong, then God is bigger than me. Because He is so big, He makes up for me being bad.” The sister started to tell the child the truth: “Even though God is bigger than us, He does not remove from us the responsibility for living right; He simply wants us to serve Him by choosing to ask Him for help to live right.” As she started to say this, she noticed the mother of the child shaking her head at her. Instantly there flashed through her mind a statement of worldly wisdom. The child was an adopted child with an “attachment disorder.” The sister was trained in the vocabulary of worldly wisdom concerning parenting, and one of the principles of that wisdom held that one should never contradict the mother of the child in the presence that child, even if the mother was wrong. The mother was signaling to the sister that she had taught the child what the child was saying, and she was signaling the sister not to tell the child the truth. The sister was confused. In an act of moral cowardliness, she did not tell the truth. She hemmed and hawed in such a way that the issue was obscured. And in doing so, the Spirit of God convicted her that she was not doing right. The issue had been raised in front of other little children, who were all in the process of forming their convictions and values. She failed them. She failed the mother who had been teaching false doctrine to the child. She failed that child. And she failed God.
She did repent of her moral cowardliness. But I want to examine the reasons behind the failure. She failed because of the effect of a certain piece of worldly wisdom; she did not realize that it was worldly wisdom; she thought it was a statement of fact.
There was a time when these things had not been closely studied and documented. There was a time when no one knew what was meant by such a phrase as “attachment disorder.” People have suffered from moral cowardliness all down through the centuries, of course; but there is a certain reinforcing of taking the wrong course that can be directly traced to the apparent authority of increased knowledge. It was that principle (a false principle, an undetected false principle—springing from worldly wisdom) that got the sister in trouble with God, and I am most definitely convinced that many other things, commonly taught and received in our time, are traps-in-waiting, too.
Way, way back, far beyond the reach of our immediate comprehension, are the roots that nourish the tree of our general understanding and eventually produce the fruit of what we think we know is so. There was a time when hardly anyone thought in terms of so-called evolution of men from animals. The idea was actually around for centuries (early concepts were taught by Greek philosophers), but it did not take hold of the popular thinking until the middle of the 1800’s. The idea effectively destroys the entire concept of morality and fosters atheism.
Now an enormous, almost unimaginable amount of common, everyday thinking is built on this foundation of unbelief. Among other things, the relationship of parent to child is explained, using modern terminology, and the origins of unbelief in these things do not readily appear. Many people, who would be horrified and shocked to perceive the pagan nature of the beliefs behind the fine words, are attempting to utilize the educational characteristics that originated from these evil roots to understand and deal with things around them. Most of these folks would be appalled to be influenced or associated with the evil and pagan teachings that lie behind the educational wisdom of our day, and reject anything that is understood to be directly tied to unbelief—of course they would be appalled. But the point is that much is indirectly tied to unbelief, and the increasing unbelief of the world throughly permeates all education today (even “Christian” education, more than you might think), except for that education given by the Holy Ghost to the heart. We are up against a flood of unbelief all across the spectrum; we need to get in the Ark of the Holy Ghost. It is nigh well impossible to specify and detail every kind of activity of this sort in human thought today; it is everywhere.
Of that Holy Ghost education, we read, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21) How greatly we need this promise today! If you read the previous verse, you can see that this word speaks to us in our trials and afflictions. Again, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19) Surely we are up against a flood of worldly wisdom and sorely need the Spirit of the Lord to lift up a spiritual standard against our enemy! Jesus told us, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13) And then we read in 1 John 2:27, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” There is no other way to abide in Christ but by the influence of the anointing of the Holy Ghost. Nothing else will do. All other ground is sinking sand. In the enduing and infilling of the Holy Ghost is our only hope.
One of the common failures of the various holiness movements has been a lack of consecration to be willing to know only as much as God would have us know—no more than that and no less than that. This is directly contrary to the world’s maxim: “Be all that you can be.” Instead, the guiding principle of a saintly life is, “Be all that God would have you be.”
“Oh, make of me what Thou wilt have me to be,
As clay is, so I am to Thee;
Just fashion me to Thine own pleasure,
Till Thou shalt Thine own image see.”*
This is the very heart and essence of a life totally surrendered to God. This is how the Lord Jesus yielded Himself to God the Father when He was in the flesh. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8) The will of God took Him in a direction completely contrary to the natural aspirations of His fleshly life, and the will of God, working without hindrance in your life, will bring you squarely to this consecration: to be willing to know only as much as God would have you to know, no more than that and no less than that.
With some, the brothers and sisters of “low degree,” their lack of education will lead to a coming up from their low state (James 1:9). They are too low; they need to come up. Some are illiterate and cannot read or comprehend the Bible. They need to come up. Others have wasted their educational opportunities to the extent that they need to come up. Still others have been cheated of a decent education in literacy. If they come up as God would have them come up, there will be a blessing and a rejoicing in their education from God. “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22) This is not the blessing of just self-satisfaction and self-gain; this is the blessing of the Lord. Its characteristic is that it makes rich with the true riches; there is not sorrow, but holy rejoicing that attends it. The same blessing that brings them up will also draw the line between what God wants them to have and the exercise in great matters that are too high for them (Psalm 131:1). “Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted.” (James 1:9)
But with others, including most of us in this age of knowledge, we are not brethren of low degree in knowledge; we are wealthy in knowledge. We need to come down. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” (1 Timothy 6:17) This speaks of earthly riches such as money, lands, possessions, etc., but its application goes further than that. It goes to all that God gives us or allows us to have. “If riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” (Psalm 62:10) It is the setting of the heart upon them—the ambition of the heart—that brings highmindedness. This word is used in 2 Timothy 3:4, translated from a Greek word that meant “to be beclouded,” as in smoke or vapour. It is to lose sight of the perspective of truth (from God’s standpoint) and to be puffed up. “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” (1 Corinthians 8:2) It is to know many things without grace, rather than to know them as is proper and appropriate, according to the wisdom and will of God Almighty. It is the most common and deadly characteristic of all worldly education.
The only way to escape this deadly highmindedness is to humble way down—to be made low. “But [let] the rich [rejoice], in that he is made low.” (James 1:10) How low? Just as low as God deems it necessary for you to go to be acceptable to Him. With the Apostle Paul, it came to this: “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Philippians 3:7-8) God can use knowledge in us, if it is consecrated and we have been humbled sufficiently to count it but dung, but otherwise, it beclouds and obscures, puffs and distorts. It is the intent of Satan in this age of knowledge to leave a large portion of humanity highminded with knowledge to the extent that they cannot serve God acceptably.
A sister had in mind to help other sisters with childbirth. She perceived the oppression of the medical establishment, their lack of respect for the desire of God’s children to completely trust Him, and she wanted to qualify herself as a young woman to be of real assistance, so she went to college to study and to be qualified to be licensed as a nurse. She was asked if her knowledge of medicine and medical procedures had hurt her faith, and she was honest enough to reply that she felt it had. It took time and effort to get up to this level of secular knowledge, so to speak, and it would be even harder to be made low and come down. She was honest in her efforts to help others, especially young mothers, but she could give them very little that really helped their faith. Their strength in their extremity was to trust God without understanding what was going on, but this sister (and others like her) understood too much about what was going on (or seemed to be going on) and this got in the way of trusting Him that was invisible and who hid Himself in His doings for our good. The focus shifted to what she knew, and wisdom in nursing care became more and more predominant in her cases. Those who worked with her began to trust her as their authority with predictable effects on their faith in God. At the same time, they all clung to “not going to the doctor,” for they wanted to “trust the Lord.” Things did not go well for them. God did not give them many victories.
The problem was that the sister knew more things than God wanted her to know. Now it is time to recognize that all this knowledge is largely useless, at least in the context with which she was taught it. It is not that it is all false. Just as Paul knew (or thought he knew) a lot of things that proved that Jesus and Christianity was not the truth, this sister needed to be taught and re-taught by the Holy Ghost how God goes about the business of healing and withholding healing from those who trust their bodies, their souls, and all other things exclusively and completely into His hands. Her education badly needs a thorough Holy-Ghost slant and perspective; it needs spiritual remodeling; it needs Holy Ghost renovation. By the time that the Holy Ghost had re-taught Paul the Old Testament, the brother took out of his treasure chest old things and new, and so it always proves to be the case when God teaches us. What a shift there is when a worldly-educated man (doctor, lawyer, politician, businessman, etc., or for that matter, a self-opinionated know-it-all, a man that is wise in his own conceit, or just your average educated man or woman or today)—what a shift there is when one such humbles himself or herself before Him who knows all, and is taught of God! Let the rich rejoice in that he is abased under the mighty hand of God. Surely the blessing of the Lord makes rich and He adds no sorrow to it, whether I must be raised or I must be lowered! Praise God. “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 40:4-5)
I would rather have just a little piece of true knowledge in God than the sweeping sophistication of a mountain of worldly perception, and I would rather face the most deadly and taxing battle of faith with that one little piece of true faith than to rest upon anything else. Yea, “let God be true, but every man a liar.” (Romans 3:4) “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” (Psalm 46:2-3) Peter says we have been given “a more sure word of prophecy,” and I rejoice that we are also given a more sure word of faith, too.
Satan has used a lack of consecration to know just what God would have us to know, no more and no less, to gradually infiltrate the stands that saints have taken in the name of the Lord. After a while, a spiritual stand begins to look ridiculous, even absurd, as worldly wisdom and knowledge gradually get a hold. Sister Jarvis, writing allegorically, put it like this:
Mr. Policy thereupon was given the freedom of the pulpit. Now he, like his father, Beelzebub, was very expert at twisting scriptures. His first sermon was, “That your faith may stand in the wisdom of men” [compare 1 Corinthians 2:5]. He showed how many of the customs of the faithful ones were neither according to the wisdom of men, nor common sense. Then in his witty way he held up some of their peculiar views to great ridicule, saying, “Where is your scripture for this? See, you are doing this, and have given up that for no reason whatever.” Many, quite forgetting that the Word cannot be understood properly except by the Spirit, began to consider it from a human standpoint and were thus persuaded by him.
After you have listened to some worldly wisdom and received it, it seems fitting and appropriate to you to have a worldly career, provide comfortably for a family, and set up a comfortable retirement. When these goals seem to require college degrees, the gain seems worth the pain. But after a while, your life and the consecrated lives portrayed in the Bible do not match. You cannot really say from the heart, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) I have gospel news for you. You are going to have to renounce “the work of them that turn aside”; you will have to say, “It shall not cleave to me.” (Psalm 101:3) There is more to this than just saying, “Well, I won’t be educated by the TV, then.” Or, “I just won’t go to college!” You can get the worldly values that are preached night and day on the TV without having the device in your home. You can self-educate yourself as much or more than any college student. You can doctor yourself. It will have to go deeper than that if you are to “hate the work of them that turn aside.” You will have to go to the roots of your being. You will have to plead for that purity of heart that Jesus had, that holy dedication to the will of God, if you really want to escape this world and its sure and certain condemnation before God.
Now if you are still messing around with the world and keeping wicked things before your eyes (such as the TV and the like), be assured that evil communications do indeed corrupt good manners, and you will not escape unscathed. Merely abstaining from going to the doctor will not give you faith in God, but you can be sure, that if you do go, what faith you may still have will be damaged. You will not be saved by avoiding these worldly influences, but you will be corrupted by allowing them access to you.
But let us go back to the release of fleshly knowledge in our age and its subsequent destruction of faith. Why did God do it then? Why did God allow fleshly knowledge to increase, if He knew it would only benefit us in fleshly ways that would destroy faith and provide a perfect breeding environment for more sin than ever?
Because of His justice. The great day of final judgment will address every excuse, every line of reasoning that has ever surfaced. One of these arguments will be: “You always held us down. You did not let the necessary understanding come to us for us to govern ourselves. If You had let us in on what You know about this world and ourselves (in a fleshly sense), then we could have made it on our own, without You. Therefore, You are not fair; You have not done right by us.” So, the justice of God has preempted this argument. He has allowed knowledge to increase in the end of the world. And it is proving to be a deadly scourge to us, a preliminary judgment; for instead of helping us to conquer our enemies, it proves to be of great assistance to our foe. Truly the salvation of man is not through advanced knowledge. If before this great release of fleshly understanding, the world knew not God through fleshly wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:21), then now they know Him even less. It is the mercy of God that this great flood of fleshly knowledge was not released on the world before now. What we have on hand today is one of the deadly perils of the last days. There is a way through all this that is possible to follow by the guidance of the Spirit of God, but it is more dangerous to make a pilgrimage in our age than it has ever been at any age of the world. The perilous times have come, folks. They are here. We are up against the full spiritual weapons of mass destruction of a final Armageddon. These weapons are very effective, hardening and deceiving all around us.
We are here in the age of knowledge. It is not going to go away and leave us alone. We have this peril to contend with. How we do go about our own education? How do we teach our children? What should we abhor and avoid at all cost? What should we pursue?
—To be continued