“What God Was, the Word Was”
The bible is the word of god
THE Bible forms the foundation upon which every teachings and practices of the true Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) are built. The Bible-centered method is one of the defining characteristics that makes the true Church Of Christ unique. However, the attitude of some more liberal groups concerning the Bible departs even further from the proper reverence that should be accorded the Scriptures, and some who even profess to be Christians, calling the Bible only one of many “sacred texts.”
These same people consider the religious books of other religions, such as those of Buddhism and Hinduism, to be equally valid “expressions of God’s voice” and worthy of equal consideration and respect as the Bible. They consider all the “sacred texts” to be God’s various ways of speaking His truth to man, no matter how much the “truths” these books teach differ from and contradict one another and the Bible.
Still others give the Bible no respect at all, as they try to deconstruct it and attempt to read into the motives of the different writers, assigning them various social and political agendas. For them, there is no such thing as a sacred text. They see the Bible only as a human text that can be analyzed and criticized like any other literary works.
There are those who classify the Bible as a mere collection of myths, that is, something beyond the realm of truth. Others believe that the Bible is a mere work of man and just a product of human imagination.
However, in the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ), the Bible is considered indispensable. It is the ultimate authority and guide to the way the Church members think, feel, and act. Why do God’s words written in the Bible hold such power over their lives that they untiringly invite people to listen to and follow His words? The answer to this question rests on the distinctive attribute of the divine word that is also present in God Himself.
wHAT gOD WAS, THE WORD WAS
God is unique in that He is almighty (Gen. 17:1). He has unlimited power. His will always comes to pass since nothing could ever prevent its fulfillment. God’s words possess the same quality:
“For no word from God shall be void of power.” (Lk. 1:37, ASV)
Every word from the Almighty God has power. Like God Himself, His words are of unlimited power. How is God’s power manifested in His words?
“Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.” (Is. 41:22-23, NIV)
God is able to declare what the future holds. He can tell us the things to come long before they happen. False gods, such as idols and graven images, cannot do or say anything, let alone declare the future. And it is this power of God, which can be seen when what He says come to pass, that proves that He alone is the true God. God is able to “make known the end from the beginning” – or declare what will ultimately and certainly come to pass – because He himself, with His infinite power, brings His words to fulfillment (Is. 46:9-10). This characteristic of God and of His words distinguishes Him from man. Man by Himself cannot “declare the things to come” since he cannot foretell even the day of his own death (Js. 4:14).
Therefore, God’s power and the power of His words are found in no other. In view of this fact:
- There is indeed a sacred scripture, the word of God that “what God was, the word was.”
- This power of the divine word, “declaring the things to come,” cannot be found in any “human text.”
- Only the scripture that have the power of the divine word or the attributes of the word of God can rightfully claim to be the Sacred Scripture where the words of God are indeed written.
DECLARING WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
The Bible contains several examples of God’s words that were declared long ago but were appointed to take place in the time when the end is near.
The Great War
In one instance during the Lord Jesus Christ’s ministry on earth, His disciples asked Him concerning the time of His Second Coming, which is also the end of the world (Mt. 24:3). The Lord replied thus:
“Just so, when you see all these things beginning to happen, you can know that my return is near, even at the doors.” (Mt. 24:33, LB)
The Lord Jesus spoke of the occurrence of events that would signal His second Coming and the end of the world. He was able to prophecy concerning future events, not because He Himself is God, but because He spoke the words given to Him by God who sent Him and not His own opinions (Jn. 12:49; 17:3). Hence, the words that Christ spoke were God’s words. The events that Christ foretold were the events that God declared would happen.
Which are these events that Christ prophesied would signal that the end of the world is near?
“You are going to hear the noise of battles close by and news of battles far away; but do not be troubled. Such things must happen, but they do not mean that the end has come.” (Mt. 24:6, TEV)
The first sign that Jesus gave as an answer to His disciples’ question about the signs of His return and the end of the world was a war that would be dramatically different from all other wars that preceded it. What would make this war so unique is that the news of its battles would quickly spread both far and wide. This great war prophesied by the Lord Jesus Christ found fulfillment in the war that was once called “the war to end all wars,” or the First World War which began on July 27, 1914.1
In this war that would take place to mark the approach of the world’s end, how would the news of the battles be heard from far away?
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Dan. 12:4, NKJV)
The increase in knowledge would help people run to and fro and also contribute to the speedy dissemination of reports concerning World War I. The kind of knowledge, which would rapidly increase before this Great War and continue as the end of the world draws near, is clarified in another translation of the same verse quoted above:
“But Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal it up so that it will not be understood until the end times, when travel and education shall be vastly increased.” (Dan. 12:4, TLB)
Through the great advantages in “travel and education” – or transportation and communication technologies – important events around the world could be made known to people throughout the world almost instantly. And the first war in which modern technology was used for the rapid spread of news was the First World War. Historians Arthur Boak, Preston Slosson, and Howard Anderson recorded these advances in knowledge and invention which were first used in World War I and thereby stand as a testimony to the power of God’s words to always find fulfillment:
“A very large part of recent scientific invention has concerned itself with this problem of getting people, goods, and message quickly from place to place. For moving people and goods, we have the steamship, the railway, the automobile and motor truck, the airship and the airplane; for getting thoughts quickly from one mind to another, we have the telegraph, the cable, the telephone, the wireless telegraph, and the radio.”2
When did the great advances in information and communication technologies begin to find fulfillment?
“The electric telegraph was the product of many minds in many lands, but it became a practical success in the hands of the American, Mores, in 1844. A submarine cable was laid between England and France in 1851, and across Atlantic, after several failures, in 1866. The telephone entered commerce with the American inventor, Bell, in 1876. The Italian, Marconi, succeeded with wireless telegraphy around 1896. Radio was invented shortly before the First World War.”3
Trough the rapid and successive progression of inventions, God was already paving the way for the news of the war to spread quickly. These great leaps in information and communication technologies prophesied thousands of years earlier all took place within the 70 years preceding the start of the Great War.
On the other hand, when was the fulfillment of the “running to and fro” or the great advancements in transportation that contributed to the quick transmission of the news of the First World War? What vehicles were used to help people travel so quickly?
“The chariots race madly through the streets, they rush to and fro through the squares; their appearance is like torches, they dart like lightning.” (Na. 2:4, NRSV)
In this prophecy, God’s prophet Nahum spoke of chariots that would be speeding “to and fro” through the streets and squares and would be illuminated like torches. In ancient times, chariots were the only vehicles used for land travel. What else would be the quality of these land vehicles that the prophet foresaw?
“The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad way; they shall seem like torches they shall run like the lightnings.” (Na. 2:4, KJV)
These chariots which the prophet saw in his vision of the present era and recorded in the inspired Scriptures would be jostling against or banging into one another even in the broadways and highways. People of the modern era are witnesses to the fulfillment of God;s words in the cars and automobiles of today, as they speed through the streets (“The chariots race madly through the streets”) with their headlights on (“their appearance is like torches”), occasionally getting into accidents with one another (“they shall justle one against another”).
Just as information and communication technologies began experiencing rapid leaps of growth and development in the relatively small period of time preceding World War I, the same thing happened with inventions in transportation:
“Then the gasoline automobile came into practical use in the eighteen-nineties.”4
Rapid transportation on land with the modern “chariots” of today started in the 1890’s. This was approximately only two decades before the start of the First World War. Meanwhile, rapid transportation on water or the seas began only about 140 years before the start of the war:
“The invention of the steam engine (about 1770) is attributed to James Watt, a Scotch inventor.”5
When did travel “to and fro” in the air begin?
“The airplane was the invention chiefly of two Americans, the Wright brothers. It was in 1905 that these two men made their first successful airplane flights.”6
It was less than ten years after the invention of the airplane when these vehicles were first used in the “Great War.” Thus, it was the First World War in which all the new advancements in communications and transportation were used. These new inventions hastened the spread of news concerning this war and were also used as instruments during the war.
In the present day when man’s sense of amazement and wonder at the continuingly rapid advancements in technology has been replaced by the thought that al these are now ordinary and commonplace, the great significance of the First World War should never be underestimated. The impact which God’s words and these terrifying visions had on the ancient prophets must have been profound. This was the first war in history considered global in scale, and the first war in history to be fought not only on land and on the seas but also under the ground in the trenches and far above the ground in the skies.7
of the Condition of Our Time
Even with regard to the condition of our time in these last days, the Bible provides an unmistakable description. Through the apostles, this is what the words of God declare:
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (II Tim. 3:1-5, NKJV)
We do not have to look far. Right within the confines of our homes we see on television how perilous our time is. The rising tide of criminality is so alarming. Wanton crimes continue to be perpetrated against persons and properties. For these, various corrective measures have been imposed such as stricter gun laws and stiffer penalties to deter criminals, but to no avail. The sanctity of the home is now endangered, threatened by domestic violence brought about by squabbling couples and disrespectful children. So many lives have been snuffed out. So many dreams have been shattered.
This point to the conclusion that what is written in the Bible is true. Thus, we are assured that the Bible we are using now is the true Holy Scriptures because this has the quality of the words of God: What He says will surely happen.
THE BIBLE: OUR SACRED SCRIPTURE
Therefore, the Bible is indeed the Sacred Scripture, the word of God. “What God was, the word was.” God’s power to declare what the future holds, telling us the things to come long before they happen. Since the power of God’s words are found in the words written in the Bible, the Bible also declares what the future holds, long before it happens; thus the Bible is indeed not a human text, not a collection of myth, not in equal status with other “sacred scriptures,” but the only Sacred Scripture where the words of God are written.
Since God’s words written in the Bible came to pass, we know with certainty that His words are filled with power. Nothing can hinder the Almighty’s words from having the intended effect for which He spoke them. His words are the truth because He always makes them come true. That is why all people should trust in His words found in the Bible. They should completely obey all His teachings and His commandments and accept all His prophetic utterances.
1 Story of the Great War, edited by Francis J. Reynolds, et al. New York, USA: P.F.Collier and Son, 1916. Vol. 2, p. 291..
2 Boak, Arthur E.R., Slosson, Preston, and Anderson, Howard R. World History, edited by Langer, William L. USA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1942. vol. 2, p. 542.
3 Ibid., p. 543
4 Ibid., p. 544
5 Elson, Henry W. Modern Time and the Living Past. USA: American Book Company, 1946. p. 431)
6 Ibid., p. 667, footnote
7 Boak, et. al., pp. 478-479).
Bible Versions and Abbreviation:
ASV – American Standard Version
KJV – King James Version
TLB – The Living Bible
NIV – New International Version
NKJV - New King James Version
NRSV - New Revised Standard Version
NRSV - New Revised Standard Version