It is well known to us that God spoke to His people in the former days in a manner that His voice was clearly heard, though He always remained unseen. As to why God spoke in such a manner to His people remains a mystery even after considering the lack of the written word, but He chose to do so. God spoke to Abraham, Moses and the like and it became a customary event in the lives of godly people of those days. Yet, there was always something unique about His voice. The Scripture tells us that it was always bold, strong and powerful. I believe it was more powerful and strong than a thunder in the sky and for understanding purpose we can only use the mighty thunder as a minimal means to grasp its measure. Comparing the power and strength of God’s voice to a thunder is only allegorical, since the Scripture is not concerned with the actual loudness of His voice, but the effect of it. In other words, when His people heard His voice, they knew there is or were none like it. No human could have spoken in such a manner where a man or woman is constrained to listen. So powerful was His voice that with it the world, the heavens and all their contents were created. “Listen closely to the thunder of His voice, and the rumbling that goes out from His mouth” (Job 37:2).
We can only visualize such roaring of God’s voice by perceiving the intensity in the roaring of beasts. Still, I believe, this would be insignificant to explain the power of God’s voice. If there is one instrument that can explain the intensity, power and strength of God’s voice it is solely the wisdom present in His word. Whether it was Abraham, Moses, the prophets, the apostles or us it is the wisdom present in His word that enables us to understand the power and strength of His voice. For this reason, when God called Abraham, He obeyed; when God commanded Moses and the prophets, they conformed; and so did the disciples when Christ called them. So should we when God calls us through the gospel. What this wisdom supplied them with to heed was much more than all the wisdom they have gathered in their life time. This wisdom was unique in that it had a guarantee. Hence, it was the bold, the strong and the powerful.
For God to utter such wisdom He had to have a reason; and the reason is “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, And her salvation like a torch that is burning” (Isa. 62:1). Behold the intent God has toward His kingdom! When God cannot be silent the uttering of His voice is like thunder and the rumbling of a beast. The voice He utters is the word filled with His wisdom. He cannot keep quiet until this wisdom has fulfilled its purpose of saving the mankind. He who has the mind of Christ fathoms the purpose of God’s wisdom. Do we know as to how much God expects from His wisdom? It is victory by righteousness and glory with salvation. Is not God speaking of the New Zion and the New Jerusalem? Yet, how many of us are able to carry His desire and help Him fulfill it. We are immersed in such activities that we hardly realize the substance we ought to carry as Christians. Many have failed to represent God with righteousness and salvation that alone comes from heaven, but are immersed in false righteousness that comes by deceit and futile salvation that comes by mere works. But, know that God always has His way in creating the New Jerusalem.
For those who truly seek His voice apart from the doctrines of men and the foolishness of this world are the ones He called. They are the ones burning day and night like a torch leading many to His kingdom. For those who say they are Christians and are without His voice will remain as those without substance. God has already begun glorifying Himself, since the time He began calling people to Himself, and now much more through Christ; and the one without His voice is separated from His glory. Do you know how God intends to fulfill His desire? “For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, So that they will be mentioned by their names no more” (Hos. 2:17). He is speaking of those who hear His voice. If you have heard His voice, He ought to have performed His magnificent work in you wherein your Baals have been removed from you. Then the substance will flow from Him to you. This substance is the righteousness that goes like brightness and salvation that burns as a torch. This is the new creation that God has intended to create through Christ for New Jerusalem.
How are you as a Christian being known today? As one with jealousy, strife, hatred, foolishness, pride, greed, immorality? When we have any of these in us, we are known to this world by these. All these are the names of Baals which God must remove from us in order that we may become His glory. When those in the former days worshipped Baal, they worshipped that which has no life or wisdom. They made their thoughts, desires and feelings for Baal and polluted themselves with sin. They in turn made these the statues of Baal. As a result, the glory of God departed from Israel and sin in the form of jealousy, strife, hatred, etc entered into their hearts. We preachers, elders and believers of Christ ought to examine ourselves that God’s glory may not depart from us. If the names of Baals still cling on to us, we too will be no different in bringing forth our own thoughts in place of God’s wisdom. For this reason, there are present many doctrines and falsities that are leading the church, let alone the rest, to oblivion. If a church had brought forth a doctrine that does not exist in Christ, then that church will be known and named after that false doctrine. If one speaks in a manner where the power of the Holy Spirit is made redundant, then he is known as the redundant meaning that he has never been sealed by Him.
Therefore, it is essential that we learn from the Lord by listening to His voice that we may not become as those who are called by the names that are not of the Lord. How can we learn unless we empty ourselves? How can we empty ourselves unless we humble ourselves to sit at His feet? For this reason, the Lord gave more credit to Mary. “She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word” (Luke 10:39). Can you by faith sit at the Lord’s feet? Then you will understand His voice, which is the wisdom in His word. Food and drink are not of essence to the Lord who can create them from nothing and can supply abundantly at all times. What the Lord essentially desires from us is our thirst for His voice. To eat the manna, the everlasting food He provides is what the Lord wants us to desire. If you cannot empty yourself of the materialistic things along with the pride of this world, you will never be filled with the fruit that comes from heeding the voice of Christ. On the other hand, if the voice of Christ is in you, you will speak the truth and hate all forms of doctrine that comes from man; you will be sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit for life in eternity. Not only will you be sealed for eternity, but your seal that produces works on this earth will reveal the righteousness and salvation of God to those who are yet to be saved.
Nevertheless, there are churches today that have fallen from this wisdom. For this reason, Paul says, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel” (Gal. 1:6). When Paul was amazed even after preaching the kind of gospel he received from Christ, we who have the complete written word that testifies to kind of gospel preached ought to also be amazed by the presence of deserters. Yet, now perhaps for two reasons: first, amazed by the presence of deserters and second, amazed at the presence those who do not desire to believe and still, claim the seal of the Spirit. In the first case, they have tasted the grace of Christ and deserted, but the second, to say the least, are worse in that they never took Christ to their hearts and hence, are continually denying the powerful and essential role of the Holy Spirit. These have equaled themselves to the false prophets described by Jesus by becoming the stumbling block. It is difficult to say as to who is more foolish. For the ones who tasted the grace of Christ and fell, their last state is worse than the first, and the ones that never took Christ to their hearts have not left their first state! Both have become false prophets – the first, by falling after receiving the knowledge and the second, by not having the knowledge. If the first are the deserters, the second are the pretenders. The damage caused by both for the kingdom of God is the same, since they both have chosen a different gospel.
What advantage did the new covenant bring to these people? Nothing! On the other hand, because of their falsity it brought disadvantage wherein they are separated from the grace of Christ leading to condemnation. That which has been given as the door for salvation has now become the door for wrath. For what reason did God give the new covenant? As far as the Jews are concerned – to make the Law obsolete, but for the gentiles who never had a law – an opportunity to live by the law of Christ. Did Israel realize the value of the new covenant? “When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear” (Heb. 8:13). Those who have realized came out of death and into life. To these the Law has already disappeared, since by belief in the new covenant it has become obsolete and grown old. To the gentiles, who are a law to themselves what is the advantage of the new covenant? Though they were once lawless, by belief they now have the opportunity to have the heavenly law and be one with those whose Law too, by belief, has become obsolete. Now, the manner in which both come into faith in the new covenant is the same. This is the faith that Paul and the rest have preached, the faith that was attested by God through the works of the Holy Spirit. And when some have fallen from this momentous experience, it certainly amazed Paul.
It now further amazes us when those who are a law to themselves and did not take Christ to their hearts and having never been redeemed from their lawless position speak of the essential role of the Spirit by regarding themselves as the church that belongs to Christ and God. If this is not the result of not knowing the voice of Christ, what else could it be? Where did you learn Christ from? From men that perhaps hold highest education from this earth? Have they taught you how to sit at the feet of Christ even after His physical absence? If Israel did not believe in the ministry of the Spirit that gives life, but are under the ministry of death that came from glory, they still are not under the new covenant. If you as a gentile, who had no law (ministry), do not believe in the ministry of the Spirit, how does the new covenant work for your salvation? If you say that Christ is of advantage to you, then His Spirit too is of advantage in attesting this Christ to you and to the world through you! Yet, if one is inclined to deny the need for such attestation, then his mind having been inflated by flesh has never been redeemed from his lawless nature. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev. 3:22).