Lesson 84

Higher Critics

"Build yourselves up on the foundation of your most holy faith and by praying through the Holy Spirit keep yourselves within the love of God."
Jude 20, 21 (Phillips Translation)

Most Christians do not suffer physical persecution today. They are not burned at the stake or thrown into a den of hungry lions. However, they are frequently attacked by critics—people who believe that Christianity is a weak and foolish religion.

It is very important to study the scriptures, for in them we can see God’s beautiful plan which includes all of mankind. And as we continue to study and pray, we are building a sound faith which will strengthen and encourage us every day. Many errors can creep into our thinking and take us away from the reasonable and harmonious lessons we have learned. We need to prove all that we believe with the Bible —it is the inspired word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

There are those whose study is mainly for the purpose of refuting (denying) the Bible. Their study does not bring them the truth or a desire to understand God’s plans and purposes. These people are called "higher critics." Paul refers to them as "scoffers" (those who jeer and laugh at other’s beliefs) (2 Peter 3:3).

Those called higher critics do all they can to discredit Daniel and other Old Testament prophets. In doing so, of course, they also discredit Jesus and the apostles who felt that these prophets were inspired by Jehovah God. The book of Daniel has many wonderful prophecies that point to our day. We have seen (and are seeing today) many of them being fulfilled, e.g., Daniel 12:4.

Many people are very intelligent about worldly subjects which can cause them to become full of pride and self-exaltation. Those who study their Bibles and have a good understanding of the truth can also become prideful and high-minded. We need to keep in mind that the truth is from God, and glory in his wisdom and not our own. We can have complete confidence in God’s word—that his promises will never fail. This will bring us understanding of what it means to walk in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 9:23, 24).

As more and more religious errors were believed, the hope of the resurrection and a wonderful kingdom here on earth was swept away. Eventually this unbelief will lead to anarchy, which is no government at all, a state of lawlessness and disorder. This will lead to the "time of trouble" spoken of in Daniel 12:1. And, in due time, the time of trouble will lead to the establishment of Christ’s kingdom! (Proverbs 29:18).

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