In the beginning God created the baryonic universe.

Three Degrees of Religious Knowledge.

IN OUR KNOWLEDGE OF DIVINE THINGS three degrees may be distinguished: the knowledge furnished by reason, by faith and by spiritual experience respectively.

These three degrees of knowledge correspond to the departments of the tabernacle in the ancient Levitical order: the outer court, the holy place and the holy of holies.

Far in, beyond the“second veil,” was the holiest of all, having as its lone piece of furniture the Ark of the Covenant with the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat. There between the outstretched wings dwelt in awesome splendor the fire of God’s presence, the Shekmah. No light of nature reached that sacred place, only the pure radiance of Him who is light and in whom there is no darkness at all. To that solemn Presence no one could approach except the high priest once each year with blood of atonement.

Farther out, and separated by a heavy veil, was the holy place, a sacred place indeed but removed from the Presence and always accessible to the priests of Israel. Here also the light of sun and moon was excluded; light was furnished by the shining of the seven golden candlesticks.

The court of the priests was out farther still, a large enclosure in which were the brazen altar and the lavar. This was open to the sky and received the normal light of nature.

All was of God and all was divine, but the quality of the worshipper’s knowledge became surer and more sublime as he moved in from the outer court toward the mercy seat and the Presence, where at last he was permitted to gaze upon the cherubim of glory and the deep burning Fire that glowed between their outstretched wings.

All this illustrates if it does not typify the three degrees of knowledge possible to a Christian. It is not proper that we should press every detail in an effort to find in the beautiful Old Testament picture more than is actually there; but the most cautious expositor could hardly object to our using the earthly and external to throw into relief the internal and the heavenly.

Nature is a great teacher and at her feet we may learn much that is good and ennobling. The Bible itself teaches this:“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handywork. Day to day utters speech, and night to night shows knowledge.” “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” “Behold the fowls of the air.” “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” Reason working on data furnished by observation of natural objects tells us a lot about God and spiritual things. This is too obvious to require proof. Everyone knows it.

But there is knowledge beyond and above that furnished by observation; it is knowledge received by faith.“In religion faith plays the part by experience in the things of the world.” Divine revelation through the inspired Scriptures offers data which lie altogether outside of and above the power of the mind to discover. The mind can make its deductions after it has received these data by faith, but it cannot find them by itself. No technique is known to man by which he can learn, for instance, that God in the beginning created the heaven and the earth or that there are three Persons in the Godhead; that God is love or that Christ died for sinners, or that He now sits at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. If we ever come to know these things it must be by receiving as true a body of doctrine which we have no way of verifying. This is the knowledge of faith.

There is yet a purer knowledge than this; it is knowledge by direct spiritual experience. About it there is an immediacy that places it beyond doubt. Since it was not acquired by reason operating on intellectual data, the possibility of error is eliminated. Through the indwelling Spirit the human spirit is brought into immediate contact with higher spiritual reality. It looks upon, tastes, feels and sees the powers of the world to come and has a conscious encounter with God invisible.

Let it be understood that such knowledge is experienced rather than acquired. It does not consist of findings about something; it is the thing itself. It is not a compound of religious truths. It is an element which cannot be separated into parts. One who enjoys this kind of knowledge is able to understand the exhortation in the Book of Job:“Acquaint now yourself with him, and be at peace.” To such a man God is not a conclusion drawn from evidence nor is He the sum of what the Bible teaches about Him. He knows God in the last irreducible meaning of the word know. It may almost be said that God happened to him.

Maybe Christ said all this more simply in John 14:21:“I . . . will manifest myself to him.” For what have we been laboring here but the sublimely simple New Testament teaching that the Triune God wills to dwell in the redeemed man’s heart, constantly making His presence known? What on earth or in heaven above can be a greater beatitude?

From "The Dwelling Place" by Dr. A. W. Tozer. Lightly updated to the language of the 21st century by D. N. Pham. (c) 2012.

CreationWord.org
Reach for the Calling Creator

The Dwelling Place - A.W. Tozer

The Essense of Being

The Call of Christ

What We Think of Ourselves Is Important

The Once-born and the Twice-born

On the Origin and Nature of Things

Why People Find the Bible Difficult

Faith: The Misunderstood Doctrine

True Religion IS Not Feeling but Willing

How to Make Spiritual Progress

The Old Cross and the New

There Is No Wisdom in Sin

Three Degrees of Religious Knowledge

The Sanctification of the Secular

God Must Be Loved for Himself

True Faith Is Active, Not Passive

On Taking Too Much for Granted

The Cure for a Fretful Spirit

Boasting or Belittling

The Communion of Saints

Temperament in the Christian Life

Does God Always Answer Prayer?

ON THE BOOK SHELF

Knowledge of the Holy - A.W. Tozer

The Pursuit of God - A.W. Tozer

The Dwelling Place - A.W. Tozer

Plumber of Lisburn - A.W. Tozer

Spiritual Power Vows - A.W. Tozer

Root of the Righteous - A.W. Tozer

Essays - A.W. Tozer

Fourfold Gospel - A.B. Simpson

Gospel of Healing - A.B. Simpson

Life of A.B. Simpson - C&MA

Mark Gospel 1/4 - A MacLaren

Mark Gospel 2/4 - A MacLaren

Mark Gospel 3/4 - A MacLaren

Mark Gospel 4/4 - A MacLaren

Gospel of St. John - F.D. Maurice

To the Romans - R.V. Foster

To the Romans, vol I - C. Gore

To the Corinthians - J.S. Riggs

To the Philippians - R. Rainy

To the Galatians - Luther

To the Hebrews - H.C.G. Moule

To the Hebrews - T.C. Edwards

Wisdom of James - A.T. Robertson

Epistles of John 1/2 - W. Alexander

Epistles of John 2/2 - W. Alexander

Kingdom of Heaven - E. Burbidge

Deuteronomy - C.H. Mackintosh

Religion and Theology - J. Tulloch

The Being of God - St Anselm

The Existence of God - St Anselm

God Became Man - St Anselm

The Other Wise Man - H. Van Dyke

First Christmas Tree - H. Van Dyke

A Christmas Carol - C Dickens

Thoughts on the Universe

Computer Notes

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