Lord, Open My Understanding

The Lord said that new wine should not be put in old wineskins or the old wineskins would burst and the wine would be lost (Matthew 9:17). The old wineskins were not flexible and could not hold the workings of the new wine.

We are in a time of change and we must be flexible. God is doing things and saying things that we don’t know about. If we aren’t flexible, we won’t be able to move into this new realm of God’s movings. This is not an unusual happening. There will always be times of change. Isaiah prophesied saying, Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end (Isaiah 9:7) There is a constant increase of His Kingdom. Our salvation is always expanding.

Jesus spoke of this truth to His disciples in the sixteenth chapter of John. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you. John 16:12-15. As we grow the Lord will reveal more to us, and it will be, of course, things that we don’t already know about. So we have to be flexible if we are going to move in what the Lord speaks. That is a major problem among many Christians today because they tend to get locked-in to a certain level and not go beyond that. That is a very dangerous thing; it is the beginning of deception and spiritual deadness. That is what happened to Laodicea. They thought they were rich and had need of nothing. But the Lord told them they were poor, miserable, naked, and blind (Revelation 3:14-18). They weren’t aware of how deceived and spiritually dead they had become.

We must be flexible! The Lord was speaking to my heart that the change would be so great that many of those who are walking with Him now will not be able to make the transition into the next level. He is revealing a new realm of Himself, but many of His people won’t be able to receive Him in that way. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. John 1:11. He is coming forth on a higher spirit realm and many Christians will not be able to receive Him.

John the Baptist had that problem. He was the preparation ministry for Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:3). When he saw Jesus approaching the Jordan he said, Behold the Lamb of God! (John 1:36). He knew Jesus was the Messiah. But when Jesus began His ministry, it was so different from what John was expecting that He sent two of his disciples to ask, Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for another? (Matthew 11:3). The way Jesus ministered was so different from what John expected that suddenly he was unsure. The Lord is telling us that what is coming is very different from what we know. Will we be able to receive it? Will we be able to walk in it?

We’re facing a realm of Spirit we haven’t known before. When we come to a new realm we have to learn how to walk with God in that new realm. We have to learn how to be led by the Spirit into uncharted territory of the Kingdom of God. What we have been in is no longer the will of God for us. Now let’s look at a few Scriptures that should help us move into more of God.

II Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Temporal things are the things of this world in the realm of time. They are temporary. They have an end. The things that are not seen are the things of God. So we must become aware of that which is unseen. That means our spirit has to come alive to the Lord.

The things that are seen are temporary. The things that are not seen are eternal. God is eternal! And everything He does has the quality of being eternal. Everything He says is eternal. What is Paul really saying here about the Lord? What you see with your natural mind is temporary. That will pass away. God is in the realm of the not-seen. So what you receive from the Scriptures that is not seen with the natural mind is what God is revealing.

II Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

The majority of all Christians only view the Scriptures according to their natural understanding. They want everything to take place in the natural realm. Was Jonah really swallowed by a whale? Was the world created in six literal days? Did the serpent in the Garden of Eden really speak? Was it really a serpent? They want everything to be factual in the natural realm. But God isn’t interested in everything lining up with our natural understanding. My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9. He doesn’t think like we do; He doesn’t have a carnal mind like ours. God is Spirit! (John 4:24). And if we are going to learn how to think like He does, then we have to come alive to the Spirit realm. We will have to see things in the Scriptures that the natural man cannot see.

I heard someone say, “The Scriptures are quite simple. They are not hard to understand. When it says, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ then you just don’t kill. That’s all there is to it. How hard can that be?” He was looking at it in the natural and applying it to the natural realm. If that was all that was meant, Jesus wouldn’t have to say, Who hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 13:9). By saying that Jesus is telling us that something is being communicated that the natural man can’t understand. If any man hath ears to hear, let him hear. Not natural ears, but if you have the capacity to hear what God is saying in the Scriptures, then hear.

If you had walked with the Lord for three and a half years like His disciples had, do you feel that you would have a good grasp of the Word? After all, that would be better than any Bible college or seminary you could go to today.

Luke 24:44 And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me.

Everything concerning Christ in the Old Testament has to be fulfilled. He didn’t say it was; He said it has to be. In a sense, He is saying, “The Old Testament is talking about Me. Can you find Me in there?” What do Christians normally do? They look at the Old Testament and learn about the nation of Israel. The religious world majors on Israel, “Israel is God’s chosen people.” They wrap all the prophecies around Israel. Even our government gives Israel special consideration. It’s the Judeo-Christian thing. It’s the Holy Land! Well, Abraham didn’t believe it was the Holy Land. He wouldn’t even build a house there. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Hebrews 11:9-10.

Luke 24:45 Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.

After following Jesus for three and a half years, He still had to open their understanding! That tells us something. If you can read the Scriptures and understand them with the natural reasoning of your mind, then Jesus doesn’t need to open your understanding. If you can do it on your own, you don’t need Him to do it. But, obviously, we do need Him to open our understanding. Why? Because the natural mind does not have the capacity to understand the things of God.

I Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.

Your natural eye hasn’t seen the things of God. Your natural ear hasn’t heard them. Many times I’ve heard that verse quoted and explained as, “Oh, it’s impossible to ever understand the things of God.” But look at the next verse.

I Corinthians 2:10-11 But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

The things of God cannot be understood by man. Man cannot know them. They have to be revealed by the Spirit. The Lord needs to open your understanding before you can understand the Scriptures.

I Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

You can’t know the things God has for you without receiving the Holy Spirit. You could say, “Oh, but I’m a Christian!” That doesn’t mean you have received the Holy Spirit. You could also say, “Well, I received the Holy Spirit and I speak in tongues.” That doesn’t necessarily mean that you can understand the things of God, either. Most of the people who have received the Spirit and speak in tongues can’t do anymore than that. They still don’t know how to be led and taught by the Spirit. The next step after receiving the Holy Spirit is learning how to hear His voice. You don’t automatically know how to follow the leading of the Spirit after receiving Him. And He will help you to learn if you’re willing. Most people are satisfied to just speak in tongues. That is all they want.

I Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

The Holy Spirit is the Teacher. He is the Spirit of truth that will guide you into all truth. When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. John 16:13.

I Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him…

That is so plain! The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God!

I Corinthians 2:14 … neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The Scriptures have to be discerned spiritually. That is simply stated. How hard can that be? Well, it’s hard enough that the Lord has to open your understanding. You have to receive the Holy Spirit and learn how to discern the things of God. That is the only way it happens.

I Corinthians 2:15-16 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

“Oh, I’m a Christian. I must have the mind of Christ.” No! The only ones that have the mind of Christ are those who have the mind of Christ. And being a Christian doesn’t mean that you have. You have to learn the mind of Christ.

We need this! We need to understand! How many of us have cried out to the Lord, “Lord, open my understanding that I may understand the Scriptures, teach me by Your Spirit”?

Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.

Lean not upon your own understanding! This is a common thread all the way through the Bible. What evil is He talking about when He says, “Depart from evil”? It’s the evil of leaning upon your own understanding.

Now, everything we’ve discussed so far is laying a foundation for what is next.

Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

Did God bring the nation of Israel out of Egypt? Yes, He did. And He says, When Israel was a child, then I loved him. The nation of Israel was in the child stage. As a nation, they were very young.

At the time when Jesus was born the wise men from the East came to Jerusalem and asked, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? (Matthew 2:2). Then they went to Bethlehem and found Him. Herod determined to kill the Christ child. So being warned by God in a dream Joseph took the child to Egypt.

Matthew 2:14-15 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called My son.

This is speaking of Jesus here, isn’t it? But the Scripture from Hosea that refers to the nation of Israel is quoted here. Now the Holy Spirit is saying, “It is not Israel I’m talking about. It is Jesus Christ! He is the Son called out of Egypt.” That teaches us that when the Old Testament refers to Israel it may be a prophecy that has its fulfillment in Christ. In fact, there are prophecies about Israel in the Old Testament that will only be fulfilled through the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the true Israel!

We often use the term “spiritual Israel.” What are we talking about? We are talking about the Church, the Body of Christ. Prophecies that are fulfilled in Jesus Christ have a fulfillment in the Body of Christ, too. Jesus Christ is the first spiritual Israel. But if we are in Christ then we are heirs of the promises, too (Galatians 3:29).

Many times in the Book of Matthew it is said that “this is to fulfill that which was spoken” (Matthew 1:22; 2:15, 23; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35; 21:4; 26:56; 27:35). Now if the Lord opened Matthew’s understanding of the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit enlightened him to what those prophecies meant, can it not happen to us also? Do you think the Holy Spirit would be willing to teach us, too? I believe so! Is it too late for Jesus Christ to open our understanding as He did for the disciples? No! It’s not too late. What He did for them, He will do for us. The key is: Are you willing to receive what He would reveal to you? If any man will do His will, he shall know of the teaching… John 7:17.

Romans 9:6 Not as though the Word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.

Not all Israel are of Israel. So we understand that when Paul speaks about Israel he probably isn’t speaking about the nation of Israel.

Romans 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children…

Being a descendant of Abraham didn’t make a person a member of the Israel that Paul is speaking of. Do you remember when John the Baptist was baptizing at the river Jordan? When some of the scribes and Pharisees came down John said, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. Matthew 3:7-9.

Water baptism was a Jewish rite for Gentiles that wanted to become members of Israel and the Jewish religion. So when John the Baptist said that the Jews had to repent and be water baptized to be accepted by God, he was telling them that their national heritage meant nothing. John the Baptist was tearing down the concept “I’m an Israelite. I’m one of God’s chosen people because I am a Jew!” Oh, no! That doesn’t make you a part of the Israel that God is interested in. It is not your natural lineage that counts. And that is what Paul is talking about.

Romans 9:7 …but, in Isaac shall Thy seed be called.

Why is it through Isaac? Because Isaac was a promised son. Sarah couldn’t have children. She was barren, but God promised Abraham a son and fulfilled that promise. Isaac was the seed of promise.

Romans 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God...

That is about as plain as it can be said. The children of the flesh are not the children of God. That which is produced by human energies is not produced by God.

Romans 9:8 …but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

It is very interesting that he says, The children of the promise are counted for the seed. What does the seed do? It produces. God can produce that which is godly through the children of promise because they are counted for the seed.

I John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

I know that this Scripture has bothered you. It has bothered me in the past. Just think, all those born-again Christians out there having to repent of sin. Is John getting legalistic on us here? Is he one of those people that say, “I’m sanctified, born of God, and I can’t sin”? Whoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Now if you read that with your natural understanding, then you will have to ask, “Can anybody really be born of God?” We will understand what John is saying here after we study Galatians chapter four.

Galatians 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.

Here is what we really want. We want Christ formed in us, not something similar that looks a little like Christ. We want Him born within us. That is the seed John was talking about.

Galatians 4:20-21 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

Now Paul will begin talking about two covenants. God made a covenant with Israel at Sinai. Israel broke that covenant. So God spoke through Jeremiah saying that He would make a new covenant. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. Jeremiah 31:31-33.

Galatians 4:21-22 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.

Abraham had two sons. Who was the bondmaid? Hagar! Hagar is a type of the bondwoman. Sarah is a type of the freewoman. What Hagar produced was produced by human energy. What was produced through Sarah took place because of a promise. She could not bear a son by natural means.

Galatians 4:23-24 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

Agar is Hagar. The child Hagar bore was Ishmael. She is the bondwoman, and her son is in bondage. Paul says that this is an allegory. Hagar is a type of Mount Sinai. The covenant that God made with them there was a covenant of bondage. As long as you are under rules and regulations you are in bondage, even if it’s the Ten Commandments. That is the first covenant. It is a covenant of bondage! I didn’t make that up; I read it here.

Galatians 4:24-25 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

Paul is speaking of the first covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai. Jerusalem is the religious center of the nation of Israel. So Paul is actually saying that Hagar, the covenant at Sinai, and Jerusalem is all one and the same thing. And the children born under that covenant are born after the flesh. Jerusalem is built on rules and regulations, a religion.

Galatians 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

There are two Jerusalems just as there are two Israels. There is natural Israel and spiritual Israel, and natural Jerusalem and spiritual Jerusalem. Natural Israel was primarily a religious people and represents religious man. The same is true of natural Jerusalem. Spiritual Israel and spiritual Jerusalem represents those who are born of God.

Galatians 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.

Who is he talking about? Well, he’s talking about Sarah. She was barren and could not have children (Genesis 16:1). It took a promise from God and a miracle (Genesis 21:1-3). The same was true for Rebekah (Genesis 25:21). What about Hannah? Peninnah had no trouble giving birth at all, but Hannah was barren until the Lord heard her prayer and opened her womb (I Samuel 1:1-20). Over and over it was true for those of the godly seed. And the true Church has been barren, but religious Israel has been bearing many children. Religious Christianity is growing by leaps and bounds, but the remnant that is of Christ is like a barren woman. Then the Word of the Lord comes for her to rejoice for God will open her womb and she shall bring forth her children.

Galatians 4:28-29 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

As Ishmael persecuted Isaac (Genesis 21:9), so religious Jerusalem persecuted the Early Church and religious Christianity in this day persecutes the children of promise. Now listen to what the Scripture says.

Galatians 4:30-31 Nevertheless what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bondwoman (cast out the religiosity) and her son (and all that she has produced): for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

The promise comes through the barren. Why is it necessary to have all these examples in the Scriptures of the women that God had chosen to be barren, that could not produce any children? God is telling us that we will not be able to produce what He wants with our humanistic reasonings, with our own energies. You can’t fulfill the will of God with your own abilities of the flesh nature. God has to do it! The barrenness is important. It is through the barren woman that God brings forth the children of promise. They are not born after the flesh; they are born of God!

Now, how did I John 3:9 read? Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. He that is born of God cannot produce the will of God with his own energy and carnal mind. In other words, John is saying that to produce a reasonable copy of God’s will by your own human flesh nature is a sin. To produce the things of the bondwoman is a sin. The bondwoman is the religious church that looks like the real thing, but it isn’t! And God is telling His people to get out of her. Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Revelation 18:4-5. John 1:13 refers to those who are born of the flesh and those who are born of God. The bond-woman brings forth after the flesh. Religion is born of man’s wisdom.

The barren woman cannot produce in the natural way. It takes a miracle from God. Those that are born of God are born like Isaac, by a promise, by a Word from God. They do not come forth by human wisdom. Those that are born of God have His seed in them. So when it says that they cannot sin, it isn’t saying that they can’t make a mistake or do something wrong. It means they are not going to produce in the realm of flesh according to human energy and wisdom. They can’t! Because they are born of God. They are barren as far as their own fleshly efforts are concerned. And what is born of them is born by a Word from God. It is when the Lord opens your understanding to His Word that you are being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever (I Peter 1:23).

Copyright © 2000 by Henry DuBose