"What new doctrine is this?"
And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
And He spake this parable unto them, saying,
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Lk. 15:1-7).
Jesus, the champion of the sinner, had a quick reply for the grumbling religious folks. Did He think up that parable on the spot? Or was it a theme of thought that had gone through His mind often? I choose the latter. But He spun it off and put the real sinners on the run, while the apparent sinners moved in closer to Him.
Did Jesus construct that parable from scratch (whenever He first thought of it), or did it come from His reading of scripture, scripture that He had inspired while still in His divine form? Yes, He had read Ezekiel’s inspired parable which we find in the 34th chapter of his book.
Much better than any of us could ever know the fullness of all the ramifications of that parable of Ezekiel’s, Jesus had a complete understanding of it and handled truth found there like a deftly trained swordsman.
Jesus in every respect answered to the prophecy of Isaiah.
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
And shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears:
But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious. (Is. 11:1-10).
Is this fullness of comprehension only for Jesus? Did He not pass some of it on to His representatives while He was gone to the heavenly sanctuary? Did He not breathe on them the Holy Ghost? What about us today? Shouldn’t we be able to look into the treasure house of God’s word and bring a fullness to them in the context of 21st century modern civilization?
Must we rely solely on the stories of the Bible? Why shouldn’t we be breathing new life into truth? The likening of the kingdom of God in all those parables of Jesus are beautiful and provide a pathway to the God of grace and truth. And for 2,000 years now, we’ve been using them for innumerable sermons and Bible stories for children.
“Then said He unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matt. 13:52).
Our Master Teacher informs us that His true followers will receive such an infilling of the Holy Spirit that their comprehension of truth will expand beyond simple mouthing of scripture. Divine inspiration never ended at the death of John. We may not have what Daniel and John had, but new things should be continually springing out of the storehouse of truth. New truth that never destroys old truth.
Otherwise, old truth becomes cliché and lifeless. It becomes threadbare and hoary with age (DA p. 326). We should not only not be afraid of this subject, but we should fear our future if no new thought and constructions arise from among us, the remnant church.
We are safe in the pursuit of new light so long as we follow a few principles.
One, “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, … He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (Jn. 16:13,14). “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” (Jn. 12:32). “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.” (1Jn. 4:3). “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Is. 8:20). Jesus will be exalted in all new truth. New light comes for the purpose of giving new and living definition to His work in saving us. And Christ will be seen in all His princely obedience to God’s Law.
Two, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (1Pet. 1:20). “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.” (Jn. 7:17). New understanding of God’s will will never be provided to advance a personal agenda. New light is always contingent on surrender to light already given. New light thrills and revels in old light and breathes new vigor into it.
Three, “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” (1Cor. 14:32). New light from heaven never destroys old light. The same Spirit guides the minds of both modern and ancient vessels of His. Truth builds on itself, is advancing.
Four, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” (2Cor. 13:1). “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. And … all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.” (Neh. 8:8,9). Let all truth be supported by two or more interconnecting scriptures. Let there be a following of a line of truth like a vein of gold through a mountain.
Five, “I withstood him to the face.” (Gal. 2:11). “The contention was … sharp between them.” (Acts 15:39). “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Prov. 27:17). Let there be discussion, even sharp contention if necessary, over the proposed new understanding. No inspection should be shirked in defense of purity of truth. Humility will allow such an environment to reign over those who meet to hammer out truth from error. “No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 35.
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
And this will we do, if God permit.
...But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.” (Heb. 5:12-6:9).
“Covet earnestly the best gifts.” (1Cor. 12:31). “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” (1Cor. 14:1).