“Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. (John 12:28-29)”
The Jews often call a voice from heaven or a voice which seems to come from no seeable person: “bath kol” or “bat kol”; which means “the daughter of the voice” and this voice is found in many verses of scripture starting in Genesis.
Throughout Jewish tradition it has been recognized that God has spoken to his people through his prophets (and in other ways). It is said that God’s direct voice is super-sensible and that the only way any man can hear his voice, is if God himself manifests his voice in a different way so that it can be heard. Therefore, the Jewish teachers try to make a distinction between the different manifestations of God’s voice.
One manifestation would be how God spoke to Moses or how he spoke to his prophets, as opposed to the voice of God which was spoken after the death of the last known Jewish prophet Malachi and the cessation of the gift of prophecy to Israel (or the Jewish people).
With Moses, it is said that God spoke face to face and mouth to mouth. The teaching or the emphasis on “bat qol” was mainly formed during the 400 years of silence after the prophet Malachi; and how he still communicated his will to his people, but in a different manner.
“bat kol” is considered a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the Talmud; Josephus says that “bat kol” is the voice of God and in the Midrash, it is said to be a remnant of what God left in Israel, as the Holy Spirit departed at the death of the last prophets (Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi).
“bat kol” is also believed to be an angel (messenger) by some Jewish teachers, that will speak for God when invoked by prayer; once the prayer is made, then the first voice heard would be “bat kol” speaking the wisdom from God.
The Cabala teaches the difference between the logos (mas.) and the bat kol (fem.) voice from God, much in the same way that wisdom from God is also portrayed as feminine in Pro.4:5-6. Usually bat kol is without any other theophany or manifestation of God, where it is only a voice that is heard; a voice that seems to come from nowhere with no visible sender. This voice is not always understood by all that hear the sound of it and some hear nothing at all.
This has always amazed me how that God can speak and some do not hear the voice, while others do hear it.
In the O/T God would speak through his prophets; and many times, the people would reject the prophet and his message; and in some cases, they would do harm or even kill the prophet.
Even the man Moses; he often found himself being judged by the people and came very close to being harmed, even though there were many great proofs of God’s presence with him, which showed he was a man who hears God.
Often, it is the message that the people are rejecting and not so much the person speaking it that’s being rejected; in other words, the person isn’t speaking what the people want to hear. Therefore, they turn a deaf ear to the message; so, by claiming the messenger a false prophet, they can then ignore the message and they can pacify their conscience at the same time.
There are times when the message is only for a particular person; such as when the Lord spoke to Paul and those around him did not hear the words of the voice or understand the language that was spoken (Acts 22:9).
Sometime, the perception we have of a person limits our ability to hear or receive from them. It’s possible that those who only heard thunder; that they had already rejected Jesus, so when the voice from heaven came, it was immediately rejected. These people were not willing to hear anything that would have confirmed Jesus as a messenger from God.
Therefore, if they claimed to have only heard thunder, then there was no need to see Jesus in any other light than that of a trouble maker with no authority.
Thunder has no authority to confirm anything or cause one to change their way of thinking. To the Jew, an angel should be heard or at least their presence should be acknowledged, but still their message carries no real authority.
Once again, Jewish teachers say that angels often speak in an angelic language that can only be heard and understood by the person which it is being spoken to; therefore, what is spoken is often only for a particular person, so the message only has authority over the one where the interpretation was given.
If an angel spoke, there was no obligation to respond or to accept what is spoken. These who heard an angel speaking, acknowledged at least something was spoken; however, there was no real authority within it to cause them the respond.
For any of these people to say they heard God speak; this would then have placed extreme authority on what was said, as well as, they then would have been responsible to the message spoken; and then they would have to act in accordance to the authority of what was spoken (and accept Jesus).
It’s not enough to look at the bible and say it full of good words or teachings; and at the same time place no real authority in its content or message. If we only see the scriptures as “good words”, then there is no real authority there to cause us to do anything more than just read them; which means we don’t have to respond to its message or apply it into our lives.
But, if we see it as “the very word from God”, now it become more than just good words; there is now placed upon the scriptures an authority that demands something of us; and we are now responsible to apply what is contained in them.
Some have claimed that the scriptures are nothing more than the writings of mere men (this places no God-given authority upon what is written).
It is true that the words were written down by men (prophets), but these men were inspirited by the Spirit of God to write what they wrote; which would then make the scriptures more than the writings of mere men; but now they would be the very words from God.
Whereas, being inspired means: God influenced what was recorded or gave the words that were to be written down, just as if he himself pinned it by his own hand; and it also places an authority on the words written, which would require people to respond accordingly.
God’s grace flows out from his written word into our very being; if, we believe it is God’s word to us and we give it its rightful place of authority over us. When we do this, the word works powerfully in our lives, and its promises come to life; working God’s will into our lives.
Many people fail to receive the benefits from God’s grace filled promises, simply because they give no real authority to God’s written word; whereby it also strips their faith of the power which comes by that authority that is upon and within the written word of God.
Since the word has no authority over that person, then that person has nothing to use when he needs to fend off Satan’s attacks. (If it has no authority over you, then you have no right (authority) to use it over something else).
A person, who wants authority, must first be a person who is under authority. Trying to use the authority of the word of God over Satan will not work, if that same word does not have authority over the person using it. Satan will only look at you and say, “All I hear is thunder!”
The sons of Sceva found this out the hard way; they tried to use the authority of the name of Jesus over evil spirits; and at the same time these men were not under the authority of that name, so its authority was not available for them to use. (Act 19:13-16)
God will not be mocked, if you are not under his authority, then you will not be able to use the authority of his word or his name; instead you will reap what you have sown (Gal.6:7)
The voice of God in our hearts.
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (John 10:26-27)”
At some point in time, a person must yield to the leadership of Christ, both through the written word and by the Spirit of God that dwells within them. The failure to follow Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit may very well prove that you are not his.
We do not prove that we are his by the mere words of our mouths, but also by our actions and how we apply the word of God into our lives. It’s not a matter of how well we apply the word (or being perfect), for everyone who is truly his will be in different degrees of maturity of submission and in the knowledge of his word.
However, there needs to be evidence that we are his sheep and not someone else’s. Both in the O/T and the N/T, the proof that one was a true follower, was seen through the person’s acceptance of God’s word into their lives and that they applied what was said.
If one truly followed God’s word and applied it faithfully, there was to be a manifestation of God’s grace on the person; which in turn would give witness to their faithfulness to the word. For some that might be prosperity, but prosperity alone proves nothing; but a lifestyle of living out from God’s word along with prosperity revealed that God’s blessing was real to those who gave true authority to his word.
Often, the reason people didn’t prosper or find success in the promises of God is because they were not faithful or consistent with applying God’s word to their situations.
As I will always continue to say, “One of the greatest breakthroughs I ever had as a Christian, was when I realized I could hear the voice of the Spirit; and I could distinguish it from mine own inner thoughts.
As I started to hear and follow what the Spirit was saying to me, then things in my ministry started to really take off. I could now be Spirit led, and I found myself in many divine situations, where the Lord wanted to use me to bring about his will. I knew what he wanted me to do or what to say to the people he led me to; sometimes it was a healing (whether it was physical or spiritual), sometimes it was just a simple word that the person needed to hear.
My ability to hear this inner voice was almost portioned to my reading and application of the written word in my life, if I neglected my study and prayer time, then my ability to be Spirit led seemed to be restricted. It is for this reason that I believe, that many will never be truly Spirit led due to the discipline that is needed; the carnal or immature will not allow themselves this kind of discipline in prayer or the study and application of the word of God into their lives.
Even if they were to hear; would they obey or apply what is said through the inner voice. If they do not apply the written word, then why would one think they would apply the inner voice of God? Once I realized that it was the Spirit speaking to me (and not my own inner thoughts or Satan’s), then came the realization that there must also be given an authority to that which I now knew to be God’s voice to me.
Nothing will ever replace the written word or add to it, nor will there be anything that will contradict or nullify the authority of the written word; so, anything coming by the inner voice will only help you to apply what is written and it will be in agreement with it.
However, it is still the Spirit of God that is dwelling in us that is speaking; therefore, failure to obey or to be led, will have its consequences and it will influence the flow of God’s grace into one’s life.
“Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. (John 12:28:29)”
Ask yourself, “When the word of God is spoken or read (the written word), what do you hear? Or, when the inner voice of the Spirit of God speaks to you, what do you hear?”
Do you hear: God’s authority to you or just an angel with little or no authority or do you only hear thunder?