What is Truth?
Hosea pens but it is the words of GOD that tell us concisely that HIS people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. It's not GOD's purpose in HOSEA 4:6 to encourage HIS people to attend college and to get a good education. That's not the knowledge HE is talking about. No, Hosea is writing that if GOD's people are being destroyed, it's for lack of a true and accurate knowledge of their Creator and HIS ways.
HOSEA 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...
This is a tremendous verse in unraveling for us why many Christians are so distraught. In the Book of PROVERBS alone it is astonishing how many times the advantages of wisdom, understanding and knowledge are demonstrated over ignorance and foolishness. One brief example is in verse 7 of chapter 4;
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Then another from chapter 16 and in verse 16;
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
Wisdom is gotten from truth applied. When we practice truth in our lives, we become skilled, wise. And from where does one get all of this truth which we are to apply in our lives? Scripture is the obvious answer but it is not the complete answer. In order for the words of the Book to be GOD's, they must be rightly divided! If Scripture is misapplied, taken out of context or misquoted one could say that he doesn't even have Scripture any longer. If the words are not conveying the intent for which they were intended, how can they be called the words of GOD?
This is why it is so important for us to be accurate in our reading, our understanding and in our speaking of what we think to be the words of GOD. This is so simple and logical I am amazed it is so universally ignored. Many think that because they hold the Book in their hand and mouth with their lips some brief section of what is written within, that they speak the words of GOD. This is far from true.
As Pilate wrestled with what to do with his prisoner, Yeshua (Jesus) declared unto him that "everyone who is of the truth heareth my voice". Pilate replied, "what is truth?" Unfortunately Pilate had not followed Yeshua's teaching as He set forth what it took to know the truth. In verse 31 of JOHN 8 He instructs that "if ye continue in My word, then are you My disciples" (disciplined ones). Continue means to "remain or abide". One must remain or abide in His word, then become disciplined in that abiding.
He continued, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free". Every time I hear someone quote this verse I listen carefully and hardly ever do I hear it quoted as it is written. Rarely does the speaker declare that the truth shall make you free. It is too often said that it will set you free. The difference between being set free (meaning "likelihood to be released") and make free (meaning "inevitability to become free") is surely obvious. I was once taught that most people don't think, they just think they think. How true! If they can't even get this simple quote right, how far are they from abiding in His word, as disciplined ones knowing the truth? We must read what is written, and then understand what we read.
It is true that "all Scripture...is profitable" (2 TIMOTHY 3:16) but it is only Scripture if it is "rightly divided". Otherwise it is just words on a page that might sound religious. Most any Concordance has all of the words of the Bible but I doubt if anyone thinks or claims that a Concordance is Scripture. It must be received as it was intended, in the context within which it was spoken or written.
2 TIMOTHY 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Here we are instructed first to study. The essence of this word study is to "make haste" or "give diligence". Then we are to be a workman. A workman is not just a listener of other men's opinions. He is one who rolls up his sleeves, opens the Book and works at finding out what it says. As workmen, we need not be ashamed, if we are rightly dividing the word of truth.
To rightly divide means just that, to correctly divide something up into sections. When one wrongly divides the words of truth, he is applying Scripture from the one place where it belongs, to another where it doesn't belong. Paul gives us an example of this erring from the truth two verses later with Hymenaeus and Philetus. They were saying that the resurrection was past, when actually it was then still future.
To digress a moment. If it was possible to teach and have others believe that the resurrection was already past, that Christ had already returned and gathered together His Church into heaven, then they must have been expecting a very different resurrection than what many are expecting today. These days most expect that the whole world, as we know it, will come to a violent end and a new one created to replace the old one. Obviously, this was not at all what the first century believers, what Paul's readers were expecting (to read more on this, see Whatever Happened to Timothy).
So, in 2 TIMOTHY, GOD commands us to rightly divide the word of truth. It is only in this right dividing that we have the true Word. More error has found a home in the Christian Church today through this gaping crack in the armor than through any other. By failing to read and understand Scripture rightly divided, they are forever learning, yet never seeming able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Perhaps one of the most startling things for most Christians to learn is that the four Gospels alone do not contain the "all truth" required to make them what GOD would have them to be. Nor do the Ten Commandments or the Book of Proverbs. Believe it, but not because I say it but believe it because Yeshua Himself said it. Prior to His capture in the garden when Judas Iscariot went out to betray Him, Yeshua spent those last few hours comforting His disciples. It is here, at this most crucial time that Yeshua reveals great things to his faithful followers.
JOHN 16:12-13 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.
This is a most intriguing revelation! Yeshua is telling His disciples that many things cannot yet be told them. When were they to be told? In but a few hours He was to be marched off and put to death. What kind of truth is this all truth that prevents Yeshua from revealing it then, at that so desperate hour so close to the end of His personal ministry?Yeshua came, as He declared in His first message in Galilee, to "preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (LUKE 4:19). That is what the Gospel and ACTS periods were all about. It was for the nation of Israel the acceptable time, the age when the door was being held open. That time ceased when Paul declared at the close of ACTS that because as a nation Israel would not repent, "the salvation of GOD was sent unto the Gentiles" (ACTS 28:28). Before, the Gentiles had usually been able to hear only what had been sent to the "children of Israel" (ACTS 10:36) or to the "children of the stock of Abraham" (ACTS 13:26). At the close of ACTS, "the salvation of GOD" was then to be sent directly unto the gentiles, and..."they will hear it".
Within perhaps a decade of Paul's closure in ACTS 28:28, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman legions. According to Josephus, more then a million Jews died torturous deaths with nearly one hundred thousand carried off as slaves, precisely as Yeshua had warned them;
LUKE 21:20-24 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
This all brought a crashing halt to the Jewish dispensation. All of the promises and prophesies which had been made to this nation and people were fulfilled and accomplished. But it was not all made visible in this world, to men's eyes on this globe. It was all accomplished in HIS kingdom, in HIS world, in resurrection. And we trust that it is still today being accomplished. GOD's justice continues to be poured out, HIS wrath and blessings continue to abide and dominate in those new heavens and in that new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.