God - The Master Craftsman - Part 3

Higher Education

an article based on a sermon

by Jon Bowles

given 12 May 2007

(PLAY FROM START)

A few months before Mr. Tony Blair came to office as prime minister of the United Kingdom in May 1997, he made a speech at the Labour Party conference, where he said:

Ask me my three priorities for Government, and I tell you: education, education, education.
Those were his three main concerns. Jump forward to today and notice what was reported in a recent article in the Telegraph, entitled "Call for Religious Compulsory Education":
In recent years, many children have been taken out of lessons because parents did not want them to learn about Islam. Other families have pulled children out of school trips to mosques.

The RE [Religious Education] Council says the Government should consider stripping parents of the right to withdraw their children because it undermined attempts to "promote community cohesion, and combat racism and discrimination."

What does God say on the matter?

Deuteronomy 12:30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.

When it comes to "education, education, education" therefore, it depends on what that education is.

Just this past Thursday, Mr. Blair gave his resignation speech, before his constituency. Notice the key phrase in that address:

But I ask you to accept one thing - hand on heart, I did what I thought was right.
It is "education, education, education," according to what people think is right. Speaking of when he took office, he goes on to say:
And I looked at my own country, a great country, wonderful history, magnificent traditions, proud of its past, but strangely uncertain of its future, uncertain about the future, almost old-fashioned.

So 1997 was a moment for a new beginning, the sweeping away of all the detritus of the past.

And that is exactly what happened. He "swept away" so many things that had gone on in the past. But much of that had been put in place by God-fearing men - men who not just feared God, but feared the God of scripture. Today, as we saw in the article just quoted, we have a religious education determined to have a cohesion, and to do it by bringing in multicultural concepts.

Continuing on in Mr. Blair's speech:

In Government you have to give the answer, not an answer, the answer. And, in time, you realise putting the country first doesn't mean doing the right thing according to conventional wisdom or the prevailing consensus or the latest snapshot of opinion. [Notice, He lumps the three in together. Conventional wisdom - much of which came originally from scripture - is lumped in with prevailing consensus or the latest snapshot of opinion.]

It means doing what you genuinely believe to be right. Your duty is to act according to your conviction.

So when Mr. Blair said "education, education, education" it was a case of educating the country along his line and according to his way. For this is the case with all education in the world. It is to bring children (particularly) into an understanding, as put across to them by the adults in their lives.

But notice what God says, twice, in Proverbs:

Proverbs 14:12, Proverbs 16:25 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

This goes right back to the time of the two trees, where God essentially said, "You can help yourself to any tree in the garden, but one. If you take of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil to yourself, the moment you do that, dying you will die." This concept therefore of "I did what I thought was right" is taking the knowledge of good and evil to yourself.

The traditional values, this detritus of the past that Mr. Blair wanted to sweep away when he first took office, by and large came from the Bible. So what was being swept away in actuality were God's values, replaced with a worldwide view, a "catholic" view - which is to pull all the different areas of superstition, of ideas of men about God, and bring them all together. This is the way and the direction that the country has gone.

Mr. Armstrong on a number of occasions has made the statement, "Salvation is education." This is true. But he did not mean salvation is just ANY education. It is a certain type of education.

Turn to Isaiah, chapter 55. Here it talks about God's "form" of education - what He is giving to His children and training them in.

Isaiah 55:7-9 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the [Eternal], and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the [Eternal]. (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

It is not a case of just doing, or learning, what "I think" is right. It is a case of "Higher Education." I would like to continue on from part one (God - The Master Craftsman) and part two (A God Who Is Near) of this series and address the question: God is near, but near to do what? - He is the Master Craftsman in our life, but what is He doing in our life?

The answer is that He is giving His children Higher Education. This article will be the prelude to a series of articles on the Ten Commandments. We will take each one, examine the principle behind it, and show how it is indeed part of Higher Education - for the Ten Commandments sum up in principle what this Higher Education is all about. As Mr. Armstrong said in a World Tomorrow broadcast (June 13, 1981):

The Ten Commandments, when you magnify them and see them according to the broad principles that they cover, the Ten Commandments are a complete law that cover every duty of man towards his God and towards his fellow neighbor.

The Ten Commandments in principle cover every duty of man in his relationship with God and in his relationship with his neighbor. Every possible relationship is covered in the Ten Commandments.

The Master Craftsman, this God Who Is Near, is giving a Higher Education to each of His children for a specific purpose. Let us look at this Higher Education by examining five elements common to any education. They are:

STUDENTS

Let us look first at this concept of being a student. Another word for student is "disciple." To be a disciple is to literally be a student.

Turn to John, chapter 8.

John 8:30-32 As he spake these words, many believed on him. [They did not believe what He said. They just believed "on Him." They were just following the person.] (31) Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; (32) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

A disciple, then, is one who continues in His word. To be a student of God's form of Higher Education we must continue to learn. If we think we have learned all about scripture we need to know, and we stop doing Bible Study, we cease to be a disciple. We cease to be a student. And as we grow older in God's Church, that bible study needs to improve.

Verse 43:

John 8:43-44 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. (44) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do...

There is a distinction between the students (the disciples) and others that were there as well. His disciples were listening to God's words. Verse 47:

John 8:47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

God is not dealing with the world as a whole today. He is dealing with a select group - the disciples, the students, of Christ.

Notice in John, chapter 6:

John 6:63-67 It is the spirit that quickeneth [makes alive]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (64) But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. (65) And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. [For someone to be a disciple of Christ, God the Father has to call him.] (66) From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. [They were not true disciples.] (67) Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? (68) Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

Verse 44:

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him [that disciple, that student] up at the last day.

That last day, when there is the First Resurrection, there is a purpose realized for these students - there is a graduation that has to take place. Notice in Revelation, chapter 20:

Revelation 20:5-6 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [There is more than one resurrection. The first is for Christ's disciples, at His return.] (6) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

The purpose of this particular group that are raised up "at the last day" is to be both kings reigning, and priests - "kingpriests." They have been drawn by the Father and are sanctified. John, chapter 17:

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

It is God's Word of truth that sets apart this particular group of individuals. And that Word says in Revelation, chapter 22:

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments [God's commandments - the same ones given by the Word in Exodus 20.], that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

The Word that this group is learning is indeed Higher Education. It is the Word itself that defines them as students, ready to be resurrected at the First Resurrection, at the end of the age, as kingpriests. They are therefore priests-in-training. Notice in I Peter, chapter 2:

I Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Chapter 1:

I Pet 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

God's Love - His Character - is utterly vital in the process. It is what enables us to keep His Word, His Commandments (Rom 13:10), and so this also is involved in this area of discipleship, as it says in John, chapter 13:

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. [It is the "love of God ... shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy (Spirit)" - Romans 5:5]

Continuing in I Peter:

I Peter 1:23-2:5 Being born again [or regenerated], not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. [These priests-in-training have the word of God that is regenerating them.] (24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: (25) But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you [to these students who are priests-in-training]. (2:1) Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, (2) As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: [You priests in training need to be growing up, developing, to become the kingpriests of the future.] (3) If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (4) To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, (5) Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

They become an holy priesthood. They are looking forward into the future to become the very temple of the Living God, where the Godhead will dwell, being the sons and daughters of God.

Verse 9:

I Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

So we see as regards this Higher Education, each student is specifically called - called to become a king and a priest in the future, ready to teach the very same Word that defines their studentship. That is the reason we come to Sabbath services - to learn more about this Word, to study this Word as part of the curriculum of Higher Education, as we will go on and see.

TEACHERS

As was brought out in the Master Craftsman article, Romans 1:20 talks about the "eternal power and Godhead" that is taught by the creation. The world as a whole has a certain degree of teaching. They can look out every day and see what has been made - and so can be taught a good deal about this Being (or this family of Beings) that has created all the things that we see. "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19). They can look up to the heavens, see the various precisely tuned constants that are there, without which the universe could not exist, and be taught something about this Being as well.

But when we come to this Higher Education - the education you and I should be undergoing as students, as disciples, of this Master Craftsman - we are looking at something different. Certainly we can look up at the heavens and be inspired, or look out at the creation and see the "eternal power and Godhead," but this education goes beyond that. God says, "My thoughts are not your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8) His thoughts have to become our thoughts. They have to be passed on to us.

When we look at education within the system that God has set up, we find that the responsibility for education is not the teacher, but the parent, the father. The father may send the child away to college or to an apprenticeship to learn what needs to be learned, but education is still the parent's responsibility.

And the responsibility for our Higher Education is the Father. Notice in John, chapter 6:

John 6:36-37 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. (37) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

It is the Father, the parent, that gives the individual student, whom He has called, to Christ to give instruction, to give the knowledge that is necessary. Christ becomes the Teacher.

Verse 38:

John 6:38-39 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (39) And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. [We are going to be kings and priests at that last day.]

Verse 44:

John 6:44-45 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (45) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

Again, the Father does the calling, the selection of each disciple, and He then takes that individual and passes them to Christ (the Living Word of God) to give the instruction.

Notice another aspect of this in Hebrews, chapter 4:

Hebrews 4:9-16 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. [Looking forward into that First Resurrection and the Millennial rest that will come as a result.] (10) For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (11) Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. [As students, as priests-in-training, we labor, we work, doing what is necessary.] (12) For the word of God is quick [alive], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. [It is the Living Word of God, not just a word that we happen to read here. It is truly "living" when that word is taken, and is incorporated, and becomes "Christ in the flesh" - who was led by the Spirit of God, who had the Spirit without measure. In this manner one becomes another individual just like his elder Brother.] (13) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. [The Living Christ trains us through the very Spirit that comes from the Father. We pray to the Father, but it is the Christ who is the Living Head of the Church, who changes us with this Word that we read - making that Word live - and who sent an individual in our time (God's apostle), to explain this process.] (14) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into [through] the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. (15) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. [Here is this individual who will be over the priests in the future. And we, as trainee priests, are being trained by Him right now to be under Him at that time.] (16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Notice Ephesians, chapter 4:

Ephesians 4:11-13 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting [maturing] of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: [We become like this High Priest, because we are priests-in-training - disciples, or students, being taught by Him, being taught by this Living Word, the Word that was written "not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart" (II Corinthians 3:3). This Word, written in our hearts, will then be carried into the Kingdom, into the future when we will be those kings and priests.] (14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

We are drawn by the Father and given to Christ for training. That is where this Higher Education is coming from. It is a Living Word. We read the Bible and are able to understand it through the very Spirit of God and through the one Christ sent - and are able therefore to be trained by it.

In II Peter, chapter 3 after Peter talks about the apostle Paul's writings being "some things hard to be understood" and how they wrest these writings to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures, he says:

II Peter 3:17-18 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware [be careful] lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. [It is not a case of our just learning whatever we want to ourselves, individually.] (18) But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

We need to be growing up to Him in all things, being washed by the Word, as it says in Ephesians:

Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.

It is a process that takes place. We are being washed continually by this Word.

Back to II Peter, in chapter 1:

II Peter 1:4-9 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature [the God-like nature to become a son of God], having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (5) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue [warrior-like courage]; and to virtue knowledge; (6) And to knowledge temperance [self-control]; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness [good worship - getting that contact with God that is necessary]; (7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity [agape - which is the very mind of God]. (8) For if these things be in you, and abound [This is talking to us as disciples, as students.], they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. [That is what was talked about in the end of II Peter, that we "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."] (9) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off [to when he is going to have the responsibilities of being a priest under this High Priest.], and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

So as regards this subject of teachers in Higher Education, first of all we can look around us and see in the natural world the same things that the world can also see. That should teach us, and teach us about the Master Craftsman - His "eternal power and Godhead." But when we start to have this relationship with God, initially that relationship is through the Father. It is the Father who is responsible for our education - this Higher Education. He then gives each student to Christ to be trained by these words of the Bible, in a living form. (We are washed by the water of the word.) He is the primary teacher as the Head of His Church.

SYLLABUS

Let us look at the curriculum that is being taught.

When Christ was confronted by Satan He said:

Matthew 4:4 ...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

If we go back to the very beginning, we see Adam being given very clear instructions. The Word of God came to Adam and said:

Gen 2:16-17 ...Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: (17) But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil...

But he disregarded that Word and took to himself the knowledge of right and wrong, by taking of that tree that was specifically forbidden.

Turn to Isaiah, chapter 42. Here it is talking about the Christ.

Isaiah 42:1-4 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. (2) He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. (3) A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (4) He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

There was to be a sequence of events. Initially, He was to come as a human being, but as a human being He was not to go out and do some great evangelistic campaign - He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. He was not then going to intervene - a bruised reed shall he not break. Nor then sort things out - smoking flax shall he not quench. As He said to Satan, when offered the chance to do what He needed to, there and then, "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Matthew 4:10)

But the frustration is very clear when you look in verse 14:

Isaiah 42:14-21 I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. [Eventually this Christ will indeed return, and He will indeed intervene on a global scale.] I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs [vegetables]; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. (16) And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: [He is going to have this syllabus given to the world as a whole. We have got to understand that syllabus now. We are in training, as trainee kings and trainee priests, so as to be ready to teach that syllabus ourselves to the world under Christ - my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth - the High Priest.] I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. (17) They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. (18) Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. (19) Who is blind, but my servant? [Speaking of Israel, as the servant. Physical Israel is going to be taught eventually. Israel was given a job (they were to be an example nation), but they didn't actually fulfill that role.] or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord's servant? (20) Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. (21) The [Eternal] is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; [Speaking now of the Christ who is going to come and reveal the truth to these people.] he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.

This word "magnify" is not quite the same as the English word "magnify," in the sense of getting a magnifying glass out and magnifying something, although it is an application of it. It is more a case of making the Law "magnificent." Blowing it up to the point where you look at just what this Law actually has to say - what this syllabus is really all about. Because that is what you are looking at: A syllabus for the world as a whole - a magnified Law of God, a magnificent Law of God. That is what we as disciples, as students, right now, must learn about - the magnificent Law, Torah, Way, Mindset, of God.

Turn to Matthew, chapter 5:

Matthew 5:17-18 Think not [Don't even think about it!] that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil [Greek: pleroo - to fill it to the brim]. (18) For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. [Greek: ginomai - brought to pass or "all doing it," as Goodspeed translates it.]

He is coming in the future to magnify the law and make it honourable, make the law magnificent, as He is doing now to His select group of disciples.

Note the context. Verse 1:

Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set [set alone], his disciples [His students] came unto him:

So the first instruction, the Higher Education, is being given to these students. And He is saying to them, "Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law, but to fill it to the full, to make it magnificent. Not a single part will come out of that Law until all be brought to pass." This syllabus is only in a small relief right now, but, as we saw in Isaiah 42, we are looking at it being applied to the world as a whole in the future.

Verse 19:

Matthew 5:19-20 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: ["By those in the kingdom of heaven," because the indication from other scriptures is that people such as that will not be there.] but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (20) For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. [The way of God, the Law of God (the Ten Commandments which sum up that Law), has got to be made magnificent. And it will be, within the World Tomorrow.]

Christ then goes into different areas, giving the spiritual principle behind the Law. In verses 21-26 He talks about hatred and murder - expanding the law about murder into the area of hatred. In verses 27-30 He goes into the area of lust and adultery, showing the principle behind the law regarding this - that you do not even look upon woman to lust after in your heart. In verses 31-32 He covers marriage and divorce - showing that the purpose of marriage is that the husband and wife stay together, that they do not divorce and have serial marriages, as we find rife today. In verses 33-37 He talks about swearing - how there is no need to swear, because our word is "Yes" and "No," and if it is anything more than that it is coming from the Evil One. In verses 38-42, as regards "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," He says rather to go over and above to recompense anyone you have wronged. In verses 43-47 He shows that rather than hating your enemy, you love your enemy. You love your neighbor as yourself, but who is your neighbor? It expands out even to your enemies as well.

Finally, in verse 48:

Matthew 5:48 Be [or become] ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. [This is the purpose of this Higher Education.]

Look at the place of safety. Mr. Waterhouse, with Mr. Armstrong's full approval, focused on it as being a place of final training, a place of Higher Education - to understand the application of this magnificent Way of God on a global scale. However, we are not going to get it all in the place of safety.

Notice Daniel, chapter 9

Daniel 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

He is cut off in the midst of the week, that final week of the 70 week's prophecy of Daniel 9, which means that there are another 3 1/2 years at the end to fulfill. That 3 1/2 years is after the return of Christ, not in the place of safety. That precedes it. But once Christ returns the instruction will then be taking this magnificent Law, this magnificent Word of God, this Higher Education, and teaching us clearly how to apply it in the World Tomorrow as kings and priests. We will then have the mental capacity that we need to be able to do this.

Notice Ecclesiastes, chapter 12, where Solomon, the wisest person who ever lived (apart from Christ), said:

Ecclesiastes 12:10-13 The preacher [referring to himself] sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. [Thy word is truth. (John 17:17) Christ is the Living Word separating out the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)] (11) The words of the wise [the wise ones] are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. [These words were given by one Shepherd - Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God.] (12) And further, by these [by these words given by one Shepherd], my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end [You can go and get "education, education, education" out in the world, but it does not give you what these words do.]; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. (13) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments [Here is the syllabus - keeping the commandments, but keeping them in the principle and the magnificent way that they were originally intended to be kept.]: for this is the whole duty of man. [For this is the whole man. "Duty of" is not in the original.]

The syllabus then, of the students, the disciples, for this Higher Education, is the commandments of God. And as we will go on and see in this series, each commandment can be expanded, magnified - made magnificent - to really teach us about the principles we are going to need as priests and kings in the future.

EXAMINATIONS

What about exams? First notice in Matthew, chapter 24:

Matthew 24:45-46 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? (46) Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

That is what we are trying to do today: give food in due season. It is certainly a case of revision. We are told, as regards the Holy Days, in Leviticus, chapter 23:

Leviticus 23:4 These are the feasts of the [Eternal], even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.

Pentecost is coming up in a couple of weeks and in that particular season we will concentrate on the Holy Spirit, the firstfruits, the things of Pentecost - because it is a time of revision. It is a part of the examination process. It is something God has given us through the year that we go through every year.

The fact that we meet every Sabbath and someone gets up and expounds a certain element of the Bible, is part of the process of learning, in addition to the reading and studying we should be doing everyday. Our Bible study though should not just be an exercise, but rather taking the Word we have studied and then applying it. It is a "living" Word. For the word of God is quick (which means "living") and powerful. and sharper than any twoedged sword. (Hebrews 4:12)

Notice Micah, chapter 6, a scripture we might not link to examinations:

Micah 6:8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the [Eternal] require of thee, but to do justly [To do what is right, as defined by the Word of God. Sin is the transgression of the law (John 3:4) and the Law of God defines what is right.], and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

The loving of mercy and the walking humbly with our God, as well as doing justly, are things that need to be ongoing. God is looking for these things within our lives, done on a continual basis.

As we have seen, the responsibility of teaching in a family is the father's and the responsibility of teaching in the Family of God is also the Father's. He gives this Higher Education. He selects the student and gives him to Christ to be trained. In Deuteronomy, chapter 6 there is instruction on how parents, how fathers, are to train their children. This also is the way in which God, our Father, trains us:

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 Hear, O Israel: The [Eternal] our God is one [Eternal]: (5) And thou shalt love the [Eternal] thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. [It starts in the heart, goes to the soul, the physical body (what we have control over), then with all our might - to anything we control outside our body, to that which we do.], (6) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: [This is where the teaching goes - into the heart of man. From the heart, as we just saw, it goes into the body and then out from the body into the might, into the things that are done. And they are done in such a way in honor and glory of God.] (7) And thou shalt teach them [these words that shall be in your heart] diligently unto thy children, [How?] and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

This is how we are instructed by God to teach our own children. God does exactly the same thing. We are to do justly, to keep the 10 commandments, but also to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. And the same time as we are walking and the same time as we are expressing that mercy He also is involved in the process, with this Living Word, applied in individual circumstances. It is like a continual examination.

But there will be tests that come along. Notice in Genesis, chapter 22, where we see an individual who is going to be very senior, as far as a king and priest is concerned (right under Christ Himself), being tested by Christ specifically:

Genesis 22:1-2 And it came to pass after these things, that God did [test] Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. (2) And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

Verse 12:

Genesis 22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad [It was only a test, though Abraham did not know that. He did not know how far he was going to have to go. Remember the example of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? They were tested to the point of actually being thrown into the furnace. But Abraham knew and had confidence that the Promises of God were going to be through Isaac, and he knew therefore that if Isaac were sacrificed, God would have to resurrect him, even though there had not been a resurrection up to that time.] neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God [Now He knew who was absolutely first in his life], seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

This was a test. Until that point, God did not know for sure. And when we ourselves go through certain tests and trials we also demonstrate, if we handle them in the right way, that we are going in the right direction - that the instruction that we have from the Bible, the instruction that we have from Christ, as a Living Word (not just a word that is dry and dusty and academic) is being applied in our life regardless. This is all part of this Higher Education, so that our thinking becomes as the God that gave us the syllabus.

If we are failing in the trials and tests that we go through, there is one area we should be looking at. It is given in the parable of the sower. Matthew, chapter 13:

Matthew 13:18-21 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. (19) When any one heareth the word of the kingdom [That word that will train us as trainee kings and priests ready for the future.], and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. [I have seen this happen. I remember a specific case where I could see on the expression of the individual's face that the light had dawned, ever so briefly, and then it just went away.] (20) But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; (21) Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

The word of the kingdom takes root, but what root is that? It says, he hath not root in himself. That is the problem. It is not the love of mankind that we have; it is the love of God...shed abroad in our hearts (Romans 5:5). If we are not in daily contact with that source, we will not pass the tests when they come along. The only way to get through the tests is by having that contact, by having the root NOT in ourselves. As it says in Zechariah, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the [Eternal] of hosts. It is the same here. He has no root in himself. He endures for a while, might do so for years, but when the trials come, when the exams come along, he is unable to pass them.

So as regards exams in this subject of Higher Education, if we have problems with examination (those trials and tribulations that come to all of us), this is the area we need to be looking at - the vital importance of maintaining that daily contact with our Father.

GRADUATION

The end point of this education, what we are looking towards, is graduation.

Notice again in Revelation, chapter 20:

Revelation 20:4-6 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus [Here are those who held onto that Living Word, that High Priest who is training His priests, even to the point of death. The guillotine is probably the means which is being referred to here.], and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [This is the First Resurrection, the graduation, the purpose for why there is Higher Education at all.] (5) But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [The resurrection at the last day. (John 6:44)] (6) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

These individuals will be used throughout the Millennial rule (and in the Great White Throne Judgment as well). Notice in Isaiah, chapter 30:

Isaiah 30:20-21 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers [the kingpriests] be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: (21) And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

It is the Word behind them, pointing them in the right direction, given by the kingpriests as necessary.

Deuteronomy, chapter 17:

Deuteronomy 17:8-13 If there arise a matter too hard for thee [Talking to the local judges.] in judgment , between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the [Eternal] thy God shall choose [the place of the tabernacle]; (9) And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall show thee the sentence of judgment: [It was to the priesthood that the problem was to be taken.] (10) And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the [Eternal] shall choose shall show thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee: (11) According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, [Notice where the teaching is coming from. Is it coming from some new ideas? No, it is coming from the Law, the Torah, the Way of God.] and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall show thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. (12) And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the [Eternal] thy God, [He is administering the Way of God, before the Eternal thy God. It is not a case of "hand on heart" doing what he believed was right.] or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. (13) And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

This is the end of this particular instruction. Samuel then, as far as we understand, added this next piece.

Verse 14:

Deuteronomy 17:14 When thou art come unto the land which the [Eternal] thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;

Then he starts giving instructions regarding a king. It is still inspired, still part of the canon. Nevertheless, it was probably added by Samuel at a later date, at the time of the canonization that he did with David.

Verse 18:

Deuteronomy 17:18 And it shall be, when he [the king] sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:

So the Levites and priests administered the judgment of the law. That was their job. And the kingpriests in the future will be administering the law as priests, as well. Notice in Malachi, chapter 2:

Malachi 2:7-8 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the [Eternal] of hosts. [That is the purpose and the function of the priests.] (8) But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the [Eternal] of hosts.

Back to Deuteronomy, chapter 17:

Deuteronomy 17:19-20 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: [Daily bible study is necessary for us as well - the future kingpriests.] that he may learn to fear the [Eternal] his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: (20) That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

We as kingpriests are currently learning, in this Higher Education, to be able to come to people and say, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. That is the purpose of our graduation.

Jeremiah, chapter 31:

Jeremiah 31:31-33 Behold, the days come, saith the [Eternal], that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: (32) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the [Eternal]: (33) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the [Eternal], I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

The principles of this Law are to be in our hearts. This is the Higher Education that we have now - living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God inculcated into the very teachers for the future.

Remember what Mr. Armstrong said:

The Ten Commandments, when you magnify them and see them according to the broad principles that they cover, the Ten Commandments are a complete law that cover every duty of man towards his God and towards his fellow neighbor.

The Ten Commandments in principle cover every duty of man in his relationship with God and in his relationship with his neighbor. Every possible relationship is covered in the Ten Commandments.

From this prelude article we will continue on and go through the very Commandments themselves, to make them magnificent, to magnify them, to bring out the principles that you find in each and every one of them, as a means of reminding ourselves of this Higher Education. Because, as it says in Matthew, chapter 4:

Matthew 4:1-4 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. (2) And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. (3) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [John 6 talks about the bread of life - the Living Word that came down from heaven.] (4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. [Christ is the One who gave those words initially, and is the One who is actually training us as disciples through those words within the Church today.]

Notice again in Chapter 5:

Matthew 5:17-20 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil [to fill it to the brim, to magnify it and make it honorable, to make it magnificent]. (18) For verily [truly] I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled [be brought to pass]. (19) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least [ or "least by those"] in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [It is essential we learn about them and the principle behind them, because further on in this chapter, as we saw, He goes into those principles: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, but I'm saying to you, because of this magnification, here is the principle that is necessary."] (20) For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. [If it is just a case of reading these words and trying to apply them in the letter alone and not going into the magnificent aspects of them - of each and every single one of those commandments - we will not even be there, because that is the way the Pharisees applied them.]

This is the purpose of the Higher Education that God has for each of us, as disciples, as students. We are selected by God the Father, handed to Christ for training, and that Living Word is then inculcated into us, so that we may function as the future kingpriests under Him in His Kingdom. It is indeed, the only, True: Higher Education.

transcribed in article form by KA. Edited by JB.