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General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

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    WE will study further the voice of God in his Word. That the Scripture recognizes that there is a voice in words, is shown by the record in Hebrews 12:18, 19: “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, not unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more.” Let us read together the record of this matter in Exodus 19, beginning with the third verse:—GCB February 20, 1895, page 245.1

    And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagle’s wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee forever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord.GCB February 20, 1895, page 245.2

    Seventeenth verse:—GCB February 20, 1895, page 245.3

    And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.GCB February 20, 1895, page 245.4

    What Moses said is recorded in the twelfth chapter of Hebrews, twenty-first verse: “I exceedingly fear and quake,” or tremble. Moses quaked and trembled, and he said so; he told the Lord, “I exceedingly fear and quake,” and the Lord “answered him by a voice.”GCB February 20, 1895, page 245.5

    Read further in Deuteronomy 5:4, 5: “The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire (I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to show you the word of the Lord: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount), saying.” Leaving out the parenthesis in the fifth verse, it reads: “The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, saying, “I am the Lord thy God,” etc. That is, he spoke the ten commandments.GCB February 20, 1895, page 245.6

    These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. And it came to pass, when we heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness (for the mountain did burn with fire), that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders: and ye said, Behold, the Lord our God hath showed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say; and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it. And the Lord heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the Lord said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken.GCB February 20, 1895, page 245.7

    Again: in the fourth chapter of Deuteronomy, and as you follow in the Authorized Version, I will read in what is frequently referred to as the Jewish translation. Thirty-third verse:—GCB February 20, 1895, page 245.8

    Hath ever a people heard the voice of a god, speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and remained alive? Or hath a god essayed to go to take himself a nation by proofs, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, like all that which the Lord your God hath done for you in Egypt before thy eyes? Unto thee it was shown, that thou mightest know that the Eternal is the God, there is none else besides him. Out of the heavens he caused thee to hear his voice, to correct thee: and upon the earth he caused thee to see his great fire; and his words didst thou hear out of the midst of the fire. He made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee, or correct thee.GCB February 20, 1895, page 245.9

    The ninth chapter of Nehemiah refers to this same instruction. Thirteenth verse: “Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments.” Now he caused them to hear his voice out of heaven that he might instruct them. But read in 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”GCB February 20, 1895, page 246.1

    God caused them to hear his voice out of heaven, to instruct or to correct them; but it is his voice speaking to us in his Word, in the Scriptures, and the Scripture is given for correction, for instruction, because it is the voice of the Lord speaking in each case. Now it is this voice of God in his Word that distinguishes these words from the words of men. They are words used by men; they are words in which men put their voice. Now God has put his voice into these words, and it is only when we recognize that it is God’s voice in these words, that it becomes to us the word of God rather than the word of men. And it is as that voice differs from the voice of men that this word becomes different from the words of men.GCB February 20, 1895, page 246.2

    Read a few scriptures. First in Psalm 68:32 and onward: “Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah: to him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice.” His voice is a mighty voice. “Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. O God, thou are terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people.” And he does this by his voice. He says to them: “Be strong, yea, be strong,” and when they hear in that his mighty voice, he gives them strength. He gives them power, and his word is a word of strength, a word of power. His voice is a mighty voice, and there are many instances where the Scripture seeks to impress upon our minds the idea of the might of the voice of God.GCB February 20, 1895, page 246.3

    Read with me the twenty-ninth psalm. I will read again from the Jewish translation:—GCB February 20, 1895, page 246.4

    Ascribe unto the Lord, O ye sons of the mighty, ascribe unto the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe unto the Lord the glory of his name; bow down to the Lord in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thundereth, the Lord — upon the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord (resoundeth) with power; the voice of the Lord (resoundeth) with majesty. The voice of the Lord breaketh in pieces the cedars; yea, the Lord shivereth the cedars of Lebanon; and he maketh them skip like a calf: Lebanon and Siryon like young rams. The voice of the Lord heweth out flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness; the Lord shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord causeth the hinds to start, and maketh bare forests: and in his temple everything speaketh (of his) glory. The Lord sat (enthroned) at the flood; the Lord will sit as King for ever. The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.GCB February 20, 1895, page 246.5

    Because his thoughts are thoughts of peace, he speaks peace to us; and because there is such might in his voice, such power when he speaks, when he speaks to us, he gives strength and peace to his people.GCB February 20, 1895, page 246.6

    This same thought is expressed in the thirty-seventh chapter of Job, verses 1-5: “At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved upward out of its place.” Did you ever have your heart come up into your throat? If so, you see the thought:—GCB February 20, 1895, page 246.7

    Hear, O, hear, the rattling of his thunder, and the storm’s roar that goeth out of his mouth. Under the whole heavens he letteth it loose, and his lightning over the ends of the earth. Behind it roareth the thunder; he thundereth with his majestic voice; and he holdeth them not back when his voice is heard. God thundereth with his marvelous voice: he doeth great things, which we cannot comprehend. — Jewish Translation.GCB February 20, 1895, page 246.8

    These and many other scriptures are designed to impress upon our minds the idea that the voice of the Lord is a mighty, majestic, powerful voice, and that when his voice speaks to us in his word, his word therefore becomes a word of might, a word of power, and it exceeds the power of man’s word. Just as God’s voice exceeds in might and majesty the power of the voice of a man, so this is what distinguishes the words of God from the words of man in the same language. But the difference is only when we hear the voice of God in that Word, for when we hear only the voice of a man, then it becomes the word of man.GCB February 20, 1895, page 246.9

    I will read three or four brief sentences from the “Spirit of Prophecy,” where this same idea is touched upon. First, in “Special Testimonies:”GCB February 20, 1895, page 246.10

    “Brethren, God calls upon you, both ministers and laymen, to listen to his voice speaking to you in his Word.”GCB February 20, 1895, page 246.11

    In “Steps to Christ,” page 133: “Do you ask ... why do I believe the Bible? — Because I have found it to be the voice of God to my soul.”GCB February 20, 1895, page 246.12

    “Testimony” 33, page 105, “All of the workers must use tact, and bring their faculties under the controlling influence of the Spirit of God. They must make it a business to study his word, and hear God’s voice addressing them from his living oracles in reproof, in instruction, or in encouragement.”GCB February 20, 1895, page 247.1

    “Christian Education,” page 110: “We should make the Bible our study above every other book; we should love it, and obey it as the voice of God.” Page 80: “When the heart is brought into harmony with the Word, a new life will spring up within you, a new light will shine upon every line of the Word, and it will become the voice of God to your soul.”GCB February 20, 1895, page 247.2

    With these suggestions, you can carry the study just as much farther as you think best.GCB February 20, 1895, page 247.3

    But when the people heard the voice of God at Sinai, they trembled, and the earth trembled. It was the voice that caused the trembling. We read in Hebrews 12:26: “Whose voice then shook the earth.” That same voice will shake both heaven and earth later. When the people heard God’s voice, they trembled. Even Moses said, “I do exceedingly fear and quake.” But God is speaking to us in his word now, just as certainly as he spoke to them then, and we are to hear his voice speaking to us in his word just as they heard his voice then. And God would have every one tremble at his word. We do not treat the word of God with sufficient reverence.GCB February 20, 1895, page 247.4

    It is said of the Waldenses, when Bibles were scarce and they were even forbidden to read those that they had, that they would gather together in some secluded spot perhaps in a cave in the mountain, and then some one fortunate enough to possess a portion of the word of God would bring it out and read it, and they would withdraw from that meeting after hearing from God out of his word, with a solemn sense that they had had an interview with God.GCB February 20, 1895, page 247.5

    I say we do not treat the word of God with sufficient reverence. It has been God’s plan continually to give us the revelation of himself in such a way that it should be respected for what it is, and not because of any outward sign that would compel submission to it. When Christ came, he came in the garb of a common man. He was of the common people, and God desired to have him accepted then because of the character that he presented, and not because he came with outward show. He has given us his Word, his voice clothed with human speech, not with outward show to inspire outward fear, but that we may receive it as it is indeed the voice of God to our souls, and reverence it as the word of God; and when the word of God is read, in our hearing, it should be reverenced; it should be listened to in the same way as though God himself were visibly present, and speaking these words. If we would act upon that, regard the Word in that way, that feeling toward the Word would make it possible for God to give us much more in his Word.GCB February 20, 1895, page 247.6

    Read this thought in Isaiah 66:2: “For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” Fifth verse: “Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word; your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.”GCB February 20, 1895, page 247.7

    Now God’s voice speaks to us in his Word, in Jesus Christ who is also the Word of God, and in his created works. In the Bible we have the voice of God in human speech; in Jesus Christ we have the voice of God in human flesh; in all his created works we have the voice of God in matter, in nature, in material things; and we have the thought of God in all three. The Bible is the thought of God; Jesus Christ was the expression of the thought of God; and the universe is but an expression of the thought of God, the divine mind.GCB February 20, 1895, page 247.8

    To show how closely these methods of revealing God’s voice are united, I call attention to a few scriptures. First in Amos 4:13: “For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name.” “And declareth unto man what is his thought.” Dr. Young, in his translation, capitalizes “His,” showing that as he understands it, the thought that is declared is God’s thought. Let us read it that way: “And declareth unto man what is God’s thought.” But when the seventy came to translate this Hebrew scripture into the Greek, into what we speak of as the Septuagint, they translated it: “He declareth to men his Christ.” Of course that translation is not inspired, but it seems as though, in the mind of the translators, the thought of God was Christ, and so they translated it, “He declareth to men his Christ (ton Xriston).” as being the expression of his thought.GCB February 20, 1895, page 247.9

    Well, we read in John 1:18: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” — not simply that he talked about the Father. He, himself, was simply an expression to the world of the thought of God. So he is called the “Word of God.” But all created things are but the expression in tangible form of the thought of God. And his words have in them the mind, the voice of God, that, by virtue of their own power, express in material things what they, themselves, say.GCB February 20, 1895, page 248.1

    Go to the first chapter of Genesis for the lesson upon this. Third verse: “And God said, Let there be light,” and what those words are, we see every day now. Those words, “Let there be light,” are before our eyes continually in the light that was created by that word. And those words, “Let there be light,” are shining for us all the time. Just so in every case, “God said, Let the earth bring forth grass;” “God said, Let there be lights in the firmament,” and they are there now; and they themselves, — they are the words in material form, giving light ruling the day and the night.GCB February 20, 1895, page 248.2

    Psalm 33:9 says: “He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” He commanded. How many times did he command in that way? Just ten times. And those ten commandments we see before us continually in all created things, and we see all created things perfectly obedient to-day to those ten commandments, and those are the ten commandments of nature. We do not see those words in their perfection, because we do not see the world as God created it. Satan came in, and the earth has felt the effects of sin; so we do not see those words in their perfection.GCB February 20, 1895, page 248.3

    Just so it is in the creation of man by his word. He made him in his own image, perfect in his being, but sin came in and marred the image, and we do not see in man to-day the perfection of that word by which he was created. The human form does not present in its perfection the word of God as he spoke it there. Neither does nature present in its perfection that word, those ten commandments. When man was made in God’s image, he was the ten commandments in personality. When this earth was made by the word of God, the earth was those ten commandments of the first chapter of Genesis in material form, but sin has changed both.GCB February 20, 1895, page 248.4

    However, there is this that we may think of, that God has in heaven a sample of that perfect creation which he created by those ten commandments in the first place. And he has in heaven the perfection of human nature created in his image by those ten commandments, — the garden of Eden and Jesus Christ; the garden of Eden, a sample of the perfection of God’s created works; Jesus Christ, humanity in the image of God, — not simply a sample, a pattern, but an indication of what God will make by those same words out of every one of us who is created in Christ Jesus.GCB February 20, 1895, page 248.5

    Now there being this close relationship between the expression of the word of God, let us follow it further as between Christ and the Scriptures. I will read the texts, and you can see the parallel. John 5:26: “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” Hebrews 4:12: “The Word of God is quick [life].” Philippians 2:16: “Holding forth the word of life.” “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63.GCB February 20, 1895, page 248.6

    Again, John 1:4: “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” Ninth verse: “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Psalm 119:105: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” 1 Corinthians 1:24: “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God.” Hebrews 4:12: “For the Word of God is quick [living], and powerful.” The Word of power. John 1:14: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, ... full of grace.” Acts 14:3: “Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hand.” Acts 20:32: “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace.” John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth;” and 17:17: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Revelation 1:5: “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness.” Titus 1:9: “Holding fast the faithful word.” Romans 10:8: “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith, which we preach,” and seventeenth verse: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”GCB February 20, 1895, page 248.7

    While we are looking at this tenth chapter of Romans, let me call attention to the early part of the chapter, verses 5-8, as showing again that same idea that the word of God and Christ are one: “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above).”GCB February 20, 1895, page 248.8

    Now turn to Deuteronomy 30:11: “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us? ... But the word is very nigh unto thee.” But when it is quoted in Romans, “Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down),” you see what is called in Deuteronomy the “word,” — the commandment, — is called in Romans, Christ. “Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us?” In Romans 10: “Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead).”GCB February 20, 1895, page 248.9

    That illustrates and enforces this same idea, that the Word — the Scriptures — and the Word, Christ, are both the expression of the thought, the mind, of God.GCB February 20, 1895, page 249.1

    Now this tenth of Romans speaks of faith coming by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. The word of God is not simply a faithful word, a word of faith, but is, itself, the means of faith. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Now leaving out the middle term, faith comes by the word of God; and coming by the living word of God, it is itself a living faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for.” So the faith that comes by the word of God must be a living faith. Therefore, any one who has faith that is of and from and by and in and through the word of God, cannot fall into dead formalism; it is a living faith, and the Scripture says it is God (of course it is God in Christ) that “worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure.” So also: “In Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Just what God in Christ does in the individual, just that same thing faith does in the individual, because they both come in the same way, — of God, — and both are living and powerful, and able to work.GCB February 20, 1895, page 249.2

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