by Dick Hill
The Bible is an inexhaustible source of amazing wisdom and insight. And there is always more to learn, always moreto understand. One will never plumb the depths of its truth this side of the coming kingdom of Jesus Christ. Paul said that at best in this life we will only have partial knowledge.
There will come a time, however, when partial knowledge will give way to full knowledge. Paul said that when he was a child, he spoke as a child and understood as a child. But when he became a man, he put away childish things. He then made this point:
For at this present time we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now we know in part, but then we shall know just as I also am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12).
When believers, those who have the Spirit of God living inside, begin to study the truths of the Bible, it is as though they are looking through a dimly lit corridor. They just catch glimpses of God’s amazing truth here and there. But there is coming a time when God will draw back the curtain and allow us to really see. Our dim mirrors will then become bright and crystal clear.
Full knowledge of many things will eventually prevail. I do not think, however, that we will ever come to a complete understanding of God. God is, after all, incomprehensible and unfathomable. However, some day we will finally see God in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ – the King of all Kings.
God has used many different Bible teachers throughout my life to add to my knowledge of His word. But without a doubt, my greatest teacher by far has been the third person of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit. Notice how Jesus introduced Him to us. Speaking to His disciples He said:
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore, I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:12-15)
Christians profit from the writings of different people and have throughout the years of history. God placed in my heart to write books on Bible truths that some may consider difficult. It has been my desire to make these difficult Bible doctrines understandable to those who have the desire to know them. It takes time and the desire on the part of the listener and clear teaching on the part of the instructor to make the truth understandable.
In the book, A Glimpse of the Christian, I sought to answer the question, “What does it mean to be a Christian?” What does the word Christian mean? It means “belonging to Christ” or “connected to Christ.” Some of the most exciting glimpses into God’s invisible domain are the ones that teach us exactly how we are connected to Him.
First and most importantly, Christians are Bible people. For most readers, this would appear glaringly obvious. “Well, of course,” you might respond. “What else would we be?”
Then again, you may not understand exactly what I mean by “Bible people.” Christians believe the Bible to be God’s inerrant, infallible Word. Christians are to be faithful to study the Bible, seeking to find the correct interpretation so we can do what it says and teach it accurately. But there is much more to the Bible than most people understand.
When I was young, I came into the possession of some old hand-me-down puzzles. These were definitely not children’s puzzles. Some of them had well over a hundred pieces and most of these pieces were very small. I simply had no clue where to begin. After the decision to try, I would begin by looking intently at the picture on the box. In fact, I would look at it over and over again trying to etch that picture in my mind. I found myself constantly gazing at the image, trying to visualize what this puzzle was to look like when completed.
The more familiar I became, the easier it was to zero-in on the location of various objects in the picture, like buildings or mountains or people. Then came the colors with their various shades. I studied all the pieces and their shapes – some had square corners, some rounded corners, etc. – all the while, keeping the picture on the box in mind. Then piece by piece, ever so slowly, paying close attention to the colors and shapes, through much trial and error – I began to find where the pieces fit. I gradually began to make a little progress. Hours turned into days, and the picture began to take shape. As this happened, I was more motivated to go back and work on it. Though agonizingly slow, the picture on the box began to come into view in the puzzle. Finally, when the last few pieces were inserted, there it was! The puzzle became the picture on the box. When the last piece was laid in place, and the picture was complete, it was time to celebrate.
It is very much the same when attempting to understand the big picture behind the Bible. When we begin to put the pieces of truth together and catch a glimpse of God’s end game, His big picture, we are more motivated to study it.
The apostle John was used by God to give us a glimpse of this big picture as well as some important truths to help us understand the way forward. John was a prisoner, exiled on a deserted island for nothing more than believing and teaching that the testimony of the Bible is true. John taught that the Bible’s main character is the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth (including Caesar at that time). John boldly said that Jesus loves us and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Revelation 1:2, 5). John was charged as a criminal, found guilty, and later exiled to a desolate island called Patmos. He had already realized that this world was not his final home. He was a pilgrim and a stranger here. He was just passing through (Hebrews 11:13). He knew also that he was completely in God’s hands and that God had placed him on that desolate island for His purpose.
Jesus Christ gave John a magnificent view of the big picture. John testified that he had seen a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God iswith men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and betheir God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:1).
I have tried to visualize in my mind exactly what that old grace champion must have seen, that is, what this new heaven and new earth will be like. The last two chapters of Revelation must have become for him his glimpse at the picture on the box of God’s final puzzle. This must have given him the added assurance that this world was not his home and his view of that new heaven and earth became for him the final piece of the puzzle. This, no doubt, was at least a part of his thinking when he wrote:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that isin the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-18)