Philosophy of God
Ray Waugh, Sr.
It is with unending thanks to our Heavenly Father who has made possible the printing of "THE PHILOSOPHY OF GOD" in this year of 1990, my 75th, that I send this word forth!
Across these years,
- He has blessed me with an earthly Father, one in the faith, whom I cannot remember because he died a little more than a month before I became two;
- a Christian Mother whose faith is ever present in all of any good that I may have done or that I may yet do;
- a dear Sister whose commitment to Christ Jesus for 25 years put the faith of most of us to shame;
- a beloved Wife whose dedication to the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ was a daily inspiration through all of the years of our marriage and whose testimony yet rings clearly in my heart and mind;
- and two handsome Sons who move me with thanksgiving most every hour of every day of my life which I pray that I may live to the praise, the honor, and the glory of our Heavenly Father, of His Son and our savior, and of the Holy Spirit who makes every moment to be an earthly delight, and who provides constant assurance that our Heavenly delight will be even more wonderful.
For these more than 50 years in which by His Grace I have experienced a personal relationship with God, it has been my joy to live fully.
Always, however, since that happy day when our God enabled me to believe on His Son — even before those dark days of W.W.II — I have anticipated the eternal joy which we shall know when we see our Savior "Face to Face"; that eternal moment wherein "We shall know as we are known, seeing Him as He is"!
The timely and the timeless reality which these fail to comprehend is that which we find so effulgently detailed in the everlasting words, "Christ being come as an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us…Now once in the end of the world He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself…So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto those who look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb. 9:11-12, 26, 28).
In their speculative and unscriptural philosophizing, men discredit or discount that which we have just read concerning Sacrifice. Instead, they glory in the useless sacrifices of their own human design. In their desire to continue "sacrifices" of some sort without any regard to God's Holy Word, they reject the Scriptural teaching that the Definitive Sacrifice — even that of Jesus — has been made. As they pursue their own unscriptural and God-condemned sacrifices, men must ignore completely the Word, "By His own blood, He entered once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" and "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto those who look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb. 9:12, 28). In following their own human philosophies, men, needless to say, miss completely "The Philosophy of God."
What we are noting, was not done in some obscure corner of the human experience. Rather, even as long ago as that hour wherein Cain cried, "Am I my brother's keeper?" we find him missing the call of God. Cain supposed he could bring to God "the fruit of his labors," and that God would be pleased thereby. Cain supposed that he could have some persuasion with God as he brought the evidences of his fleshly efforts, indulging, if you will in "the glory" of some past human experience. Cain, however, had refused to realize that "all of our righteousness are as filthy rags" or that "all of our righteousness are as polluted garments," even then."
Men today attempt to recover or to recoup the past fame or the past successes of some mortal man or some mortal men who have gone before. In doing so, they, forget that word, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all of our righteousness are as filthy rags" (Is. 64:6). The philosophies of men to which most religious men and all others must appeal in our day are for time and for eternity forever condemned by the words, "As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understand, there is none who seek after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no not one" (Rom. 3:10-12).
God And His Enlightenment
If I am understanding the Scriptures correctly, this is the problem with which Lot's wife was struggling. In fact, we might say that as she took one last look at Sodom, she was attempting to recover or to recoup the past. This, of course, was a fatal look, and that attempt to recover or to recoup the past always is a fatal look. The Scriptures make it evident that Lot's wife could have had a future with her husband and with her children as one who would escape the fires of God's Judgment. Though she did escape the judgment, she moved to satisfy her fleshly self and her fleshly eyes by an appeal to some of her yesterdays. Consequently, instead of a temporal future of satisfaction and an experience of rest which God could have provided, she became "a pillar of salt"! Since then, she has memorialized the failures of men and their philosophies, and their continual folly of "seeking" the glory, the fame, or the successes of the past.
This may be one of the messages that Jesus is attempting to impress upon our hearts with His words in another circumstance. He is not dealing with our salvation. Rather, it seems to me that He is dealing most exactly with our service in His words, "No one who sets his hand to the plough and then keeps looking back is fit for the kingdom of God" (Lu. 9:62).
We need to recall, also, the words of the Apostle Paul. He explains the folly of supposing that past moments of "fame" or the past "successes" of men can be of benefit to us in our present and in our anticipated service to God. This one who wonderfully involved himself in the present and in the future with "I know in whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day" demonstrates most graphically the folly of our looking to the past. He does this with those words that we have noted already, "Every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ." There is double folly in thinking of Christ as one thinks of Paul, of Apollos, or of Cephas because these are mere men. Whereas Jesus is God and our only Savior!
If we can receive it, the philosophies of men which we have seen in some of the above are very much as those philosophies of those who came out of Egypt with Moses at God's command and at the conclusion of their many years of suffering. As Cain before them became both a fugitive and a vagabond subsequent to his attempt to find glory in his past, feeble, human efforts, so these who had been delivered from their 400 years of slavery cried for "the leeks and the garlic" of Egypt. They, too, wanted to return to the past or to recover the past. As a result, their lives became wasted ones as they wandered in "the wilderness," and they died without ever finding the earthly rest which God had promised.
In order to put this in perspective, perhaps it would be well to provide an additional word or two which may help us to grasp the difference between the philosophies of men and "The Philosophy of God" as they are present in our own contemporary world. What we have said concerning Paul, Apollos, and Cephas, we can say concerning some in past millennia such as Abraham, Moses, and David. And what we have said concerning Abraham, Moses, and David, we can say concerning Augustine and Aquinas, Luther and Calvin, Wesley and Campbell, or Scofield and Graves, ad infinitum! Mortal men who follow in the footsteps of mortal men must forever be found wallowing in the intellectual and spiritual ruts which those men have made in the religious milieu of some past moments. All of these without exception are "stumbling into ditches" which their favored predecessors have dug.
These may suppose they experience great freedom!
In reality, however, they become greater slaves!
Whether 6,000 years ago, 4,000 years ago, 2,000 years ago, or today, some 2,000 years later, the philosophies of men continue to provide enslavement, though those involve realize it not. Whereas the message of God, alone, can provide any freedom or any measure of freedom. In those distant days or today, men care not to understand the words of Jesus, "Consider the lilies of the field, they toil not, and neither do they spin, but Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed as one of these" (Mt. 6:29). Therefore, men succumb to their own philosophies, and they never comprehend "The Philosophy of god." The philosophies of men and the glories with which they surround themselves, whether it be of followers, financial accomplishments, structural genius, "miracle and wonder working," or worldly acclaim from the past or in the present cannot have the value even of "the grass" or "the lilies of the field" which tomorrow go into the fire.
Men who delight in their own accomplishments and who find their satisfactions in some past moment of glory may attempt to memorialize themselves or some of their fellowmen or their peers very much as the Jewish people and the Jewish leaders in the day when Jesus walked in the flesh upon the earth. All of their efforts, nonetheless, are as foolhardy as were those of the Jews whose famed and great temple buildings were completely destroyed by an angry, godless, and violent Roman General.
Though men may attempt to raise or to revive a Jerusalem on the site, until Jesus returns that ancient city cannot be recovered, recouped, or rebuilt. On the contrary, that city which today may be called "Jerusalem" is for the moment simply another earthly city in the control of those whose delight is in the philosophies of men. As such it is doomed even now for destruction prior to its resurrection to become the City from which our Returning Savior will reign, as He sits upon David's Throne.
Jesus countered the philosophies of men in the past and He does the same today with His Words, "Before Abraham was, I Am," and "I came not to send peace but a sword." Through the Apostle Paul, God dramatizes for us the folly and the futility of looking to the supposed happiness or the successes of the men of the past in order to have some substance for our living today. We see this most graphically in the words, "But what things were gain for 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" (Phil. 3:7-8).
The Apostle Paul's advice to those of his day is the same as that which he has for us. He dramatizes the folly and the foolishness of the philosophies of men as he explains his own personal philosophy. If I am understanding him correctly, he is advising us that his philosophy really is "The Philosophy of God." His words are most definitive, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14).
The religious leaders and the people of that day missed the message of Jesus and of Paul, just as religious leaders and religious people do now. Although those Jews in that distant day may have supposed that Jesus was striving to undermine their affiliations and their beliefs, He was simply directing their minds and their hearts to "The Philosophy of God" which provides living for the now in God's today in anticipation of life eternal in God's tomorrow. Though those religious leaders and those religious people were thinking that they could somehow recover or recoup the past greatness which Abraham and Moses supposedly experienced, Jesus countered their every such thought with the glorious truth, "Abraham saw my day and was glad" and "Moses prophesied of me"! Had those of that day had the wisdom of Abraham, they, too, would have rejoiced, "seeing His day" and they would have recognized Jesus as "one like unto" Moses!
God And His Prophets
The prophets sang well of, "The Philosophy of God"!
They, then, paid a very high price for their faith!
Moses said, "The Lord, thy God will raise up unto you a prophet from the midst of thee, of your own brethren like unto me; unto Him shall you hearken" (Deut. 18:15). Isaiah, David, Jeremiah, Amos, Daniel, Zechariah, and the other prophets of God were likewise in perfect accord with "The Philosophy of God," in that they lived fully in their day within God's Will and that they sought God's Will for all of their tomorrows. Simeon and John, the Immerser, stated most exactly that the prophets of old also saw Jesus as "The Lamb of God." Also, they saw "the people of God" coming to Him for their temporal and eternal hopes.
Though death was always very much present in sacrifice, the concept of sacrifice ever pointed to that which is ever new. Very simply, the concept of Sacrifice from God's perspective offered the hope of life now and forever through Jesus, the Christ, the perfect "Lamb of God," for those who had been condemned to death because of sin. Such a concept, of course, was and is contrary to all human thinking wherein men live for today, "eating, drinking, making merry, marrying and giving in marriage." Cain could not accept "The Philosophy of God," so it was that he brought "the fruit of his labors" to lay at the Savior's feet; that is, he wanted "his God" to know that he, too, had both created and succeeded.
The thinking that is of faith, however, begins with earth's first martyr. The man Abel came to the place in his life wherein he had to choose between making an attempt to please or to satisfy a Holy God's demand for righteousness with the fruit of his own human and fleshly efforts or that which would be accomplished in accord with the eternal Plan of our omniscient, omnipotent, and a sovereign God. Knowing that he was a sinful mortal and that none of his fleshly works could please God, Abel made his choice. Abel manifested his faith through his "bloody sacrifice" wherein he gave definitive prophecy of the coming Messiah, even the coming Savior.
In looking at tomorrow through the death of his sacrifice, Abel saw the hope of life which would be his through "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." For Abel, needless to say, the slaying of The Lamb of God was yet future, but he saw that glorious accomplishment of God both typically and prophetically in his sacrifice. For us today, the slaying of the Lamb of God on Calvary's Cross is past. Nevertheless, we can see Him as "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." And in our thinking of Him as we participate in the Eucharist, Communion, or The Lord's Supper, "we do show His death until He comes." We have no need, then, to attempt to recover or to recoup the past. Knowing that "the law was our schoolmaster" that brought us to Christ Jesus, we live in the consciousness of His Presence. Then by the ministry of the Holy Spirit in and through the Word of God, we abound in our Lord's Present Advocacy, and we look forward to His Soon Return.
In distant days, some supposed that reconciliation could be effected by the human effort involved in their sacrifices. Resultantly, they repeatedly indulged their religious routines, but they did so without faith in the Coming Messiah. Consequently, all of their religious efforts were wasted and futile ones. Multitudes, even in this hour, do the same because they never have realized that it was "by his own blood that he entered in once into the holy place, and obtained eternal redemption for us." Therefore, they suppose that God is pleased by their repetitious, routine, and unscriptural sacrificing. Having been caught-up in the philosophies of men, these miss both the meaning and the efficacy of the sacrifice of God's Son on Calvary's Cross, and they never have any understanding of "The Philosophy of God."
Thankfully, there were others, however, who sacrificed in faith "as seeing Him who is invisible" and their faith "was counted unto (them) for righteousness." What transpired then, transpires now for some. Since that hour when Jesus hung on the cross of Calvary, "bloody sacrifices" — of whatever sort and by whatever mortal device — have been ended. The typology was and is complete! There is no more need for the types which once were designed as a God-provided prophetic message! Today, there is only that God-provided faith relationship unto salvation. And whether in earth's yesterdays, in earth's today's, or in earth's tomorrows, salvation always is "By God's Grace through faith"; that is, in the Gospel or the Good News of the death, the burial, and the resurrection of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ!
Sadly and tragically, however, there are multitudes today who indulge in what they call the sacrifice of the Eucharist, the sacrifice of the Mass, the sacrifice of the Communion, and the sacrifice of the Lord's Supper. Mortal men who are out of touch with the Lord Jesus Christ who hung in degradation and ignominy upon the Cross of Calvary have the audacity and the brazenry to conclude that unscriptural ritualistic activities of men can have some "saving" emphasis, some "saving" effect, or some "saving" mystique. Most religious leaders and their religious people today suppose such religious rituals to be "sacraments"; that is, they suppose that there is some saving efficacy in the rituals for all who participate.
As Cain of old, these simply have failed to grasp the purpose and the plan of God as they have indulged themselves in the philosophies of men. As participants in the philosophies of men and thereby in the religious rituals of men which give the priority to the human accomplishments, these indicate their distaste for the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus. Thereby, these call upon God to succumb before or to accede to their human religious designs and their human religious efforts. They are "Cain's" everyone! Their delight is in the "works of man's hands" — not in the Work which Jesus accomplished upon His Cross.
As the philosophy of Nimrod of old, the philosophies of men continue and then climax in "Kingdom Building"! In every generation, most religious men give themselves to the effort of attempting to "build towers that will reach into heaven." The others find it most needful or seemingly necessary to indulge in "Kingdom Building" right here upon the earth, having concluded that even if our Lord Returns, He will not do so in their lifetime.
"The Philosophy of God," however, begins and ends with one of the definitive statements which Jesus shared with His disciples and which He shares with us even today, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man can come to the Father except by me" (John 14:6). Those who by faith can participate in that which may be called "Communion," the "Eucharist," or the "Lord's Supper," then, are as Abel of old. That is, in their faith-participation in the Scriptural Ritual — it never was a sacrifice — they "Do show the Lord's death until He comes"(I Cor. 11:26), as the Apostle Paul explains.
God And His Saints
The prophets of old were some of the saints of God who saw Jesus as The Messiah, and as the One who would establish His Kingdom forever. In their faith outreach and in their faith upreach, they did not attempt to live in the past. Neither did they attempt to recover or to recoup the supposed glories which some men presumed had transpired in another day. Rather, they lived in the consciousness of the coming Savior's reality, and in the assurance of His ultimate victory both in the world and over the world. These prophets in their days, even as the Apostles in theirs, were aware that Satan was "the god of this world." Having such knowledge, they were aware that Satan was in continual opposition to all that they were attempting to do as they both sought and as they followed the Will of God as they understood it.
At times, the Apostles understood and lived by this wonderful theme in the life, in the ministry, and in the message of Jesus. In one most glorious moment, Peter pointed out to the Jews of his day, "Men and brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch, David, who is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us until this day" (Acts 2:29). Some may use this passage as their proof of what they call "soul sleep," but all who do err greatly. Peter certainly was aware that "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living" (Mt. 22:32). Too, David had explained his understanding of this glorious truth in his words concerning his little one who had died, "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me" (2 Sam. 12:23).
For all of those in his presence, David elaborated on his understanding that his late infant son was not in the ground — though his body was there — but that he was with the Lord. If we can understand this message of God which David is sharing, the message of the Apostle Paul should be most meaningful. What David taught in an early day, the Apostle Paul proclaims doubly in a later one, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8) and "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21).
The message of Peter, then, wonderfully dramatized the folly of those who were attempting to recover or to recoup the past glory of the man David who had died and whose body was yet with them. In truth, God herein is sharing with each of us a trilogy of truth from the lives and from the lips of three of His mortal servants whose only real concern was praise for their Lord.
Peter climactically emphasized that Jesus differed from David in that the man Jesus who had died and the man Jesus who had been buried was no longer dead. Peter is contrasting the man, David, who had died and whose body had stayed in the grave with Jesus who had been raised from the dead. If I am understanding the message of God in this instance, the people who were listening on that day should have understood then — even as we should understand now — that the man Jesus was not a subject pertaining only to yesterday's history as that mortal man David. Rather, as the Scriptures announce for all who have ears to hear and all who have understanding hearts, "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8).
Jesus, the man, had died, and He had been buried. Jesus, the man, however, was no longer dead, and He was no longer buried, as David, the man. Rather, Jesus would wonderfully announce in a later moment, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord; who is and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev. 1:8). Because the man Jesus had been raised from the dead, both David and we have the joyous assurance that we, too, shall be raised similarly in order to abound eternally and that alive, and one day in resurrected bodies, in His Presence!
God shows us this truth wonderfully and effectually!
David says, "Precious…is the death of His saints"!
Later, we find Stephen recounting Jewish history for some waiting ears. Stephen countered the fleshly, human, earthly philosophies of men as he brought to their attention some historical details. He told them of some who had lived in the past and how very foolish they were to put their trust in those dead men. He explained that all of these had died, and that they were still dead as far as their bodies were concerned. Most dramatically, Stephen drew their attention to the folly of mortal men putting their confidence in mortal men.
It is no happenstance that our God has declared for our ears to hear and inscribed for our eyes to see,
- "And all of the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died…
- And all of the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died…
- And all of the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years; and he died…
- And all of the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years; and he died…
- And all of the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred ninety and five years; and he died…
- And all of the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years; and he died…
- And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years; and he died…
- And all of the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years; and he died" (Gen. 5:8-31).
Men who put their confidence in mortal men are indulging in an intellectual process which can issue only in an intensification and an elaboration of the philosophies of men. This is the message of a prophet of another day, "Cursed be the man who puts his trust in man, and who makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like the shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness in a salt land and not inhabited" (Jer. 17:5-6). If our comprehension is sufficient, we should be able to understand that one who is following men or the philosophies of men must eventually "inhabit the parched places in the wilderness."
This certainly is a most graphic picture of the experiences that Cain and the Israelites had as they gave their lives to "wasted wandering." This, perhaps, is a most dramatic picture, also, of most Christians in this Church Age who have given, who are giving, and who will give most of their lives and most of their labors to the satisfying of their flesh rather than in service to God.
Stephen shows us that these religious leaders and these religious people of his day were completely out of touch with "The Philosophy of God." Stephen faced them with the glorious, present, and everlasting truth of the living reality of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. He declared before them, "I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56). It was then that they "gnashed on him with their teeth" and rushed upon him with their weapons of destruction. Stephen was declaring before them His faith in His Risen Lord while those before him were yet concerned to follow and to honor mortal men of the past.
If we have even a measure of understanding, we should be able to realize that this concern for and involvement with mortal men of the past, and their hatred for the Lord of Glory, even the resurrected Jesus was the ultimate issue of the philosophies of men. We can see this, too, in the final suicidal cry of men, "The kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every slave, and every freeman hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb…" (Rev. 6:15-16).
As it was then, so it is now! There can never be any common ground between the philosophies of men and "The Philosophy of God." In God's Economy, there is no place for compromise! Men who are involved in the philosophies of men and who give their lives to following men who are involved in the philosophies of men can find no place in their hearts, in their minds, or in their lives for "The Philosophy of God"! On occasion, these may use the name of Christ Jesus in some traditional emphasis, some academic sense, or even with some religious impact, but they despise His Blood; they despise His Substitutionary Death; they despise His Bodily Resurrection; and they despise His Confidence in The Words of Moses!
It is no marvel, that Genesis 1-11 is hated truth!
Naturally, men cannot delight in the Truth of God!
The philosophies of men ever thrive on the unscriptural and the human contention that there is something glorious in men, that men in the past have attained some measure of greatness, and that men on their own now can obtain some degree of glory. Whereas "The Philosophy of God" begins and ends with our Lord declaring unequivocally, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last…I am He who lives, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore" (Rev. 1:11,18). This Jesus could definitively cry, and His prophets still proclaim before us by their words, "I, even I, am the Lord, and beside me there is no Savior…Thus said the Lord, the King of Israel, and his redeemer, the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me, there is no God" (Is. 43:11, 44:6).
God And His Jews
The Jewish leaders in a distant day delighted to speak of the greatness of Moses, of the Law of Moses, and of what they supposed to be the timeless prestige of some other prophets. Also, they committed themselves to what they viewed as the glory of Israel's past. When Jesus appeared on the worldly scene, He took issue with their contentions. He did this by emphasizing the truth that Moses and the Prophets had done the things which they did in faith in order to bring glory to God and to tell of His Son. Jesus directed their attention most specifically to this truth with several Scriptures.
In one place, we see His reference to David, a man in whom the Jews had a lot of confidence, and in whose memory they often put their trust. We find Jesus recounting the words of David, "The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool" (Mt. 22:44). Here Jesus enables us to know that David had no interest in glorifying himself, and he certainly had no desire that men should glorify the mortal man, David. Instead, David is manifesting his confidence in His Savior who was at the Father's Right Hand even in that hour when David was inspired to pen these words.
In another place, Jesus advised the people of that day that Moses, also, was involved in looking forward to his Savior's coming. We see this in the Words of Jesus where He says, "Search the Scriptures; for in them you think that you have eternal life, and they are they that testify of me" (John 5:39). Jesus follows these words with, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you, even Moses, in whom you trust. For had you believed Moses, you would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if you believe not his writings, how shall you believe my words" (John 5:45-47).
Jesus dramatically finalizes anyone's belief!
If one cannot believe Moses, then he is lost!
In very simple words, Jesus explained to those Jews that if they really believed the words of Moses and the truths which he proclaimed then they would never attempt to memorialize Moses because of any supposed glory that may seem to have accrued to his name. On the contrary, Jesus told them that if they really believed in Moses and in what Moses had said, then they would believe in Him as the Son of God and that they would honor Him as their Lord, even as Moses had many centuries earlier.
Though these Israelites professed to trust in Moses, Jesus told them clearly that their trust was misplaced because the confidence which Moses had was not in some man, and it certainly was not in himself. Jesus was explaining to these unbelieving Jews that Moses had trusted in Him as His Savior, and that Moses had written concerning His coming. It was for this reason that they were advised by Jesus to "Search the Scriptures…(even the words of Moses) for they testified of Him."
Sadly, what was transpiring in the lives of those unbelieving Jews in that day was repeated in all previous generations and it is repeated in all subsequent ones as well. Across the centuries, men have despised "The Philosophy of God." It is the nature of men to be committed to themselves. The natural man can have no interest in God and no concern about the things of God. Being involved in the philosophies of men, "The Philosophy of God" must ever interfere with the glory, the praise, and the prestige which mortal men desire for themselves. And just as the Jews in that day attempted to live by the philosophies of men rather than "The Philosophy of God," so men, today, attempt to do the same.
God And Men's Devices
Without any real fear of being contradicted, we can say that the philosophies of men, even in the realm of religion, ultimately are riddled with crass unconcern. In their Conclaves and in their Conventions, religious leaders had and have an interest only for reports of "what has been done." We may say that men ever think in terms of some past successes, some past prestige, or some past glory with the continuing contention that they must equal or exceed that which they or some others have known. Almost as though it were a human disease, men give themselves to "a memorializing syndrome." Thereby they continue their love of the philosophies of men and their persistent hatred for "The Philosophy of God."
In such conclaves and conventions, if it should appear in a given moment that there is decided improvement statistically over some past moment of greatness there is rejoicing and much praise for one another or at least for those who seem to have been responsible. First, in a memorializing process, their predecessors are praised wonderfully for laying such a vital foundation. Then, the leaders and the led who are involved in turn receive much praise and often much honor from their peers. Finally, as their conclaves and their conventions conclude and they go their separate ways, they return home with their glowing reports of greatness and receive further praise from their fellows.
If, however, statistics fail to show "improvement," "enlargement," or "greater collections," then both the leaders and the led begin looking for some hapless "scapegoats"! Too often, further criticism, analysis, and investigation are ordered to the humiliation of those who supposedly were somehow involved in the failure or the failures. Then, at considerable expense, the gullible, the dutiful, and the uninformed religious hosts in "the sponsoring institution" or in "the sponsoring institutions" are required to "pick up the tab" or bear the cost!
Those who give themselves to such purposeless investigations usually never realize that they have succumbed to the futile philosophies of men. When the final word is in, it will be seen that all such investigations are as useless as "autopsies," and they ultimately are as wasted as mortal man's investigations of "human" and "mechanical" failures. There may be considerable "digging in the putrefactions of the past" in order to supposedly discover where the problem or the problems lie, but they never really learn where or when "the light went out." Nothing that is learned in their digging in the putrefactions of the past ever prevents a continuation of similar human and mechanical failures.
They certainly never bring anyone back from what men call a catastrophe. Though their efforts seemingly may be sincere, all of their "investigative efforts" do not preclude subsequent disasters. Rather, all subsequent disasters only provide the reason, the rationale, and a renewed opportunity for some more "digging in the putrefactions of the past."
In their humanity, men delight in "Ecclesiastical Success"!
But they cannot apply Revelation 2 and 3 to their failures!
In regard to the religious situations, those who dig in the putrefactions of the past never discover "a spark of life" which will ensure future growth or future success. As the hierarchically-organized Jews of old, the hierarchical leaders of our day and their dutiful and brainwashed hosts simply determine to draw the lines tighter around their ingrained unscriptural teachings. Then they take it upon themselves to make plans to "crucify" all who have the audacity to take a Scriptural stand against them.
As slaves to the philosophies of men, those who attempt to recover or to recoup some past moment of glory and then move to memorialize it in the present often use their understanding of it as a basis for future evaluation and judgment. Whether God is involved in what they are doing is unimportant to them. Whether Christ Jesus has been glorified, or whether He is being glorified likewise is of no real concern. Anyone who has ever been involved with such unscriptural religious and pragmatic politicisms of men is aware that these have absolutely no regard as to whether the Word of God is read honestly or whether the Lord Jesus is served faithfully.
Without exception, all such are worldly shows!
They have one repetitious cry, "What is Truth?"
God And His Goals
Among mortal men, always more money, more members, and more organization are set as their "inspiring goals" and as the basis for their dedication! All such efforts of men manifest fully the philosophies of men. It should be understandable, therefore, that there is never any place in those plans of men for the Word of God, for the Will of God, or for "The Philosophy of God." Such men ever "speak of the Word of God" or they may "speak to the Word of God" as they follow the philosophies of men, but their lives and their labors will be without any real faith in the Word of god.
Being involved in the philosophies of men, these usually have no interest whatever in seeking an understanding of the Word of God, and they have no desire to speak from the Word of God. They are as some in that distant day to whom Jesus personally said, "You hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, 'This people draw near to me with their mouth, and they honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Mt. 15:7-9).
It may appear at times that there is a concentration of intention that is supposedly directed to the Call and to the Cause of the Lord Jesus Christ. Always, however, that concentration of intention which is designed of men and for men will be found to be related to the philosophies of men — not to "The Philosophy of God"! And with no regard for the Scriptural design of God, the religious leaders and the religious who are being led are not averse to resorting continually to the worldly and the unholy attitude, "the end justifies the means." They will do this in order to ensure a fuller measure of worldly success before men and to provide themselves some cause for "bragging" or boasting in some future religious conclaves or conventions.
One never hears from their mortal lips that word of the Apostle Paul who, after he had given most of his life in the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ, could cry, "Oh, wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?" (Rom. 7:24). Neither does one hear from their mortal lips, "I thank God that I immersed none of you, but Crispus and Gaius…And I immersed also the household of Stephanas, besides, I know not whether I immersed any other. For Christ sent me not to immerse, but to preach the Gospel…" (I Cor. 1:14,16-17). Here was a man who was committed to "The Philosophy of God." Men who are committed to the philosophies of men, however, are known today, and they have been known in the past by the numbers of those whom they supposedly have "baptized" or influenced religiously!
God is absolute, in condemning "numbering for strength"!
Most men, tragically, despise this great concern of God!
The Scriptures are very clear concerning the fact that God is never pleased with "the numbering of one's hosts" in order to provide some basis for "bragging" or boasting in order to ensure some measure of fleshly success before one's fellowmen. Ever, the practices of men as they follow the philosophies of men issue in a process of numbering those upon whom they presume they can depend. God makes it rather obvious, however, that all such efforts of men are contrary to His Interests and to His Will.
In fact, without any great difficulty, we may determine that all such numbering has been, is now, and for all of time will be contrary to "The Philosophy of God". The Scriptures are absolute in this regard! We read in the Word of God that such a practice — whether it be done in the least of the religious institutions or whether it be done in the greatest of the religious institutions — is wholly satanic. God advises us that such "numbering" of one's hosts is an "enticement" of Satan.
The words of Scripture are exact. First, God explains the origin of such a practice in, "And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked (enticed) David to number Israel" (I Chron. 21:1). Second, Joab stood up against King David with his questions, "The Lord make his people an hundred times as many more as they are; but, my Lord the king, are they not all my Lord's servants? Why, then, doth my lord require this thing? Why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel?" (I Chron. 21:3). Joab, nevertheless, in loyalty to King David, went forth and counted more than one million five hundred thousand. Sadly, however, David had not yet had occasion to learn that glorious truth of which the Apostle Paul speaks when he says, "When I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Cor. 12:10).
As we read, David's God "was displeased with this thing; therefore, He smote Israel" (I Chron. 21:7). David responded humbly and repentantly before God's displeasure. We have David's words, "I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing. But now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly" (I Chron. 21:8).
Once, David sinned greatly, and it cost him the life of his little one. This, however, was not the end of his punishment. In addition to this trying experience, his sinfulness issued in a continuing plague in his own personal family. Now, David has sinned again in that he has succumbed to Satan's enticement and numbered Israel. The immediate judgment of God is upon Israel. This, however, is not the conclusion of the matter.
David was given a choice of one punishment experience from a total of three judgments; namely, "three years of famine," "three months to be destroyed by Israel's foes," or "three days of judgment by the sword of the Lord"! David chose the latter with the rationale, "Let me fall now into the hand of the Lord; for very great are his mercies. But let me not fall into the hand of men." David's choice of judgment resulted in "The Lord sending pestilence…and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men" (I Chron. 21:12-14).
There is a tragic price tied to "numbering"!
Still, men in this hour, are most insistent!
How very foolish, then, are those who suppose that they can honor God or bring praise to His Holy Name by bringing themselves to praise some mortal man in the past or by bringing themselves to give honor to some supposed successes of some men who have lived in another day. Certainly, all who become involved in such philosophies of men have forgotten that "all of our righteousness are as filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6). All today who even suppose that there is any basis for glorying in human flesh or for glorying in human effort apparently have forgotten the words of the Apostle Paul, "There is none righteous, no not one…they are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable, there is none who does good, no not one" (Rom. 3:10,12).
Though men might suppose that there is "safety in numbers," some measure of security in "numbering," and though it may be that most religious leaders suppose that there is some profit in numbers or in the practice of numbering, God has a wholly different perspective. We see this in God's dealing with David who "numbered Israel" and paid a tragic price. We see this, also, in the above words, "they are together become unprofitable."
Someone has well said that "God and one are a majority." Men, in their humanity, however, have a difficult time accepting this truth. Numbers may impress those whose lives are involved in the philosophies of men, but they do not impress God, and they should never impress those who are concerned about their understanding of "The Philosophy of God." Therefore, Jesus goes on to explain, "Everyone who has forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many who are first shall be last, and the last shall be first" (Mt. 19:29-30).
It is folly, then, to look for the praise of men!
And, it is utter folly to memorialize mortal men!
God And His Concerns
Often, however, the people of God who through ignorance or who through unconcern are following leaders who are involved in the philosophies of men become enamored with "memorial concerns." Some, at times, may even suppose that they can bring some honor to the name of God or that they can somehow bring praise to God by memorializing some mortal from the past. These, needless to say, have not yet learned that while men may honor those who are doing the memorializing for their memorializing efforts, God will never do so.
On the contrary, all auspicious material structures which are raised in memory of someone who is alive or dead soon return to the dust from which they came. This conclusion which puts all of that which is in our yesterdays in the category of "the putrefactions of the past" is effected by the inauspicious means of fire, wind, water, the wrecking ball, or some explosive device. The same is true, also, of the intellectual or the immaterial memorials that are sometimes raised to the praise and to the honor of some mortal man's name or to his memory.
Men, also, may raise their foundations and convince the multitudes that they can somehow leave their memorial gifts to continue some truth in which they are delighting at the moment and that such will bring glory to God after they are gone. Every such assurance, however, is as much a satanic deception as was the "enticement" to which David succumbed. For e're that decade, that generation, or that century is gone every truth ideal which was the basis for a given memorial is brought unceremoniously to an end. This destruction usually is effected by some who despise those who have gone before, and so all of the destroying of "Truth Memorials" regardless of what they may be will be accomplished by those who come with malice aforethought!
Men have the name of being religious leaders!
When they, in fact, are religious charlatans!
In His Sovereignty, God demonstrates endlessly His displeasure with all of the memorializing efforts of men. Jesus explained this foolishness of men in the day when He walked bodily among them. Some of His followers were very much impressed by the well-designed temple buildings of the time. The Word is, "And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly (beautiful) stones and gifts, he said, 'As for these things which you behold, the days will come, in which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down'" (Lu. 21:5-7).
These mortal men who were the leaders among the people led those who followed them to suppose that there was some memorial permanence in the beautiful temple buildings. Jesus, however, had an entirely different perspective. Very simply, memorial "gifts" went into the Temple buildings in that distant day, just as men suppose that they can please God by their memorial "gifts" today. Yet, in less than fifty years, all of the Temple buildings were gone forever. And every memorial gift that had been given to accomplish such had become a waste which brought neither praise to men nor glory to God.
The memorial gifts of those then became dust!
The memorial gifts of today will do the same!
In all of this men, whether they are honest men or whether they are criminals at heart, seek to serve themselves and their selfish interests — not God! The design of their agenda is to ensure that there will be glory for the human efforts. There may be a call for statistics in which they can boast and which can be used subsequently as "standards of excellence" for others who know no better than to become involved in the philosophies of men. By such means, the philosophies of men are perpetuated. Then, it is, that the pragmatic successes of religious men become the SACRED COWS before which the religious leaders and those who are led are expected to bow obediently and continuously.
The name of Jesus may be bandied about in such efforts, but even that Holy Name in the hands of self-serving men — whether saved or lost — becomes just another device to be used in some pragmatic and unholy human effort. Needless to say, faith has no place in their efforts or in their activities. These fail to realize that Jesus could have been a very great success among men and on men's terms if He had chosen the pragmatic way. These are unable to see that if Jesus had chosen to be a pragmatist, He could have left an endowed institution to "carry on His Name."
He came instead with a much greater purpose and with a much higher calling. He came as the Son of God to place the ongoing responsibility of His Holy Cause in the hands of some whom He would call and ordain and empower with a message of truth, even the Gospel! He came, as He explained, to do "the will of His Father," and He in turn committed to the ones whom He called a great responsibility.
The Apostle Paul explains this truth wonderfully. Initially, he says, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." He gives us the added detail wherein we find our responsibility, "God…hath committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we beg you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:19-20). And because of this faithfulness to His Father in His Coming and because of His faithfulness with us and toward us when He came, He fulfilled His Purpose in coming. Because of this, men hated Him sufficiently to hang Him on a Cross. How foolhardy, then, are the memorials wherein some men presumably are honored, while some receive the praise of men for being involved in the memorializing!
Names memorialized may once have been honored!
In their memorializing they become dishonored!
On the one hand, some men may presume that they can defeat the purposes of God in the earth by leaving "memorial gifts" to supposedly bring praise to themselves or some one of their fellowmen or some glory to God. Some men often make this claim as though it were a Scriptural practice, when, in reality, they have been "enticed" by Satan to indulge in that lie which has continued from that moment when Eve succumbed to, "Yea, hath God said?" (Gen. 3:1).
And from that hour until this, God has made all such memorials to be the epitomes of folly. For either during the mortality of those setting up the memorials or soon after their demise, all material memorials are turned into dust. Similarly, all intellectual memorials are forever destroyed by a new generation indulging with malice aforethought in their undermining of all truth, all ideals, and all beliefs which a previous generation may have held.
On the other hand, during His earthly ministry and before He departed in Resurrection Glory, Jesus committed His name and His Ministry to men who would fail and fall before the world and be hounded and harried so long as their mortal lives would last. In so doing, He committed His Name to men who would live and move in faith and be willing to die for His Cause, if need be. Jesus, then, would be perpetuated in the councils of men by the lives and the deaths of His faithful saints — not through the material memorials that would soon moulder and decay, and not through intellectual memorials that would be undermined and destroyed by on-coming generations.
God and His Message
During some of the days of His earthly ministry, our Lord used a Samaritan woman and Jacob's Well to emphasize "The Philosophy of God." In this discussion with the lady, he graphically explained that the past was something to be exposed so it could be forgotten in order that she might begin living today for tomorrow. In "The Philosophy of God," only today and tomorrow are ever of any importance. In our humanity, we might like to recover or to recoup the past, but for all who have been "washed in the blood of the Lamb of God" it is gone for time and forever! Therefore, as we shall see, even the attempt on our part to recover or to recoup the past for us is sin!
As we have seen in one place, "We show the Lord's death until He comes." In another place we find those joyous words, "To those who look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." In another word, we learn to "forget those things which are behind, and we press on toward the mark of the prize of the High Calling in Christ Jesus." Then, there is that climactic cry to end all cries, that cry which should be upon our lips and in our hearts twenty-four hours of every day, "Even so, Come Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20).
The philosophies of the Jews and the people of that day — as
well as the philosophies of the religious leaders and the religiously led in all other generations — were expressed accurately, it seems to me, by the Samaritan woman. She said, "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship" (John 4:20). Her words were countered , however, by the words of wisdom from the lips of our Lord. "The Philosophy of God" comes through loudly and clearly, "The hour comes when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship you know not what; we know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour comes and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth" (John 4:21, 23).
This message of the Lord was not new in that hour. He had His faithful ones across the centuries who had worshipped God in spirit and in truth where they were, even though they on occasion assembled themselves for Temple or Synagogue actives. If I am understanding the Scriptures aright, Abel worshipped God "in spirit and in truth." I believe that the same can be said concerning many others including Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Isaiah, and others of the prophets.
An explanation of these details would be very lengthy!
I leave the elaboration of them to your finest wisdom!
In this regard, the plan and the purpose of God has not changed across the centuries. Therefore, Jesus climaxed His words which we have shared above with, "For the Father desireth such to worship Him. God is a Spirit, and they who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth" (John 4:23-24). The God who is "the same yesterday, today, and forever" informs us that His desire ever has been, and that it is now, that men "worship Him in spirit and in truth."
God And His Purpose
Abel understood this truth, and his worship was that of the heart and pleasing to God. Resultantly, though Abel's experience may be lost in actuality, we may grasp it historically. We find that his distant testimony is very much with us even to this hour. God explains for us, "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it, he being dead yet speaks" (Heb. 11:4).
Abraham, as both a wealthy and a well-traveled man, could have given himself and his substance to leaving memorials. But there is not even a hint which we can draw from his very colorful life that would indicate that he ever had such an interest or such a desire. Rather than follow the philosophies of men, Abraham had a very heavenly perspective. God explains this truth for us most dramatically.
We read, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he looked for a city that had foundations, and whose builder and Maker was God" (Heb. 11:8-10). Had Abraham read the words of Paul — He probably has by now — "For many walk of whom I have told you often…whose end is destruction, whose God is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from whence we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:18-20), he would have understood them fully.
David, too, intellectually and spiritually grasped the import of God's continuing desire for those who are His by faith and in faith. Jesus opens our understanding in this with His words, "Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and they who were with him, how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for those who were with him, but only for the priests?" (Mt. 12:3-4).
This, however, was not the end of the teaching of our Lord. He went on to explain that men often are involved in religious activities in which God has no part. His teaching is specific, "Or have you not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say to you that in this place is one greater than the temple. But if you had known what this meant, 'that l desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you never would have condemned the innocent (guiltless); for the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath" (Mt. 12:5-8).
The emphasis of Jesus here is that those who judged the guiltless by "the letter of the law" were not really in the will of God. That practice in which men in self-righteousness in other generations may have indulged may have satisfied their human desires as they "lorded it over" their fellowmen. Such may have provided them some self-assurance for their human interpretations of the law, but every such action was contrary to the will of God. In this, the word of Jesus is absolute, "but if you had known what this meant, 'that I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you never would have condemned the innocent (guiltless)…'"
This practice in which men were involved in ancient times has persisted to this present hour. Those laws and those interpretations upon which men base their judgment of "the guiltless" have ever been in a state of flux. That is, what once was absolute in one generation from the human perspective and the basis for a definitive judgment of ones peers or fellowmen was changed in every subsequent generation. And the fact that every "Statement of Faith" or "Confession of Faith" is ever in a condition of change or flux is proof-positive that it is not Scripture, and that it is not Scriptural.
Therefore, every definitive judgment which men make on the basis of their "Statements of Faith" or their "Confessions of Faith" comes under the judgment of the words of Jesus, "But if you had known what this meant, 'that I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you never would have condemned the innocent (guiltless) for the Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath." What religious men — perhaps because of their involvement in the philosophies of men — apparently are unable to learn is that all such unscriptural judgment is a part of their worship of false gods, as we shall see a little later in the words of Amos. Quite obviously, all such judgment is foreign to the Holy Word and to the Holy Will of God.
Later prophets also understood this glorious truth. Isaiah understood the necessity of faith; that "worshipping in spirit and in truth." We hear him declaring that God has no interest in sacrifices or the judgments which were a part of the same in which the hearts of the people had no part. This is clear in, "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord; I am full of your the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts, and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats…Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination to me; the new moons and the Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot bear; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting" (Isa. 1:11, 13).
Even here God is calling for faith experience!
He had no interest in the philosophies of men!
With comparable insight, Amos tells of God's displeasure with the fleshly and faithless worship and judgments of men in his day, even though they may have supposed that they were indulging in right rituals. He references God as saying, "I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not take delight (smell the offerings) in your solemn assemblies. Though you offer me burnt offerings and your meal offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take away from me the noise of your songs; for I will not hear the melody of your harps…Have you offered me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? Really, you have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun, your images, the star of your god, which you made yourselves" (Amos 5:21-23,25-26).
How unnecessary are the rituals of men!
How wasteful their religious practices!
God And His Demands
If I am understanding the Scriptures correctly, God is advising us that anyone who is following a practice of false worship or false judgment is really indulging in idolatry before false gods or before those who are not God. This would be the cry of another in a much later day, "Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed…I make known to you brethren that the Gospel which I preached to you is not after man…I was taught it by the revelation of Jesus christ" (Gal. 1:8, 11-12). Whether in those distant days, in the days of Paul, or today, all who are so involved with false gods may have their symbols and they may have their religious objectives (stars) which they may suppose to be spiritually involved. In truth, however, all such activities of men are anti-God and anti-Christ both in origin and in issue.
Certainly, this is a condemnation of human religion which has run amuck in the philosophies of men. And right in the midst of this indictment, there is God's word as to what His desire has been, what His desire is, and what His desire for His people will be. We hear the cry, and it is that, "But let justice (judgment, mercy, relationship) run down like waters, and let righteousness flow as a mighty stream" (Amos 5:24). Here is God's call to His people in that day to return to the walk of faith. Here is His imploring appeal that they should turn away from the philosophies of men which had involved them in a fleshly and unscriptural religion. Here is His Call, also, that they might be wholly committed to "The Philosophy of God."
Some in our late hour in human history might like to suppose that such teaching is ancient and not applicable to the religious situations of mortal men today. We may know, however, that all such reasoning is contrary to the thinking of our God. The Apostle Paul makes the application most exactly to our circumstances even in this very moment, "Now all these things happened unto them for examples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come" (I Cor. 10:11).
The philosophies of men waver continuously!
But, "The Philosophy of God" never changes!
Ever, for God, the time "NOW IS" that men should "worship God in spirit and in truth." This worship "NOW IS" whether outside Eden's Gate and before Abel's Altar, in the days of Jewish preeminence or decline, or in our America. For a time, the Apostles in those distant days apparently did not understand "The Philosophy of God" as Jesus dealt with them at Jacob's Well. It seems that the Apostles first gave themselves to the philosophies of men. And today most men still give themselves to the philosophies of men rather than to "The Philosophy of God."
In a very real sense, the Apostles found it very difficult to orient their thinking to that of their Savior, even the Lord Jesus. Jesus had ministered to them that they "should turn the other cheek" and that they "should forgive seventy times seven." Still, when they were brought face to face with an opportunity to show mercy and a measure of tolerance, their concern was to "call fire down from heaven."
In their humanness, they supposed that they had a final grasp on eternal truth in time, and that their way was the only way and that their judgment was the only judgment. They had not yet come to that measure of wisdom which the Apostle Paul would know some years later. They did not have that intellectual or spiritual comprehension which we find expressed in, "He gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-13).
Perhaps because of their "persisting humanity," these Apostles had not yet comprehended the truth which Jesus was attempting to share with them. Their "spiritual blind spots" were so pervasive that Jesus had to explain to them, "Ye know not what manner of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (Lu. 9:55-56).
Clearly, God is not interested in establishing a "greatness" that men can see, a "success" in which men may find some glory, and not even a basis for some earthly rest or satisfaction. Whereas men ever seek earthly rest and some form of success in a measure, Jesus was emphasizing that our hearts and our lives and our labors should be oriented wholly toward heaven and toward heavenly things!
In another day, Jesus gave us a very dramatic picture of this philosophy of men. He spoke of "A certain rich man…who said, 'This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have much goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry'" (Lu. 12:16,18-19). God, however, had a most shocking message for this Rich Man, "You fool, this night your soul will be required of you; then whose shall those things be, which you have provided?" (Lu. 12:20).
And this dramatic conclusion of one's life can come at any chronological age to men in any era. For Alexander the Great, God gave him his final call at the age of thirty-three. For President John F. Kennedy, the call of God came in his 46th year of earthly life. For one of earth's most famed joggers and a health-enthusiast par excellence, God wrote "fini" over his earthly life at the age of 52. One who is known as "The Father of His Country," even the man George Washington, "handed in his final papers" at 67 years of age. And Malcolm Forbes, the world-famed playboy financier, throughout much of his life and into his early 70's lived for wine, women, and song, but all of his wealth and all of his fame could not stay the hand of the "death angel" whom God sent to put an end to his sordid life!
God And His Advice
Often, today, we find some men striving to inspire other men to succeed to the point that they can retire at an early age and then sail around the world as worthless, irresponsible playboys for the rest of their lives. Those who become so involved never realize until they are in the midst of such an accomplishment that there is no satisfaction therein. There are a thousand and one, and even more, such ideals set before mortal men, but always men forget that someone else holds "the cords" of their lives.
One of the greatest tragedies that has ever plagued the human race is that orientation toward world travel which is being held out as "a carrot stick" to the affluent and the aging peoples of earth. Those affluent and aging ones who at some point in their lives have been given spiritual insight to believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus might be doing a great work for our God and for our Savior in the power of the Holy Spirit of God. Nevertheless, because of their "travel-addiction," they are wasting their millions and their billions in rushing or racing first to one earthly sight and then another earthly sight interminably.
One host of millions give themselves to the addiction of drugs. Another host of millions give themselves to useless "busy work" in order to give the impression that they are worthy of their wealth. Another host of millions of aging ones on the brink of life's final precipice give themselves to wasting their lives trying to traverse the humanly-designed population centers of our world. And another host of millions give themselves and their lives to coveting all of the unholy things in which the other millions of earth's peoples are involved!
It is no marvel, then, that Jesus had a definitive word!
"Wide is the gate to destruction, and many go that way"!
One of these very successful, affluent, and aging ones in recent days has attempted to give people the impression that they can put their trust in him and in the business which is his. He has done this with the phrase, "________ has been here, and he will be here." Then, just a few weeks after someone of his very shrewd advertising personnel designed this rather catchy phrase, after it began airing on his very "slick advertising spots," and after it was having such a profitable impact on his already lucrative business, he had a heart attack! This one apparently never had read or he had forgotten the words of James, "What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away. You ought to say, 'If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now, you rejoice in your boastings. All such rejoicing is evil" (James 4:14-16).
Ever, we recall the rich man's bragging!
God, however, would have the final word!
The Apostles were given this most important message concerning life and death at Jacob's Well, but they would hear it again and again in different contexts before it would really have a meaningful place in their lives and in their ministries. Needless to say, in that day, they still had not understood "The Philosophy of God." Ahead, yet, for Peter was his denial, his lying, and his cursing. Ahead, too, was that moment when every Apostle would flee in fear.
A little later, Jesus took three of his Apostles to the top of the Mount of Transfiguration. In the midst of that glory, Peter could not yet understand the message of Jesus. In the very presence of a LIVING MOSES and a LIVING ELIJAH who had passed from the scene of mortality many centuries earlier, Peter could not yet understand the message of Jesus. Though God in that hour proclaimed His confidence in His Son, "Thou art my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased" (Mt. 17:5), Peter did not yet understand the message of Jesus. In that eternal moment, Moses and Elijah spoke to Jesus concerning "His decease which He would accomplish at Jerusalem" (Lu. 9:31), but these prophetic words apparently made no impression upon the man Peter.
Instead, Peter looked forward to the prospect of building three tabernacles. For most of his life, Peter seemed to have a lot of problems with his old humanity. Even in the very midst of Heaven's Glory, Peter was philosophizing from the human perspective and desired to memorialize Moses, Elijah, and Jesus with "tabernacles" which would bear their names. Peter had not yet comprehended that though Moses and Elijah had come to that meeting from the realms of glory, their eternity was wholly dependent upon the dying and the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
If I am understanding the Word of God, this, too, is the message which God has for each one of us in this late hour of human history. That is, if we have any comprehension of God's message for our time, it is that Jesus had to die on Calvary's Cross. And if we are to be saved, we must know that Jesus has been bodily raised from the dead. It is a message which I fear few are hearing, even as few were hearing it in that distant day.
The Apostles received many instructions from the Lord Jesus while He was with them. As we have noted earlier, Jesus climaxed one period of instruction with a most unworldly proclamation. In this word, Jesus provides us a dramatic picture of the contrast between the thinking of God and the thinking of men, and between the purposing of God and the purposing of men. Specifically, the Apostles brought to His attention the wonder and beauty of some of the buildings of that day. Jesus, however, shocked them with His response. They apparently were thinking of the greatness of the buildings and of the wonder of their permanence. Jesus did not see them as they. Rather, He informed them, "Verily, I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
In just a few years, God brought it to pass!
Men thought memorially, but God saw brevity!
Even after Peter had heard the departing Words of Jesus, after Peter had seen Jesus ascend into heaven, and after Peter had heard "the two men…in white apparel" declare, "Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall come in like manner as you have seen Him go" (Acts 1:10-11), Peter still was not ready to accept the words of his Lord as sufficient truth. Though Jesus had plainly and specifically instructed Peter, "wait for the promise of the Father" (Acts 1:4), Peter's old humanity took command.
And whereas Jesus had called and ordained His Apostles, Peter, the man, supposed that he could arrange for a gambling session wherein he and the other Apostles could choose "a couple of good men"! Then, after they, in the strength of their human wisdom and their human insight, had made their choices, they would give Sovereign, Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent God an opportunity to choose one of the men whom they had chosen to replace Judas Iscariot!
How very tragic, are the devices of mortal men!
And with these, men mock Almighty and Holy God!
Thankfully, in time, the Apostles comprehended the difference between the philosophies of men and "The Philosophy of God." Paul, as we may recall, toward the end of his life could say, "Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to those thing which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." His cry ever was, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being made conformable unto his death" (Phil. 3:10). Certainly, one who is looking forward to being "conformable to His Death" was neither interested nor involved in any memorializing in accord with the ungodly ideals of men which are found in the philosophies of men.
As Peter came to the concluding period of his life, he enables us to know that he, too, had come to understand God's message. Peter provides that same message for us. We hear him say, "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness…." (2 Pet. 3:10-11).
Peter goes on to climax this wisdom! His words are wonderfully final, "We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be diligent that you may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (2 Pet. 3:13-14). What a contrast between the words of Peter here toward the end of his life and his words in that hour when he and the other Apostles were so impressed by the greatness and the permanence of the temple buildings of the time.
What folly is involved in man's memorials!
Peter tells us they all will be burned up!
Men who think as the Apostles learned to think — knowing that time for them and time for all of the works of men are only temporary — certainly are not having any part in any "memorializing"! Those in that distant day had been taught well by their Savior, but it took His teachings some years to become meaningful. Certainly, if these men were living today, some 2000 years later, they would not be at all interested in "the memorializing practices" of mortal men.
The advice of Peter doubtless would have been happily agreed to by the Apostle Paul, if they had compared notes. They probably have by now! That concluding word of Peter is, "You, therefore, beloved, seeing that you know these things before, beware lest you also being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever…" (2 Pet. 3:17-18).
Within the last quarter of a century, I have known personally one family of God's own who had millions which they felt they had to spend in a manner to memorialize themselves and bring them some praise of men. For a time, in their retirement, they rushed hither and yon constructing buildings which would bear their names. Today, within that span of 25 years, most of those buildings have been burned or bulldozed, and they are nothing but dust.
Then, after he had lost both his health and his mind, as his full-time nurse was wont to say, his wife continued memorializing his name with carillonic bell towers and impressive buildings, along with some University and Seminary "Chairs"! Today, both of these dear folk are gone, and, for the most part, they are forgotten by those religious men who sought their millions. Tragically, already, after less than fifteen years after their deaths, most of "the University and Seminary Chairs" which they funded no longer hold forth the beliefs which they once espoused. And e're long every building and every bell which today bears their names will have returned to dust!
What a difference, these might have made!
If they could have known a Gospel Vision!
God And His Realities
Such attempted memorializing, needless to say, is nothing new. From time immemorial, the Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Orientals, and others of earth's peoples raised memorials of a sundry sort. Today, however, all of those efforts of men to give some permanence to themselves and to their peers, lie useless as waste spots or waste places of the earth. Sadly, these philosophies of men have been so fully instilled in the hearts and minds of multitudes of the affluent and the aging of earth today that they give their lives and squander their substances in their efforts to view or to restore these crumbling or crumbled evidences of mortal man's very short time upon the earth, his brevity!
If I am reading the words of Peter correctly, all of the memorializing practices of men which grow out of the philosophies of men are of this world. Therefore, they are all a part of and involved in "the error of the wicked (one)." The multitudes who become caught-up in the philosophies of men, then, may be heavily involved in the religions of this world. In the process, sadly, they take their stand against the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ and against "The Philosophy of God."
The truths which God shared with the Apostles enabled them, in time, to grasp "The Philosophy of God." Therefore, we never have any "reports" concerning "the greatness of the Jerusalem Church." At Pentecost, there were many who were saved out of the multitude who were "Parthians and Medes, Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya, about Cyrene, and sojourners (strangers) of Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans, and Arabians" (Acts 2:9-11). But there is never any word of boasting or any "statistical reporting" of their "greatness"! The Word is clear that "there were added…about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41) to the number of those who had been saved prior to the Pentecost experience. That, however, is the extent of the reporting concerning the victory of that day.
If we may relate some of that which has gone on in the past to this moment in time, we may note that most religious peoples today delight themselves in being able to tell "successful pastors" and "successful churches" from those that seemingly or supposedly are otherwise. Such "successful pastors" and such "successful churches" are deemed to be so by themselves or others who are duly impressed. Then, their "successes" become examples for other pastors and churches to follow. What God's interest, God's desire, and God's will may be really are of no concern. Thankfully, the Apostles never became involved in such unscriptural and such worldly practices. "Numbering," as we have seen already, is something in which God never finds any delight.
Already God has enabled us to understand that man's practice of "numbering" as a sign of strength or as a measure of security and success is wholly satanic. He has shown us that all who are so involved have been "enticed" by Satan. In fact, God never even tells us who pastored the Church in Jerusalem or whether it ever had a pastor. The Jerusalem Church doubtless, at one time, had a rather healthy group of believing folk that may have exceeded any of the Synagogues of that day and most true churches of our day.
As we have seen, however, Jesus Himself informed those Apostles personally and dramatically that none of the material, fleshly, worldly glory of that Church or of that great city would endure. He was informing them that even the measure of greatness which that Church had experienced was only temporary. And while the Apostles yet lived, legalistic heresy of the most desperate sort was plaguing the Church in Jerusalem, and the man Peter was having his part in that heresy.
Men who had been saved by grace through and by faith began looking back and concluded that they had been saved by their involvement in the LAW which they had known in another day. And the Apostle Paul had to literally lay his life and his ministry on the line in opposition to their unscriptural error. We see this, and we hear this, in the New Testament Book of Galatians. Jesus Himself had informed His Apostles personally that none of the material, fleshly, and worldly glory of that Church or of that great city of Jerusalem would endure. Men, however, have "ears which do not hear," and many, needless to say, have minds that do very little thinking.
If we have any insight, we will get the message!
We shall recognize that only God provides truth!
Jesus likewise instructed the Apostle Paul well. Although no man before or since has exceeded him in his personal outreach, he kept no records and made no record of his "baptisms" or immersions. Were the man Paul among us today, he would be as dead as the "Dodo Bird" with respect to ministry among the multitudinous hierarchies of religious leaders and their subject hosts.
Quite obviously, the Apostle differed from the Jews!
It is evident, too, that he differed from men today!
It is clear that the Apostle Paul did not live in anticipation of having to look back at his record in order to obtain the praise of men. Neither did he attempt to document his resume for the religious hierarchical "powers that be" as he sought some other opportunity of service. The Apostle Paul apparently was concerned only to please God, knowing as he did that God kept very excellent records. Consequently, every line which the Apostle left for us is infused with "The Philosophy of God" — not the philosophy of men or that of the Jews.
"The greatness of the past" was a concern which the Apostle Paul apparently never experienced, or we might say, "a song which he learned never to sing"! Instead, we find him saying in several contexts, "What things were gain for me, those I counted loss for Christ" (Phil. 3:7), "I die daily" (I Cor. 15:31), and "Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14).
In the face of impending death, the Apostle Paul did not feel any need for a memorial and no need for a recounting of his accomplishments. Rather, we hear his humble, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:6-7). It is evident that he was content with the records which God had been keeping. So, we have a concluding word, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all of those who love His Appearing" (2 Tim. 4:8).
The Apostle Paul obviously lived each day in the consciousness of God's GREAT TOMORROW. Because he saw Him who "is invisible," the Apostle could give himself constantly and unstintingly for Christ Jesus, His Lord. This apparently was the Apostle Peter's later comprehension of the message of Jesus. As we have noted above, he, too, was looking for God's GREAT TOMORROW. His words are unmistakable, "Seeing then that all of these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, in which the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness will dwell" (2 Pet. 3:11-13).
God And Men's Attitudes
If I am understanding history as men seeming indulge in it, men become so involved in a today based upon a yesterday that tomorrow really has no meaning for most of them. Men seemingly spend their lives looking at some yesterdays, and then they strive to make their todays something they never can be. On the one hand, God emphasizes His concern in, "God loved the world so much, that He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). On the other hand, men are concerned with things which are pleasing to the eyes and things which will bring them the praise of their fellowmen in time, along with a measure of worldly and earthly security. The efforts of men are designed to the end that they "may do as well or better than their fathers" or their peers with whom they suppose they are in competition.
Religion of the past is a sorry spectacle!
Religion now is in a comparable condition!
To All who have any spiritual insight into the Word of God, it should be evident that the religious emphasis which is abroad in our land, and in all others as well, is counter to "The Philosophy of God." Men may boast of that which they presume they are accomplishing for God and sometimes even in the name of God or the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, they go on to employ "the supposed evidences of their greatness" as their basis for greater appeals so that they will be able to boast even more later.
Tragically, however, most of the hosts of earth who give themselves to religious causes really are brainwashed and Scripturally-ignorant masses. Therefore, we find them following men rather than the Lord. And because of their ignorance of God and His Holy Word, the godless religious leaders are able to convince these duped and deluded masses to lend them abundant support for their unholy causes.
On the one hand, there is a continuing attempt on the part of most religious leaders in every generation to glory in the past with the intention of moving the multitudes to assist them in recovering or recouping some past glory. On the other hand, in the midst of their equally godless philosophies, some men turn to that earliest of Satanic delusions, "Yea, hath God said?" Then, they follow through with that earliest submission to temptation, "The woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband, and he did eat" (Gen. 3:1 and 3:6).
Behind every such effort to circumvent God's Purposes in the earth, of course, is that most depraved of all human or super-human designs; namely, "I will ascend into the heavens. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the North. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isa. 14:13-14). Multitudes of these mortals may mouth the name of God and even of Jesus, and they may on occasion stand forth with some portion of the Scripture, but they have never really accepted the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Their every effort is designed to be self-serving, and their persuasion is such that at times even the Children of God — those who have believed in the bodily resurrection of Jesus — may be found giving their lives in their godless and unholy causes!
There is a din of religion which is reverberating throughout the concourses of most human activities. Tragically, however, most religious leaders who are involved in this self-serving are simply "revived Nimrods" or some "Nimrod types" who are building towers of their own design to reach into heaven. The further tragedy is that most of these religious leaders have multitudinous and most influential followers. Though the truth has been in force in every generation of the past, in this one it is most dramatically true that "Evil men and seducers are waxing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:13).
There would seem to be a great dirth of understanding in this hour of human history. Still, religion of a thousand and one sorts rages throughout most lands of earth. Few apparently have any concern to "receive the word with all readiness of mind, and to search the Scriptures daily, whether those things are so" (Acts 17:11). Along with this dirth of understanding, there is a very serious lack of concern "to try (or test) the spirits, (to determine) whether they are of God" (I John 4:1).
Seemingly, there are very few of earth's peoples and even fewer of earth's leaders who have any real interest in the Word of God as the Word of God. And there are even fewer still who have any interest in letting Jesus be their Lord as well as their Savior. All who would follow "The Philosophy of God" will be found accepting the Apostolic admonition, "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our Faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:1-2).
God And His Tomorrow
That departure from the faith which is evidenced in the recovering, the recouping, and the memorializing efforts of men is found effectually worked out in the ministries of most of those who are known among the peoples of earth as religious leaders. These may presume to have an honored place in their lives, in their churches, or in their pulpits for the Word of God. Yet, when the truth is known, God has little or no influence on these men (and tragically, these women) who are doing the ministering before the masses. The messages or the contexts for their messages usually are not effected by their knowledge of the Word of God or because of their relationship with the Lord of Glory. Their messages, instead, are devised, demanded, ordered, or dictated by hierachical leaders who may be without saving faith or who long ago departed from the truth of the Word of God.
Some Bibles may appear to have an honored place in the churches or in the institutions wherein these religious leaders hold forth. The message of the Bible or the Scripture, however, has no place in the ministries of these hierarchically-controlled men (and tragically, some women). To the man (or to the woman), these become the pragmatic slaves of the philosophies of men. And, sometimes even to the death, they resist finally "The Philosophy of God" and any message that God might have for their people or those for whom they have some responsibility.
These are men who are known by the members whom they can proselyte by any supposedly "holy" or unholy scheme which mortal men can conceive. These are men who are known by the institutions they can raise or the agencies they can devise. These are men who are known by the number of people they can sprinkle, pour, or dip. These are men who are known by their capability as money-raisers, chairmen of fund drives, and by their ability to convince their members that a goodly portion of what they give should go to the support of the hierarchy who then can devise more religious schemes which the involved ministers will be expected to follow and foist upon their peoples.
There is no concern for the preeminence of Christ!
There is no belief that He alone should be served!
Whether anything they are doing is pleasing to God is a question in which they never become involved. Whether anything they say or write is Scripturally or Doctrinally sound is of little or no concern. The interests of all revolve around programs that they can sponsor successfully or funds that they can distribute noticeably and with adequate fanfare, regardless of whether any of the effort has any effectual relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ or His Holy Cause in the earth.
Religious leaders speak of revival and mean by that new heights of worldly success, and the people — some of whom may be the Children of God — succumb to their unholy devices. Men speak of the Gospel and mean by that their proselytizing is going well, and their financial efforts are meeting with great success. Men talk of serving God and His Christ when they are speaking really of their own personal or denominational concerns, or their hierarchical self-interests.
The Religious confusion has reached new heights!
Apostasy rages through most religious spectrums!
Perhaps, if there is yet a moment of time, there will be a few honest, Christ-centered, Bible-believing men who will yet stand forth in faith.
Perhaps, if God is yet working in the midst of men, there will be a pastor here and a people there who will stand forth to truly praise and serve Him who said, "Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58).
If there is such a pastor and such a people still upon the earth, they will hear our Lord's commands. They will move at His command and "Going into all the world, preach the Gospel to every creature." They will "disciple all nations and immerse them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things He has commanded" (Mt. 28:19-20). As faithful ones who have heard that Heavenly Call by the way of the Holy Spirit who has provided the Word, they will live in the consciousness of His Glorious Truth, "Lo! I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Mt. 28:20). And ever they will rejoice in the promise, "I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:3) and continuously abound as they pray without ceasing, "Even so, come! Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20).
Knowing that "all of these things shall be dissolved," let us, then, commit ourselves to "have the mind of Christ" (I Cor. 2:16). Let us have the consciousness of the Apostle, "What things were gain for me, those I counted loss for Christ." Let us have the selflessness to "die daily," knowing that He "will receive us unto Himself." With the wisdom which the Holy Spirit provides us in the Word of God, let us "forget those things which are behind" and "reach forth unto those things which are before."
Having comprehended in a measure, at least, "The Philosophy of God," we shall live lives to His praise. Realizing our relationship with Christ, we shall consciously know that He "hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son" (Col. 1:13), and that "He is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first born from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; having made peace through the blood of His Cross…" (Col. 1:18-19).
With such comprehension and with such consciousness, we shall "hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering and consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…but exhorting one another; and so much the more as (we) see the day approaching" (Heb. 10:23-25). If we truly have comprehended "The Philosophy of God," every word we raise will be to the praise of Him who died and arose. And every expression of our lives will testify to the glorious truth that the One who died and who arose is coming back again; and that His Coming may very well be today!
Then we shall rejoice in "The Philosophy of God"!
And We shall abound forever, in His Great Wisdom!