OPENING THE SCRIPTURES
1 Peter 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. 13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
We enter into the Apostle Peter speaking on the subject of present day Christians not being yet glorified, and therefore not having yet received the end of faith! Then he states in the next verse that there is still a future grace that should come unto you. And while instructing the New Testament believers of needing faith to hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; he begins to relate how the Old Testament believers also had to await the grace which we now experience that was not unto themselves! For even the things that the prophets revealed were not made available to anyone until the Holy Ghost, being sent down from heaven revealed the gospel.
Listen to this same matter from the Apostle Paul’s writings to the Hebrew believers. Hebrews 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Here is that last verse as listed in the Amplified Bible. Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us, [that is, before we could join them].
In seeing the contrast between that which the Old Testament believers didn’t have as compared with that which we do have, we come to wonder just how and when this change was accomplished. Just when were the scriptures opened up to us?
First we see that the revelation of God was guarded in the Old Economy. That is, there was a “go only to the house of Israel,” kind of prevailing spirit. Isaiah 8:16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. Daniel 12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
But when the New Testament, or Covenant came we hear far different words. Matthew 10:27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: The command now is to shout it from the housetops and teach it to all nations!
The protection of the revelation’s purity would still be exclusively in the control of the Holy Spirit, even though it was now to be broadcast like a farmer sowing seed. And this was a matter of concern to the believers in that age of transition between the old and the new! John 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
And what a glorious answer our Lord gave! The revelation would no longer be controlled by outwardly hiding its message from the ear. It would now be controlled inwardly by the Spirit within the heart! Phil. 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
It was the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ that made this difference! For he alone is granted authority over all things to open, or to close! Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
In Matthew 3:16,17 the heavens were reopened to mankind through his obedience! In Matthew 5:2 he opens his mouth and God is once again heard to speak after 400 years of silence between Malachi and Matthew. In Matthew 7:7 he even teaches us how to approach God in order to open! In Matthew 27:52,53 the graves in Jerusalem were opened upon his death! And in Revelation 4:1 he opens a door in the heavenlies to raise the church from the physical into a spiritual consciousness! 1 Corinthians 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
But just when did this opening occur? We have presented to us both the visions of the opening and the actuality of the opening in the scriptures.
First we see the vision of the Prophet Daniel. Daniel 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. 13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Here we see the prophesy of the Lord Jesus Christ in his ascension, going up in the clouds of Acts 1:9, and in the clouds of his glory, to stand before the Father, listed as the Ancient of Days.
Then we have the Apostle John’s vision as listed in Revelation 5:6-10, and the Lord’s opening beginning in chapter six and verse one. But let us now see the actual opening of which these visions speak. We must remember that in both Daniel’s and John’s visions we have presented to us the resurrected Lord! For John states that it was a Lamb as it had been slain, that came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
Now let us join the scene on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24), where the resurrected, but as yet hidden Christ, drew near to the two disciples. After he speaks to them and gives them the sole subject of divine revelation, he withdraws himself from them. Of his instruction to them we read, Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Lk. 24:26,27).
These two wandering sheep had just been sought out by the Shepherd and made to understanbd the reality of the purpose of God in the scriptures. And how did they describe this happening? Luke 24:31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? Both their eyes and the scriptures were opened by the resurrected Lamb! He had shown them the sole subject of the scriptures – himself! John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Now listen to the account after these two get back to the company of the rest of the disciples in this same chapter. Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: He has now opened the eyes, the scriptures, and the understanding for the beginning of the New Testament era!
But there is one last Person that must enter into this. He is the Person of the Holy Spirit. For the Person of Jesus Christ can only dwell in every individual believing heart by the presence of the Holy Spirit! Therefore Christ passes the authority to continue the opening of eyes, hearts and the scriptures to Him! John 16:13 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. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
And this generation of religionists is hard at work promoting doctrine! We are so busy promoting the publication of men of yester-year and their issues! And we are tireless in our efforts to promote our patriotic conservatism! But like a tire spinning in the mud, we shall have little results for the spreading of the kingdom of Christ, except we gain traction by coming back to Christ! For the Holy Spirit will honor none other than the Lord of glory!
The poor eunuch of Acts chapter eight had made the trip of a lifetime in journeying to Jerusalem from Ethiopia. But all he found when he got there was a torn veil in a spiritually dead temple! He was coming back home from church without any spiritual openings for his poor soul!
He was reading Isaiah chapter fifty three. But the letter of the law killeth! He needed the spirit of the word to quicken his heart! And then the Holy Spirit sent him the very best thing that he could have received. He sent forth a man named Philip. For every time Philip opened his mouth, Jesus came out! Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
Through him the Holy Spirit revealed the suffering servant to be Christ and not Isaiah! Acts 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 …and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Pastor Gene Breed