GOD SPOKE IN TIME PAST
GOD SPOKE HIMSELF
It should be pointed out that in the beginning, in Genesis1:28, God spoke directly to an individual man; in fact, the first man without the use of any human agent. He continued to do so from Adam, onward, and, then, to Cain, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and after these, He spoke to other patriarchs. The Lord spoke to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:10).
HE SPOKE BY THE PROPHETS
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers [of Israel] BY THE PROPHETS,” (Hebrews 1:1).
The incredible fact of this Scripture is that of the revelation; that GOD HATH SPOKEN.
From the call of Moses, which dates the birth of the nation of Israel, God began to speak unto the “fathers” of Israel by human instrumentalities—“the prophets.” Moses was the first in the line of prophets (excluding Abraham) which ran through the Old Testament to John the Baptist. God spoke, in times past, “by the prophets.” The books which belong to this period go from Exodus through Malachi and that portion of the Gospels which includes the words of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:12 & etc.).
HE SPOKE BY HIS SON
“Hath in these last days spoken unto us [Hebrews] BY HIS SON, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world” (Hebrews 1:2).
God spoke “in these last days [of Israel] unto us [Hebrews] by His Son.” Again, the speaking was Divine. Even, the speaking was by God’s One and Only Son, He spoke not His own words, but the words of the Father Who sent Him (Deut. 18:18-19, John 7:16, 8:28, 46-47, 12:49, 14:10, 24 and 17:8). Books of the Bible that belong to the period in which God spoke, “by His Son,” are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
HE SPOKE BY THEM THAT HEARD HIM
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us [Hebrews] BY THEM THAT HEARD HIM” (Hebrews 2:3).
From the time of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ into heaven, in Acts One, until God, temporarily, set Israel aside at Acts Twenty-Eight, God spoke “by them that heard Him [the Son].” Those who heard the Son ONLY CONFIRMED what the Son had spoken. He spoke the words of God only to the Jews. Only Jews, who heard Him, were appointed by God to speak His words (Rom. 3:3). They did not go beyond what the Son had spoken. They did not preach any NEW doctrine. They spoke NO NEW REVELATION. As a matter of fact, the OLD REVELATION, that is, that which was spoken by Jesus Christ, was re-enforced by them that heard Him. These times belonged to “The Acts of the Apostles,” the general epistles (James; 1st and 2nd Peter; 1st , 2nd and 3rd John; Jude; Revelation), and the Pauline epistles which he wrote before Acts 28:28 (Romans; 1st and 2nd Corinthians; Galatians; 1st and 2nd Thessalonians; Hebrews).
All who believed those, who had heard Christ preach, had their testimony confirmed with signs, wonders, and miracles. The last group, those who had heard Him, had additional confirmation of “gifts of the Holy Ghost” (Heb. 2:4). Every believer, from Acts Two to Acts Twenty-Eight, was given at least one of the nine “gifts of the Spirit.” These Spiritual gifts were (1) the word of wisdom, (2) the word of knowledge, (3) the gift of faith, (4) the gift of healing, (5) the working of miracles, (6) the gift of prophecy, (7) the discerning of spirits, (8) the speaking in other tongues, and (9) the interpretation of “tongues” (1 Cor. 12:8-10).
The supernatural signs, wonders, miracles, and “gifts of the Holy Ghost” were operative as long as Israel stood before God as a nation. As long as Israel’s HOPE was in view, she had every right to “require a sign” (1 Cor. 1:22). The miraculous was commonplace in the Christian community in that day. That was Truth during the Pentecostal Dispensation. These miracle gifts are not dispensed today. If they appear to be in operation during the Dispensation of Grace—they are counterfeit!
PAUL ─ AS ONE THAT HEARD HIM
The Apostle Paul was raised up in Acts 9. He spoke as one THAT HEARD HIM from heaven. In Acts Chapter Nine, Saul of Tarsus was struck down on the road to Damascus by the Lord Jesus Christ. He was converted, and the Lord Jesus directed him to go into Arabia (Gal. 1:17) where the Lord schooled and tutored him. Three years later, Saul, now called Paul, went to Jerusalem to meet with the other apostles. He was granted a greater insight into the Truth of the Gospel than the other apostles.
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11-12).
The words which God spoke through Paul, during the time covered by the Book of Acts, were confirmed by signs, wonders, miracles, and “gifts of the Holy Ghost” (Heb. 2:4). It is a doctrinal imperative to understand that Paul was Divinely commissioned to speak the words of God to “the Jew first” and, then, to the Gentile (Rom. 1:16. 2:9-10). During this time-frame, the Jew had the dispensational advantage “much in every way” (Rom. 3:2). If this fact is not discerned, we “do err, not knowing the scripture” (Matt. 22:29) because the Scripture must be rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15).
During “The Acts of the Apostles,” Paul, as the Apostle to the Gentiles, to wit, the Nations, emphasized, “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers [of Israel]” (Rom. 15:8). And that Isaiah had said, “There shall be a root of Jesse [Jesus Christ], and He that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles [Nations]; in Him shall the Gentiles [Nations] trust” (Rom. 15:12).
Christ will reign over the Nations during the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God. This was the Hope of believers from Pentecost to Acts 28:31. As the Lord’s chief Apostle, Paul was harassed, stoned, chased, hounded, abused, lashed with a cat-of-nine-tails, slandered, and plotted to be killed by the unbelieving Jews.
Paul’s trials went unabated until Acts 28:28. As a prisoner in Rome, Paul summoned the leaders of the Roman Jews to his place of confinement and reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, as ONE THAT HEARD HIM, “persuading them concerning Jesus, BOTH OUT OF THE LAW OF MOSES, AND OUT OF THE PROPHETS, from morning till evening” (Acts 28:23).
We are told that the day-long meeting ended with the Jews not agreeing among themselves, “and they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word” (Acts 28:25). What Paul spoke was what the Prophet Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 6:9-10. The Roman Jews couldn’t agree among themselves concerning Paul’s testimony of Christ. So, it was there, in Rome, that the official adjudication of blindness was pronounced on Israel. Israel, the Nation of God, was temporarily set aside, and her hope was placed in abeyance. The salvation of God was taken from the Jews and was sent to the Gentiles, and they will receive it (Acts 28:28).
Acts 28:28 marks the dispensational boundary-line. This border-crossing should be high- lighted in everyone’s Bible; therefore, signaling that we are entering new territory. The new territory requires another body of Truth to be embraced. Consequently, much of Pentecostal Truth is to be left behind. This fact causes many to reject the new body to Truth contained in Paul’s Prison Epistles. The Truth embodied in Paul’s Prison Epistles concerns spiritual realities which can only be seen by means of the Holy Spirit, enlightening the eyes of our understanding (Eph. 1:18).
The Holy Spirit enlightens those who are prepared to read the “road-map” of Present Truth. As the “road-map” is read, we delight in learning that “we are the [true] circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). The rites, ordinances, symbols, holydays, new moons, sabbath days, pomp, and ceremonies are manifestations of the flesh. The observances of these are mere shadows of things to come (Col. 2:16-17).
When the Acts 28 dispensational boundary is crossed, we enter into the unprophesied Dispensation of the Grace of God. Paul uses the term, “mystery,” to describe it (Eph. 3:3). The Dispensation of the Mystery had been “hid in God from the beginning of the world” (Eph. 3:9). It had been “hid from ages and [past] generations” (Col. 1:26), BUT NOW is revealed to Paul, “the prisoner.” The Apostle’s imprisonment was for the express purpose of receiving the revelation of God’s Holy Secret—the Mystery. Paul’s task was to “make all men see what is the FELLOWSHIP OF THE MYSTERY, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God …” (Eph.3:9). Paul, as “His prisoner” (2 Tim.1: 8), was chosen to reveal the truth of a “new creation” (Eph. 2:10), the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head (Eph. 1:22-23).
The body of Truth for this company of God’s redeemed is found in the “FORM OF SOUND WORDS, which thou [Timothy] hast heard of me” (2 Tim.1:13). We worship God through the Spirit, and do not seek to imitate “gifts of the Spirit.” These were left behind in Israel’s grave on the back-side of Acts 28:28. It is noted that the only reference to signs, wonders, or miracles in “the form of sound words” is those, today, who “resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobates concerning the faith” who, like Jannes and Jambres, “withstood Moses” (2 Tim. 3:8). In the Dispensation of the Mystery, signs, wonders, and miracles must, of necessity, be connected with Jannes and Jambrees, as in Exodus 8, where they are referred to as “magicians” who used “enchantments” (Ex. 8:7, 18). 2 Timothy 3:8 is the answer to fake spiritual gifts which are being “bootlegged” into this dispensation.
The most prolific “branch” of Christianity, today, is the Pentecostal Group. They, for the most part, have substituted their “Gospel of Prosperity” for their time-worn gifts, such as, “gifts” of divine healing, speaking in tongues, working of miracles, and prophecies. The source of their “Prosperity Gospel” is the same as it was when they proclaimed “another gospel,” to wit, of miracles. The source was the Old Serpent who, in the Garden of Eden, proclaimed a New Theology to our original parents. His New Theology, today, plays upon the Biblical ignorance, gullibility, and greed of the Christian masses.
The preachers of “Prosperity” profit, financially, by wrongly dividing the Word. They prosper—their followers are deceived by “cunning craftiness” (Eph. 3:14).
Yes, God spoke in times past. He still speaks. The Truth He imparts for us, today, is spoken to us through the writing of the Apostle Paul’s post-Acts Epistles. He speaks, today in particular, to the Church, which is His body through Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Embodied in these “form of sound words” is Truth for Today.
BY THE LORD’S PRISONER
It was pointed out that, at one time, God spoke, personally, to certain individuals and, then, “unto the fathers of Israel BY THE PROPHETS” and, then, “BY HIS SON,” and during the Pentecostal era, He spoke “BY THEM THAT HEARD HIM.” But NOW, He speaks to the “Church, which His body, the fullness of Him who filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23) through the writings of Paul, “the prisoner.” In each instance, to whom God is speaking needs to be rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15). Just as the Lord said, “My doctrine is not mine; but His that sent me” (John. 7:16); so, also, is the doctrine of the Apostle Paul. Paul’s doctrine was not his but the One who spoke through him—the Spirit of Truth. Paul’s doctrine is not liked, or appreciated by the vast majority of Christians. Christendom loves to promote “the teachings of Jesus” to the exclusion of the revelation of the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ as found in God’s Secret purpose and contained “in a form of sound words.” Many pretend to accept what God spoke “by His Son,” while THEY DENY THE SAME GOD WHO SPOKE BY PAUL.
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, NOR OF ME HIS PRISONER: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Tim. 1:8).
The GOSPEL OF THE GLORY OF GOD was entrusted to the Apostle Paul (1 Timothy 1:11), and we must “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me [Paul], in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:13).
The Church, which is His body (Eph. 1:22-23), truly rejoices in the fact that we have no man to look to for guidance. We have no bishop, elder, pastor, or teacher to whom loyalty is owed. According to the Divine arrangement of the Church, we find there is no human hierarchy. Our Spiritual Leader is Jesus Christ, and all truth, grace, faith, contentment, peace, and love flow from the Head, Who is the Source who fills the Body with Himself.
From Plainer Words
God Spoke in Time Past
Posted in: 2009
By Tom L. Ballinger
Mar 9, 2009 - 3:00:46 PM
Mar 9, 2009 - 3:00:46 PM
© Copyright 2009 by Plainer Words