Course: History and Authenticity of the Bible
Inspiration — Part One
Let’s have a word of prayer.
Father, thank You that You are a God who has revealed Himself in written form so we can learn about You, about Your wonderful ways and about Your gospel. And help us, Lord, to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves and not to become so dogmatic that we lose perspective of kindness and patience and openness. And help us, Lord, to not to be critical minded in the sense of tearing down. But our criticism, we pray, would be constructive, to build up the body and to encourage people to trust Your word. Thank You, Lord, for what we are learning in this course. We pray that You will help all the students to just quickly grasp these serious matters even though we don’t go into great depth in these critical areas. Help us, Lord, to get enough so that we understand what’s happening. We thank You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
I mentioned in the opening of this class about how it is going to become more of a controversy. I believe it is. The more people are exposed to the actual evidence of these manuscripts, the more it is going to become a controversy. And that is exactly what is happening—very interesting. It is a war out there because it involves a lot of money. And you know Bibles still outsell all Christian books ten to one. So, you understand that there is mega, mega bucks in this business of selling Bibles.
According to these articles, there are more versions on the docket they are talking about putting out. And they are arguing over which Greek text they shall use. It is very interesting and exactly what we are talking about in the course. So this is one of those “stay tuned—more controversy coming.” And that’s why, again, we need to be careful when we walk through the course that we have facts and that we don’t become argumentative. “The servant of the Lord must not strive!” (cf. 2 Timothy 2:24). But we do have to stand against those who oppose with love, with gentleness, but with strength too. And just say, “Wait a minute, here’s some of the evidence and let’s take a look at it.”
We are in a very critical point in our discussions because we are talking about the inspiration of the Bible. And I think that one of the first things that you need to understand is that most people believe the writers were inspired, as we have said. They don’t believe that it refers to the writings. When you ask if the Bible is inspired? They think the people that wrote it are inspired. And that is not what the Bible teaches. It’s “every graphe(writing) is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16).
The definition I’d like you to be responsible for again, to mention it again, it is the act of God. It is not an act of man. When you talk about inspiration, it is an act of God, by which His revelation is communicated in written form. Now I could add this word on the end of that, we are referring to the original autographs. That would be as it came off the pen of the writers. Because from then on, the issue of inspiration changes into preservation and so we need to be careful. Like, there are many people who believe that the King James Version of 1611 is the inspired version of God. I happen to believe the Bible is inspired of God. And I believe that the King James Version that we currently use is an adequate and sufficient translation of the Greek text, the summary of the evidence of the Greek text, that show us what the original autographs in fact were. But technically the inspiration of the Bible refers to the original autographs, not to its translation.
In addition to the fact that inspiration refers to the writings, there are two passages that ended with last time I want you to know, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:19-21. You need to know those passages. In addition to the fact that the Bible in its written form is inspired of God, breathed out by God, we also realize that the Holy Spirit of God was controlling the writers—and it is important how you say this—so that what was written was exactly what God intended.
Can you imagine the paradox or the trouble we are going to be in if we think that what was written was not what God intended? This is where a lot of people bring in human error into the problem of transmission of the text. And they think these guys basically wrote their own stories and although they are pretty accurate, they disagree. But you know that we would expect that with four different reporters, and so you kind of leave out the message of 2 Peter 1:21, which teaches that the Holy Spirit of God controlled the writers. So whatever was written is exactly what God intended and was accurately reported. That is very important.
In 2 Samuel 23:2 where David said: “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me and [notice] his word was in my tongue.” So God apparently is making sure of this by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said of David in Mark 12:36 that he spoke “by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit was actually giving him the words to say. In Acts 1:16, Peter in his message on the Day of Pentecost said: “which the Holy Spirit by the mouth of David spoke before concerning Judas.” This was in the selection of somebody to replace Judas when they were in the upper room. And Peter referred to that passage in Psalm 41, which dealt with the betrayal of David by Ahithophel, Bathsheba’s grandfather. And he likens it to the betrayal of the Messiah by another Ahithophel, only this one would be called “Judas.” And he says, “The Holy Spirit, by the mouth of David, spoke.” In this case, notice the order is reversed. It is not David spoke by the Holy Spirit, but it is the Holy Spirit speaking through the mouth of David. So once again, you are pressured in your view of inspiration by that verse alone. And if we believe the Bible is the word of God, we now have to say that it’s the Holy Spirit speaking through the human authors.
Now some people have the idea that the writer speaks and the Holy Spirit kind of guides it. But the Bible says “the Holy Spirit spoke it.” That is different from the Holy Spirit guiding us today and giving the words to say when we need them. This is direct revelation. And that’s a difference between Scripture and you and I preaching the Scripture under the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. There is a strong difference between those two. In Acts 28:25, Paul said, “Well spoke the Holy Spirit by Isaiah.” There it is again. The Holy Spirit speaks and He speaks unto our fathers.
Take your Bibles and turn to John 14. And I want you to see what Jesus predicted concerning the inspiration of the Bible by the Holy Spirit. John 14:26. This is the night before He went to the cross. It says, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you [what?] all things.” Better underline that. Mark it. Make sure you understand it. “He will teach you all things.” Now will He trust you to remember it? No. The next statement says: “And bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you.” Notice, not only does He teach them everything, but He doesn’t trust them to recall it, which is one of the arguments of the neo-orthodox side of those who believe the Scriptures were inspired but maybe just the thoughts not the words. Their argument is that: “They would have had to recall and remember things. And you know you don’t always do that accurately. The Holy Spirit kind of guided them to make sure the essential points were there.” But that isn’t what it says!
I happen to believe in 1 John 5:7-8 that what we call “the Johannine Comma” is indeed correct in King James. Yet everybody says it is not a part of the original text. The Johannine Comma is dealing with the statement in 1 John 5 that refers to the Trinity. And the Jehovah Witness of course loves to point out, quoting fundamental, evangelical scholars that it doesn’t belong in the text. So there is no mention of the Trinity. I happen to believe it belongs in the text and the King James is correct. And later on we will be telling you why. Amen?
So we’ve got to have the evidence, don’t we? See, I am one of those sticklers for this. I just don’t bow down and take it just because it is in a margin of a Bible, or because somebody says it. It’s all nice, but I want to look it up. It doesn’t make me right. I’ll look it up and I’ll show you the evidence and you can make a decision. By the way, I do that every time I study the Bible. I’m making decisions just like anybody else. But I want to look at the evidence.
You know in the New American Standard in John 1:18 it says: “No man has seen God at any time. But the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” The guys who wrote the New American Standard I knew very well. Several of them were my teachers. And they love the Lord with all their hearts and believed in the Deity. And they thought the New American Standard, which took some heavy manuscript evidence that the word “God” belongs there, was correct. Okay. Now some of the “King James Only” crowd has said, “No, they are attacking the deity of Christ because how could God be begotten? Without realizing that if that’s so, then we are attacking the deity of Jesus, because in the other translations of the King James it says, “The only begotten Son.” So the issue isn’t whether it’s “God” or “Son” in the text, the issue is the meaning of what is “only begotten.” Do you follow what I’m saying? It’s hard to back up and say, “I made a big mistake.” that is what we have to learn to do, don’t we?
From John 14:26, we learn two things: “all” was taught by the Holy Spirit and secondly, “all”was brought to their remembrance by the Holy Spirit. Now, go over to John 16:13. And this is very interesting. Least I hope it will be. Jesus said, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth….” Just for your information, the word truth is mentioned twice. And in the Greek text the definite article “the” is front of the word truth, both times. It is not just truth in general, it’s “the truth”—meaning a particular body of truth. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of the truth when he is come, he will guide you [lead you] into all the truth.” Do you believe He did that? Do you?
Do you believe that the people listening to Jesus were guided into “all” the truth? Did you know that most evangelicals do not believe that verse is speaking about those who were listening to Jesus? They believe it is referring to the total body of Christ—all believers. In other words, the Spirit will guide all of you into the truth. So this is where we get the doctrine about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer guiding us into the truth. “Dear Lord, guide me into all the truth.”
All the truth there is that you need to know—that is God’s revelation to you—is already in written form. Now either He told them the truth, or He’s kind of deceiving them, isn’t He? Did He mean, He’s going to start it with you guys, but He’s going to continue it until He comes again? On that basis, [it is] what we call “progressive revelation.” Therefore we’ve got to fight the Mormons as to whether or not their deal, which Joseph says he got from the Lord, could be also included or anybody else.
If He didn’t guide them into all the truth, then we have no objective basis for questioning anybody who stands up and says, “God directly spoke to me and gave me some additional Scripture.” Even under the name of a spiritual gift, like the word of knowledge, word of wisdom, word of prophecy. Does that mean that they have the ability to come up with new revelation from God?
Now folks, does God impress our hearts? Does He lead us? Does He give us visions, and just constantly show us the way to go, and impress hearts? Yes! It is not Scripture. It’s not direct revelation, but He does. He guides us by the Holy Spirit. Paul said that he wanted to go into Bithynia but the Spirit didn’t let him go (cf. Acts 16:7). How did He do that? Was there a detour sign? Was it a rainy day? What was it? We don’t know. He did not say. But since he also believes what this teaches, he didn’t add it to the Bible as direct revelation. The event of what occurred is accurately reported.
We are really in a tough area here because I want you to know what inspiration means. And I’m very aware that you could walk out of this class and hear another fine believer who loves the Lord and teaches the Bible and loves God and is going to say something entirely different. So you’re going to have to judge that aren’t you? You’re going to have to really think this through. I’m just asking all of you the question: “Do you believe that all the truth that God ever wanted you to know was given to the guys that were listening to Him that day? It’s an interesting question, isn’t it?
Thankfully, John was there because we are including his writings and he didn’t bring those off until about A.D. 90-95. So John was there that day. When John died, the last disciple who died, was all truth given? I’m just telling you, this is a critical issue, isn’t it? Was it all the truth? Or was it some of the all the truth? Was it a part of the all the truth? Or was it all? Did He mean all believers or was He just talking to the disciples? That’s an interesting question, isn’t it?
At the end of John 14:31, when He said, “Arise let us go.” Should we now get up and go, because it’s written to us? No! It’s a fact reporting how the disciples left the upper room and moved over to the garden of Gethsemane. So you understand what I’m saying to you? Now, let’s back up again. Did those men, who were listening to Jesus, did they get all truth? That’s what He told them. Now, He’s either telling the truth or He’s lying. Which is it?
In other words, inspiration not only refers to the writings, but it refers to the control of the Holy Spirit over the writers so that what was written was exactly what God intended and in fact was a completed product.
I would want to really find out whether or not Paul really received direct revelation from Jesus Christ Himself, wouldn’t you? I’d want to know that. And wouldn’t you think that if God wanted you to believe that, then He would somehow mention it since Paul wasn’t there? Wouldn’t that be important? Does Paul say that he received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ? Yes, he does.
Now, not only was John there, but John doesn’t wait for us to assume this. In Revelation he tells you flat out that this came directly from Jesus Christ, directly. That’s the name of the book, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” And it is very interesting when you think about it. Is it a revelation about Him? Or is it a revelation from Him? Well, it’s actually both! If you were Joseph Smith and you wanted to add to the Scripture, then you would have to prove that He directly spoke to you. Right? But Joseph Smith says that it came from where? An angel named Moroni. Now, do we have any evidence in the Bible that we are not to respond to an angel that claims to be giving us direct revelation? Yes, we do. But the Mormons answer, “Wait a minute. John got the book of Revelation through the agency of an angel.” Remember that? That’s where Joseph Smith got his idea. So, let’s turn over to Revelation 1:1 and let’s take a look at it again. It says,
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, [that’s the title of the book] which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it [did it by signs] by his angel unto his servant John.
Does it say that the angel gave the revelation? No, it doesn’t. He carried it. He illustrated it. But the revelation God gave to Jesus Christ and then He showed it to His servants. Okay?
Let’s go back to John 16:13-15, which says:
When he, the Spirit of the 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 show you—[what]—things to come [which of course we just read in Revelation 1:1]. He shall glorify me for he shall receive of mine, [it’s the Lord’s revelation] and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine and shall show it unto you.
What we have here is a claim that this is direct revelation from God and His Son, Jesus Christ, from the Father and His Son. Interesting!
Inspiration is the work of God using prophets and apostles as human channels of His revelation to us. Now, do you believe that any ordinary Christian can receive direct revelation from God? Well, let me ask you another question. Did anyone ever, who was not an apostle, nor a prophet, receive direct revelation from God? Yes, there are quite a number of them, especially in the book of Genesis. Well now, we’ve got a problem, unless the direct revelation we are talking about is that which is to be written. Now let’s ask the question: did anyone but an apostle or a prophet receive direct revelation that was to be written in what God calls “His forever-settled word?” No.
You say, “Wait a minute! What about Moses who wrote the first five books?”
No problem. Moses is called a prophet.
We have how many apostles? Twelve. Now, is that true? No, it’s not true, but we continue to hold on to it. Actually some of the twelve didn’t write any books, so it isn’t just the twelve. We have additional men who are apostles. We have: Silvanus, Timothy, Titus, Andronicus, Junia, Epaphroditus, and Epaphras. They are all called apostles. Sometimes you have in English the word “messenger.” You look it up in the Greek, it’s the word “apostle.” There are some apostles who used to write Scripture and there are some who did not write Scripture, who are a part of the twelve.
Now the question, was Paul one of the twelve? Judas betrays Him. And the early Church did something wrong. They threw dice, gambled, and selected Matthias when they should have chosen Paul, or waited for Paul. Now that’s a theory a lot of people have. Is that true? No, that’s not true. Why?
Turn to Acts please, chapter 1. I’m just here to get you to think. Look at the Scripture for yourself, Acts 1:15. Now, they’ve got to get someone to replace Judas, Peter says from verse 15 on. This gives a little background there from the Old Testament, both Psalm 41 and 69 are mentioned down in verse 20. And then he says “Out of all these guys (cf. Acts 1:21-22) who have been with us…from the beginning, from the baptism of John until the day He was taken up, one must be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection” (cf. Acts 1:21-22). So there were more guys than just those twelve…they appointed Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus and Matthias and they prayed and said, “Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whither of these two thou hast chosen.” Why did they think there was only twelve? Why in the world did they think they had to have twelve?
Jesus chose twelve and He even called them His twelve apostles in Matthew 10:2-4. And these twelve Jesus sent forth. He chose twelve. He also said that in the future they are going to sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. If you are Jewish you would think, “Oh He wants one for each tribe.” Okay. So, they are just thinking: “we need twelve.”
Are there more apostles than twelve (mentioned in the Scriptures)? Yes. Are there just twelve? Yes. What part do they have? They are a very significant part because their names are going to be on the foundations of the heavenly city. Why? Because that’s the way God wants it.
Now, let’s go back to the question again in Acts 1. It says in verse 26, “They gave forth their lots.” You say, “Well that’s gambling.” No it’s not, even though we get the word “lottery” from lot. But no, it’s not. Proverbs 16:33 tells us the casting of the lot, and the whole disclosing of it, is of the Lord. There really is no chance, is there? Now, it says that the lot fell upon Matthias and he was numbered with the eleven what?—apostles. You say, “That is just recording that it’s what they did. You don’t know that’s what the Holy Spirit wanted.”
Well, keep reading. Acts 2:14, the Holy Spirit is reporting this on the Day of Pentecost, “but Peter, standing up with the [what?] eleven.” It didn’t say “with the ten.” It said “with the eleven.” So the Holy Spirit has already included Matthias by chapter 2:14. Paul’s name is not in the twelve, but neither is Barnabus’ name, neither is Timothy, nor Titus and they are all apostles.
Now apostle is apostelo. We just said it in English “apostle,” we didn’t translate it. Apostelois a verb. Apostelosis a Greek noun. Now if you put that into Latin, the verb becomes missel which said into English becomes “missionary.” Our word missionary is actually an English transliteration of a Latin word that translates apostle. That’s how we got the word missionary.
What is an apostle supposed to do? Well, you have to read Acts 14:21-28 and it tells you at least seven things that every apostle should do. He’s supposed to preach the gospel. He’s supposed to disciple the new converts. He is supposed to train leaders. There are a lot of interesting things he’s supposed to do. Then he moves on to another city. Missionaries are not local pastors. Apostles are not pastors. There is a different kind of a person there, a different kind of gifted man.
Now coming back to the apostle issue, it says in Ephesians 2:20—talking about Jew and Gentile who have come into one body in Christ and are no more strangers, fellow citizens, household of God—“are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone.” Now, what’s he talking about here? Is he talking about all apostles and all prophets? No. I don’t believe so. I’ll tell you why.
Would you look at verse 20 very carefully? The definite article “the” is in front of the word apostles. Is it in front of the word prophets? Look at your Bible. No, it’s not. It’s not in the Greek text either. Now we have an elementary Greek rule of grammar that says when you have two nouns connected by the conjunction “and,” and the definite article “the” is in front of the first noun, but not the second, it is connecting equals. Now that is very important in some passages.
Titus 2:13 says, “Looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Jehovah Witnesses say at the Second Coming both the Father and Jesus will return, on the basis of that. Because they are certainly not going to claim that He’s the great God. But they’re wrong. Why?—because of an elementary rule of Greek grammar. In that text it says “the great God and,” and it doesn’t say “the Savior,” to separate it. It makes the two nouns one and the same. God is the same as the Savior. Savior is the same as God. In other words, Jesus is called the great God in Titus 2:13. Now that is worth a great halleluiah!
So here we have another example. In other words, whoever the apostle is, he’s also the same as the prophet. And the prophet is the same as the apostle. So the question is, “in what sense?” And the answer is again, “Scripture.” How do you know it’s talking about the revelation of God? That’s a good question. Is the written revelation of the Bible the foundation of the Church? That’s the question.
Look at Ephesians 3:3-5. Paul says,
How that by revelation, he made known unto me the mystery [This mystery of the Church, Jew and Gentile would be one body in Christ.] as I wrote before in a few words. Whereby, when you read you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, [watch this carefully] as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
Now I know what he means by 2:20, when he said “the foundation of the church.”
Why are they holy? The word “holy” means to be separate. What he’s talking about is that there are apostles and prophets who are separate from other apostles and prophets in some sense. What sense?—the sense of receiving direct revelation which is in these verses.
Can you name a prophet out of the New Testament—not the Old because there are many named in the Old Testament—name a prophet in the New Testament who did not write a single book as far as you know: John the Baptist, Agabus, Judas, Silas. These are all prophets mentioned in the Bible by name in the New Testament who never wrote Scripture. They are not one of the holy, the separate prophets that receive direct revelation.
Can you name apostles who never wrote any Scripture? Yes, of course. We named some off a moment ago. So when you say holy, separate apostles and prophets—separate in what sense?—that they received direct revelation as it clearly says. So that means, class, that this Book is the foundation of the Church that God is building. I don’t know about you, but we aren’t building the foundation any more. We’re about ready to put the roof on. The Lord Jesus is coming soon. Do you understand that this issue is fundamental to a complete and final and sufficient revelation from God in written form?
I believe that unless you settle this issue in your mind, you will have no apologetical answers for any cults whatsoever. A smart cultist who knows what he’s doing can tie you in knots if you cannot demonstrate that the written word of God was completed, final and totally sufficient within the first century A.D., and if you cannot prove that, you’re sunk, there is no way you can deal with them. There is no way you can question their desire to add to the Bible. You can’t do it. This is very important, class, extremely important. Really, that’s the whole reason [argument] behind the Apocrypha. Why we reject it. Why we do not believe it was a part of it? Because the Bible was a finished product in the first century A.D. and it did not include the Apocrypha. The fact that men later included it doesn’t answer anything. They were good history. They wanted people to know about it. But that is not evidence for it being the word of God.
Go to Hebrews 1. We take it a little step further of this same point. It’s amazing how when you just really follow the Bible very carefully, what insight it brings to you on all that other stuff you’ve heard. I caution you, read your Bible carefully. The first principle of preparing a Bible lesson, whether you are teaching a Sunday school class or preaching in a service, the first lesson after prayer and consulting the Lord is to read and re-read the passage over and over again. I like to read it so many times that if I lost my Bible I could still give it back to you. I’m not trying to memorize it in one sense. But in another sense I want to know that passage so well that it’s a part of my life, it’s a part of my brain. This is very important, class. This is the word of God. I need to renew my mind daily in God’s word. I need the word of God.
God who at sundry times [or various times] and in divers [or various] manners, spake in time past unto the Fathers by the prophets.
Why didn’t he say “apostles and prophets?” It’s because he is speaking of Old Testament revelation. Now watch this: “Hath in these last days.” You are going to want to know what that actually says there, because when we read “the last days,” we think of prophecy, don’t we? But technically we are in the last days anyway. The last days began on the Day of Pentecost; that is what Peter said. He quoted the prophecy in Joel. That “in the last days God would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh.” He said “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” It started on the Day of Pentecost; it’s continued now for over 1900 years. The last days actually go to the end of the Tribulation period. But that is not what he’s talking about, as I’ll show you in a moment.
He hath in these days spoken unto us by his Son, [oh, a direct revelation from Jesus Christ!] whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he hath made the worlds. Who being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged [or cleansed] our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:2-3)
I can’t believe how many Christians have messed up their minds on these verses! In the Greek text of verse 2 it says: “in the last of these days.” And a lot of people say to me, “Oh Dave, you are such a stickler for word order!” I didn’t do it, God did it! He wrote it! I’m just trying to make it accurate. So sometimes we take freedom and we say, “these last days,” but because last days often are thought of prophetically in our day as still in the future, we are missing the context. Actually, you would understand the context if you remembered Hebrews 1:1. What’s he talking about? How God spoke, “in the last of these days,” the days in which God spoke by the prophets to the fathers, like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. “In the last days in which God spoke directly…” Whoops! In other words, class, this text argues for the fact that God stopped giving direct revelation that He expected to be in written form.
When did He stop? And the answer of the text is that the final revelation would be “His Son.” His Son! Now do you know any book of the Bible that tells you about Jesus more completely than all of the Bible put together?—the book of Revelation. There are more names of Jesus Christ in that book than in any other book. Actually, He’s totally different than what you read in the gospels. When you get to chapter one you realize we are talking about the glorified Son of God, resurrected, “whose eyes are like a flame of fire, His face, like the most brilliant sunlight, the resurrected Christ” (Revelation 1:14-16). And from then on, everything we learn about Him is greater than anything we’ve ever seen.
Isn’t it helpful that God called the book, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ?” Have you ever thought about that? So nobody would misunderstand what Paul said to the Jews in Hebrews 1:1-2. Why put it in the book of Hebrews? Because the Jews are concerned about direct revelation from God; as a matter of fact, they still today question whether the New Testament belongs in the Tanakh, the Bible. Isn’t it interesting the very book written to the Jewish people, says, “God, in time past.” They’re all saying “amen” on verse 1. When it comes to verse 2 they are very quiet. “Has in these last days in which God spoke, spoken by His Son.” Jews don’t like that. And isn’t it interesting that the last book in our Bible is entitled, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ?”
“Spoken unto us by His Son,” but you don’t have any recording of that up until His ascension. You don’t have any description of Him other than Luke 24. He ate the fish and all of that. But you have after that a lot of stuff. For instance, the fact that the disciples handled His physical body and touched Him is in 1 John 1:1, written about A.D. 90-95. Hebrews was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, so you’ve got thirty years later, more evidence of how He spoke to us by His Son.
What kind of revelation did He give us? Well then you’d have to read the book of Hebrews to find out what kind of revelation. Isn’t it interesting in Hebrews, it’s all in His exaltation, not His earthly life. He is so much better than the angels, so much greater than the priests, greater than Moses, greater than Abraham, greater than the Levitical, sacrificial system. In other words, the greatness of Jesus Christ, this revelation concerning Him, it’s even intimated in the book of Hebrews! “He has spoken to us in His Son.” But it actually doesn’t say “in” His Son. It says “by” His Son. Does the book of Hebrews claim to be direct revelation by Jesus Christ? No. Is all Scripture a direct revelation of Jesus Christ? Yes, in a sense. But it’s the book of Revelation that is called “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”
In other words, you could ask another question. What is it at the writing of Hebrews that I don’t know about Jesus Christ, since I have all the Gospels already? What is it that you don’t know? Why would he even make that remark at that point? Because at this point, you’re some 30 years after the Gospels, so why make that point now? Is there something I’m missing? Yes there is! You mean there’s more revelation about Him? Yes there is. You see, what He is now. What is He now? First of all, He is better than angels. He’s better than. You see, in His earthly life He was made a little lower than the angels. Now Hebrews tells us, the revelation we have of Him now—how God is speaking to us now—He’s better than the angels. In other words, He’s no longer talking about earthly existence. He’s now talking about glorification, exaltation. Where do I see the particulars on this? Oh there’s a whole book about it, twenty-two chapters. It’s called “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” There’s where you will see the unfolding of who He really is.
Do you follow? In other words, the fact that it isn’t written is still presenting the question: “Well, where is this information?” You see Hebrews 1:1-2 anticipates a revelation about Jesus Christ as to His present state. What He’s really like after His resurrection. It not only anticipates that but it also indicates that when it comes there won’t be anything more said.
“In the last of these days, in which God spoke,” you will see a revelation through His Son. What revelation are we talking about, Paul?
“Oh, that He’s greater than the angels, greater than Abraham, greater than Moses, greater than the Levitical priests, greater than all the sacrifices.”
“Well, where is it? Where’s the revelation? But what is it?”
“Oh, that’s going to come in the book of Revelation.”
Do you understand what I’m saying? Without that you’re lost. There is no explanation of these verses in Hebrews, none whatsoever. See I happen to believe that God did do this. If “God spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets and in the last of the days in which He speaks He has spoken through His Son,” I expect to see it. I expect to find it somewhere. And it will have to be after the death and resurrection of Christ. Why? Because that’s what’s presented throughout the book of Hebrews, telling us about how He is “greater than.” You’ve got to follow it through. Just keep asking if you don’t understand. It’s very important to get a hold of this. Most people don’t follow this clearly.
Have you ever asked why, in the book of Revelation, it says at the end, “No man can add to this or take away from it”? Now if you look at that apart from Hebrews here’s what is usually said—Mormons are very, very strong on this—they say what it means is only the book of Revelation because all these books were written separately. And that makes some sense. So it’s just referring to the book of Revelation that you can’t add to that or take away from it.
Now how do you answer that? My answer to them is, “How does that help? What is the book of Revelation about? It goes clear into the eternal state. Now how are you going to add to that? I don’t understand. What else would be said if God has said about everything that’s going to take place in the future and it hasn’t even happened now in our time, then how could you add to that?” So, the fact of what the book of Revelation is, answers the argument as to why at the end it says you can’t add, can’t take away from this book. This book is about the future clear into eternity. How you going to add anything? You got some additional information? This is ridiculous.
No. Instead of that, it is highly significant that that remark is at the end of the book that gives that revelation. Why? Because in Hebrews 1:1-2 it speaks about the last of the days in which God reveals. Is there an ending point? Class, listen to me: the whole issue of dealing with cults and false religions and everything is actually based on this one issue we’re talking about. When all the smoke is cleared, it’s this one issue. Is the Bible a complete and final revelation from God? That’s the issue. You don’t just say that, you’ve got to prove that and that’s what we’re doing right at the present time. You have to prove that. It’s not as easy to prove as some people say, “We’ve always believed that.”
David Koresh got a bunch of fundamental Christians to believe that his revelations were additions to the Bible. So much so that he proclaimed himself to be the Messiah! How did they get to that point? It never would have happened if the Christians would have said, “Excuse me! You are giving additional revelation to what the Bible says.”
A guy sent a big long book on prophecies that he said were going to come true in America and several people got them. They were all shook up about “the big one” [earthquake]. God directly told him that the big one was going to knock California into the sea. He was preaching these as prophecies, direct visions from the Lord. All eight of his visions that he received “directly” from Jesus Christ have all proven to be false.
What does the Bible tell me to do about him? You don’t come to me and say, “I think about ten years ago he got one.” No, if he doesn’t get them all 100 percent, I’m not supposed to listen to him.
Do you understand how critical this is? You see this would never happen to us if we understand we already have a complete and final revelation from God.
“Is there going to be a worldwide revival?”
Now, first of all you’ve got to ask the question, “Do you mean evangelism?”
“No, we mean the stirring of the Christians.”
“Well because revivals usually produce lots of evangelism. If you mean that, then yeah, there is going to come a real big revival with lots of folks saved, probably more than any other equal period of time.”
“In the tribulation, and I don’t think you’re going to be here if you’re a believer.”
That’s one problem, but do you understand that there are going to be so many people saved that the Bible says you can’t number them. They’re going to come “out of every nation, tribe, tongue and people” (cf. Revelation 14:6). So, there is going to be a worldwide harvest. We are talking 144,000 Jewish evangelists taking the everlasting gospel to every nation, tribe, tongue and people.
You say, “Well then, they’d have to know a lot of languages.”
No. We would simply have what Peter told us would happen. The same thing that happened on the Day of Pentecost when every man heard it in his own language, and every dialect in which he was born, will happen also for the 144,000 in the tribulation period because Joel’s prophecy primarily deals with the tribulation period, when the sun is turned into darkness and the moon into blood (cf. Joel 2:31).
Do you understand me? Accuracy where the Bible is so important, accuracy!
So, when people tell me that God directly spoke to them and it doesn’t come true, I shouldn’t be surprised. Everything God wants you and me to know about Himself and His plan is in this blessed Book. I definitely believe that. I do not mean that God cannot speak to you and impress your heart on matters that are not dealt with in the Scripture, but I do not believe it is direct revelation from God. Nor do I consider it that. Nor do I believe it will therefore be accurate in every way. This is very important, class. Is this a complete, final revelation from God in written form?
Why don’t we just take a break now…