“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
Paul addresses this portion of his epistles to his protégé, Timothy. The God-approved workman is one who has given himself to know the things that differ hermeneutically. The phrase “rightly dividing the word of truth” comes from the Greek word “orthotomeó”; it means to cut a straight line or to dissect. When you dissect, you are not merely looking at an exterior level, but you are bringing from the interior, exteriorly. Many people know what the Bible says, but are unaware of what the Bible means. They quote and recite passages without administering the understanding thereof.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds”.- Hebrews 1:1-2
The Old Testament contains inconclusive statements, which are explained with the arrival of Christ. Although there are many inconclusive revelations in the Old Testament, in these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son. The “last days” spoken of in the verse refer to the last days of the Jewish age in the first century. Everything predicted in the Old Testament, in the Tanakh, reached a cumulative point in the arrival of Christ in His incarnation. Jesus Christ in His Person and work is the fulfillment of the scriptures.
The gospel of Luke records that Jesus met Luke and Cleopas on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-45). He spoke to them, but they did not recognize Him. Could it be that we do not recognize the post-resurrection Christ today? The reason why Luke and Cleopas did not recognize Jesus is that for Christ to be known, it has to be through the explanation of the scriptures and not merely through sense knowledge. They had seen Him before, witnessed His miracles, and sat under His teachings, but unless they knew Him now through the scriptures, their eyes would be kept from knowing Him. They were walking with Christ but did not know He was the one.
Could it be we do not know Christ in His glorified form and His present-day ministry from the Father’s right hand?
“In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13)
We are the sons of God, participating in the present-day ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ at the Father’s right hand. But many do not know because they are still trying to perpetuate a message that expired at the cross. There is a difference before the cross and after the cross. The book of Hebrews 7:11 says that had perfection come under the law, there would have been no need for another covenant. When something is called new, it reveals that whatever preceded it, called old, is now obsolete (Hebrews 8:13).
Are we able to make the distinction between the things that have been abolished, the things that are disannulled, and the things that have now been inaugurated in the resurrection of Christ? Luke and Cleopas did not recognize Jesus. Jesus explains to them everything concerning Himself, from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms. He opened their understanding that they might understand the scriptures. If you do not know that everything in the Old Testament is about Jesus, then you do not understand the scriptures.
There are many details in the Old Testament which might not be Christocentric, but these were the temporary provisions until Christ came. Now that He has come, we can distinguish between what was obsolete and what belongs to us in Christ. That is why Jesus Christ had to raise Apostle Paul, someone who never knew Him after the flesh, to be His prime apostle. He had to bring another mode of knowledge of Christ without the extra baggage.
“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.” 2 Corinthians 12:2
Paul was caught up in the third heaven, into the paradise of God. He said that he heard things that are unlawful to speak among men (2 Cor. 12:3-4). In other words, it cannot be communicated by human language. Paul later wrote about what he saw, mentioned in this passage, in his epistle to the Ephesians. He revealed what happened before the foundation of the world, before the fall, Adam, and sin. The Godhead planned that we would be in Christ according as we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love (Eph. 1:4). God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses against them (2 Corinthians 5:19).
The power of God to be established is found in the Gospel of Paul (Romans 16:25). Paul dares to call the gospel that was revealed to him “my gospel”; this was to distinguish what he was preaching from what those who preceded him preached. He uses it even further to explain the term, “the revelation of the mystery.” “Revelation” is the Greek word “apocalypse,” which means the lifting of the veil. There are things about Jesus Christ that were unexplained.
The four gospels are like a photograph. The moment you take a picture, it becomes outdated because it does not depict what you are in real-time. The four gospels took a snapshot of the events and represented them to us. The moment immediately after the picture is taken, it is no longer what was shot. The four gospels speak of what happened while Jesus was on earth so that we should have the historicity that is behind the gospel, the backstory of the story.
The term apocalypse can be given as an analogy, elucidated to us as a CT scan. A computerized tomography (CT) scan is a reflection of what is happening within you in real-time. When you take a CT scan, it shows you the brain activity, organ activity, heart activity in real-time. It shows you what is happening now. Paul gives us what is happening in Christ in real-time. He refers to this as “revelation.” When Christ takes His CT scan and presents it to us, we realize we are inside of Him. We are within Christ in real-time. It is mutual indwelling of reciprocal value: all of Him in all of you, and all of you in all of Him.
From the series: Saving Yourself and Those Who Hear You