With the former translator/interpreter, the inner one, your knowledge and understanding of that which is written will be seen as that which testifies to life itself, giving witness to your spirit (will) and your experiences, which are things you know (as opposed to a belief) and which you can rely on in troubled times because they are foundational and not subject to doubts. With this approach you envision the scriptures you read as pertaining to the world you see within, into the spiritual realm where principles dominate. For such understanding you use a different set of eyes, not the ones housed in your head, but rather spiritual eyes known as “eyes that see (perceive)”.
So turn on your “heartlight” as they say and instead of literal or figurative, think of it as an internal interpretation of the Bible… because you see, the scriptures are the testimony of the Word of God, Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, who dwells not in a letter, not on paper as dried ink, but is “made flesh” and dwells within you.
Consider that Jesus Christ tells us that until He goes away (from our imagery, our world), and comes again to us whereby we “see” (understand) Him as He is, in the Spirit of Truth, as the Comforter and Mediator of the New Covenant of our hearts, our understanding (seeing) will remain unclear and we will see but darkly. In other words, until He goes away and then comes and pours out His Spirit upon us; until He appears to us as “a flame of fire” and consumes away all the doctrines and traditions of men, or as Peter words it, burns up all the elements of the earth (rudiments in our mind) with a fervent heat; until the daily sacrifice is cut off, we will have little to no vision (seeing) and understanding (hearing).
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
If you read this as an historical event pertaining to historical disciples instead of written directly to each one of us individually, your interpretation will be external (of the mind)… because the Comforter didn’t just come to them, He comes to each one of us… in His own time! HIStory repeats itself… don’t you know? So if you are a disciple who still sees Jesus as a man, meaning He hasn’t gone away (only you know), then this scripture hasn’t yet happened to you, hasn’t been fulfilled in your life, and so it remains a pre-witness until such time as it becomes a witness and testifies of Him.
John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world [your world] of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
John 16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
John 16:10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
The prince of this world is that man of sin, the son of perdition who sits upon the throne of your heart, which is in the temple of God, a place where he should not be sitting and ruling the earth (we are the earth, clay), claiming that he is god. The point is, if you are “gazing up into the heavens” and still see Jesus on the outside, as a man sitting on a throne at the right hand of God up there or out there in space somewhere (according to your mind’s eye, your imagination), then I am sure you are one among many who is looking upon the world stage for antichrist, that man of sin, to appear in a temple in Jerusalem and you perhaps even imagine you will be able to see him live on satellite TV. After all, there are myriads of books and plenty of preachers who will tell you this is so. Not long ago I was among them.
But here is what I learned from the fall, that great falling away, my being knocked off my horse (power) and cast to the earth. As long as we believe we are just fine and keep looking for the enemy without (outside ourselves), we have reason and justification to avoid “measuring the temple within (Rev. 11:1)”, as in taking a good look at ourselves… and so we don’t, at least not with rigorous honesty, the measuring rod of truth. And though we look in the “mirror mirror on the wall” everyday, we just can’t “see” that the man of sin is standing right there in the temple… even though we are looking him straight in the eye, albeit with our earth-realm eyes. But alas, he is invisible to us… call him the invisible man (of sin), because he is not revealed to us. Yes, the forces of good and evil are more easily seen in the outside world, but the forces of good and evil on the inside remain an unseen mystery to many, especially to the self-righteous.
Speaking of being able to identify the enemy within, what does the scripture testify to on this matter? It says don’t kid yourself! If you haven’t “SEEN” the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place where he ought not; If the man of sin who resides in the inner sanctuary of your heart has not been revealed to you; If the son of perdition, the exalted one (Mr. Ego, the control freak, ruler of the world… your world) hasn’t fallen to the earth and been cast down from his lofty place, then for you… the day [of the Lord] shall not come.
Now it might seem to some that is a shame that one has to take a fall and be cast down in order to come to his or her inner senses, in order to see the Light. But I know for some of us, and I’ll just speak for myself, God knows there just is no other way, at least no better way to prepare us than through the no pain-no gain of reality. The good news is however, that later on you will be filled with gratitude because you will realize what a great day that was indeed, the day you fell to the earth and admitted defeat and that you were powerless (horseless) over the wine you’ve been drinking from the chalice cup of the harlot (carnal mind). Have you ever thought about the fact that “death” (I speak spiritually) is a prerequisite for resurrection to life (peace, joy, serenity)? If you believe you are already up there and on top, you won’t even think to look “up”, will you? You will be too busy looking down on others and pointing out their sins and weaknesses.
And you know what else, and this may offend some though it is quite observably true, you don’t have to know the scriptures for this falling (hitting bottom) to happen in your life. Ask any grateful recovering alcoholic. God writes in your book whether you read the Bible (the testimony of it) or not. But I’ll tell you this. Nothing can give one a bigger beastly ego of self-righteousness, whether you outwardly display it or not, than religion, especially the good ol’ Bible thumpin’ I-am-one-of-God’s-elect kind. That “mindset” just builds you (the self) up and makes the fall to the earth even greater, as in from a greater height.
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
The revelation of the son of perdition, the revelation of the man of sin, is a prerequisite for the Revelation of Jesus Christ. When you are looking on the outside with earth-realm eyes for antichrist to appear on the world scene, it is easy to be deceived into believing the great “falling away” in this verse means “true believers” will fall away (apostatize) from the truth. The thing is, how would a deceived person know who the man of sin, the great deceiver, is? Talk about the blind leading the blind! How would a deceived person, one who is self-deluded and living in a state of denial, have the eyes to see and understand the revelation of the son of perdition? Does it not seem rather strange to teach that a great deceiver, antichrist, is coming to deceive an already deceived world?
The subject that is being discussed here in 2 Thes 2 is the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (see vs. 1)” and our gathering to Him… meeting Him in your heart, in the pneuma [air, spirit], when He comes to you as the Comforter. In other words, the subject is The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which is His coming to YOU (…I will come to you, Jn. 14:18)! But you see, the first thing that happens when the Light is turned on is you immediately see what has been hidden in the darkness. And so it is the revelation of the son of perdition comes first, whose characteristic is as follows:
2 Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
This is a mystery to most people. This is the mystery of iniquity… hidden in us… until such time as it is revealed to us.
Now consider Jer. 17:4, “The heart is deceitful above all and desperately wicked: who can know it?” How about you? Do you know your heart and who sits upon the throne of power? Well, if it isn’t the Lamb of God, then whoever’s sitting there is destined to take a fall, or as they say, he’s goin’ down dude! A few verses later in 2 Thessalonians we read this:
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed (the revelation of the Wicked), whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
The brightness of the Lord’s coming, the Light from above, the spirit of truth from His mouth, shall consume that wicked deceitful one sitting in the inner sanctuary of your heart, the very temple of God. Here are three verses from 1 Corinthians chapter three to go along with this.
1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Well, do you know this… or not? It says “YOU are the temple of God”. It also tells us where the Spirit of God dwells… in you!
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
Ok, so the temple of God is YOU, not some structure in Jerusalem. And the “defiling of the temple” is done in the temple by the man of sin who sits there. Got it? If not, go get a mirror and study its reflection of yourself, because these scriptures “ain’t doin’ you no good”.
So if the heart is deceitful above all, what “man” in the “let no man deceive you by any means” do we have to worry about the most, above all? Some evil angel coming down out of heaven? Some charismatic smooth-talking preacher? Some atheist? Some political leader? Next verse:
1Co 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
We need to try being honest with ourselves instead of spending our time taking everyone else’s inventory because they either don’t agree with what we and/or our church believes or they don’t do things the way we want them to. Then too, if we think some man or church group has a corner on wisdom and Biblical knowledge and therefore its members comprise God’s elect, we truly are deluded. I’ve been there and done that more than once in my life. Now I know that true wisdom does NOT come from man, but rather from God. Seek ye Him.
Ok, back to John 16, again Jesus is speaking to us.
John 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Why couldn’t the disciples (we) bear the things Jesus had (has) to say to them (us)? I mean, they walked and talked with Him. Is that what you do? I mean He was right there where they could see Him. Yes, He was… and that was the very reason they couldn’t “see” what He had to say. It was all coming from the outside in. He first had to go away from them so they could receive the Spirit of truth before they could truly “see” and be shown things spiritual. When you are a disciple He speaks to your heart. When you are an apostle He speaks from your heart… where He dwells!
John 16:13 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 show you things to come.
John 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.
John 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.
John 16:16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.
What does that mean? It means in little while you are not going to see Him with your earth-realm eyes. You are going to see Him with your spiritual eyes! It is pretty simple. And you shall see Him because He goes to the Father, even where the Father is… and so it is you shall see Him in the Kingdom of God, the Spiritual Realm… which is where? Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
So let’s look at the coming of the Spirit of truth, the Comforter, after the manner He just described in John 16, after He has gone away to the Father. We are going to pick it up in the second chapter of Acts even though that leaves out those things recorded in the first chapter of Acts leading up to this. But for the sake of time and not to digress too far from our main topic, we will defer those things to another time. Just know that a lot happens in the jubilee (yea, let freedom ring) of days leading up to Freedom Day, the “Day” the Spirit of truth comes upon you as a “flame of fire” and you are baptized by the Holy Spirit (fire), and the truth sets you free. You will never speak the same from that Day on.
Act 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Act 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
This is without a doubt a life changing new “day”, because it is the Day of the Lord. The sound, aka His voice, comes like a “rushing mighty wind” from HEAVEN, which does not mean from down out of the sky but rather from heaven within. Again, all these words we read create pictures, images in our mind which is all the flesh/carnal mind is capable of seeing. What we have to understand is that this is metaphorical for that which takes place spiritually within us… and in this case, when the Spirit of Truth comes upon us, according to His promise, and right on time… every man in his own order (1 Cor. 15:23).
Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
I know. I know. Our carnal/flesh minds see (imagine, which is to image) some form of tangible “tongues” and “fire”… because that’s all it is capable of seeing, and that is by the design of its Creator. But that’s not what is happening here. What is happening is that the Spirit of God is “appearing” to them (not to others… at this time), even taking up residence within them, within their house, the house of God, the temple of God. In other words they are now “seeing”. They are now receiving the revelation just as He promised they would in John 16. Jesus Christ has gone away and has come again to them. He did so yesterday… as in back then. He does so today. And He will do so tomorrow… to each man in his own order!
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
In the religious mode, which is in the realm of our carnal minds, we try to reason among ourselves and read or listen to what great scholars and teachers say in order determine what all this means and make some sense out of it. Some groups see people speaking in unknown tongues that sounds like babble to a lot of other people. Others see these who have just received the Spirit of truth as now speaking in a language that all the foreigners present from different countries could understand in their very own dialect. That is because they have no clue what is happening on the inside to these folks, that they are receiving the Revelation of Jesus Christ who is appearing to them in spirit (fire).
But allow me to over simplify this by saying that the language they now “speak” is of a different nature altogether. It comes no more of their flesh carnal minds, from the earth-realm of the letter of the law, the land of dragons and doctrines and traditions of men (that have now been consumed by the “fire”), but rather straight from the throne of their hearts, the spirit-realm of life and love and of the peace that transcends all (carnal) understanding. They have just been given a new heaven (heart), the old one having passed away, rolled up like scroll.
What is happening is they are now “witnesses” to having seen Him and they are “testifying” of Him. In other words, those who have now received the Spirit of Truth are speaking things of the Spirit of God, the things they have seen, and all the people gathered together just don’t get it. They hear them speaking about the “wonderful works of God” but they don’t understand it… because they can’t discern that (spiritual) language… for it is an unknown and foreign tongue to their natural/carnal minds.
1 Co 2:14 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 Peter knew what was happening. He stood up and told them they were witnessing what happens in “the last days”… to men and women whose last days have come. It is called the return, or coming again, or simply The Revelation of Jesus Christ, because that’s what happens when He pours out His Spirit upon all flesh (all your flesh carnality).
Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
I have read and taught and studied this verse in both English and Greek and also the Hebrew version in the Book of Joel so many times over the last four decades I couldn’t even begin to count the number. I have also read every major historical and many contemporary commentaries and listened to dozens, if not hundreds of preachers and Bible teachers and scholars explain or attempt to explain it, and in all honesty I can say I never truly understood all this, though as a pastor and Bible teacher I thought I did… or at least deluded myself into believing I did.
But what I tell you now about my understanding of this verse and the few verses that follow doesn’t come from any scholastic endeavor at all, nor have I consulted any great work or reasoned together with anyone to determine what this is all about. I mean, does a mother need to study what child bearing is all about if she has already given birth to children? For the same reason (having experienced a new spiritual birth, a renaissance) I now bear record, meaning it now is written within my book of experience what this means. I identify with it. To that end, I no longer “need any man to teach me (1 John 2:27)”, i.e. to tell my mind what this means. Also, for the same reason, meaning if one hasn’t had an experience, a revelation, the best he or she can do is believe someone is telling them the truth. But again, believing something is true is a whole lot different than actually knowing without doubt it is true because you’ve had a baby yourself. That is what we talked about in the beginning concerning the two ways of interpreting or understanding what is written. That means you will come to understand Revelation not when you study it, but rather when you “have it”.
So let’s look at “the pouring out of God’s Spirit on all flesh” because I have already explained numerous times that “the last days” are relevant to each and every soul, each man in his own order (1 Cor. 15:23). I mean, isn’t it obvious that all men and women don’t live and die “in the flesh” at the same time. And even we who are alive now are all at different ages and stages (different days) of growth and maturity, aren’t we? Some are still in bondage to Pharaoh. Some are now wandering in the dry barren church wilderness. Others have just been taken captive by the King of Babylon, while still others have “come out of her my people (Rev. 18:4)”.
Anyway, the pouring out (shedding forth) of God’s Spirit on all flesh doesn’t mean on all of humanity as is so commonly taught with the earth-realm eyes of understanding. It is poured out on all (your) flesh, your carnal way of thinking, and the first thing that happens is the man of sin is destroyed by the Brightness of His coming… as we read in 2 Thessalonians 2 and as described in verses 19 and 20 below. And as a witness to His coming, you give testimony to the things which you have seen, which is what witnesses do. That testimony is the spirit of prophesy (Rev. 19:10), or you could say the spirit prophesying, which needs no doctrinal interpretation by the way, for the Spirit now residing in them gives them utterance (a clear, plain picture of what they have “seen”).
Well what does it mean that “your” young men (within) will “see visions”? To see is simply to understand (see, perceive, receive) the metaphors and parables, the visuals (visions), like what we “see” in the Book of Revelation or what is happening here in Acts, a vision described by the prophet Joel. In other words, you will no longer see with earth-realm eyes that see only in images (visions), but rather with eyes that see within and can relate to and understand what the visions are metaphorically. You will also “see” into the spiritual realm with a maturity (old man) that gives you spiritual discernment, the kind that Pharaoh (the mind) cannot interpret (see Gen 41).
Act 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
Again, to prophesy means to testify of the things they have witnessed (seen). As it is written in Rev. 19:10: “…for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”.
Act 2:19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
Heaven and earth are your heart and mind respectively, which are where the signs and wonders take place. Haven’t you read that Satan is cast out of heaven… as that man of sin is destroyed? And the consuming fire (God is a consuming fire) burns up all the elements (rudiments and religious doctrines) as the old earth with its great city of Babylon, which is confusion, goes up in smoke and the beast and the false prophet are cast into that consuming lake of fire.
Act 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
I remember so vividly how all that I believed about the Bible, all that rich, wonderful and well documented doctrine I knew and possessed, which I thought was truly the “light”, suddenly became very dark and dismal indeed. That was when I understood what is meant in Joel 2:2, that the Day of the Lord is “a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness…” Likewise in Zephaniah we read about the destruction of one’s entire religious belief system, as in our carnally fortified high towers and fenced cities. I thought I was so safe and protected, set aside as one of “God’s elect”… until I came face to face with the man of sin… the revelation of the son of perdition. Alas, the trumpet sounded and “my whole world” came crashing down. And it all went up in smoke. I announced that “church was over” and I ended up down in the pits for awhile… which is to sit in darkness.
Zep 1:14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
Who’s the might man that shall cry there bitterly? That’s the one who doesn’t want to go down. That’s the man who doesn’t want to take a fall. He’s the one who deceives you!
Zep 1:15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
Zep 1:16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.
The good news is that by the grace and tender mercy of our God, Jesus Christ, the Dayspring from on high, rises in us and gives true Light to those of us that sit in darkness, and the peace that passes all (carnal) understanding fills our heart.
Luke 1:78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Yes there is a day coming, called “…the coming of the day of God”, as Peter puts it in 2 Pet 3:12, “wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements (rudiments) shall melt with fervent heat?” But let me leave you with this one final thought, a reaffirmation of His promise in the next verse of 2 Peter to those who desire the Lord’s coming whoever you are and whatever “day” you are currently experiencing:
2 Pet 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
The promise is that “the former things shall pass away (Rev. 21:4)”, meaning the old heavens and the old earth shall pass away and be replaced by a new heart (a new heaven) and a renewed mind (a new earth).
May the peace of God be with you always.