WHO ARE YOU?
This chapter taken from the book When Faith Came by Franklin Whittenburg © 1998-2011 (EE)
Spiritual Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding
To understand the Gospel, you have to understand eternal life. This spiritual understanding comes by the Holy Spirit (Spirit of Life). It is not attained by quiet contemplation, but by death and resurrection. To understand the need for eternal life, you have to understand death also. As we already saw, it was the knowledge of good and evil that brought death to man, so we know that death first appeared as a “state of mind” because it came by knowledge, as Paul also taught in the New Testament.
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:17 KJV).
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:6 KJV).
The reason is, man can now judge and condemn himself worthy of death.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:21 KJV).
The mystery of all doesn’t get any simpler than what I am getting ready to explain.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3 KJV).
The Bible says that God created the heavens and the earth and said all things were very good.
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day (Genesis 1:31 KJV).
The only thing that has changed is how we perceive in our mind God’s very good creation.
I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean (Romans 14:14 KJV).
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled (Titus 1:15 KJV).
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself (Titus 3:10 KJV).
I want to also stop here for a moment and address something that many in the secular world claim that there is no such thing as good or evil or that good and evil is “relative”. The Bible plainly states that good and evil existed already when man was created, because the tree of the knowledge of it was in the Garden of Eden when Adam was placed there (Genesis 2:8,9 KJV). But the knowledge of good and evil was reserved for God alone. God is the Creator of the world, and only God has the right to judge His creation good or evil. The thing that the Bible does say is evil in this world now, is the imagination of man’s heart.
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart (Genesis 6:5,6 KJV).
And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:20-22 KJV).
And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man (Mark 7:14-23 KJV).
This carnal state of mind keeps you separated from a true peaceful relationship with God and eating of the tree of life, just like Adam hiding from God in the Garden of Eden with his new found “knowledge of good and evil”.
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in YOUR mind by wicked works, yet now hath he (Jesus) reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: (Colossians 1:21,22 KJV).
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16,17 KJV).
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works (Genesis 2:16,17); or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (Revelation 2:5-7 KJV).
And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And 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 18:5,6 KJV)
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:46-48 KJV).
This is why one of the doctrines of Christianity is “renewing of the mind”. Only the TRUTH will renew the mind. That is the duty of those who have passed on into the spiritual mind as Paul declared in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 KJV.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will GIVE them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26 KJV).
Many in the church today have a “double mind”. Paul wrestles with a “double mind” in the Book of Romans chapter 7 and then explains how he got the victory through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in Romans chapter 8. This allowed him to transcend into the “spiritual” mind and peace with God. The “double mind” is one that is both carnal and spiritual, like the human mind is divided into consciousness and sub-consciousness.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:6 KJV).
The Bible also places the source of the spiritual consciousness in the heart, not the head.
And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:27 KJV).
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:22 KJV).
Through the Gospel, the believer’s mind is brought into one pure consciousness. This is called the “renewing of the mind”.
Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience (1 Timothy 3:9 KJV).
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2 KJV).
But 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. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For 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 KJV).
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? (1 Corinthians 3:1-5 KJV).
If you are wrestling with a “double mind” then be of good cheer, there is victory over the “double mind” in Jesus. In Romans chapter 7, Paul fights the same battle in his mind and in defeat he declares himself “carnal and sold under sin”. The Christian on the other hand is spiritual (Galatians 6:1KJV) and bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20KJV)(1 Corinthians 7:23KJV)! All Paul is showing in these scriptures is the futility of the power of your flesh and your own determination to get the victory over sin. It is simply a rebuke to those who use works for salvation in their doctrine. A carnal man cannot continuosly keep a spiritual law, and a carnal man cannot bear spiritual fruit. Here is a simple rule of thumb to keep from getting the two confused. In the New Testament, good works are associated with rewards in heaven for the Christian, while salvation is associated with faith (Matthew 6:19,20 KJV). It really is that simple.
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil, which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:14-25 KJV).
Paul finally yields the whole mess over to the Holy Spirit in Romans chapter 8 and gets the victory by the Holy Spirit that he could not get in the flesh. After Paul experienced this amazing truth, he then later rebuked the Galatians for doing the very same thing!
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:3 KJV)
How did Paul finally come to this spiritual knowledge of the truth? Jesus said “ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32 KJV). How do we also get that spiritual understanding and knowledge of truth then? Jesus said:
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 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 KJV).
The Christian has a Holy Spirit, not a seminary, to guide us into the deeper wisdom of God. After I realized I had spent my whole “Christian” life, lost in the study of end time prophecy, I dug deeply into the Bible to find some answers for myself in day-to-day living. All I found was more questions. You don’t ever want to get to the point that I did where I not only realized I was not saved, but I also started thinking that I might have done something and could not be saved. When you are in this fallen state, you will search the Bible desperately for help of any kind. But until I came to a point of total surrender to Jesus, the eternal truths that I was seeking were sealed and no preacher could open them for me as Isaiah the Prophet taught.
And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: (Isaiah 29:11-13 KJV).
It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit entered into me that I now had a spiritual interpreter. It takes the same Holy Spirit that gave the apostles and prophets the knowledge to write the Bible to interpret the deeper spiritual truths. We know by scripture (2 Peter 1:20 KJV) that prophecy came spiritually, and not naturally.
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 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 (2 Peter 1:20 KJV).
Paul reaffirmed this and explained the “spiritual” interpretation of the scripture very plainly in (1 Corinthians 2:6-16 KJV).
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But 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. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:6-16 KJV).
This spiritual understanding is essential to understanding the deeper truths. Jesus said, “these words I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63 KJV). Paul exhorted us to “rightly divide the word of truth” in 2 Timothy.
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 KJV).
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame (1 Corinthians 15:34 KJV).
And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly (Acts 18:24-26 KJV).
If the word of truth can be “divided” as Paul claims, then that would mean that the word of truth could be understood in two ways “naturally” and “spiritually”. Some religions interpret the scriptures naturally, some interpret the scriptures spiritually, and some religions use a mixture of both. That is why you have so many different denominations out of only one truth. But which way is the correct way to interpret scripture, so we can be profited by it?
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it (Hebrews 4:2 KJV).
In Hebrews 4:2 KJV it says that the only way that the gospel will profit man is if they “mix it with faith”. Is faith then “natural” or “spiritual”?
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Hebrews 11:1-3 KJV).
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit (John 3:6-8 KJV).
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible (Hebrews 11:27 KJV).
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17,18 KJV).
When you read the scriptures do you hear stones of condemnation or the bread of life? If you are reading the scriptures while still “in the flesh” (naturally) you should be receiving condemnation from them, because Jesus Christ condemned sin “in the flesh”.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:3-6 KJV).
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself (Titus 3:9,10 KJV).
And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles (Acts 13:44-46 KJV).
If you are reading the scriptures “in the Spirit” (spiritually), then they should be spiritually edifying and feeding you.
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are SPIRIT, and they are life (John 6:63 KJV).
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, (Ephesians 1:17,18 KJV).
As we can see by the verse John 6:63 KJV, Jesus even said that these words are “spirit and life”. Paul said the “carnal mind” equals death and the “spiritual mind” equals life and peace.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:5,6 KJV).
Why then do some pastors that interpret the scriptures “naturally”, call Christians that interpret the scriptures “spiritually” evil and label them “Gnostics” after an ancient esoteric sect? The word Gnostic simply means “one who knows”. Agnostic means “one who doesn’t know”. I know why.
But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now (Galatians 4:29 KJV).
I believe that all true Christians can understand the things I am sharing in this book with the assistance of the Holy Spirit and not just a select few “super” Christians. If someone can understand the scriptures “spiritually” then that just means that they have the Holy Spirit revealing it to them. It doesn’t get any more complicated than that. The Bible says that no man can receive anything except it be given him from heaven (John 3:27 KJV). The true spiritual wisdom is hidden from natural man’s understanding and logic even though this spiritual wisdom is preached openly to everyone. Some people have “ears to hear” and some do not.
Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? (John 14:22).
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us (2 Corinthians 4:1-7 KJV).
Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice (John 18:37 KJV).
The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so (John 18:19-22 KJV).
How do we get spiritual “ears to hear” then? From God of course!
And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. (John 6:65-68 KJV).
John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven (John3:27 KJV).
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. Therefore speak to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their eyes are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (Matthew 13:10-17 KJV)
As you can see by the last three of these scriptures that you just read (John 6:65,66 KJV)(John 3:27KJV)(Matthew 13:10-17 KJV), this spiritual understanding is a gift that is given by God.
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath GIVEN us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life (1 John 5:20 KJV).
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may GIVE unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all (Ephesians 1:15-23 KJV).
The best way that I can explain the need for this spiritual understanding is with a communication I had with a person from an eastern type religion that was not associated with Christianity. That person came up to me in a parking lot as I was getting into my truck and wanted to talk about spiritual matters. I stayed in touch briefly with them and found that person to be quite committed to their search of “self-realization”, but I still got to explain to them why Jesus Christ was the way to get the answers I was looking for. I used terminology that they would be familiar with. I would refer to the Holy Spirit as my “spiritual guide” which is still very Biblical.
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 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 KJV).
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father (Ephesians 2:18 KJV).
This person seemed focused on the "knowing of self " and the search for “Absolute Truth”. I think that many people wonder why they are in this world and what is their purpose in life by the amount of sales on books written about your “purpose” in this world.
A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself (Proverbs 18:2 KJV).
The “knowing of self” is a very dangerous undertaking that people venture out on. If they don’t know where to look for the right answers then there are plenty of “spiritual leaders” in the world that will give them some answers, which may sound good, but usually brings them into some sort of spiritual or natural bondage to the teacher. All I did was show that person where I found the answers I was looking for myself. The following is a summary of that communication. I responded to that person like this:
“The “knowing of self” is great if you can find the answers you are looking for in yourself. Many people find out a lot about themselves through worldly meditations practices (i.e. Yoga, chanting mantras, centering prayers, focused breathing, transcendental meditations, etc.) but the problem is these practices are all based on trying to consciously control access to an unconscious wisdom (i.e. higher knowledge). These are "acts of self" trying to access a knowledge higher and deeper than "self". The futility of this logic is why I wasn't searching for the “knowledge of self”, I had finally come to the “end of myself”. I was searching for the “knowledge of God”. I came to the conclusion that to completely understand the creation of "myself" and why I was created, I had to look at who I am through the eyes of my Creator, which is knowledge higher than "myself". And as the Bible teaches:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8,9 KJV).
So now I was faced with a problem. How can I attain knowledge “higher” than myself by an act “of myself”, which is what worldly meditation practices, are. I knew through worldly meditation, all I could ever attain was the highest knowledge of myself. There is a wall between the natural and spiritual world, which became what I call the "self barrier". Somehow I had to break through this "self barrier" or have someone already on the other side to carry me into this realm of Absolute Truth so that I may “know” God and the higher thoughts. I came to the same conclusion that other religions have come to.
I needed a "spirit guide"(Holy Spirit). I knew I needed someone who had been there already to guide me. I knew this was my first step. Now I had another problem, I didn't know of anybody that had been in this “spirit” realm, but Jesus and the apostles and prophets through my study of the Bible. I decided to study how they did it. Could I get God to send me a "spirit guide" to take me into this higher knowledge that I may know Him.
John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven (John 3:27 KJV).
Paul had found a way to this higher dimension through the Way (Jesus Christ). If Paul could do it as he told about his experience then possibly so could I.
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for man to utter. (2 Corinthians 12:1-4 KJV)
As you can see, Paul got a chance to look at himself from the outside, without the distortion coming from the "self" on the inside. In the spiritual realm, Paul could finally see the complete revelation of himself."
What I was searching for and what I think everybody starts searching for from time to time is “the meaning of life” or “why they were created”? In other religions I have seen a continuing theme that keeps coming up is the desire to attain “self-realization”. So I responded to that person like this:
“Maybe I can offer some help in your journey for “self-realization” from what my “spirit guide”(Holy Spirit) has shown me. There are many teachings and many human spiritual leaders in the world and they can provide wisdom to a certain extent, but I believe the wisdom and knowledge you are seeking and what I was seeking goes deeper than what a human spiritual leader can provide. Let me explain it this way using the physical body as an example.
If you want to know what your body looks like, you can look at a lot of it and see, but there are some parts of your body that are impossible to see without the aid of an outside source. If you want to know what your face looks like you use a mirror so you can see for yourself. I could stand in front of you and try to describe to you what you look like, but then your idea of your appearance would come strictly from my perspective or another person’s perspective. Since you couldn't see your face without a mirror, I would be your only source of information about how you look. I could give general knowledge to you, like "you have a nose" or "your eyes are blue" and "your eyebrows are brown", but even with my best description of you, it still couldn't answer for you in your mind the “Absolute Truth” of what your face looks like. You also would have no way to know whether I was telling you the truth or not. You would always carry some doubt with you in the back of your mind and wonder sometimes if I even told you the truth. You have to see for yourself to ever attain any true peace and an honest answer for what you look like. To get the complete picture of what you look like, you have to have some help and so it is with your spirit.
A "spiritual leader" or in the Christian religion "a pastor, prophet, teacher, etc." can each give their opinion based on their experience in spiritual matters or on what they have learned through their studies of the scriptures, but as with the body analogy, then all of your or my spiritual guidance would still be filtered through THEIR perspective. A person can learn through experience, but you cannot teach experience. This is why I did not seek out a pastor or any other human being to teach me the deeper spiritual truths. I sought out all of my wisdom and knowledge of who I was (self-realization) and what my purpose is from my Creator.
If 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 (James 1:5 KJV).
To guide me in my quest for Absolute Truth, I used the same “spirit guide” that Jesus said to use. This is very important! Even Jesus didn't teach his disciples everything, but left the deeper spiritual teaching to another source.
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 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 16:12,13 KJV).
God sent His own Spirit to guide me and teach me about the Absolute Truth. This spirit guide entered into my body several years ago, and took over the job of my spiritual teaching and I no longer sought man for spiritual guidance. When this Spirit entered in me immediately a spiritual light was turned on in the distance and my life since then has been a simple walk to it.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: (1 Peter 2:10 KJV).
As I get closer to the light, my path becomes more clear and brighter. See one day somebody could take and throw me in jail without access to a Bible, pastor, or a spiritual leader and I would still grow in knowledge of the Absolute Truth and even though I would be bound up in prison, I could be totally free in the spiritual realm. Each and every day I stand in awe of this magnificent spiritual kingdom of God that has been opened for me! My prayer for you is that your complete spiritual wisdom and knowledge will come from your Creator and not your religion. Only He can truly show you the reason He created you and your true purpose in the universe, both spiritual and natural. Only by looking at yourself through the eyes of your Creator, like looking in a mirror, will you come to the complete "self-realization" you seek.
Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:17,18 KJV).
After my spiritual conversion experience (i.e. born again) the ability to create "something out of nothing" (i.e. inspiration) suddenly appeared. Ideas for spiritual books, art, and inventions flooded in. It can come in many different forms (songs,art,inventions,books,etc.), but they have the same source. The spiritual inspiration that I am talking about in this study is NOT the same as "imagination". The world exalts "imagination", the Bible does not. Imagination is where you get leprechauns and unicorns from, but spiritual inspiration is where you get the temple of Solomon from. The Christian is exhorted in the Bible to tear down the imagination in favor of God's inspiration (2 Corinthians 10:1-5 KJV). The spiritual inspiration that I am talking about in this study is NOT something that is taught to a disciple from a "master or adept" in some esoteric initiation or even as logic in a seminary classroom.
As always, the source of this spiritual inspiration comes from the Holy Spirit. Because of this spiritual newbirth, one inspiration I had for an invention led to a nomination to compete in a contest with other inventors. The following is a copy of my response letter that might help explain where the spiritual inspiration and innovation comes from and to give the credit to the Holy Spirit where it is due. I didn't win the contest, but I still gave God the glory for the inspiration.
Spirit of Innovation Award
When I was told I was nominated for this prestigious award then I sought to define for myself just what this Spirit of Innovation represented to me. I believe that this Spirit of Innovation has been guiding man toward some unseen goal since the beginning of man existence on the earth. To benefit from this Spirit, I first had to understand its source and where to find it. For me, I found this Spirit of Innovation has been specifically recognized in the Bible:
And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works (innovation), to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship (Exodus 31:3,4 KJV).
As daily obstacles arise, then it is this Spirit of Innovation that will continue to rise up and provide solutions to overcome the challenges that this world presents. If you toss a rock into the air then the law of gravity will cause it to come back down to earth, but the principle of lift or aerodynamics that a plane uses overcomes this law of gravity and stays in flight. The principle of lift or aerodynamics does not do away with the law of gravity it just simply overcomes it with a greater law. In the same manner, the Spirit of Innovation is not restricted to the laws of the natural world and can produce new technologies that can transcend the normal way the world approaches those obstacles. Einstein said:
A problem cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created it ----- Albert Einstein
As more people are awakened to this Spirit, then new and exciting innovations should continue to manifest. How fitting that this Spirit should finally be recognized and honored with an award. I too am honored to be nominated and to be given the chance to compete in this great event. To God be the glory.
Franklin R. Whittenburg
Many think that this "spiritual inspiration and understanding" that I am discussing in this study is somehow buried inside of each one of us, and we must just find a discipline or some human spiritual guide or guru to teach us to access it. I disagree, the reason why the Bible teaches that we MUST be "born again" (i.e. born of the Spirit) is because we as humanity were NOT originally born with the knowledge of God or a "spark of divinity".
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commenwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and WITHOUT God in the world (Ephesians 2:12KJV).
As it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and AFTERWARD that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly (1 Corinthians 15:45-48KJV).
This is the reason for the “death and resurrection” doctrine of the gospel. Humanity must be replaced with divinity (2 Peter 1:2-4 KJV) in the believer. This source of divinity in the Christian comes from the Holy Spirit or "Spirit of Christ" (Romans 8:9,14 KJV). The command of Jesus was NOT, "you must make a decision for Christ", it is "you must be BORN AGAIN"!
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goweth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit (John 3:6-8 KJV).
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you (Romans 8:9 KJV).
This teaching is what got Jesus attacked and crucified, because He claimed to be "born of God" or "divinity" living as a man. Just someone simply explaining this doctrine can get you attacked by the world (Galatians 4:29 KJV). Jesus called God his Father, just like today all truly "born again" (i.e. born from above) Christians call God their Father also. Please read the studies "The Christian Experience: From Seed to Saint" and "Marriage Explained" for an in-depth study on uniting with God thru the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What I experienced in my "spiritual newbirth" was a force (Holy Spirit) outside my body that came in and not suddenly discovering something that had always been there. Please read the study "Circumcision Explained" for a detailed explanation of the spiritual newbirth experience.
The Bible also refers to this spiritual inspiration as being "enlightened" which I would like to explain now in more detail. If you are walking in this world, but looking at the light from above (Jesus Christ) your path is lighted in front of you (Colossians 3:1-3KJV). Darkness would be behind you in your shadow, because darkness cannot exist between you and the light. If you were to turn around and focus on the things on the earth, then you would be stumbling in darkness as you are now walking in your shadow with the rest of the world who have their backs turned to the light (Jesus) also. The Bible speaks of the “Light of life” and the “shadow of death”. Which way are you walking?
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12 KJV).
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel (Luke 1:76-80 KJV).
The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:16,17 KJV).
Let me explain it this way. Picture yourself out in the middle of a big field at night in deep darkness. You cannot see your hand in front of your face. Off in the distance, someone turns the light on at a house. How hard is it to walk to that light? That is why many churches refer to themselves as “lighthouses”. When you are facing the light from above then it is reflecting off of you toward all those that are walking toward you with their back to that light.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1 Peter 2:9 KJV).
With your face shining in the light, they see you as a “light bearer” walking toward them in the darkness that they are facing. People stumbling along in spiritual darkness will come up to you and want to know what you are looking at that is making you shine in a dark world. Now is your chance to point them to that same light (Jesus Christ), where they can walk with you. And they can now point someone else that is stumbling in darkness to that same light!
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16 KJV).
That is why the Christian focuses on the things above. They are not trying to neglect the work of the ministry on the earth.
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (2 Corinthians 4:3-7 KJV).
In the Christian, God has turned on a spiritual light in our hearts. While the world stumbles in “outer darkness” the Christian walks in “inner light” and we can bear witness of that light (Jesus) to others who are searching.
Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him (John 11:9,10 KJV).
I now want to discuss something briefly that I see very rampant in the church today. Some pastors believe they can teach you your God given purpose in life, I cannot. I can point you to the one that can show you if you wish to be “Spirit led” instead of “purpose driven”. Please understand that only Jesus Christ can tell you who you are in Christ. Once you know Jesus and had the experience of His touch, nobody can ever tell you any different. The Holy Spirit will show you your true “purpose” and it will flow beautifully with the other people in the true church that the Holy Spirit has also shown.
These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.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 2:26,27 KJV).
Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand (2 Corinthians 1:21-24 KJV).
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11,12 KJV).
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. (John 6:44,45 KJV).
Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (Ephesians 1:8,9 KJV).
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: (Ephesians 1:17 KJV).
But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother (Galatians 1:15-19 KJV).
The words may be preached by man, but the understanding of the words comes from God. This level of experiential spiritual knowledge is partaken of only by an invitation from God.
Knowing, brethern beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came NOT unto you in WORD ONLY, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. (1 Thessalonans 1:4,5 KJV)
In true Christianity, union with God is the BEGINNING of your spiritual journey, not the end result of your spiritual journey................
The husbandmen that labors must be FIRST a partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things (2 Timothy 2:6,7 KJV).