How were spokesmen of the Bible appointed? We’ve seen from previous articles that the prophets and apostles were the people that God used to reveal His words to humanity. How do we know that we can trust the Bible as God’s words and not just the personal perceptions, philosophies, beliefs, impressions, or even deceptions of the writers of Scripture?
All we have is their testimony. We each choose to believe it or not. Can we believe parts of the Bible and not other portions? Can we accept 75% or 50% or 25% of the Bible as truth and discard the rest? If so, how do we know which percentage is true and which is false? As proof they spoke by inspiration of God, the prophets and apostles shared with us specific points in time that God appointed them to be His leaders and spokesmen.
Appointments of Old Testament prophets
Moses, the first primary prophet of the Old Testament, shared the experience which he had on the mountain of Horeb when God spoke to him out of a burning bush to appoint him as the leader to bring Israel out of bondage to Egypt (Exodus 3:1-10). When Moses kept disagreeing with God about his own ability to carry out the things which God desired of Him, the Lord assured Him that His power would rest upon him, His words would be in his mouth–and he even promised to send his brother Aaron to help him (Exodus 4:1-17).
After Moses died, God called Joshua to succeed him to lead the children of Israel into the promised land.
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. ...as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. – Joshua 1:1,2,5,6, NKJV
God called Samuel when he was just a child. His mother had dedicated him to be a servant of God, so he lived in the Temple with Eli the priest. God called out to Samuel when he was sleeping by the ark of God:
Then the LORD called Samuel. "Here I am," Samuel responded. …Samuel grew up. The LORD was with him and didn't let any of his words go unfulfilled. All Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew Samuel was the LORD'S appointed prophet. – I Samuel 3:4,19,20, GW
Isaiah was ordained as a prophet when he received a vision of God sitting on His throne surrounded by angels. 'And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."' (Isaiah 6:8, ESV).
When Jeremiah revealed how God selected him as a prophet, he shared a powerful truth about how God makes plans for our lives even before we are born. The following quotation has been a great source of comfort for people seeking to understand their own purpose in life, as well as expressing the value of every child yet in it's mother's womb.
Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth." But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a youth'; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD." Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. – Jeremiah 1:4-9, ESV
Then we have Ezekiel, who first described how the word of the LORD came to him after “the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God” (Ezekiel 1:1-3, KJV). In the second chapter, he recorded that “the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, …I send thee to the children of Israel, …and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God” (2:1-4, KJV).
Amos said he was just a shepherd, "But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.' "(Amos 7:15, ESV)
Those are a few examples from the words of the prophets themselves revealing how God appointed them to be His spokesmen to mankind. If that's not proof enough, we also have the testimonies of the apostles of Jesus Christ Himself.
Appointments of New Testament apostles
First of all, in Jesus final prayer to God before His death on the cross, He spoke to God regarding His chosen disciples, "As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world." (John 17:18, ESV).
Forty days after Jesus raised from the dead, He was talking with his closest disciples just before He would ascend into heaven. He Himself appointed them as God's spokesmen for the New Testament. He told them "you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8, EMTV)
The apostles were appointed to be witnesses for Jesus in the purest form. They had been eye witnesses of His ministry, death, and resurrection (Read the following: John 15:27; Acts 2:32; 3:15; II Peter 1:16-18; I John 1:1-3). So they not only spoke God’s Word by revelation, but also by remembrance of the things which Jesus taught in their very presence, which Jesus had previously promised they would remember with help from the Holy Spirit (John 14:25,26; 16:13).
However, God also called Paul to be an apostle of the gospel. He was not one of Christ’s early disciples. In fact, he persecuted the early Christians in the first few months after Jesus’ death. But Jesus miraculously appeared to him to prove Himself as the Messiah and appoint Paul (formerly known as Saul) to represent Him as probably the most influential of all the apostles. Paul wrote half of the books of the New Testament during the rest of his life.
As Paul was defending himself from possible imprisonment and death for preaching the gospel, he told the following story to King Agrippa of how God selected him.
At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? …I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, – Acts 26:13-16, ESV
Lastly, God had a method of proving that the apostles were true appointees to carry the message of the gospel and His Will to humanity. Many times that the apostles preached God’s Word to a gathering of people, the Holy Spirit confirmed to those listening that they were God’s spokesmen by showing the people signs and wonders at the hands of the apostles (Acts 14:3; II Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:3,4).
If the Bible isn't God's Word, then both the prophets and apostles lied when they said that God appointed them as His spokesmen. And nothing the Bible says is even relevant to us. It's our choice to believe.
There is lots more to come in this series. Stop back for "Why believe the Bible IV, The spokesmen credit God as their source"