|John 5:24 |
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, 'He who hears my word, and believes in [depends on, trusts, obeys] him who sent me, has eternal life, and shall not come into condemnation; but has passed [past tense] over from death to life.'3 [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 when He calls you." You will hear His voice for the first time after the baptism of fire and death to then be called forth and resurrected with Him as a new creature, 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.
This is the life that Adam lost in his fall in the garden, when he was cut off from the tree of life; men then became dead to the life of God. And when you pass from death to life, you enter paradise to once again eat from the tree of life, being translated into the Kingdom of Heaven while on earth to live in union with Christ and the Father. All this is to be experienced, not presumed in high notions.]
3 He who hears my word, and believes in [depends on, trusts, obeys] him who sent me, has eternal life, and shall not come into condemnation; but has passed [past tense] over from death to life. To pass from death to life is to be restored to the life of God that Adam lost by disobedience in the garden. To have passed from death to life is to witness the scriptures fulfilled in you, being freed from all sin, (even the desire to sin), and be eating from the tree of life in paradise as early Quaker William Dewsbury testified to having experienced.
Note, how this verse could be grossly misinterpreted to mean if you have heard someone read the Bible and you believe in who sent Jesus, the Father, then you have eternal life; misinterpreted to mean that even belief in Jesus in unnecessary — just believe that God sent Jesus — just believe in God. But of course that is not what this verse means at all: my word is not the Bible; my word is the word of faith that is in your heart and mouth so you may hear and obey it; and Jesus himself is that word of God, or Word of Christ, in your heart to be obeyed, which words Jesus speaks within your heart all originate from the Spirit of God. He who is of God, hears God's words...John 8:47. My sheep hear my voice. Everyone of the truth hears my voice. John 10:27,18:37. All your holy ones are in your power. And they sit at your feet, each receiving your words. Deu 33:3.
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 when He calls you." We will hear the Lord's voice like thunder over waters for the first time after we have submitted to the baptism of fire and death to then be called forth and resurrected as a new creature. Then, as John 10:3-5 states: we will know his voice, he will be lead us out of the world to the kingdom, and we will flee from other voices. When you hear His voice for the first time, you have passed over from death to life; and once you have heard His voice like thunder over waters, you will always know whether or not it is the Lord speaking to you.
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."
* 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.
When we can hear the voice of the Lord that is like thunder over the waters, we truly experience the fulfillment of the scriptures:
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.
Truly, truly, I say to you, 'He who hears my word, and believes in [depends on, trusts, obeys] him who sent me, has eternal life, and shall not come into condemnation; but has passed [past tense] over from death to life.'
Truly, truly, I say to you, 'The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear shall live." John 5:24-25
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.
Early in George Fox's seeking of the Lord, he received a teaching from the Lord about true believers, referencing this exact scripture:
it was said that "all christians are believers, both Protestants and Papists;" The Lord opened to me that if all were believers, then they were all born of God, and had passed from death to life; and that none were true believers unless that had happened; and though others said they were believers, yet they were not.
To be born again is not to be presumed; it is to experience dying on the cross, being buried with Christ, and then being raised with Christ into the heavens. Again, quoting George Fox:
You must have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. 1 Pet 4:12-13
If you will reign with him, you must suffer with him. 2 Tim 2:12
if you will live with him, you must die with him. 2 Tim 2:11 (there must be a "dying daily.")
And if you die with him, you must be buried with him, Rom 6:4
and being buried with him in the true baptism, you also rise with him. Col 2:12
In 1 John 5, John carefully defines what are the qualifying experiences of a believer who is born of God, which are summarized here:
Those who say that they are born-again Christians still living in the fleshly lusts and pleasures of the world, and so still slaves to sin, are maligning the truth and create confusion.
From the Word of the Lord within:
To pass from death to life [the life of God] is not to be presumed, is is to be experienced while on earth. From the Word of the Lord within: "The new life is as radically different as a man who has lived underground his whole life, suddenly coming above ground to see the sun, the sky, the plants, the animals, the wind, the stars." To pass from death, (which Adam brought on all men, when he fell to Satan), to life, is to be restored to the life of God and enter the paradise from which Adam was expelled.