Since I only had 6 hours of work last week, and church is closed, I decided to use the time to do something I’ve thot of doing for many years – just sit down and read the Bible from cover to cover. To be exact, it took me 55 hours 15 minutes to do it. This was the 12th time to go thru the whole Bible, but usually takes a year or two to read it all the way thru. The New Testament I’ve read over 30 times, but the Old only 12. Below are the impressions that I either received newly, or were reinforced, or lost by this quick read.
1. God clearly shows us that what he wants us to do in order to please him, is to keep his Commandments, Statutes, and Judgments in the OT, and to believe in Jesus as the Son of God while keeping his Commandments in the New.
2. I saw a little more clearly why many people think the God of the OT is different from the God of the New. That’s never made any sense to me, as Jesus himself said the OT speaks of him, and we know he was the Rock that was leading Israel etc., but the contrast is there – a God who destroys in the Old, and almost never destroys in the New, until Revelation/end of the world. One reason I can think of for this difference, is that God had a physical kingdom back then, and often worked in the open too, so to protect his people, he had to physically fight for them, and punish them when necessary. Now that his kingdom is spiritual, he of course still works, but it is not so obvious to everybody.
3. While I still believe God is a God of absolutes, I got a strong feeling that he is actually quite lenient/loose (merciful?), not willing that any should perish, but that all that possibly can, will be saved. For example, David had one of his top 30 warriors killed so he could have his wife, and yet God not only forgave him, but made his son thru that woman not only the richest king ever in Israel, but even Jesus himself was born thru that lineage! And then the thing with Judah going to a harlot, having kids by his daughter-in-law etc. seems like he should have been killed by God like his two sons, but instead, God greatly blessed that union and yes, Jesus Christ came thru that lineage!!! There are very few accounts that show where the Israelites kept all the commandments, statutes, and judgments, yet they were still his chosen people up until the day that they put the Son of God on the cross……
4. I have always believed that everything in the Bible was universally true in all situations, but in the last couple of years I’ve started to wonder about that position, and this read reinforced the belief that while some things, like the 10 Commandments, are universally true, many things in the Bible are just for certain situations it seems. One of the most famous examples is where in Proverbs it says not to answer a fool, and in the exact same verse says to answer a fool! Others are to spread your bread on many waters, while other places say not to waste any bread. We should treat others like we want to be treated, yet there are times when God’s people are told to take the heads off their enemies. We are told to not take vengeance on our enemies, yet the Holy Spirit expressly empowered some of God’s people to take vengeance on their enemies.
5. Whoever says that the Bible is just the ideas of God written the best that inspired men could do, has not read the Bible with understanding. Never, ever is that position even hinted at. Never. In great contrast, many, many times it says “My words”, or “the word of the Lord”, or “the voice of God”, etc. The Bible must be read while under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, or it will never be the voice of God to the soul, which it must be if it is ever going to change and purify the heart.
6. The Bible is mostly a history book. It’s a history of mostly God’s people from creation to the end of the world and into the New Earth. There are sections that are more like prose and poems and instruction for life, etc., but basically it is about God’s chosen people, with quite a bit about those nations that have a direct influence on those people.
7. I really like the book of John even more after this read. Like I said earlier, the Bible is mostly a history book, but then John comes with “In the beginning was the Word”. Tingle! Really, it was a pleasant shock to read that straight truth. I like Revelation too, and this time felt more affinity with Jeremiah. I do like Genesis, Psalms, and Daniel (!) very much too. Books I’m not fond of are the “minor” prophets who talk about foreign countries (Obadiah), Proverbs, and this is the first time I really didn’t think much of Job either. Job’s friends have what appears to be lots of good points to me, while Job just complains about being born. But the main issue of whether God always materially supports his followers is decided in favor of Job, who contends that he does not. God’s argument in favor of him doing what he feels like seems a bit weak too. Which leads me into number 8.
8. The Bible is getting dated rapidly. For thousands of years people could relate to it (if they could get access to it!), but here in the 21st century, it is hard to get a grasp of what they are even talking about. I still remember a Japanese friend around year 2000 who agreed with me to memorize the 23rd Psalm, and she asked if pouring oil on someone’s head was a bad thing or what. So many customs and ways of living are totally foreign to us. I mean, if someone found a coin in their house today, they would lose all their friends if they got all excited when finding it, and went and told them all to rejoice with her about it! And what’s this about sheep? Many people have never even seen a sheep, let alone know what it’s lifestyle is like, and what they represent. Much of the OT is about various countries fighting each other, as that’s what countries used to do when there was no one superpower. But since WWII at least, there have been very, very few country to country invasions where the object was to take and plunder everything. So it’s hard to even understand many of the things written in the Bible about building walls around cities, closing the gates, setting up watchmen, trusting in horses, etc. In a world of airplanes, cars, missiles, electricity and so on, who cares about a horse or a sword, and what do they really mean anyway, as horses are just for racing, and swords are just in museums…… To me, this is one more reason why number 9.
9. Jesus must come back soon. Everything points to it. There is no new Bible being written, and the Bible that is, is looking more and more obsolete every day. Yes, those who are seeking the Lord will understand the prophecies, and know that we are living in the toes of the great image (or very near the toes), so the time must be near. Of course all the Bible is for their help and instruction, as the Bible is not only for everyone in all of history, but especially for the 144,000 who will be alive on the earth to see their Lord come in the air.
And Jesus will come back soon to take his faithful home. His “quickly” is not as we usually define “quickly”, but as his holy words speak to us as we read today, “quickly” means to those of us here in the 21st century. He will come back. He will do good to his followers. He will keep his words.
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:3-5.
“…there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.” 1Kings 8:56.
May we eat his flesh and drink his blood daily, and be ready to live forever with him in glory. Amen.