A Verse that Teaches “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth”

One of the most useful verses to teach dispensational Bible study is found in Hebrews 1:1.

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets…” – Hebrews 1:1

  • God spake!
  • But how?
  • To whom?
  • About what?

Sundry Times:

God did not only speak once through the likes of like Joseph Smith (father of Adventism) or Muhammad); but he has spoken multiple times. The word “sundry” means more than a few, but also different.

If the times were different, then context is important. What God said at one time may be different than what he said at a different time. When we study the Bible, we must respect the sundry times in which God spake.

Divers Manners:

God also spake in diverse manners. He spake through angels, audible voice, visions, donkeys, and dreams. Thus, He spoke in diverse manners.

Sometimes he spoke to teach, sometimes he spoke in mercy, sometimes he spoke in wrath and anger, sometimes he spoke to reveal new information. He spoke in diverse manners.

God is not a heavenly pull toy. He spoke in diverse manners according to his purpose and willin time past to the nation Israel.

Time Past:

There is a difference between how God spoke in “time past” compared to how he speaks in the “but now.” that Paul so often refers to when emphasizing the changes between “Dispensation of the Law and Prophets” for Israel and that of “the dispensation of the Grace of God” for ALL men today regardless of racial distinction. It would be wrong to say that God speaks throughout history in the same manner at the same time to the same people in the same way.

In time past he spoke to the fathers of Israel, the prophets of Israel, the kings and people of Israel. The chief advantage of Israel is that unto them were committed “the oracles of God” (Rom 3:2).

What God said and how he said it was different in time past than it is now, and will be in the future.

Unto the Fathers by the Prophets:

Asking to whom God is speaking is essential for proper Bible study in context.

  • God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the fathers of Israel a land, a nation, and a blessing for the whole world through them.
  • The Son of God came to Israel to confirm the promises made to the fathers (Rom 15:8).
  • Jesus came to Israel to fulfill prophecy concerning him, and spoke to his twelve apostles about the last days fulfillment of the promises in the world to come (Heb 1:2; Heb 2:5).

Unto Paul and the “Mystery”:

It was after the King and his earthly Kingdom was rejected by Israel that the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven spoke to, saved, and sent Paul to the Gentiles with “the fellowship of the mystery.” For, Paul is "the [one Christ-appointed] Apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13)

According to this new “dispensation of the grace of God,” God would send salvation to all men as sinners in order to create of them a “new creature in Christ,” saved by grace without Israel, apart from Israel’s covenants, and without Israel’s Law Program (Eph 3:2-9).

2  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3  How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4  Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5  Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6  That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7  Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8  Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: Ephesians 3:2-9 (KJV)

When we combine the dispensational understanding of Hebrews 1:1 with what we know Christ revealed to Paul, we get a tremendous picture of the dispensational change that has brought us to today.

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto [the Hebrews] by his Son…” – Hebrews 1:1-2

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets…” – Romans 3:21

“…and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began…” – Romans 16:25

“Unto [Paul]… is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery…” Eph 3:8-9

Ours is now to fully study to see the extent of these changes and how they fully bless us with all things that “pertain to life and godliness.”

As Adapted from By Justin Johnson

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