14 Characteristics of The Word of God
In this article, 14 characteristics of the Word of God are described. These statements are most significant in view of the fact that that a large body of modern theologians have, through their prejudice and destructive criticism, relegated the Bible to the level of highly contentious and disputed writings of human origin.
Since the last decade of the previous century, the biggest and most comprehensive attack of the entire New Testament era has been launched against the credibility of the Bible as the Word of God. The present attack does not only emanate from the unbelieving, heathen world and its godless rulers but also from a great number of false theologians and their accomplices within the Christian church. These end-time scribes and Pharisees do not hesitate to viciously attack the Bible by describing it as a humanly inspired book filled with mythology, mistakes and contradictions. Furthermore, they label the Bible as obsolete and time-expired by confining its message to the historical period of its writing. To them, the people of that time had a primitive reasoning capacity and were very superstitious since they believed in the existence of a burning hell and a devil – the latter being portrayed in mythological terms as a snake and a seven-headed dragon.
In an unconcealed spirit of agnosticism they argue that modern people are not obliged to accept these primitive ideas since our world-view, as shaped by psychology, philosophy and the evolutionary natural sciences, has superseded and replaced the Bible. In the process, humanity became its own god with modern science as its bible and the Humanist Manifesto on the upholding of human rights its code for moral conduct.
Coinciding with the rejection of the Bible as God’s inerrant Word is the outright denial of the Deity of the Lord Jesus. It is alleged that, just like the heathen nations around them, the New Testament writers wanted to have a god to worship and consequently declared Jesus to be God. According to the decadent theologians, Jesus never claimed to be God. These false views not only diminish the integrity and Person of the Lord Jesus but also the biblical witness of His Deity. Views of this nature are rapidly gaining support in the world – also among many of the reformed theologians in South Africa.
These developments are part of an end-time satanically-inspired spiritual falling away: “The Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart form the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). In reaction to this falling away many people will, under the influence of false preachers, abandon the truth of God’s Word: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires… will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). These preachers will twist the Word and deny the Deity of Jesus: “But there… will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them… And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed” (2 Pet. 2:1-2). They will scoff at the true believers, persecute them and refer to evangelical doctrines in a derogatory manner.
Believers have suffered attacks of this nature for many centuries: “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? … The Lord tests the righteous. But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals, fire and brimstone and a burning wind” (Ps. 11:3-6). We are now living in the midst of the great, end-time rebellion against God, His Word, His Son, His Spirit and His kingdom. The Lord is testing and purifying His church while separating the wheat and chaff on the threshing-floors of the world. The righteous will see His face when He removes them from planet earth, while His wrath will be poured out upon the wicked during the ensuing tribulation period.
All evangelical Christians should recommit themselves to upholding, maintaining and honouring the Bible as God’s Word. The Word of God is a precious treasure which has been given to us. It is dynamic and living, and fulfils various spiritual functions in our lives. The Word has the following explicit characteristics and functions:
It is a revelation of God
Firstly, it should be realised that the Bible does not contain the words of men but the Word of God. It reveals the nature of the Triune God, His work of creation in the origin of humanity and the universe, the existence and plans of a hostile kingdom under the leadership of Satan who was cast out of heaven by God, the moral wretchedness and spiritual mortality of humanity because of the Fall, God’s calling of Israel and the revelation of His laws of righteousness, His saving grace for all humanity through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Second Coming of Christ, the subsequent establishment of the kingdom of heaven on earth, and the future of humanity – the saved ones in the new heaven and on the new earth, and the wicked with Satan and his demons in the lake of fire.
A large part of the Bible is devoted to support the spiritual growth of believers and to equip and empower them to stand against all the spiritual deception of a hostile world: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The Bible is not a book of human speculation about God but its contents has been “given by inspiration of God.” Peter says that “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). The divine inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible in the original languages is stated as a fact which is beyond any doubt.
The revelation of Jesus Christ as God the Son is also elevated far above all theological speculation and vain reasoning. He is “the true God and eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:20). “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9); that is why Peter refers to Him as “our God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:1). Jesus Himself said: “I and my Father are one” (Jn. 10:30). However, this unity exists in a plural form and for that reason Jesus also referred to Himself and His Father as we (Jn. 14:23). The Father spoke in the second person about Jesus when He said: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Mt. 17:5). The third person in the Godhead is God the Holy Spirit. “For there are three who bear witness in heaven: The Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one” (1 Jn. 5:7). The revelation of the Godhead occurs through Jesus Christ; consequently, no one can know the Father or approach His throne except through Jesus (Jn. 14:6; 1 Jn. 2:23), while the Holy Spirit also witnesses to the teachings and redemptive work of Jesus (Jn. 14:26; 16:14).
It is associated with a Person
All the promises of God in the Bible are associated with a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the incarnate Word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… In Him was life, and the life was the light of men… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:1, 4, 14). The spoken and written Word of God testifies of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, and is therefore closely linked to Him.
In the book of Revelation, John also emphasises the close association between Christ and the Word: “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns… and His Name is called the Word of God” (Rev. 19:11-13). He is faithful and true to fulfil all God’s promises for the benefit of believers. He is also righteous in His judgements upon the wicked who did not accept God’s love and offer of salvation to all humanity. “For all the promises of God in Him are ‘Yes,’ and in Him ‘Amen,’ to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20; Eph. 1:7).
Because of the close association between Christ and the Word we cannot fully know and love the Lord Jesus if we neglect the study of His Word. “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (Jn. 14:23). The words of Jesus are spirit and life (Jn. 6:63). The experience of unity with the Father and the Son is effected by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is impossible to observe biblical principles and norms without the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.
It has creative power
The Word of God has creative power. The Lord only needs to speak a word for anything to come into being. “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Gen. 1:3). Peter says that by the Word of God the heavens came into being and the earth was formed (2 Pet. 3:5). This Word took a visible form in Jesus Christ: “He is the image of the invisible God… For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth… And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Col. 1:15-17). The gospel, which is the message of the saving grace of Christ to all who believe, has creative power in the lives of people who were dead in their sins and iniquities: “…the gospel of Christ… is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). All true believers know that there is power in the Word. The believing Roman centurion said to Jesus: “…only speak a word, and my servant will be healed” (Mt. 8:8).
It is pure
The inerrancy and flawlessness of the Word are proof of the fact that it is absolutely pure. It is unchanging and trustworthy. The psalmist says: “Your Word is very pure” (Ps. 119:140). “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Ps. 12:6). Should you doubt, disregard, discredit or reject the Word of God, you will be judged by the Word on the last day. Also those who detract from the truth and applicability of the Word by spiritualising or allegorising it, including those who relegate it to the level of human mythology, will pay a very high price for their unbelief. Daniel says that their shame and contempt will be everlasting (Dan. 12:2). Rather put your trust in the pure Word of God as it will lead you to salvation: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).
It is like a fire and a hammer
“Is not my Word like a fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29). If only we would have a teachable spirit by listening to and obeying the Word of the Lord, we will find that it can soften the hardest heart and break down every wall of resistance. However, many people reject what they hear and in so doing harden their hearts to the Word. The Holy Spirit says to them: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 3:7-8). Humans are not robots who are programmed and manipulated by God, but intelligent beings with a free will. We have the capacity and choice to accept or reject the Word of God. During the earthly ministry of Jesus after His first coming, most people rejected Him because they loved darkness rather than light (Jn. 3:19). He wanted to save and protect them against evil but they were not willing (Mt. 23:37).
If we have a teachable spirit and receive the Word into our minds and hearts it will be like a fire which consumes all human theories and false ideas about life. Instead of our distorted views of the past we will receive divine wisdom and insight, which is described as enlightened eyes of the mind (Eph. 1:18). The spiritual hardness, licentiousness and wilfulness caused by sin will be replaced by gentleness, self-control and a hunger and thirst for the Word of God.
It saves sinners
“…receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls” (Jas. 1:21). “[you have] been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23). People who have grasped this great truth are anxious to learn the words of eternal life from the Lord Jesus: “…the multitude pressed about Him to hear the Word of God… And He sat down and taught the multitudes” (Lk. 5:1, 3). “He said… blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it” (Lk. 11:28). Jesus gave intensive teachings to the disciples: “Then He said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written… about Me. And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Lk. 24:44-45).
We must be very sure that we believe in the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and in the Word which testifies of His Son. Then alone we will receive the gift of eternal life. To the disbelieving Jews the Lord Jesus said: “The Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me… And you do not have His Word abiding in you, because Whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (Jn. 5:37-40). “…for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (Jn. 8:24). Jesus reprimanded them because His Word had no place in them (Jn. 8:37). Instead, they clung to their religious traditions (humanly-conceived theology) and thus rendered the Word of God powerless in their lives: “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition… making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down” (Mk. 7:9, 13).
But the disciples received the Word, and with it also the Lord Jesus of whom the Word testifies that He is the Saviour of the World. In His high priestly prayer, Jesus prayed for them and said to the Father: “I have given them Your Word… Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth… I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word” (Jn. 17:14, 17, 20). Have you received the life-giving Word of God in faith, and are you a witness to Jesus Christ everywhere you go?
It is spirit and life
The Lord Jesus said: “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (Jn. 6:63). After being born again we should nourish ourselves daily with the Word to become mature Christians, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: “…as new-born babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2; Eph. 4:13-14). This spiritual food is essential as “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Lk. 4:4). Is the Word actively working in your life?
Paul delighted in Christians who received the Word and were spiritually built up by it: “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thes. 2:13). There is indeed spiritual life in the Word, and for that reason we should nourish ourselves with the words of faith (1 Tim. 4:6). “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another” (Col. 3:16). Increased knowledge of the Word should coincide with increased grace. That will only happen if the gaining of knowledge is not only a mental exercise but also leads to the spiritual enriching of the heart: “…but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). Sadly, some people only grow in knowledge and not in grace. To grow in grace one must also grow in knowledge to ensure doctrinal purity in one’s beliefs. Systematic Bible study should be both instructional and devotional.
Pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit as He alone can guide you into all truth (Jn. 14:26; 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:10). He makes the Word alive in your heart by ensuring that Bible study is not merely an academic exercise but part of your spiritual growth and humbling before the living God. You should be determined to “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Col. 1:9). Your main objective in life should be to do the will of the Father (Mt. 7:21). Knowledge about His will is not gained through extra-biblical revelations such as dreams and visions, but through serious Bible study.
It is a two-edged sword
“For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). Profs. John Walvoord and Roy Zuck (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, 1983) say the following about this verse: “The Word of God is living and active. Not only that, its penetrating power is greater than any double-edged sword and reaches the innermost being of a person so that it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. In doing this, it is able to discriminate successfully between what is spiritual in man and what is merely ‘soulish’ or natural. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, and does so even when these often-contradictory inner elements are interwoven as closely as joints and marrow. The inner life of a Christian is often a strange mixture of motivations both genuinely spiritual and completely human. It takes a supernatural discerning agent such as the Word of God to sort these out and to expose what is of the flesh. The readers might think that they were contemplating certain steps out of purely spiritual motivations when, as God’s Word could show them, they were acting unfaithfully as did Israel of old.”
Are you contemplating the Word of God in your heart? Did you confess and forsake the evil thoughts and sinful desires that are revealed by it, and have you accepted in faith the promises of Christ and His saving grace? Then alone would you be able to testify to the living and powerful working of the Word in your life.
A sword is a symbol of executive power and symbolises the authority of a legislator. Because God has supreme power in the universe, the authority of His Word is unquestionable. Believers can take up the sword of His Word in their fight against sin, the world and the devil while standing on the promises of God in His Word.
It is a fixed norm and guiding principle for our lives
The psalmist prayed: “Direct my steps by Your Word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me” (Ps. 119:133). We should never stray from the Word of God and become carnal instead of spiritually minded because then we would allow the lusts of the flesh to drown us in destruction and perdition (1 Tim. 6:9). Be steadfast and resolute in you commitment to God and His Word, and always be able to say to the Lord with confidence: “I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your Word” (Ps. 119:101). God admonished Joshua to be strong and very courageous to observe His Word: “Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go” (Jos. 1:7).
By memorising the promises of the Bible and accepting them in faith, we are hiding them in our hearts that we might not sin against God (Ps. 119:11). In this way the unchangeable Word becomes the guiding principle of our lives. The Word of God is also a solid rock which offers stability to us, and shelter against the storms of life. Jesus said: “Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” (Mt. 7:24-25).
Paul says that this Rock (or Foundation) is Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11). His body was “cleft” on the cross to become a spiritual refuge and home to us; that is why we can sing: “Rock of Ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee…” The stream of God’s blessings flows from the cleft Rock (Jn. 7:37-39; Ex. 17:6; 1 Cor. 10:4). The lives of all people who are not anchored to Christ and His Word have been built on sand: “Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Mt. 7:26-27). Nobody has any future without Jesus Christ.
It illuminates our lives
All Christians should let the light of God’s Word shine in the world. The Lord Jesus said to Paul: “[I am sending you to the Gentiles] to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18). Every unsaved person is caught in the darkness of sin and should, by way of a spiritual rebirth, come out of the darkness of Satan into God’s marvellous light.
The psalmist said: “The entrance of Your Words gives light” (Ps. 119:130). In the light of God’s Word we realise our sinfulness and need for salvation: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Eph. 5:14). Jesus Christ is “the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world” (Jn. 1:9). He said: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). By accepting Him and His Word we will never stumble in the darkness as the Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps. 119:105). “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light” (Eph. 5:8).
Paul says: “…let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Rom. 13:12). Part of the armour of light is faith, the Word, prayer, Christian testimony and the blood of the Lamb. The flame of faith, supported by an active prayer life, should burn high in our lives while holding aloft the lamp of the Word by our testimony, and resisting the devil by virtue of Christ’s victory on the cross where He shed His blood for the remission of our sins and defeated the enemy of our souls (Heb. 2:14).
Individuals, groups and governments who do not take their decisions (or determine their policies) in the light of God’s Word by observing its values, principles and precepts, walk in the darkness of deliberate rebellion against God. They are heading for certain disaster because they are like a pilot who tries to navigate a ship through the troubled waters of a stormy and uncharted ocean during a dark night. “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble” (Prov. 4:18-19).
Come to Him who alone is the light of the world. He will teach you as a father teaches his son, and equip you spiritually to fulfil your calling as the light of a dark world (Mt. 5:14). We should be sanctified “children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom [we] shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).
It reveals the future
Prophecies that reveal future events are an important part of God’s Word is. Since Jesus Christ is the incarnate Word, the prophetic Word is also directly linked to Him: “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). The future of all people is determined strictly according to the relationship between them and Jesus. In terms thereof they are either heading for eternal life or eternal death. Have you considered your own future in terms of these great truths?
Peter says: “We also have the prophetic Word made more sure, which you do well to heed as to a light that shines in a dark place” (2 Pet. 1:19). Paul says: “Do not despise prophecies” (1 Thes. 5:20), but study them under the guidance of the Holy Spirit who will lead you into the whole truth (Jn. 16:13). A special blessing is promised to those who study the prophetic Word and take its message to heart: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Rev. 1:3).
Unfortunately, there are many Christians who think that they can find their way through life without this knowledge. The inevitable consequence of this attitude is that their life-orientation and future expectation changes from spiritual (biblically-based) to secular (political, social or economic-based). They do not prepare to meet Jesus Christ and escape the coming tribulation period by way of the rapture. Instead they are building a new world order in which they attempt to establish a man-made peace based on universal harmony and unity, religious tolerance and global economic equity without Christ and His Word. Great disillusionment is awaiting them, “for when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them” (1 Thes. 5:3).
Informed Christians who diligently study the Word, know that during the end-time just prior to the coming of Christ, the present world will vastly deteriorate in all spheres of life. Way back in 1918, Clarence Larkin said in his prophetic book, Dispensational Truth: “With the exception of a few who will repent and turn to God, the mass of the people will become more hardened and wicked than before.” The spiritual falling away will be accompanied by a moral, social, economic and political falling away from civilised, Christian standards. With a view to the passing away of the present world, Christians are preparing for a better future by laying up treasures in heaven and doing things that have eternal value.
It judges the wicked
The Word does not only save those who put their trust in its promises but it judges the millions of unbelievers who reject the offer of salvation. That is the reason why the Holy Spirit reminds us of the Word (Jn. 14:26) while convicting us of sin, righteousness and judgement (Jn. 16:8). All lost sinners must realise that they should confess and forsake the sins which stand between them and God if they wish to have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them. The unrepentant wicked are heading for eternal judgement in the lake of fire.
All those who devalue the Word of God by adding to or subtracting from it will be judged by the Word itself: “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the book of life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev. 22:18-19). “Every word of God is pure… do not add to His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar” (Prov. 30:5-6). All who try to change the Bible by twisting and distorting its message, rendering it powerless to their listeners or readers, provoke the anger of God over themselves. Paul said: “…there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach any gospel to you other than we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:7-8).
To the wicked it will be a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31), “for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). The punishment of sinners will become effective when the Lord speaks words of judgement. On the day of His second coming, Jesus will consume the Antichrist with the breath of His mouth” (2 Thes. 2:8). On that day, during the battle of Armageddon, He will speak words of judgement which will cause the destruction of the Antichrist’s forces: “And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse” (Rev. 19:21; Zech. 14:12-13).
It will not return to God void
The Word of God either leads to the salvation and spiritual growth of people or to their condemnation due to unbelief: it will not return to God void. “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Is. 55:10-11).
The Word of God will be fulfilled in all respects – also in the coming revelation of the mystery of lawlessness (Rev. 17:17). “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Num. 23:19). With His perfect foreknowledge God knows what will happen in the future. Consequently, He could supply in every need before the time and also announce appropriate penalties for the wicked. His Word is true, essential and a source of real blessing to those who accept it in faith. To them, it is like manna from heaven, and also like the rain and snow that descend from above on a barren earth. It meets a vital need.
It endures forever
“The Word of the Lord endures for ever” (1 Pet. 1:25). Jesus said: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Lk. 21:33). It will always remain effective, never become irrelevant or redundant, and will prevail after the present heaven and earth have passed away. Every word will be fulfilled. We have every reason to rejoice in our eternal God, His everlasting Word and His enduring mercies:
- “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever” (Ps. 19:8-9).
- “The Lord sits as King for ever” (Ps. 29:10).
- “The Lord knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be for ever” (Ps. 37:18).
- “You, Lord, are on high for evermore” (Ps. 92:8)
- “His righteousness endures for ever” (Ps. 111:3).
- “I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life” (Ps. 119:93)
- “The entirety of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgements endures for ever” (Ps. 119:160).
- “Your Name, o Lord, endures for ever” (Ps. 135:13).
- “Israel shall be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you shall not be ashamed or disgraced for ever and ever” (Is. 45:17).
- “The Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even for ever” (Mic. 4:7).
An invitation to salvation
“The Lord has no pleasure in the death of the wicked but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezek. 33:11). “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him when He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Is. 55:6-7). Paul reiterated this call of repentance to all nations: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all, by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). Paul says that in the light of these facts we should hold fast “the Word of life” (Phil. 2:16).
To the faithful church in Philadelphia the Lord Jesus said: “You have kept My Word, and have not denied My Name” (Rev. 3:8). Acceptance of the Bible as God’s Word and honouring of the Deity of Jesus Christ are closely linked together. The upholding of these truths and persevering with an evangelical testimony to the end will render believers worthy of escaping the coming tribulation period. “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Rev. 3:10). The hour of trial refers to the great tribulation when the Antichrist will rule the world and the wrath of God will be poured out upon the wicked.
The church of human rights (Laodicea) is rejected by Jesus and spewed from His mouth because their own words (not God’s Word) were their guiding principles and norms of self-assessment: “Because you say: ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17). To them, and all other sinners, there is only one solution: “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door” (Rev. 3:20) he will be saved. The Lord Jesus is the only Saviour of the world and His Word the only reliable source of truth.
Prof. Johan Malan, University of the North, South Africa