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AN ABBREVIATED REVIEW OF
OF THE MAIN CRITERIA
IN CONNECTION WITH "REVELATION" TODAY
The topic has reached into the area of the astounding. No longer do demure people listen to pastoral sermons, made carefully from the word of God, diligently applied to the events of today, the needs of the flock and the glory of God who often having spoken in past times by the prophets, now has spoken once and for all by His Son (Hebrews 1:1-3, Jude 1-3).
Now, there is often to be found a vast innovation, even in churches which do not at least flaunt the hollow Pentecostal ring. Now it is found even where there is no growling like dogs or the making other foolishnesses of sound and voice: as if to have a competition as to who could MOST blatantly negate the scriptural call to REVERENCE IN WORSHIP (Psalm 89:7, I Peter 2:17), and the due fear of God (which is reverential respect and awe at His grand holiness and majesty, not uncertainty about salvation - John 5:12-13).
It appears it is as nothing for someone to get up and speak in the first person in the name of the Lord. Why, even if my cousin were to have her daughter come here, and speak saying, "I have a feeling, yes it is coming on me, it is the word of my mother, I can just find it now in my heart. Yes, she is speaking, and this is it - ‘I am giving to my daughter $30,000 for her upkeep, yes it is so, and all you people here, listen, to you also I give even to each...’ " and so on, it would be a ludicrous imposition. Could not my cousin speak for herself. To use her name in wafflings about this or that would be an incredible, immature if not unbalanced monstrosity of impertinence, or even impudence.
To do this to the Lord, as we shall further show below in detail and have shown in our larger production on "something more", is blasphemy.
Let us however look first at the textual evidence on this in the Bible.
· 1. We are WARNED in II Peter 2 and II Timothy 3 about the nature of CHANGES which will be found in many CHURCHES and more broadly, so that there will be an "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" situation, a constant uncertainty and a moral mix to match. In II Timothy 3, we find it will involve "perilous times" and that it will be in "the last days" (which, see my The Shadow of a Mighty Rock (SMR), Chs. 8-9, are definitionally, from the Bible, NOW!), a time in which there will be a whole multitude of "blasphemers", "without self-control" and so on. From Peter we learn they will "false prophets" who will bring in "destructive heresies" which will have this result: "the way of truth will be blasphemed". We find too that "many will follow their destructive ways," and that they will "exploit you". The "time of their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber".
Hence a whole mood, mode, spirit, liberty to speak without due control, making new things, false things, attributing these to the Lord: this is predicted. It will in fact be blasphemous and call for judgment. It is moreover, to arise "among the people", who of course in this context, means - the Church. They will "secretly" bring them in, which means, they will not state, "Look, I am a false prophet, and would like to set up shop, business or name!" No, they will APPEAR as sound, serviceable citizens of the kingdom of heaven, yet be anything but that!
YOU ARE WARNED; the WARNING IS FOR A TIME THAT IT NOW. You are thus NOW warned about the CONTEMPORARY period. Take heed.
· 2. But is there some EXCUSE for the phenomenon, this bringing in of novelties without authority, in the NAME of the Lord ?
No, but there is naturally a WAY for
it to be done. In "A Question of Gifts", a little booklet of some 30,000 words,
the whole question of Pentecostalism and charismata is dealt with, special
care being taken to say NOTHING that is not found in the Bible, in the analysis
of the situation. For closer detail, then, see there, or even for some more,
see "SOMETHING MORE", mentioned earlier.
For now, in this short review, consider simply this. In
This ‘tongues’ of course is the precise opposite to the phenomenon at Pentecost, where UNINTELLIGIBILITY through the natural bounds of VARIOUS LANGUAGES there spoken in the polyglot gathering, so that there was no common one to cover all the auditors, was OVERCOME through the miraculous use of many languages, so that they said, "... we hear, each in our own language in which we were born" (Acts 2:8). It then lists the birth languages of many nations, some exotic!
INTELLIGIBILITY was made available in this miracle, so that there was instant understanding through the hearing of their normal, native birth languages for each. It would not be possible for this to be clearer.
Quite the contrary occurs in I Cor. 12,14's report. Here UNINTELLIGIBILITY is brought in, miraculously, so that those who would have been able to understand in the local church, now could not.
There was a purpose in this as shown from Isaiah, quoted by Paul here, and exposited in A Question of Gifts, in detail. However, the PURPOSE was clearly NOT intelligibility. It was the opposite to the case of Pentecost. The use of the name "Pentecostal" for this phenomenon is quite indefensible, seeming to attach a sense of power and authenticity as there, to what was actually "Corinthianism", where the double troubles and disorders so vigorously corrected by the apostle, is what contemporary Pentecostalism, at best, mirrors! Naturally the RESTRICTIONS visited on such behaviour by Paul, now need to be followed, if you have outbreaks of the same sort of thing. These are found in I Cor. 14:15,19,23,26,28,32,34.
All or nearly all of these appear customarily to be breached in "Pentecostal
Churches" which is an enormity of the first water. In fact, Paul made it
clear that his words were not only for the Corinthian church (and the principles
he evokes make this clear in any case, since they are GENERAL and SPIRITUAL),
but for "all the churches" ( I Cor. 1:2), those
who "in every place" call on the Lord. ALL places are inside "every place",
even Pentecostal churches, if the name may be used.
· 3. Our immediate interest is not in the question of the permission for women to speak AT ALL in such circumstances - it is negated by Paul; it is not in the LIMIT on the number who MAY do so; it is not on the incredibly LOW rating given to the whole business as far as the preference of the apostle is concerned (5 with the mind, 10 000 without it, and the 5 preferred! there is no glamour, let alone edification or glory there); nor is it to the fact that the results MUST ALWAYS be interpreted, even though the speakers are at most 2 or 3, and that EVERYTHING must make for EDIFICATION, which in context includes mental understanding ( I Cor. 14:24,27,29; 14:15). Rather it is on the nature of the terms "a psalm... a teaching... a revelation... an interpretation" in I Cor. 14:26.
· 4. First, we must understand and that clearly, that this is NOT the WORD OF THE LORD! Heaven forbid. As shown in detail in "SOMETHING MORE ?", this is as far as the sun from the moon.
The word of the Lord (study as there, Jeremiah 23, Amos 7, Isaiah 34:16ff., 59:21, 8:20, Matthew 5:17-21, I Corinthians 2:9-13) is decisive, has His name back of it, is certain, sure to the jot and tittle, will last beyond heaven and earth, is His mind in our words for our knowledge at His will, and constitutes 1) the creation, the flood, Babel and allied early events, 2) the Old Covenant or Testament and 3) the New one, in our times, each being so made that it is GOD who does it, backs it, GOD who wants it, GOD who offers it and GOD who will sustain it. The worlds go, but His word does not (Matthew 24:35).
Thus the disciples are not only to PREACH the gospel to every creature, but
to TEACH ALL THINGS WHATEVER CHRIST COMMANDED (Matthew 28:19ff.). THIS is
the great commission. It is not - preach and not teach; it is not teach and
not preach; it is not preach and give some glimmer of Bible: it is
WHATEVER I HAVE COMMANDED. In Matthew , so important is the word of God that the least
part taught and done by the least person makes that one great in the kingdom
of heaven, and the greatest person, teaching and doing wrongly, is thus made
· 5. This, the word of God, has no test, but for obedience! Nothing is to be watched, but how it fulfils itself!
Thus Paul's epistles were placed by Peter (II Peter ) in the same category as those scriptures to which Christ referred in Matthew 5:17ff.. His writings were noted to be there alongside the "rest of the Scriptures". Thus the obvious way to test was to COMPARE whatever anyone said to the BIBLE! As to the book of the Lord, says Isaiah 8, "if they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them!" (see John 5:44-47). It is not that there is some little bit of light in such people. No! the word is this: DO NOT COINCIDE WITH THIS AND YOU ARE DARK!
The word of God: You cannot add to it (Deuteronomy 4:1ff., -32), nor may you subtract. That is the nature of divine speech. If it is ludicrous for someone's child to start saying what a parent is declaring, by feeling it, as noted initially, then how blasphemous to start doing the same when you declare NOT what is written in the Bible, but something which adds or subtracts! This is to confuse the STANDARD with what is to be tested! This is to change the ruler, in the midst of measuring things! This is folly: thus in II Corinthians 10:12, we learn of false apostles who "measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."
What you CANNOT do, in purity and truth, is INVENT more standards, or make yourself or people the criterion. You can test, but the GROUND of the test is always NOT YOURSELVES, ONE OR MORE, but the word of God as inscripturated, received by the church from the early days. It is this, the new covenant, written down by the apostles and their close associates with the whole church accepting, which is the criterion. To ADD or SUBTRACT from this, it is to make a new christ, a new gospel, a new word, and ultimately, can lead to making a new god, as is the case with the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians and so on, all of whom fail to have Christ in the status of the one Almighty God, and salvation in the place of one received, totally finished work of eternal redemption (as in Hebrews Chs. 9-10, Romans 3:23ff., Galatians 1,3, II Corinthians 5:17-21).
We do not need more of these excrescences, polluting the waters (as in Ezekiel 34), telling a dream (as in Jeremiah 23), where the challenge goes out:
"The prophet who has a dream, let
him tell a dream;
And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully.
What is the chaff to the wheat?" says the LORD.
"Is not My word like a fire?" says the LORD,
”And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces ?
Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets," says the LORD,
"who steal My words every one from his neighbour" - -30.
There you have the same phenomenon in
the Old Testament, and the same ABSOLUTE divergence between what the LORD
ACTUALLY SAYS (NOT some feeling, but the sovereign will of Almighty God presented
for PERFORMANCE BY ALL), and what people grab out of thin air, alone or in
company, with talk of feelings and dreams.
at once let us clarify an allied point. It is true that in Acts 2 we are
referred to Joel prophecy of old men and dreams and young men and visions.
It is not that one cannot have a dream or vision; but that THIS IS NOT OF
ANY AUTHORITY in the church. You may, like Hudson Taylor, in careful sanctity
and quiet diligence, become constrained over time to become a missionary
Again, we may exhort one another according to the Bible (Hebrews 10;24-25), and help one another, and encourage; but we may NOT speak our WORDS in the name of the Lord. THAT IS DONE by HIM at His pleasure. Thus in Revelation 22:18-19 there is PROHIBITION on ADDING to these "THINGS" (and all the topics are in the book of Revelation, in the broad coverage) or subtracting from THESE WORDS.
Just as in the Old Covenant (see Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 4, 12, 28ff.), there were enormous penalties for presumption (and in Deuteronomy 13, the death penalty for speaking when God has not authorised it, in His name), so in the New Covenant, the One unchanging God is just as determined that NO ONE SPEAK in His name to add at all to His covenant. NO MORE is to be said. All the penalties listed in Revelation are in full accord with the SEVERE and SUCCESSIVE penalties in Deuteronomy.
terms, therefore, in this context of I Cor. 14,
Psalm, revelation, teaching, prophesying, interpretation, cannot mean what contradicts other passages
of the Bible. Hence they are reduced to presenting what the Bible teaches,
either exhorting with it, applying it, interpreting it, collating it. In
those times, there was another possibility, but this was not the milieu for
it. A prophet like Agabus, who in Acts might predict a famine was a singular phenomenon.
Now this was not in the mixed multitude sort of case, but more like the Old
Testament prophets. Such things of course as in Revelation 22, are ended.
This is not to say that someone may not, as in the Scottish covenanting days
when deaths of martyrdom were about, perhaps wish to intimate that someone
is about to die. There is in this however no AUTHORITY, merely possible comfort.
It is NOT the word of the Lord. THAT is sacrosanct, and finished.
· 8. Finally, look at II Corinthians 11. Here we see that certain people, measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves with themselves, came and threw their weight around in the church. Their WORDS and IDEAS were given pre-eminence; they somehow fascinated and brought about a sort of awe and reverence to themselves. The people, for whom Paul had worked free of charge, could hardly do enough for them, accepting bossy treatment readily, following their intrusive ways.
Their self-generated assurances were really something ELSE, NOVEL and UNAUTHORISED. Thus says Paul, if someone comes and preaches ANOTHER JESUS, and ANOTHER GOSPEL and brings ANOTHER SPIRIT, you well might receive it (II Cor. 11:4). What is his assessment of these intruders: "such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ." : THAT, he indicated, was not surprising from the master cosmetician, Satan, whose ministers can appear as angels of light. Hence when we TEST the SPIRITS (as in I John 4), it is not only whether they acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; it is whether they admit that JESUS Christ has come.
The test is as broad
as the apostle states! It is the Christ born in
The faithful cannot add to these words in the name of the Lord. God, as in Hebrews 1:1-3, having often spoken by the prophets, has now spoken by His Son. He did not send Him in order to allow any sculptor to CHANGE the precious gift; but to allow a termination of revelation in the focus on this exact image of the Almighty, received by the church, depicted by the apostles and their received associates, recognised in the Bible by the Church which He authorised. (See SMR Appendices C, D for detail if you wish it.) It is THIS SAME JESUS (Acts 1) who is to return, and by HIS WORDS He statedly will judge all (John 12:48-50). Let us therefore return to and turn towards His word, His reality, and forget the useless presumptions of intoning in His name: an unspeakable intrusion, unauthorised, and contrary to authorisation.
THIS Jesus INSISTS on ALL the Old Testament - and how can you understand the New fully when it constantly refers to the Old, if you do not understand what this is saying and meaning! Back, then to the Book of the Lord (Isaiah 34:16), for it is only then you will be back with this same Jesus, whose only words are wholly required, and require no additions, till He come. As Romans 4 shows, the Gospel to Abraham is just the same as the one to us; there is no difference.
Each received the righteousness of God
by faith as a gift; each believes; and we believe in the culmination, in
Christ who now does not appear symbolically, as a ram caught in the thicket,
which Abraham then sacrifices; but as Christ caught by the scribes, Pharisees
and priestly party, who had their OWN RELIGION, constantly in their OWN importance
adding whatever they liked, secretly, importing and smuggling by subtle little
ways, or exporting (as many now would export the Old Testament, rather than
treating it as the New Testament does). Do not participate where He (or His
name) is being caught again, in new webs of deceit. NO MORE ‘revelations’
of authority, NO MORE words of the Lord, daringly coming where the BOOK OF
THE LORD already is, as if some could add their utterances now, so long after
the Son has come, and become a post-graduate series of sons, adding to the
very structure and disposition of the word of God, which came in the New
Covenant in the Person of Jesus (Isaiah 42:6), and now rules.