The Rhema and the Logos: God’s Word

Getting Started

My Prophetic Dream

This is a picture from our wedding day.  One year later, my wife Jan and I had a baby, a beautiful girl.  In spite of the surprise, the Lord miraculously provided for her birth:  I found out that even after leaving my job as a grocery clerk to continue my education, I still had “extended coverage” for my insurance, enough to cover the hospital and doctor bills!

We were surprised she came so quickly, only one year and one month after our wedding, but four years later, we couldn’t seem to conceive our second child for a lengthy time.

One night in a dream, Jesus came towards me holding out both hands open towards me.  Lying across his forearms was an infant child.  With great clarity Jesus said, “Take this child to raise as your own.”  

I immediately woke up and recalled what Jesus had said to me so clearly.  In the morning I told my wife that we were going to have a baby!

When we received the confirmation about the conception about a month later, we were ecstatic, for we knew that our second baby , as was our first, was truly a gift from the Lord.

 

Trusting God

We had only recently moved into a full-time Bible teaching ministry, having opened a non-profit Evangelistic Association called “The Abiding Word.”  This was an exciting step for us since I believed I was no longer unemployed!  

Since I hadn’t gone to seminary, my path was very different from most ministers, although I did have secondary teaching certification.  Therefore, we often encountered many opportunities to look for a steady income, but the Lord kept telling me that I worked for Him, and no matter how long I looked, I wouldn’t find a job!

Seeing the weekly miracles of God’s provision appear, however, just in time to pay our rent or buy gasoline and groceries, was both challenging and exciting. One reason was the guidelines the Holy Spirit had strongly impressed upon me that I needed to follow as I set out to teach His Word.

First, I was never to take an offering, and second I was never to ask anyone for money or any kind of sustenance such as food or gasoline.  I had to rely only on God for our needs.

The Holy Spirit even chastised me once when I was looking into our Post Office box.  When I confessed to seeing if someone had written us a check, I heard the Lord’s voice saying to me in my spirit, “I am the source of your supply, not the Post Office.”

The Lord has only rarely spoken to me verbally in my life, and my dream was one of them.  The other was when He called me to use His Spiritual Weapons.

Usually I heard His voice in my thoughts, and not necessarily in English.  Once I was praying, “Lord we need some money because we need a new tire for our car.”  

His reply was filled with wisdom:  “When you pray, don’t pray for money for what you need.  Pray for this tire, not the money.”  So I changed my prayer.

A few days later, one of my friends said to me, “Do you need tires for your car? I got four from my uncle, but I only need two.”

Even though I only desperately needed one at the time, I rejoiced and had both put on the car.

I stumbled a few times as we learned how to trust the Lord, but we were learning.

 

Our Biggest Challenge

Knowing how the Lord was going to provide for the birth of our baby was the focus of much of our faith and prayers for nine months.  We had no insurance, so we needed to pay the doctor and the hospital both, totaling at the time about one thousand dollars. Plus, we had our regular monthly expenses, including rent, utilities, and food.

We came right up to the time when Jan’s labor began, and we still had no money for the doctor or hospital expenses.  I kept remembering how in my dream the Lord gave us the baby, so I kept thinking, “God would not give us such a precious gift and then not provide what we need to pay the medical expenses also.”

I had to speak to the woman in the Hospital’s office when we checked in, and she told me how much I would need to pay.  Plus, the doctor was very firm with me later , saying that we should have paid him already.  Meanwhile, I was very nervous about the money, but even more nervous for my wife.  She was in great pain, and all I could do was rub her back and take antacids.

 

A New Life

Jan was in labor for nine hours, and I was almost as exhausted as she was when we finally held our child.  I realize, of course, that there is no way to compare both of our experiences!

Leaving the hospital, the young couple that we had asked to take care of our other daughter gave us a check, a love gift, which covered much of the cost of the hospital, so I was greatly encouraged that the Lord’s had begun to answer our prayers and the fulfillment of His message in my dream had begun to come to pass.  

When we got home, we were visited the very next day by a couple we had been teaching in our home group.  They had just sold their home, and it had cleared escrow that morning, so they said they had a gift for us.  

Sure enough, the amount was enough to cover both the doctor’s and the hospital bills, plus the money we needed to pay our rent, which was also due.

Ultimately, we had fifty dollars left, giving us enough for gasoline and groceries.  We were then ready to start believing God again for a new month!

Overall, we truly believed the Lord’s promises to us about supplying all of our needs, especially when one of those needs concerned His gift to us of a baby girl.

This miracle of God’s provision has steadied me throughout our lives as a family, and we have always seen our needs met, sometimes just as miraculously as in those early days.

One time, for example, we were in the grocery store with very little money to buy enough for our dinner.  Somehow, a neighbor we barely knew who lived a few blocks away, came up to us and gave us a ten dollar bill.  It was enough to pay for the food we needed, which came to within a few cents of ten dollars at the checkout. We thanked him profusely for his gift, but in our hearts we also thanked the Lord for his goodness to us.

 

Learning How to Receive the Faith We Needed

After hearing messages from a number of Bible teachers who have soundly rebuked those who try to believe God in the ways we did, I have often asked the Lord to show me about being guided by His wisdom and truth so that we would not be presumptuous or ignorant. Yet time and time again, He has shown us that He is our Father who cares for us enough to meet our needs like the loving Father He is.

I wanted to know, though, how to allow Him to live, move, and have His being in our lives more fully.  Consequently, the Holy Spirit began to teach me about the power of the Word of God, both the Logos and the Rhema, the terms used extensively in the New Testament Scriptures.

Both terms are translated “Word,” depending on their contexts, although the words are not strictly used interchangeably; thus, they are not synonyms in the strictest sense.  Therefore, a few of those passages will help to clarify the differences and similarities between the two.  

 

 

Logos

Today, as in the past, even the term “logo” commonly means a graphic mark or symbol used to represent a company, organization, or even a person.  We are all probably familiar with the Nike “swoosh” or the NBC “peacock.”  This term is also derived from the Greek word.

The most significant uses of the Greek word Logos in the New Testament, however, are found in two places in the first chapter in the opening chapter of John’s Gospel:

In the beginning was the Word [logos], and the Word [logos]was with God, and the Word [logos] was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  (John 1:1-5)

And the Word [logosbecame flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

The first five verses reveal how the Logos, or Word, essentially means the totality of God’s will and revelation, revealing the very essence and nature of the acts and attributes of God.  Nothing would, or could, exist in this world apart from the Logos

Also, the second passage clearly reveals that the Logos is Jesus, who became flesh and dwelt among us, revealing the love and full glory of God to us.  Thus, the Logos is the sum total of God’s will, power, glory, and truth, ultimately personified in Jesus the Messiah

Traditionally in the Church, the Logos represents the written Scriptures, but in the original Greek the Logos also represents what is thought, not necessarily spoken.  This is the view seen in Hebrews, where the Logos is portrayed as a sharp sword:

For the word [logosof God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.  (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Thus, even the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, is a personification of Jesus Christ.  

In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul also writes a statement that reveals why Jesus is the Logos.  Paul prays for those he has not yet met in person, praying

That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  (Colossians 2:2-3)

Therefore, all of the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge are within Christ Jesus, who is named the Logos in John’s Gospel.  And within the chapters in this book we shall see that the “mysteries” of the Kingdom are similarly portrayed.  

 

Rhema

Another Greek word used in the New Testament is Rhema, which is translated in similar ways as Logos.  Howeverthe English words in the translations, though spelled the same, do not have precisely the same meanings in context.  

Here are some scriptural examples that will highlight the use of the word Rhema.

The following verse seems to align almost exactly with the use of the word Logos in John 1:1.  For example, the writer to the Hebrews says the following about the creation:

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word [rhemati] of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (Hebrews 11:3)

Several passages using this word Rhema either quote or make reference to the Scriptures in the Old Testament, including the following verses:

When Satan tempted Jesus, telling Him to turn stones into bread to satisfy His hunger, Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word [rhemati] that proceeds out of the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4, see also Luke 4:4)

However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word [rhematos]  of Christ.  But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; “Their voice has gone out into all the earth,  And their words [rhemata]  to the ends of the world.”  (Romans 10:16-18)

“But the word [rhema] of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word [rhema] which was preached to you.  (I Peter 1:25)

This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words [rhematon] spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. (II Peter 3:1-2)

At times the word Rhema refers to specific messages from a person or an angel, for example:

And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word [rhema] ” (Luke 1:38).

And likewise Peter remembered the word [rhematos] which Jesus had said,

“Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. (Matthew 24:75, see also Mark 14:72)

Peter also relates to the Christians in Jerusalem the incident when he first shared the Gospel with the gentiles:

Arriving from Joppa, Peter heard from a man who relayed what the angel had told him in a vision, “Send to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here; and he will speak words [rhemata] to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.”  (Acts 11:13-14)

Peter then continues to tell his story to the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem,

And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word [rhematos] of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ (Acts 11:15-16)

One passage in particular reveals a context that shows how the word Rhema is not necessarily used exclusively for literal renderings, for Paul says he heard words that are ineffable, that cannot be articulated or explained in terms of human language.

Speaking about the revelations he received, Paul speaks in the third person, relating his story:

And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words [rhemata], which a man is not permitted to speak. (II Corinthians 12:4)

Finally, although some Bible teachers oppose this application in the lives of Christians today, the word Rhema is used to reveal the reception of a personal word or message given by God.

If you abide in Me, and My words [rhemata] abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

But what does it say? “The word [rhema] is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word [rhemaof faith which we are preaching” (Romans 10:8).

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word [rhema] of God.”  (Ephesians 6:17)

 

The Reason for Our Faith

As a result, therefore, of hearing a message in a vision and receiving that message in our hearts, not only were my wife and I given the gift of a child that we had been seeking, but also we were assured that the child would be truly the Lord’s and He would use her in powerful ways.  Plus, all the means for bringing her into this world, the home and the funds, would be provided for her.  This is why we were able to believe so strongly for the miracle of provision we experienced that day in the Hospital.

The Apostle Paul tells believers how to live their lives: 

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.  (I Thessalonians 5:17-22)

One assumption is that we will listen to the voice of the Lord in our hearts, in the inner man.  Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me”  (John 10:27).  It is not memorization of the Scriptures that allows us to hear the voice of the Lord, for even a parrot can repeat words and phrases.  

The difference is found in allowing the Logos of the Lord to become a Rhema in our hearts.  We allow the Lord to speak to us by meditating on his Logos day and night and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  Then we will find that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word [rhematos] of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

We will then have the word abiding in our hearts, along with the faith to bring His will to pass in our lives: “If you abide in Me, and My words [rhemata] abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).

 

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