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Battlefields of the Church: 5: Thus Saith the Lord

By George Kulp

      Let me here give another proof-text for the inspiration of the New Testament -- the opening verses of the first and second chapters of Hebrews: "GOD, who at sundry times and in divers MANNERS SPAKE in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son ... Wherefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard."

      We have said that it is the Bible itself that must settle the question of its inspiration, and we hold the Bible teaches that inspiration extends to the very words.

      If you take the case of Balaam (Num. 22:38 and 23:12-16), it is quite clear he desired to speak differently from what he did, but was obliged to speak the words God put in his mouth. When Moses would excuse himself from service because he was not eloquent, He who made man's mouth said, "Now therefore go and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." (Ex. 4:10-12.) Dr. Brooks says, "God did not say, I will be with thy mind and teach thee what thou shalt think, but, I will be with thy mouth and teach thee what thou shalt say." David says, "The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue." (2 Sam. 23:1, 2.) In Jeremiah 1:6-9 we read: "Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my word in thy mouth," all of which substantiates the declaration of Peter which we have quoted repeatedly. "No prophecy ever came by the will of man, but man spake from God, being moved by the Holy Ghost." It does seem to an unprejudiced mind that if the WILL of man had NOTHING to do with prophecy, he could not have been at liberty in the selection of words.

      Again, does not the Apostle claim verbal accuracy in 1 Corinthians 2:12, 13, where he distinguishes between the "things" or thoughts which God gave him and the words in which he expressed them, while insisting on the divinity of both? "Which THINGS also we speak, not IN THE WORDS which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth."

      Again we quote: "The most unique argument for the inspiration of the words of Scripture is the relation which Jesus Christ bears to them. In the first place, He Himself was inspired as to HIS WORDS. Deuteronomy 18:18 is the earliest reference to His prophetic office. Here Jehovah says, 'I will put MY WORDS in His mouth, and He shall speak all that I shall command Him.' A limitation on His utterance which Jesus everywhere recognizes. 'As my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.' 'The Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak.' 'Whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father hath said unto me, I speak.' 'I have given unto them THE WORDS which THOU gavest. me.' 'The words I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.' (John 6:63; 8:26, 28,40; 12:49, 50.)

      "The thought is still more impressive as we read of the relation of the Holy Spirit to the God-man. 'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.' 'He, through the Holy Ghost, had given commandments unto the apostles.' 'The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto Him.' 'These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand.' 'He that hath an ear let him hear what the SPIRIT saith unto the churches.' (Luke 4:18; Acts 1:2; Rev. 1:1; 2:1, 11.)

      "If the incarnate Word needed the unction of the Holy Ghost to give to men the Revelation He received from the Father, in whose bosom He dwells; and if the agency of the same Spirit extended to the words that He spoke in preaching the Gospel to the meek, or in dictating an Epistle, how much more must these things be so in the case of ordinary men engaged in the same service? With what show of reason can one contend that any Old or New Testament writer stood, so far as his words were concerned, in need of no such agency?"

      Again, Christ teaches the Scriptures are inspired as to their words. In the Sermon on the Mount He said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For VERILY I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled." Here is testimony confirmed by an oath, for "verily" on the lips of the Son of man carries such force. He affirms the indestructibility of the law, not its substance merely, BUT ITS FORM; not the thought, but the word. "One jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law." The "jot" means the yod, the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, while the "tittle" means the horn, a short projection in certain letters extending the base line beyond the upright one which rests upon it. And Christ guarantees that neither the tittle nor the yod of the law shall perish without fulfillment.

      In maintaining this view of the inspiration of the Scriptures, we are on the same ground where the Church stood in days when its purity and power made it the delight of Heaven, the terror of Hell, and enabled it to win souls for God; when the Church was fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and as terrible as an army with banners, aggressive for God to such an extent that there were saints in Caesar's household, and legions of Rome were known for the number of Christians that were in their ranks -- a fact to which Justin Martyr calls the attention of the emperor when proving the advance that the religion of Jesus had made in his dominions.

      The fact that the Church in its purity held this view in the first three centuries after Jesus ascended should weigh largely in its favor. We enjoy the lines of Frederic W. Faber as he sings:

      "Faith of our fathers! living still,
      In spite of dungeons, fire and sword!
      Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
      Whene'er we hear that glorious word!
      Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
      We will be true to thee till death.

      "Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
      Were still in heart and conscience free!
      How sweet would be their children's fate.
      If they, like them, could die for Thee!
      Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
      We will be true to thee till death.

      "Faith of our fathers! we will love
      Both friend and foe in all our strife!
      And preach Thee, too, as love knows bow,
      By kindly words and virtuous life;
      Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
      We will be true to thee till death."

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See Also:
   1: The Word of God
   2: The Holy Spirit the Author
   3: The Old Testament and the New
   4: Verbal Inspiration
   5: Thus Saith the Lord
   6: Testimony of the Fathers
   7: Witnesses to the Truth


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