Vol. 3, No. 3
Upon stripping him of the precious coat of many colors which his loving father made, and selling him to the traveling group of Ishmaelites, Joseph's jealous brothers were faced with the difficult dilemma of, "What are we going to tell our Father?" So, "they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood" (Genesis 37:31). The following verse indicates that they simply were intending to show the bloody coat to their father -- whereupon he could arrive at his own conclusion concerning Joseph's demise. His response is as follows:
"And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. And Jacob…mourned for his son many days…I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him" (Genesis 37:33-35, emp. added).
Jacob's reaction to the news of Joseph's "death" can be summarized as follows: (1) He heard the testimony of his sons. (2) He saw evidence bearing witness to their testimony -- "And they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father" (37:32), (remember, Jacob made the coat himself, 37:3b). (3) He sincerely believed the testimony he heard and the evidence he saw -- "And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat" (37:33). (4) He reacted to the testimony he sincerely believed and to the evidence he saw -- he "rent his clothes…and mourned for his son many days" (37:34). (5) Consequently, Jacob concluded that Joseph was "without doubt" dead.
As any Bible student knows, Joseph was not dead. Even though Jacob sincerely believed "without doubt" that Joseph was dead -- Joseph was alive! Notice that Jacob: (1) heard false testimony, (2) believed false testimony and (3) his emotions that resulted from the false testimony he heard were real! Truly, it is possible for someone's feelings to be deceived by false testimony.
It is interesting and yet tragic that many people in the religious world will say, "I am without doubt saved" and their salvation is strictly attributed to some emotional feeling they have "experienced." They, like Jacob, heard false testimony, believed false testimony and their emotions resulting from hearing and believing that false testimony are just as real as Jacob's were. The tears we see shed by countless millions of souls on television after they have been "healed" and "saved" by charlatans are real. Unfortunately, those tears were triggered not by a thus saith the Lord, but by false testimony.
Adam and Eve's spiritual downfall in the Garden of Eden took place because they: (1) heard error, (2) believed error and (3) obeyed error. In order for man to return to God, or to be saved, he must: (1) hear the truth, (2) believe the truth and (3) obey the truth.
On the day of Pentecost, this is precisely what took place in the hearts of 3,000 souls. Peter indicted the Jews for having crucified the Son of God. The Jews: (1) heard this testimony -- "Now when they heard this" (Acts 2:37), not "when they felt this," (2) believed the testimony they heard -- they said, "Men and brethren what shall we do?" (v. 37b) and (3) they obeyed the testimony they heard and believed -- "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized" (v. 41).
If feelings can be deceived in the physical realm, we can be certain to see the very same deception occurring in the spiritual realm. "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool" (Proverbs 28:26).