The Scriptures: No. 4

2 Peter 1:21  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Thus far we have confined our remarks almost entirely to the testimony of the ancient scriptures as to the written word, because our object has been chiefly to show that, ever since the writings of Moses, God's people have recognized the divine authority of the written word. But, besides the books of Moses, God has from time to time added to them by various instruments, and especially by prophets, who not only enforced the divine authority of what had been written, but also spoke authoritatively with, " Thus saith the Lord," or, "The word of the Lord came;" and the future blessings of God's earthly people were by them largely spread out, to cheer the faithful, and to animate them with hope. Though such as were thus employed were men of like passions with ourselves, yet to assure us of the authentic character of their ministry, and that they gave out the words of Jehovah we are told, that " 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." (2 Pet. 1:21.) All the prophets call earnestly upon the people to be subject to the word of Jehovah, for they declared that they spake His words.
Isaiah said, "Seek ye out of the book of Jehovah, and read;" and on another occasion he said, Thus saith Jehovah, " To this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" And again, u Hear the word of Jehovah, ye that tremble at Ms word" He also exultingly cried out, in contrast with the frailty of man, " The word of our God shall stand forever." Besides this testimony to the truth of the words which he ministered as being the word of God, he reproves the wicked in Israel, because they "cast away the word of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel." The prophet further assures them that " Jehovah hath spoken." He said, "Hear the word of Jehovah." "Thus saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, the mighty One of Israel." (Chaps, 34:16; 66:2, 5; 60:8; 5:24; 1:2, 10, 24.)
Jeremiah repeatedly says, " Thus saith Jehovah unto me;" and, " The word which came to Jeremiah from Jehovah;" and so sensible was he of the divine authority of the words he communicated to the people, that we find him saying, " Thus saith Jehovah," and, " Hear the counsel of Jehovah." So divinely true were the words to his own conscience that he calls them God's words; he says, "Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart." Again, we hear him saying, "The word of Jehovah was made a reproach unto me, and a derision daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name, but his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay." (Chaps, 13:1; 18:1; 19:1; 15:16; 20:8, 9.)
Ezekiel says, " The word of Jehovah came unto me;" and, " The word of Jehovah came expressly unto Ezekiel;" and, "Again the word of Jehovah came unto me," is many times repeated in his prophecy. He was also commanded to write. Jehovah said unto him, "thou shalt speak my words unto them;" and in a vision he saw "a roll.... written within and without." So assured was he that what he declared was the word of God, that he said, "The word that I speak shall come to pass," and "the word which I have spoken shall be done.... Thus saith the Lord God." (Chaps, 7:1; 1:3; 16:1; 2:7, 10; 12:25, 28.)
No one can have carefully considered the book of Psalms, without seeing the value and authority of the word of God frequently set forth. It opens by marking one point in the righteous man being, that he meditates in the law of God day and night; and in Psalm 119 almost every verse speaks of the word, statutes, commandments, or law of the Lord. Not only does it speak of the purity of the word itself, and its cleansing virtue, but its divine authenticity is so regarded, that he says, " The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver;" and, "I love thy commandments above gold, yea, above fine gold." (Psalm 1:2; 119:9, 72, 127.) David was one of those holy men of old who was moved to speak by the Holy Ghost.
Daniel, as we have seen, owned the writings, or "books,"' of Jeremiah as "the word of Jehovah," and also "the oath that is written in the law of Moses, the servant of God," and that God had confirmed His word which He spake against us.... "as it is written in the law of Moses." We know that the God of heaven made known and "revealed" wonderful things to Daniel, and used him to communicate His mind both concerning the times of the Gentiles and His own people; some things concerning them having since been accomplished, and much remains to be fulfilled. (Dan, ix. 2,11-13; ii. 19, 28-44.)
The other prophets generally ascribed the authenticity of their ministrations to God. In Hosea it is, "the word of Jehovah that came unto Hosea." (Chap. 1:1) In Joel, "The word of Jehovah that came to Joel." (Chap. 1:1) Amos said, "Thus saith Jehovah." (Chap, 1:3) Obadiah said, "Thus saith the Lord God concerning Edom." (Ver. 1) In Jonah it is twice said, "The word of Jehovah came unto Jonah." (Chaps, 1:1; 3:1) Micah begins with, "The word of Jehovah that came to Micah." (Chap. 1:1) Nahum says, "Thus saith Jehovah." (Chap. 1:12) Habakkuk tells us, "Jehovah answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it." (Chap. 2:2) Zephaniah begins with, "The word of Jehovah which came unto Zephaniah." (Chap. 1:1)
The testimony of the prophets was nearly completed before the Jews were carried away into Babylon. We have only three post-captivity prophets- Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Haggai distinctly affirms that his word was " the word of Jehovah," and that it came to him at different times. He announced it authoritatively with, " Thus saith Jehovah." (Chaps, 1:1, 7; 2:1, 7, 20) Zechariah also asserts the divine source of his solemn and beautiful utterances, when he says, "The word of Jehovah came unto Zechariah." (Chap. 1:1,7; 7:1; 8:1) Malachi also introduces his testimony with, "The burden of the word of Jehovah to Israel by Malachi." It is well to observe that this last Old Testament prophet presses, in Jehovah's name, the divine authority of the writings of Moses, saying, " Remember ye the law of Moses, my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments." (Chaps, 1:1; 4:4)
The word and will of God was the rule and motive of Christ in everything. To tempt God is to try whether God will be as good as His word.