Gnosticism. Many of you have heard of this, and many of you probably have a better definition than the one I am going to give, but essentially it is the heretical idea that the world was created by an imperfect spiritual being, and there is a hidden, special knowledge we must find in order to be saved.
Too many people who are NOT Gnostic still try to figure out what special meaning, or hidden messages there may be in God’s Word.
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We see this all the time: people use the numerical value of the Hebrew letters to create some quirky relationship or algorithm to show what something really means (there are some numerological relationships that are legitimate), or they pull passages out of context to form a message that doesn’t exist on its own, or sometimes they just interpret something the way they want to in order to justify that it means what they want it to mean.
The Bible does confirm that God has secrets: we are told in Deuteronomy 29:29 that
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”
And Yeshua told us in Matthew 24:36, regarding the End Days:
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
So clearly there are things God doesn’t want us to know, which begs the question: “If God doesn’t want us to know something, should we try to figure it out, anyway?”
If you’re asking me (and even if you’re not), I would not want to try to figure out something that God doesn’t want me to know. If for no other reason, it is disrespectful to God. If you have a secret, and a friend or acquaintance keeps bothering you to find out what it is, doesn’t that tend to piss you off a little? Don’t you feel somewhat insulted that they ignore your feelings and keep trying to get you to do something you don’t want to do? Don’t you think God might, even with his compassionate understanding and tremendous patience, get a little impatient with people that keep trying to get him to reveal that which he doesn’t want to reveal?
In the Gospels, now and then Yeshua told things straight from the shoulder (especially when chiding the Pharisees), but he also taught using parables very often, which confused many people. Why would he do that? Is it possible that God wanted to keep secret the things of the Kingdom so that people wouldn’t understand what he was saying to them?
I believe that Yeshua talked in parables because we have Free Will; let me explain what I mean. Having the ability and opportunity to make up our own minds inherently requires us to think about what we do. Of course, so many people do without thinking, but that doesn’t change the fact that God allows us to decide for ourselves, and we are so easily led astray (just like sheep, right?) that he didn’t just give us a simple and easily understood lesson about the Kingdom of God, but instead he is making us think about it. God wants us to decide to be a member of his kingdom, and not because someone told us we have to be or we should be. He wants us to decide, for ourselves, that we want to be in his kingdom.
The warnings about following Yeshua are plain enough- if you want to join with Yeshua you need to deny yourself and pick up your execution stake, then you can walk with him (Luke 9:23.) In other words, being a follower of Yeshua is no walk in the park.
If you find yourself asking many questions, that is fine. I also like to know as much as I can about the Bible, God and what he wants from us. and I have nothing against the study of the Bible, which should be accompanied by a study of the historical and cultural mores of the times to properly understand what is written. We need to know the cultural and historical meaning of the words used, and their connotation at that time.
But I stop asking when it comes to things that are not clearly stated. The clearest statements we have and all we really need to know is what Yeshua said (love God and each other) and what God had Micah (6:8) tell the people what he expected from them- to love mercy, to act justly, and to walk humbly with God.
When we start dissecting passages and using numerology to justify what we think God is saying, we are treading a dangerous pathway that will only lead us to Gnosticism, which is the express route to faithlessness. Yes- Gnosticism is, to me, the path to faithlessness because the more we try to understand what we aren’t told, the less we are accepting of what we have been told.
Read the Bible every day; learn what God wants from you; study the people, the times, the languages in order to better understand what is written; but do not try to learn what God has kept hidden for himself, and that would be anything that isn’t written down. If God wants you to know something that isn’t clearly stated, he will give you a revelation.
We should all just trust God to tell us what we need to know, and we shouldn’t pry into his personal business.
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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!