By H. E. Phillips
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, by whom also he made the worlds (Heb. 1:1,2).
Just as man must reveal his mind to all others before they can know it, so must God reveal his mind to man before he can know it. This is done by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:13).
All revelation comes from the mind of God. Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak” (Jn. 12:48-50).
Those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God believe he is sitting at the right hand of God, and has supreme power and authority in heaven and in earth. While he was upon earth (under the Mosaic dispensation) he said that he did not speak of himself; but the Father gave to him what he should speak. He said he spoke only what the Father gave unto him (v. 50).
God the Father has exalted Jesus Christ at his own right hand and made him both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:33,36). He gave him all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). God speaks to us now only through or in his Son, Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1,2). Christ speaks to us through the apostles whom he had chosen for that work. Before he ascended into heaven, he told the apostles not to depart from Jerusalem, but to “wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me” (Acts 1:4). He said to them: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
God gave all authority to Christ when he ascended to his right hand in heaven. Christ speaks through the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:26; 16:13). After he had ascended into heaven, he gave commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen. Luke wrote two books of the New Testament: the gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. He addressed both to one named Theophilus. In both treatises he was under the power of the Holy Spirit who gave him the words that he wrote. The gospel concerned “all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up.” Acts begins, “after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen” (Acts 1:1,2). After Christ was taken up, he gave commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen.
I want you to notice that God “speaks” by or in his Son to this age. He used “words” when he spoke by his Son. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit gave the apostles “utterance” to make known the mind of God. Strong says of “utterance” — “. . .to enunciate plainly, i.e. declare: say, speak forth, utterance.” It is necessary to use words in giving utterance in any language. That is what Jesus means when he used the term “word” or “words” to specify his revelation of the Father. Word indicates an expression of some idea, thought, fact, command, promise, etc.
As Christ “speaks” with the authority given to him, he must also use words. He said, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (Jn. 6:63). He said the words he spoke to the apostles while he was with them were not of himself, but of the Father (Jn. 14:10). Then he said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (v. 15). Jesus teaches the relationship of his disciples to him in the parable of the vine and the branches (Jn. 15:1-6). Verse 7 says: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Finally, he said those who reject him, and receive not his words, will be judged by his words in the last day (Jn. 12:48).
The word which the Father has spoken by his Son is revealed by the Holy Spirit to the apostles. Just before he ascended into heaven, Jesus said to them: “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until he be endued with power from on high” (Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:8). Jesus told his apostles that the Comforter, “which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (Jn. 14:26). He also told them that when the Spirit of truth came, “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” (Jn. 16:13). The Holy Spirit does not speak of himself: from his own mind; whatsoever he hears, that is what he speaks. Some-one speaks to him with the message to give to the apostles, just as Christ received his words from the Father.
In Acts 1:2 the inspired record tells that Christ, who has all authority, gives commandments unto the apostles “through the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:1-4 reveals that the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles on Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Christ gives the commands, the Holy Spirit reveals it by words in the mouths of the apostles. They spoke and wrote it (1 Cor. 2:13; Gal. 1:11,12; 1 Thess. 2:13; 1 Cor. 2:13; 14:37; Eph. 3:1-4; 2 Pet. 3:15, 16).
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 1, p. 6
January 7, 1993