In Its Context
II Peter 1:20 declares, “Knowing this first, that
no prophecy [none of that which is foretold or
forthtold in the Word of God]...is of any private
interpretation.” Since I dare not interpret it, or you,
or any other person in the world, all Scripture must
interpret itself either in the verse or in the context or
in previous usage. We have so far exclusively
studied the first point that Scripture interprets itself
in the verse where it is written. For these Scriptures
we noted that the verses not only interpreted
themselves, but that (1) the words in the verses
must be interpreted according to the meaning of the
words at the time of the translation, (2) that any one
verse must always be in harmony with all Scripture
relating to the identical subject and (3) that one
Scripture may not tell all the details; other
Scriptures may add to it without contradicting each
The second point of how Scripture interprets
itself is in its context. If Scripture does not interpret
itself in its own verse, then read the verse in its
context. The context is that which makes up the
whole story, the enveloping idea.
For an example read Psalms 2:8. Missionaries
have often used this text when talking about winning
the heathen for the Lord Jesus Christ.
As of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for
thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the
earth for thy possession.
Isn’t this a tremendous missionary sermon? Not
if it is read in the context. Read the next verse.
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou
shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
Psalms 2:8 does not make a good missionary
sermon because in context the verse is, to say the
In Matthew 22 is a verse of Scripture that is
frequently used at the memorial service for a saint
of God who has worked diligently for the local
church. This person was a fine influence in the
community and, having passed away, the minister
selects Matthew 22:32 as his text at the funeral.
...God is not the God of the dead, but of the
The saint’s body is lying in the casket, he is
dead; but somehow or other, we shay he is not dead,
he is living. Why not check the context? What is
Matthew talking about when he says that “God is
not the God of the dead, but of the living”?
The twenty-third verse says, “...which say that
there is no resurrection, and asked him...”; and
verse 31, “But as touching the resurrection....” What
is the context? The context is talking about the
resurrection, not about death. Death and resurrection
are far removed subjects.
Let us read the whole story from Matthew 22.
The same day came to him the Sadducees,
which say that there is no resurrection, and
Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die,
having no children, his brother shall marry his
wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
Now there were with us seven brethren: and the
first, when he had married a wife, deceased,
and, having no issue, left his wife unto his
Likewise the second also, and the third, unto
And last of all the woman died also.
Therefore in the resurrection [This is the
subject.] whose wife shall she be of the seven?
for they all had her.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err,
not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of
Jesus said to those Sadducees, who did not
believe in the resurrection, “Ye do err, not knowing
the scriptures, nor the power of God.” This is
exactly why we are still so confused regarding the
coming of the Lord, the resurrection and the
gathering together. The teaching that when one dies
he is really not dead because he is alive some place
else is error. To believe this shows that we do not
know the Scriptures nor the power of God.
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor
are given in marriage but are as the angels of
God in heaven.
But as touching the resurrection of the dead,
have ye not read that which was spoken unto
you by God, saying,
I am the God of Abraham, and the God of
Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the
God of the dead, but of the living.
When is God not the God of the dead but of the
living? Not now, but at the time of the resurrection.
Where is Abraham now according to the Word of
God? The Bible says he is dead. Where is Isaac? He
is dead. Where is Jacob? He is dead. How long will
they remain dead? Until the resurrection, and the
resurrection has not yet come. At the time of the
resurrection, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be
made alive. This is the true Word when read in its
To talk of people dying and then their being alive
and in heaven can lead one into many devious fields
such as the so-called research and learning in
extrasensory perception, in parapsychology and in
subjects dealing with survival after death. I have
been through this field in which masses of people
believe and which is becoming increasingly
popular. The so-called gift of prophecy is being
promoted. Some people knew ahead of time that
President Kennedy was going to be killed. What
good was it to know ahead of time since he was still
killed? When God talked to a prophet and told him
that the army from the north was going to come to
Israel at a certain place, God did not reveal this
knowledge and yet have all the people slaughtered.
God told the prophet, the prophet told the king, the
king activated his army, and Israel was protected
against attack. There was profit gained from God’s
warning. There is always a profit in the revelation if
it comes from the right source. The reason that
Satan is having such a grand picnic is that few
people believe in Satan or in devil spirits. They all
say there is only one God. The Bible says there are
two. One is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ; the other is the god of this world who is
Satan. Devil spirits possess minds, they control,
they give information. Many times the information
from the devil spirits is accurate because if it were
always inaccurate nobody would believe them. This
is like evil; evil is a parasite and could not exist
without truth upon which to feed. Devil spirits, evil
spirits, wrong sources of information which possess
people, could not exist if it were not for the true
God. Just because somebody takes a Bible and
holds it up and says, “I read the Bible,” does not
mean that he is not a counterfeit. Even Satan knows
the Word of God; he can even quote (misquote out
of context) The Word.
The Bible says that when a man dies, he is dead
and he stays dead until the return of Christ and the
resurrection. Nobody who has died is living with
the exception of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom the
Bible declares God raised from the dead. All the
rest are waiting the return of Christ. If the Church
would teach this accurate Word, the spiritualists
would be out of business. If the dead are alive and
in heaven now having such a glorious time, then the
spiritualists are not producing counterfeits when
they bring back the so-called dead into manifestation
in ectoplasmic or other forms. Ectoplasmic
forms are merely deceiving spirits; they are counterfeits.
The reason spiritualists keep propounding the
counterfeit is that the accuracy of the Word of God
has never prevailed in our time in the Protestant or
the Roman Catholic Church. Most groups have
taught that when one dies, he is not really dead;
somehow or other he goes to heaven or paradise, as
they call it. The Bible says that when one dies, he
stays dead until he is raised. Why should there be a
raising of the dead if a person is already alive? The
reason we have to have people raised is that people
are dead. Some people say to me that God has to
bring one’s spirit back and reunite it with his body.
How silly. If a person got along for a hundred years
without a body, why should he take time to come
back and pick one up? You see, we have gotten into
this mess because of the error in wrongly dividing
The Word regarding the dead.
Where are the dead? They are dead. How long
are they going to stay dead? They are going to stay
dead until Christ returns.
People try to confuse the accuracy of God’s
Word by giving the example of Moses and Elijah
who appeared to Jesus and three of His disciples on
the Mount of Transfiguration and with whom Jesus
talked. The Word of God says that they saw Moses
and Elijah in a vision. A vision is not producing the
Unknowing people say Enoch was such a good
man that he never saw death because God translated
him. Let us read the record in context.
By faith Enoch was translated that he should
not see death; and was not found, because God
had translated him: for before his translation he
had this testimony, that he pleased God.
“By faith Enoch was translated,” The word
“translated” is the word “transported,” meaning
“taken from one place to another.” He was not
taken from one spot up to another place; he was
taken from one place over to another “...that he
should not see death.” The word “see” is eidon,
which means to “look at with actual perception with
one’s eyes” or literally “to see someone die.” In
checking the Old Testament, we discover that
Enoch had never seen anybody pass away. He
pleased God all the time for which God so loved
him that God took him from the place where
Enoch’s loved ones would die and put him at a
place where he should not see death. Enoch did not
see anyone else die, but he himself died. The Bible
says so in Hebrews 11:5, “By faith Enoch”; verse 7
says, “By faith Noah”; verse 8 says, “By faith
Abraham”; verse 11 says, “By faith Sara....” Then
in verse 13, after listing Enoch, Noah, Abraham,
and Sara, Hebrews 11:13 says, “These all died....”
All without exception died. If they all died, then
Enoch is dead. That is what The Word says and that
is what it means.
Sensitives or mediums or spiritualists who want
us to believe we are surrounded with a great cloud
of living witnesses continue to misquote The Word
by using Hebrews 12:1.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about
with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay
aside every weight....
These people who wrongly divide The Word say
that the “cloud of witnesses” is composed of
believers who died and are living in heaven. That is
not what it says. The cloud of witnesses are the
people listed in chapter 11 of Hebrews who
believed God and of whom the Word of God says,
“These all died....” Still we are surrounded with
their examples of believing. Their believing gives
us incentive to trust and believe also.
Contortionists of The Word also come with the
reference from Philippians 1:21 where Paul says,
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Philippians does not say that the gain is immediate.
Paul says that the return of Christ is better than
living or dying; for when Christ returns the mortal
shall put on immortality.
Skeptics talk about the rich man and Lazarus in
Abraham’s bosom; they talk about Saul and the
Witch of Endor. Not one person in the Bible is
living except the Lord Jesus Christ, and God raised
Him from the dead. All the rest are dead. In a small
book entitled Are The Dead Alive Now? I have
examined all Scripture in the Bible that deals with
any segment of the Lord’s return and the
resurrection. The accuracy of God’s Word shows
that the dead are dead and will remain dead until
Christ comes. Also, a book of interest on this topic
is The Challenging Counterfeit. Its author, Raphael
Gasson, at one time was in spiritualism. He relates
in this book what God in His Word has already told
us. Spiritualism is counterfeit. Yet nations are run
by it, governmental men are used by it as are people
in any occupation or economic group who seek
information from sensitives. Sensitives do give
information that will be right at some places; but
just when a person needs sound knowledge, the
sensitives’ information breaks down and the person
seeking knowledge breaks too.
We must always go to The Scripture and its
context and find out exactly what it says before we
make any other statement or we shall be led into
confusion by the wrong dividing of The Word.
Matthew 13 contains another example of how
Scripture interprets itself in its context.
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying,
The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man
which sowed good seed in his field.
I ask the members in my class, “What is the good
seed?” Johnny jumps up and says, “I think the good
seed is the Word of God.” And I say, “Wonderful,
wonderful!” Then Maggie says, “Well, I think
Johnny’s idea is wonderful, but I think the good
seed is Christ:” And I say, “Great.” Then I say,
“Henry, what do you think it is?” And he says,
“Well, I think that the good seed represents the
good works of man.” What is wrong with finding
out what The Word means by questioning my
friends? “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of
the scripture is of any private interpretation.”
Johnny, Maggie and Henry all guessed. Each one
offered private interpretation. Quit thinking and
guessing; say what The Word says. Matthew 13:24
simply says, “...The kingdom of heaven is likened
unto a man which sowed good seed in his field.”
What is the good seed? That verse does not tell us;
and if a verse does not tell us, we do not know. It is
no disgrace not to know; it is a disgrace to indicate
we know when we do not know or when we are
guessing. When we don’t know, we had better
But while men slept, his enemy came and
sowed tares among the wheat, and went his
What are the tares? We don’t know so we just
keep on reading until some place, somewhere,
sometime, the meaning is going to be explained. If
it is not explained, we will never know.
But when the blade was sprung up, and brought
forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. [Has
that verse explained it? No.]
So the servants of the householder came and
said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good
seed in thy field? from whence then hath it
He said unto them, An enemy hath done this.
The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that
we go and gather them up?
But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the
tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in
the time of harvest I will say to the reapers,
Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them
in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat
into my barn.
Has The Word explained what the good seed is,
what the field is, what the tares are? No, so we do
not know. The parable ends with verse 30 and
another parable begins.
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying,
The kingdom of heaven is like....
The next four verses continue this parable about
the kingdom of heaven.
Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went
into the house: and his disciples came unto
him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the
tares of the field.
How wise they were. The disciples did not guess.
They did not say, “I think it is this” or “I think it is
that.” They went to the Master and they said,
“Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the
He answered and said unto them, He that
soweth the good seed is the Son of man [So the
sower is the Son of man, no guesswork.];
The field is the world; the good seed are the
children of the kingdom; but the tares are the
children of the wicked one;
The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the
harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers
are the angels.
Could this be made any simpler or more plain?
This parable is interpreted in its context. We need
guess no longer.
The book of Revelation is considered by many
people to be a very difficult book. The reason it has
been difficult is that we have never allowed it to
interpret itself in the verse or in the context. Things
in Revelation which are symbolic have been taken
literally, and things that are literal have been taken
And I turned to see the voice that spake with
me. And being turned, I saw seven golden
Does that verse tell what the seven golden
candlesticks are? No, it just says, “I saw seven
golden candlesticks.” Before looking for the interpretation
of this verse, look at verse 16.
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and
out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword:
and his countenance was as the sun shineth in
The twelfth verse talked about the seven golden
candlesticks and the sixteenth spoke of the seven
stars. What are the seven golden candlesticks, and
what are the seven stars? That verse does not tell so
we continue reading.
The mystery of the seven stars which thou
sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden
candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels
[messengers] of the seven churches: and the
seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the
There is the answer. This is how the Scripture
interprets itself in its context.