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In a recording I heard from 2006, a well-known preacher of a Church of Christ in North Texas claimed that the Holy Spirit had spoken directly to him while he was preaching a sermon. Could that be true? Is that even possible? Many denominational preachers make that claim all the time. Are they being honest? I have friends and acquaintances who have told me plainly and with all sincerity that God has spoken to them. Really? I’ve also read in the Bible where God or Jesus has, indeed, spoken directly to people, such as Samuel in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 3:9-11) and Paul in the New Testament (Acts 9:4-6). So, is it possible that God might speak to me one day? Is Jesus going to appear before me? Will the Holy Spirit guide me somehow, by speaking directly to me? How will I know?
If you have been a Christian for any length of time, no doubt you have heard these claims. Perhaps, you’ve even asked yourself some of these same questions. What is the answer to all this? Let me share another experience with you. During a Bible study one evening, a very nice and chatty lady told me that God had spoken to her. She explained that He had revealed to her the true meaning of the Book of Revelation and other things. My eyebrows raised on my forehead, I smiled and simply said, “Interesting. Would you turn to Hebrews 1 and read verses 1 and 2 for me, please?” She agreed and proceeded to read the verses. But, before she finished the last few words, she suddenly stopped and said very sternly, “Are you calling me a liar!!” I was startled at her response, but then calmly replied, “Ma’am, I’m not calling you anything. But, I’m certainly not going to call God a liar.” Sadly, she ended the study right there and decided to leave. Perhaps, I could have handled the scenario better, but I simply took her to the Bible (her own Bible that she held in her hand) and let it speak for itself. She drew the conclusion for herself. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do when we read the Bible for ourselves?
Consider carefully the words of the verse, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,” (Hebrews 1:1). The word “spoke” is in the past tense meaning it is a completed action, while “times past” confirms when it was completed. It is not written in the present tense nor the perfect tense which would both indicate that God continues to do this today. Instead, it very plainly conveys that it is something that God used to do. The sentiment is further clarified by the following clause, “but in these last days has spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things,” (1:2). The presence of the conjunction “but” indicates a contrasting scenario. He no longer does that, or we might say, “He used to do it that way, but He has since done it this way.” The past tense used in the second clause, “has spoken,” is also a completed action, signifying God not only has ceased speaking to man by prophets, but is also finished speaking to man through His Son.
Add to the fact that the Bible also states that our faith “was once for all delivered to the saints,” (Jude 3) which affirms Peter’s statement that we have been given “all things that pertain to life and godliness,” (2 Peter 1:3). Those verses express the finality of Scripture. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 includes the end of miraculous gifts. Therefore, if we have everything we need within the Bible, then there is no longer a reason for God to speak directly to us. We have the Bible, so we need nothing more. No additional prophecy or special revelation is necessary, it is fully complete.
Considering that Titus 1:2 says God cannot lie, aren’t we calling God a liar if we say He has spoken to us (directly or by Spirit) after it has been stated very plainly in the Bible that He no longer does that?