What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? (Ex 32:21)
But the painting is unfinished. No one knows it's unfinished but me because by all appearances there is nothing lacking in the painting. The painting looks like my mother; the flesh looks like flesh, the hair looks like hair, the eyes look like eyes and are easily recognizable as my mother's eyes: yet the painting is not complete. It is only a part, a mere beginning of the picture it could be, and that I intended it to be. But only I, the artist, can see what is not in the picture that belongs there.
Before I tell you more about this unfinished picture, let me tell you a story about another unfinished picture I encountered over 50 years ago when I was in the Army painting murals on the barrack walls in Germany. I was given the task of painting sport scenes in the recreation room (I know, you're shedding tears because of the harsh treatment I had to endure as part of my stint in the service of our country. Thanks, but it isn't as bad as it sounds I assure you). Now, where was I? Oh yes, Collazo. Collazo was a 19 year old Porto Rican artist who had joined the service as I had. There is a big difference between Collazo and myself, and the difference is that while I painted pictures, Collazo was an artist. He had been to school for art where they taught more than sting painting as they do here in art schools today. Collazo could paint a scene so real you felt you were actually in the painting. One mural he painted was of Niagra Falls, and when you walked in the room you would swear you were going to drown.
But it wasn't Collazo's scenery that captured my interest, it was a picture of a woman's head he was painting when he wasn't working on the murals. He had the green, purple and other underlayment colors applied to this painting in the style of Rembrandt and other of the masters, and it was incredible. At that time I had no understanding of what he was doing, I only knew it was far superior to anything I could do then, or can do now. I couldn't see anything but perfection in the painting beneath his brush.
Suddenly Collazo took the painting and destroyed it right before my eyes. I was shocked. The painting didn't come up to his standards, so he destroyed it.
The painting, of course, was never finished.
Back to the painting of my mother.
One day, before the painting was finished, there was a big family reunion scheduled. This reunion lasted three days and gathered about 250 people, relatives I hadn't seen since a child, and some I had only heard of.
My father wanted to take the picture I was working on to the reunion, sort of like having her there with him I suppose. I put the picture in this nice frame I had purchased for the picture to be installed when the picture was completed.
The picture did indeed draw attention, and my father was pleased. He was so pleased in fact that he never allowed me take the picture from his wall so that I could finish it.
My father died fairly recently, and that is why I now have the picture.
The picture will never be finished. The medium I used to paint this picture was pastels, and the pastels are now stuck to the glass. If I tried to remove the picture, I would ruin it. So the painting will forever remain unfinished.
For the first part of my life I lived as does the average Christian. When asked what I was, I said I was a Christian. I had been baptized a Christian when I was around 12, and that made me a Christian.
I knew little about Christ, or the Bible, or anything else about being a Christian, other than I knew I was a Christian, and I went to church on Sundays. Why did I go to church on Sundays? Maybe I went to learn about God? No, because I didn't learn anything about God, or anything else Christianly in my youth. Maybe I went to church because it was the right thing to do as a Christian. That may have had a little to do with my going to church, but it wasn't the real reason I attended. I went to church because that's where the girls were, and I liked girls.
There are some people who read the Bible in order to learn about God, Jesus, and all the things God is doing in this world. Did I read the Bible in my youth? No, I was too busy doing what young people do, looking at girls and reading comic books. Although I liked the stories of the important parts of the Bible, like David and the giant, and the man who made a big boat and raised a farm on it, I only read about them if they were in the form of a comic book, which of course they were.
A parable is an "illustration." An illustration is: "A drawing or picture in a book."
While the lives of the Old Testament saints were pictures of what God wants to tell us who are living in the end, Daniel was told that the pictures in his head, his visions were not for him, but for us, those living at the time of the end:
When we compare the pictures presented to us in the New Testament with the word pictures, and the personal illustrations through the lives of the people in the Old Testament, we are better able to see the completed picture God is painting for us. If we see the two books as separate entities, or as detached and not intended for our time, we lose the picture and the illustration becomes blurred and boggy.
1And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel; (Ezek 17:)
Jesus spoke in parables, and without a parable He didn't speak (to them.) Jesus spoke in pictures, He is an artist, an artist who uses words to paint His pictures.
Not all pictures are intended to be viewed clearly. If you've seen but a little modern art you've undoubtedly come across some paintings that only the artist knows what is being said. This is true of art where the subjects are hidden in the paintings as well. These require much time and concentration to find the messages being presented. A quick or casual scan of the picture, or viewing the picture without knowing there is something to look for beyond the obvious robs us of the beauty and the purpose of the picture.
We saw in Ezekiel that God speaks in riddles. Are riddles intended to make clear? They must be since God seems to have combined the two and made them as one in the verses presented above.
10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He 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. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears 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 should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Mat 13:)
With the use of the word "That," the implication is "With the intention of." If this is the case, then Jesus' parables were like those God gave Ezekiel: a story as a riddle with the intention of confusing those who do not have their ears open, not willing nor able to understand what God has to tell them.
The Pharisees did not want to know the truth, therefore they left thinking they knew what Jesus was saying, but in reality they did not, but rather they had a distorted picture of what Jesus was telling them. We have this very same situation today, that of people only wanting to hear what they want to hear. If this were not so, then why are there so many differing doctrines, and so many denominations in the Church Jesus built?
The Bible is written as a riddle. Do you agree? Of course you don't agree. You believe what you hear from the pulpit, from the experts on the Bible who say the Bible is written to make God's purpose clear and understandable. We read:
Both will fail, both will fall into a ditch.
How then are we supposed to know the ways of God if we can't read for ourselves, if the learned are ignorant, and if God speaks in riddles and parables? I'm glad you asked:
My father in his last years was not only blind but he was becoming senile as well. Because my father was unaware of his blindness he visualized many things that were not real. He would imagine he was zipping along the highway when we was in fact laying in his bed. He would see cats at our feet that no one else could see. Whatever my father wanted to see, he saw.
A man laying in bed having such delusions is safe enough, and my father's delusions effected no one, not even him because he was enjoying the experiences his mind was taking him through. However, when a person has delusions, if a person believes he sees the truth when he is in fact witnessing a lie, and that person is driving a school bus or leading a congregation, there can be great devastation come from being blind. Jim Jones and Heaven's Gate are two examples of just such a blindness.
Moses was up on the mountain doing the Lord's work on behalf of the people. The people could see the happenings on top of the mountain, they knew Moses was with God, and so did Aaron.
The people wanted a god they could see, like the Egyptians had. Aaron, the people now having chosen him as their leader (after all, hadn't God Himself ordained Aaron?) decided to lead the people down the garden path they wanted to go instead of reason with them and keep them on the straight and narrow.
"What did these people do to you?" Moses asked. They gave him authority. They fed his ego. They caused him to close his mind to the truth and to create a new picture using old paints. And because of Aaron's intentional blindness, the people were cursed, and many destroyed.
Blindness in an individual can cause many problems. When that one person is a leader, the problems caused are multiplied.
If it was so easy for the people to convince a God-chosen leader, one sanctified and anointed by God Himself to sin and become blind, how much more, during these last days of the Apostate church can we expect such to be so?
Because of our blindness we are unable to see that we are on a train heading for a collapsed bridge over a deep ravine. We're told, and we firmly believe, that we are the only ones on a secure track on our way to glory land.
13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2Tim 3:)
14And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression ["Violation"]. (1Tim 2:)
When I paint a picture I don't just look at it straight on. When I look at a picture I've painted I begin to see it in such a way that I find errors that do not exist. I have to look at the picture from a distance, in a mirror, upside-down, and hidden around a corner so I come up on it unexpectedly thereby seeing it with fresh eyes.
When a painting is to a point that I can let it go (it's never "finished" any more than my writings are finished. I'm always finding something wrong with them, or something I've left out) I spray it with a liquid that "fixes" the painting, and I put it in a frame. The frame states to the world that I have completed the picture.
The picture of my mother is in a frame, and it's "fixed" to the glass, but it is not finished.
When I was young, and by young I mean under 36 years if age, I thought I knew all I needed to know about the Bible. I couldn't tell you if John the Baptist was in the Old Testament or the New, but I knew all I needed to know to get me to Heaven, so what more did I need to know?
After my "call" at the age of 36 I studied the Bible intently, but learned little about the Bible during the following 30 years, although I did try to open up my understanding so that I could be taught. I listened to sermons, I read the theologians, and I listened to the Lord as best I could. In that period of time there was only two things I learned that were of significance. The first thing I learned is that I didn't know anything, even though I found I knew a great deal more about the Bible than many (if not most) of the people I encountered who thought they knew a lot about the Bible.
The second thing I learned is that those who claim to be, and who are acknowledged to be experts on the Bible don't know the Bible. They may have the Bible memorized, and they may know Greek, Hebrew and every other aspect encompassing the Bible, but they don't know the Bible.
These people who do not know the Bible, are teaching those who are interested in learning the Bible. But the teacher nor the student is able to learn about the Bible because they already have the picture they want, and they've "fixed" that picture so it can't be added to. Their efforts to learn are like a tire stuck in a bog. Paul tell us:
We will be blind yet all the while thinking we're the only one who can see clearly.
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