By Jack Kinsella
"A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels" (Proverbs 1:5)
Wisdom is something we all seek, but seldom find. Part of the reason is that we are looking in the wrong places for it.
It brings to mind the old joke about the drunk looking around on a street corner. "What are you looking for," asks a passerby. "A quarter," says the drunk. "Where did you lose it," asks the passerby. "Down the street," the drunk mumbles. "Why are you looking here, then?"
"Because the light here is better," replies the drunk.
Solomon outlines the progression of spiritual learning. It begins by seeking the source of wisdom. Having identified the source of wisdom, one must prepare to receive instruction; in other words, have a teachable spirit.
Wisdom plus instruction, when properly applied, will then yield understanding.
Let's break this down a bit further. One learns to drive by (hopefully) seeking instruction from a skilled driver. The instructor, if he is worth his salt, will impart certain wisdoms; keep your wheels straight when waiting to make a left turn until you are ready to move, for example.
Why? If your car is rear-ended, if your wheels are already turned, you will be pushed into an oncoming lane of traffic. Wisdom plus instruction yields understanding.
As we progress in our walk with the Lord, we learn that the source of all wisdom is Scripture. The Bible says that the 'fear' [respect] for the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. That is to say, without respect for God's Word AS God's Word, instruction will be useless and understanding will never come.
Many of us stop at 'fear' and stand still. We miss much of what God has planned for our lives. Instead of applying Scripture to our lives, we apply the wisdom of the world, best expressed as 'live and learn.'
That will eventually yield a measure of wisdom, but by itself, it won't bring us to the next level, that of understanding.
I know people who are self-taught drivers. We've all been behind somebody like that on the freeway. Devoid of adequate instruction, they do stupid things, completely without understanding of the potential consequences. If they survive, the consequences provide them with some wisdom in that particular circumstance, but they never achieve understanding.
Like the guy who gets mad when he gets a ticket for rolling through a stop sign. To his mind, the cop is picking on him. He never makes it to the point of understanding the danger.
Many Christians start out eager for instruction and seeking wisdom. But then they reach a point where they feel they've learned all they need to know. Paul refers to them as 'milk' Christians - baby Christians not yet able to digest 'the strong meat' of the Word of God.
Think back to the guy who got mad because he saw his ticket as evidence the cop is picking on him. Now think about the last time you had a discussion with somebody over some element relative to Bible prophecy for the last days.
Take the Tribulation, for example. The Scriptures teach that there will be saved Christians on the earth during the reign of Antichrist. From there, it is easy to conclude those Christians are part of the Church. Having reached that conclusion, instruction to the contrary becomes a point of contention over the timing of the Rapture.
Putting the Church into the Tribulation Period means spiritualizing and allegorizing the rest of Scripture instead of seeking understanding. Scripture teaches that the Christian in the Church Age cannot be overcome by the enemy. (1st John 2:14,4:4)
But the same Scriptures teach that during the Tribulation, the antichrist is not only empowered to make war with the saints, but ALSO to overcome them. (Revelation 13:7)
How does one seek to understand what appears to be such a glaring contradiction?
"Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not." (Proverbs 8:33)The purpose of the Tribulation Period is two-fold; in the first, it is the 'Time of Jacob's Trouble'.
"Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it." (Jeremiah 30:7)Note that Jeremiah says that "Jacob" [the children of Israel] will "be saved out of it." They will be saved OUT of the Tribulation, by the Promise of God - as Jews. During the Church Age, individual Jews are saved by grace through faith and become Christians. At the end of the Tribulation, ALL Israel will be saved, but by sight, rather than faith alone.
"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." (Zechariah 12:10)The Church plays no role in Israel's national redemption. As a people, the Jews are saved en masse by a Sovereign act of God to populate the Millennial Kingdom.
The second purpose of the Tribulation is to bring judgment on a Christ-rejecting, unrepentant world.
"Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts." (Revelation 9:21)By definition, Church-Age Christians have already repented - they have no role to play in the Tribulation.
The Tribulation Saints are saved through the Spirit-dwelt 144,000 Jews empowered as evangelists by the seal of God (Revelation 7). They are overcome by the antichrist, and are either killed or accept his mark. Those who accept his mark can NEVER be saved.
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:" (Revelation 14:9-10)During the Church Age, salvation is [or was] open to Abu Musab al Zarqawi, Osama bin Laden, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler or Saddam Hussein. They need only accept Christ and they would be forgiven, their crimes erased, and they themselves would be washed in the Blood of the Lamb and spend eternity with Christ. Is that not so?
But during the Tribulation, there is no redemption for those who take the Mark of the Beast, according to the Word of God.
The Scriptures provide both wisdom and instruction. But one needs to be teachable in order to combine the two and come up with understanding.
"He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good." (Proverbs 19:8)
What is going to happen according to end times prophecy? - GotQuestions.org
Pre- or Post-Trib Rapture? - The Berean Call (Dave Hunt)
The Nature of Post-Church Salvation - Bible Prophecy Today (Jack Kelley)
The Last Generation - Jack Kinsella (Book)