Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil!!!

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20

A quick and casual read of this verse may leave one wondering how can someone who is well acquainted with the truth be so foolish in failing to distinguish between good and evil. Even a child can differentiate between good and evil.
True, but this is only limited to differentiating between human goodness and human evil or wickedness but when it comes to differentiating between spiritual goodness and spiritual wickedness, well then; that’s a completely different story altogether.

The danger of this handicap is that a Spiritual person my be perceived as evil and on the other hand a person altogether destitute of the Spirit of God may be perceived as highly honored.

The Bible says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

Consider this; Jesus was “Christ, the Son of the living God.”
He was gentle, kind, patient,helpful, always considerate to other’s needs.
“At all times and in all places He manifested a loving interest in men, and shed about Him the light of a cheerful piety.”
“He often denied Himself of food in order to relieve those who appeared more needy than He.”
“To those who were in need He would give a cup of cold water and would quietly place His own meal in their hands.” In every gentle and submissive way, Jesus tried to please those with whom He came in contact.” DA 85.1

This is just a glimpse of His goodness. But we know that His holy character is the very reflection of the character of His heavenly Father.

But, what about His very own siblings? What was their perception of Him? What was their attitude towards Him before He began His public ministry?

“His strict obedience to the law of God they condemned as stubbornness.” DA 86.2

“They were surprised at the knowledge and wisdom He showed in answering the rabbis. They knew that He had not received instruction from the wise men, yet they could not but see that He was an instructor to them. They recognized that His education was of a higher type than their own. But they did not discern that He had access to the tree of life, a source of knowledge of which they were ignorant.” DA 86.2

“His brothers felt that His influence went far to counteract theirs. He possessed a tact which none of them had, or desired to have.” DA 87.1

“All this displeased His brothers….they felt that He should be under their dictation.”

“They charged Him with thinking Himself superior to them.”
DA 87.2

“Jesus loved His brothers, and treated them with unfailing kindness; but they were jealous of Him, and manifested the most decided unbelief and contempt.”

“They could not understand His conduct.”

“Great contradictions presented themselves in Jesus.” DA 87.3

“:He was the divine Son of God, and yet a helpless child.” DA 87.3

“The Creator of the worlds, the earth was His possession, and yet poverty marked His life experience at every step.” DA 87.3

“He did not strive for worldly greatness, and in even the lowliest position He was content. This angered His brothers. They could not account for His constant serenity under trial and deprivation.” DA 87.3

“Jesus was misunderstood by His brothers because He was not like them. His standard was not their standard.”

“In looking to men they had turned away from God, and they had not His power in their lives.”

“The forms of religion which they observed could not transform the character.” DA 88.1

“Jesus did not contend for His rights. Often His work was made unnecessarily severe because He was willing and uncomplaining. Yet He did not fail nor become discouraged.” DA 89.4

“He did not retaliate when roughly used, but bore insult patiently.”DA 89.4

The brothers of Jesus took sides with the rabbis. The words of these teachers, they said, should be heeded as the word of God. They reproved Jesus for setting Himself above the leaders of the people. SJ 38.1

“The example of Jesus was to them a continual irritation.” DA 88.1

Think about it, his very brothers couldn’t understand and comprehend His spirituality.

But what about the leaders, Pharisees and scribes? How did they perceive Him?

“Often He was reproved for not obeying what others did. Then He showed from the Bible what was the right way.” SJ 37.2

“They complained of Him to His parents. Joseph and Mary thought the rabbis good men, and Jesus suffered blame, which was hard to bear.” SJ 37.5

They accused Him of breaking the Sabbath.
They accused Him of forgiving sins, which they said only God had the power to do.
They accused Him of blasphemy when He referred to God as His Father; making Himself the Son of God.

But what I believe to be the height of misapprehension?
Look at the following verse:

“And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.” Matthew 3:22

How could they have been so blinded to arrive at this preposterous conclusion.
In reality the opposite was true.
Their accusation was an exposition of their own spiritual condition whichJesus so plainly revealed in the following words –

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44

Truly it is written, “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:5

Lastly let us look at one final example where Godly attributes are perceived as inferior and their possessors as greatly lacking and in need of spiritual advise and help.

How did Judas perceive his fellow disciples? What was his perception of Christ?

“Judas was highly regarded by the disciples, and had great influence over them.”
“He himself had a high opinion of his own qualifications, and looked upon his brethren as greatly inferior to him in judgment and ability.”

“They did not see their opportunities, he thought, and take advantage of circumstances.”

“The church would never prosper with such shortsighted men as leaders.”

“Peter was impetuous; he would move without consideration.”

“John, who was treasuring up the truths that fell from Christ’s lips, was looked upon by Judas as a poor financier.”

“Matthew, whose training had taught him accuracy in all things, was very particular in regard to honesty, and he was ever contemplating the words of Christ, and became so absorbed in them that, as
Judas thought, he could not be trusted to do sharp, far-seeing business.”

“Thus Judas summed up all the disciples, and flattered himself that the church would often be brought into perplexity and embarrassment if it were not for his ability as a manager.”

“Judas regarded himself as the capable one, who could not be overreached.”

“In his own estimation he was an honor to the cause, and as such he always represented himself.” DA 717.1

“Judas saw the sick, the lame, the blind, flock to Jesus from the towns and cities. He saw the dying laid at His feet. He witnessed the Saviour’s mighty works in healing the sick, casting out devils, and raising the dead.”

“He felt in his own person the evidence of Christ’s power. He recognized the teaching of Christ as superior to all that he had ever heard. He loved the Great Teacher, and desired to be with Him. He felt a desire to be changed in character and life, and he hoped to experience this through connecting himself with Jesus.” DA 716.4

But Judas had such a high opinion of himself that he thought himself even superior to Christ and sought to manage His ministry.

“He had marked out a line upon which he expected Christ to work. He had planned that John the Baptist should be delivered from prison.” DA 718.1

“Judas wanted more aggressive warfare. He thought that if Jesus would not prevent the disciples from carrying out their schemes, the work would be more successful.” DA 718.1

“Judas was first to take advantage of the enthusiasm excited by the miracle of the loaves. It was he who set on foot the project to take Christ by force and make Him king. His hopes were high. His disappointment was bitter.” DA 718.2

“If Judas were only received as a counselor, he thought, he could suggest many plans for the advantage of the little church.” DA 719.3ķ

“His principles and methods would differ somewhat from Christ’s, but in these things he thought himself wiser than Christ.” DA 719.3

Can you believe it? Judas literally thought that in the area of planning church growth, he was wiser than Christ? How deluded can one be to think that worldly wisdom is superior to spiritual wisdom.

And there are many more examples in the Bible. Look at Job: his wife and his friends perceived him as being self-righteous and stubborn in his beliefs.
And how about Pharoah, when he was delivered a message from Jehovah to let His people go, “thoroughly roused, he suspected the Israelites of a design to revolt from his service. Disaffection”, he perceived “was the result of idleness; he would see that no time was left them for dangerous scheming” PP 258

But why this misapprehension?

Trying to understand the spiritual in the context of human reason and tradition.Viewing spiritual matters from a human standpoint. Attempting to analyse a spiritual person from a worldly standpoint, through psychology and sciences of the mind. Human Reason trying to make sense of spiritual realities via intellect and human understanding or otherwise these remain incomprehensible to a carnal mind.
And quite obviously the result of this approach is seen in erroneous conclusions.

Uprightness of heart and steadfast integrity is mistaken for self-righteouness

Patience and Waiting on the Lord is mistaken for idleness and procrastination.

Loyalty and strict adherence to God’s laws and principles is mistaken for stubbornness.

Having more understanding and light on spiritual matters is misunderstood as one considering himself superior.

Submission is mistaken for weakness.

Quietness is mistaken for inability and lack of confidence.

Dignity is mistaken for pride.

Silence is mistaken for ineffeciency.

Simplicity, humility and goodness is mistaken for naivety, ignorance and spiritual poverty.

Agape love is perceived as a threat.

Glory is perceived as shame.

Good is perceived as evil and evil is perceived as good.

A man of God is perceived as the devil in disguise.

How did this happen? This is certainly not by chance.

It is our own” Pride, self-love, selfishness, hatred, envy, and jealousy have beclouded the perceptive powers.”—Testimonies for the Church 2:605 (1871). 1MCP 335.1 – 1MCP 335.2

“Satan will work with all his deceptive power to influence the heart and becloud the understanding, to make evil appear good, and good evil. ” AA 431.1

“Worldly policy and the undeviating principles of righteousness do not blend into each other imperceptibly, like the colors of the rainbow. Between the two a broad, clear line is drawn by the eternal God.
The likeness of Christ stands out as distinct from that of Satan as midday in contrast with midnight. And only those who live the life of Christ are His co-workers.”

“It is sin that darkens our minds and dims our perceptions.”

“If one sin is cherished in the soul, or one wrong practice retained in the life, the whole being is contaminated. The man becomes an instrument of unrighteousness.” DA 313.1

“As sin is purged from our hearts, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, illuminating His Word and reflected from the face of nature, more and more fully will declare Him “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6).
In His light shall we see light, until mind and heart and soul are transformed into the image of His holiness.—The Ministry of Healing, 464, 465 (1905). 1MCP 334.4 – 1MCP 335.1

“Fearful is the power of self-deception on the human mind! What blindness! setting light for darkness and darkness for light!” 4T 88.1 – 4T 88.2

So dear brethren, I urge you as a brother in Christ to “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Cor 13:5

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