In the year of our Lord 2013, March. The winds have calmed. The sun is up, and some visitors are about the island.
Tea and bread is being served in the great room.
After all, said the American visitor to our holy island, everyone has their own interpretation of the Bible, right?
Well, yes, that’s true. Anyone can believe anything he likes, and even thinks he knows what the Bible says…according to his own understand-his learning, I replied.
I said, But you must know, my friend, that there is only one, true understanding, one interpretation, the way God meant His written word to be understood.
How’s that? he said.
Like any other book written to be understood in its most simple, normal, usual, literal sense, that’s how. God did not write to confuse people, or place secret hidden meanings between paragraphs that only the most lofty and learned of men could know. What God had man write by His Holy Spirit was the record of things past, present, and future. He meant it as He wrote it; to be understood by a believer who puts his mind, heart, and soul to study the Scriptures, giving it your quiet time, and read every day.
If you approach it as a scoffer, a wrestler of words, one who wants to make it something it is not, to try to prove it wrong, or add things that aren’t there, then you might as well forget it and put it on the shelf to gather dust!
But in your heart, like the kid in a candy store, you know it to be God’s truth of what He wanted to tell us, the good, the bad, and the ugly, then you will know and eagerly want to read on, and on, and on. It shall begin to take hold, and a warmth will fill you, you shall truly see, and it shall cause an emotional response. It shall make you want to seek Him. There will be questions to be sure, but humbly go to Him in prayer with your requests. Honor the Bible; stand up for the Bible. Let it never be spoken ill against in your presence! This is God’s love to you; love Him back by reading His written word…and believe what He has written.
The confusion of understanding has its roots.
Who were “the allegorists ” (alligators) who undermined the normal interpretation of Scripture?
As mentioned, it started with the Greeks, who passed it on to the Jews, many of them, who desired to make “controversial accounts” in the Holy Scripture, at least in their eyes, more tasteful to their listeners.
One then took up the banner, a Jewish philosopher named Philo, who interpreted the plain, natural meaning of Scripture that was left was so far out there, that it didn’t make sense!
In the early church, Origin followed this line of thinking of seeking to find hidden spiritual meaning in just about every paragraph and verse. He argued that, “if no spiritual significance is found on the surface of a Bible passage, it may be concluded that the verses are to be taken symbolically.”
From the School at Alexandria, in a very short time, moving away from the early church fathers, he “made allegory the dominant method of biblical interpretation down to the end of the Middle Ages.” Truly, this was a most desperate effort to avoid the plain meaning of Scripture.
But where do these thoughts of the most learned men in history come from? Who is the great deceiver, the liar? Who is the arch-enemy of God? Who is it that wants to twist God;s word, or make them mean something else: thus try to pull you further from God, but closer to him? God is not the author of confusion. But, for this they were born.
Even the great St. Augustine, one of our revered church fathers, followed Origin. “He interpreted the non-prophetic Scriptures literally and the prophetic allegorically.” He consistently spiritualized most portion of the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ. And this deeply affected the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformers…sadly, most of the Church today!
But his one chief work, Augustine’s “City of God,” the Book of Revelation was to be understood as a spiritual allegory.” This has had a powerful influence on the Church, from the highest to the lowest leaders, and to the people themselves.
And so it was taught: the Millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ, that had begun with the birth of Christianity and was fully realized in the Church. And this at once became orthodox doctrine!
No wonder the confusion; no wonder false, incorrect teaching in the Church. No wonder.
Help us, O Lord. May you seek His holy Spirit to guide you in all truth. May the prophecies that announced the First Coming of our Lord Jesus, understood as happened “literally,” may this same literal meaning be applied to the as yet unfulfilled prophecies of the future events of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ the Messiah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Amen.