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Voice from Heaven


VOICE FROM HEAVEN

Only Jesus had seen God the Father. “No one has ever seen God, but the only Son made him known, the one who is closest to the heart of the Father” (Jn 1: 18). Whereas many had the privilege of listening to the voice of God. Jesus said: “It has been written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God” (Jn 6:45).

The voice from heaven is the communication of God the Father to humans in an understandable vocal language (Deut 4:12). A thunder-like effect, or a cloud’s appearance, might accompany it. Such a voice was the proclamation of the divine will or judgement. It differed from prophetic communication, where God addressed directly or through a vision to the prophet alone. In the voice of heaven, the bystanders could hear it regardless of their relationship with God. When Jesus called Saul, “a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him,” and he heard the voice of Jesus. “The men who were travelling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one” (Acts 9:3-7). Similarly, the people present with Jesus also could hear the voice because it was the Father’s witness of the Son intended for the bystanders so that they would not get scandalized by the surrender of Jesus to his persecutors.

The following are examples of people who heard the voice of God the Father:

After giving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, “The LORD spoke to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from the heavens’” (Ex 20:22). Later Moses told to Israelites: “He let you hear his voice from heaven that he might instruct you; on earth he let you see his blazing fire and from the midst of the fire you heard his words” (Deut 4:36).

While the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar was walking on the roof of his royal palace boasting of himself, “a voice came down from heaven, ‘this is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you’” (Dan 4:28).

“After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (Mt 3:16-17).

Peter documented the transfiguration experience he, James, and John had: “when he received glory and honor from God the Father when from the magnificent glory this most extraordinary word came upon him: ‘This is my Son, my Chosen One.’ We ourselves heard this voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain” (2 Pet 1:17-18). According to Matthew, while Jesus was speaking with Moses and Elijah, “behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.’ When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid” (Mt 17:5-6).

After the triumphant entry of Jesus in the Temple, while Jesus was talking to Andrew and Philip, “a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it and will glorify it again’” (Jn 12:28).

REFLECTION

God communicating direct from heaven is rare. However he communicates to the humans through the prophets who are his spokespersons and through the Sacred Scripture. When we read the Bible with devotion, God is communicating to us. Let us listen to God’s words by reading the Bible and reflecting on it.

 


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