Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 8, 1961

The Instrumentality Of The Word

C. R. McRay, Decatur, Texas

Whereas Dwight said, "The Bible is a window in this prison of hope, through which we look into eternity," the apostle Paul states, "The word of God is quick and powerful,....." (Heb. 4:12) Of this word God says, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isa. 55:11) Certainly, beyond a shadow of a doubt, God's word will not return unto Him void. It will accomplish His desires.

As God's word is His instrument to save (Rom. 1:16; James 1:21), and His instrument to condemn a soul to the far reaches of an eternal hell by being the judge in that last day (John 12:44-50; Rev. 20:12), so it has been in the past the instrument to cause the damnation of souls. This statement is not without limitation and clarification. God's word is not the instrument to destroy man, until the individual has already rejected God and His ways.

God commissioned Isaiah in chapter 6, verse 9 beginning, "Go, and tell this people, hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly- desolate. And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof."

Reference is made to this quotation at least five times in the New Testament, each time regarding the Jews, and their blind condition. It is wrested by many in trying to show that God was merely foretelling their prejudiced condition. What he did tell Isaiah is this, namely, because the Israelites have rejected me, I will see to it that they do not understand and turn again to me by your preaching. He told Isaiah to close their eyes. He commanded him to shut their ears. He instructed him to make their heart or mind fat. The quotation of this scripture in the New Testament teach that their hearts were waxed gross. They had become calloused. They had become seared, as with an hot iron. Because they had rejected God, Isaiah is told to preach in such a way that even though they see, they cannot understand, and even in their hearing, understanding is not forthcoming. By the preaching of the truth, make their heart fat, so they cannot be reached.

There are four things we wish to notice about this prophecy. (1) The generality of people would turn a deaf ear. Truly, the truth would be proclaimed, and they would listen, but would turn from it. (2) They would be made worse by the preaching of truth. Conversion was necessary to their being healed. A right understanding was neces sary to their conversion. But because they would not listen and understand that which God told them, their heart would be made fat or hardened. Even today God sends a "working of error" to those who will not listen to the gospel, that they might believe a lie and be damned. (2 Thess. 2:10-12) (3) This was to cause their utter ruin. Isaiah asked, "How?" God narrated that this condition was to continue until the destruction of these who cast him off. This prophecy no doubt had an immediate fulfillment as many of them did, but had its far reaching finality in the destruction of the Jewish nation, which can be seen in the references of the New Testament to this prophecy. (4) In the destruction of the Jews, there would be some who would belong to God. (Tithe) They would be accepted of him. (Eaten) And they would also be the life thereof. (As the substance is in the oak or timber tree even though the leaves have been cast off.) Please compare John 12:37-43; Mark 4:10-12; and Acts 28:26-28.

This is at least one of the reasons Christ spoke, in parables to those without understanding and knowledge. "Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without (understanding, CRM) all these things are done in parables, that seeing they may see, and not perceive, and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins be forgiven them." (Mk. 4; compare Mt. 13:11-12) To you, we say as Christ did in Mk. 4:9, "To him that hath ears to hear, let him hear (understand, CRM)."

Gospel preaching will make its impression upon you. Either it will compel you to obey, or it will drive you away, maybe so far that you will receive a working of error and and believe a lie and be lost eternally. Are you ready to obey, or are you prejudice and have a closed mind? There are those in the church, and out, who know what God teaches, yet are stubborn as these Jews, in that they will do nothing about their condition, nor preach what they know to be the truth. For our own good, let us not be prejudiced, but open our minds to this word. We share the sentiments of A. Galloway:

"The Bible as a book stands alone. There never was, nor ever will be, another like it. As there is but one sun to enlighten the world naturally, so there is but one Book to enlighten the world spiritually. May that Book become to each of us the man of our counsel, and guide of our journey, the inspiration of our thought, and our support and comfort in life and in death."

Truly, God's word does not return void! It will accomplish his desires.