Heated Debate: Are There Any Words of God Outside the Bible?
In the study, Muxun, Fu Rong and Si’en were studying the Bible together …
Muxun said, “Sisters, I have a question that I’d like to ask. Ever since I started to believe in the Lord, I’ve always believed that all of God’s words are recorded in the Bible and that there are none outside the Bible. But recently, there are some people preaching that the Lord Jesus has already returned, and that the Lord is speaking new words beyond those that are recorded in the Bible. I feel very confused about this. Are there words of God outside the Bible? I want to hear your views on this matter.”
Fu Rong said in earnest: “I used to think this way just like you, believing that the words of God are all within the Bible, and that there can never be God’s word beyond the Bible. But recently when I was talking about this issue with a brother who has preached for many years, he told me with certainty that there are God’s words outside the Bible. It clearly states in the Gospel of John: ‘And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written’ (John 21:25). There are not many words of the Lord Jesus recorded in the New Testament. Actually, the Lord Jesus had preached and worked for at least three years, and the words He uttered exceed what is recorded in the Bible many times over. That is a fact no one can deny. This verifies that the work and words of the Lord Jesus are not completely recorded in the Bible. Besides, it says in Revelation 2:17: ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna.’ Revelation 10:4 says: ‘And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.’ From these prophecies in the Book of Revelation we can understand that ‘the hidden manna’ refers to the hidden words of God. It does not refer to the words of Jehovah God and those of the Lord Jesus recorded in the Bible, but to God’s new words in the last days, which are not recorded in the Bible. Moreover, the voices of the seven thunders were not written by John, which is adequate proof that they are extraneous to the Bible. So, based on these two biblical prophecies, we can be certain that there are actually God’s words outside the Bible.”
Muxun and Si’en were surprised to hear this, but after careful contemplation, they all nodded their heads.
“Hmm,” Muxun said thoughtfully, “based on these verses, there should be God’s words beyond those which are recorded in the Bible. Clearly, the view that ‘God’s words are all recorded in the Bible and there are none outside the Bible’ does not accord with the biblical prophecies. I’ve read countless times the verses you’ve just read, so why haven’t I ever understood them to this level of meaning? It seems that it was because I didn’t make effort to contemplate while reading the Bible that I had no understanding of God’s work and words.”
Si’en went on to say, “In the light of the prophecies you’ve just read, there should be God’s words outside the Bible. But there is one question I still don’t understand—if there are God’s words beyond those which are in the Bible, then why does it say in Revelation 22:18: ‘For I testify to every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add to these things, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book’? According to this prophecy, if there are people saying that there are God’s new words outside the Bible, wouldn’t that be adding something to the Bible and resisting God?”
After some contemplation, Fu Rong replied in earnest, “This is how I understand this verse. Anyone who has a knowledge of the background of the Bible knows that the Book of Revelation was written about 90 years after the Lord. It is a record of the vision John saw at Patmos Island, which contains the prophecies about the Lord’s work when He returns. The New Testament, however, was formed around 300 AD, about 200 years after the Book of Revelation. So, when John said no one shall add anything to the prophecy of this book, ‘this book’ he mentioned referred to the Book of Revelation, not the New Testament or the entire Bible, much less did he mean that there wouldn’t be any new words from God in the future.”
Hearing this, Si’en nodded her head.
“Hmm, this makes sense,” said Muxun. “Determining that there can be no further words from God outside of the Bible based on this prophecy is not at all tenable. Our understanding of this verse has been really off the mark!”
“It’s true,” Fu Rong continued. “We all know that what John recorded in the Book of Revelation was only the vision he beheld, the prophecies about the Lord’s work in the last days, not the reality of it. The new words God shall express outside of the Bible are not additions to the prophecies in the Book of Revelation, but the fulfillment of them. If we go by these prophecies and draw the conclusion that all of God’s words and work are within the Bible, then how can we know ‘the hidden manna,’ the voices of the seven thunders, and ‘what the Spirit says to the churches’? Let’s look at Revelation 5:1–5: ‘And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders said to me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.’ We all previously thought that the book in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne referred to the Bible. Every Christian owns a Bible and we can all open it and read it. But this part of the scriptures mentions that this book has not been looked upon by anyone, and that only the Lamb can open it. This indicates that this book does not refer to the Bible. Besides, this book was written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals, which shows that the contents of it were not recorded in the Book of Revelation. That is to say, the book is extraneous to the Bible. Only the Lord who returns in the last days is able to open this sealed book and tell us what is written in it, and only then can we understand the mysteries therein. From the prophecies above we can be more certain that there are new words from God outside of the Bible, and that when the Lord returns in the last days, He shall express the truth to supply us.”
Simultaneously, Si’en and Muxun nodded their heads.
Fu Rong continued, “I’ve read several passages in a book on whether or not there are God’s words outside the Bible. It’s explained quite clearly. Let’s read it together. It says in the book: ‘The things that are recorded in the Bible are limited; they cannot represent the work of God in its entirety. The Four Gospels have fewer than one hundred chapters altogether, in which are written a finite number of happenings, such as Jesus cursing the fig tree, Peter’s three denials of the Lord, Jesus appearing to the disciples following His crucifixion and resurrection, teaching about fasting, teaching about prayer, teaching about divorce, the birth and genealogy of Jesus, Jesus’ appointment of the disciples, and so forth. However, man values them as treasures, even comparing the work of today against them. They even believe that all the work Jesus did in His life amounted only to so much, as if God were only capable of doing this much and nothing further. Is this not absurd?’ (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)”). ‘The work of God in each age has clear boundaries; He does only the work of the current age, and never carries out the next stage of work in advance. … Jesus spoke only of the signs of the last days, of how to be patient and how to be saved, of how to repent and confess, and of how to bear the cross and endure suffering; never did He speak of how man in the last days should achieve entry, nor of how he should seek to satisfy God’s will. As such, is it not ridiculous to search the Bible for God’s work of the last days? What can you see by merely clutching the Bible? Be it an expositor of the Bible or a preacher, who could have seen the work of today in advance?’ (“How Can Man Who Has Delimited God in His Notions Receive the Revelations of God?”). ‘If you wish to see the work of the Age of Law, and to see how the Israelites followed the way of Jehovah, then you must read the Old Testament; if you wish to understand the work of the Age of Grace, then you must read the New Testament. But how do you see the work of the last days? You must accept the leadership of the God of today, and enter into the work of today, for this is the new work, and no one has previously recorded it in the Bible. … The work of today is a path that man has never walked, and a way that no one has ever seen. It is work that has never been done before—it is God’s latest work on earth. … How could the Bible contain explicit records of such work?’” (“Concerning the Bible (1)”).
After finishing reading, Fu Rong fellowshiped, “These passages make it very clear. The Old Testament records the work of Jehovah God, while the New Testament records the work of the Lord Jesus. But regarding God’s work of the last days, the Bible only contains prophecies and there is no detailed record to be found. What is recorded in the Bible is limited and cannot represent the work and word of God in their entirety. In John 16:12–13 the Lord Jesus said, ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.’ From the Lord’s words we can know that the Spirit of truth refers to the returned Lord Jesus, and that when the Lord comes in the last days, He will express all aspects of the truth that we should understand, and tell us things that will happen in the future. Since these truths haven’t been expressed and the things to come haven’t happened, then how could they have been clearly recorded in the Bible? This shows that there are new words from God outside the Bible. Therefore, only when the Lord returns in the last days, opens the book and looses the seven seals, expresses new words and does new work, can we truly understand the mysteries contained within the Book of Revelation. God is the source of life, His richness is inexhaustible in supply and always available for use, and His wisdom is deep and immeasurable, so how can we creations fathom Him? And how can the limited things recorded in the Bible clearly and completely explain God’s wisdom, His deeds, and what He has and is?”
Hearing this, Muxun said happily, “Thanks be to God! After listening to your fellowship, I understand that the work and words of God that are recorded in the Bible are limited, and that the words the Lord wishes to express when He returns in the last days are not recorded in the Bible. Given this, we cannot say that there is no other new word of God than the Bible. It seems that our previous belief that the word of God did not exist outside of the Bible was simply our own notion and imagining, and that it was delimiting God’s work.”
Fu Rong went on to say, “Yes, it is indeed the fact. The view that ‘God’s words are all recorded in the Bible and there are none outside the Bible’ is purely the notion of people, which doesn’t have a basis in the Lord’s word. The Lord Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10:27). ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation 2–3). ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me’ (Revelation 3:20). These verses clearly tell us that when the Lord comes, He will surely utter words, and that all who hear God’s voice and then seek and accept it will have the chance to welcome the Lord’s return and be raised up before God’s throne. Therefore, the key to meeting the Lord is to listen to God’s voice. If we continue holding to the view that ‘God’s words are all recorded in the Bible and there are none outside the Bible’ and delimit God’s word to the Bible, if we neither focus on hearing God’s voice nor search for God’s new utterances, we run the risk of being cast out by the Lord!”
Filled with emotion, Muxun said, “I’ve really gained a lot from today’s gathering. Not only was my confusion resolved, but I also understand that what is recorded in the Bible is limited, and that it’s not a complete record of God’s work. What’s more, I’ve found the way to welcome the Lord! Thanks be to the Lord!”
Si’en said, “Yes. Thanks be to the Lord’s guidance. So we should quickly find a church that is bearing witness to God’s utterances in the last days, lest we miss out on the chance to welcome the Lord’s return.”
Excitedly, Fu Rong and Muxun said with one accord, “Amen!”
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