Have you been betrayed by your 5 Physical Senses?
We have five physical senses: Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. Now have you ever heard of a 6th sense? Some call it ESP, in order to sense the spiritual world. Well, close, it’s actually faith. That’s our spiritual sense. We have 5 physical senses and 1 spiritual sense. (Perhaps you could also argue that there are additional senses as well, such as conscience and intuition. Your conscience can lead you to perceive that the Bible accurately testifies about yourself and about God.)
Have you ever heard of the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Have you ever had a visit from a Jehovah’s Witness? The other day, a friend of mine who is in a Bible study group with me, told me about some Jehovah’s Witnesses that stopped by his house, and handed him some Watchtower literature. My friend handed them to me. I’m not sure what he thought that I’d do with it, but he handed it to me nonetheless. When I took it home, I read some of it, and it took me back to my college days, when, once upon a time, some Jehovah’s Witnesses also stopped by my door. I remembered days gone by when I had some friendly discussions with them, about the Bible, and one thing that really struck me was my recollection about a complaint that I had with God. I said, “God, this is all Your fault. You could have had the Bible written in such a way where it wouldn’t have led to the mess that we have today, with all of these denominations and religions and cults. It’s one thing to have written Your word in such a way that people would be stimulated to seek You and study You, but it’s an entirely different matter when people are perishing and going to Hell because Your word has got them all messed up.” Having this recollection of younger days, and now with some time to reconsider, I have a new opinion. It isn’t God’s fault. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believed (and still do) that Jesus has invisibly returned to the earth, and they originally taught that this occurred in 1874, and they taught that Armageddon would be one generation later (40 years) in 1914, and so when that didn’t happen, they simply switched the dates, and made 1914 the date of the Lord’s, alleged, invisible return to earth in order to set up His, alleged, invisible kingdom, and then 1954 (another 40 years) would be Armageddon. How did they arrive at these nifty dates? Pyramid calculations, of course. The original Watchtower president, Charles Taze Russell, arrived at these dates by his careful measurements of a pyramid in Egypt! Pretty sad, and yet people committed their lives to these lies. Later, this same organization taught that Armageddon would occur in 1975. Did you know that the Jehovah’s Witnesses of the Watchtower Society still insist that 1914 is the year in which Jesus invisibly returned to the earth, to rule and to reign in, guess where?, none other than the Watchtower headquarters in New York, of course. And it’s all based upon pyramid calculations, and a stubborn refusal of the Watchtower leaders to admit their error. So when you take these facts into consideration, is it really God’s fault that when they read the Bible and come away with the belief that Jesus is just a man, who died on a pole, rather than a cross, and that His body dissolved into gases and is gone forever, rather than having a bodily resurrection? Is it really God’s fault that they believe that God recreated a whole new Jesus, who is the archangel Michael? Can the blame of these silly doctrines really be laid at the door of the Lord? No. There’s nothing wrong with God’s word, but there is something wrong with these people. So what is it? What’s wrong with these people? The answer is the same exact problem that people have been having for millenniums. For millenniums, people have been seeking God, looking for affirmation, all with their 5 physical senses, rather than their 1 spiritual sense of faith. Consider the ancient Jews, and then we’ll work our way up to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as a whole host of other cults and false religions.
The Jews had the Law. If they obeyed the Law, using their 5 physical senses, they were right with God. But that wasn’t the example of their father, father Abraham who, by his faith, was “the friend of God.” (James 2:23) In Jesus’ days on earth, He witnessed so many people going astray, and it was centered around, of all things, religion. Despite all of Jesus’ miracles, which included opening blind eyes, cleansing leprosy, healing the lame and paralyzed, casting out demons, and a whole host of other miracles, they were still not believing in Him. Some claimed to believe in Him, but were afraid to confess Him publicly, for fear of being excommunicated from the local synagogue. To be excommunicated from the Jewish synagogue meant that you could be cut off from your family and friends, and even being cut off from God Himself! After all, God was in His holy temple, and to be cut off from the temple meant that you were cut off from God. The temple gave you affirmation of right-standing with God. With your eyes you could see the approval of the High Priest. With your hears, you could hear him tell you that you are right with God. With your nose, you could smell the burnt offerings. With your mouth, you could taste the ceremonial food. With your hands, you could touch the temple walls itself, and it all adds up to affirmation that you are in right standing with God. The people didn’t want to be cut off from this. Yes, they had Jesus, but was He equal to their Laws? Was He equal to their religious leaders and the temple itself? Well, yes, and more. But this is what they faced. Their 5 physical senses betrayed them. When Jesus rose again, it was the disciple, Thomas, who didn’t believe Him, and openly said that he wouldn’t believe that He had risen from the dead unless he had affirmation from his 5 physical senses, and when Jesus appeared to him, only then when he had physical confirmation, did he believe it was really Him. And Jesus answered, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” (John 20:29)
In the world since the time of Christ on earth, there have been numerous religions and denominations. The Catholic Church, for instance, will give you affirmation that you are right with God. With your eyes, you will see the approval of your Priest. With your ears, you will hear him tell you that you are right with God, provided that you do what they tell you. With your nose, you can smell the candles burning. With your mouth, you can taste the Eucharist. With your hands, you can stroke the rosary beads. And yet with all of these things, your 5 physical senses betray you. It is hard to believe in an invisible God, in whom we cannot see, hear, smell, taste or touch. Our 5 physical senses make us want to change the invisible God into someone visible. We trust in an earthly organization of men to tell us that we are right with God. But if you really want to be right with God, you’ll need to be like Abraham and use your 1 spiritual sense, and just trust in Him, and then and only then, will you be a friend of God.