Does God Keep Secrets?

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!

Parashah Nitzavim (You are Standing) Deuteronomy 29:9 – 30

Moshe is continuing his Third Discourse and telling the people there, both native born and those who are also members of the community, that they are not the only ones standing before the Lord that day to renew their covenant. He says that this covenant will be to them and to their descendants. He warns them about becoming self-righteous and turning away from God when they have been satisfied and blessed, and turning to other gods. He tells them that apostasy and rebellion will result in they’re being ejected from the land, but (as follows most promises of punishment) he also says that once they return wholeheartedly to the Lord, God will regather them and then punish the nations that had hated them.

When I read 29:28 I was reminded about God’s magnificence and His awesomeness. That verse says, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

What are the “secret things” that Moshe talks about? The Chumash says they are the secret things of the sin and that what is revealed to us is the judgement for that sin.

I wouldn’t argue with that, but I think it can mean something else.

My Aunt is dying; I found out last night she is (essentially) brain dead from an accidental fall and either tonight or tomorrow we will be flying to New Jersey to attend her funeral. She has attended a Conservative Synagogue that has done some things I would say are more designed to be politically correct than keeping to God’s word, and whether or not she knew her Messiah I am not sure. I had talked with her about it often when we were together (she read my book) and her mind was open to hearing about Yeshua, but as far as I know she never confessed her belief in Yeshua. Her feelings and beliefs about Yeshua and God, for that matter, were secrets that only God knew.

I think that is what Moses is talking to us about. God knows the secrets of our hearts, most likely better than we do (in fact, I am sure of that) and He alone will know whether or not someone is saved. We can’t know that, but we can see what is revealed.

The lesson I have learned is that what is revealed is not always the truth. Look at some of the TV Evangelists in the last decade or so- PTL  founder Jim Bakker was a crook; do you remember Jimmy Swaggart crying on television about his affairs with prostitutes? And the Catholic church problems with sexual molestation. And there was a Rabbi in New Jersey years ago that murdered his wife to continue an affair he had been having. Until these secret sins had been revealed, what we saw was righteousness and people to respect and admire. What had been revealed to us were two different truths, so which was really true?

Both were true, in a sense, because what we saw that was good was good, and later what we saw that was bad was bad. While the “good” was being revealed God kept the secret “bad” to Himself, and did so until He felt it was time to reveal it. That means that what may seem “bad” to us might have some secret “good’ still not revealed. Some secrets He has revealed, others He has not. We will never know what is true and what is not with regards to people, whether that be what they say, what they do, whatever (remember what I always say: people don’t mean what they say, they mean what they do.) We have to accept what we see, and trust in God that what we do not see is known to Him and will be revealed, in His perfect time.

This doesn’t mean don’t believe anything you see or hear (but you probably shouldn’t.) I am saying, or trying to say, that we need to trust God for everything, and to also trust ourselves when we call on the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, to give us insight. The secret things are known to God, and His spirit can reveal these things to us; things that our human senses and human eyes cannot see. Always test for yourself what you are told.

Reading God’s word lets us know what is right and what is wrong, and trusting the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us will help us to see what is not revealed to others.

We can never know the inner secrets of someone’s heart; I think most people don’t even know their own heart. God does. And we should trust Him that whatever the truth is, He will know it, and it will be revealed when, and if, it needs to be.

The final lesson I have today is at the end of this parashah, which (I think) fits in with the above: the last verse of Chapter 30 is Moses telling the people that he is presenting to everyone life and death, the blessings and the curses, and for the people to choose life (obedience) so they may live long in the land God swore to the Patriarchs. The choice is ours to make; we can’t always know why some people choose to obey and why others choose to rebel, and we don’t know what is truly in the hearts of anyone. I have seen people who do not consider themselves Christian/Born Again act in ways that are more godly and Torah-observant than professed Christians. Are these people saved? I don’t know, but God does. God knows the secret things, and we should choose to obey God and not concern ourselves with trying to seek out those secrets He has kept to Himself. If they need to be revealed, He will when He is good and ready to do so.

When we lose loved ones, do not fret over their eternal fate, because you cannot be sure what it is and it is too late to do anything about it. Everyone has the right to choose, and they have had plenty of opportunity during their life to do so. Yes, I get sad thinking about all the loved ones I have already lost that I am pretty sure did not choose life, and I worry for the ones that are still alive who haven’t made their commitment to God and accepted Yeshua as their Messiah, the one God promised, and done so of their own accord. So many people I care about that have been raised a Gentile and told about Jesus, and told so many lies about salvation and Torah, and who don’t know the word of God at all, but believe (from what they have been told their whole life) that they are saved when they never really asked for it, themselves. Are they really saved?

I can’t say- it’s one of those secret things. What I choose to believe is that, based on what I read in the Bible, we have until our very last breath, until that final blip before the flat line on the machine, to accept God, Yeshua, and be saved. Do we get that one, last chance? Does God reveal Himself to the comatose, to the ones who have no responses to this world, and give them that one last opportunity to choose life?

I like to think He does, but that is one of those secret things that only God knows, and it won’t be revealed to us until we are with the Lord. So don’t drive yourself crazy thinking about it, trust in God, and concentrate on your walk with Him.