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What is the Word of the Lord?

I am an Orthodox Christian who is also known as Irenaeus of Pensacola. I attend Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Pensacola, FL.

The Word of the Lord

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What is the Word of the Lord?

In this article, I will show that the Word of God, or, the Word of the Lord as it is commonly ascribed in English is Jesus Christ Himself. Many think that the Prophets in the Old Testament heard a "word" from the Lord by God speaking to them audibly or internally. The fact is, however, that when the Bible says "And the Word of the Lord came to [blank]", this is actually Jesus appearing to them.

Isn't the Bible the Word of God?

Many Christians, especially those of the Protestant variety, argue that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God. However, the Word of God is Jesus Christ. Scripture never attributes itself to be the Word of God. This is not to say that the Holy Scriptures are not inspired, but it is to recognize that the Bible is not the only thing that God has given to us for revelation. But rather, the entire tradition of the Church (which includes Holy Scripture) is the fullness of revelation of God as far as God has revealed Himself to us.

Some of those who ascribe to the idea that the Bible is the Word of God also look at the "Word of the Lord" in the Old Testament as being what God has spoken. Yet, this leads to some strange interpretations. For example, when the Word of the Lord came to a prophet, was it on some parchment or tablet that fell from the sky? Did the word in written form reach out and touch Jeremiah's lips in Jeremian 1:9? Did the Israelites rebel against the written Word of the Lord or the message itself? In such instances, it is clear that the Word of the Lord is a physical manifestation, and, when Israel rebelled against the Word of the Lord, they were rebelling against Christ.

The Word of the Lord

In the ESV translation of scripture, "the Word of the LORD" appears 274 times and the Word of God appears 51 times. When "the word of the LORD" is invoked in the ESV, the word "LORD" is capitalized when the word 'Yahweh (YHWH) is invoked. Thus, the Word of the LORD is the Word of Yahweh, or the Word of God. For the sake of brevity, we will only go over one example in this article.

In 1 Samuel 3:1-21, Samuel was called to be a prophet. In verse 1, it is revealed that the Word of the Lord was rare in Israel in those days and there were not many visions. In verse 7, we learn that Samuel did not yet know God (YHWH) because Word of the LORD hadn't been revealed to him (1 Samuel 3:7). Both the Hebrew and Greek words for "reveal" in verse 7 means to uncover or remove (remove a veil). This goes to further show that encountering the Word of the Lord is a visual experience.

What we see in this particular example is the same theology that we see in the Gospel according to John. No one can know God without the Word of the LORD being revealed to them.

Jesus Christ as the Word of the Lord

The Apostle John famously wrote in John 1:1-5, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Many modern scholars mistakenly look at the first part of the 1st chapter of the Gospel According to John as some sort of Hellenized philosophy. The reality, however, is that the Apostle John is referring to the Old Testament and not Greek philosophy.

In Genesis 1:3 it reads, "And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light." many people mistake this to mean that God created to provide a light for the world (akin to sunlight).The problem with this view is that God created the greater and lesser light in Genesis 1:16. So, while there was literally light, the distinction between the light described in Genesis 1:3 and Genesis 1:16 shows that the light that the purpose of the light that was present at the beginning of the creation must be different than the greater and lesser light of Genesis 1:16. So, what then was the light that was provided?

In John 1:9-10, the Apostle John wrote, "The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him." Jesus was not only the true light, but he was the light in which the world was made through. Thus, Jesus was the light that was described in Genesis 1:3. The light, the true light, was there at the moment of creation, and none of creation could exist without him.

The Apostle Paul shares the same theology as the Apostle John in 2 Corinthians 4:6, "For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." In Genesis 1:4 it reads, "And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness." We can see here that the Apostle Paul is revealing that Christ is the light that drives out the darkness.

John the Baptist also preached this message, "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light." (John 1:6-8)." Here, we can see that John the Baptist preached the same theology about the Word of God as the Apostle John and the Apostle Paul.

So, when we return to John 1:1-5, we can see what the Apostle John is talking about. The light, Jesus Christ, was present at the moment of creation and his light has illuminated creation from the beginning. This light was not only a man, but also just as much the Creator of all things. The light was God Himself.

Conclusion

We now know that the Word of the Lord in the Old Testament was the manifestation of Jesus Christ Himself. This is made evident in the Gospel according to John, John the Baptist's message, and the Apostle Paul's writings. For a more substantive case on this, I recommend listening to the Lord of Spirits podcast episode on The Word of the Lord.

© 2021 Jason L Petersen