Some of you are aware that Paul in particular, but a couple other writers in the New Testament, mentioned oral lore connected with the Old Testament. I suppose it’s what the Talmud should have been, and would have been before the influence of Hellenism wrecked everything. We see some of this oral lore noted in the New Testament, and know that it’s echoed in the Talmud of today, but often with a distinctly different twist to it. You have to evaluate it the same as everything else: Your heart knows the truth, and it may not work for everyone.
Here’s the thing: Somewhere shortly after Apostle John died, somehow an awful lot of stuff was lost. But it’s not gone forever. If heart-led covenant people could discern these things in the first place, we can get back enough of it to walk where we need to walk today. We don’t need factual secrets, but we do need some serious practical and experiential lore restored to its place of honor in our community of faith.
Let’s not get lost in this; the ancient Hebrews were meant to be a heart-led people. At any given time, God always had at least a few who kept that alive. For some reason we may never understand, it seems to have been mostly submerged during the past 2000 years. It peeked out from behind the curtain every now and then; it shows up in certain writings of folks who got in trouble with the established church hierarchy. God has always had a witness, but we have been granted a bit of this immeasurably rich treasure in this heart-led way. Don’t be proud. It’s not as if God could not have found better folks out there to start this thing again. It wasn’t just me; I had some help in coming up with a way to explain this. Our Lord had plans to do this long ago. God is at work and we are altogether fortunate to be included.
But you have to realize that a significant burden is upon us to establish a sane set of precedents, and to gather a certain amount of oral lore. We are the ones who must experiment with this and come up with a body of understanding that is only hinted at in Scripture.
For example, I have to warn you about something: This thing can be withdrawn. That is, once you begin to experience the heart-led way and the unspeakable joy of communion with all Creation, there is a certain amount of burden on you to stay faithful. You can’t just slack off and go get your regular thrill from the natural world while neglecting your moral duty to deal justly with other people. Nor can you take off down some false path without consequences. If you grieve the Spirit of the Lord in your heart, He will pull back. When He does, it will feel like dying. You’ll be alive, but you’ll know beyond all doubt that you’ve lost Life. Granted, the Lord never does this without a reason, and He won’t test you this way unless He knows you can handle it. But it will hurt in ways no human can describe.
I’ve been through it once, so I know.
That’s what I mean about experiential knowledge. It’s hinted at in Scripture, but only by actually living through that can you truly know it first hand. By passing through that Valley of the Shadow of Death, I can breathe life into it for you. I can strive to find words to give you some image of it. I can package it so you’ll be aware of it.
But there’s one more element here: Sooner or later we simply must find ways to see each other face-to-face in order to share these things heart-to-heart. God can do an awful lot with us here where we meet in virtual space, but His Word says we must pray and strive for a person-to-person contact because some things cannot be transmitted any other way. So get used to this idea: We need an experiential lore and we need to share it in person. It’s not a narrative of words we need, but the divine narrative written in human hearts. We must entangle our hearts’ sensory fields.