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July - August 2000 The Sabbath Sentinel

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

by David L. Taylor
Pastor, Westerly Rhode Island Seventh Day Baptist Church

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee," Hosea 4:6.

Ignorance is a stronghold of Satan's kingdom of darkness. It is so dangerous that it is destructive. Far from bliss, ignorance is a form of gross darkness [Strong's 4656-skotoo = 1) to darken, cover with darkness, 2) to darken or blind the mind; see Rev 16:10].... Darkness is what God has delivered us from; Col 1:12-13 [Strong's 4655-skotos = 1) darkness: 1a) of night darkness, 1b) of darkened eyesight or blindness; 2) metaph.: 2a) of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, ..., 2b) persons in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway]. Considering its destructive capacity, ignorance is something that we should not be ignorant of.

If we have no love for the truth, then the Lord allows strong delusions that we may believe the lie -- and so, our ignorance becomes our destruction. When we reject knowledge, we reject God.

Those who do not love the truth are deluding themselves. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 says, "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." Why? It is because they reject knowledge and truth.

When those in darkness attempt to study Scripture, Satan stands by with his own running commentary, twisting the truth into a maze of lies. Let us stop and analyze how Satan accomplishes that. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10: "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with deceivablenessness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." Ignorance is pervasive in Satan's kingdom of darkness. Destruction comes through ignorance, and ignorance is the judgment that God sends to those who "love not the truth."

We must wrestle against the devices of Satan which keep us ignorant of the truth. How do we do this? We should cry out to the Lord for wisdom, for knowledge, for understanding -- and a heart that is tender. We must not only receive His truth, but walk in it.

Satan is extremely cunning. He distracts with the riches and the cares of this life. We read in Mark 4:19: "And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful." The Adversary keeps us so busy with the things of this world that we get choked off from God's Word; he thus holds us occupied, entertained, ignorant of the truth, and unfruitful.

Satan's mission is to cast a stumbling block before God's people. When the Lord sent Moses to deliver Israel, Satan sent the "wise men" and the sorcerers to resist him. Likewise, when the Lord sends His messengers with the gospel, Satan is right there to distract. He confuses and prevents the Word's progress. In Exodus 7:11-12 we read, "Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods." The Lord prevailed, but Satan tried to distract and confuse.

When Paul preached the truth, Satan sent Elymas "a sorcerer" to withstand him. See this in Acts 13:8; "But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith." Satan sends his deceivers when the Lord sends His messengers. The Devil makes every effort to pervert and confuse the meaning of the Word of God.

If he can, Satan will use our friends to keep us ignorant of the truth. The Lord says, "Come out from among them and be ye separate." We must listen to the Word of God first, and not allow ourselves to be distracted -- even by our friends.

Luke 6:22-23 shows us: "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets." The prophets of the Lord were murdered; they were "stoned, they were sawn asunder," Hebrews 11:37. The false prophets were exalted.

Satan uses delay to keep us ignorant. When we delay, we put things off until tomorrow because we don't think we have time today -- often never returning to the important task we put off. In Hebrews 3:7-8 we find, "Wherefore as the Holy Spirit saith, 'To day if ye will hear His voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness'." The Lord is telling us to hear His voice today. Satan says, "Do it tomorrow. You are still young. Wait a week or two."

Satan loves compromise. If he can't get you in any other way, he will get you to compromise. He causes us to think that there is no problem in compromising a little and not being so straightlaced on the truth. "After all," he says, "are we really sure what we think is truth is true?"

We read in Exodus 8:28: "And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: entreat for me." The Pharaoh was telling them that he would compromise and give them their way, but they had to come right back and not go too far. He expected a compromise in return.

Satan has his own gospel -- peace without repentance. Satan's gospel does not lead away from sin. Satan's gospel is, "Accept Jesus and be saved -- Just as you are." He will preach peace through the blood of the cross, as long as you don't depart from sin. Satan doesn't mind repentance, ... "only ye shall not go very far away." Just don't walk too far away from sin!

Jeremiah 23:21-22 reads, "I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied...." How do we discern whether someone is sent by the Lord? How do we judge their speech? The next verse tells us, "...But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings." This is how we sort out the truth tellers from the deceivers (intentional or also deceived). Do they get people to turn from their sins, or do they compromise and say "don't go too far away"?

Christ must be our King. Jesus Christ must be our Lord. We must serve our Lord only. We cannot serve God and mammon. We must understand that there is only one way to walk in the light -- God's Way. We are to walk in the light of His Laws -- under the Kingship of Christ. We read in Exodus 10:26, "Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind." Moses had to tell Pharaoh that he would not compromise.

We too must obey the Lord; we must go and take everything with us, for there is no returning; there can be no looking back. If we put our hand to the plow and look back, we are not fit for the kingdom of heaven. This is what the Lord told Moses: "...there shall not an hoof be left behind."

The sinner must leave all sin behind, leaving no occasion for return. Luke 11:52 tells us, "Woe unto you, lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered." Can we see that the Lord is pointing out that ignorance is a terrible trap foisted on us through Satan and his kingdom of darkness? The lawyers not only refused to enter in themselves, but they hindered those that would. They took away the key of knowledge. How did they hinder them? They perverted the truth, arguing against the Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel He preached.

The knowledge of Christ and His Way opens the door to our freedom. Willful ignorance shuts out Christ and opens wide the door for Satan. The knowledge of Christ delivers and brings the way of freedom from sin, from self and from Satan. Through ignorance, men serve the devil in the kingdom of darkness, regardless of whether or not they realize it. Jesus tell us in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Our Lord Jesus Christ opens wide the way; Satan attempts to close the way.

Those laden with sin live in ignorance. They are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Such are deceived -- and the deceived don't know they are deceived, or they would not be deceived!

If we are going to walk in sin, we are by default going to be living in ignorance. We will never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:6-7 says: "For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." We cannot walk in sin and walk in light. If we are to avoid sin (as we ought), we can not be ignorant -- ignorance is not bliss!

David L. Taylor can be reached for comment at the following phone numbers: (401) 348-8385 Phone    (240) 248-8174 Fax/Voice Mail. Or, he can be reached via email through the Bible Sabbath Association's email address and through the editor's, < rmitchel@flash.net >


July - August 2000 The Sabbath Sentinel