Removing Wrong Answers
In order to hear from God, we need to ready our hearts for what He may say to us. If we have a misconception about how and why God speaks this may hinder us from receiving from Him.
For years my husband persisted in asking me, “Why won’t God just say ‘hi’ to everyone on the planet? You say that He is love, and that people go to Hell for not believing in Him. It seems like if He really loved us that much He would at least say ‘hi,’ then we would know that He is real.”
In response to his constant questioning I dutifully gave each answer as it had been given to me:
- It would eliminate the need for faith.
- He can’t because of our sin.
- He speaks when it is necessary.
- It would violate our free will.
I was left with only one thing to say, the last resort for most Christians: “I guess there are some things we just won’t know until we get to Heaven.”
Until recently, being left in the dark about this didn’t bother me like it did him, but with good reason: I was on the opposite side of the coin. Within a year of renewing my relationship with the Lord, He had spoken to me in an audible voice. I had been instantly, miraculously healed of medically documented, serious conditions numerous times (a deviated septum, torn rotator cuff, bulging disc causing mind seizures). I had also seen angels and demons on many occasions (See “Angels Believe in You” for these testimonies, FREE on Kindle, Nook and my website).
In the summer of 2016, my perspective on hearing from God changed when I read a book about a woman, let us call her Judy, who began seeing Jesus when she prayed and worshipped Him in her bed each night. For two weeks, the Lord would take Judy to a garden in Heaven that was created specifically for her. After reading a few of the amazing accounts of the unique, unforgettable way the Lord taught Judy important lessons, I put the book down consumed with frustration.
My journey with the Lord, documented in “Angels Believe in You,” may make for an interesting read, but the truth of the matter is that it was years of painful lessons and failures. It took me more than a decade to learn what the Lord had showed her in two weeks with half a dozen trips to Heaven! “Lord,” my heart cried, “why did I have to go through all that? You have told me that I’m supposed to visit You in Heaven… why couldn’t You have brought me sooner? Then I wouldn’t have had to go through all that pain?”
“Blessed is he who believes and does not see,” I remembered Him telling His disciples.
Those words put the matter to rest for me, but being on the other side, however briefly, made the issue of not hearing from God much more real to me. The more I thought about it, the more the typical reasons just didn’t make sense.
One night, a cry came out from the very depths of my soul, “God, none of these things explain why a loving God would let so many people suffer in Hell for all eternity… I must know who You are! Why don’t you speak to them?”
Over the next five hours, God used pieces of what I had learned about Him over the years to solve the puzzle that has plagued both Christians and non-Christians for generations. First, I stated my arguments concerning why none of these answers lined up with the Word of God (Bible) and who I knew Him to be. Then He showed me why He does and doesn’t speak to people.
Negating our Faith
Often whenever I would talk to other Christians about why God seems to talk to some people and not others they would say, “Believing in God takes faith. If He just spoke to people, they wouldn’t need faith to believe in Him.” As a new Christian, this seemed to make sense. However, the more I read the Bible, the less confidence I had in this answer.
The story of Abraham contradicts this answer. Here is the shortened version of the classic Bible story of the man who is said to be the spiritual father of every Christian:
God spoke to Abram, the son of an idol maker: people considered these clay idols to be representative of actual gods – they would pray to them. I think it is safe to say that Abram didn’t know God at this time. Then, one day, God spoke to him and said, Abram, go away from your father’s people and your country and I will make a great nation of you.
Abram eventually became Abraham who is called the father of our faith because he believed God and this faith in God was counted as righteousness: right standing with God. (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3-6)
This story shows that hearing God speak does not mean instant belief and faith. The fact that Abraham had faith gave him right standing (righteousness) before God. If faith came instantly, there would be no reward for having it – faith would be the natural result of God’s voice. This means that hearing God speak to you doesn’t eliminate the need for faith.
But your iniquities (knowingly sinning) have made a separation between you and God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2)This verse is used to justify why God doesn’t speak to some people. They claim that God is separated from us because of our sin; that God’s holiness cannot tolerate sin. Let us look at these two issues one at a time:
Sin Separates us from God: There is some truth in that. Jesus came to bridge the gap by taking all sin upon Himself and giving us His perfect life so that we can be reunited with our Creator as He originally intended (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 2:9). Yet, God still spoke to Abraham even though there was a separation. This means sin doesn’t keep God from Speaking to us. There is some truth in that. Jesus came to bridge the gap by taking all sin upon Himself and giving us His perfect life so that we can be reunited with our Creator as He originally intended (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 2:9). There is some truth in that.
If you look closely at this verse, it says God will not hear us, hear our prayers, it doesn’t say we cannot hear Him. Also consider the fact that if God couldn’t speak because of sin, this would mean sin was more powerful than God.
Sin cannot be in the presence of God: This is not supported by the Bible, quite the opposite. There are three very good examples of this:
- The Book of Job begins with Satan being in Heaven before the throne. Satan is evil; sin incarnate. If Satan can be before God talking with Him about Job, then God can speak to people who are in sin. (Job 1:6-12)
- The story of Abraham illustrates this point: God spoke to Abraham while he was still with his father who made idols – I sincerely doubt he believed in God and was without sin when God first spoke to him. (Genesis 12, Joshua 42:2)
- Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, was originally called Saul. Then one day, while he was pursuing Christians to torture and crucify them, Jesus appeared to him. I’m pretty sure it was a sin to be killing Christians. (Acts 9:1-12)
It is apparent that God can speak to us even if we don’t believe in Him and while we are in sin. Yet, why doesn’t He speak to more people who are lost or don’t believe in Him? Surely a simple “Hello” in an audible voice would give people a heads up that He is real so they could find Him and Jesus easier.
Violating Free Will
I have also heard, and repeated to others, that if God spoke to everyone it would take away our free will to believe or not believe in Him. We would know for sure that He existed, thus having faith in Him is no longer an act of our free will. This isn’t accurate at all when it is presented this way, however free will does play into why God doesn’t speak to some people.
When I began really pursuing God with my whole heart to answer this question, the first thing He did was take me step-by-step to fully understand what exactly free will is. It was shocking how little I actually comprehended when I began to examine the concept. It was easiest to understand once I looked at it from the beginning of the history of man.
Adam and Eve
Jewish commentary in the “Tehillim” – commentary on the Book of Psalms – ties Psalm 139:16 to Genesis 5:1. “Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days were written before ever they took shape.” It continues, “This is the book of the generations of the offspring of Adam.” These ancient rabbinic writings indicate this verse refers to a council God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit had before the world was created. God showed Adam all the generations that would come from him: The prophets, teachers, and great men and what each would do. Adam knew the number of their days and the steps they would take. If God has a book with our destiny in it, do we even have free will? A book may hold the destiny for which we were created yet it is up to us to fulfill it. (Explained further in the free book, Destroying Curses in the Courts of Heaven.)
Prior to creation, God had lots of servants – a Heavenly host including the angels. Then He wanted children – a family. In order for this new creation to have free will, they had to have a choice and He had to give them the authority to make it. God made Adam and Eve perfect and complete, just like Him. He placed them in a perfect garden He created and gave Earth to them:
God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth…And God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:26 & 28 AMP)Adam and Eve were supposed to make more humans to increase the size of God’s family. He gave mankind control and He gave them a choice in the form of a tree. If they wanted more than what He gave them, there was the tree of knowledge, which contained intimacy with everything, even that which wasn’t God. He warned them not to eat from it. He knew if they disobeyed Him there would be a separation between Him and mankind. In time it would mean death, not only to Adam and Eve but also to many who came after them. Adam and Eve knew and talked with God, yet they still had the free will to choose.
Think of the destiny of man like a tree with a V-shaped trunk. One side of the trunk leads to branches (our lives) filled with leaves (people who eventually become children of God). If they chose not to eat from the tree of knowledge, every branch would lead to a leaf (a child of God) because they would still be connected to God. There would be no sin and no separation from God.
The other side of the trunk is the path that was chosen when Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge. It is a cluster of live and dead branches. Live branches (people living out the destiny God planned for them) lead to paths God intends for us and produces many leaves (children of God) along the way. Withered branches with no leaves are people who never become part of God’s family, whose lives are lived without considering the destiny God created them for.
This is why it says:
The Lord regretted that He had made mankind on the earth, and He was [deeply] grieved in His heart. (Genesis 6:6)God is all knowing, but we have free will. He knew that Eve might be tricked and Adam would follow his wife away from the original path and the destiny He had for them. God also knew exactly what it would cost to repair the damage: the life of His son Jesus.
It is important to note that before Adam and Eve made their choice, they had complete authority over the Earth; it was given to a human man and woman with a physical body. (Genesis 3) Satan had to be in a physical body (of a snake) to get that authority from them. Although neither Satan nor Lucifer was named in the aforementioned verse, Ezekiel 28:13 tells us that Satan was the anointed cherub sent to Eden.
After Adam and Eve were tricked, Satan became the ruler of this world.
Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. (2 Corinthians 4:4)God prepared a human body for Jesus so that through His obedience unto death, He could take back all authority under Heaven and Earth.
Hence, when He [Christ] entered into the world, He said, sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but instead You have made ready a body for Me [to offer]; (Hebrews 10:5)There is a great battle in the spiritual realm, two sides fighting to influence man so that their will can be done on Earth. One is an interloper and one is the King. This is why free will is so important. There are major events that must occur for God to achieve what He set out to obtain: an eternal family in Heaven. There are branches that must be in place to lead to the next necessary element. Before time began, God knew if the path of the tree of knowledge was established, there would be a series of necessary events throughout time that would have to occur in order to bring humanity back to Him.
Jesus approached and breaking the silence, said to them, “All authority (all power of rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” (Matthew 28:18)
This is basic to the idea of free will. The choices we make determine not only how fruitful our lives are here on Earth, but what branches are open to us in the future. Knowing God exists doesn’t change the fact that you still have the right to choose to do it His way or not. Adam and Eve walked and talked with God, yet they still chose to do what God had told them not to do.
God is all-knowing. He knew exactly what the consequences were of this act of free will: how many souls would be lost and what it would take to get the family He wanted with sin in the world taking so many from Him. This is why their disobedience grieved Him so. He gave Adam free will and they chose the path that would be so much harder for mankind. At that moment, He grieved for every lost soul that was to come.
The Lord regretted that He had made mankind on the earth, and He was [deeply] grieved in His heart. (Genesis 6:6)
Only When Necessary
A televangelist once asked God why He had spoken to Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, and several other mighty men of God, yet Jesus had never appeared to him. God’s answer came in the small, quiet voice of the Holy Spirit, “I give to man what is necessary. If the journey is going to be long and hard they will need to hear directly from me to complete the task.”
This answer satisfied me for many years. After all, God spoke to me and it was fifteen years before I even knew why He said what He did and how it was coming to pass in my own life. During that time, it was hard to hold onto the promise He had given me, year after year. I could definitely understand how hearing his audible voice gave me the strength I needed when it would have been easier to just give up.
Although this answer is true, it still doesn’t explain why some people die without the opportunity to know God even exists. Why would a loving God not speak to people before they perish? Surely it was “necessary” for them to hear His voice?
To understand why God limits His interaction is a big topic which we will address in another article.
More Articles on the Courts of Heaven can be found in the:
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Believers' Boot Camp series
Many people think of boot camp as a place you train for combat. Any veteran will tell you that basic training is about three things:
- Knowing what weapons are available
- Learning how to use those weapons
- Receiving orders and following them
Believer’s Boot Camp series is a collection of books which teach us how to hear more clearly from God with the goal to ready ourselves for a face-to-face meeting with our Lord, Jesus. The series reveals the “weapons and tools” God has given us and how to use them, so we can bring God’s kingdom to Earth. Each book in the series focuses on a single topic to clearly define one tool or weapon from our Heavenly Father.
The series uses the Word of God to reveal all that He has given us through Jesus. The Bible is our instruction manual and the Holy Spirit is our guide to understanding it.