How Does God Speak...?

A Helpful and Concise Answer By Dr Terry W. Preslar
Copyright (C) 2007. Terry W . Preslar All rights reserved. Terry W . Preslar – PO Box 388 – Mineral Springs, NC 28108 (704)843-3858 E-Mail: preslar12@windstream.net

How Does God Speak to us
(What do you believe about Extra-Biblical revelation?) “God hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things by whom also he made the worlds;” (Heb. 1:1-2). Although we accept that God can work through miraculous means, if He so wishes, the Word of God stands supreme as the ONLY measurement of truth and the will of God. We do not identify ourselves with Extra-Biblical revelation since the Scriptures are complete and nothing can be added to them. All dreams, visions etc, should be checked against the Word of God. No Christian should feel compelled to act upon “a message” which someone else claims is from the Holy Spirit. Every believer is accountable to God and must hear from Him alone regarding His will. We are generally skeptical about the claims by extreme groups who receive “revelations” outside Scripture. One of the fundamental differences among professed believers is over how God communicates His will – whether He whispers it in our ears (the still, small voice), plants it miraculously in our hearts (Inspiration), reveals it through living men (1 Peter 1:20-21 – the Pope claims that he speaks “ex-cathedra”(?) – That’s not the same as inspiration), delivers it through a church (1 Tim. 3:15), writes it in a multiplicity of contradictory books (Acts 19:19), reveals it through nature (Psa. 19:1) or offers it through one book --The Bible (“For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” Psa. 119:89, 152; Isa. 40:8; Matt. 5:18; 24:35; 1 Peter 1:25). So long as some claim God speaks only through the Bible, others through present or recent prophets, others through personal communications by way of dreams, visions or an inner voice there can be nothing but confusion as to what the will of God is. How does God speak to us? What is the channel He uses, will determine in a very real sense what we believe He is saying. Each of the channels say something different. God cannot be the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). While God has never communicated His will through false prophets (Deut. 13:1-5; Isa. 8:19-20; Jer. 23:28-32) He has spoken to men in various ways. (Heb. 1:1-2): I- God once communicated to men directly: A) Adam (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:3, 9-19) B) Cain (Gen. 4:9-15) C) Noah (Gen. 7:1-4; 9:1-17) II- He once communicated to men through dreams: A) Abimelech (Gen. 20:3-6) B) Laban (Gen. 31:24) C) Solomon (1 Kings 3:5-15) III- He once communicated to men through visions: A) Abraham (Gen. 15) B) Nathan (2 Sam. 7:4-17) C) Daniel (Dan. 2:19) IV- He once communicated through angels: A) Hagar (Gen. 16:7-14) B) Abraham (Gen. 22:11-18) C) Balaam (Num. 22:31-35) V- Even in New Testament times He communicated through dreams, visions and angels: (Matt. 2:12, 22; Luke 1:11-20; 26-28; 2:9-15; Acts 8:26; 12:7-10; 27:23-24; 9:10-16; 11:5-9; 16:9).

How Does God Speak to Us...
The question is not what God did in Bible times, but whether He speaks to us today through dreams, visions, angels and living inspired men? Consider the following: -1-

I- All of God’s Word and His will harmonizes. A) God’s prophet Moses, delivered the Old Testament law. From that time until Christ all who spoke had to harmonize with him. To fail to do so was proof a man was a false prophet. (Deut. 4:2). B) God’s Son, Jesus, delivered the New Testament law (Heb. 1:2; 9:15). From that time till the end of the world no one is to speak to the contrary. To do so is proof that man is a false prophet (2 John 9). Any dream, or claimed vision or revelation in our day must be rejected if it contradicts what Jesus taught. C) All prospective “prophets” in this modern day should consider the injunctions against the use of “Dreams, Visions and Wonders” to teach falsely. (“And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.” Deut. 13:1-5). II- All of God’s truth was revealed through Christ and the apostles. A) Everything pertaining to life and godliness was revealed. (2 Peter 1:3) B) The scriptures completely furnish us to all good works (2 Tim. 3:16-17) There is no place or need of more scripture. C) Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). He is the author of salvation to all who obey him (Heb. 5:9). D) He promised the apostles they would be guided into all truth (John 16:13; 14:26). The word they delivered was the word of God (1Thes. 2:13). E) If Christ and the apostles spoke the truth then every claimed revelation since that time must agree with their statements. F) If all truth was given pertaining to life and godliness in the first century there is nothing left to be revealed pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). G) The faith was once and for all time revealed (Jude 3) III- The visions, angels and dreams mentioned in the New Testament helped in preparing for and delivering the good news announced by Christ and the apostles. The Bible reveals all there is to know about Jesus and all there is to know about salvation and about serving God. There isn’t anything more that God has revealed. (“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:13). IV- We have the scriptures. They give all the guidance God has given. God doesn’t send us a knowledge of His will today through dreams or visions or self-proclaimed prophets. He revealed His will through Jesus and the apostles. We have that revelation in the Bible. If Jesus and the apostles do not teach a given doctrine or practice, in Scripture, we must have nothing to do with it. The first step in learning God’s will would be to turn back to see what God’s Son says, for God has “spoken unto us by His Son” (Heb. 1:2). This reference is a clear endorsement of the recorded words of Christ in the Gospels (“But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:25) All dreams, visions etc., should be checked against the Word of God. No Christian should feel compelled to act upon “a message” which someone else claims is from the Holy Spirit. Every believer is accountable to God and must hear from Him alone regarding His will. We should be generally skeptical about the claims by extreme groups who receive “Extra-Biblical Revelations.” We believe that the phenomena, such as the “Toronto Blessing” and “Laughing Revival” movements are not Biblical. These movements are symptomatic of a hunger by many Christians for the tangible evidence of God. True satisfaction is found in a personal relationship to Christ and not sensational “supernatural” experiences. (“The Spirit itself beareth witness with -2-

our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Rom. 8:16-17). I do not need “Extra-Biblical” activity to identify myself. The promise of Joel 2:28-29 is made to those in a time marked by the word “afterward.” (“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”) This text has to do with a time during the “Great Tribulation” when the Word of God has, effectively, been suspended and there will be a need to declare truths to those remaining on Earth. Mis-Interpretation or mis-Application of Scripture is charged with a more serious and sobering injunction. The indictment is given in four texts. (The Words of God Are Sacred (“What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” Deut.12:32), #1 - The Commandment (“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” Deut. 4:2), #2- The Commendation (“Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Prov. 30:6), #3- The Condemnation (“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Rev. 22:19) We believe that God has spoken to us in several ways and continues to restrict His communication to these means: The Scriptures are God’s means of asserting the Certainty of Specific Things. The function of Scripture to put forward specific matters can be observed by three divine methods: I- God’s Prophesy (the most Exciting) – (Isa. 1:18; Ezek. 16:6) The resolution of God concerning matters unforeseen as yet. The veracity of our sovereign God is the guarantee of these assertions. We depend on these matters to become true in the progress of time. The likelihood of prophesy coming to pass is in the direct proportion to God’s might. How could any of it fail...? “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” (Luke 21:33) II- God’s Promises (the most Comforting) – (1 John 1:9; Heb. 13:5) Setting forth His declarations of blessings, mercy and judgement. The use of GOD’S “promises” in the Saint’s Prayer is as old as the practice of prayer. GOD has made promises to the race of man for: A) the instruction of the worshiper, B) the comfort of the wanderer, and C) the calling of the workman. To rely upon the “promises” of a Sovereign God is to enter into a wise practice with the hope of HIS best reward. This type of prayer is not as is done by many in this modern-day’s “super-spiritual” movements. That is; it is not “commanding” GOD to obey our request. This type of prayer is simply relying upon what HE has already promised in HIS word to meet your present needs. (“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Rom. 8:32). III- God’s Provocation (the most Effective) – (John 6:44; John 5:40) Conviction, the moving of the sinner towards redeeming Grace (Heb. 3:8, 15) “Provoke,” literally, “to call forth,” hence, to excite or stir up, whether in a good or bad sense, appears frequently in the Old Testament: in the sense of “to make angry” (Deut. 4:25; 9:18; 1Kings 14:9,15, etc.). In the New Testament we have the sense of “to make jealous” (Rom. 10:19; 11:11,14); “to make angry” (Eph 6:4; compare Col 3:21); “to embitter” (Heb. 3:16). “Provocation” in Heb. 3:8, 15 (quoting Psa. 95:8) is to exasperate. An example of the good sense of the word is in Heb. 10:24, “Consider one another to provoke (literally, “to the provoking” - to incitement to good) unto love and good works.” There can be no doubt that God has used the Word to speak directly to mankind. The fact that the race of mankind has language is evidence that God desires to commune with mankind. Through the Word of God we have Revelation. Revelation is God’s disclosing to man things about Himself that man could not know otherwise. (Psa. 19:1; Matt.16:17; Rom.1:20). The revealing of that which was previously hidden. In Jewish, Christian, and Islamic theology, revelation is the act of God in history by either word or deed. Hence, these accept the necessity of a personal God who can interact with humanity -3-

and be involved in history. Today there are two ways of understanding revelation: one being the very acts of God and the other being the recorded acts of God. As scribes began to write down and make copies of what many believed God had done, the view became ingrained in orthodox belief that revelation was not only the specific historical events and persons that God was involved with, but also that revelation was the sacred writings themselves. In addition to this specific revelation, theologians also speak of a general revelation. General revelation is the presence of God in the world in terms of humanity’s understanding of goodness, beauty, truth, and reason, along with the very existence of humanity, which is made in the image of God. We have observed “Revelation” in two ways. General Revelation is God’s revelation of Himself in creation, through history, and in a man’s conscience. (Dan. 4:17) There are two types of revelation: general or natural and special. Natural revelation is that which is revealed about God through what we can see in creation (Rom. 1:20). Through creation we may learn that there is a God, that He is in control, that He has an order, and that He is concerned for our welfare. However, through natural revelation, we are not able to discover the plan of salvation. That comes from special revelation. Special Revelation is God’s revelation of Himself through His Word and in His Son Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 10:17; 10:13-15). Special revelation is that which is given to us through Prophets, the Bible, and even visions and dreams (Num. 12:6-8). The ultimate in revelation is the incarnation of Jesus because He came to reveal the Father to us (Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 1:18; Heb. 1:1-3) and to communicate to us the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4) by which comes salvation. Thereby mankind is seeing the plan if God played out through the Word of God. The Holy Rite must be preached or we are in darkness in every way. (“Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;” (Job 14:5). (See also Gen. 41:32; Jer. 15:2; 27:7; Hab. 2:3 Matt. 24:36; Luke 21:24; 22:22; John 8:20).

Conclusion
It will do us good to be honest and stay close to the revelation that can be supported. There are many things that I might not be able to explain but the Bible is God’s sound revelation and many others might be mistaken. It is better to follow only the path that we have pure light to guide within. (“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psa. 119:105). If I am in error, I am truly sorry, but I have, therefore, erred on the side of caution.

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Preaching

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Psalms 107:2 S É S Romans 12:1-2
E-Mail: preslar12@windstream.net – Website: fw4u.org

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