In part two of this article it’s interesting to note how this spiritualizing system of interpretation that Origin, Philo and even the Rabbis at the time of Christ introduced into Christianity, had its connections to paganism. In our conclusion today, we will see that history repeats and where this method of Biblical interpretation leads us.
The idea of this system of interpretation is that you can replace the literal word or idea with a figurative one or in some other way explain it away as it reads.
“In the days of Christ the leaders and teachers of Israel were powerless to resist the work of Satan. They were neglecting the only means by which they could have withstood evil spirits. It was by the Word of God that Christ overcame the wicked one. The leaders of Israel professed to be the expositors of God's Word, but they had studied it only to sustain their traditions, and enforce their man-made observances. By their interpretation they made it express sentiments that God had never given. Their mystical construction made indistinct that which He had made plain. They disputed over insignificant technicalities, and practically denied the most essential truths. Thus infidelity was sown broadcast. God's Word was robbed of its power, and evil spirits worked their will.
History is repeating. With the open Bible before them, and professing to reverence its teachings, many of the religious leaders of our time are destroying faith in it as the Word of God. They busy themselves with dissecting the Word, and set their own opinions above its plainest statements. In their hands God's Word loses its regenerating power. This is why infidelity runs riot, and iniquity is rife.
When Satan has undermined faith in the Bible, he directs men to other sources for light and power. Thus he insinuates himself. Those who turn from the plain teaching of Scripture and the convicting power of God's Holy Spirit are inviting the control of demons. Criticism and speculation concerning the Scriptures have opened the way for spiritism and theosophy--those modernized forms of ancient heathenism--to gain a foothold even in the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (DA 257, 258)
This is what spiritual formation which is sweeping through many of the churches does. It ‘directs men to other sources for light and power’. How much safer and easier to go to a source that we know is unpolluted!
“The truths most plainly revealed in the Bible have been involved in doubt and darkness by learned men, who, with a pretense of great wisdom, teach that the Scriptures have a mystical, a secret, spiritual meaning not apparent in the language employed. These men are false teachers. It was to such a class that Jesus declared, “Ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God.” [Mark 12:24.] The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed. Christ has given the promise, “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.” [John 7:17.] If men would but take the Bible as it reads, if there were no false teachers to mislead and confuse their minds, a work would be accomplished that would make angels glad, and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands who are now wandering in error.” (GC88 598)
As we read in part one of this article, Origen claimed that:
"The Scriptures are of little use to those who understand them as they are written."
But according to Inspiration:
“The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning… take the Bible as it reads…”
When we study God’s Word, we are not to carry our creed to the Bible and read it in light of our own opinions. We are not to try to make it agree with our ideas. We should search God’s Word prayerfully with our minds free from prejudice. If in our reading we see that our most cherished opinions are not in harmony with God’s Word, instead of making the Word fit our opinions, we should make our opinions to fit the Word. We should not let what we have believed and practiced in the past control our understanding.
The same principles apply when studying the Spirit of Prophecy;
“The Holy Ghost is the author of the Scriptures and of the Spirit of Prophecy. These are not to be twisted and turned to mean what man may want them to mean, to carry out man's ideas and sentiments, to carry forward man's schemes at all hazards… We must stand as vigilant soldiers, guarding against the entrance of one wrong principle.” (2MR 189)
If we would take the Word of God just as it reads, taking God at His Word, not inserting our own suppositions, theories and explanations, what a difference it would make in our churches. It would end all controversies and we would come into the unity and harmony that Christ prayed for and that we must have before we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.