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Questions & Answers

Is the Word "simple"?

First posted: June 26, 2005

 

Question

A visitor (which we shall call "Mr. V") sent us an e-mail in response to an answer we sent to another visitor's question. The e-mail hinted that our answer should have been "simple" since the original question was "simple". This reminded us of certain things which the Lord has spoken to us regarding "simplicity".

 

In essence, the issue can be boiled down to the following question:

"Is it valid to give a complex answer to a simple question?"

This question then begs the following question:

"Should the Word be kept 'simple'?"

These are the questions which we will address in this word.

 

 

Answer

Is it simple?

In my walk as a Christian, I have found certain believers who sincerely believe in the slogan, "Keep it simple". When a new understanding of the Word challenges them to a level that goes beyond the comfort zone of their current precepts, they simply dismiss that new understanding by saying: "If it were from God, it wouldn't be difficult, because God keeps it all simple". Christianity is then reduced to a few simple principles and to the performing of a few simple activities. Once these few things are mastered, there is nothing left to do but wait for the "Rapture Spacecraft" to beam us up into Heaven where we will live happily ever after.

 

There are two terrible problems with this view. The first problem can be discerned from the following passage:

 

"1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:1-3)

[The word "Word" in this passage was translated from the Greek word logos, which is spiritually related to God's judgments and wisdom]

 

Notice that all things were made by the Word of God. The animals, the 100+ chemical elements of matter, the plants, the fruits, the mountains, the oceans, and our physical bodies were all made by the Word of God. Consider how many years of college are required to begin to comprehend the variety of flora and fauna on Earth. Consider how many years of college are required to begin to understand the interaction of the different chemical elements. Consider how many years of college are required for a physician to begin to understand the complexity of the human body. Consider how many years of college are required for a physicist to begin to understand the intricate laws that govern the universe. All these things are inherently complex, yet they were all made by the Word of God. If the Word of God were inherently "simple", it would have been impossible for such a complex universe to have been made by the Word of God.

 

A second problem with the "Keep it simple" view can be seen from the following passage:

 

"15And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction." (2 Peter 3:15-16)

 

Notice that the Spirit of God declares that some things written by Paul in his epistles are "hard to be understood", which means that they are not at all "simple". When Paul moved in the wisdom given unto him (v16), he at times wrote "complex" things. Why? Because, as you and I grow in the wisdom of God, we grow in spiritual complexity.

 

The Spirit refers to two types of people who twist the complex wisdom of God:

  1. The unlearned

    The word "unlearned" in verse 16 was translated from the Greek word amathes. At first sight, it would seem as if the Lord is using it to refer to people with no "formal" education. However, we must remember that the words of 2 Peter 3:16 were written by the apostle Peter, and notice what Scripture says about Peter:

     

    "13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 14And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it." (Acts 4:13-14)

     

    The words "unlearned" and "ignorant" in Acts 4:13 above were translated from the Greek words agrammatos and idiotes respectively, which are different from the word amathes used in 2 Peter 3:16. Therefore, no "formal" education is required by God for a believer to move in the wisdom and anointing of God.

     

    What, then, did the Lord mean by the word amathes ("unlearned") in 2 Peter 3:16? The word amathes is derived from the prefix "a" meaning, "without, lacking", and the word manthano (meaning, "to learn"), from which the Greek word for "disciple", mathetes is derived. Therefore, amathes speaks of a person who lacks the learning heart of a disciple.

     

    "I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day" (Acts 22:3)

     

    The expression "at the feet of" was used in ancient times to refer to disciples learning at the feet of their teachers, since the teachers would sit on a bench while the disciples would sit on the floor around the teacher. Therefore, to be a true disciple requires humility. It means saying to the teacher, "I do not know certain things; can you teach me?". In our case, our teacher is the anointing of the Holy Spirit:

     

    "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." (1 John 2:27)

     

    When you humbly go before God and say, "I recognize my weakness; please teach Me", He will pour His wisdom into your heart and mind. In order to do that, the Lord may at times send a brother or sister in Christ, and the anointing in him or her will teach you. If you are a true disciple, you will immediately recognize the anointing and submit to it by placing yourself at "the anointing's feet" in order to learn. As we have said before, the anointing is not discerned through external religious titles but through the witness of the Holy Spirit inside of you. If you belittle the anointing on account of the weak vessel that contains it, you will be unable to learn. People who are too proud are spiritually unteachable because they are never willing to sit at the feet of others, especially when that "other" appears "weak" to the natural mind.

     

    Despite the fact that a learning heart requires humility, it also requires another element, as shown by what the Lord Jesus said to His disciples:

     

    "The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master" (Luke 6:40)

    [The word "master" in this verse is a mistranslation of the Greek word didaskalos meaning "teacher"]

     

    Notice that the disciple must aspire to be like his teacher. Since Jesus was saying this to His own disciples, He was implicitly saying the following to them:

    "You must be willing to believe that you can be like Me; I don't have you at My feet in order to permanently domineer over you, but to raise you up to My level so that you can be like Me. Any disciple who is not like Me at the end of his or her training cannot be considered 'perfect' or 'complete'. I am the Standard, and you are called to grow into My exact likeness so that we may be One for eternity."

     

    In conclusion, we can say that the heart of a disciple contains two elements:
    bullet

    Humility: The willingness to submit to the teaching of another

    bullet

    Confidence: The assurance that one has the potential to be like the teacher at the end of his or her training

     

    As we said above, the "unlearned" of 2 Peter 3:16 are those who do not have the heart of a disciple. They are not humble enough to submit themselves to the teaching of the Spirit, and they are uninterested in entering into the fullness of God.

     

  2. The unstable

    The word "unstable" in 2 Peter 3:16 was translated from the Greek word asteriktos, which is derived from the prefix "a" meaning, "without, lacking" and sterizo meaning, "to make stable, set fast, establish firmly". Therefore, an "unstable" person is a person without a truth anchor, i.e.- a person who is not interested in seeking after God's truth and judgments:

     

    "43And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments. 44So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. 45And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. 46I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed." (Psalm 119:43-46)

    [Notice that the psalmist does not say, "I have hoped in Thy blessings". Those who place their hope in His judgments and who seek after His righteousness will not be "unstable" because they have anchored their souls to the rock of God's truth and judgments]

     

    "Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth" (Psalm 119:142)

     

    "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (John 17:17)

     

    "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." (1 Peter 1:25)

     

    To be anchored in the truth is to have a heart that actively seeks after the truth. Such people are not interested in "winning arguments", per se, but to believe in things that are consistent with the truth. Such people are "fact seekers". They long to see that their beliefs are consistent with an external truth that is absolute and independent of anyone's personal opinions.

     

    In the case of believers, our source of truth is the Written Scripture and the prophetic witness of the Holy Spirit regarding that Written Scripture. Christianity is not intended to be a bunch of believers running around like blind mice, each one with some fuzzy and variant view of what the Truth is. If that were the case, Christianity would be nothing but another pathetic belief system invented by man. There is an independent, absolute Truth, and that Truth is readily available to the believers who seek after it:

     

    "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come" (John 16:13)

    [Notice how even the Holy Spirit, speaks of a truth that is not birthed out of His own personal opinion. He speaks to us words of truth that He Himself hears from an external, "independent" source!!!]

     

    As we seek to always be standing on a truth foundation, more and more Truth will be revealed unto us, until we are perfected in the fullness of God's Truth. In my years as a Christian, I have come across many believers (both "pastors" and "non-pastors") who sincerely believe certain things but who are unwilling to admit their mistake when confronted Scripturally. They see all the Scriptural evidence as annoying hindrances to their point of view, and they simply shove the evidence aside and restate their false point of view. They are not interested in knowing the truth. They just want to "win the argument", and they would much rather deceive themselves before ever having to humbly admit that they are wrong. Since such people are not anchored in the truth, they become like unstable boats that are taken to and fro by "soul winds" that take their "version of the gospel" to the places that are pleasant to their carnal soul. Whenever their soul feels "uncomfortable" because of a "new" truth presented to them, they simply extend their sails and allow the "soul winds" to take them where they feel "comfortable".

     

    On the other hand, those who seek after the truth expose their sails to the "Spirit winds" and allow their boats to be taken to places where they may be temporarily uncomfortable. Those who are "unstable" expose their sails to the "soul winds" that take them to places where they will be temporarily comfortable, without realizing that, by doing so, they are dooming their eternal calling in Christ, for only truth and righteousness abide forever.

     

Complex roots

Sometimes a simple question has a complex issue hidden underneath. Consider the blind man of John chapter 9:

 

"6When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing." (John 9:6-7)

 

Why didn't Jesus simply lay hands on him and heal him? Why did He send him to the pool of Siloam? Remember, the man was blind, and he had to go all the way to the pool on his own. He had to get up, ask around, and walk with clay on his eyes until he found the pool of Siloam and could wash in it. Notice that Jesus did not commission Peter, James, and John to accompany the blind man so that he would easily find the pool either. Why did Jesus put him through all of that? Because spiritual issues were being "untangled" as he did all of this.

 

Notice that Jesus did not ask for some water to make clay from the ground. He did not even gently remove saliva from His mouth using His finger in order to wet the dirt. He spat on the ground, and, as we have shared before, spitting in ancient times (and even today) is a sign of reproach and rejection (Numbers 12:14). As we have also said before, "dirt" or "ground" is related to the Girgashite spirit of earthliness, which causes people to understand the Word of God in a literal, earthly way because they only focus on what their natural minds can see and are not open to the prophetic leading of the Spirit. Therefore, by spitting on the ground, Jesus was saying,

"I abhor the Girgashite spirit that leads My people to understand My Word in a literal way. By doing so, they have kept My remnant in a state of physical impotence. As I heal this man, who represents My remnant, I shall prove to those who claim to see that they are actually blind, and I shall prove that those who seem to be 'blind' are the ones who can actually see Me in the Spirit."

 

After spitting on the ground, He anointed the blind man's eyes with the clay (v6). Instead of going, "Yuck!!", the blind man gladly accepted the "spittle-laden" anointing, which means that his heart was receptive to the prophetic anointing and that his heart shared in Jesus' reproach of the Girgashite spirit.

 

When Jesus told him to go wash in the "pool of Siloam" (v7), the blind man did not stick around to ask Jesus for a "logical" explanation as to why he had to go all the way to the pool of Siloam. He was willing to do something that went beyond the logic of his natural mind, which proves that this man was open to the prophetic winds of the Holy Spirit. Even though he was physically blind, his prophetic vision was very clear.

 

As verse 7 declares, "Siloam" is the Hebrew word for "sent". The word "apostle" is derived from the Greek word apostolos that means "one sent". Therefore, we can say that the blind man was also open to God's apostolic calling. He was willing to be sent wherever God wanted to send him in order to bear suffering for the sake of others. This is why he was willing, even from the womb of his mother, to be physically blind for years in order to serve as a redeemer for the spiritual blindness of others:

 

"1And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." (John 9:1-3)

 

As we have seen before, the believer who is open to God's apostolic calling will not run away from His judgments. Instead, he or she will seek after them. Such a believer will be willing to make judgments so that others may be restored, and will be willing to suffer through journeys of desert judgment for the sake of others. Therefore, the blind man not only had prophetic vision; he had apostolic eyes that were able to see the God of judgments and justice.

 

These are the spiritual reasons why Jesus did not simply lay His hands on the blind man and heal him. Through the "extra complications" that Jesus put the blind man through, He was manifesting the underlying prophetic issues behind this man's physical blindness, and, as the blind man acted out what Jesus had instructed him to do, he was unleashing things in the spirit realm that would serve to restore others, even to this day.

 

Through his physical blindness, the man of John chapter 9 served to expose the spiritual blindness of others. Just as God removed this man's physical impediment, so will God remove the hindrances before the latter day's prophetic remnant. Those who are denounced as "blind" and "sinful" by the religious establishment will be vindicated in the eyes of their enemies, and they will serve to denounce the blindness of men who have simplified His Gospel, reducing it to vain precepts that yield no spiritual fruit.

 

"29We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. 30The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. 31Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 32Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. 34They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out" (John 9:29-34)

[When the religious leaders said "we know not from whence he is" (v29), they were not saying that they did not know where Jesus came from physically. According to John 7:52, they knew that Jesus physically came from Galilee. Therefore, what they were referring to was Jesus' spiritual origins. Since Jesus had not "risen through the ranks" of the religious structures they recognized, they simplistically dismissed this "new" prophet as "irrelevant". In the same way, many believers reject new truths that are revealed to them, simply because they go outside the bounds of the few truths they have limited their lives to. Instead of growing in the complexity of wisdom, they dismiss everything new and challenging as "false". Their motto is, "If it does not fit into our simplified scheme of thinking, it must be false". This is why the religious leaders were unable to believe in Jesus, even when He had just healed a man who was blind from birth.

 

Notice also how the ex-blind man was able to confront the religious leaders' falsehood through wise arguments that went beyond the leaders' limited thinking. The ex-blind man did not say, "We all believe in the same God, don't we? Let's just get along". Instead, he confronted them in the apostolic wisdom of God; he acted as a spiritual pestilence under the "red-horse" anointing. Instead of listening to the ex-blind man's wisdom, the religious leaders went back to one of their simplistic beliefs: "No one can speak on behalf of God if he is not under the covering of the religious structures". Instead of humbly recognizing the truths he was speaking, they arrogantly belittled his teaching (v34), and cast him out.]

 

"35Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him." (John 9:35-38)

[The word "seen" used by the Lord in verse 37 was translated from the Greek verb horao, which, as we have said before, is related to "prophetic vision". In other words, Jesus was not referring to physical vision. He was saying to him, "You have seen me with your prophetic eyes, and you were able to discern the prophetic anointing inside of Me even before you were able to see me with your physical eyes". Remember, the man was still blind the previous time that Jesus had spoken to him, and, when he recovered his physical sight, he was at the pool of Siloam on his own, and Jesus was not physically around.

 

Notice how the man worshipped the Lord, meaning that he was able to visualize the God-Spirit inside of the physical man standing before him. At that moment, the religious outcast had a revelation that none of the leaders inside had, because this man had the heart of a disciple.]

 

"39And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." (John 9:39-41)

[Notice how the blind man's faith served as a channel of judgment for the religious leaders who claimed that they could "see". By faith, the remnant condemns the matriarchal structures of the world (Hebrews 11:7, Genesis 9:25-27)]

 

Behind "simple" problems or questions you can have complex underlying issues. The blind man had a "simple" problem ("not seeing") that could have been healed by "simply" laying hands on him. However, Jesus put the blind man through the entire ordeal described in John chapter 9 because that was the only way to reveal the prophetic purpose of that man's blindness. Jesus was a man who abided in Truth, and those who abide in Truth always seek to do the "right" thing, not the "easiest" thing. 

 

If a patient comes to a doctor and says, "How do I get rid of these intense headaches I've been having all of a sudden?", she is asking a "simple" one-line question. However, this does not mean that the doctor must reply with a "simple" one-line answer. If he says, "Take two aspirins after every meal", he would be giving a "simple" answer to a "simple" question, but that "simple" answer might do the patient no good. The sudden headaches could be the symptoms of a brain cancer or a major blood clot in the brain. Therefore, the doctor would probably ask the patient to get a "CAT-scan" and to do some other tests. If cancer is detected, the doctor would then recommend a long treatment that might include "chemo-therapy" or some other procedure, and a complex brain surgery might be needed. Why give such a complex solution to the patient's simple question? Because the simple question was hiding complex issues underneath.

 

Simple answers are sometimes more "comfortable" and "appeasing", but they oftentimes leave the question unanswered and the underlying issues unresolved.


The "simple" Gospel?

Many years ago, I believed that the 4 Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) which narrated Jesus' physical ministry on Earth were books for "beginners" in the faith, while Paul's epistles were books for "more mature" believers. I came to believe this as a result of the traditional Church mentality that Jesus was "nice and easy". To many believers, Jesus taught from "simple" parables that "everyone" could understand. However, as I began to grow in the faith, I began to see two major problems with this naive mentality:

  1. Did "everyone" really understand them?

    Were Jesus' words that "easy" to understand? Why then were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the priests (who were "religious experts") unable to understand His Words, so much so that they ended up killing Him? Why then did many people (including the disciples who listened to Jesus on a daily basis) constantly frustrate Jesus with their lack of understanding?

     

    "40And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not. 41And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither." (Luke 9:40-41)

     

    "21From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." (Matthew 16:21-23)

     

    "30And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it. 31For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. 32But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him." (Mark 9:30-32)

    [Fellow believer, why do you think that the disciples were afraid to ask Him (v32)? If Jesus was the man of "gooey love" portrayed by the matriarchal Church, why were they afraid to ask Him a "simple" question? Many of them were used to having others do the thinking for them, and they knew that Yeshua did not like that. He wanted them to grow into the fullness of wisdom, and He knew that that was impossible if He had to do all the thinking for them. As the disciples spent more time with the Lord, they came to know this about Him, and they understood that He didn't like it for them to ask questions where they were not doing their part to understand God's words. It's OK to slice the meat of your son when he is a young child who can barely hold a knife in his hand. It is not OK, however, to slice the meat of your son when he is a 25-year-old man who still wants you to play "food airplane" with him at dinnertime. It is not wrong to ask questions with a sincere heart to learn. It is wrong, however, to ask questions without assuming a personal responsibility to meditate on and digest God's words in our inner being with the help of the Holy Spirit who resides in us (Joshua 1:8, 1 John 2:27).

     

    This "fear of asking" can also be seen in John 21:12, where Jesus was eating with them after His resurrection.]

     

    "48And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? 50And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them." (Luke 2:48-50)

    [Notice that not even His earthly parents understood Him at times, and they had been with Him for 12 years when this incident took place.]

     

    "25Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. 26I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. 27They understood not that he spake to them of the Father." (John 8:24-27)

     

    "6This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them " (John 10:6)

    [If Jesus' parables were so "simple", how come they did not understand it? Believe you me, I can safely say that most "pastors" today still do not understand the underlying meaning of the shepherd (i.e.- pastor) parable that Jesus mentioned in the previous verses (John 10:1-5), despite the fact that Jesus spoke these words some 2000 years ago. Fellow believer, the key to understanding John 10:1-5 lies in the spiritual meaning of "doors", which, as we have seen before, are related to judgments in Scripture. Since the Canaanite hearts of most pastors are opposed to God's judgments, the true meaning of this parable remains shrouded to their eyes.]

     

  2. Jesus was the Word of God in the flesh (John 1:1-14)

    One day, as I sat meditating on the Word, the Lord confronted me with the following question, 

    "If I AM the Word of God, why do you say that My words in the Gospels are simple? Why do you say that Paul's words were deeper than Mine? Was he not My slave? Didn't I call him, and not the other way around?"

    As I sat there in shock over what the Lord had asked me, I realized that I had for years failed to see the profound wisdom in Jesus' words. Once my eyes were opened, I began to see the depth of wisdom in Jesus' parables and words throughout the 4 Gospels. Now, I can sincerely say that I stand in utter awe at all the wisdom that Jesus had in His heart and mind as He spoke. Now, when I study passages in the 4 Gospels and find deep truth after deep truth in each of His words and actions, I constantly ask myself, "Wow, how did Jesus know that? How did Jesus discern that? He knew all of this thousands of years before any one of us ever knew about it!!! What depth!!! What wisdom!!! What a Lord!!!"

     

    Consider, for example, the fact that it took us 8 long articles to describe what Jesus said in the 11 verses of Matthew 24:1-11 (these are the first 8 articles under the subject "The coming of the Lord" in our articles tree). If you read through other articles, you will see how long it takes us to delve into the meaning of many short passages from the 4 Gospels. Declaring Jesus' words as "simple" is like saying that a desktop computer is "simple" because it consists of little more than a computer screen, a mouse, a keyboard, and a CPU box. If you open any of these components, you will see all the complexity hidden underneath.

 

Why does the Church insist on keeping the Gospel "simple"? Because she is too negligent to search after the underlying truth in Scripture. She expects wisdom to automatically "fall down from the sky", when the Lord has clearly declared that wisdom must be proactively "asked for":

 

"5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:5-8)

[As we have said before, the word "wavering" in verse 6 is a mistranslation of the word diakrino, which literally means "to judge amongst" or "to judge between". In other words, it refers here to someone who picks and chooses from among the truths that God sends to him or her, taking what he or she "likes" and rejecting all the rest. You can't "pick and choose" from among God's truths. They are not a fruit basket at a local "bodega". Those who are "selective" with God's truths are not seeking after the truth; they are seeking after the convenience of their souls.

 

To this day, I have not met a single born-again Christian who has been brave enough to explicitly say, "I don't believe all of Scripture; I disagree with parts of it". All born-again Christians nominally accept Scripture as the "Word of God". Yet, when they are presented with Scripture that contradicts their opinion, they suddenly become skeptical of Scripture and direct their attacks at the messenger in an effort to avoid the Scripture before them. They know that they cannot attack the Scripture directly, so they deceive themselves into thinking that there must be something wrong with the messenger in an effort to avoid the issue. This lack of intellectual honesty is abhorrent to God. We must learn to be brutally honest with ourselves. What is the point of believing something if it is not true? What is the point of proclaiming the Bible as the "inerrant Word of God" if there are passages in the Bible that we would much rather ignore because they don't sound "true" to us?

 

When presented with a Scripture that contradicts our belief, we must tackle it head on in an effort to get at the truth. If we truly believe that the other person is twisting Scripture to his or her benefit, we must ask God for wisdom to untangle the "twist" so that we may be able to understand what the Lord really meant in that passage. If it turns out that the passage really contradicts our belief, we must be humble enough to admit our mistake, repent, and change our belief. We must learn to be brutally honest with ourselves. We must go after the truth, no matter whether the truth is pleasant to our soul or not. If God really is True (John 8:26, John 14:6), we will inevitably find Him as our hearts steadfastly search for the Truth. To believe otherwise is to simply deceive ourselves, and there are enough deceived religious people in the world to be adding ourselves to the bunch!!!]

 

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3)

[We must cry unto Him with a deep yearning so that we may enter into the fullness of the wisdom He has prepared for us. We must cry unto God for wisdom in the same way that a small baby cries for milk.]

 

When we yearn and travail for His wisdom, He will freely reveal His wisdom, but we must be willing to accept what He says, without picking only what we like, which is what most religious believers do. That is why they get stuck in a very limited understanding of God.

Believers who long for a "simple" Gospel end up settling for a simplistic Gospel. Growth entails an increase in complexity. This can be seen in education and in all areas of life. Those who grow in a specific area begin to move in a greater degree of complexity. God wants each believer (not just the "local pastor") to mature unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). This means that every believer must grow and begin operating in the deep wisdom of Christ Jesus. We must grow into His deep wisdom, but this can only happen as we "press toward the mark for the prize" (Philippians 3:14). As we present our disposition to travail and press forward, God provides all the rest. He provides the means and the power to carry out that disposition (Philippians 2:12-13).


Our learning ability

Obviously, it would be wrong to give a complex answer if there is a simple (but effective) answer available. However, most "ministers" prefer to give "simple" answers and to "keep the Gospel simple" because they are too proud to realize that each believer has been endowed with the mind of Christ:

 

"14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:14-16)

[Notice how verse 16 starts by declaring how unsearchable the Lord's mind is. Yet, the same verse boldly states that we have been given that unsearchable mind. If we are willing to abide in His wisdom and judgments, we will grow in the wisdom of God, and we will move in the depth of wisdom of Christ Jesus. As we abide in Him, His wisdom will be manifested in us.]

 

"33O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." (Romans 11:33-36)

 

By constantly giving believers simplistic answers with no detailed Scriptural explanation, "ministers" are being condescending and patronizing towards their brethren. Obviously, wisdom requires a growth process, and not all things can be understood at once. However, as we press forward, God's wisdom will be revealed unto our lives in ever-growing fashion.

 

Why didn't Jesus simply go to the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:21-26) and heal her? Why did He force her to press her way through the crowd in order to touch Him? Was that "sadism" on Jesus' part, or was there an underlying issue that Jesus was dealing with as she forced her to press through that crowd?

 

Seed + Repetition

Even though the Wisdom of God is inherently complex, we have been given the mind of Christ to comprehend it. The wisdom of God comes in the form of seeds that are planted in our hearts, and that germinate and grow as we allow them to. As we travail in the Spirit, the seed grows and grows until it is fully developed. This is how a baby learns a language. If a newly-born baby grows up in Russia, he will be able, in 3 short years, to speak Russian with a perfect accent and grammar. If you take that same newly-born to France, he will be able to speak French with a perfect accent and grammar in the same period of time. Why? Because the baby will be absorbing the seeds of the words spoken around him, and he will be travailing to make sense of the words he is hearing as he interacts with his environment. As he hears the same words over and over again, they will begin to make sense inside his mind, and he will begin to intrinsically associate certain words with certain objects or with certain emotions or actions.

 

A newly-born baby has no framework to begin with. He does not come out of the womb with a "base language" which he will use to understand all other languages. Since he has very few concepts in his mind to begin with, he can in no way try to confine the words he hears to that limited set of concepts. In a sense, a baby knows that the set of concepts in his mind is too limited to operate in this world, so he opens himself up to "new" truths instead of trying to fit "new" information within the scope of a limited set of concepts. In a spiritual sense, a baby is anti-Perizzite because he is unwilling to settle for life in a village of limited understanding.

 

As he slowly verifies the meaning of each new word he hears, he adds it to his "word databank" and moves on. He does not reject new words simply because they are not in his databank. He cannot afford to do that; he humbly realizes that his databank is limited and needs to grow, and he is confident that he will eventually be able to master the language if he persistently works to absorb it into his soul. A baby does not give up when he realizes that he does not understand a single word his parents are mumbling to him shortly after birth. He humbly admits that he doesn't understand a word, but he is confident that he will eventually understand the words spoken around him. This is what allows a baby to grow in his understanding of a language that is completely new to him, without a need for any "formalized" grammar or vocabulary courses.

 

As you expose yourself to the seeds of God's wisdom, and as you travail in understanding them through meditation and repetition, you will slowly absorb that wisdom into your heart and mind, and that wisdom will become an intrinsic and instinctive part of you. As long as we have the heart of a disciple, we will continue to grow in the fullness of God's wisdom.

 

Subtlety vs. naiveté

Those who move away from wisdom towards a "simple" Gospel suffer a loss in their ability to make righteous judgments:

 

"The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going" (Proverbs 14:15)

 

According to the verse above, a "simple" person turns into an unstable and naive person that is easily swayable by the judgments of others, and even by the emotions of his or her own soul. On the other hand, the "prudent" person looks carefully before walking. In other words, the prudent person examines things before adopting a belief and walking by it.

 

The word "prudent" in the verse above was translated from the Hebrew word aruwm which literally means "subtle, shrewd, sensible". Therefore, a "prudent" person is sensitive to the subtle details of a path before stepping into it.


"1The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion." (
Proverbs 1:1-4)

[The word "subtilty" in verse 4 was translated from the Hebrew word ormah, which is related to the word aruwm mentioned above]

 

Notice how Scripture once again relates wisdom to justice and judgments in verse 2 above. As we grow in wisdom, we grow in the authority of our judgments. According to verse 4, as we grow in wisdom, we grow in "subtlety" and move away from naive "simplicity". When we move into "subtlety", we begin to see the complexities in the people and things around us, and we begin to see the hidden nuances in them. We move from simplistic "black and white" judgments into more complex judgments where we can see the intricate details in other people and things. We begin to see different "color tones", and we begin to perceive small details that we did not notice before. We begin to see the great value of "small" qualities we did not see before, and we begin to perceive the great danger of "small" problems we did not notice before. In a spiritual sense, moving from "simplicity" to "subtlety" is equivalent to switching from a black-and-white TV set to a color TV set.

 

Since "simple" people are unable to discern between different "color tones", they are quick to simplify the undiscerned color tones to the tones they do discern. For example, if a simple person only discerns two colors, "bright red" and "bright blue", the color "orange" would automatically be simplified to "red", and the color "cyan" would be simplified to "blue"; a "different" color like "green" would be simply dismissed as a "heretical" color.

 

Most pastors and "ministers" throughout the Church are "simple", "color-blind" believers who reject the deep wisdom of God because they are unable to fit it within the confines of their limited, "simple gospel". No matter what Scripture is presented before them, they stubbornly stand by their two little colors, and they are offended by anyone who claims that their "simple gospel" is a false gospel. It is false because it denies truths, even when it does accept other truths.

 

"The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out" (Proverbs 28:11)

 

Reproof for the simple

According to Scripture, the spirit of simplicity is broken through reproof:

 

"22How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you." (Proverbs 1:22-23)

 

Notice how the question at the beginning of verse 22 betrays a sense of frustration on the part of God regarding the stubbornness of the simple. It is similar to the "Until when?" question posed by Jesus in Matthew 17:17. Notice also how God promises the simple that He will pour out His spirit and reveal His words unto them, if they are only willing to humbly submit to His reproof. God is willing to pour out His spirit of revelation upon all those who have the heart of a disciple.


"When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge." (
Proverbs 21:11)

 

Notice how the "reproof" of Proverbs 1:23 is raised to "punishment" when the simple acts like a scorner. "Scorn" has the connotation of defiance and disdain for the other person. Therefore, a scorner is a simple person who defiantly defends his or her simple view while disdaining the wisdom presented before him or her.

 

"Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath" (Proverbs 21:24)

 

"A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished" (Proverbs 22:3)

 

The simple scorners may feel comfortable and secure in their simplistic world, but they are doing nothing but draw the wrath of God upon their lives.

 

At the very least, people stubbornly anchored in simplicity require reproof. When they turn arrogant and disdainful, they require punishment, and those of you who submit your hearts to the wisdom of God have been endowed with the spiritual authority to unleash that punishment upon them, because God provides wisdom for the making of judgments.

 

As we have shared before, God repudiates simplistic attitudes in which people feel comfortable living in a limited, spiritual environment. This is why He confronts the simple with reproof and the scorner with punishment.

 

"A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise" (Proverbs 15:12)

 

"The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise." (Proverbs 15:31)

 

Perizzite Land

As we have also said before, the Perizzite spirit is a "poor villager" spirit that works to confine people to a limited spiritual environment where they are immediately put to shame whenever they try to extend beyond that limited environment. Therefore, the Perizzite spirit is responsible for keeping believers under a mentality of simplistic judgments, and those who may try to break away from the Perizzite influence can expect a barrage of accusations to come upon them. This is why Psalm 119:43-46, quoted earlier, says the following:

 

"43And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments. 44So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. 45And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. 46I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed." (Psalm 119:43-46)

 

After James 1:5-6, which was quoted earlier, the Spirit says the following:

 

"9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: 10But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away." (James 1:9-10)

 

In other words, it is impossible for a believer to break from the simplistic mentality of the matriarchal Church if the believer is unwilling to assert his or her spiritual authority in Christ. Just as wisdom must be proactively sought after, the only way to break from the Perizzite influence of simplified thinking is by proactively bucking the Canaanite-Perizzite trend (Genesis 34:30, Judges 1:4-5). One must be brave enough to confront the tide of simplistic thinking in the Church by standing on the Holy Spirit's witness about our spiritual authority in Christ. If we wait until man testifies of our spiritual authority, we will be in "Perizzite Land" forever.

 

Timothy was a man belittled by others on account of his youth (1 Timothy 4:11). In other words, carnal man constantly tried to put Timothy to shame because of his youth in an effort to deprive him of his God-given spiritual authority. Notice how Paul exhorts Timothy to seek the approval of God (not man) and to not feel ashamed for being a laborer seeking after the truth, unafraid to use the sword of pestilence to "rightly divide" the logos of truth as he confronted others on their interpretation of truth:

 

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15)

[The word "workman" was translated from the Greek word ergates, which is the same word that is translated as "labourers" in Matthew 9:37-38. The word "word" was translated from the Greek word logos, which, as we have said before, is associated with God's spiritual judgments.]

 

The logos confrontation with others must be done in the Spirit. Jesus would engage in such confrontations with the Pharisees and Sadducees, and Paul would do the same with the Jews in the cities where he would visit (Acts 13:5, Acts 13:14-15, Acts 14:1-7, Acts 17:1-15, Acts 17:17, Acts 18:4-11, Acts 18:19-23, Acts 18:26-28, Acts 19:8-11). However, when those confronted insist on behaving like quarrelers in the flesh, with no real interest in the truth, they must be discarded and shoved aside, in the same way that they have discarded and shoved aside the truth:

 

"4And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. 5And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. 6And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles." (Acts 18:4-6)

[The word "reasoned" in verse 4 was translated from the Greek word dialegomai, which has the connotation of "word exchange" and is translated as "dispute" on 6 occasions in the King James Version.

 

Notice that, instead of yielding in shame to the blasphemous accusations of the Jews, Paul "shook his raiment" in disgust and discarded them.]

 

"4Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. 5Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit." (Proverbs 26:4-5)

[The word "conceit" was mistranslated from the Hebrew word ayin meaning "eye". In other words, verse 5 should say, "... lest he be wise in his own eyes". Since "eyes" are related to judgment in Scripture, this is equivalent to saying, "... lest he be wise according to his own judgment".

 

Notice how these two verses set the boundaries for arguing with a fool. We must respond to the fool in order to show him that he is not as wise as he thinks, but we must not respond to him so much that we end up acting like him. A fool sticks to a falsehood even when it has been proven to be false, and we are acting like a fool when we continue responding to a fool even after it has been proven that he is an irremediable fool who has passed up his God-given opportunity to enter into truth.]

 

The only way to come out of "Perizzite Land" is through confrontation where we do not allow the accusation of others to shame us because we are abiding in truth that the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit give witness to. If we are not willing to "fight in the Spirit", we will be swept away by the simplistic thinking of the people around us, and we will never enter into the fullness of God's truth. To come out of "Perizzite Land", you have to come out fighting. There's no two ways about it!!!

 

Conclusion

The Word of God is not "simple", and those who pretend that it is "simple" are responsible for a Church full of believers who do not grow into the fullness of God's wisdom. Even though the Word is inherently complex, the Lord has given us the mind of Christ, and He plants small seeds in our hearts and minds that grow as we travail and seek after Truth. As long as we have the heart of a disciple, our inner being will grow in the richness and complexity of God's Wisdom, and we will grow into the Likeness of the Creator of all things.