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You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free

How Do We Know the Voice of God? 

 

Renette Vermeulen 

 

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DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT STILL SPEAK IN AN AUDIBLE VOUCE LIKE HE SPOKE TO BELIEVERS IN THE BIBLE? 

Of course God can and sometimes DOES speak in an ‘audible’ voice, but I am very wary of people who claim to hear the voice of God all the time.  If we TEST what these people say in the light of ‘all Scripture,’ (as God commanded in Ps. 119:160; 1 Ths. 5:21 and Jn. 4:1-4 we should do,) we mostly find that they are following a false voice.  Yet, we cannot deny that often, the Holy Spirit speaks so gently ‘into our minds,’ that we perceive His voice as our own thoughts.  For instance, when we live without a personal relationship with Jesus or have unrepentant sin, we will ‘know’ that we are not in a right standing with God.  This is so because the Holy Spirit came to earth to convince every human on earth ‘of sin, righteousness through Christ, and judgement without Him’ (Jn. 16:8-10.)  If we heed the voice of the Spirit, and ask Him to reveal to us what we must do, He will always lead us to the truth of the Bible in some way or another, which we must then obey

Once, a friend was sitting in traffic on the highway and decided to put the car in gear to quickly move to another lane, when a ‘thought’ struck him: No, be patient!  A few seconds later, a huge tanker, completely out of control, jammed into the lane next to him, squashing the cars on top of one another.  If he did not ‘think that thought,’ he would have been killed instantly.  Now, if ever one heard the voice of the Holy Spirit, this was it! 

Also, we often simply “know” important things, without having any real proof of what we think, and, proceeding cautiously, we can later testify that our obedience to that ‘knowledge’ kept us from loss or harm.  Surely, that is the voice of the Holy Spirit, “Who came to lead us into ALL truth, and tell you [important] things to come -” if we desire all truth, of course. 

Here is the key to know if it is really the Holy Spirit speaking in our innermost being.  He will always “glorify Jesus” and never draw unnecessary attention to any person! (Jn. 16:13-14.)  Because He is the Spirit of Truth, He will never twist and abuse the Truth of God’s Word in any way!  He will always tell us the full truth about everything if you ask Him, wait on Him, and follow His leading obediently.  Just as importantly, He will never bring revelations, teachings or prophecies that do not fit into the full contextual truth of the New Testament and even the whole Bible!   Jesus speaks to us primarily through the truth of His New Testament Word, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, Who leads into all Truth. 

 

DOES GOD ONLY USE 'WELL ESTABLISHED' AND ‘LEARNED PROPHETS?'

God said we should believe in Him with faith as pure as that of little children. The unpolluted minds of young children are like sponges; taking in everything they perceive as good. This is why they, in their pure innocence and sincerity, belong to Jesus and will inherit HEAVEN should they die prematurely. It is therefore no surprise that God not only uses those with the TRUE GIFT of prophecy, but even little children.  Here, I have to tell about my own grandson, three years old at the time, whom I fetched from pre-school every afternoon. One day, as he struggled out the passenger seat of the car with his little bag slung around his shoulder, he went directly to his grandpa's vehicle parked next to us, hitting it with his little hand while rebuking it, "Naughty, naughty truck, killing my old-daddy!" I froze, and began to pray over my husband and his vehicle. Two days later he had an accident, but God intervened and it was nothing serious.  On another occasion, the little one told me, "Old-mamma, I made a little dream... You are making a nice garden, but it is not your garden here, it is far away." A few days later, I was called to minister to a congregation far away... 

Then, there is the wonderful example in Scripture, where God actually opened the mouth of a donkey to rebuke and prevent the insanity of an 'official' and 'learned' prophet, (read the account in Numbers 22:22-40.)  Therefore, I do not say that God does not speak to His disciples, (and to anyone, even animals,) to use them in His service (even as prophets) and to do His will.  What I am saying, is that the way in which 'learned,' 'ordained' and even self-ordained 'prophets' act while they are teaching false doctrine, (even if they do prophecy correctly sometimes,) is NOT of God.  Knowing nothing about how the true gift of prophecy flows from the Holy Spirit, they act like prophetic-machines, turning out falsities and producing showmanship; misleading believers and nullifying God's precious gift of prophecy. In both the examples of prophecies that I gave here, I clearly illustrated that God does speak through even 'innocents' like a little children and animals. There is not a single person, who is beyond the reach and service (and the ministration) of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which HE gave to edify, warn, and confirm His will and Word.  However, the GIFT of prophecy is directed primarily at true believers in Christ.  It is God’s GIFT to serve and help them.  It is a GIFT that should be utilized with thanksgiving to God, but also with respect and caution, while we adhere to all God’s Scriptural warnings to TEST and PROVE EVERYTHING, to see whether it is of God, (1 Ths. 5:21; 1 Jn. 4:1-4.) 

 

PEOPLE ASK WHY FALSE PROPHETS SOMETIMES PROPHECY TRUTH?

Aren't all false prophets dangerous deceivers and liars?  Yes, but as fortune tellers also sometimes prophecy truth, sadly, Christians also prophecy lies. This is not how it should be, but remember, the devil was once a holy angel. He knows all about being good. However, now he is a fallen angel, who also knows everything about evil; being the author of all evil.  Hence, it is for our own protection that, in the Moral Law, God gave us a sturdy guideline to know false prophets.

Deut. 13, "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer, (who can even be your father, brother, son, daughter, etc., Verses. 6-10,) and he gives you a sign or wonder, and it comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods and let us serve them, [teaching you false doctrine to deceive you while giving you a true prophecy to win your trust,] you shall not listen to him, for the Lord is [allowing the devil] to test you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. You shall walk after the Lord and fear Him, and keep His [moral law] commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or dreamer shall be put to death, [the New Testament equivalent is banishment or rejection,] because he has spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, Who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst...You shall NOT consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him; [N.T.: reject and expose,] you hand shall be first against him..."

Using this commandment and warning from God as our constant guideline where prophecy and teaching, etc. are concerned, it should be easy to remember that foul and clean water, and good and bad fruit cannot come form a good spring or a good tree.  Jesus said “we shall know them by their fruits,” and He can never be wrong.  Of course none of us are perfect and therefore we are prone to make mistakes.  None of us knows it all; we are all in the School of the Holy Spirit until Jesus returns to take us home.  However, if a prophet speaks lies and truth, or a teacher teaches false teaching and true teaching, and refuses to repent, we have to decidedly expose such a person and turn away from him or her. 

 

DOES GOD SPEAK THROUGH PROPHETS DURING THE NEW TESTAMENT DISPENSATION? 

It is absolutely vital to understand that God spoke in an audible voice to Old Testament Prophets, because they were under the Old Testament, Covenant of the LAW.  But during the New Testament Covenant in Christ, (with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every true believer,) He speaks to ALL people and His true believers especially “through His SON Jesus Christ,” or actually, through the New Testament WORD of Jesus Christ, [Read Heb. 1:1-2.]  If you really want to make sure that you are hearing from God, search the Scriptures; read them in the context of the Chapter, and interpret them in the light of the Testament/
Covenant they are written.  Remember that the Old and New Testaments are two distinctly different dispensations.  So, when we read the Old Testament, we must always study and understand it from the perspective of the New Testament Covenant, because God directed the Old Testament to His physical nation, the Old Hebrews, and He directs the New Testament Covenant to His GLOBAL spiritual nation of believers, bought with Jesus’ blood from “every tribe, and language, and nation,” (Rev. 5:1-7;  5:9.) 
Thus, there is no such thing as a New Testament prophet, who can ‘stand between’ man and God to give people direct, new revelations, as there is now only One New Testament Mediator, and His Name is Jesus, (1 Tim. 2:5.) 

Anyone who studies the Bible with the motive of allowing the Holy Spirit to lead them “into ALL truth,” knows for certain that God does not give ‘new’ Scripture, additions to Scripture, or ‘new’ revelations, which are not fully grounded in and on the whole truth of Scripture – nor will He do that ever again!  In other words, it is not that God cannot speak in an audible voice anymore, but that He already said everything we need to know in the full context of His Word, the Bible, and in the New Testament Covenant especially.  Every time we ask Him to speak to us while we read the Bible prayerfully and in context, God speaks directly to us personally through His Word, Who is Jesus Christ Himself, (Jn. 1:1-13.) 

The words that Jesus spoke are “Spirit and Life.”  There is not a human in the world who can speak Spirit and Life, except when he or she quotes the real Scriptures and teaches the Truth that relates to God’s entire Word.  During the New Dispensation, all other teachers who made themselves into ‘mediating’ prophets, (standing between God and man to bring ‘new’ or ‘added’ revelation, etc.,) were and are false prophets, who lead people away from the truth of God’s Word into eternal destruction. 

 

WHAT ABOUT THE GIFT OF PROPHECY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT?

A truly born again believer in Christ with the GIFT of prophecy is not a 'teacher' of extra-revelations of the Word, or someone that babbles forth prophesy like a huge bubble machine.  Be very wary of the modern trend to parade ‘prophets’ that prophecy to everyone in line. You could be allowing a fortune teller to speak curses over you and lead you astray, if you are not on your guard and do not TEST the spirits, (1 Ths. 5:21; 1 Jn. 4:1-4.)  Someone said, the GIFT of prophecy is “NOT predictive [as in fortune telling,] but interpretive; declaring the will of God” for a particular situation.  True prophecy is to WARN, EXHORT, and CONFIRM.  It never reveals unnecessary things, attempts to add to God’s Word, or draws attention to the prophet himself, (Jn. 16:7-15.)  Paul explained in 1 Cor. 12:4-12 that all the Spirit's GIFTS are “for the profit of everyone,” and therefore, true prophecy and teaching must always be according to God’s entire Scriptural truth, and the truth of every particular situation. 

In 1 Cor. 14:24-25, Paul defined the purpose and function of the Gift of prophecy as follows: "If an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in he is convinced... [that God is a reality,] as the secrets of his heart are revealed [or actually confirmed to him,] and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you."

God is, (said with utmost respect to our Creator,) not a chit-chat who will tell other people secrets about your life without you first.  The gift of true prophecy is therefore never a button that puts a prophet ‘on prophetic alert’ and certainly not all the time.  True prophecy is certainly not about ‘revealing secrets the receiver does not already know,’ as if the prophet is a fortune teller, but rather, confirming what the receiver of the prophecy already knows.  For instance, God gives a prophet a dream about someone he knows, and in obedience he shares it with the person, “I dreamt you are breaking down your house and throwing everything into the sea, but afterwards you cry a lot...” [“Really, I was just about to leave my spouse and disappear!”]  Or a ‘word of knowledge’ in casual conversation, “You know, if we keep on allowing our friends to manipulate us, we are actually in danger of being deceived and losing a lot of money.” [“What?  How did you know they wrangle money out of me all the time!”]  In the assembly, God’s true prophet is moved by the Spirit to tell a distraught stranger, “Although you get all the blame, what happened was not your fault. God knows it all…”  [“Thank You, God, I know You are with me!”]  Prophecy and a ‘word of knowledge’ is usually confirmation of what is on your mind, which no one else knew about, “We should not simply DO things...  Say we want to break out that wall to make the lounge bigger, we first have to check if the roof is not supported by it...” [How did you know I was planning to do that?”]  Mostly, (but not always,) real prophets do not even know that they are  prophesying.  It’s not about "God told me this and that and that" all the time.   As all the other gifts of the Spirit, (1 Cor. Chapters 12 & 14,) prophecy simply flows. The Holy Spirit is not into showmanship, He is The Perfect, Quiet Gentleman.

The Bible was compiled into two different Testaments or Covenant for a very good reason. Thus, no prophet or teacher under Jesus’ New Covenant can ever 'prophesy' or teach things that are not in the contextual truth of the Bible - especially not 'new' teachings or 'special' revelations of Scripture, or of a person’s life.  In fact, this is how all dangerous cults, (killer cults especially, like those lead by Jim Jones, David Koresh, etc.,) came into being and flourished.

 

WHAT ABOUT THE PROMISE KEEPERS’ ELIJAH PROPHETS

Looking at the miry of “mediating” prophetic machines, who led whole congregations into mass murder, suicide and gross deception, I can honestly say that the entire “mediating Elijah prophets,” Promise Keepers Movement is an abomination according to the truth of the New Covenant in Christ.  They allege that God speaks to them and not to ordinary believers, so they, through their “special” anointing, can bring unscriptural revelations as they please.  However, the New Covenant states that Jesus is the Only Mediator between God and man, Whose Entire Word tells us everything we need to know, (1 Tim. 2:5.) 

During the New Testament Dispensation, God no longer speaks through 'mediating' prophets, and they can never be so-called “new” Moseses or Elijahs.  These 'mediators' nullify what Jesus Himself had done in their place, and place themselves between their followers and God as gods and christs.  A 'mediating' Elijah ‘spirit’ does not exist in the New Testament, as Jesus Himself said in Mt. 11:11-15; 17:12! Under the New Covenant, through our Last and Final Mediator and Prophet, the Lord Jesus Christ, we already have the full, contextual Truth of everything we need to know, (Heb. 1:1-2; 1 Tim. 2:5.)

Again: the Bible was complied into two different dispensations or Covenants for a very good reason. The Old Testament was directed at God's physical nation, the Old Hebrews, while the New Testament Covenant is directed at ALL sincerely and Scripturally born again disciples of Christ.  God spoke to the Old Hebrews through mediating prophets, but Jesus is the  Ultimate Mediator between man and God, (Heb. 1:1-2-6.)  No man can, or will ever stand between us and God again, as the  Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement and other churches are teaching their followers.

 

WHAT DID JESUS HIMSELF SAY ABOUT NEW TESTAMENT, ‘MEDIATING ELIJAHS OR MOSESSES? 

Mt. 17:11-12, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first [to prepare the way of the Lamb of God’s Complete, Atoning Ministry, which first began with the Old Hebrews, and was then brought to all non-Hebrew or Gentile nations as well,] and He, [Jesus,] will restore all things, [turning the hearts of the fathers or the Old Hebrews, to the New Covenant Christ, by leading them all, (Hebrew and non-Hebrew Gentiles,) to personal faith in Jesus: Lu. 1:17-18.] But I say to you that Elijah has come already, [through the ministry of John the Baptist,] and they... did to him whatever they wished. [John was beheaded for rebuking King Herod for taking his brother’s wife, which is the sin of incest.]  Likewise, the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.”

Paul too, 1 Tim. 2: 3-6, explained that “...God desires all men to be saved [by coming] to the knowledge of the Truth [because deception can only lead to eternal hell.] For there is Only One God and One Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for all...”

These prophets with their unscriptural revelations and false interpretations of God’s Word attempt to nullify New Testament truth  through their omissions and additions to Scripture; placing themselves as gods and christs between God and men.  This is a literal fulfilment of Jesus warning in Mt. 24:11-12; 24-27, “Then false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And [because of all their false doctrines,] LAWLESSNESS [through a diminishing fear of God] will abound; [they will harm and confuse many believers,] and the love of many will grow cold. But [only] those who endure to the end shall be saved... Then, if they say ‘There’ or ‘Here…  is the christ, [that great healer, or prophet...] do not believe it... [For many such deceivers will rise up] to deceive even the [truly born again disciples of Christ.]”  God seriously warned in Rev. 22:18-19, “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to [or take away from] these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book.” Extra-Scriptural revelations, like those of Ellen White of the Seventh Day Adventists, Russell of the Jehovah Witnesses, and all the Promise Keepers of the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement, are dangerous deceptions, which Jesus will judge when we stand before Him to give an account of what we have done in, and among  His body of believers, (just read Mt. 7:21-24.) 

 

WHAT ABOUT THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, WORKING THROUGH “THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY?”  (Eph 4:11-16.)

When Paul said in Eph. 3:1-6 that the New Testament Gospel of Christ “was not [understood under the Old Testament Covenant because Christ was prophesied there but not revealed yet,] as it has now been [fully] revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets,” he was not placing the “ministry of a so-called holy apostle and prophet” above ‘ordinary’ but just as holy believers in Christ!  Neither was Paul suggesting that these apostles and prophets, received ‘special gifts,’ ‘more anointing,’ ‘more and special’ knowledge, or ‘extra revelation’ which other so-called ‘ordinary’ believers do not receive. The Holy Spirit can manifest the gift of prophecy through even little children and animals, because God’s GIFTS are not about how ‘holy’ or ‘spiritual’ we are, but how sincere, or pure in Christ, we are.  All true believers in Christ have received gifts from the Holy Spirit, which He Alone gives as HE wills, (1 Cor. 12:11.)  Together, they have to serve the entire body of Christ. 

The gift of prophecy is therefore not unique to so-called ‘recognized prophets’ alone – if indeed such prophetic machines do manifest the true gift of prophecy. Neither was Paul making apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors ‘more holy,’ ‘more gifted,’ or ‘more special,’ so that they can supposedly stand between God and men as special mediators!  Every single believer is a spiritual king and intercessing priest of Christ, our Only, Everlasting High Priest. Thus, every single believer can intercede in prayer and, once equipped with God’s real truth, preach the Gospel just as any pastor or teacher would.

This false importance of this so-called ‘special priesthood’ was stolen by the Protestants and all other church systems from that very false Roman Catholic Church, which simply dressed pagan temple hierarchies and ‘saving’ rituals in Christian clothes. We were all bought by the same blood atonement of Jesus in our place. The calling of an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher is not a very ‘important post in the church,’ but a very humble ministry to all the holy saints; the entire truly believing  body of Christ.’ These five callings in Christ do not place ‘lords’ ‘over’ the body of Christ, which rule them from above. These five callings work, or minister from below, humbly ‘washing the feet’ of believers to ‘equip all the saints for the work of ministry [in their own homes, families, work places, and amongst their spiritual brothers and sisters,] and to edify, [not meaning ‘making more important,’ but to bring their thoughts from the deceptions of darkness into His liberating, uplifting Light of Truth.] 

 

WHY TRUE ‘EQUIPPING AND EDIFYING OF THE SAINTS” MUST TAKE PLACE

Paul explained in Eph. 4:18, “Having their understanding darkened [through false prophecies and doctrine,] alienates believers from the [true] life in Christ, because of the ignorance [of God’s True Word] that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts, [not understanding the Real Word of Christ...] they have given themselves over to [all kinds of immorality because false prophecy and teachings lead them away from Jesus, the Truth.]” So, all the gifts of the Holy Spirit work through all believers, and of course, through those who were called as pastors, teachers, etc. to “equip and edify” the body of Christ.  Thus, the ‘five-fold ministry’ is not to gain position in the ‘church’ or for self-glorification, but to bring believers to Jesus Himself: to the truth of His Word, and to obedience to His Moral Law of love.  In this way, every believer can be an effective witness or disciple of Christ in their private worlds; evangelizing people to Christ, allowing the Spirit to use their gifts as He wills — all working together to build God’s spiritual Kingdom in the hearts, minds, and lives of believers to glorify God above all else. 

The genuine ministry of the Holy Spirit is the complete opposite of unscriptural hierarchy-controlled church systemsWhen Jesus said in Mark 10:35-45, “To sit at My right hand and on My left is... for whom it is prepared,” He was not allotting ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ posts in heaven or on earth.  Jesus was speaking of the ultimate separation between His obedient disciple followers, His ‘sheep,’ and the disobedient, self-willed, church-doctrine disciples, the ‘goats,’ who also call upon His Name, (read Mt. 25: 31-46.) True disciples of Jesus all have to worship at His feet here on earth and in heaven. Together, they are all Christ’s spiritual priesthood of spiritual kings and priests, and one is not more important than the other, (1 Pet. 2:9-10.)  As true, sincere disciples, we were all saved by the same blood covenant of Christ, indwelt by the same Holy Spirit, and we all occupy important spiritual places in the body of Christ. God’s entire truth is all we need, and we all have to submit and live by his Word, which is our Living Water and Eternal Bread from heaven. 

We must never concentrate on prophecy from ‘the anointed mouth’ of anyone, or meditate on things that are not written in the Bible.  God gave us the incalculable privilege to hold His “entire truth” in our own hands and to study His Word personally, so that we may know exactly what is written in His Word, to believe, follow and obey His voice above all else. 

Home 

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The Gifts of the Holy Spirit such as tongues — and other questions 

What is the Real, Scriptural Baptism with the Holy Spirit? 

Can one lose one’s salvation? 

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  Is it Scriptural to ‘plead the blood of Jesus?’