Levi Sisemore, Texas Normal Singing School
I’ve been teaching and preaching through the prophetic book Daniel. It’s one of my favorite books of the Bible, probably because of its engaging stories of conviction and faith. When I was a child I loved to read the stories of the Handwriting on the Wall, the Lion’s Den and the visions of beasts, animals, and kingdoms rising and falling. It is the stuff of adventure!
So much of Daniel revolves around dreams and visions. In fact, there is significant discussion in all Scripture of such inspired moments. From Elijah’s “sound of a low whisper” (I King 19:12) to John’s “voice like the roar of many waters” (Rev. 1:15), God has spoken throughout the story of the Bible. “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21).
In – very – brief, we need to ask a question for our day and age: Does God still speak in such dreams, visions, today? What does the Bible say?
First, “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…” (Heb. 1:1f). The days of prophets and the “many ways” in which God communicated through them has past. Today, the message of God comes through Jesus to His apostles (Jn 17:8). They, in turn, wrote down their insights into God (Eph. 3:4). It is through these writings, the Bible, that we come to faith in Christ (Jn 17:20). Jude 1:3 says that this faith was “once for all delivered to the saints.” It was delivered as mentioned above, not to be redacted or amended in any way. God warns, throughout salvation history, not to “add to” or “take away from” his word (Dt. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:6; I Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:18-19).
Second, In I Corinthians 13:8f Paul speaks of supernatural, spiritual giftedness – including inspiration: “As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” Those miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were temporary and have now passed. What’s translated as “the perfect” should be understood as maturity. The Corinthians were arguing about which spiritual gift was better (flashier), but Paul says you’re not acting spiritual with your spiritual gifts – you’ve neglected to love one another! When you act mature towards one another (love), the supernatural will fade into the background.
Third, these miracles (including inspiration) were passed on by the apostles laying their hands on Christians (Acts 8:17f). If there are no more men today who meet the qualifications of an apostle (and there were only two in Bible times, Acts 1:21-26), then there is no one to pass these gifts on to the church. But that’s OK, because they’re not necessary today – we’ve matured beyond them!
Friends, the Bible says “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16). If you’ll give the word of God room and resources in your life; if you’ll let it make its home there like a king and not like a beggar, then it will overflow from your mind/heart and make itself heard and seen in all of your life. We don’t need to be miraculously inspired today; we need to be grounded in the Scriptures. God has spoken. Learn what he has said and repeat it. Let us speak the very “words of God” (I Pet 4:11).