By Mark Hunnemann
True knowledge of God and of the spirit realm cannot be acquired via ourselves; it must come from the infinite-personal God who is really there, revealing Himself to us. The bible speaks of the radical corruption of human beings (total depravity), and there is no part of us that is not tainted by sin—including our minds or consciousness. Looking ever deeper or higher within ourselves for certain knowledge of ultimate realty, is to overlook the severely corrupted nature of the human heart/mind (Jer. 17:9). Besides, as we have noted several times before, Rom.1:18ff states that we have exchanged the glory of the Creator God for a lie, and have begun to worship the creation instead of the Creator. Embracing an energy-centric worldview—energy is seen as ultimate reality—obliterates the Creator/creature distinction. What hubris to think that finite and sinful creatures can auto-generate pure and certain knowledge of God by a flight into higher consciousness. That is a Satanic reversal…we make God in OUR image.
Let me say it again—the vertical memory is alleged to be able to give us sure and accurate knowledge/answers to all of the profound questions raised earlier. An autonomous epistemology, like vertical memory, cannot accurately identify spirit beings either. Starting from ourselves, what is the basis for certainty regarding anything in the spirit realm? Earlier today I saw a thread on Facebook that was discussing Josh Gates and crew (Destination Truth), regarding an episode in which they re-visited a haunted forest—their camera guy had been thrown. Several people were intensely discussing what kind of entity/s were present there…the option most folks were espousing was that they were elementals—spirits which protected the forest. What struck me was how speculative the whole discussion was…one or two readily admitted they were left to mere guesswork…the truth would out when they died, was their contention. I could not refrain, and so I jumped in and, as gently as I could, pointed out that, with their epistemology, guessing was all they could do. There is a better way…
In contrast, in the book of Numbers, God in His infinite kindness and love has REVEALED Himself to us….when God “revelates” there is no need to speculate! In the ancient world, tassles were worn by nobles and other high class people. In Israel they are to be worn by everyone as a sign of being God’s chosen people. In observance of this requirement, Jesus would have worn these tassels. In Matt.9:20; 14:36 it clear that the “fringes” touched for healing by the sick would have been these tassels (same Greek word in Septuagint for “tassle” is used in Matt. for fringe…kraspedon)
Blue was used in the tabernacle, and so the blue threads reminded the Israelites that they were “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Ex. 19:6).They served a two-fold purpose (v.39): to bring to memory all the commandments of the Lord and do them; and the blue-laced tassles were a memory aid to not follow after their own hearts. There is a play on words with the expression “to follow” because this verb (tur in Heb.) means both “to spy” (an allusion to the disastrous results of the spies giving a bad report in ch.13) and “to follow”. Hence, this is a warning of the danger found in following their own whims rather than being absolutely loyal to the divine commandments or revelation.
But how many times have we said, “I will follow my heart to find God’s will? How many of us have walked through a forbidden relational door because that is what our hearts directed? When we come to our senses, it feels like death to put an end to what should have never happened. Verse 39 tells NOT to follow after our hearts because we are listening to our speculation and not God’s revelation…and He calls that whoring. My marriage and the unity of my family was destroyed due to a spouse who did not heed these words.
In Numbers 1:1 we read, “The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying…” This seemingly insignificant verse (the Lord spoke to Moses) is pregnant with epistemological meaning! Five words which should send us to our knees in worship and wonder. How often do we thank God for having revealed Himself to us in the bible? In a culture drowning in subjectivism and evil, we have a sure word from the Creator Himself!
A fairy tale begins, “A long time ago, in a faraway place…” or, ancient myths are a-historical regarding the bizarre stories of sexually heated gods and The Fates (one never knows which is ultimate). However, the book of Numbers is replete with verses like the one above. The revelation of God to us was done in space and time! Space: in a specialized tent which was located in a real geographical location…the wilderness of Sinai. Time: the precise date is given when Yahweh spoke to Moses, presumably in Hebrew, as He did to Saul on the road to Damascus. The simple but profound point is that God’s revelation to us took place within the space-time continuum. Thus, our epistemology is certain fact, and not some airy fairy flight of fancy, nor imagination dreamed up by a drunken monk, nor some subjective state called vertical memory or higher states of consciousness. No, God has revealed Himself to us in space and time.
God wants us to be holy as he is holy (v.40), and the key is to remember and do all his revelation tells us to do. Christianity is a system of truth; it is more than a system of content and truth, but it is not less. Meditating on the content of truth is biblical meditation, as opposed to content-less eastern meditation, which may open the door to the demonic—as can “ascensions” into higher states of consciousness. In v.40 He is revealed as the God who saved them by grace out of Egypt, which is a type/symbol of the coming greater Exodus through the Person and work of Jesus. The commandments are set firmly in the foundation of God’s gracious dealings with us!
V.37..”The Lord said to Moses…” About 2,000 times in the Old Testament we have that cosmos-shattering epistemological utterance (thus saith the Lord). The first sin of Satan in the Garden was to question the veracity of God’s word…”did god really say…?” But these words regarding the use and meaning of tassels was a direct revelation from the Living God—now THAT is certain knowledge! Whether it is the nature of God, the true identity of spirit beings, our eternal existence in heaven or hell, and grace (as opposed to karma and reincarnation) we have true objective truth. His revelation is certain, true truth OUTSIDE of us…concerning things impossible for a creature to know without divine revelation. The reason we can have confidence in what we believe regarding these vital matters, is that the Creator God has lovingly and truly revealed Himself to us: regarding what He is like, who dwells in the spirit realm, true wisdom, and that history is truly His-story…culminating in His imminent Second Coming.
“Thus saith the Lord” versus “thus feeleth the heart/higher consciousness”—that is the issue facing us and our culture. When the heart takes primacy it is an invitation for disaster due to its deceitfulness. Let us not forget that the Lord views following our whims as whoring. If the Father ever has to choose between our whims and the singular honor and dignity of His beloved Son, He will always choose the honor and dignity of His Son…He has made that abundantly clear.