Speaking for God, by Witness Lee


We have already seen that God created us not only to be like Him in having love, light, holiness, and righteousness but also to be like Him in being able to speak. However, we need to know what kinds of words God wanted man to speak when He created man with the ability to speak. Did He want man merely to speak the words of man? God created man to represent Him. A representative should speak the words of the one he represents. As God’s representatives, we represent God; therefore, we must speak God’s words. We have to speak for God and speak forth God; this God is the word.

However, due to our fall, we were joined to Satan; thus, Satan has come into us to speak in us. The Chinese character for soul is formed by two radicals: one radical denotes demon while the other denotes say or speak. Hence, soul means demon-speaking; demon-speaking is the soul. A fallen person is a soul, and when he opens his mouth, it is often like the speaking of demons. After being regenerated in our spirit, we the saved ones are the children of God. As such, when we open our mouth, it ought to be God speaking; we speak whatever God speaks. This may be likened to someone speaking Chinese because he was born a Chinese; we speak the language of the one of whom we were born.

Since we all have been begotten of God, within us we ought to have the “God” tone; whatever we speak, we speak about God. In America there are people of different colors: white, red, yellow, brown, and black. Among these races, the Asian people are difficult to distinguish outwardly. For example, the Chinese and the Koreans look very much alike, and the Malaysians and the Indonesians also look about the same. How then does one tell the difference? It is by listening to their speech. Once they begin to talk, we know then that this one is Chinese and that one is Korean, this one is from Malaysia and that one was born in Indonesia. We speak the words of the one of whom we were born. Since we were born of God, naturally we speak God’s words. Since God’s word is God Himself, when we speak God’s word, we speak God.

The New Testament shows us that God wants us, the saved ones, to prophesy as prophets (1 Cor. 14:31). To prophesy is to speak the word of God instead of the word of demons or the word of man. The word of God is just God Himself; when we prophesy by speaking, we speak the word of God. Concerning this matter, Paul in the New Testament and Moses in the Old Testament (Num. 11:29) were in agreement. In 1 Corinthians 14:31 Paul said, “You can all prophesy one by one.” Paul believed that every one of us can speak for God. The word can has two interpretations in Bible translation. The Chinese Union Version translates it into may. That everyone may prophesy means that everyone has the right, though not necessarily the ability, to prophesy. The Greek word has both meanings: all may and all can. Today as prophets, you and I, the saved ones, not only may but also can prophesy and speak for God.

Although we became fallen, once we are regenerated and our spirit is made alive, we are doubly able to speak for God, even more able than Adam. Adam was only created, not regenerated. Although we were created and became fallen, we have been regenerated and saved. John 1:12-13 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name, who were begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Since we have been begotten of God, we can speak the word of God. If a child is born of us and is not dumb, it is impossible for him to be unable to speak human words. Therefore, we all need to be encouraged to speak the word of God after our regeneration.

Paul told the Corinthians, “You can all prophesy one by one” (1 Cor. 14:31). The reason Paul said this is because the Corinthians, after receiving the Holy Spirit, had turned aside to pay attention to the so-called speaking in tongues. Paul seemed to be admonishing them, saying, “Why do you have to pay attention to such tongues? God has regenerated you and has made you His children to speak for Him. Since you can all prophesy one by one, why do you have to play with those strange tongues? They may be merely human-invented sounds of the tongue. What God requires of you is that you speak for Him.”

Chapter fourteen of 1 Corinthians is just one chapter of the entire book. If we want to understand this chapter, we have to look at the whole book of 1 Corinthians. Chapter one of 1 Corinthians clearly shows us that Christ is wisdom, as well as power, to us from God (vv. 24, 30a). This is not only the main topic of chapter one of 1 Corinthians, it is also the focus and subject of the entire book of 1 Corinthians. God has given Christ to us as our wisdom and our power. Today whether in our daily walk or in our various activities in the church, Christ is our wisdom and our power. Therefore, in our daily speaking we speak Christ, and in our speaking in the meetings we speak Christ all the more. The prophesying mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14 refers to speaking Christ. As long as we speak Christ, we are prophets.

In the Scriptures the prophets are not ordinary people; they are people who speak for God. Those who speak the word of God are the prophets. In the Old Testament sometimes God would come upon someone, and then this one would have the word of God. When God’s word came upon someone and when this one opened his mouth to speak God’s word, this one was then a prophet. If a person did not have God coming upon him, and if he did not speak God or speak for God, he was merely an ordinary person. He would become a prophet, however, immediately after he opened his mouth to speak God, to speak God’s words, and to speak for God. Today are we merely ordinary people or are we prophets? We have to know that in the Old Testament there were no self-appointed prophets, nor were there prophets designated by men. Rather, it was when God came upon a person, and this person spoke for God, that he was a prophet. As long as we speak for God, we are prophets. Opening our mouths to speak the word of God is the qualification for us to become prophets.

Suppose some young people have been saved for only two months, and at home they have grandparents who not only do not believe in the Lord, but who sometimes even scold them in anger. When these young people find an opportunity, they should lift up their spirit and say to their grandparents, “Do you know there is only one true God in this universe? The gods our neighbors worship are not the true God; there is only one true God.” When they speak to their grandparents about God, they are prophets. They may not be experienced prophets, but at least they are little prophets. How glorious this is! Once we speak concerning God, we are speaking for God, and as long as we speak for God, we are prophets.

While Moses was leading about two million Israelites through the wilderness to enter Canaan, these people frequently murmured, created trouble, and caused disturbances until he could no longer bear it. He alone was bearing the heavy burden of leading these two million people who complained constantly; therefore, he felt that he could not bear the burden by himself. God then told him to gather from among the elders of the Israelites seventy persons and to bring them to the tent of meeting. Sixty-eight of the seventy came to the tent of meeting. These sixty-eight persons received the Spirit who was upon Moses, and they began to prophesy. The two who did not come to the tent of meeting but remained in their own tents also began to prophesy in the camp. Someone came and reported this to Moses. Joshua, Moses’ helper, was not happy when he heard it, so he asked Moses to restrain them (Num. 11:1-28). Moses immediately said to Joshua, “Are you jealous for my sake? Oh that all Jehovah’s people were prophets, that Jehovah would put His Spirit upon them!” (v. 29).

This shows us that Paul in the New Testament was not the only one who had this kind of vision in 1 Corinthians 14:31: “You can all prophesy one by one.” It is very likely that Paul’s concept came from Moses, because Paul, as one who understood the Old Testament, must have been familiar with what Moses had said in Numbers 11:29, “Oh that all Jehovah’s people were prophets!” We know that when Paul wrote the Epistles in the New Testament, many of his words were derived from the Old Testament. Therefore, we see that this concept is consistent in both the Old and New Testaments— God wants His people to speak for Him.

(Speaking for God, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)