Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. —Acts 3:19-21 (New American Standard Bible, NASB)
EDUCATION AND KNOWLEDGE
In this day and age, a good education is highly recommended. Gone are the days when all you needed to get by in the world was to know the three R’s—reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic. Now there’s much more to learn—science, technology, computers, vocational training, management, life skills, have become what is now known as modern education.
But as much as modern education is useful and necessary for living in the world today, there is a never ending need to learn more and more as knowledge increases from day to day. Interestingly, the Bible says that knowledge will increase as we get closer to the return of Christ: “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase,” (Daniel 12:4, NASB).
As human knowledge increases, modern education becomes even more imperative. In fact, you can’t have one without the other. For education has been defined as, “A process of acquiring knowledge through study or imparting the knowledge by way of instructions or some other practical procedure,” (ExamPlanning).
KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM
Education is intended to bring progress toward human life and behavior. But it will always have its flaws if the knowledge is void of wisdom. Like someone said, “Knowledge without wisdom is as dangerous as an automobile with neither steering wheel nor brakes,” (14,000 Quips and Quotes, E.C. McKenzie). Education will get out of control if knowledge is not founded on God’s wisdom and knowledge.
So I ask: With all the knowledge our society accumulates, why are so many concerned about problems within our public schools and the educational system?
Christians are concerned that modern secular education ignores and/or distorts an important element of learning that children need: Knowledge that is grounded in God’s wisdom and knowledge. Because of cultural diversity, political correctness, and certain laws, public schools have shunned discussion of Biblical values and Christian teachings. And for this and other reasons, Christian families either homeschool their children or send them to Christian schools.
The need and desire to incorporate God’s knowledge and wisdom into education is relevant to the Christian believer. Christians can discern the futility of worldly wisdom and knowledge from the truth of God’s teachings. This is the same point the Apostle Paul was making when he wrote to the Corinthian Church. In a sense, he was educating the believers by showing them the difference between worldly wisdom and knowledge and God’s wisdom and knowledge. According to the prevailing worldview, God’s wisdom is foolishness and his knowledge is weak, which brought on Paul’s response,
“Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20; See verses 18-31.)
The apostle knew all about those well-educated fools of his day who, for example, viewed the death and resurrection of Christ as foolishness. They were interested in knowing the latest idea or philosophy but when it came to listening to the Good News about Jesus, many of them remained skeptical and would even mock those who believed in him (Compare with Acts 17:16-34.).
WORLDLY KNOWLEDGE/WISDOM VS. GOD’S KNOWLEDGE/WISDOM
In education, it’s important to remember the difference between worldly knowledge and God’s knowledge. Worldly knowledge is foolishness. God’s knowledge is wisdom.
In the Bible, the Greek word for “knowledge” stems from gnosis which means, “applied knowledge,” or “experiential knowledge,” (HELPS Word Studies, Bible Hub). Interestingly, the word “science” (from the Latin word, scientia) means, “knowledge.”
In Paul’s time there was a cult who made gnosis or knowledge their core belief called Gnosticism. It was primarily based on having special, personal knowledge. Fully aware of such belief, Paul urged Timothy to avoid “worldly and empty chatter.” In First Timothy 6:20-21, Paul closes his first letter to his young colleague saying,
“O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’ [“science” in the King James Version]—which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be to you,” NASB).
The gnosis or “knowledge” of which Paul is speaking is worldly knowledge that breeds arrogance and human pride. He said, “knowledge makes arrogant,” (1 Corinthians 8:1). In other words, worldly knowledge puffs one up with pride. Unfortunately, one can be so educated that it can go to one’s head and so be used to belittle others. For this reason, it’s wise to remember, “An educated person is one who knows a great deal and says little about it,” (14,000 Quips and Quotes, E.C. McKenzie).
THE FUTURE REIGN OF CHRIST AND GOD’S KNOWLEDGE/WISDOM
When we look ahead to the restoration period during Jesus’ reign on earth, we must understand that education at that time will not be based on the worldly knowledge of this present age. Paul said, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely,” (1 Corinthians 13:12, New Living Translation, NLT).
During the coming restoration, it will be education on its fullest or highest level—God’s knowledge. This is truly higher education—higher than we can ever imagine now. For in this mortal life, “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” are beyond our comprehension. Or, as Paul declares, “How unsearchable are his judgments and unfathomable are his ways!” (Romans 11:33).
But in the age to come, the Millennium (Latin, mille, a thousand, and annus, year) or 1,000-year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:1-6), his knowledge and wisdom will be revealed to the whole world. Indeed, the period of education renovation will take place starting from Jerusalem, the world capital, where Jesus will reign as King from his throne. In fact, Jesus will be the sole Source of that wisdom and knowledge.
Isaiah 11:1-2 says,
“Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”
We know that the “shoot” springing from the stem of Jesse is Christ Jesus. And while this is associated with the birth and life of Jesus in his earthly ministry, its complete fulfillment will be during his future reign on earth. For verse 9 says, “…For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea,”—that is, “as the waters cover the sea-bed.”
Habakkuk 2:14 also says, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Here we read, “the glory of the LORD,”—a reference to the brightness or shining brilliance of God’s glory as it was when it filled the Holy Temple (2 Chronicles 5:11-14; 1 Kings 8:11). In such a way, the light of wisdom, truth, and understanding will shine forth and enlighten the minds of the world.
THE CHURCH’S FUTURE EDUCATION RENOVATION ROLE
It is reasonable to believe that the Church will play a key role in taking the Lord’s knowledge and wisdom to every place around the globe until it spreads like “the waters cover the sea.” It says in Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 that the Church will be made “a kingdom” and “priests” in the 1,000-year reign of Christ. This is an indication that believers will hold co-ruling positions with Christ as his fellow heirs (Romans 8:17).
Keeping in mind that believers will have received immortality at the beginning of Jesus’ reign (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; Revelation 20:6), we can imagine that believers will be given positions in accordance with their talents and gifts as in the “Parable of the Talents,” (Matthew 25:14-30). For when the Master returns he will say to the faithful, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter thou into the joy of the Lord,” (KJV).
We can envision that being “in charge of many things” will include an education renovation in which the church will be instrumental in teaching all people, languages, and nations the knowledge and wisdom of God. This is what the church is ultimately called to do not only in this age but in that renovation period.
“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 4:6). In the context of this verse, Paul not only speaks of that which is temporary in this life, but eternal in the future life, “…the eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…” (v. 17).
In First Peter 2:9, the church as well as Israel (for example, Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6; 10:15) has a place in God’s future plan: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The mission and purpose of the church to teach all nations will continue during the Millennium. Those mortals living during that time will need to be educated in the knowledge and wisdom of Christ.
And speaking of Israel, Jerusalem will be the education center of all learning from the Jews as well as the Church. At the start of his 1,000-year reign, the Jews will be converted to Jesus Christ as the Messiah and King (Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:37-40; Ezekiel 37:23, 26-28; Zechariah 12:10-14; Revelation 21:7). And so they will also be able to educate the nations who go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord:
“Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you,”’” (Zechariah 8:20-23).
According to Zechariah 8:3,
“Thus says the Lord, ‘I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.’”
Just think of it: Truth in the City of Truth. Gone will be the false teachings of the world.
This coincides with Zephaniah 3:9 which says, “For then I will give to the peoples purified lips,” (NASB). According to Middle East expert in the Aramaic language, George M. Lamsa, this phrase is an idiom meaning, “a language of pure speech devoid of falsehood and deception,” (Idioms in the Bible Explained). And everyone will “serve him shoulder to shoulder.”
In the King James Version of Zephaniah 3:9 it says, “For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.” In referring to this version, commentators say that in the reign of Christ everyone will speak in one pure language. They mention the fact that in history, two other events took place that had a profound bearing on language. Once was when God confused the language of those building the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). The other time was on the Day of Pentecost when the disciples were able to miraculously speak in other languages to the foreigners in attendance, “as the Spirit was giving them utterance,” (Acts 2:1-13). According to Bible commentators, it will be another momentous turn of events when everyone will communicate in one, “pure language.” Given this scenario, it would explain how the whole world could be united and re-educated in the Spirit of Christ’s knowledge and wisdom.
EDUCATION RENOVATION IS COMING
What a change there will be! Those who deny God’s existence will come to know the truth that God DOES exist. Those who deny that Jesus is the Son of God will come to learn the truth that he really IS the Son of God. Those who followed the false teachings of man will come to learn the knowledge of truth through the instructions of the Lord. No false religions; no false teachers; no false leaders. Classrooms will be filled with everyone learning the truth from those who know and teach the Truth. Truth will prevail for Christ, the Truth, will prevail. Education renovation will be in progress when Christ rules the earth in all his glory and majesty.
This promise gives us all the more reason to make Jesus Christ the King of our lives today. While we pursue a good education in this life, we know how much more important it is to pursue the higher education of learning from God’s Word. For we desire to grow in the grace and knowledge of our God through his Son so that we may be prepared for the glorious Day when Jesus rules the world in the coming restoration.
In our next post, we will look at The Coming Restoration—Environmental Renovation. This should be of interest to all environmentalists as well as all believers.
Good News to YOU!
P.S. For your inspiration, here’s the Official Live Video of Sandi Patty singing, “We Shall Behold Him”: http://youtu.be/KZ3H3lg9NZM