Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 11, 1961

Speaking As The Oracles Of God

Wilbur Hunt, Palmetto, Florida

God has always condemned false teachings and false prophets or those who do not proclaim the oracles of God as advised by Peter in 1 Peter 4:11a: "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." A margin passage is Jeremiah 23:22: "But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings." The context of this passage is verses 9-32.

In this section, God through Jeremiah expresses his displeasure and condemnation of the false prophets who were leading the Jews astray. Jeremiah himself was concerned, shaken, upset, and overwhelmed by the wickedness that prevailed then among the Jews. Righteous indignation, love for God and truth, and hatred for sin and error on his part are indicated and suggested by these words: "because of the Lord, and because of the words of his holiness." Christ had this feeling towards the wicked leaders as related in Mark 3:5, where it is stated that he "looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts."

What was the condition of the land and the people? Verse 10 and 11 gives the answer. "For the land was full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord."

Of what things were the false prophets, whom God described as being like Sodom and Gomorrah, guilty? First of all, "they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness." Second, they were guilty of profaneness or hypocrisy. Third, they prophesied and taught lies and vain things based on deceit and their imaginations rather than upon the words of God; claimed that God had sent and spoken to them; and said: "Ye shall have peace" and "No evil shall come upon you" to those who despised God and followed their ways and ideas. Fourth, they "caused my people Israel to err." Fifth, they caused the Jews to forget the name of God. Sixth, they stole or took away the words of God from the people.

How would God punish and show his anger upon them? First of all, "their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation." Second, "I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall" In short, their punishment would be serious, bitter, destructive, and grievous; and be as if a grievous and destructive whirlwind or storm or tornado or hurricane had hit them.

In view of the destruction that would come upon these false prophets, the advice of God to the Jews was simply this: "Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you." The same advice is given to us today as expressed in 1 John 4:1: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

Now, what things are involved in speaking the oracles of God? The first is having a good influence upon the people in word and deed or example and precept. Second, we have pleasing God and proclaiming his words rather than pleasing man and proclaiming words that are nice and pleasing to hear. Third thing is standing in and being faithful to the counsel and words of God so as to cause people to repent after hearing the word of God, and to remember God and his things and name. Fourth, we have being for God and truth, and being against sin and error. A fifth thing is basing everything upon a "thus saith the Lord" and book, chapter, and verse. In short, the person seeking or planning to preach should really be a man of God, not a false teacher only claiming to be of God.

Why? Verse 29 reads as follows: "Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" In short, the word of God is more powerful and profitable than the words of man, and of more value like the wheat is of more value than the chaff. In view of these things, let us strive to be true teachers and preachers of God; and to hearken unto the real word of God so as to become the right kind of persons, avoid sin and the wrath of God, and enjoy the blessings of God.