THE CHIEF and SOLE MESSENGER

WHO is the MESSAGE

BY:  JOHN R. GAVAZZONI

 

I have long maintained that to speak of the Bible as the word of God fails to make clear the Bible's contribution to understanding by what essential Agency God speaks to mankind. Better, in my opinion, would be to explain its contribution as the uniquely inspired, normative record of God's speaking in and through His Son, Jesus Christ, within the period of history its story covers. The Gospel of John, the Book of Hebrews, and The Book of Revelation, particularly make clear WHO is the Word of God, WHO is the Word sent by God, and WHO is the Word which is God. By "inspired, normative record," I mean that all other claims of inspiration must be judged by its testimony. No matter how much men have bludgeoned the text by their mishandling, still that message gets through.

 

Laying aside for the moment, questions re: the Bible's micro-inerrancy, its macro-message shines through every page of our canonical Old and New Testaments, even as it suffers from sincere, but faulty, attempts of translators to draw forth its message from the original Hebrew and Greek (with some Aramaic), and present it to the world in other languages. Let's put to rest for the moment the controversy over micro-inerrancy, and ponder the principle that God ALWAYS uses imperfect vessels, imperfect instruments. He has sovereignly seen to it that, to date, we do not have any of the original manuscripts of the many books that make up THE Book, and is only gradually releasing to the world through imperfect vessels, more accurate renderings of the original text. Given how men succumb to bibliolatry with regard to a text handed down to us imperfectly, imagine how men would make an idol of a perfectly handed-down text.  

 

This is the claim I put forth in this study: God's only-begotten Son is, in Himself, all that God has to say to men. That cannot be said of the Bible. The Word of God cannot be contained within the covers of even that uniquely inspired compilation of testimonies. Karl Barth was very courageous in saying that the Bible is only the Word of God when God speaks it to your heart. Or better, the Bible will only be to us the speaking of God as the Spirit of Truth, by His subjective work, takes its objective message and uses it to unveil the Son of God, Jesus Christ. This is no merely intellectual conveyance. It's a Spirit to spirit experience whereby God reveals Himself as Father and Creator by infusing us with the Spirit of Christ.

 

Besides that, Christ has re-generatively appeared to some men and women without the testimony of scripture being involved. In fact our Lord's earliest disciples experienced Him before they realized that He had been spoken of in all of the Torah, and by all of the prophets. To be sure, when the Bible's testimony is added, those men and women, normally, come to know the Word more accurately. They gain an understanding of the history of the One who appeared to them, so that the Bible's objective testimony adds a dimension of understanding to their subjective experience.

 

This leads us to the truth that God's Word is always human. God's Word comes to us as the Word made flesh. There's a confusion about the place "angels" have instrumentally in God's speaking. "Angel," is not a translation of the Greek word, "angelos." The Greek word has been transliterated, when it should have been translated. It means simply, "agent," and/or "messenger." An "angel" is an agent particularly bearing a message. By transliterating the Greek, a whole mythology of a separately created species of spirit beings has developed, so that every time "angelos" appears, for instance, in the Greek, men project that mythology onto the text.  

 

How could we have missed the clear explanation, for instance, in the Gospels' record of Jesus' resurrection that the "angel" was a young man, and the "angels" were two young men. Hey, you literalists. The Bible says it, so you believe it---right? Well it says they were men, not some other created species. Have you noted that when John on the Island of Patmos is confronted by one so overwhelming by his presence that it causes John to fall down at his feet, only to be admonished (paraphrase): "Don't do that, for I am of your brethren the prophets." Have you failed to note connection of "the prophets," and "angels" in the opening of the first verses of the Book of Hebrews. The prophets, in the context, are clearly the "angels," that is, the agents bearing a message. There, the Son, is superior to the "angel" prophets, since they only spoke in part, while in His Son, God summarized all His speaking. Then there is the fact that while the Genesis record of God creating all things is quite specific in its detail---fish of the sea, birds of the air, beasts of the field, and creeping things---there is no mention of Him creating a separate species of sentient spirit beings distinct from Adam and Eve.

 

It's all presumed. It's all imposed upon the text from the angel mythology. It, in effect, works to devalue the preeminence of the human factor of God's speaking. It distracts from God's speaking in, and as, the True Human, Jesus Christ, who is God's speaking in and through His many brethren--- His human brethren. By man came death, and by man came also the resurrection. God's Word is an incarnate Word, and all that God does, He does by incarnation.  

 

The Book of Hebrews testifies that God in different times and in different ways spoke to the fathers through the prophets, but in these last days, He has spoken to us IN A SON. God wrapped up all that He has to say, and sent it to us AS Jesus. More than Jesus words being the Word of God, He, Himself, was that Word, so that when He spoke, His essence came forth as spirit and life. Please understand that there was a continuity involved from God speaking through the prophets to speaking in a Son, for the prophets spoke according to the Spirit of Christ which was in them. Even back then, He was the message, but He had not yet become flesh so that we could behold His glory, the glory of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and in so beholding we hear God speak by seeing the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE CHIEF and SOLE MESSENGER – WHO is the MESSAGE [John R. Gavazzoni] 04-24-15          2

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