|SPEAK AS THE ORACLES RADIO Program #126
Adapted from Ira Y. Rice
In the book of Hebrews the writer, after having devoted the first seven chapters to establishing reasons for his
conclusions, starts out Chapter 8 by saying, “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum.” We might
well have used just these words for beginning this present lesson. For, having already devoted ourselves to
establishing the BIBLE BASICS of the Christian religion, we are now ready to SUM UP all we have studied thus
far, thus reaching certain definite, Bible-based conclusions.
I.RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH. In the outset of this course, we considered Paul’s injunction to the
young Christian preacher Timothy to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to
be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH” (2 Timothy 2:15). The TRUTH we pointed out is God’s
WORD, the BIBLE (John 17:17).
Paul’s use of the word “rightly” implies that it CAN be divided “wrongly.” And if wrongly, then the “word of TRUTH”
can be divided into the word of ERROR, instead.
In showing how the Bible’s 66 books should be RIGHTLY divided, we considered it first as GOD’S GREAT
LIBRARY — 39 books in the Old Testament, 27 in the New Testament.
The Old Testament we subdivided into five books of LAW, twelve books of HISTORY, five books of LITERATURE
or POETRY, five books of MAJOR PROPHETS and twelve books of MINOR PROPHETS.
Likewise the New Testament into four books of BIOGRAPHY, one book of HISTORY, fourteen books of SPECIAL
LETTERS, seven books of GENERAL LETTERS and one book of PROPHECY.
II. HOW ALL THINGS BEGAN.
Next we examined the Bible’s declaration as to how the earth, the sky, living things and He Himself began. Rather
than going into a long, involved, fantastic theory of things just HAPPENING into being without a cause, we found
the Bible simply stating that “In the beginning God CREATED the HEAVEN and the EARTH” (Genesis 1:1).
He said, “Let there be LIGHT — and there WAS light.” He spoke the FIRMAMENT (sky) into existence, gathered
the waters under the heaven into SEAS, and let the DRY LAND appear. He then caused the earth to bring forth
GRASS, HERB and FRUIT TREE. For signs, seasons, days and years — and to give light upon the earth —God
made the SUN, MOON and STARS. He caused the waters to bring forth the MOVING CREATURES that have life
as well as FOWLS that fly. He said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, CATTLE, and
CREEPING THING, and BEASTS of the earth after his kind” — and it was so.
Lastly, God made MAN in His own image and gave him DOMINION over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air,
and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. All this bringing things into being by CREATION took God
SIX DAYS — and on the SEVENTH DAY He RESTED. God blessed and sanctified the seventh day because that
in it He had rested from all His work.
III. THE THREE DISPENSATIONS OF GOD’S WILL TO MAN.
In our next study, we found that the stars of heaven may declare the GLORY of God, and the firmament show
forth His handywork, but to know the WILL of God, we must study His WORD.
God’s WORD, we found, is divided logically into three separate, distinct dispensations of religion —
PATRIARCHAL, JEWISH and CHRISTIAN. Though God HIMSELF changes not, yet He HAS changed His WILL
from one dispensation to another.
For the first approximately 2,500 years, He dealt with human beings as individuals and families. The head of
each family —the “patriarch” — was a sort of priest over his family. God did not command the same things of all,
but different things. For instance, Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil;
Noah was commanded to build an ARK; Abraham was required to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering.
These commands were not interchangeable; neither was anyone else ever required to do these things. Thus,
under the Patriarchal dispensation, when the ones died to whom the commands were specifically given, the
commands died with them.
Following the patriarchal dispensation (from Adam to Moses — Genesis 1:1 to Exodus 20), God next instituted the
JEWISH dispensation (from Moses to Christ — Exodus 20 to Acts 2). Under this dispensation, He fulfilled His
promise to faithful Abraham that “I will make of thee a great nation.” Family worship was replaced with national
worship; and for approximately 1,500 years God no longer dealt with individual and families, but with the
children of Israel AS A NATION.
Finally, “in the fulness of time,” Jesus Christ was born, born of woman (though begotten of God), born under the
law of Moses, the Ten Commandment covenant given by God through Moses to the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai
in Exodus 20. Jesus said He did not come to destroy the law, but to FULFILL it — and that it should not pass TILL
ALL BE FULFILLED. From John 17:4 we learned that Jesus FINISHED the work He came to do. Since His work
was to FULFILL THE LAW and the prophets, He thus accomplished the circumstances whereby the law could
pass — not by destroying it, but by FULFILLING it! He thus paved the way for the abrogation of the Ten
Commandment law and the bringing in of a new (and different) law — the New Testament.
Hebrews 9:15-17 shows that this new testament could not become of force while the testator was alive before His
death. Hence, the OLD Testament continued to be of force all during Jesus’ lifetime prior to His death on
However, having lived up to the Old Testament (Ten Commandment) Law PERFECTLY — the law described by
Hebrews 10 as “THE FIRST” — verse 9 says, “He TAKETH AWAY THE FIRST, that he may ESTABLISH THE
SECOND.” The SECOND (i.e., the NEW Testament) WHOLLY TOOK THE PLACE OF THE FIRST. And whereas
the first was limited to just the ONE nation —Israel — the second enlarged the scope of religion, under
Christianity, to embrace ALL people, among ALL nations, in ALL the world.
IV. CHRISTIANS ARE NOT GOVERNED BY THE OLD TESTAMENT.
Having already demonstrated how God’s commands to the Patriarchs died with the Patriarchs to whom given, we
next presented two lessons especially designed to show that the OLD Testament (INCLUDING the TEN
COMMANDMENTS) ended at the cross, thus clearing the way for the NEW Testament to become of force on
Pentecost some 53 days later, as it did, in Acts 2. We showed Jesus’ principle of not putting a piece of new cloth
on an old garment nor pouring new wine into old bottles (Luke 5:36-39). “NEW WINE,” He taught, “must be put
into NEW BOTTLES.” In other words, the New Testament is neither patched onto nor poured into the Old
Testament. The old Ten Commandment law of the Old Testament (“old garment,” “old bottle”) applied solely to
the JEWISH NATION from its deliverance on Mt. Sinai through Moses until Jesus’ crucifixion. In a figure, it was
“NAILED TO THE CROSS!” The New Testament which came into force on Pentecost was neither a part of the
Old Testament, nor was part of the Old joined onto the New. The New Testament ALONE (and none of the Old)
was binding from Pentecost, Acts 2, onward.
If Christians, who are described as “married” to Christ, are also married to the LAW that said “Thou shalt not covet”
(the Ten Commandment law), Romans 7:1-7 argues that such would be ADULTERY. However, Paul points out we
have been made “DEAD TO THE LAW,” “DE LIVERED” from the LAW. Which law? The law that said “Thou shalt
not covet” (verse 7). (Compare with Exodus 20:17, which is in the Ten Commandments).
2 Corinthians 3 teaches that the Old Testament was DONE AWAY, and ABOLISHED.
Galatians, Chapters 4 through 6, that to turn again to the law of Moses is to “turn … again to the WEAK AND
BEGGARLY ELEMENTS.” The “bondwoman” (i.e., the law from mount Sinai) is described as “CAST OUT.”
Christians are described as NOT children of the bondwoman (the Ten-Commandment law) but of the FREE.
Ephesians 2:11-19 shows that the law was a “middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles, but that Jesus
has made BOTH ONE by BREAKING DOWN THE WALL! Calling it “the law of commandment” (i.e., the Ten
Commandments), Paul says it has been “ABOLISHED,” “SLAIN.”
Colossians 2:14-17 delivers the “coup de grace” to the whole matter, saying, that the “hand writing of ordinances”
(compare Ephesians 2:15) has been BLOTTED OUT, TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY, NAILED TO THE CROSS!
Hence, Paul declares, CHRISTIANS are NOT JUDGED in respect of MEAT, DRINK, an HOLY DAY, observing of
the NEW MOON or keeping the SABBATH!
All these things together with all the rest of the Old Testament, are DEAD, DONE AWAY, ABOLISHED, CAST
OUT, BROKEN DOWN, SLAIN, BLOTTED OUT, TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY, NAILED TO THE CROSS!
Because the law has been changed, there has been made of necessity also a change of the priesthood — Jesus
Christ having become our high priest, although Hebrews 7 points out He could not even have been a priest at all
under the first covenant.
His ministry is declared to be “MORE EXCELLENT” because it is established upon “BETTER PROMISES” based
upon the “BETTER COVENANT” of which Jesus Himself is mediator.
It should be self-evident that He could not be the mediator of a “BETTER COVENANT if the covenant of which
He is mediator is the SAME COVENANT. “HE TAKETH AWAY THE FIRST THAT HE MAY ESTABLISH THE
SECOND!” (Hebrews 10:9).
V. CHRISTIANS ARE NOT GOVERNED BY THE PREACHING OR THE BAPTISM OF JOHN.
While the Old Testament was still of force, two of the Old Testament prophets —Isaiah and Malachi — writing
some four centuries apart, foretold the coming of John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus Christ. (See Isaiah
40:3-8 and Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6). As John 1:6 puts it, “there was a man sent from God, whose name was John.”
Being “sent from God,” John came to fulfil a definite purpose, which was to prepare the way for the coming of the
Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:1-3; Mark 1:1-4; Luke 3:1-6; John 1:23). He lived and died under the Old Testament
JEWISH dispensation. Thus his life, work, preaching and baptism ALL were a part of the JEWISH religion, which
was NAILED TO THE CROSS on Calvary.
John himself denied that he personally was the Christ, recognized Jesus as the Christ (God’s anointed), and said
of Jesus that “He must INCREASE, but I [John] must decrease” (Luke 3:15-16; John 1:19-20; 3:28-30). Jesus, in
turn, acknowledged that He had “A GREATER WITNESS” than John (John 5:35-36).
And after His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection, Jesus gave a commission to His disciples requiring a
baptism superior to John’s (Matthew 28:18-30; Mark 16:15-16). Thus it was that when Aquilla and Priscilla, years
later, heard the eloquent Apollos preach, “knowing only the baptism of John,” they took him unto themselves and
“expounded unto him the way of God MORE PERFECTLY” (Acts 18:24-28).
Also Paul, upon finding disciples having only JOHN’S baptism, showed that John told the people they should
believe on Jesus, thus leading them to be baptized IN THE NAME OF JESUS (Acts 19:1-5).
VI. THE NATURE, PRE-EXISTENCE AND ETERNAL PURPOSE OF JESUS CHRIST.
Those who think of Jesus as being merely human, stumble at the claims made for Him by the Bible.
John the Baptist had said, “he that cometh after me [Jesus] is MIGHTIER THAN I, whose shoes I am not worthy to
bear” (Matthew 3:11). He said Jesus “that cometh AFTER me is preferred BEFORE me: for he WAS before me”
(John 1:15, 30). How could this be?
The New Testament presents Jesus as being “ONE” with God, in the FORM of God, EQUAL with God and existing
AS God (John 17:20-22; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1:8-9; John 1:1-2).
“For IN HIM dwelleth all the FULNESS of the GODHEAD BODILY” (Colossians 2:9).
Jesus, thus, being God, did not have His beginning with His birth of the virgin Mary into this world. He always HAD
existed —from ETERNITY! (Thus John could truly say, “He IS before me because he WAS before me”). Jesus
declared He existed BEFORE ABRAHAM, who lived 2,000 years before John, the Baptist: “BEFORE ABRAHAM
WAS, I AM” (John 8:58). He referred to the glory “which I had with [God, the Father] BEFORE THE WORLD WAS,”
and of the Father having loved Him “BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD” (John 17:5, 24). Jesus
existed BEFORE ALL THINGS because “ALL THINGS WERE MADE BY HIM!” (John 1:3). Even the WORLDS
themselves were made by Him! (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Referred to as “the Word,” Jesus is declared to have been “IN THE BEGINNING WITH GOD” (John 1:1-2).
In the words of Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same “YESTERDAY, TODAY and FOR EVER!”
Since Jesus, as God the Son, was coexistent and equal with God the Father Himself, then why did He ever come
into the world at all?
Man was created perfect and put into this world to do the will of God. But man disobeyed God. Thus sin came
into the world — and death by sin. (See Romans 5:12).
Man’s sin, thus, separated between him (the creature) and God (the Creator) (Isaiah 59:1-2). God drove him from
the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24).
Man offered sacrifices to God, but these could not take away sin (Hebrews 10:3-4). So hideous was the guilt of
man before God that man could not be reconciled to God without an ATONEMENT. Neither man himself nor
anything man had was worthy to be accepted as an atonement.
Evidently Jesus volunteered to atone for man’s sins. And God the Father accepted this atonement. “For God so
loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US. Much more
then, being now JUSTIFIED by his BLOOD, we shall be SAVED FROM WRATH THROUGH HIM. For if, when we
were enemies, we were RECONCILED TO GOD BY THE DEATH OF HIS SON, much more, being RECONCILED,
we shall be SAVED BY HIS LIFE. And not only so, but we also JOY IN GOD THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS
CHRIST, by whom we have now received the ATONEMENT” (Romans 5:8-11).
Thus we see that Jesus is not just a man, but GOD; did not have existence beginning from Mary, but, AS God,
existed eternally WITH God; and that His coming into the world was no accident, but as an atonement for the sins
of all mankind, according to God’s “ETERNAL PURPOSE which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom
we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3:11-12).
VII. THE FIRST COMING AND EVIDENCES OF THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST.
According to the New Testament, Jesus is to come to this world, not just ONCE, but TWICE — the FIRST time to
pay the ATONEMENT price of His OWN BLOOD to REDEEM MAN FROM HIS SINS, the SECOND time to JUDGE
the world and to RECEIVE THE SAVED into their EVERLASTING INHERITANCE with God.
God the Father, being God, of course COULD have employed any method He might like for the sending of His
Son Jesus into this world in the first instance.
He CHOSE to overshadow a virgin (Mary) by the power of His Holy Spirit thus causing her to conceive to be born
of her womb “the only BEGOTTEN Son of God” (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-36; Luke 2:1-7, 21).
Thus that child who was born of this begettal was the divine SON OF GOD, on His FATHER’S side; and being
born of Mary, a human being, He was also the Son of man, on His MOTHER’S side.
Being born of a union between God and Mary, He thus was both God and man. As God He understood the things
of God; as man, He could also be “touched with the feeling of our infirmities … [having been] in all points
tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). But it is one thing to DECLARE Jesus to be God’s Son,
quite a different thing to PROVE it.
In evidence of this at-first-seemingly-fantastic claim, we presented the proofs of Jesus’ fulfilling at least 38
separate prophecies from the Old Testament and the record of His own extraordinary miracles as well.
Of the fulfillment of prophecy, we emphasized that the YOUNGEST of these — the prophecy of Malachi — was
already MORE THAN 400 YEARS OLD when Jesus was born. Some of the prophecies were 600, 800, 1,000 or
even 1,500 years old —or even older than that — when fulfilled.
Because of this, there would be no way at all for the one prophesying to exercise any control over the fulfillment
of what he had prophesied.
Inasmuch as Jesus fulfilled all these prophecies — not just in general, but in detail — this is almost conclusive
proof that He was whom He claimed to be, the Son of God, and not a fraud.
It is inconceivable that the God of heaven would fulfil prophecy so as to induce belief in an imposter!
But the FULFILLED PROPHECIES concerning Jesus are not the ONLY evidence of His Divinity!
Consider His DEMONSTRATION of SUPERNATURAL POWER evinced by His miracles. MULTITUDES of people
who witnessed these miracles felt compelled to accept Him as the Son of God He claimed to be. There was no
other way to account for the otherwise incredible wonders which He performed.
We listed 41 of these from the records of them written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, how Jesus gave SIGHT,
TO THE BLIND, caused the DEAF TO HEAR, the DUMB TO SPEAK, the LAME TO WALK, the LEPERS TO BE
CLEANSED, the DEAD TO RISE, WATER TO BE MADE WINE; how He STILLED THE STORM, CAST OUT
DEVILS, FED 5,000 WITH FIVE LOAVES AND TWO SMALL FISH — AND THEN TOOK UP 12 baskets full! How
He WALKED ON WATER, WITHERED A FIG TREE, RESTORED AN EAR THAT HAD BEEN CUT OFF, RAISED
HIMSELF FROM THE DEAD, and finally ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN while 11 men stood by and WATCHED HIM
It is just too much to ask to believe that any mere man did all these things with no greater power than humanity.
They are too well documented for there to be any mistake about what happened; and the sincerity of the writers
is too well established for them all to have been lying. All but one of His apostles sealed their testimony to these
things with their blood — and that one (John) is alleged to have died in prison, rather than admit his testimony of
On the face of the record, Jesus Christ just HAS to be God’s SON!
[TO BE CONTINUED]