Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things , through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:1-3).
Language is one of the greatest gifts God has given humankind. Through language, we are able to communicate with each other. Language is defined as “the system of words or signs that people use to express thoughts and feelings to each other” or “words of a particular kind”. Words therefore are what we use in communication.
God Is Not Silent.
Christianity believes in a living God. Therefore Christianity believes in a God who speaks and hears: “God spoke to our fathers by the prophets…in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son”. This is in contrast to the gods(idols) of the world who have mouths but cannot speak and ears but cannot hear. (Psalm 115:5-8). The word of God is God’s words by which He speaks or communicates to us. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”. (Matthew 4:4).
God is not dead. He is not silent. He is a God who communicates with His children through words. By His word, God first revealed Himself to man. The first mention of God in Scripture was His self-revelation; “In the beginning God….” (Gen 1:1) Also, God revealed Himself as the Creator who spoke the world into being: “And God said…”(Gen 1:1-2). In the natural world, God has given us a general revelation of Himself. It is general because it is common to all humankind. Creation is evident there is God(Ps. 19:1, 33:6, Rom 1:19-20).
How Does God Speak?
The phrase the “word of God” has more than one meaning and the medium through which God speaks is also split into two epochs: Patriarchal Age(Past) and Last Days of Christian Age (Present). In time past, God spoke in “many ways”. The King James Version renders it as “divers manners”. Presently He has spoken through Christ.
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets”
The book of Hebrews was written to a Jewish-Christian congregation hence we should interpret “our fathers” to be pointing us to the Old Testament age and how God spoke then. He spoke “in many ways”. This indicates more than one medium of communication. One of these many ways is God speaking directly and audibly to individuals.
In Genesis 2:16-17, we hear God issuing instructions and commandments to Adam. Then in Genesis 3:8-9, when Adam sinned, we hear God directly addressing Adam in an audible voice. Moses, Abraham and many other of the Old Testament characters heard God’s voice directly. At Mount Sinai, the Israelites heard God’s voice and were afraid.
God also spoke through dreams, visions, “small still voice” and even through a donkey. In all of these instances, God’s word was spoken. We have the benefit of the Old Testament because God’s dealings with humankind was recorded. So we have God’s words in written form; as commandments, statues, testimonies, laws, precerpts etc (see Psalm 119). All these outline how God communicated through the prophets in time past in many ways.
Last Days Of Christian Age
“…but these last days he has spoken to us by his Son”
The last days indicates the period from Christ’s first advent up to the present age we live in. Ultimately, God’s self-revelation to humankind culminated in the person of Jesus Christ: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power”(Hebrews 1:4).
The word of God then, can be understood as a Person; Christ Jesus our Saviour: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”(John 1:1). Christ is the eternal word of God “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).
Throughout redemptive history past, history moved towards the revelation of Christ. In Him all of history hinges: “He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent” (Colossians 1:18). You will notice a contrast between Hebrews 1:1 and 1:2 with the introduction of the word “but”.
What the Hebrew writer is doing here is bringing out the Superiority of Christ as God’s final revelation of Himself. In Christ, all of God’s revelation finds full expression and climaxes: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”(John 1:14) “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily”(Colossians 2:9).
In Christ, God has spoken and revealed Himself fully: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Mathhew 17:5). So the question to naturally ask is,
How Do We Hear God Today?
Volumes have been written today about how to hear God and numerous sermons preached which gives the impression we can hear God speak today just as people in the Bible heard Him speak audibly, through dreams and visions, a still small voice and many more. Countless times in this nation Ghana, people have supposedly heard God told them about one thing or the other. These things are not only false but they are dangerous to the soul of men and women.
Long ago (in time past) God spoke in many ways. Those “many ways” were recorded in Jewish Scriptures which has become what we refer to as Old Testament. In these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son. The words of the Son has also been documented in what we also call New Testament (John 17:14-20). So together, we have 66 books of Holy Scripture by which God speaks to us:
…it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased (WCF1.1)
Today, God speaks loud and clear every day in the pages of Scriptures. If you want to hear the voice of God, read your Bible. Attend to the pages of the Bible and you will hear God speaking to you through inspired Holy Scripture:
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness , that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2Timothy 3:16-17).