Our Understanding

And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?  And he said, God thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

Daniel 12:8-9

There are parts of the Bible that I do not understand.  And I think that any Christian, no matter what their level of spiritual experience would have to say the same thing.  There are some things that I do understand: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  I can understand that.  But some of the prophetic parts of Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the Revelation are a little more difficult.  I admit that I really don’t know what they mean.  I can venture a guess as to their meaning, but beyond that, I just don’t know.  And, after reading what the commentators have said about those passages, I have come to the conclusion that they don’t know what some things mean either.

The point of all of this is to help us realize that we aren’t going to understand everything.  Even Daniel, a great prophet of the Lord, didn’t understand everything.  He didn’t even understand everything that he was writing.  He wanted to understand, and he even asked the Lord to help him understand.  But the Lord told him “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.”  God basically told Daniel to just do what he was supposed to do.  He told him that those words were “closed up.”  Daniel didn’t need to understand everything about the prophecy he was writing a couple thousand years ago.

Sometimes it’s easy to get tangled up in prophecy and visions and symbolism.  There is nothing wrong with any of those things (and they can be very good and helpful), but it is important to remember that we are not going to understand things that the Lord doesn’t think we need to understand.  Sometimes it takes more faith to not understand something than to understand it.  Let’s keep our focus on Him.

6 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks, Ben

    “Sometimes it takes more faith to not understand something than to understand it. Let’s keep our focus on Him.”

    Ain’t that the truth!

    I don’t understand many of these things either but I’m learning to quit poking around and place my hand in His. The more we obey, the better it will be for us.

    When you have a moment, please hop over and read Margaret’s note. http://123hallelujah.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/listen-and-rejoice/#comment-2138 Sometimes all we need to do is listen and follow and leave the rest to Him.



    • That was a great post. Thanks! I’m the kind of person who wants to understand everything, so it’s sometimes hard just to trust the Lord even in the things I don’t understand. But I just need to take what I do understand and obey it!


  2. Ben, thank you so much for how you helped us with this. I am more of an accepting type of person, but sometimes feel bad that I don’t maybe press harder for answers. Praying for the discernment to know when to question and dig deeper and when to say He knows and that’s good enough for me. 🙂
    God bless you and your wonderful gift of teaching!


    • I think that discernment really is the key. Sometimes we do need to dig deeper and find the answer and sometimes we just need to trust Him that He knows what He is doing. Figuring out which is which is the tough part! 🙂


  3. My Pastor told me something about prophecy once that someone had told him. He said that there were many complicated and seemingly impossible prophecies about the birth of Jesus. For instance, being born in Bethlehem, but going to Egypt, etc. The religious leaders spent a lot of time trying to figure out how all this could happen???. Yet, God worked every detail out perfectly around the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, so that each prophecy was fulfilled to the letter. When we read the Scriptures, we see how easy it was for God to make all these things happen. We might think the prophecies about the second coming are hard to understand, and they are, but we can see how God fulfilled prophecy easily the first time Jesus came, so He’s going to work it all out the second time Jesus comes too.

    When my pastor told me this, it made so much sense. God already knows what’s going to happen. It’s good for us to study prophecy, but ultimately, we don’t have to have it all “figured out” because God is going to work it out so everything in the Bible happens exactly the way it’s supposed to happen.


    • That’s very true. God see the whole picture, from beginning to end. Or, more accurately, from eternity past to eternity future. All we can see is some of the past and present, which I’m sure makes some prophetic passages confusing. That’s why I have to just have some faith and believe what God said in those passages, even though I may not understand everything about them. It is so interesting to see how God works everything out so perfectly, even down to the tiniest detail. I don’t know how you could look at the fulfilled prophecies of Jesus’ first coming and not believe.


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