Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: I. Irreducible Complexity

Monday, January 27, 2020

I. Irreducible Complexity

Irreducible Complexity

           The first five books of the Bible were first given by God to Israel through Moses.  These first five books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  These five books came to be known as the Pentateuch.  This was the Bible of the Jewish people.  The priests of Israel were held responsible to teach these five books to the Jews to know and observe (keep and preserve) from generation to generation.  This began what we know as formal discipleship to make Jews followers of the Law, or what these five books taught.  Moses would very quickly discover how difficult this commandment would become.  Every other generation of believers after him have found the difficulties to be ever increasingly difficult due to Satanic corruptions and external influences. 

           The greatest difficulty of discipleship is found in the early chapters of Exodus.  Discipleship was committed to a group of men called to be priests who in most part were completely ignorant of God and of His commandments given in the Mosaic Covenant.  They had some knowledge that had been passed down through their generations by word of mouth and by tradition.  However, much of the knowledge of God had been corrupted and influenced through generations of involvement with pagans practicing various degrees of idolatry.  The holy Bible, as a written history of the world, and the Mosaic Covenant, as a written document defining parameters of righteousness, did not exist before it was given to Moses. 

The first level of discipleship was Moses teaching God’s appointed disciple makers (the Levitical priests) the “statutes and judgments” of the Law and the APPLICATION of those “statutes and judgments.”  Herein lays the core problem of discipleship – ACCURATE and DETAILED TRANSFERENCE FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION WITHOUT CORRUPTION. 

1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. 2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:1-2).

           The complexity of discipleship begins with Moses’ understanding of the what and why of the books of the Bible given him by God.  If Moses did not understand the what and why, he certainly could not teach the what and why to the priests of Israel.  This fact would be equally true of the transference of the what and why from the priests to the children of Israel.  This transference is necessarily true of every new generation of disciple-makers.  Every aspect of “the faith” must be faithfully understood and taught to the next generation, who then must receive it with equal responsibility. 

           The Mosaic Covenant was given to redeemed people for the purpose of establishing boundaries for maintaining sanctification before God thereby retaining His blessings upon them as His people.  The Mosaic Covenant was NOT given to the lost souls of the world.  The Mosaic Covenant was given to GOVERN believers. 

The governing boundaries of the Mosaic Covenant naturally became external.  This is the natural way infants receive boundaries.  Infants really do not understand the purpose of boundaries or the dangers to themselves that lay beyond those boundaries.  This superficial and immature understanding was the beginning of the corruption of those boundaries. 

The boundaries of righteousness were intended to be internal controls beginning with the control of what people decided to give preference.  The primary control of a person was supposed to control what that person loved beginning with loving God.  When the head and the heart are controlled, THEN the body can be controlled.  The head knows, but the heart controls motivation and desires.  There is a vast difference between internal and external controls.  We can establish external controls such as barbed wire and electric fences, but they will prove inadequate as every farmer with a bullheaded bull finds out.  God has always wanted obedience from the heart.  Obedience from the heart does not require a ring in the nose. 

The discipleship responsibilities of the Mosaic Covenant fell primarily upon the heads of households (the father as the priest of the home).  Moses taught the Levitical priests who were then responsible to teach the fathers as heads of their household.  The fathers as heads of their households were then responsible for teaching their wives and insuring their children learned and obeyed the statutes and judgments of the Mosaic Covenant.  However, the primary and foremost responsibility of the fathers as priests of their households was to model a genuine love relationship with God and love for God’s Word.  Loving God and God’s Word is the first level of successful discipleship and the first level of failure in discipleship.  To know the Word of God without knowing and loving the God of the Word is the failure that creates a meaningless religion out of a purposeful and loving relationship with God.  God hates religion (rules and rituals) without relationship. 

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, 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. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

Religion (rules and rituals) without relationship is what is created when the foundations of deep understanding of the gift of salvation and the understanding of the doctrine of redemption is excluded from loving knowledge of God.  This is why the Bible begins with the book of Genesis and not the book of Exodus.  The book of Genesis details the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence of the Being revealed to us as God.  This Being by the mere power of His will spoke the universe into existence.  To teach rules and rituals without teaching the fall of humanity into sin and God’s loving gift of redemption through His own incarnation into humanity and His substitutionary death to satisfy His own wrath upon sin is the petri dish for breeding dead religion without any knowledgeable love for the Redeemer God.  This is why evangelism that creates love for the Creator must begin with the truths found in the first three chapters of Genesis. 

Another grand difficulty in discipleship is Levels of Transference.  These Levels of Transference involve levels of responsibility, levels of intelligence, and levels of interest.  Various levels of responsibility for learning are defined by the level of responsibility in teaching what is learned to others.  A person cannot teach others beyond the teacher’s level of understanding.  This is true of the teacher that teaches teachers or the parent teaching children. 

The historic failure in these Levels of Transference of spiritual knowledge is recorded in the book of Genesis and the book of Numbers.  Ignorance of God and God’s will actually increases with every generation descending into almost total Paganism, Hedonism, and innumerable levels of ever increasing unbelief.  This is the constant in the spiritual history of the world. 

We can only imagine the task before Moses in the teaching of the priests of Israel so that they in turn could teach heads of households of Israel.  We are told in Numbers 1:47 that the priests of the tribe of Levi were not to be numbered with the other tribes.  The distinction here is that the priests were separated from all political and tribal alliances and loyalties so that their loyalties to God and His statutes and judgments would never be compromised.  The priests were counted (Numbers 3:39; 22,000).  They were not aligned with loyalties to anything but to God and the Word of God.  This time in history marks the first Bible school where twenty-two thousand priests were taught by one teacher – Moses. 

The logistics of concisely teaching the book of Genesis and Leviticus to twenty-two thousand priests at once while measuring their comprehension of what was being taught is unfathomable.  There would have been innumerable levels of transference of understanding depending on levels of individual’s intelligence, attention, resistance, apathy, and personal acceptance of the responsibility involved in enforcing the statutes and judgments, while teaching these truths to others.  In is highly improbable that there was any trained scribes (copyists) yet to create written copies of the Pentateuch for each of the twenty-two thousand priests.  Most of these priests were still probably illiterate needing to be taught to read and write.  Therefore, they probably could not even take written notes of what was being orally taught.  The first step was to teach every priest to read and write.  Every priest would then have been taught to be a scribe to first make his own copy of the Pentateuch.  Perhaps this gives us some comprehension of what Moses was doing for those forty years in the wilderness and why there were so many difficulties.  “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

In the forty years of wandering in the wilderness, another generation of Jews was born and needed to be educated in the Law.  Priority was given to every child learning to read and write and learn the Pentateuch.  The Pentateuch would have been the only writing the Jews would focus upon in their education.  Without knowing the Pentateuch, the children of Israel would quickly degenerate into the influences caused by ignorance of God and ignorance of righteousness.  The Jews were geographically separated by God from the influence of the ignorant pagans of the world for those forty years for God to build a nation of evangelists to reach the world with knowledge God had given them about Himself. 

The great weakness in the plan for discipleship was the innate ignorance and apathy of every new generation who would not see their mission and therefore degenerate by degrees back into paganism.  They also came out of Egypt with a “mixed multitude” that internally continued to carnally influence the Jews with the integration of paganism and idolatrous worship forms.  This is the redundancy of every generation of believers.  We do not even indoctrinate and disciple our own children in “the faith.”  

There is a consummate end of the redundant process of degeneracy into ignorance, unbelief, and rejection of spiritual knowledge -APOSTASY and REPROBATION.  Jesus addressed this in Matthew chapter thirteen in answering the question of why He spoke in parables. 

10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them {apostate Jews and priests who had rejection spiritual knowledge especially regarding Redemption through a substitute Redeemer} it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath {faith in God’s Word and the promised Redeemer/Seed}, to him shall be given {understanding}, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not {faith in God’s Word and the promised Redeemer/Seed}, from him shall be taken away even that{understanding} he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross {grown fat and calloused; no longer sensitive to God’s will}, and their ears are dull  of hearing {heavy; weighted down with worldly concerns and ambitions where hearing God’s Word becomes a burden and bore}, and their eyes they have closed {literally ‘shut down,’ there are none so blind as those who will not see}; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them {what sinners WANT overwhelms their senses to the place they refuse God’s will and every level of input}” (Matthew 13:10-15).

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 50 years.

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