I. There are obvious limitations to an exclusive literal reading..
A. "You must be born again." (joh 3:3)
B. "Let the dead bury their dead." (luk 9:60)
C. "Circumcise the foreskin of your heart." (Deu 10:16)
D. "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." (luk 3:16)
II. Therefore, portions of the Bible must be understood symbolically as the Bible says:
II.A. "Real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal" (rom 2:29)
B. "we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught us by the Spirit.." (1co 2:13-14 niv)
C. (Paul's Letters "..contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort.. to their own destruction." (2pe 3:16 niv)
D. Both Christ (mat 17:13) and the Apostles (luk 3:2-6) and (act 2:14-16) interpret the Old Testament spiritually to explain prophecy..
E. "All the texts of the holy Testament have intrinsic spiritual meanings. They are not to be taken literally." (pup 460)
III. The over 23,000 sects of Christianity (World Christian Encyclopedia) arise from the difficulty of interpreting the Bible, of which we are warned in the Old and New Testaments:
A. "..words closed up and sealed till time of the end.." (dan 12:9)
B. All men and angels unable to "loose the seals" and open scriptures until the "Lamb of God" appears (rev 5:1-5) (Baha'u'llah has opened the scriptures as prophesied.)
C. "Judge nothing.. until the Lord come" (1co 4:45)
IV. Why God makes scripture so difficult to interpret:
A. "For the Word of God is.. sharper than any two-edged sword.. discerning the.. intents of the heart." (heb 4:12)
B. "Know verily that the purpose underlying all these symbolic terms and abstruse allusions, which emanate from the Revealers of God's holy cause, hath been to test and prove the peoples of the world; that thereby the earth of pure and illuminated hearts may be known from the perishable and barren soil. From time immemorial such hath been the way of God amidst His creatures, and to this testify the records of the sacred books." (kiq 49) (A test for purity and detachment)
V. The key to understanding interpretation of any scripture, including the Bible, is the "Twofold Language" as elucidated in the Kitab-i-Iqan.
A. "It is evident unto thee that the Birds of Heaven and Doves of Eternity speak a two-fold language. One language, the outward language, is devoid of allusions, is unconcealed and unveiled, that it may be a guiding lamp and a beaconing light whereby wayfarers may attain the heights of holiness, and seekers may advance into the realm of eternal reunion. Such are the unveiled traditions and evident verses already mentioned. The other language is veiled and concealed, so that whatever lieth hidden in the heart of the malevolent (seeking to disprove?) may be made manifest and their innermost being be disclosed." (kiq 254-255)
B. "Wert thou to cleanse the mirror of the heart from the dust of malice, thou wouldst apprehend the meaning of the symbolic terms revealed by the all embracing Word of God made manifest in every Dispensation, and wouldst discover the mysteries of divine knowledge." (kiq 74)
C. "Also, most of the miracles of the Prophets which are mentioned have an inner significance. Our purpose is not to deny such miracles, our only meaning is that they do not constitute decisive proofs and that they have an inner significance." (saq 37-38)
VI. Summation: In the "last days" and at "the end times" the seals.. were to be unloosed and the words unsealed; and now Baha'u'llah has unlocked the Scriptures of all Faiths..
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