Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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“As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.”
A brother phoned me this morning, full of the Spirit and glorifying God. He and his wife had been hiking in our beautiful Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina, and they were overwhelmed at the beauty and majesty of God’s handiwork.
“That’s how I feel”, I told him, “every time I meet a child of God. I feel as if I am looking at a magnificent work of God, and it can be overwhelming.”
He agreed completely, and then he proceeded to tell me of two people he had met earlier that morning while hiking on the mountain. They were an older couple, and after some conversation, this brother felt led to offer them some gospel tracts, which they gladly accepted. One of the tracts concerned the baptism of the holy Ghost, and when the older man saw that, he said, “I have had that experience! There is nothing like it on earth.”
What followed was a glorious time of two couples, all four of them belonging to God, standing amid glorious scenes created for them by their heavenly Father and speaking to one another of their Father’s glory, sharing many experiences of His wonderful love and grace.
“It was so good,” my brother told me, “until one of them started talking about ‘what is in the Bible’.” In other words, talking of the things God had done for them all was glorious, but when one of them brought up a doctrine she had been programmed to defend with Scripture, it marred that rare and beautiful experience of peace and fellowship in Christ.
As he told me that part of the story, I could sense his deep grief and disappointment, and I found myself praying silently for the day when there were no Bibles for people to resort to when God’s glory was being manifested.
My sorrowful friend continued, “Pastor John, I kept praying, ‘God make it stop! Make this go away!’ “ He was asking God to help those dear people to focus on Him and His work in their lives rather than to begin quoting the Bible and debating Scripture. But while I listened, my spirit was hearing his real prayer, the one God had put in his heart to pray at that moment, though he did not realize it.
“When you prayed that prayer,” I asked him, “do you know what you were really praying for?”
I could tell that my question momentarily stunned him. He hesitated but finally replied, “No. What?”
“You were praying for the day when God will destroy heaven and earth and everything in them, including all Bibles. You were praying for the day when there will be nothing left but the Word of God for men to deal with, for the day when there will be no Bibles to quote and nothing for men to debate because there will be nothing left but what God says and what God does.”
He answered, “That’s right!”
When Jesus sets up his kingdom, he will not rule the world for a thousand years by looking up scriptures. He will rule it “by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” And we are supposed to be learning how to rule and be ruled that way right now, before he comes, so that we will be judged worthy to reign with him. We are supposed to be learning how to be led by the Spirit instead of the Bible.
Beyond that, when “heaven and earth are destroyed”, and the “new heaven and the new earth” appear, there will be no Bibles there, nor any need for them. Salvation doesn’t just mean that we will see no more wicked people; it also means that we will read no more holy Bibles. Salvation is liberty from everything of this world, both the good and the bad.
All wise virgins pray for the day when there will be no more Bibles because that means they pray for the day when God Himself will dwell among us on a new earth “wherein dwelleth righteousness.” And for those who have learned “to walk in the Spirit”, the Bible is not really needed now (except to help others), any more than Abraham, Joseph, or Noah needed Moses’ law in order to know what God wanted them to do.