Present Truth Articles
How the Word Came By E.J. Waggoner
Keeping in mind the text, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God," we will place by the side of it the following from 2 Peter 1:21: "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
In a later article we shall consider more fully the scope of the word "prophecy;" but here it is sufficient to note that the statement made in regard to the prophecy, must be applicable to all Scripture, since it is all given by the inspiration, or breathing, of God. The Scriptures, therefore, did not originate from men, but from the Holy Spirit. This must settle the question as to whether or not the Scriptures are in any degree the reflection of the ignorance or the prejudice of the men who wrote them; for he who would claim that they are, must take the position that the Holy Spirit is capable of being moved by human prejudice, or that it cannot utter words of perfect, Divine truth through an imperfect instrument. But that would be to degrade the Holy Spirit to the level of man.
It is not our business to inquire how the Spirit of God could speak through a human instrument without destroying his individuality, and still the message be wholly Divine. That is a mystery that rests only in the power of God. We accept it just as we accept the mystery of the incarnation of Christ, without attempting to explain it.
When we have our attention specially directed to the fact that the Scriptures proceed wholly from the Spirit of God, we cannot fail to be struck with the frequency with which the statement occurs in the Bible. Let us note a few instances.
"Now these be the last words of David. David, the son of Jesse, said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue." 2 Sam. 23:1, 2. Davidspoke the word, but it was the Word of God.
Again, 1 Peter 1:10, 11: "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." Who was it that testified? It was not the prophets themselves, but the Spirit of Christ that was in the prophets. The prophets did not understand the full import of the things that the Spirit testified through them, but had to study their own writings.
Notice in the following Scriptures how carefully the distinction is made between the men who were used as instruments, and the source whence the revelation came:--
Acts 28:25, 26: "Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, saying, Go unto this people and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive."
Acts 1:16: "Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus."
Acts 4:24, 25: "Lord, Thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; who by the mouth of Thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?"
Luke 1:68-70: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people,...as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began."
Acts 3:20,21: "And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you; whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began."
In all the preceding texts the prophet is mentioned as the mouthpiece of the Spirit of God; but in the following quotation from Jeremiah 21:33, the prophet is ignored, and the credit is given directly to the Holy Spirit:--
"Whereof the Holy Ghost also in a witness to us; for after that He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them." Heb. 10:15, 16.
Who gave this witness?--The Holy Ghost. The prophet Jeremiah was used as the instrument of transmitting it to the people; but it came so directly from the Holy Spirit that Jeremiah could without injustice be ignored in giving credit for the words. And so we learn that, since the Scriptures came not by the will of man, but that "men spake from God, being moved by the Holy ghost," the word which they spoke is not the word of man, but is indeed the Word of God.
Faith in a lie will not have a sanctifying influence upon the life or character. No Error is truth, or can be made truth by repetition, or by faith in it. Sincerity will never save a soul from the consequences of believing an error. Without sincerity there is no true religion, but sincerity in a false religion will never save a man. I May be perfectly sincere in following a wrong road, but that will not make it the right road, or bring me to the place I wish to reach. The Lord does not want us to have a blind credulity, and call that the faith that sanctifies. The Truth is the principle that sanctifies, and therefore it becomes us to know what is truth. We must compare spiritual things with spiritual. We must prove all things, but hold fast only that which is good, that which bears the divine credentials, which lays before us the true motives and principles which should prompt us to action. Selected Messages Bk2, pg. 56
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