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The NECESSITY of GOD'S WORD
Without the word of God, man would be a dunderhead with exquisite equipment, marvellous mentality and ambivalent morals, immersed in an atmosphere of guile, guilt, disorder and disjunction both from his psyche, his obligations, his duties and his serviceable functions. Guessing, he would wander, wandering he would inhabit woes, just like a child trying to run dad's computer, admittedly a wonderful type of thing in its finesse and capabilities - like man himself, who as its creator is far more so - and running constantly into problems and harassment, because he simply does not and cannot understand. It is not at his low level of comprehension, so he struggles and is in pain or temper, tantrum or recklessness, fecklessness or ferment, as futilely he moves this way and that. When Dad finds out, of course, he for one will not be pleased, to put it most mildly indeed.
Man has not been given a sense of responsibility by accident, but by manufacture, and his sense of God is not from no basis, but from an indefeasible basis, just as his sense of guilt is not a breach of a circuit in his billion plus cell brain, but an awareness of order that will can disorder, wonder that can bring woe and finesse that can be routed; and in parallel, of goodwill that can be aborted, and internal devisings that he would not like to be directed against himself, till the whole gamut of disgrace moves where a sense of grace appeals, but is not found.
All these things we have considered, as in Repent or Perish Ch. 7, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 5, SMR Chs. 1, 3, 5, Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ. The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy, esp. Ch.11, Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer
our simple concern is to verify, in view of the diffuse wanderings of some,
Let us then proceed, one testimony at a time,
considering both the consistency of all
and in what each consists.
Brilliant in imagery, terse in direction, the prophecy of Zechariah has some sound and invasive words for the dilatory mood of modern man. Although to be sure, this is found in the Old Testament, we remember our mission, to see from both Testaments, the preparatory and the consummative, the directness of the divine dealings concerning attention to His words. We move then back in time, to see the formulation then.
A question in the symbolism of the day arises, as we see in Chapter 7. Should fasting and mourning be in this or that day and way ? The answer from the Lord was in substance, this: Your fastings have been little more than ceremonial. What good has this preoccupation been WHEN you are so preciously preoccupied with yourselves! What are you mourning about ? Is it not notorious that your nation did NOT obey the words of the Lord before the tragedies had befallen it, as that now these travesties of good ceremonies on which you dote, have become substitutes for the clear moral dictates of truth ? You want to know what is the Lord's will in this matter.
Here is the point. Let's take simplicity (Zechariah 7:8-9).
"Execute true justice,
Show mercy and compassion,
Everyone to his brother,
Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless,
The alien or the poor.
Let none of you plan evil in his heart
Against his brother."
What was the historical reaction to such things ?
"But they refused to heed,
shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears
so that they could not hear.
"Yes they made their hearts like flint,
refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets.
"Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts."
Moreover, in view of their intractable dislocation from duty and the words of the Lord, a certain irony has reached, like a secondary infection, to rebuke their lightness of heart and wavering, wandering minds.
" 'Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear,
so they called out and I would not listen,' says the Lord of hosts" (Zechariah 7:13).
This dishevelling reciprocity, that just as they ignore His word, so He ignores theirs, while such a banal blight moves their benumbed hearts, makes the mandatory necessity of His word mordantly plain. Indeed, they ignored all this and what became of them!
"I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known.
Thus the land became desolate ..."
The 'problem' needing address is
not some technical facility of symbolism or ceremony, but this: they had been
"refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of
hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets" (Zechariah
The Lord counsels this (Zechariah 8:9):
"Let your hands be strong,
You who have been hearing in these days
These words by the mouth of the prophets,
Who spoke in the day the foundation was laid
For the house of the Lord of hosts
That the temple might be built."
The need ? the word of God, HIS words, to hear them and do them, such as are provided through that highly distinctive body, the prophets whose words cohere and inhere in the life of man, to be despised or degraded by spiritual nincompoops, whose end is unsavoury, whose ways godless (as elaborated by Jeremiah in Ch. 23 and Ezekiel in Ch. 14). People who ran without being sent were just as foolish as rain clouds that could not rain, but boasted of their richness.
Prophets despatched by God, as in the milieu of Moses, transmit truth; those ascending to the eminence of mouthpieces of the Lord, uncalled, uncommanded, are mere psychological triviality, and those who follow them have such for their depth, unspiritual superficiality. It is not then just a matter of what IS commanded or conveyed in the word of God, but what is NOT commanded by spurious substitutes of the glory of inanity, urbanity that leads THEREFORE to calamity.
To be sure, it is not only words - though the only words to be considered are those from the appointed, anointed and confirmed prophets. It is Him to whom they refer, Author of authority, and the God of mankind, whether any man knows and understands or not. Thus the elemental depth of redemption is bespoken in Zechariah 3, where the total cleansing needed for the heart is in focus, with the coming Messiah ceremonially figured, the "Branch" and the Stone laid before all for foundation. It is He, as in Zechariah 6, who is to be the ultimate builder of the spiritual temple of which those redeemed are parts. But all of this, it comes by the word of the Lord, which is to be heeded, not hijacked, done and not diverted or diversified.
We turn now to JEREMIAH. The word through this prophet can be terse indeed - and with what followed as shown in his second prophetic work, Lamentations, this is small wonder. He was like a lookout at the crow's nest advising the captain of approaching rocks, whilst unheeded in his icy lair. Desolation at that time, for the nation of Israel, was VERY near, and when it came, it stunned.
"Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord,
so what wisdom do they have!" (8:9)
Again in Jeremiah 7:23-24, we are told that the underlying plan was clear when those of Israel were located in Egypt. From this clear counsel of HIS WORD to them in their predicaments of that time, there came all the requirements. The whole paraphernalia of SACRIFICES and OFFERINGS was not then even in place, only one such, the Passover being in mind. There was no plurality and complexity. ONE THING was clear. It was this (Jeremiah 7:23-29).
"But this is what I commanded them, saying,
‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’
"Yet they did not obey or incline their ear,
but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts,
and went backward and not forward.
"Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day,
I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets,
daily rising up early and sending them.
Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck.
They did worse than their fathers.
"Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you.
You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you.
"So you shall say to them,
‘This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God
nor receive correction.
Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth ... ' "
In this prophet, we find a natural comparison to bring the full flush of the facts to their minds with sharp inflow (Jeremiah 8).
"Why has this people slidden back,
Jerusalem, in a perpetual backsliding?
They hold fast to deceit,
They refuse to return.
"I listened and heard,
But they do not speak aright.
No man repented of his wickedness,
Saying, ‘What have I done?’
Everyone turned to his own course,
As the horse rushes into the battle.
"Even the stork in the heavens
Knows her appointed times;
And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow
Observe the time of their coming.
But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord."
NOT ONLY, then, have they failed to LISTEN to His words (as in 8:9), but they 'hold fast to deceit'. They hang about its neck like an impassioned man drowning, hugging and dragging on the neck of his deliverer in a spasm of desperate folly.
They have false prophets, they love to listen to them: they heed the hollow and refuse to follow the sustained and sustaining word of the Lord. There is a fire of folly, a resolution which could be admirable if only well-directed; for they follow their fiddly faith-substitutes with relish, act with abandon with dedication and ignoring truth, the words of God, follow the ruthless pseudo-realities of surreal prophets! (Jeremiah 23:16-27).
If they had only followed His words through the prophets, then they could have known Him, God (Jeremiah 23:22):
"But if they had stood in My counsel,
And had caused My people to hear My words,
Then they would have turned them from their evil way
And from the evil of their doings."
To know Him! this would have been an incomparable delight and privilege, but they slip into sludge.
This we see in Jeremiah 9:23-24.
"Thus says the Lord:
'Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
am the Lord,
exercising lovingkindness, judgment,
and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,' says the Lord."
WHY He has asked, but why! does
"the land perish" (9:12). The answer to
that question ?
It is this.
"And the Lord said,
'Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them,
and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it,
but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts
and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them... ' "
The term 'Baals' or lords refers to naturalistic constructions of the imagination of man (cf. Psalm 96, Ezekiel 14), dumb idols such as organic evolution today*1, for the ingrained instinct and logical thrust to seek the Lord, held in seductive substitution. Thus this erratic surrogate for truth becomes a thing in line with their lusts and their desires, not their longings and their duties. Such has been the way with man from the first, such was the passionate self-propelled gun of their assault on the Lord in the day of Jeremiah, and such is the increasingly audacious lust of today. Never is man without the exposure of this fallacy, the alternative to this fall, the Creator's word which stands like Mt Everest, unmoved without it be 'climbed' or not! He has not left Himself without a witness in deed and word, within this world. It sobers the intoxicated, rebukes the rebellious, appeals to the seeking and supplies for those finding it, the missing ingredient in man: his instructions, the way of his God, the place of his work, the meaning of his life, his origin and destiny, the former one, the latter in two destinations.
The word of God is wonderful introducing man to reality, to truth, to the Lord personally, to duty, to responsibility, to meaning, to the massifs of Majesty for which his soul longs; and though he may disperse this longing into love of gurus or sports performers or military commanders, anything which will do! yet nothing does. Man's failure to find both justice and mercy follows from His failure to find God, and this follows not from some abyss of the incomprehensible, but from the remissness of incompetence with the supplied truth. As to this, it is not because it is hard to find, but results from a simple REFUSAL to receive it, despite the fact that this, the word of the Lord ALWAYS is fulfilled, has been for thousands of years, and had been, even when Jeremiah wrote. Indeed it had been their guide and light, their strength and help, their categorical power for deliverance since Egyptian slavery days. It had worked in ethics, in equity, in justice, in judgment, in salvation from slavery and feeding in desert, in waters gushing where aridity reigned, in battle and in rebuke if required.
But let us now see what Ezekiel, another major prophet before onset of the vast calamity of which they had been warned by many sent in mercy to them, from the Lord.
By the time of Ezekiel, it was as if the tsunami were already raised above the surface of the ocean and poised to crash.
Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah had spoken. Time was near, eminently so before the destruction of Jerusalem. This was to come from the Babylonians as Isaiah had long predicted. This is seen in Isaiah 13 - and with this, the punishment that imperial power in turn would receive for its brutality, a point on which Jeremiah was used to speak largely in Jeremiah 50-51. In Ezekiel there is sometimes seen a notable brusqueness. It is like a school teacher with a class of horror, always upset, always contriving, never learning, rebellious to the core, undisciplined and without desire.
Hear this, then, from Ezekiel 3:24-27.
"Then the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and spoke with me and said to me:
'Go, shut yourself inside your house.
'And you, O son of man, surely they will put ropes on you and bind you with them,
so that you cannot go out among them.
I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth,
so that you shall be mute and not be one to rebuke them,
for they are a rebellious house.
'But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them,
‘Thus says the Lord God.’
"He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse;
for they are a rebellious house."
A further extreme comes for a recalcitrant and trickily ambiguous people, some of whom want not only to have idols in the heart (14:7), but this being so, THEN to come and ask the Lord for His wisdom and for His word! This sort of ecumenical lassitude, misusing grace for departure from His word, as if joining with idols and their perpetrators were a POSSIBLE way of acting WHILE seeking the Lord is treated as the infectious spiritual disease that it is, and exposed with contempt as the Lord speaks through the prophet Ezekiel.
It has of course an obvious message against modern diffuse ecumenism, and is given in stark exposure in Ezekiel 14:1-8.
"Now some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me.
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
'Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts,
and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity.
Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?
'Therefore speak to them, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God:
"Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart,
and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity,
and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols,
that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart,
because they are all estranged from Me by their idols."
"Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God:
'Repent, turn away from your idols,
and turn your faces away from all your abominations.
For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart
and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity,
then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me,
I the Lord will answer him by Myself.
I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb,
and I will cut him off from the midst of My people.
'Then you shall know that I am the Lord.' "
In order to make the more apparent the turning points, they are set in red in the translation above.
Thus so profound is the need of the word of the Lord, and of the Lord who so speaks, that the insolent daring of those who both invent their own gods, idols, spiritual foci and then expect God, the Creator of the Universe, the Redeemer, to have truck with them, to be available for them, as if dictating when they should be repenting of their wild and undisciplined follies, that He has a special word for such people! What is that ? It is this: "I will set My face against" such!
The principle in Isaiah is no different in this feature.
In Isaiah 30:8-11 we see the crass heart of disobedience to the WORD OF GOD, and the sovereign majesty of puny man as he tries to avoid, avoid, escape, depart, decamp from the Lord, and HIS WORD! Again, salient points relevant to our current enquiry appear in red.
"Now go, write it before them on a tablet,
And note it on a scroll,
That it may be for time to come,
Forever and ever:
That this is a rebellious people,
Children who will not hear the law of the Lord;
Who say to the seers,
"Do not see,"
And to the prophets,
"Do not prophesy to us right things;
Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.
Get out of the way,
Turn aside from the path,
Cause the Holy One of Israel
To cease from before us."
"Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel:
'Because you despise this word,
And trust in oppression and perversity,
And rely on them,
Therefore this iniquity shall be to you
Like a breach ready to fall,
A bulge in a high wall,
Whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.
And He shall break it like the breaking of the potter’s vessel,
Which is broken in pieces;
He shall not spare.
So there shall not be found among its fragments
A shard to take fire from the hearth,
Or to take water from the cistern.'
"For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
'In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength."
But you would not,
And you said, "No, for we will flee on horses"—
Therefore you shall flee!
And, "We will ride on swift horses"—
Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!
One thousand shall flee at the threat of one,
At the threat of five you shall flee,
Till you are left as a pole on top of a mountain
And as a banner on a hill.
'Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him.
For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem;
You shall weep no more.
'He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry;
When He hears it, He will answer you.
And though the Lord gives you
The bread of adversity and the water of affliction,
Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore,
But your eyes shall see your teachers.
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
"This is the way, walk in it,"
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left.' "
It is to be realised and relished, if seeking the Lord, that here He is NOT ONLY speaking of REBELLION as the ground of refusal to hear His word, and not of VACANCY through lack of it, as if poor man were ill-served by divine negligence. On the contrary: He is saying BY HIS WORD, much more. Indeed, this is another reason why His word is so wonderful, that He is gentle in heart and gracious, willing to listen, to hear, but not to negotiate, as if truth were an option, or to be told, as if pollution could be defined by the pollutants!
"He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry.
When He hears it, He will answer."
There is nothing imperious or impetuous here, but a strong and unrelenting determination that truth must prevail, if it is to avail, and that rebellion and innovative substitution for the word of God, or endeavour to subvert it by addition or setting it in this or that perspective is as valued as might Einstein have valued a Primary School child wish to have liberty to change his equations.
WHEN man is ready to live by the word of the Lord, by the revelation of God, by the statements and propositions and availability of God Himself when ONE GOES AS DIRECTED BY HIM TO HIM, and the continues WITH HIM as He declares (cf. John 15:7 - "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it will be done for you."), then it is well, and not until that time.
What does He say of a later period of blessing to come to Israel ? This:
"But your eyes shall see your teachers.
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
"This is the way, walk in it,"
On the other hand, there is no illusion. What had been the habit of this people ? it was precisely like that of the Presbyterian seminary in Victoria in and before my own day. They say to the seers, 'Do not see!' and to the prophets, 'Do not prophesy ...'. In other words, there was the same disinclination to take the word of God as it was. It had to be groomed and distorted, changed and mutated, until it became a mere rag doll, made from the irrational assaults which it suffered. Indeed, when this author resisted and exposed such things, though they were contrary to the Church's constitution as well as to the word of God, he too was subjected to irrational assault (cf. A TIME TO PRAISE GOD Ch. 1 as marked ).
It is THE WAY it goes, when rebellion comes; and what has come from all of this ? The Presbyterian Church of Victoria went on, in its rebelliousness, so that the national body lost some 2/3 of its membership to a body which DID NOT EVEN PRETEND to have the Bible as THE WORD OF GOD. In that religious body to which the majority went, the Bible was rather a 'testimony' to the word of God, so enabling the various perspectives, additives, and so forth, to rule it, by the tongue of men, as before.
What the prophets exposed, the very same principles and polluted practices, the false prophets of our own time in many churches, similarly blatantly perform, as if hard of hearing when it comes to the word of God.
The principle is the same. It does not change.
In fact, the One who does not change (Hebrews 13:8, John 8:58), Jesus Christ the Messiah, the Redeemer, the One who actually PAID for salvation on the Cross (Galatians 3, Matthew 20:28), the One predicted, prevailing, principial, the Crux, spoke on the word of God, written. He made declaration on it, in the most flagrant terms, relative to revisionists and recidivists.
Thus in Matthew 5:17-20, He indicated that every JOT and TITTLE, every least part of a letter, the tittle, and the smallest letter, the yodh, would be sustained, fulfilled. Not only so, but He stated that anyone who breaks the one of the LEAST of the commandments, and teaches men so, will be called LEAST in the kingdom of heaven (that is, the least departure makes the greatest fall!). On the other hand, in this word evaluation, we hear that whoever teaches and does the word of God faithfully, will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. This is given considerable attention in Appendix D of SMR, and an excerpt follows.
That is, the LEAST of these commands, because spiritual, spiritually discerned, the very least taught and done, truly performed, is a straight avenue to being called great in His kingdom. When we see the world's opposition to them all, the commandments of God Himself, then we can begin to understand that statement of Jesus. Spiritually discerned, these spiritual commandments are performed by spiritual people. You will notice also, that Christ says - WHOSOEVER teaches and does this... the least of these commandments.
Thus not only is the LEAST of these commandments of such intrinsic worth as to have this extraordinary place, but WHOSOEVER does this least and teaches men so, shall be called great in His kingdom. This is the emphatic emphasised, the minute maximised: it is the majesty of the law of God, the intensity of the holiness of God, the precision of the utterance of God, vindicated: it is God glorified. It reminds us of Paul's words - that "the foolishness of God is stronger than men" - I Corinthians 1:25. The LEAST done and taught by WHOMSOEVER has this potency.
God's word tests and challenges and reveals: the very least command thus taken, thus has power. The most apparently inconsequential person doing and teaching TH1S is to be called great. The least person doing the least of these commands, and teaching so, is to be called great. How great is the greatness of God when His least commands, thus taken, do so much to the least of persons, have a result of such magnitude!! On the other hand, how great is the wonder of God when the greatest of men, failing here and teaching so, shall be called least in GOD'S KINGDOM. How vain is the following of man, when we consider the teaching of God! It is THIS which Jesus Christ taught, and we find written in this passage before us.
It is as if to say - Whosoever does this, now it does not matter who he is... Jesus could have said - 'He who' does this; but He said- 'whosoever', bringing out the point significantly. In other words, again, Jesus is dealing with a wholly over-riding concept: that of security, and certainty of retention and fulfilment of the whole meat and meaning of the law; and - He is doing this both intensively and extensively, and directly and also by way of application; and in application, all over again, He is doing it intensively and doubly.
As to the intensive side of this stringent underwriting and guarantee which Christ issued concerning the Law, we read that: not EVEN an angle of a letter (the curve which differentiates one letter from another), or a tiny letter (the smallest in the alphabet), will lose force and fail. That is what the two terms 'jot' and 'tittle' mean - Matthew 5:18.
So here is yet another emphasis. You have thus two grammatical emphases: not AT ALL, and WHOSOEVER; you have an orthographical emphasis - jot and tittle; and indeed you have an astronomical emphasis - till heaven and earth pass.
Now all this signifies that the person who is God has spoken and will not relent: our stage may change; but not His directions. Our history may falter - but not His speech. Now that speech is the Law of God, the whole Old Testament at the time of Jesus. Of Moses, Jesus said: "If you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words ?" (John 5:47). In other words, this is the level, the standard of impartation of inspiration, and the INTENSITY of God's performance of what He says. It is here a question of the ORIGIN and INTEGRITY of the words, His COMMITMENT to their performance. It is wholly a matter of what He said, apart from all question of any other kind, such as who thinks it is this, or was that. What He DID say, He WILL do!
Dr J.I. Packer of Oxford in his Fundamentalism and the Word of God, says of Christ:
He did not hesitate to challenge and condemn, on his own authority, many accepted Jewish ideas which seemed to Him false. But He never opposed His personal authority to that of the Old Testament. He never qualified the Jewish belief in its absolute authority in the slightest degree. The fact we have to face is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God incarnate, who claimed divine authority for all that He did and taught, both confirmed the absolute authority of the Old Testament for others and submitted to it unreservedly Himself.
This witness is true.
Therefore such a turning to Jesus Christ as the source of some new-fangled New Testament Church which would escape certain ingredients felt to be disagreeable in the Old Testament, is false. It is vain. It is illusory. Further, it won't work.
Turn to both - the Old Testament and Christ; or to neither. That is the option which the Bible provides. You must not halt between two opinions. You must choose here in particular; and also in general, between doing what you will and what God says. A Biblical Church can ONLY choose for obeying... all, any of the word of God.
"If," said Jesus Christ, "anyone loves Me, he will keep My word," (John 14:23). Indeed, then "My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him." He added this: "He who does not love Me does not keep My words, and the word which you hear is not Mine but the father's who sent Me."
To be sure, the keeping of His word is not the door of entry to His grace, but it is the testimony of love to His face. Even, however, the door, is as prescribed and described in HIS WORD (John 10:9, Titus 3:5ff., Romans 10:9, Luke 13:1-3).
As Paul puts it (Romans 10:14-15), How will they hear without a preacher! How, he asks, shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed ? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard ? And how shall they hear without a preacher ? And how shall they preach except they be sent!"
On that, we recall, Jeremiah spoke in depth in Ch. 23, and as to the word with which they are sent, it is this, the word of God (red colour is used for emphasis on the point here in view):
" 'How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies?
Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart,
who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams
which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My name for Baal.
'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 neighbor.
'Behold, I am against the prophets,' says the Lord,
'who use their tongues and say, "He says."
'Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,' says the Lord,
'and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness.
Yet I did not send them or command them;
therefore they shall not profit this people at all,' says the Lord."
THE APOSTLE PAUL
The apostle Paul is as decisive on the word of God and its vital value, ineradicable tenure for the Lord over all this earth and its utterly true character, as any of the prophets.
Thus in I Corinthians 2:9-13, he declares that the Spirit of God has revealed things that man cannot know, "the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
Man of himself CANNOT know these, but "God has revealed them to us through His Spirit."
First then, we note that the TRUTH, what God has prepared, is revealed. It is not something which GOD has NOT prepared, but what He has, which is in view. It is not some dim distortion; it is the thing itself. More awaits; less however is not possible! (I Cor. 13:12, John 8:40).
Some might relish this, but think, Oh well, who knows what kind of totality it will all be, perhaps very different from the little we know
Far from it! Paul goes right one to say this:
"God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.
For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God."
The stated reason why Paul can say that God has revealed such things to us is this: that the Spirit searches ALL things (no ignorance) and these include of course the DEEP things of God. Hence there is neither superficiality nor omission in this knowledge, by means of which God has revealed, through this same Spirit, these things. Man's spirit, says Paul (I Corinthians 2:11ff.), is what searches man, and God's spirit is He who knowing all in God, conveys revelation, BECAUSE He has searched out even the deep things. The warrant for the KIND of revelation in view is this, that the source has the DEEP THINGS of God in mind!
Thus, the import of verse 10 is this: How do we know that God has revealed these things to us (as distinct from some superficial or merely provisional material) ? It is BECAUSE the Spirit which GIVES these things searches EVEN the deep things of God. Hence there is no possibility of something past the knowledge in view, which would cheapen it or make it incorrect, not cognisant of depths which are in the purvey of GOD ONLY. THAT is ruled out. Hence it is truth, given by the Spirit of truth which is provided in the revelation through Paul and those chosen for this purpose. As Jesus declared of Himself, "I am the truth" (John 14:6). Truth does not lie or contort, twist or disengage from reality, give distorted concepts or imported breeds of genetically modified thought!
But what of the result, the furnishing of such knowledge to man ? Firstly, Paul the apostle (cf. John 1:26 and II Peter 3:16) has received with those others in this domain of revelation ("we"), "not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God.". Thus precisely excluded is that very sense of other perspectives being rolled in to invade the territory of the word of God, as despised by the earlier prophets shown above, in the parade of wantonness at least equalled in some modern churches! As to that, this too was predicted (II Peter 2:1ff. II Timothy 3-4, I Timothy 4).
It is the Spirit of God who has been received (cf. Luke 24:40). He is received with such a purpose as this in view: "that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God." These are searched, are deep, are holy, are pure, are free, are given by the Spirit of God, whose knowledge is limitless, and they reveal the facts of which knowledge, with perspective and spiritual perception, is composed.
This purpose and power being established, this purity and this knowledge, we now learn in what manner the transference of information and knowledge, revelation and truth occurs. We recall that one name which Christ gives to the Holy Spirit is this, "the Spirit of truth" (John 16:5-13). What then is this procedure ? Paul speaks these revealed things, having been given power to RECEIVE. In what tenure of certainty does he then speak the received knowledge ? It is in truth itself because the gift is conveyed "not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches."
The whole concept and meaning is couched in formats and formulae, features and modes, yes in words, such that the total is encapsulated in expression sure and steadfast. It is GIVEN in expressive units no less surely provided and instilled than the substance thus expressed.
It is, then, not a matter of straining to understand and studying to put some sort of language with which one might try to encapsulate the revelation, and so convey it.
Far from it. The thing is GIVEN and the WORDS are supplied.
In Matthew 4:4, accordingly, Christ speaks of even Old Testament words in this way, that "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God." Every grammatical unit - this is the term here used. He could not do so if they had not been first given in that form, for otherwise he would never know which was the word and which was not. EVERY WORD, and as to every word, it proceeds out of the mouth of God.
You have the same thing in I Peter 1:25, II Peter 3:2,16, the very grammatical units.
More of this is to be found in SMR p. 1166:
It is of interest to note that I Corinthians 2:9-13 is often used carelessly. Eye has not seen... the things which God has prepared for those who love Him... says the speaker. Often in Church practice, this seems to satisfy both speaker and people that this is what Paul is teaching. Not so!! In fact, the words continue:
But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes the deep things of God...
says Paul in this statement... the SAME statement! As a matter of fact, it is with these just cited words, that Paul CONTINUES HIS SENTENCE!
Let us observe then:
1) Paul is dealing with the aspirations of men for real knowledge of God; he is speaking in the deepest terms. Factually, he is also speaking of great destined realities - what God has prepared for those who love Him.
2) THE SPIRIT has already revealed these things.
3) the revealed things, in the sentence, refer to 'the deep things of God', which "the Spirit searches" ...
4) these things are revealed as to substance. They are however also 'taught' the writer, Paul, by the Holy Spirit. A FURTHER part of this 'teaching' is in this feature: the 'words' with which to designate and describe what Paul sees, what is revealed, what is disclosed concerning God and His intentions... THESE too are taught. It is not...'Oh I could never formulate that!' Rather God teaches how: dictation it need not ALWAYS be (as in Isaiah 40:5; 41:1-5; 43), by any necessity. The point is that the WORK continues till the words are found.
BEGINNING AND END
He who is the beginning and the end of all creation (Rev. 1:11, 2:9, 4:11, 22:13, Isaiah 46:9-10, Romans 11:36), has from the first group of biblical books, the Old Testament, and in the last, the New, signified what is the nature of His word, in the hand of man.
It is GIVEN to man, and therefore, GOD being the donor, it is to be left alone by man, inviolate in status, contradistinct from all, for all.
Thus in Deuteronomy 4 and 12, we have the reiterated news: Don't add to or subtract from this, the word of God. It is covenantal, not exponential, it is decisive and direct, not a flummery or fudge. Take it and do it. Such is the word in the last book of Moses.
In Revelation 22:181-9, we have the same direct, indeed dire prescription. Fiddle and fail, rampage and be lost, fool and inherit folly. These things are inviolable, nothing is to be added; these words are inviolate, nothing is to be subtracted. Intrusion is vile, and asks for durance vile. It is to mingle the omniscience of the Creator who was there when He did it, the Saviour who was there when He paid, on the Cross, there when His body was raised from the dead, when He appeared to the disciples and challenged Thomas to poke if he had to, with the presumptuous surmisings of man.
Notice particularly that it is the THINGS revealed to which one may not add, and the WORDS revealed from which one may not subtract. Whatever is delivered, is of divine origin, portent, authority. To fiddle with the faith is as witless as fiddling with the computer in an airline cockpit, without having knowledge fitting for its manipulation of the vast airliner. Again, to USE it with knowledge, but on the assumption that what you WANT is what is there, is mere presumption, and when it comes to God, spiritual insanity as much as inanity. Alas, many seem to insist on showing what is not there in order to fulfil their fantasies, often unwarranted extensions of meaning, and so they make for more and more forbidden 'schools' in which 'I of Apollos' mentality supervenes, though it be forbidden (I Corinthians 3:4), and misguided in kind.
The person who confuses his knowledge with that of God, his tongue and touch with that of his Creator, except there be repentance, is indeed inheritor of all things - base and ultra-horrendous. What would you ? To imagine you are father when in fact you are a child, this is woeful; indeed it is bordering on utter insanity (cf. Hosea 9:7). To confuse your authority with that of the PM when merely 13 years of age, this is no better. Such presumption, cast in this or that comparison, it is to divorce yourself from reality to the point of contesting with God for the authorship, authority or format of His word, its content. Alas, this is the finite, in revolt approaching the infinite with a blow-torch, rejoicing in rage, evacuated from truth, from the word of what is, and moving in the landscapes of fizz, a bellow of airy, dusty presumption, a prelude to condemnation (cf. II Peter 2:18).
Revelation and Deuteronomy, the beginning and the end of the wrap-up for the only authorised, verified, written revelation of God to mankind, leave one in no doubt as to the cost of robbing or seeking to re-cut the crown jewels of expression, vested with the hand-crafted ministry of the Spirit of God, endorsed by the Son of God, those directors of history, which follows in fidelity, what is foretold of it. When God speaks, His word acts; for it is His.
It is one of the social and
academic miasmas of our time that so many are held as if in a vice,
by this incapable idol, always touted, always routed, always about to be confirmed, never shown
to operate, like a doctor of great reputation who had one great fault, that whenever an operation
was scheduled, he was not there, but involved in writing more material about operations.
On this fabric of falsification, a
nervous tic of the mind in the insistent desire to void the word of
God, or its operational equivalent, on this delusive dynamic, constraining to citing as evidence what in fact does not happen and as assurance what is not found, but merely hoped for, this assumption on false pretensions and made to appear by endless propaganda: see, for example, the following.
SMR pp. 140ff.,
TMR Ch. 1,
The gods of naturalism have no got! the last a work of 4 volumes.