God has given me two distinct and enduring revelations in my lifetime. He has revealed his word to me and he has also revealed Israel. These revelations continue to grow over
REVELATION OF GOD’S WORD
In the late 1960s and early 70s we often took our three young children and the little dog up into the Rocky Mountains to picnic and to fish. On those occasions I usually tried to get off to meditate and pray for a while. In one of those times the Lord began to reveal his word to me. He revealed that his word is unlike all other words, that it is eternal and that he and his word are one. His word is alive and relevant for all time. He revealed to me how the world and universe were made by the spoken word of God. As it says in John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
No doubt, this passage meant a great deal to people in Bible times. Unfortunately, today we are not able to properly appreciate the concept of “word.” In those days the word was a person’s bond. We see this in the case of Jephthah. God called upon him to lead Israel to war against the Ammonites. Jephthah was apparently fearful regarding this coming battle. He swore to God that if the Lord would give him success he would sacrifice whatever came out of his house when he returned home. No doubt Jephthah had some little pet sheep or goats that normally ran out to meet him. When Jephthah returned home after his successful battle his only child, a little daughter danced out to greet him (Jud. 11:34). So far as we know he sacrificed her to the Lord as promised, although such a thing was actually forbidden in the law of God.
Today the word does not mean that much to us. In fact, we are drowning in words and most of them are meaningless. Just a few years ago the great Encyclopedia Brittanica boasted of 35 volumes with an astounding 65,000 entries. Today, Wikipedia has 15 million articles with 75 million visitors each month. (Challies162-63) Some great fields of knowledge today double in size every three years or so. Words, in all areas around us, seem to be increasing exponentially. Thus, words have become very cheap in our society.
We read some astonishing things about the word of God in Isaiah 40:8. This passage, which is repeated in 1 Peter 1:24, says: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” Some parts of the word like Leviticus may look dry and dead, but like a seed they can sprout forth, grow and produce fruit. There are records of some carbon-dated seed germinating after being as much as 2000 years old.
Obviously there are a lot of mysteries about the word of God and there are deep mysteries about how the word could create a world and a universe. On the surface it sounds a little like some fairly tale. About three years ago the Lord insisted that I begin studying Quantum Physics. Since I had almost failed math in school I was a bit reluctant but the Lord insisted. So I checked out all the books I could find and began my study. Certainly I do not claim to be a physicist, but the information I uncovered was amazing. Soon, I could see why a number of prominent physicists are now believing that the universe was made by a power or force outside of itself.
The Quantum Era was kicked off about a hundred years ago by Max Planck. He began to discover that sub atomic particles were not reacting according to the laws of Isaac Newton. He, along with Albert Einstein and others, discovered a number of seemingly weird things. They found that there was no time when one reached the speed of light. They also discovered that our vast universe, stretching across millions and millions of light years somehow stays in touch with itself and even communicates. Of course, the Bible said that almost 3500 years ago. We read in Job 38:7 that “…the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy…” Then there is that strange passage when Deborah and Barak with a small army fought against the powerful army of Sisera, who had 900 chariots, and somehow defeated him. The Bible tells us how in Judges 5:20. It says: “From the heavens the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera.”
Quantum physics has presented us with a universe that is not just material. It is interesting how some of the great physicists have described the universe. James Jeans says it is like a “thought.” Werner Heisenberg describes it as an “idea,” while George Wald says it is like “mind.” Perhaps the most interesting description comes from J.A. Wheeler who claims that the universe is like “information.” (Schroeder “According to God” 202) Obviously, these great scientists are coming quite close to the idea that the universe came about through the word.
We see a similar thing in the world around us. Gerald Schroeder, who is both a famous physicist and a biologist, describes how all living things on earth are controlled by the information-based program of DNA. He tells us how DNA is so dense in data that all the information in all the libraries of earth could be transcribed in the DNA space of 1 percent of a pin head. (Schroeder “Hidden Face” 192)
In reflecting back on the whole universe Schroeder tells how scientists for 3300 years thought the universe was static. They thought this until the 1960s, but all that time the Bible disputed the idea claiming that the universe had a beginning. (Schroeder “Science” 22) In the Hebrew language davar means “word.” It is interesting that the plural of davar (devarim) means “things.” All things came from the word of God. When God speaks things happen.
So we see that God is a speaking God. In Genesis and in many other places in scripture we see the Lord speaking. We often see the Hebrew expression va-yomer Elohim (and God said). This is much different from the many idols of the 21st century who cannot speak. God not only spoke the universe into existence but he has no doubt spoken to many of our readers. God wants to speak to the rest just as he spoke to young Samuel long ago. We must be willing to say as Samuel: “…Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Sam. 3:10).
REVELATION OF ISRAEL
In early 1974 my wife and I were standing in a Texas airport waiting for our flight to come in. We were not doing anything spiritual, just waiting for the plane. At that moment God spoke to me and said something like this, “You must become like the Jewish people.” The voice was not audible but it might as well have been. I immediately told my wife, “We have got to become like Jews!” We didn’t know many Jewish people and were not acquainted with the vast supply of information on the Jews and Israel. Nevertheless, we went home and got started. I blew the dust off my old Hebrew book from Seminary and refreshed myself on “aleph,” “bet” and “gimmel.” My wife began to cook Jewish recipes. We have not stopped learning since. It is good that God gives us a step at a time. Had he told us that we would move to Israel and live there sixteen years surely both of us would have fainted away.
When we began to study and write about Israel we learned that there is a lot in the Bible on the subject. Bible teachers and scholars have known for a long time that the importance of a subject can be determined by how many times it appears in Scripture. For instance, love appears 310 times, and that is more than “faith” or “hope” appear because love is more important (1 Cor. 13:13). However, when we look at Jerusalem we find that it appears 810 times, more than faith, hope and love combined. We really get a shock when we look at “Israel.” It appears 2565 times. I am told that this is more than any other subject except the name of God.
Later I began to study the Book of Romans and to write a commentary on the book. In doing so I discovered that some 23 percent of Romans is about Israel and the Jewish people. Several of the great reformers have stated that Romans is the best summary of the gospel that we have in the Bible. If that is indeed the case we can safely say that almost a quarter of our gospel is now missing, because today we hear almost nothing about Israel and the Jews in our churches.
Why is this? The answer is simple. The devil has stolen this information from us. In John 10:10 we see that the devil comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. He is a thief and he is good at it. In earlier times he actually stole faith from the church. It took some very brave reformers to recover faith for us. If he can steal faith from Christianity, then he can
We need to recover this stolen part of the gospel. So today I wish to disclose some shocking information. Since many are studying the subject of genealogy today I want to reveal something about your Christian family tree. It is something long lost, long hidden and long stolen away. Here is the secret. Your Christian family tree is Jewish
My wife and I can bear witness that God is still speaking and still working in Israel with the Jews. In the early part of last century the Lord spoke a word and the Jews began coming home to Israel (Jer. 31:7-10). In the closing ten years of last century he spoke another word and we were there to witness what happened. That word was actually spoken in prophecy some 2700 years before. God said: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth…” (Isa. 43:5-6). With that word a million new immigrants began to flock to Israel from the former USSR and from Ethiopia. They came at the rate of 30,000 a month into Ben Gurion Airport. It was our privilege to work with thousands of these families as they came home.
When God speaks things happen. Dear friends, that is true with Israel and with us. Today it applies to our lives, even to matters like our salvation. God says, “…Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). It applies to our sanctification as Romans 8:1 says: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” It applies to our perseverance or our ability to keep on in the Christian life as we see in 1 Corinthians 1:8: “He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In this day of sinking sand, blessed are those who stand squarely on the word of God.
Publication 2012. Condensed from a sermon given at the Community Covenant Church, Fairbanks, Alaska,
Tim Challies, The Next Story, Life and Faith after The Digital Explosion (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011).
Gerald L. Schroeder, God According to God, A Physicist Proves We’ve Been Wrong About God All Along, (NY:
Harper Collins, 2009).
Schroeder, The Hidden Face of God, How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth (New York: The Free Press, 2001).
Schroeder, The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom, (NY: The Free Press, 1997)
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