The Essential Knowledge: A False and a True Knowledge of GOD

Speculative Theories

“Those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever;” but “the secret things belong unto the Lord our God.” Deuteronomy 29:29. The revelation of Himself that God has given in His word is for our study. This we may seek to understand. But beyond this we are not to penetrate. The highest intellect may tax itself until it is wearied out in conjectures regarding the nature of God; but the effort will be fruitless. This problem has not been given us to solve. No human mind can comprehend God. Let not finite man attempt to interpret Him. Let none indulge in speculation regarding His nature. Here silence is eloquence. The Omniscient One is above discussion.

Even the angels were not permitted to share the counsels between the Father and the Son when the plan of salvation was laid. Those human beings who seek to intrude into the secrets of the Most High show their ignorance of spiritual and eternal things. Far better might they, while mercy’s voice is still heard, humble themselves in the dust and plead with God to teach them His ways.

We are as ignorant of God as little children, but as little children we may love and obey Him. Instead of speculating in regard to His nature or His prerogatives, let us give heed to the word He has spoken: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10.

“Canst thou by searching find out God?
Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do?
Deeper than hell; what canst thou know?
The measure thereof is longer than the earth,
And broader than the sea.”

— Job 11:7-9.

“Where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Man knoweth not the price thereof;
Neither is it found in the land of the living.
The depth saith, It is not in me:
And the sea saith, It is not with me.
It cannot be gotten for gold,
Neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir,
With the precious onyx or the sapphire.
The gold and the crystal cannot equal it,
And the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls:
For the price of wisdom is above rubies.
The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it,
Neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
Whence then cometh wisdom?
And where is the place of understanding? …
Destruction and death say,
We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.
God understandeth the way thereof,
And He knoweth the place thereof.

“For He looketh to the ends of the earth,
And seeth under the whole heaven….
When He made a decree for the rain,
And a way for the lightning of the thunder:
Then did He see it, and declare it;
He prepared it, yea, and searched it out. And unto man He said,
Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
And to depart from evil is understanding.”

— Job 28:12-28.

Neither by searching the recesses of the earth nor in vain endeavors to penetrate the mysteries of God’s being is wisdom found. It is found, rather, in humbly receiving the revelation that He has been pleased to give, and in conforming the life to His will.

The Greatness of Our God

From the representations given by the Holy Spirit to His prophets, let us learn the greatness of our God. The prophet Isaiah writes:

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and His train filled the temple. Above Him stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts.

“Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he touched my mouth with it, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin expiated.” Isaiah 6:1-7, A. R. V., margin.

“There is none like unto Thee, O Jehovah;
Thou art great,
And Thy name is great in might.
Who should not fear Thee, O King of the nations?”

— Jeremiah 10:6, 7, A. R. V.

“O Jehovah, Thou hast searched me, and known me.
Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising;
Thou understandest my thought afar off.
Thou searchest out my path and my lying down,
And art acquainted with all my ways.

“For there is not a word in my tongue,
But, lo, O Jehovah, Thou knowest it altogether.
Thou hast beset me behind and before,
And laid Thy hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain unto it.”

— Psalm 139:1-6, A. R. V.

“Great is our Lord, and of great power:
His understanding is infinite.”

— Psalm 147:5.

“He revealeth the deep and secret things: He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him.” Daniel 2:22.

“Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” “Who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counselor? or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever.” Acts 15:18; Romans 11:34-36.

“Unto the King eternal, incorruptible, invisible,” “who only hath immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable; whom no man hath seen, nor can see,”—to Him “be honor and power eternal.” 1 Timothy 1:17, margin; 6:16, A. R. V.

“He stretcheth out the north over the empty place,
And hangeth the earth upon nothing.
He bindeth up the waters in His thick clouds;
And the cloud is not rent under them….
He hath compassed the waters with bounds,
Until the day and night come to an end.”

— Job 26:7-10.

“The pillars of heaven tremble
And are astonished at His rebuke.
He stilleth the sea with His power….
By His Spirit the heavens are beauty;
His hand hath pierced the gliding serpent.
Lo, these are but the outskirts of His ways:
And how small a whisper do we hear of Him!
But the thunder of His power who can understand?”

— Job 26:11-14, A. R. V., margin.

“The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm,
And the clouds are the dust of His feet.”

— Nahum 1:3.

“Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high,
Who humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in
heaven, and in the earth!”

— Psalm 113:5, 6.

“Great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall laud Thy works to another,
And shall declare Thy mighty acts.
Of the glorious majesty of Thine honor,
And of Thy wondrous works, will I meditate.
And men shall speak of the might of Thy terrible acts;
And I will declare Thy greatness.
They shall utter the memory of Thy great goodness,
And shall sing of Thy righteousness….

“All Thy works shall give thanks unto Thee, O Jehovah;
And Thy saints shall bless Thee.
They shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom,
And talk of Thy power;
To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
And the glory of the majesty of His kingdom.
Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations….

“My mouth shall speak the praise of Jehovah;
And let all flesh bless His holy name for ever and ever.”

Psalm 145:3-21, A. R. V.

Warnings Against Presumption

As we learn more and more of what God is, and of what we ourselves are in His sight, we shall fear and tremble before Him.

Let men of today take warning from the fate of those who in ancient times presumed to make free with that which God had declared sacred. When the Israelites ventured to open the ark on its return from the land of the Philistines, their irreverent daring was signally punished. “He smote of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of Jehovah, He smote of the people seventy men, and fifty thousand men; and the people mourned, because Jehovah had smitten the people with a great slaughter. And the men of Beth-shemesh said, Who is able to stand before Jehovah, this holy God?” 1 Samuel 6:19, 20, A. R. V.

Again, consider the judgment that fell upon Uzzah. As in David’s reign, the ark was being carried to Jerusalem, Uzzah put forth his hand to keep it steady. For presuming to touch the symbol of God’s presence, he was smitten with instant death.


At the burning bush, when Moses, not recognizing God’s presence, turned aside to behold the wonderful sight, the command was given:

“Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground…. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” Exodus 3:5, 6.

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a Man over against him with His sword drawn in His hand: and Joshua went unto Him, and said unto Him, Art Thou for us, or for our adversaries? And He said, Nay; but as Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto Him, What saith my Lord unto His servant? And the Captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15.

In the sanctuary and the temple, that were the earthly symbols of God’s dwelling place, one apartment was sacred to His presence. The veil inwrought with cherubim at its entrance was not to be lifted by any hand save one. To lift that veil and intrude unbidden into the sacred mystery of the most holy place was death. For above the mercy seat and the bowed, worshiping angels dwelt the glory of the Holiest, glory upon which no man might look and live. On the one day of the year appointed for ministry in the most holy place, the high priest with trembling entered God’s presence, while clouds of incense veiled the glory from his sight. Throughout the courts of the temple every sound was hushed. No priests ministered at the altars. The hosts of worshipers, bowed in silent awe, sent up their petitions for God’s mercy.

“These things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11, A. R. V.

“The Lord is in His holy temple:
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

— Habakkuk 2:20.

Jehovah reigneth; let the peoples tremble:
He sitteth above the cherubim; let the earth be moved.
Jehovah is great in Zion;
And He is high above all the peoples.
Let them praise Thy great and terrible name:
Holy is He.”

— Psalm 99:1-3, A. R. V.

“The Lord’s throne is in heaven:
His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men.”
“From the height of His sanctuary” “He hath looked down.”

— Psalm 11:4; 102:19.

“From the place of His habitation He looketh forth
Upon all the inhabitants of the earth,
He that fashioneth the hearts of them all,
That considereth all their works.”
“Let all the earth fear Jehovah:
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”

— Psalm 33:14, 15, 8, A. R.V.

Man cannot by searching find out God. Let none seek with presumptuous hand to lift the veil that conceals His glory. “Unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33. It is a proof of His mercy that there is the hiding of His power; for to lift the veil that conceals the divine presence is death. No mortal mind can penetrate the secrecy in which the Mighty One dwells and works. Only that which He sees fit to reveal can we comprehend of Him. Reason must acknowledge an authority superior to itself. Heart and intellect must bow to the great I AM.

Christ’s Revelation of God

All that man needs to know or can know of God has been revealed in the life and character of His Son.

“No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” John 1:18.

Taking humanity upon Him, Christ came to be one with humanity and at the same time to reveal our heavenly Father to sinful human beings. He was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh, even as we are. He was hungry and thirsty and weary. He was sustained by food and refreshed by sleep. He shared the lot of men, and yet He was the blameless Son of God. He was a stranger and sojourner on the earth—in the world, but not of the world; tempted and tried as men and women today are tempted and tried, yet living a life free from sin.

Tender, compassionate, sympathetic, ever considerate of others, He represented the character of God, and was constantly engaged in service for God and man.

“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, …full of grace and truth.” Verse 14.

“Unto the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world,” He said, “I manifested Thy name,” “that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them.” John 17:6, A. R. V., 26.

“Love your enemies,” He bade them; “bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven;” “for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” “He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Matthew 5:44, 45; Luke 6:35, 36.

The Glory of the Cross

The revelation of God’s love to men centers in the cross. Its full significance tongue cannot utter; pen cannot portray; the mind of man cannot comprehend. Looking upon the cross of Calvary we can only say: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

Christ crucified for our sins, Christ risen from the dead, Christ ascended on high, is the science of salvation that we are to learn and to teach.

“Who, being in the form of God, counted it not a thing to be grasped to be on an equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:6-8, R. V., margin.

“It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God.” “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25.

“We have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but One that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15, A. R. V.

Here are infinite wisdom, infinite love, infinite justice, infinite mercy—“the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God.” Romans 11:33.


It is through the gift of Christ that we receive every blessing. Through that gift there comes to us day by day the unfailing flow of Jehovah’s goodness. Every flower, with its delicate tints and sweet fragrance, is given for our enjoyment through that one Gift. The sun and moon were made by Him; there is not a star that beautifies the heavens which He did not make. There is not an article of food upon our tables that He has not provided for our sustenance. The superscription of Christ is upon it all. Everything is supplied to man through the one unspeakable Gift, the only-begotten Son of God. He was nailed to the cross that all these bounties might flow to God’s workmanship


The fruit of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden possessed supernatural virtue. To eat of it was to live forever. Its fruit was the antidote of death. Its leaves were for the sustaining of life and immortality. But through man’s disobedience death entered the world. Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the fruit of which he had been forbidden to touch. His transgression opened the floodgates of woe upon our race.

After the entrance of sin the heavenly Husbandman transplanted the tree of life to the Paradise above; but its branches hang over the wall to the lower world. Through the redemption purchased by the blood of Christ, we may still eat of its life-giving fruit.

Of Christ it is written: “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. He is the Fountain of life. Obedience to Him is the life-giving power that gladdens the soul.

Christ declares: “I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me…. It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” John 6:35, 57-63; Revelation 2:7.

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!” 1 John 3:1.

The Knowledge that Works Transformation

The knowledge of God as revealed in Christ is the knowledge that all who are saved must have. It is the knowledge that works transformation of character. This knowledge, received, will re-create the soul in the image of God. It will impart to the whole being a spiritual power that is divine.

“We all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory.” 2 Corinthians 3:18, A. R. V.

Of His own life the Saviour said: “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” “The Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.” John 15:10; 8:29. As Jesus was in human nature, so God means His followers to be. In His strength we are to live the life of purity and nobility which the Saviour lived.

“For this cause,” Paul says, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19.

— E.G. White, 8 Testimonies, pp. 279-289

< Part 2: A Personal God | Part 3: Danger in Speculative Knowledge >

Historical Author

This is a republished article or book excerpt from early Adventist history. The author will be credited at the end of the article.

One thought on “The Essential Knowledge: A False and a True Knowledge of GOD

  • April 14, 2021 at 6:37 pm
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    How amazing is God’s dedication towards us. Not willing that any should perish, but that we all come to the knowledge and understanding of the one true God, and Jesus, whom He has sent.

    Reply

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