14 Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of Yahweh in the midst of the congregation;

"God . . . spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets" (Heb. 1:1).

Not only have we these general declarations of a divine authorization of the words of the prophets, in a sense excluding literary authorship on their part, but we have express instruction as to the method by which those words became the words of God. And this instruction fences off all idea of those words being the words of the prophets in any sense of natural gift. Natural gift could not produce most of them. They are carefully discriminated from the words that a man might speak from natural impulse, and are expressly attributed to a divine impulse with which the prophet had nothing to do.

"Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet. 1:21). "Thou testifiedst against them by thy Spirit in thy prophets" (Neh. 9:30).

When this divine impulse was on a man, he could not resist it, as we learnt from the case of Jeremiah, already referred to (Jer. 20:9). In the case of Ezekiel, its action is described circumstantially thus:

"And the Spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet . . . And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them . . . When I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God" (Ezek. 2:2; 3:4, 27).

A prophet might therefore be compared to an electric lamp with the electrical current turned on. Detached from the current, he was as dark as any other man; but with the power of the Spirit aglow, he showed the brightness of the mind of God in words which were the words of God, and not the words of the prophet. God alleges His connection with the matter thus:

"I have spoken by the prophets, I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes by the ministry of the prophets" (Hos. 12:10). "I have hewed them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of my mouth" (Hos. 6:5). "The Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants, the prophets" (Amos 3:7).

The operation is illustrated in the case of the seventy elders appointed to assist Moses in the administration of the law in the congregation.

"The Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy of the elders of Israel . . . and I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee and will put it upon them. And Moses went out and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. And the Lord . . . took of the Spirit that was upon him (Moses) and gave it unto the seventy elders.

And it came to pass that when the Spirit rested upon them that they prophesied. But there remained two of the men in the camp . . . and the Spirit rested upon them. And they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle, and they prophesied in the camp" (Num. 11:16-26).

Here was a simultaneous touching of seventy men by the Spirit, irrespective of locality, and being touched they were affected and could not but speak,

"as the Spirit gave them utterance."

The Christadelphian, June 1898