Comments on Nigel Tomes'
NOT TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE!"
Since the article "Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery — Analysis & Response" was written and published by Nigel Tomes (henceforth, "the writer") in August of 2005, a number of articles written by some faithful brothers in www.afaithfulword.org and https://onepub.robichaux.name on "one publication", "minister of the age", and other subject matters have convincingly exposed the deceptions contained in the writer's articles both in printed form and on the internet.
The writer's self-appointment as the moral conscience and "policeman" in the Lord's recovery has since been well-refuted. It is now clear to most fair-minded saints that his contentious writings that wrangle over words bring to mind one who is "blinded with pride, understanding nothing, but is diseased with questionings and contentions of words, out of which come envy, strife, slanders, and evil suspicions" (1 Tim. 6:4).
In May of 2006, the writer followed up his insolent attack on the teaching and practice of "one publication" by brothers Nee and Lee by producing another specious article entitled, "LSM's Eisegesis — How Not to Interpret the Bible?" (henceforth, "the article"). Having been disproved of the various accusations in his previous articles on subject matters related to "one publication", the writer now focused on accusing the blending brothers' quotation of Brother Lee's application of 1 Corinthians 14:8 to "one publication" and "one ministry" as eisegesis 1 . According to the writer, the analogy or metaphor of trumpeting in 1 Corinthians 14:8 can only be applied to speaking in tongues without interpretation, and not to one publication and the ministry.
In titling the article "How Not to Interpret the Bible", the author evinced his claim to know how to properly interpret the Bible. While he correctly stated that "the trumpet analogy in 1 Corinthians 14 clearly refers to speaking in tongues," yet his a priori assertion and insistence that 1 Corinthians 14:8 should be limited merely to its strictest literal reading demonstrates a tendentious narrowness and shortage.
In chapter 4 of the book entitled "On Knowing the Bible" and chapter 1, book 4 of the "Elders' Training", Brother Lee gave ten principles for interpreting the Bible. In chapters 2 to 4 of the book entitled "The Full Knowledge of the Word of God", Brother Lee gave seven principles for interpreting the Bible. These principles set forth a proper exegetical approach to understanding the Scriptures in the light and with a view of God's economy. One among these principles is the principle of literal interpretation. However, this is only a rudimentary principle. It is basic but it is not the only criteria for interpreting the Bible.
The writer's obstinate insistence that 1 Corinthians 14:8 can only be applied to speaking in tongues without any interpretation is at most his own teaching; it is contrary to Brother Lee's teaching. The writer's teaching is based only on his literal interpretation of the verse. His dogmatism is by no means a standard to be followed in understanding the Bible, much less, an edict that he could use to impugn others'. It is no wonder that after telling us how and how not to interpret the Bible, the writer can only conclude, "In my view, 'one publication' is not a scriptural truth (implied or otherwise)." All rhetoric aside, in so saying, the writer merely demonstrates his myopic "view" in this verse — a view proffered by the writer alone in contrast to Brother Lee's broader view which is according to the central lane of God's New Testament economy in the light of the whole Bible.
Prior to this writing, together with two brothers, I had written to a leading worker addressing our concern over the writer's accusation of Brother Lee's application of 1 Corinthians 14:8 to the Lord's one ministry and sounding of the call for one publication as eisegesis, among other matters. The writer impetuously responded with vociferous contumelies, alleging that he asserted that a blending brother said that "The one trumpet in 1 Corinthians 14:8 is the trumpet of the Lord's one ministry...", while Brother Lee said that "The Lord's ministry is like the sounding of the trumpet for the army to go to war." He emphasized the importance of the assumed distinction between "is" and "is like". He also claimed that the former is eisegesis and the latter is exegesis, contending that he was not against Brother Lee's teaching and was not accusing Brother Lee but this blending brother of eisegesis.
Percipient readers can easily tell that the writer was simply playing with words. His case and his self-proclaimed expertise rely entirely upon the minutiae described above — the difference between "is' and "is like" in metaphoric speaking. Inasmuch as the writer admitted that the "trumpeting" in 1 Corinthians 14:8 is a metaphor, and a metaphor is "a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance" (Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary), at the risk of sounding tautological, may I ask then what is the difference between something that "is" and something that "is like" in a metaphor? Are they not both the same in showing a figurative "resemblance"? What is the difference in saying, "what the writer said is like splitting hairs..." and "what the writer said is splitting hairs..."?
The fact is: the writer is indeed splitting hairs when he distinguished the blending brother's use of "is" from Brother Lee's use of "is like". This artificial distinction based on misplaced persnicketiness concerning language can only be seen as a desperate attempt to make it look like the blending brother spoke differently from Brother Lee. But the writer missed, intentionally or unintentionally, the fact that the quotation from Brother Lee (in which he used "is like" as opposed to "is") was taken from Elders' Training, Book 7, Chapter 6 entitled "No Uncertain Sounding of the Trumpet in the Lord's Recovery", The subtitle of the very portion where the quote is lifted reads:
The Lord's Ministry — The Sounding of the Trumpet for the Army to Go to War. (Witness Lee, Elders' Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord's Move , p. 75) [emphasis added]
A pair of long dashes normally represents interruption in a sentence, whereas a single long dash, in today's practical usage, often represents an apposition, or a syntactic relation between the two expressions, as in the case above. It is obvious that Brother Lee was not playing with the semantics of "is" or "is like." He was saying that the Lord's ministry is the sounding of the trumpet for the army to go to war. Hence, if the Lord's ministry is the sounding of the trumpet (which is what Brother Lee stated in the subtitle), is not the one trumpet the trumpet of the Lord's ministry (which is what the blending brother said)?
The writer wrote us to explicitly absolve Brother Lee of eisegesis, but continued to attack the blending brother on the same proposition. To attack the teaching of brothers who speak and teach according to the teaching of Brother Lee is to attack Brother Lee himself. How could the writer absolve Brother Lee of eisegesis on 1 Corinthians 14:8 to profess his subscription to Brother Lee's ministry while continuing to attack as eisegesis the main proposition of "one trumpeting of the Lord's one ministry" and the "sounding of the call to be restricted in one publication" by Brother Lee? It should be noted that the blending brothers are merely repeating the teaching of Brother Lee in this portion of the Word.
By absolving Brother Lee of eisegesis, is the writer telling us that he accepts and follows Brother Lee's application of trumpeting in 1 Corinthians 14:8 to the trumpeting of one publication in the one ministry? So that we all may be clear without equivocation, we ask the writer to give us a straightforward statement in a subsequent article.
Having seen the background, let us move on to scrutinize the writer's snide argument on 1 Corinthians 14:8 in the light of the Scriptures and of the ministry of brothers Nee and Lee. We shall review some of the principles for interpreting the Bible as taught by our brothers to see how Brother Lee and the blending brothers applied them as well as how the writer neglected them:
1. Using God's Word to Expound God's Word
In general, Bible scholars use the Word of God to explain God's Word; this is to use the Bible to interpret the Bible....Therefore, whenever you encounter a sentence in the Bible and you do not understand its meaning, do not try to figure it out by thinking this way or that way. You should go to the entire Bible to see what is said concerning this sentence; that is to use the words of the Bible to expound the Word. (Witness Lee, The Full Knowledge of the Word of God , pp. 38-39) [emphasis added]
This confirms Brother Nee's way of interpreting the Bible, and that is by comparing a verse with other passages of the Bible and by viewing it from the broad angle:
We have to put portions of the Word together and compare them....God's speaking is not completed through just one text. In the books of the prophets we are told that God's word is "here a little, there a little" (Isa. 28:13). Therefore, no Bible student should interpret a passage according to that passage alone. This is to interpret according to its own interpretation [1 Pet. 1:20]....Here God shows us a principle: We must compare our reading of one passage of the Scriptures with other passages. We cannot base our interpretation on just that text alone. In tackling a teaching found in the Bible, we have to look for explanations of this teaching from other passages of the Bible. This is very important....It is much safer for us to compare one verse with ten other verses. If we can only find five verses, it is better, but not as good as ten verses. The more comparisons we make, the better it is. If there is only one verse that says something, we have to be careful; we cannot build something big upon one isolated instance. Otherwise, we will end up with trouble. It is not very trustworthy to base everything on one verse. In reading the Bible we have to compare. We cannot interpret anything by the text of one passage alone. We must have the confirmation of other passages. (Watchman Nee, The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 54 , pp. 83-84) [emphasis added]
In studying the Word, one must view things from a broad angle, yet concentrate his study on the detailed points. In studying the Word, we must first find the main highway and deal with the side streets afterward. This does not mean that the small points are not important; it means that we are putting them aside until later. (Watchman Nee, The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 41 , pp. 49-51) [emphasis added]
The writer erred in his strident opposition to the application of the trumpeting in 1 Corinthians 14:8 to anything other than that of speaking in tongues without interpretation. His narrowness occludes perspective on God's economy, the ministry, and the one Body of Christ in this verse. In contrast to the writer, Brother Lee, based on Paul's teaching, held the broader view that the trumpet analogy does not point only to the less-profitable speaking in tongues without interpretation, but also to the main "highway", which is the universal battle that we are taking part in on the earth today:
We have to realize that the Lord's church today is a fighting army. We are doing something more serious than any battle on this earth. We are fighting against God's enemy, Satan. The church is God's army....The church is a universal and divine army fighting for God in the universe against His enemy....[W]e must realize that the church today is undertaking a universal war....Our battle is universal.... In Paul's speaking concerning the matter of interpretation of tongues, he considered that it was related to this universal battle that we are undertaking. In his talk concerning the interpretation of tongues, he used an illustration — the sounding of a trumpet for the battle. (Witness Lee, Elders' Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord's Move , pp. 77-79) [emphasis added]
Looking at the illustration of trumpeting from the broader angle, Brother Lee, in other portions, related the trumpeting in 1 Corinthians 14:8 to the trumpeting in Numbers 10 in the Old Testament, where trumpeting is for the army of God to fight the battle. He even charged his readers that just as God would not send out many trumpeters in the Old Testament to sound different trumpets, today the Lord would raise up only one trumpeter to sound one calling, one voice. Please note that Brother Lee did not relate the trumpeting to sounds of gibberish like uninterpreted tongue-speaking, but to the intelligible "one calling, one voice," which is the one speaking. He thereby applied 1 Corinthians 14:8 to not only to speaking in tongues without interpretation, but also to the trumpeting of the Lord's ministry today. He also indicated that the uncertain sounding of two trumpets will create confusion and disrupt harmony in the church:
God would not send out trumpeters to sound different trumpets for His army to fight the battle ( 1 Cor. 14:8; Num. 10:9; Judg. 7:18). This would be confusion. God is wiser than this. He will raise up only one trumpeter to sound one calling, one voice, so that His people on the earth can march on. (Witness Lee, The Testimony of Jesus , p. 99) [emphasis added]
At present, the same kind of problem exists in all the localities-we are not in perfect harmony. Although we do not harbor any evil intentions against each other, everyone is speaking according to his own preference. As a result, in the church it appears that there are two trumpets, which produces an uncertain sound. An army can have only one trumpet; then the whole army will have a unified command. If there are two trumpet sounds, even if one of them is very weak, it will cause a problem. (Witness Lee, Speaking for God , p. 107) [emphasis added]
Brother Lee also pointed out that in the New Testament, the ministry is a life and service that takes the lead by sounding the trumpet in the warfare against God's enemy (2 Cor. 6:7; 2 Tim. 2:3):
The work we are doing here is a spiritual warfare. We are not beating the air in vain with empty fists, nor are we running without a clear aim or goal. Our goal is the same goal as that of the apostle Paul and all those who have ministered throughout the ages: to build up the Body of Christ. We cannot have any work that divides the Body of Christ... I deeply believe that this is the proper way... The trumpet we are sounding here is the same trumpet sounded by the apostle Paul and by the saints throughout the ages. Our trumpet sound is in the one accord. From Taiwan to America, we have been sounding this trumpet for more than twenty years, and we will continue to sound this trumpet without changing our tune. (Witness Lee, Christ in His Excellency , p. 70) [emphasis added]
It is clear from the above quote that Brother Lee stressed that his goal is the same as the Apostle Paul's ministry, that is, to build up the one unique Body of Christ (1 Cor. 10:17; 12:12-13, 20; 14:4, 12; Rom. 12:5; Eph. 2:16; 4:4, 12, 16). For this reason, the "trumpet" they were sounding was one and the same trumpet, that is, the one accord; they were not just about the sounding of the trumpet in relation to speaking in tongues without interpretation as the writer asserted, but about the teaching of the same thing in all the churches:
We also must teach the same thing in all the churches in every country throughout the earth. There should be no different trumpeting or different voicing among us. We should all voice the same thing, trumpet the same thing, and teach the same thing. We need to be one in teaching (1 Cor. 4:17; 7:17; 16:1; Acts 2:42; Rom. 16:17; 1 Tim. 1:3-4; 6:3; Eph. 4:13-14). (Witness Lee, Elders' Training, Book 9: The Eldership and the God-ordained Way , p. 16) [emphasis added]
Furthermore, Brother Lee pointed out that the blowing of just one trumpet contains a principle with a much broader application — it is for the assembling of the leaders of Israel to go to war. His speaking about trumpeting in the Book of Numbers makes this clear:
The blowing of just one trumpet was for the assembling of the leaders. "But if they blow only one, then the leaders, the heads of the thousands of Israel, shall assemble themselves to you" (Numbers 10:4). (Witness Lee, Life-study of Numbers , p. 120) [emphasis added]
Here in Numbers the sound of the trumpet was called an alarm because, in God's thought, the children of Israel were continually at war. At any time they could hear the alarm for fighting. When they moved, they moved in a fighting way. This signifies that our Christian walk, our Christian move, is a fighting move. However, quite often we have been negligent in this matter and have suffered as a result. Concerning certain moves, we suffered a great deal because we did not have the consciousness that we were in a battle. We are always at war, and therefore we should constantly be under sounding of the alarm. (Witness Lee, Life-study of Numbers , pp. 120-121) [emphasis added]
In the following passage Brother Lee clearly stated that the trumpet sounds out to God's people in the publication work:
We only had one publication. Everything was published through Brother Nee's Gospel Room because the publication is really the trumpeting. The sounding of our trumpet is not just in the verbal message but more in the publication. (Witness Lee, Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , p. 162) [emphasis added]
One thing that has caused the Lord's recovery trouble is the fact that we have different publications. If we mean business with the Lord's recovery, we must avoid any kind of involvement in problems....I never dared to publish anything by myself. I do not like to have another sounding. Our sounding must be one, so we must be restricted in one publication. (Witness Lee, Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , pp. 161-163) [emphasis added]
Unmistakably, it was Brother Lee who, using the trumpeting in 1 Corinthians 14:8 as his pattern, sounded the trumpet for the one accord in the Lord's recovery today. From the quotes above we see that one strong and practical way to attain the one accord is by refraining from having different trumpetings, that is, different speakings conveyed through different publications that embroil the saints. It was Brother Lee's succinct exhortation that for us to have one sounding, we must be restricted in one publication. Brother Lee even said that while co-working with Brother Nee, he dared not "publish" anything by himself, for he did not like to have "another sounding". Perspicuity in and objective consideration of Brother Lee's statement reveals that in his realization, publication is a sounding of the trumpet, and to have another publication is to have another sounding.
2. Paying Attention to the Background of the Bible Verse
In interpreting the Bible, one should not be confined by the background, nor should he ignore the background....Hence, we must see that we cannot neglect the background; if we do, we will not understand the exact meaning of the Bible. (Witness Lee, On Knowing the Bible , pp. 59- 60) [emphasis added]
The background and main content of 1 Corinthians chapter 14 is not speaking in tongues without interpretation; rather, it is " the excelling of prophesying", and in verses 1-19, " building up the church more." In this portion of the Word, the Apostle Paul spoke concerning the excelling gift of prophesying for the building up of the church. In comparing prophesying with speaking in tongues, he spoke clearly and definitely that speaking in tongues is much inferior to prophesying. He stressed that to prophesy in revelation or to teach in knowledge with clear and understandable words is more profitable to the church than to speak in tongues with unintelligible words. Please note that prophesying (which is speaking Christ, speaking for Christ, and speaking forth Christ) and speaking in tongues are both related to speaking. Speaking finds its source in teaching, and teaching is conveyed through publications. It is in this context concerning the proper speaking that builds up the church that the Apostle Paul warned against the uncertain sounding of the trumpet. Hence, the sounding of the trumpet is related to speaking, teaching, and publication.
In the article, the writer challenged the intrinsic relationship of the sounding of the trumpet to speaking, teaching, and publication, disingenuously proscribing it as a "3 step away" interpretation of the Bible. The writer scorned this as "grasping at straws" and called it unscriptural. Perhaps we should ask a few simple questions to the writer: Is his speaking not his teaching? Is his teaching not conveyed through his speaking? Or is his speaking different from his teaching? Did he not disseminate his teaching and therefore his speaking through publication? If not, how else did he convey his teaching to the public? Is his publication different from his speaking and teaching? Let him so confirm or deny the nexus of the elements in these questions with their obvious conclusions. Brother Lee specifically stated:
The sounding of our trumpet is not just in the verbal message but more in the publication. (Witness Lee, Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , p. 162) [emphasis added]
Both the verbal message (speaking) and printed message (publication) represent a person's sounding (teaching). Hence, our speaking is our teaching, and our teaching is in our publication. There are distinctions but the three things are not different. To purposely try to make a difference between speaking, teaching, and publication, and nitpick on its synthesis, as the writer did, is a most preposterous argument. Yet, the writer even audaciously persisted to say:
The argument may be logical; the reasoning convincing. Yet, that is not what the Bible says! (Nigel Tomes, the article) [emphasis by the writer]
Is the writer qualified to unilaterally and conclusively say that this is not what the Bible says? It seems that if what the Bible says is to be determined by one single individual, it could hardly be him. How many trainings of Brother Lee has he attended for him to think that he is above his teacher to criticize an application taught by Brother Lee as "not what the Bible says?" Further, how can he call himself a "co-worker" in the Lord's recovery while casting aspersion on the teaching and practice of brothers Nee and Lee on the subject and still hold himself up as the authority for Biblical interpretation? This is such a grave disservice to and derision of our dear brothers' ministry.
3. One Portion Not Sufficient to Present a Whole Truth
In interpreting the Bible, we have to pay attention to one more thing: one portion of the Word is not sufficient to represent the whole truth....[W]e cannot consider one isolated portion of the Bible alone. Instead, we must consider two, three, or more portions of the Word together....[W]hen we follow the Bible, we should not do so in an isolated way. We should consider both sides and even all sides. No single portion of the Bible can represent the whole truth....Any single side of a man cannot represent the whole person. The same can be said of the words of the Bible. Any one portion of the Bible cannot represent the whole truth, and we have to be balanced in every way. (Witness Lee, On Knowing the Bible , pp. 57-58) [emphasis added]
Brother Nee held the same teaching regarding this method of interpreting the Bible. He said in studying the Bible, we must grasp the main theme:
In studying the Bible, the first thing we have to do is to find the main subject. Then we can go into the details. We must first have a grasp of the main subject of a portion of the Word, and then we must find out the various details. The details are supplementary, while the skeleton is the main subject. (Watchman Nee, The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 41 , p. 49) [emphasis added]
Not a single verse in the Bible stands alone; not a single subject matter is independent from others. As seen in the previous sections, Brother Lee's sounding of the trumpet in his application of 1 Corinthians 14:8 called for one speaking in the Lord's recovery (1 Cor. 1:10; Rom. 15:5; Phil. 2:2; 4:2). He sounded the trumpet to exhort the elders and co-workers to be restricted in one publication, thereby preserving the oneness in speaking and avoiding the sounding of different trumpets that would lead to different teachings with the resultant confusion among the churches. This sounding of the trumpet also calls for the leading ones in the Lord's recovery to prepare to go "to war the good warfare against the different teachings of the dissenters and to carry out God's economy (1 Tim. 1:4) according to the apostle's ministry concerning the gospel of grace and eternal life for the glory of the blessed God (1 Tim. 1:1-16)." [See Holy Bible Recovery Version, 1 Timothy 1 footnote 18 3]
In this regard, the apostle Paul reminded the elders of their spiritual responsibilities to shepherd the flock of God and protect the flock from unhealthy and perverted speaking:
1 Pet. 5:2 — Shepherd the flock of God among you, overseeing not under compulsion but willingly, according to God; not by seeking gain through base means but eagerly.
Acts 20:28-30 — Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers to shepherd the church of God, which He obtained through His own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. And from among you yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverted things to draw away the disciples after them.
The Apostle Paul was very concerned with the emerging different teachings during his three-year stay in Ephesus. He was burdened to stay longer because of the presence of many dissenting ones in Ephesus (1 Cor. 16:9). Later on his way to Jerusalem, he met with the elders of Ephesus in Miletus and warned them that after his departure, not only would there be fierce wolves coming in from the outside to ravage the flock (Acts 20:29), but also some from among the believers themselves would rise up to speak perverted things and to draw the disciples after themselves (Acts 20:30). About six years later during his first Roman imprisonment, he wrote to exhort Timothy to particularly remain in Ephesus in order that he might charge certain ones not to teach different things (1 Tim. 1:3; 6:3).
It is apparent that the elders in Ephesus did not heed well the Apostle Paul's warning about protecting the saints from the different teachings. After only two years when Paul wrote to Timothy again during his second imprisonment near the time of his martyrdom (2 Tim. 4:6) he said that all who were in Asia turned away from him (2 Tim. 1:15). This indicates that the general situation among the believers in Asia, particularly Ephesus, is that those who had formerly received the apostle's ministry had later forsaken his ministry due to the different teachings. Without doubt, the church in Ephesus was one of the leading churches in Asia at that time. It is no wonder that the Lord rebuked the church in Ephesus first among the seven churches in Asia in Revelation 2 and 3. It is evident that the church in Ephesus fared well in its works, labor, and endurance and in dealing with evil men and false apostles from the outside; yet it is likely that they did not reject the different teachings from the ones inside. Eventually this led to the believers' departure from the Apostle Paul and later from their first love to the Lord. The final result was that their lampstand was removed (Rev. 2:5). The presence of prevailing different teachings in Ephesus could also have aided the entry of many other teachings such as those of Balaam, the Nicolaitans, and Jezebel that were prevalent in the other churches in Asia.
In the Apostle Paul's time as well as today, the ravenous wolves from outside and the ones speaking perverted things who rise up from within are always used by the devil, who hates the church, to devastate it (Ezek. 22:27; Matt. 7:15). The different teachings in 1 Timothy 1:3-4, 6-7; 6:3-5, 20-21 and the heresies in 4:1-3 are the seed and the source of the church's decline, degradation, and deterioration dealt with in 2 Timothy. In this regard, the elders bear a particular responsibility to exercise oversight in protecting a local church and the saints under their care from the intrusion of unhealthy, dissenting, and destructive speaking and teachings (1 Pet. 5:1-2; Titus 1:7a, 9; Heb. 13:17).
It is a spiritual obligation scripturally entrusted to the elders that they should shepherd the flock of God according to the plan of God and the word of God (Eph. 1:22-23; Deut. 17:18-20), by holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching of the apostles (Titus 1:9), and according to God, that is, to shepherd according to God's desire (1 Pet. 5:1-4). As shepherds of the flock of God, the elders everywhere should indeed have assiduous care for the churches with regard to speakings, teachings, and publications. They should guard the flock from things that could cause damage to them (Acts 20:28-30), particularly from different teachings (1 Tim, 1:3; 6:3), strange teachings (Heb. 13:9), vain talking (1 Tim. 1:6), profane and vain babblings (2 Tim. 2:16), and lies (1 Tim. 4:2). Such things have emerged and are being proliferated through various dissonant publications today.
The writer's bizarre assailment of the co-workers' and elders' adoption of the one publication practice for the sake of guarding the flock from various dissenting publications is most disturbing. His summary preclusion and dismissal of the relevancy of the elders' responsibility of shepherding according to the apostle's sounding of the trumpet calling for the same demonstrates either his utter disregard of the safety of the flock or his simplistic and improvident view and obtuse comprehension of the scriptural warnings concerning these damages. How can the writer ignore the revelation of the whole Bible and the vital scriptural principles revealed in it with respect to the elders' responsibility to shepherd the flock and the concomitant consequences of not doing so? How can he instead contend that "one publication" is not scriptural merely because the word is not found in the Bible? Will he be consistent with his principle and attack other "unscriptural words" that Brother Lee used such as disposition, expression, constitution, duplication, continuation, extension, reproduction, amplification, transmission, transfusion, infusion, deification, saturation, permeation, inclusion, intensification, incorporation, consummation, crystallization, etc.? Will he also attack other "unscriptural words" such as Trinity, theology, rapture, God-man, mingling, pneumatic, sonize, Christify, etc.? The writer's insidious argument is hardly the mark of one who is qualified to lecture on how the Bible should be interpreted or on the teachings of brothers Nee and Lee.
4. Paying Attention to the Context in Reading the Bible
It is not sufficient to know the Bible in the way of understanding the meaning of each word in the original language; we must see the light revealed by the meaning of each word in the original language....This was the way in which the Lord Jesus read the Bible. He had the divine light. To study the Bible, we need light, which does not come by studying the letters. If we desire to go beyond the letters and seek the revelation of life, we need enlightenment. (Witness Lee, The Full Knowledge of the Word of God , pp. 32-33) [emphasis added]
Paying attention to the context requires much consideration, because there are no specific limits as to the boundary of a passage. A prominent Bible scholar has said that in order to expound a single sentence of the Bible, one needs to use the entire Bible. This means that we need all sixty-six books of the Bible to explain a verse. (Witness Lee, The Full Knowledge of the Word of God , pp. 38-39) [emphasis added]
One must also find the proper lines in God's Word before he can have God's revelation and light....If our daily reading of the Scripture in the morning and evening is a routine work, we will not receive much benefit from it. However, there are times in our reading and our time of fellowship when we are touched and overwhelmed by a certain truth. If we pay attention to the crucial truths in the Bible, we will readily receive God's revelations. (Watchman Nee, The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 41 , pp. 49-50) [emphasis added]
Is the sounding of the trumpet in 1 Corinthians 14:8 applicable only to speaking in tongues without interpretation as the writer asserted? I take exception to this narrow view. From the context of 1 Corinthians 14:8, the Apostle Paul made stark contrasts between tongue-speaking and prophesying: the former is carried out in confusion; the latter in an orderly manner. The former results in individual edification; the latter issues forth the corporate building up of the Body. The two run in two different directions and have different results.
It is into this context that the Apostle Paul introduced the metaphor of the sounding of the trumpet, relating it to a battle that requires no uncertain sounding of the trumpet that would lead the army in disarray, but one certain sounding to lead the army to the right direction according to the battle plan. With this in view, the Apostle Paul first addressed the unprofitability of tongue-speaking in verses 9 to 11, then the excelling of the gift of prophesying in verse 12:
1 Cor. 14:8 — For also if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?
1 Cor. 14:9-11 — So also you, unless you give with the tongue a word easy to understand, how will what is being said be known? For you will be speaking into the air. There are perhaps many kinds of voices in the world, and not one is without significance. If then I do not know the meaning of the voice, I will be to him who is speaking a barbarian, and he who is speaking a barbarian to me.
1 Cor. 14:12 — So also you, since you are zealous of spirits, seek that you may excel for the building up of the church.
It is noteworthy that the Apostle Paul first connects the metaphor of the sounding of the trumpet in verse 8 to tongue-speaking in verse 9 with the phrase " So also you," and then to prophesying in verse 12 also with the same phrase " So also you." Hence, speaking in tongues without interpretation is the uncertain sounding of the trumpet that brings the army into confusion, whereas prophesying is the certain sounding in intelligible speaking and teaching that brings the army into oneness to fight against dissenting speaking and to build up the Body. This oneness in speaking is expressed through one publication, not various differing publications.
This is the exegesis I propounded to the writer. It arrives at the same conclusion as Brother Lee's application of the trumpeting in 1 Corinthians 14:8 to one publication in the Lord's one ministry. The writer may not agree with this interpretation, for it is different from his. But the content of this exegesis is not the point in this writing. My point is to explore why the writer would brand as eisegesis an interpretation that is different from his simply because it was taught by the blending brothers who were merely reiterating what Brother Lee taught? Is this action not a direct contradiction to what he taught only two months later in an article entitled, "Interpretational Difference — Watchman Nee & Witness Lee vs. 'the Blended Co-workers' — Who's Not Holding the Head?"
In that article, the writer started by saying Christians frequently differ in their understanding and interpretations of the Scriptures, and charged that despite these disparities we must receive other believers because the Lord has accepted them. Then referring to the blending brothers he complained:
This is not the only instance when the 'blended brothers' appear to rule out all divergence in views.... Conversely, it advocates "zero tolerance" for differences, even in minor points, since any disparity jeopardizes the 'one accord.' How can such proclamation against diversity in Scriptural interpretation and practices be reconciled with receiving all believers with generality? (Nigel Tomes, "Interpretational Difference...") [emphasis added]
Since we have already received profound riches and healthy Biblical interpretation from the ministry of brothers Nee and Lee for the oneness and building up of the Body, I do not subscribe to interpretational differences and the promotion of different ministries. I am simply wondering why the writer, having made such vehement protest against "zero tolerance" of interpretational differences in one article, could himself be so adamant in his own intolerance of some whose interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:8 is different from his and to further brand it as eisegesis in another article? Is this a case of what is good for the goose not being good for the gander? How could the writer employ such a double standard, insisting on tolerance for his positions while callously refusing to extend such courtesy to others? How could he so passionately defend his own differences on "minor points" and protest an alleged "zero tolerance" policy yet condemn others' teachings as eisegesis merely based upon his own ultra-fine parsing of words?
The crux of the matter is that on one hand, the writer's ostensible purpose appears to magnanimously "tolerate" different interpretations of the Scriptures (which he has mixed up with the principle of generality in receiving all believers), while his real objective is to promote and justify different teachings among the churches (which is what the Apostle Paul warned Timothy against in 1 Tim. 1:3) in order to promote his own ministry in the Lord's recovery today. At the same time, he launched a predatory campaign to attack any speaking that is different from his, including Brother Lee's, not "tolerating" it but instead branding it as eisegesis. It is ironic that the writer's own "uncertain sounding" of his different teachings may have confused him into contradicting himself from article to article.
5. Learning from the Saints in the Past
We also need to learn from the saints of the past. We must realize that we were not born in the first century; we are not the first group of Bible readers. We were born in the twentieth century, and we cannot ignore those who have gone before us. We cannot work in isolation from them. We must see how the so-called church fathers, from the end of the first century to the second century, interpreted the Bible. Since then, in generation after generation there have been Bible scholars.... Today we are standing on their shoulders, and a great deal of our knowledge of the Bible has been gained from them. (Witness Lee, The Full Knowledge of the Word of God , p. 39) [emphasis added]
No subjective person can understand the Bible. A subjective person is not suitable to be a learner. If we speak to an objective person, he will understand after we speak once. But a subjective person will not understand after we speak three times. Many people do not understand what others are saying, not because they are unintelligent, but because they are too subjective....(Watchman Nee, The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 54 , p. 26) [emphasis added]
We are particularly blessed that we are in the Lord's recovery in this age when the high peak of the divine revelation has been revealed and expounded to us by brothers Nee and Lee, who stood upon the shoulders of the Bible expositors before them. Hence, what we have received today is the all-inheriting vision of the age solidly based on the Scriptures.
In this regard, it is no accident that Brother Lee applied 1 Corinthians 14:8 to the sounding of the one trumpet in the Lord's one ministry today. It is no accident that he also applied this verse to the one publication in the Lord's recovery today. Why then did the writer seek to challenge these? In the matter of interpreting this verse, is he telling us that he has a better grasp of the Bible than Brother Lee? Is he insinuating that Brother Lee erred in his application of this verse? Is he in fact punditically saying that he has seen what Brother Lee had not seen? Is this his rationalization for his veiled attack against Brother Lee? Let us briefly look at what the writer said:]
However, that verse, "if...the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle," (1 Cor. 14:8) refers to speaking in tongues without interpretation. When applied to publications, this illustration is being borrowed and applied to a foreign context. That was not Paul's point! It should be obvious that using a biblical illustration does not impart authority to a non-scriptural teaching. (Nigel Tomes, Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery — Analysis & Response, August 2005) [emphasis added]
It is clear that in his article the writer accused the blending brothers who authored "Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery" of incorrectly "borrowing" the illustration of trumpeting in 1 Corinthians 14:8 and applying it to a foreign context and deemed their application as unscriptural. Later in another article, the writer again used the term "borrow" applying to the same analogy, albeit ambiguously, this time with reference to Brother Lee:
Brother Lee went on to borrow this analogy, "The Lord's ministry is like the sounding of the trumpet for the army to go to war (Num. 10:9; Judges 7:18)." (Nigel Tomes, the article, May 2006) [emphasis by Nigel Tomes]
The writer's own pedantries and machinations expose his disesteem of Brother Lee. Not only so, based on his subjective "view" of the verse in reference to the application of 1 Corinthians 14:8 to the Lord's one ministry, the writer challenged:
Which Bible scholar has ever concluded this? (Nigel Tomes, the article)
At the risk of restating the obvious, it was Brother Lee who applied the sounding of the one trumpet to the Lord's one ministry. For the writer to ask such an incredulous question is a sign that he distrusts and despises the Biblical interpretation and application of Brother Lee 2 . In the past decades, brothers Nee and Lee have recovered a plenitude of Bible truths and practices that other Bible scholars have not seen or even opposed. Without a doubt, much of what our brothers have recovered is unique to the Lord's recovery. Is it not utterly reprehensible for a professed "co-worker" in the Lord's recovery to seek affirmation from Bible scholars of other ages as to the teaching and practice of brothers Nee and Lee in order for him to accept what our brothers teach as Biblical? The following is what Brother Lee said concerning his knowledge of the Bible:
Ever since the Lord's recovery started in China, we have paid much attention to studying the truth and the Bible. We have read deeply into church history and thoroughly researched the various important schools of interpretation of the Bible. Hence, in our exposition of the Scriptures, we are standing on the shoulders of our predecessors....We are able to see so many things because we are standing on the shoulders of our predecessors....I will be able to see much farther... (Witness Lee, Speaking for God , p. 52) [emphasis added]
Therefore, the elders should not be at ease; they must take great pains to study the Bible....Every one of the elders must devote himself to labor on the Word of God. This is what I do myself; I labor daily on the Lord's word....I might not be as smart as you are, but I know one thing-I am more diligent than you. Therefore, the New Testament has been thoroughly digested within me from early on, and I can even say that it has been constituted into me.... (Witness Lee, Speaking for God , p. 73) [emphasis added]
Both brothers Nee and Lee were greatly used by the Lord as far as Biblical insights and revelations are concerned, because they learned from the saints in the past. We ought to follow the same pattern. However, it seems that not only would the writer not follow Brother Lee's teaching concerning one publication in the Lord's ministry, which is based on solid scriptural principles as illustrated, he also would not follow Brother Nee's practice of the same. Even worse, in an attempt to further hide the truth and obscure the facts, the writer repeated his distortion of the teaching and practice of brothers Nee and Lee by writing:
"One publication" is enjoined because, "Since Brother Nee's day we in the Lord's recovery have been restricted in one publication." ( Publication Work ... p. 7). The question whether this statement is accurate is addressed in "Honesty in History — Against Historical Revisionism". (Nigel Tomes, the article) [emphasis by the writer]
In referring to his other article, it is obvious that the writer was intent on instilling doubts as to whether or not the Lord's recovery in Brother Nee's time had practiced being restricted in one publication. The sad reality is: if you visit that article, you will find nothing edifying from the writer but only his unsubstantiated quibbling questions about the three book rooms in Shanghai, Taipei, and Hong Kong and whether or not the one publication was practiced during Brother Nee's time. In the article, the writer questioned whether or not what the blending brothers said regarding Brother Nee's practice was true. Since the blending brothers merely echoed what Brother Lee said of the practice during Brother Nee's time, the writer is in fact questioning the accuracy of church history being relayed to us by Brother Lee.
To come to the truth of the matter, let us see what brothers Nee and Lee themselves said:
The literature work: The literature work, such as the publishing of books and periodicals, is considered a separate unit of the work. Such works are handled by Shanghai. (Watchman Nee, The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 60 , p. 362) [emphasis added]
Before 1949, the books that were published among us were largely personal books of Brother Nee; a minority of a few books were Brother Yu Cheng-Hwa's translation of the books of the mystics like Madame Guyon and others, and in addition there were a few of my books like Gleanings from the Genealogy of Jesus Christ and others. Apart from these, we had no other literature work among us, and we did not publish any other book....In 1949, I came to Taiwan and started the work in Taiwan. When the work started I already felt we should have a publication work. The following year I went to Hong Kong to meet with Brother Nee. In my fellowship with him, I brought up the need for the publication work in Taiwan. This was because for the question of publishing the second edition hymnal, gospel hymns, the Crucial Truths in the Bible and other publications, we needed to get his permission. In the fellowship, he laid down the arrangement that from 1950, apart from the Gospel Bookroom in Shanghai, there will be another in Taipei, and another in Hong Kong. He himself will take charge of the Bookroom in Shanghai, I will take charge of the one in Taipei, and Brother Wei Kuang-Hsi will take charge of the one in Hong Kong. He said that these three bookrooms were just one, sharing the same copyright. These are all attested to....At that time we published many books of Brother Nee without asking for copyright permission from him, because he had already arranged that these three bookrooms were just one. Therefore, it was still his publication work. (Witness Lee, Translated from Chinese book "History and Revelation", pp. 339-341) [emphasis added]
In 1950, Brother Nee arrived in Hong Kong and wanted me to come from Taiwan to see him. When I fellowshipped about the matter of issuing publications, he took the opportunity to make some arrangements. It was decided that the Gospel Book Room would remain one. (Witness Lee, Words of Training for the New Way, Vol. 1 , pp. 34-35) [emphasis added]
In 1950, when the two of us were in Hong Kong, we spent much time talking together...we will have the Gospel Book Room divided into three: one in Shanghai, one in Taiwan, and one in Hong Kong. They are not three Book Rooms; rather, they are one. (Witness Lee, The High Peak of the Vision and the Reality of the Body of Christ , pp. 24-25) [emphasis added]
Prior to 1952, all the literature work was done by Brother Nee. (Witness Lee, The Glorious Vision and the Way of the Cross , p. 20) [emphasis added]
The Lord's recovery was raised up in China through Brother Nee's teaching for exactly thirty years, from 1922 through 1952. In those thirty years there was no one else who put out the New Testament teaching. (Witness Lee, The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way , p. 34) [emphasis added]
When we were on Mainland China, only Brother Nee has a publication, and the Gospel Room belonged solely and uniquely to him....He asked me to help in the publication work. I did write some books.... I never published anything by myself. I always mailed my manuscript to the Gospel Room, which was under Brother Nee and his helper.... We only had one publication. Everything was published through Brother Nee's Gospel Room....Even though I wrote some books in mainland China, I never dared to publish anything by myself. I do not like to have another sounding. (Witness Lee, Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , pp. 161-163) [emphasis added]
I co-labored with Brother Nee for eighteen years. In all those years I absolutely did not speak my own messages. Whatever message Brother Nee spoke, I spoke the same. Not only did I not make any changes, but I even clearly told people that this was a message given by Brother Nee in such and such a place and on such and such a day. This is not to say that I did not have any messages of my own and therefore had to speak Brother Nee's messages. I had quite a number of messages that I could have spoken, but I purposely did not do it. I spoke only what Brother Nee spoke, because I saw clearly that that was the Lord's recovery at the time. (Witness Lee, Speaking for God , pp. 106-107) [emphasis added]
All these references and more prove beyond any doubt that Brother Lee's exhortation regarding one speaking and one publication was based on the practice carried out by Brother Nee in his time. In his article, the writer even questioned whether the saints at that time in fact practiced what Brother Nee had arranged. He asked why one publication was not recorded in the biography of Brother Nee if it was so important. Conversely, I would say that had turmoil been fomented in Brother Nee's time by dissenting brothers — like the writer is doing against Brother Nee's practice of one publication — there would likely be a significant record of it in his biography. The fact that there was the practice of one publication but no mention of it in his biography only indicates that there was a one accord among the co-workers and churches in his time to spontaneously follow the teaching and fellowship of the apostle in this matter, unlike today when we have a few dissonant voices trying to trumpet otherwise.
First, the Apostle Paul's word in 1 Corinthians 14:8 clearly indicates that there should not be uncertain sounding of the trumpet. Otherwise, it will cause confusion among the churches as God's army. Different teachings constitute the uncertain sounding of the trumpet, for they deviate from the central lane of God's economy, and would result in division. However, a clear and certain trumpeting in prophesying would result in the building up of the Body of Christ. Paul warned the elders concerning the destroyers of the divine building — those who are ravenous wolves, not sparing the flock, and those who speak perverted things to draw away the disciples after them (Acts 20:29-30). Although Paul in Romans chapter 14 exhibits his broad generality in receiving all believers according to God's receiving, in Romans 16:17 he is unyielding and resolute in saying that we must turn away from those who make divisions and those who make causes of stumbling in order to preserve the oneness of the Body of Christ that the saints may have a normal and healthy church life.
Second, Brother Lee, adopting sound principles for interpreting the Bible, applied the sounding of the trumpet for the army to go to war in 1 Corinthians 14:8 to his call for the one publication in the Lord's one ministry in his message entitled "No Uncertain Sounding of the Trumpet in the Lord's Recovery". He also related it to the trumpeting of God's army in the Old Testament (Num. 10:9; Judg. 7:18; 2 Chron. 13:14-15; Neh. 4:20) in other related messages. His call is for the elders in every church to take the lead to blow just one trumpet and have one speaking in the ministry by being restricted in one publication and at the same time guard the flock against any different opinions (1 Cor. 1:10; 11:19; Gal. 5:20), different teachings (1 Tim. 1:3; Rom. 16:17; Eph. 4:14), and different practices (1 Cor. 4:17; Phil. 4:9; 1 Tim. 4:15) than those delivered to and kept by the Lord's recovery generally.
Third, the blending brothers, in "The Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery", re-sounded Brother Lee's call for one publication in the Lord's one ministry today. They reiterated Brother Lee's quotation of both the Apostle Peter's word to the elders in 1 Peter 5:2 and the Apostle Paul's word also to the elders in Acts 20:28-29 in his book entitled "A Timely Trumpeting and the Present Need". Paul took reference to the Lord's charge to Ezekiel to be a watchman to warn the people to turn from their erring ways (Ezek. 3:17-19) and to blow the trumpet to warn the people of their enemies (Ezek. 33:1-6). Paul exhorted the elders and reminded them to shepherd the flock by guarding them because from "among you yourselves, men will rise up, speaking perverted things to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore watch" (Acts 20:30-31a).
Fourth, in view of the above-cited juxtaposition of the writer's outright and reckless accusations in the article vis-à-vis the teachings of brothers Nee and Lee on interpretation of the Bible, the writer's perspicacity regarding "how" and "how not" to interpret the Bible is questionable, and his position on the trumpeting in 1 Corinthians 14:8 is flawed at best, if not false on its face and self-serving in its purpose.
Above all, it is of significant importance to examine what might have been the writer's intention for his insistent teaching that the blowing of the trumpet in 1 Cor. 14:8 can only be applied to speaking in tongues without interpretation and not to one publication and the ministry, both of which, as we have seen clearly, are Brother Nee's and Brother Lee's interpretation, teaching, and practice. Is there an enshrouded ignoble motive to negate the ministry of Brother Lee by attempting to confute his interpretation and teaching on 1 Cor. 14:8? If not, why would the writer not comment on a message by Titus Chu using the exact same metaphor in 1 Cor. 14:8 which reads:
The Lord needs prophets to transmit what He has for His people. It is the prophets who " blow the trumpet" in the local churches ( 1 Cor. 14:8). (Titus Chu, What a Prophet Must See) [emphasis added]
Is Titus referring to uninterpreted tongue-speaking when he spoke of the "prophets' blowing of the trumpet" quoting 1 Cor. 14:8? Certainly not! According to the writer, the prophets have nothing to do with the trumpeting in 1 Cor. 14:8 except for speaking in tongues without interpretation. Based on the teaching of the writer, Titus' teaching is totally unscriptural eisegesis, for it is not a "direct application" of trumpeting that the writer insisted in his article. Moreover, would not the speaking and teaching in the prophets' trumpeting also end up in publication? Yet why did the writer not make an issue out of Titus' message but only chose to criticize Brother Lee's and the blending brothers' teaching? Is the writer's teaching in fact not truth-specific but person-specific? Did the writer selectively question the application of the trumpeting in 1 Cor. 14:8 because it was Brother Lee who taught it and applied it to one publication, the practice which the writer opposes and intends to turn aside at all costs?.
The word "perverted" in Acts 20:30 (Gk, diastrepho), which the Apostle Paul warned the elders against, means twisted, distorted, corrupted, and turned aside. These are the four characteristics that may best describe the writer's convoluted, obstinate, and dissenting articles that are being spread in printed form and on the internet — articles which have been unmasked in "A Pattern of Twisting" on www.afaithfulword.org.
By rejecting Brother Lee's scrutable interpretation and application of 1 Corinthians 14:8 and by undermining the practice and teaching of one publication in the Lord's one ministry of brothers Nee and Lee, it is evident that the writer, despite his semantics aimed at creating diversions from his dissimulated intention, has clearly departed from the ministry of our brothers. The concrescence of his actions and words are all but obvious. A number of times in the article the writer objects to the main proposition of our brothers while in the same breath quotes from them to masquerade his fidelity to their ministry. This seemingly ingenious ploy is nothing but unconscionable hypocrisy.
The matter of one publication has been practiced in the Lord's recovery for over the 80 years. The truth of the matter is that many of those who adamantly oppose "one publication" either have or would like to put out their own books, directly competing with the ministry of brothers Nee and Lee. Such books are of no significant benefit to the saints because these writings are at best spin-offs from the ministry of brothers Nee and Lee without proper acknowledgement and often contain dangerous deviations from the ministry of our two dear brothers — deviations which are most subtle because the writers continue to pretend to be Brother Nee's and Brother Lee's co-workers even though teaching differently from them. This is not the first time certain brothers have opposed the practice of one publication. In the 1950's, a few gifted ones in Taiwan wanted to develop their own ministries by putting out their own publications but were all restrained from doing so by Brother Lee. These brothers left the recovery not long thereafter. This emphasizes our need to get into the ministry of brothers Nee and Lee to be inoculated from any unhealthy teaching so that we may hold the pattern of healthy teachings from the apostles. At the same time we must keep ourselves away from every brother walking disorderly and not according to the things which were handed down to us and which we have received from the apostles (2 Thes. 3:6).
May the Lord preserve His flock from strifes, contentions, and foolish questionings (Titus 3:9) in the perverted teachings of the dissenting articles arising from contagiously divisive persons (Titus 3:10) who "utter lies and inject discord among the brothers" (Prov. 6:14, 19) and "darken counsel by words without knowledge" (Job 38:2), whose mouths must be stopped (Titus 1:11). Proverbs 13:10 says, "Through pride comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel." May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give to us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him (Eph. 1:17) that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened to understand His word that we may not be deceived and tossed to and fro by the different teachings but instead be strong to apprehend with all the saints His riches and be built together as the one Body of Christ.
January 15, 2007
1 Eisegesis is the interpretation of a Bible text by reading into it one's own ideas; exegesis is an explanation or interpretation of a verse based upon the content of the verse, its context and other proper principles of interpretation. To properly interpret the Bible, one must practice exegesis and avoid eisegesis. To accuse others of employing eisegesis is, therefore, a serious accusation, far worse than merely holding a wrong interpretation or being mistaken about the meaning of a Bible verse.
2 Other Bible teachers have gone far beyond the writer's narrow view of 1 Cor. 14:8 and his restriction of it to a mere prohibition of speaking in tongues without interpretation. The New Scofield Study Bible, The New Inductive Study Bible, The Ryrie Study Bible and The NIV Study Bible all reference the verses referring to the warfare in Numbers and elsewhere in the Old Testament to this verse. The latter says in a note, "All Greeks would be acquainted with the use of the trumpet for battle signals...and the Jews would be familiar with the use of the ram's horn..." The various scholars represented by these works realize that this verse goes beyond a mere prohibition of the abuse of a practice to the warfare of God's people. The application from prophesying to teaching to publication follows logically and contextually.