A message from God (part one)

The Lord Jesus and I have a running joke. Since Jesus knows everything, he knows that I am only pretending, but I like to think that he sends me private and personal messages via the songs I hear on the radio. Whether it’s a recent song such as, “If it’s meant to be, it’ll be,” or a classic rock song like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” I treat the lyrics as encouragement to trust that a job change is coming soon. Even break-up songs can be heard as a promise that soon I will leave my current job for something better.

Jesus knows that I accept only the Bible as genuine messages from him. He said it himself: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39). Luke 24 shows Jesus using the Hebrew Bible (Moses, the prophets, and the writings) to explain his rescue mission, including his death and resurrection. Moses and the prophets spoke and wrote as inspired by the Holy Spirit. The apostles chosen by Jesus did the same. We can trust the Bible to be God’s Word, trustworthy and true, fully reliable in whatever it reports. No other message that claims to be from God—dreams, visions, or inner voices—comes with that guarantee.

Over the years I have known several Christians—in person or through the Internet—who believed that they received personal messages from God outside the written Word of the Bible. I do not want to single any of these Christians out for argument or debate. God can do whatever he wants. If he chooses to send a dream to one person and a thought to another person and a song on the radio to a third person, the Lord is quite capable of doing so. He doesn’t need my permission. But I want to share a cautionary tale about accepting every such message as heaven-sent, without “testing the spirits” (I John 4:1) by comparing the current message to the Bible.

Two men—I’ll call them Moe and Joe—had similar frustrations about religion and Christianity, although they lived in different parts of the world and at different times of history. Moe and Joe were both perplexed by the many religions in the world, including various differences in Christian teaching. Groups of Christians read the same Bible yet offered different interpretations of what is written. Moe and Joe both sought a direct and personal relationship with God. They wanted the Lord to confirm the truth to them so they could believe the truth and share it with others.

Had Moe spent more time studying the Bible, he would have been prepared for what happened to him. Moe would have know that “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (II Corinthians 11:14), and he would have remembered Paul’s warning that “even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8) As Moe sought a personal relationship with God to reveal truth to him, Moe was met by an angel of light who claimed to be the archangel Gabriel. This angel gave Moe messages to recite, purportedly messages from God that had been preached by all the prophets but had been changed over time. These messages included moral teachings that greatly resemble those accepted by Jews and Christians. But they also included statements that Jesus is a prophet but nothing more than a prophet, that God has no Son, and that each person is responsible for his or her own salvation. Some people think that Muhammad (or Moe) made up the messages he received; others believe he did receive the recitations of the Quran directly from an angelic figure. I cannot judge Muhammad, but I can judge his message to be false because of what it says about Jesus.

Likewise Joe (Joseph Smith Jr.) in the state of New York received heavenly visitors who provided him access to “Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” the Book of Mormon. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believe that the Book of Mormon is from God; most Christians believe that it is not. The proof is found in comparing its message to the writings of Moses, the prophets, and the apostles. Once again, the messages do not agree. Some people think that Joe invented the messages of the Book of Mormon; others believe he did receive those writings from heavenly figures. I cannot judge Joseph Smith, but I can judge his message to be false because of what it says about Jesus.

With Moe and Joe in mind, I encourage every Christian to be slow to accept any dream or message or thought or feeling as a personal message from God. “Test the spirits.” Study the Bible to know God’s Word so you can distinguish truth from falsehood. Don’t be angry when another Christian uses God’s Word to correct a message that you think came from God, because that is one of the purposes of the Bible (II Timothy 3:16-17). And tomorrow I will write more about having a personal relationship with Jesus that goes beyond reading, hearing, learning, and sharing the written Word of the Bible. J.

11 thoughts on “A message from God (part one)

  1. I haven’t met too many people who believe in the Quran, but I have met many Mormons… they sort of bee-line it for my house.
    Most of them agree that the Holy Bible is the word of God, and for the most part, they talk to me about the Bible and don’t really reference the BoM.
    But I always ask the question: Why would there be another testament of Jesus Christ? Specifically one which the Mormons say you can read alongside the KJV (Or whichever version one reads) and aligns itself with the Holy Word of God?
    They always seem to stumble on that question. For the most part they answer “Well J.S. was the prophet to America…”
    America really doesn’t need prophets, and never really did. What America needs are evangelists on every street corner.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree completely. I knew some Muslims in college–even had a Muslim roommate. One day he said to me, “We Muslims have great respect for your prophet Jesus–why don’t you have any respect for our prophet Muhammad?” J.

      Like

    • The Book of Revelation was written about 77 A.D. by the Apostle John. Revelation 22:18, 19 (NKJV) say: 18 — “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;” 19 — “and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

      I believe this says that something added in 1820 does not hold water when tested for its ability to contain the message of God. Thank You for your comment.

      Like

  2. The reason that Jesus can say “my sheep hear my voice” is because we HAVE it, His words, word that He wants us to know, recorded and preserved! We can compare what any other voice is saying with our Lord’s Voice. That is how we hear, and know with confidence that it is the voice of the Lord. I think the Lord wants us to have that objective confidence, and the comfort it brings.

    I think it’s interesting, too, that Jesus *doesn’t* say “my sheep *recognize* my voice”, he says “hear my voice” and I can’t help but wonder if there is a connection being made between “faith comes by hearing” and “my sheep hear my voice”. Any idea if there is a connection in the Greek?

    In any case, I think it’s abundantly clear that God has warned us against false spirits and that we are to “test them” against the Scriptures. He never says we are to seek an inner confirmation, which, let’s face it, by its very nature is subjective, but points us to the objective confirmation of His word.

    That, of course, does not rule out the possibility of a direct revelation from God, but it gives us the objective standard by which we may confirm or reject it.

    Liked by 2 people

      • The Old Testament was written in Hebrew (to the Jewish Nation) and the New Testament was written in Greek (because it was extended to the Jew first and then to the Gentile) to the Greek people and other Gentiles. The Greek language was spoken in Rome during Jesus’ time. Romans 1:16 — “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Thus, the KJV was translated directly from the Greek and should mean what the Greek language says.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s