"Hear Ye Him"
"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother, and bringeth them up unto an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as white as the light. And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only." (Mt. 17:1-8)
There are three lessons that every Bible student should learn quickly from the above: (1) Peter's plans were not in harmony with God's plans. (2) The era of God's authority, as revealed by Moses and the prophets, was soon to be replaced. (3) God's authority for the "last days" was to be "Jesus only."
There is deep meaning embraced in the words ". . . they saw no man, save Jesus only". The image of the Son of God which their eyes beheld, apart from Moses the law-giver, apart from Elias the prophet; standing alone as the well-pleasing, beloved Son of Jehovah-this same image should be viewed spiritually by every would-be child of God. To these chosen disciples it was to illustrate the superiority of Jesus; the fact that He and He alone was to be heard. In times past Moses and the prophets were to be received and heard. Their authority was righteous and binding upon the children of Israel. But Jesus came to close that dispensation. He came prepared and willing to nail their authority to Calvary's cross and usher in, by human instrumentality, the law of Spirit and life-the gospel. "For the 'law was given by Moses, but grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1:17). The writer of the Hebrew letter expresses it thusly: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken Unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things . . ." (Hebrews 1:1, 2). We must hear Jesus, and Jesus only.
But let us see if all religions do. I may go to a Catholic friend and plea for unity. I tell him we ought to believe the same things, teach the same doctrines, worship the same God in the same manner. To all of this he will agree. Then I explain the necessity of a common source of authority, i.e., that we must agree upon a common source by which we may determine what is right and what is wrong. Even with this he will agree. Then I make known my willingness to take Jesus, and Jesus only, as He has revealed Himself on the pages of the New Testament. My friend hurriedly agrees to accept Jesus also, but only in the light of what the Pope, council, or priest dictates. This is not Jesus only. The same approach may be used with a denominational friend. The result: an attempt to harmonize the teachings of Jesus with the particular denominational creed to which the individual adheres. Man must look up beyond the haze of denominational error into the purity and simplicity of the gospel-Jesus' authority revealed-before religious unity can be obtained. What He commands, we must obey.
"Where can I find the authority of Christ?" This question deserves our attention. The answer is clear: Jesus' authority is found in his revealed will. Occasionally some will say: "I believe in the authority of Jesus. I believe we should live by what he has said. But I ref use to be bound to the teachings of Peter, Paul, and the others." Such talk indicates an improper conception of the Will of Christ. The things that Peter, Paul, and certain other disciples of Christ taught are just as much a part of the New Testament (Christ's Will) as the words that Jesus spoke while present upon the earth. Jesus so teaches:
"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." (John 16:1214).
This passage is taken from the 16th chapter of John where Jesus promises to send the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, unto the apostles to guide them into "all truth". Before Jesus ascended to the throne on high he told his chosen disciples to tarry in Jerusalem ". . until ye be endued with power from on high." (Luke 24:49). Acts 2 tells us that when the day of Pentecost was fully come ". . . they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.' '(Acts 2:1-4). From this time on the apostles were moved and directed by the Spirit of God to proclaim the truth, both that truth which Jesus taught them while he was with them bodily and the truth which the Comforter guided them into -ALL TRUTH. This, recorded for us in the form of the "New Testament" is the authority of Jesus revealed.
Since the will of Jesus has been revealed to us there is no other source to which we can appeal to learn the truth. By abiding only by the teachings of the New Testament we are subjecting ourselves unto "Jesus only." But the Bible student must indeed be careful. Satan, working through false teachers, has attempted to "hide" the truth from men by proclaiming "another gospel." False doctrines have permeated the minds of many causing them to be blinded to the truth. This necessitates putting every religious doctrine to the test. Does it come from Christ? or does it come from Man? That which does not come from Christ must come from man, and all such teaching must be abandoned and spoken against. We can only determine a doctrine's origin by an appeal to the New Testament, the authority of Christ. Let us consider the teaching of baptism as an example of how to determine the truth or falsity of a doctrine. (1) Some contend that baptism is immersion; others say it may be by sprinkling, or pouring, What does Jesus say? Speaking through the apostle Paul he relates the following:
"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ w e r e baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:3,4).
". . . Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." (Colossians 2:12).
In these two passages alone it is clearly taught that baptism was a burial in water, not a pouring or sprinkling of water. (2) Some contend that baptism is essential to the remission of sins and others deny such, teaching that man is justified by faith alone. Jesus said, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5). "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16). Through Peter on the day of Pentecost he stated: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). These are just a few of many, but they show what Jesus teaches. In this same manner should every religious teaching be put to test.
Are you willing to test your faith? Are you willing to find out in this manner whether or not what you tech is of God or of man? Are you willing to see whether or not the church you are now a member of is really the church, the ONE church, which Jesus established? We pray that you are willing, and that you will. Study to learn the truth. But as you study make sure you hear and receive the teachings of no man, save "Jesus only." Hear ye him."
Truth Magazine I:12, pp. 2-3, 23-24