|John 18:37 |
37 Therefore Pilate said to him, "Are you a king then?" And Jesus answered, "You say [rightly] that I am a king. To this end I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice."2
2 Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. Since Jesus is the truth, John 14:6, to be of the truth is to be in union with Jesus and God, one with them, they in you and you in them; and when you are in union with the Lord, you hear his Voice that is like thunder over waters. Until then, you hear the the small still voice of the Word of the Lord within our hearts or from the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth, John 16:13, but you must dedicate yourself to silent listening to hear the Holy Spirit, and then you must obey. You can memorize the entire Bible, and you will not know the truth because the Bible only testifies about the truth; the Bible is not the truth, Jesus is the truth, and the Bible is not Jesus. If you listen and obey the Spirit of truth, your soul will be purified by obedience to the truth.1 Peter 1:22. Jesus said: "There is only one thing needed, and Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her"— to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear his words. Luke 10:39-42. To be of the truth is to be in union, to one with Jesus and God.
From the Word of the Lord within:
William Dewsbury, who entered the Kingdom, wrote of an entirely different level of hearing that occurred after he had been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial:
I stand here as a witness for the God of heaven,
I never heard the voice of Christ
until I was slain and baptized, and lay as a little child under his heavenly chastisements;
as soon as ever my soul was brought to this, in my humiliation,
Oh! then, the dreadful judgment was taken away, and the book of life was opened unto me,
and the Lord spoke comfortably to me, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love;"
and I was made a Christian through a day of vengeance, and of burning as an oven;
and the haughtiness and pride of man in me was brought low.
(Dewsbury had just experienced the baptism of fire and death to pass over from death to life as he heard the Voice of the Lord for the first time.)
There is a voice of the Lord like thunder over the waters described in many Old Testament passages. This is radically different than the small still voice we hear from within our hearts or from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the Word of the Lord within speak with words from Jesus, so we are hearing from the Son of God. But until we can truly hear the Voice of the Lord, we will not know for sure it is the Lord speaking to us. From the Word of the Lord within: "You will always have doubts until you hear His voice. My voice is like thunder over waters." You will hear His voice for the first time at final judgment, and you will then know His voice; when you hear His voice like thunder over waters for the first time, you have passed over from death to life.
We first have to listen to the Holy Spirit and the word of the Lord within to hear and obey His many teachings and commands. Then with long persistence and patience in doing obedient works of repentance, we experience the baptism of fire and death, to then hear the Voice of the Lord as we pass from death to life. Until then, we have to be on our guard to not be deceived by the enemy, pretending to be the Lord speaking to us. Based on the advice of Edward Burrough, (click to read), a giant in the early Quakers, until we can distinguish between the voice of the Lord and the voice of the enemy, we should do nothing for the Lord but repent.* When we can hear the Voice of the Lord, we walk in the light; and William Penn wrote, "Though it is the duty of all to walk in the light, and to wait for it, that by it they may be instructed in the way of life and salvation, yet it is they only who are actually led** by it, that can rightly discern between the false spirits and the true."
* Any command to repent from the Lord should be first pure, then peaceable, fair, gentle, easily accepted, full of mercy and good fruits, immediately understood, and sincere. James 3:17
** By way of review: to be guided or led by the light, the light must first arise in your heart like a magnificent star, so that you are shown everything to do and told everything to say; the unmistakable arising of the light comes from faith in the voice.
This occurs just before you enter the kingdom; see The Kingdom, the Return of Christ, and Salvation's Completion in How to Benefit from the Changing Power of God by Waiting on the Lord for more on entering the kingdom.
You may hear the Lord tell you to go ahead with your considering to buy something or do something that you feel is necessary; and providing it is nothing that you know to be wrong, or it is nothing He has told you not to do in the past, you can follow His suggestions before you can distinguish His voice. If you don't need what you are considering to purchase, He may plainly tell you, "you don't need it." If it is not necessary to do something you are considering, He may tell you, "it's not necessary." If it is necessary and/or needed, he may encourage you to proceed.
After final judgment "the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out."John 10:3
He leads them out of their slavery to sin, John 8:31-32, out of the world into the kingdom, to walk in the light, John 8:12.
"And when he has brought out his own sheep, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him; for they know his voice." John 10:4
To be brought out is to be led out of the world into the kingdom, then to be guided by the Lord's commands for your every word and every deed.
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me [they obey]." John 10:27
These are very advanced believers whom Jesus has raised to heaven and within whom He dwells,
as they still walk the earth too. He guides them with His voice for all their words to speak
and all their deeds to be done, bringing honor and glory to God.
"They will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him; for they do not know the voice of strangers." John 10:5
Once in the kingdom, you know his voice and you are able to reject the wicked one's attempts to impersonate his voice.
"And I give eternal life to them, so that they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John 10:28
"My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." John 10:29
His sheep have been translated into the kingdom and are born again, and so His sheep do not sin and are protected from evil.
"We know that whoever is born of God does not sin;
instead God protects the one he has fathered, and the wicked one does not touch him." 1 John 5:18.
"I know my sheep, as I am known by my sheep; Just like the Father knows me, and I know the Father." John 10:14-15
Jesus and his sheep know each other just as deeply as the Father and Jesus know each other.
Jesus and the Father know each other deeply because Jesus is one with the Father.
For His sheep to be known just like the Father and He know each other, His sheep are in Him and He is in His sheep.
The sheep are in union with and one with Christ and the Father too, as John 17:20-23, 14:20 state.
The promises are: if you listen to and obey the Holy Spirit, he will teach you all things, he will guide you into all truth, he will tell you of things to come, and you will know all things. See that you do not refuse him who speaks. For if they did not escape, who refused him who spoke on the earth, how much more will we be liable, if we turn away from him who speaks from heaven [which is in your heart]. Heb 12:25
It is a cross to a man's will to sit silently, struggling to keep his mind from wandering; it is a cross to a man's will to obey what he is commanded and taught by the Holy Spirit and the Word of the Lord within; this is the cross of which you must deny yourself and pick it up every day to then follow Jesus. To follow is to obey. You cannot be his disciple unless you pick up your cross daily and follow his orders. Salvation is only received by those who follow [in obedience] the lamb wherever he goes [whatever he commands] — who obey completely the voice of the Lord, in whatever he commands. Do not be discouraged if you don't hear for some time. Even your waiting is to your credit: Let your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, in proportion to our waiting and hoping on you. Psalms 33:22. For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by ear, nor has the eye seen a God beside you, who acts for the one who waits for him. Isa 64:4