In this article, we will answer the following questions through the Bible:
1. What does the Bible mean by the “Knowledge of God?”
2. What are the two kinds of “Knowledge” mentioned in the Bible?
3. Why is it important to possess the “Knowledge of God?”
4. How can we possess the “Knowledge of God?”
John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
2 Peter 1:2 “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.”
According to the verses above, there is only one way to possess Eternal Life, that is, to know God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Also, if you want grace and peace to be multiplied in your life, it can only be done through the knowledge of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. These verses are telling us that possession of the Knowledge of God or to “know” God, is very necessary for every believer. So our question would be: What does the Bible mean when it says “know God” or “Knowledge of God?”
To answer this, let’s first tackle what does the Bible mean by the word “Knowledge.”
THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
The Greek word used for “know” in John 17:3 is “ginōskō” which means “to come to know, to recognize, to understand, to have sexual relations.” While the Greek word for “knowledge” in 2 Peter 1:2 is “Epignōsis” which has the same meaning as “Ginōskō.” If we study further, we will know that these two Greek words came from the root word “Gnōsis.” Epignōsis means “toward knowledge” (epi means “toward” and gnosis means “knowledge”) and ginōskō means “beyond knowledge” (“kō” means “beyond” and “ginōs” mean “knowledge”). Even the English word “Agnostic” which means “I do not know” (“a” means “not” and “gnostic” means “I know”) also came from the root word “Gnōsis.”
Now, if we will look further using Strongs Concordance, this root word “Gnōsis” does not only mean “knowledge” but “higher esoteric knowledge” and “being acquainted with the person.” “Esoteric knowledge” means an “intimate knowledge” and “higher esoteric knowledge” means “very intimate knowledge.” To have very intimate knowledge with a person is to actually become one with the person which can only refer to the intimate relationship between husband and wife hence the meaning “acquainted with the person” or “being familiar with the person.” This only means that the word “knowledge” (gnosis), actually means “becoming one with the person intimately.”
Therefore, to “know God” or to have the “knowledge of God” does not only mean having the head knowledge of God, it means to intimately become one with God. This we can read in John 14:20:
“In that day you will know (ginōskō ) that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”
To “know God” is to become one with God and with our Lord Jesus Christ just like a husband and a wife are one.
THE TWO KINDS OF KNOWLEDGE
We have known that “Knowledge” means “becoming one”. Now, there are two kinds of Knowledge or “becoming one” mentioned in the Bible. First is the “Fleshly Knowledge” and second is the “Spiritual Knowledge.”
Fleshly Knowledge is becoming one with the person through the flesh. While Spiritual Knowledge is becoming one with the person through the spirit. Let’s tackle them one by one:
A. FLESHLY KNOWLEDGE
Gen. 4:1 “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.”
When Adam “knew” Eve, Eve conceived and bore Cain. Since “knowing” means becoming one, and Eve conceive after she was known by Adam, this means that the “becoming one” of Adam and Eve here is through the flesh because it resulted in a conception. Becoming one through flesh can only happen through sexual union. The Knowledge of Adam with Eve here is Fleshly Knowledge. This is the first kind of Knowledge that can be achieved through the union of two flesh.
Another example of fleshly knowledge is in 1 Kings 1:4, where David has a beautiful attendant but it was said that David “knew” her not which means that David has no sexual relationship with her. In Genesis 19:5-8, the men of Sodom wanted to “know” (to have knowledge) the two angels which are visitors of Lot. And Lot told them to stop their wicked plan and instead, offered his two virgin daughters to them:
Gen. 19:5-8 “And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.”
The men of Sodom wanted to “know” the two angels here who are visitors of Lot. And this “knowing” that they want does not only mean that they just wanted to meet the visitors of Lot. It means that they wanted to have sex with the visitors of Lot and this is the reason why Lot told them to stop their wicked plan and offered his two virgin daughters instead. You can also read this same scenario in Numbers 31:17 and 35, where the word “known” means sexual intercourse.
This is what Fleshly Knowledge is. It is the kind of Knowledge that one can gain by becoming one with a person through the flesh.
B. SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE
1 Corinthians 6:17 “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
Another kind of Knowledge is Spiritual Knowledge. It is the opposite of Fleshly Knowledge. If Fleshly Knowledge is becoming one through the flesh, Spiritual Knowledge on the other hand, is becoming one through the spirit. This is the kind of Knowledge that can be achieved through the union of two spirits. When a spirit becomes part of your spirit, that is Spiritual Knowledge.
According to 1 Corinthians 6:17, whoever is joined with the Lord is one with Him in spirit. We are joined (united, become one) with the Lord only through the spirit. This means that we can only achieve the Knowledge of God (becoming one with God) only through our spirit (Rom. 8:14-16, John 14:16-20, John 3:6) and not through our flesh.
The Bible also told us that there is only one way that our spirit can be united with the Spirit of God, that is, through our Lord Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6-11). He is the Quickening Spirit that quickens our spirit (Eph. 2:1) and reconciles (reconnects) us to the Spirit of God (2 Cor. 5:18). Therefore, the only way to gain the Knowledge of God is through and only through our Lord Jesus Christ. When the spirit of Christ became one with our spirit, that’s the time we gain Spiritual Knowledge.
THE TREE OF LIFE – THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
In the Garden of Eden, there are two special Trees mentioned: the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Let’s first tackle the Tree of Life.
The Tree of Life is no other than the Spirit of God that should have been known (become one) by the spirits of Adam and Eve as there is no other source of Eternal Life but the Spirit of God alone (John 1:1-4, 6:63,68).
According to Genesis 3:22, partaking (knowing) the Tree of Life will give Adam and Eve Eternal Life. This will then support our first verse in this article which is John 17:3 which says “knowing God (becoming one with God) is eternal Life.” The Tree of Life (the Spirit of God) should have been the way for Adam and Eve to possess the Knowledge of God. But they choose the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Therefore, they have not known God and have never possessed Eternal Life. And the sad thing is after they have sinned, the Lord put guards on the Tree of Life so that they can never access it and we can never be one with God (Gen. 3:24). We can never “know” God.
But then comes our Lord Jesus Christ Who is the Tree of Life restored to humanity! He is the quickening Spirit of God Who gave us Eternal Life (1 Cor. 15:45). He is the Way, the Truth and the LIFE (John 14:6)! The only way for man to have the Knowledge of God is to have the Knowledge of the Lord Jesus. For to become one with the Lord Jesus, is to become one with God. This is why 2 Peter 3:18 tells us to grow in the Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ:
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen”
Again, our Lord Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life restored to humanity! Growing in the Knowledge of the Lord Jesus is growing in the Knowledge of God!
THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL – THE FLESHLY KNOWLEDGE
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is the OPPOSITE of the Tree of Life. If the Tree of Life is the Knowledge of God, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, on the other hand, is the Fleshly Knowledge.
In Genesis 3, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is the Tree to which a person can become one with Good and Evil. If a person partakes the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, it means that person has the “Knowledge” of Good and Evil. Now, we have known that there are only two ways to become one with a person: through the flesh and through the spirit. We have known also that the Tree of Life in the garden of Eden is no other than the Spirit of God (John 1:1-4, 6:63,68). And the Spirit of God can only become one with us through our spirit (John 3:6). If the Tree of Life can only become one with us through our spirit, and the opposite of the Tree of Life is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, therefore, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil can only become one with us THROUGH OUR FLESH. We can only have the Knowledge of Good and Evil THROUGH OUR FLESH. This is why this Tree is the Fleshly Knowledge.
There is no other way for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil to be united with us but only through our flesh alone. It cannot unite with our spirit since our spirit is reserved to receive the Spirit of God which is the Tree of Life. This is the reason why according to Romans 7:18, there is nothing good that dwells in our flesh. And no matter what we do, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 15:50). This is because the Knowledge of Good and Evil is in our flesh. Good and Evil have become one with our flesh.
Our Lord intends for Adam and Eve to possess the Knowledge of God through the Tree of Life through their spirits. They should have become one with God by having the Knowledge of Life. But instead, what they had chosen is the Knowledge of Good and Evil through their flesh.
Now, we have known that there is only one way to become one with the flesh, and that is through sexual union. In order for Adam and Eve to become one with Good and Evil through the flesh, sex should be involved. And this is where the role of the Serpent comes to play. Since the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil can only be achieved through flesh, this Tree MUST be flesh also so that it can become one to the flesh of man. And this is why the Serpent beguiled Eve to have sex with him (Gen. 3:13, 2 Cor. 11:2-3). And therefore, the words of the serpent in Genesis 3:5 was fulfilled. Man became one with good and evil:
“…your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
They have “known” (become one) good and evil. Eve became one with the Serpent in the flesh through sex. This is the Fleshly Knowledge. Eve offered this also to Adam, her husband, and they both possess the knowledge of Good and Evil.
This Knowledge (becoming one) in the flesh and in the spirit are even described in 1 Corinthians 6:16-17:
“What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
HOW CAN WE HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST?
I have stated above that the only way for man to have the Knowledge of God is to have the Knowledge of the Lord Jesus. To become one with the Lord Jesus is to become one with God. Therefore, we need to have the Knowledge of the Lord Jesus.
John 15:7 says:
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
If the word of the Lord is one with us, then we are one with the Lord. Also, in John 6:56 it says:
“He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.”
We become one (know) with the Lord if we eat His flesh and drink His blood. The flesh and blood here are of course not literal ones. They are His Body which is His Word (Mat. 4:4, Deu. 3:3). If we eat His Word, He dwells in us and we dwell in Him. In short, we know Him. We have the knowledge of Him. We became one with Him. All of these are through the partaking of His Word.
The next question is: How can we eat His Word?
According to John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you they are spirit and are life.”
In order to eat the Word of our Lord, it needs to be received by our spirit. It needs to become one with our spirit. And according to Hebrews 4:12, here is the mechanism of how the Word is received by our spirit:
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
After hearing the preaching or the teaching of the Word for example, according to the verse above, it will be received first by our soul. Then it will settle in our spirit and finally, will transform our body. Remember that the soul is composed of Mind, Will and Emotions. So anything that we received from our Lord will always be received first by our Mind (head). This is where we have the “head knowledge” of the Word of God.
Certainly, our union with Christ must not only be in our souls. It must not only be a head knowledge. It must settle in our spirit. Only after this that we can claim that we are one with the Word. But just like what I have mentioned above, before it will settle in our spirit, it will be received first by our Minds. Today, many ministers are despising the hearing of the Word of God because for them, it is only head knowledge. They are telling us that you don’t need to listen to the preaching of the Word since they are only head knowledge. These ministers are ignorant to the truth that before the Word can settle in our spirit, it should be first a head knowledge. Those who despise the hearing of the Word do not know this mechanism of how the Word settles in us. DO NOT DESPISE HEAD KNOWLEDGE, FOR IT IS THE FIRST STEP IN RECEIVING THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. Do not despise the preaching, teaching and studying of the Word. You cannot go to the second step without going to the first one.
THE ONE REQUIREMENT FOR THE RAPTURE
Matt. 25:11-12 “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”
Our Lord has only one requirement for the Rapture. That is, for us to be known by Him. Only those known (become one) by our Lord can be raptured. Those people who are known by God are also those who know God. Those people who became one with God are also those whom God has become one with (John 6:56).
The Foolish Virgins in the above verses were not known by our Lord. This means that they did not become one with Him. They did not have an “intimate union” with Him, and that’s why they were not raptured. Our rapture depends on our knowledge of our Lord. You can only totally know someone if you have also totally given yourself to that someone. We can only totally know the Lord if we have also totally given ourselves to Him.
Love is actually directly proportional to knowing the person. The more you know the person, the more you will love him/her. The more we know the Lord, the more we love Him. This is what 1 Corinthians 8:3 is telling us:
“But if any man loves God, the same is known by God.”
The deeper you know the Lord, the more you become part of Him. It is therefore impossible for Him to cut ties with you because you have become part of Him already. Cutting ties with you means cutting ties with His own part. To cut ties with our own part is very painful (e.g. if you try cut your own finger). That’s why it will be impossible for Him to leave you behind in the rapture.
If you know some people who have known each other for a very long time, they are also the people who can’t stand to be separated from one another. They will always long for one another. This is the reason why couples who have been married for so many years and one of them suddenly died, often, the partner will soon die also. This is because they have become so one with each other that they are no longer complete when their partner dies.
This is the same with us and our Lord. If you want to be sure to make it to the rapture, the only way is to deeply know Him. You need to become one with Him. Give yourself to Him wholly. Be in love with Him. Spend time with His Word. And it will become impossible for Him to leave you. He will not be complete without you.
To possess the knowledge of God is the most important thing in this world. The Heroes of Faith and the saints in the Bible know this very well that they are willing to give up everything just to possess the Lord. This is their main priority in life. They had given up everything they possess here on Earth just so they can possess this knowledge.
Enoch walks with it all the days of his life to possess it completely(Gen. 5:22). Abraham leaves his homeland and sojourns in a strange country just so he can have It (Heb. 11:9). Jacob wrestled with It from evening to daybreak so he can possess It (Gen. 32:24-30). Moses obeyed It and make It his best friend (Exo. 32:9-14). David thirsts and yearns for It (Psa. 63:1). On the other hand, for the Apostle Paul, nothing can compare to the value of knowing Christ. It is the most important thing to him as we can read in Philippians 3:8,10:
“I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… I want to know Him and the power of His resurrection…”
I hope, knowing Christ is the most important thing to you too!
On Judgement Day, many people will proclaim that they love the Lord. Many will tell Him that they have heard Him preach in their streets. But what did they do? They just ignore Him during those times. In fact, they are eating and drinking when the Lord came to their place (Luke 13:25-27).
Our Lord cannot be deceived by this petty trick. If you really love someone, you must spend time with that someone. You cannot say that you love that someone but at the same time, you don’t care about him/her. You don’t even know him/her. You cannot say that you love the Lord but at the same time, are not even studying His Word (2 Tim. 2:15). You don’t even listen to the preaching of His Word (1 Cor. 1:21).
We need to make an effort to know the Lord. If you tell Him that you love Him but you are not even reading your Bible, that cannot be called love. Love is giving. And loving the Lord means giving your time, energy, soul, spirit and body to the Lord. It means giving yourself wholly to Him. That is the only way that we can be known by Him (1 Cor. 8:3).
Then one day, we will completely possess our Lord. We will be perfected. We will completely possess the knowledge of the Son of God as written in Ephesian 4:13:
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.“
May the Lord continue to reveal Himself to us is my prayer.
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