THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
by – Stuart H. Pouliot
January 7, 2016
No Word from God is Void of Power
For with God nothing shall be impossible. (Luke 1:37 KJV)
Contextually, the angel Gabriel spoke these words to Mary after she was told that both she and Elizabeth would
conceive sons in miraculous ways. Elizabeth would conceive although she was barren in her old age. Mary would
conceive by being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. It is in this context that Gabriel declared that nothing is
impossible with God, meaning He can do all things, without exception.
I think most of us would agree with Gabriel's declaration, but why was it necessary to state the obvious?
Reversing the thought; if some things are not possible with God, then would He truly be the God of Creation? Are
God's hands tied regarding some things so that He cannot act? Actually, I have heard preachers state this,
especially in regard to prayer. Have you heard the declaration from the pulpit that God cannot do anything unless
His people pray? If this were so, then I doubt He would ever reach His ultimate purpose. Where were the prayers
of the saints when the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world? Where were the prayers when, by the
predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God the Father, He allowed His Son to be nailed to a cross so that
through the Spirit of holiness He would be raised from the dead (Acts 2:23-24; Romans 1:4)?
I suppose one could say that Mary needed to be assured that God could do this amazing thing in her womb. After
all, this had never been done before in the history of mankind, so it was in a realm of the miraculous all by itself.
Elizabeth's conception was a miraculous act of God, but she wasn't the first in history to be given this blessed joy.
Sarah was the prototype.
This leads to a question: Is this really what Gabriel declared or meant to declare? Or, have most of the translators
missed the point? A study of the many English translations indicates that most word Luke 1:37 the same way the
King James and the New American Standard bibles word it. Does this mean they are correct?
I suggest they have missed the point, but not all have. Consider these four translations.
For no word [declaration] from God shall be void of power. (Luke 1:37 ASV, RV, Numeric [Rotherham])
Now, this adds much more light to Gabriel's announcement and, frankly, makes logical sense. Simply, if God
speaks, His words have power. They are not idle or meaningless or false or lacking or minced or any such thing.
His word is backed up by His very character and His word goes forth with purpose. This is reinforced through
"Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who
has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a
Savior; there is none except Me. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in
righteousness and will not turn back , that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. (Isaiah
45:21, 23 NASB)
"Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like
Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying,
'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; calling a bird of prey from the east,
No Word from God is Void of Power
the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass . I have planned it,
surely I will do it. (Isaiah 46:9-11 NASB)
These words had some specific application in the ancient days; nonetheless, they have a much greater application
to all nations and all mankind. This is proven by Paul who quotes Isaiah 45:23 in his Philippians epistle. Thus, God's
declaration that His word shall not return void is universal and inclusive. When God declares He is going to do
something, He means it and it will come to pass. His righteousness demands it; His loves ensures it.
It is not uncommon to hear and read of the expression word of God referring to the Bible and every printed word
contained therein, as if it all came directly from the mouth of God. Logic would tell us that this is not so, for there
are many voices (words from men) recorded in the Bible. Others would say that the expression means that the
entire Bible is inspired by God, thus it is His word, even if not spoken directly from Him. They have support for
such thinking based on Paul's letter to Timothy: All scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16). I suppose the
argument could be made that Paul was only referring to most of the Old Testament (as called today). I wonder if
he had any clue that his letters would become part of what is today considered scripture.
Well, I am not going to argue the point that all scripture is inspired by God. However, I will argue that mere words
printed on a piece of paper are not necessarily inspired, words that have been translated not from the original
documents but from copies of copies (add multiple copies) of the originals that long ago vanished. What we hold
as the inspired word of God today is translations of God's original words and the words of men down through
many centuries. All translations have the bias of men built into them, so where is the inspiration in these biases,
especially when translations conflict with one another based on these biases? Where is the inerrant, infallible
word of God in the numerous translations that the preachers read from and boldly claim is without error or bias?
Now, returning to For no word from God shall be void of power . Take special notice that it is a word ( rhema ) from
God; it is not a word of God but one that is from Him. T racing the Greek words used in this verse back to their root
words reveal the words rheo (G4483), meaning to speak, say, command , and dunamai (G1410) from which the
word power is derived. The key is the word rhema which appears in this verse and comes from the word rheo .
Rhema appears in the Greek scriptures some 70 times and is always translated as word or saying . So, to ignore the
word rhema entirely and simply present a negative (i.e., nothing ) misses the mark, for it leaves God's spoken word
out of the equation altogether.
Dear people of God, I am not trying to be a critic or a crank. I have a deep groan within that the Lord's people
have been fed for far too long now on the word of men and their biases. You can parse the printed words; cut
them up and paste them into a systematic theology, a doctrinal template that you then call "truth" or "God's
inspired word"; even make a whole ministry of them, and still come up empty in relation to God's heart, His plan
and purpose accomplished through, in, and by His Son. In the end, all you have is an organized way to explain the
words printed on paper, into which you then insert your own biases or the biases of the pulpit. But do you have
LIFE? Do you have a relational revelation of the living, vibrant, conquering LORD? Or, do you simply have words?
In my own life, I can testify that there have been many times when all I have had are words. To this, I agree with
Solomon: Vanity of vanities, all is vanity .
What we need is rhema from God; we need to hear directly in our hearts and our spirits what the Spirit is saying in
these last days. To do this, we need to get alone with the Lord and shut out all other voices. As for the Bible, the
printed words need to become rhema to us. Only the Spirit of God is able to breathe on the printed word and give
it life to us, life that has power; only the Spirit of the Lord can cut through the errors and the biases and the
religion. When God speaks into our hearts, we know that, whatever the word is, it is one that has power and will
not return to Him void; it (He) will accomplish all that has been spoken.
There may be specific issues involved in a word from God, but behind it all is a revelation of God's Son, our Lord
Jesus, and God's ultimate purpose accomplished through Him. Behind every word from God is LIFE and LOVE.
These will never return to Him void, for these speak of His Son, the Deliverer of the World, and the Father's
ultimate purpose to be All in All. All in LIFE, all in LOVE, and All NEW! We desperately need rhema in this day!