The Oracles of God
By; Wm. R. Harkins
There is a widely held misunderstanding among the Churches of God involving the meaning of the following scripture:
In Romans 3: Paul states the fact that the Jews were given the Oracles of God. This is an accurate statement. We read in Rom 3:1-2 "What advantage then hath the Jew? ... Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." Their reasoning goes off track when they assume, that since the Jews had the scriptures, they therefore assume that the Jews were given the calendar, and therefore they are responsible for telling the Church of God exactly when to keep the holydays. This is not only a fatally flawed leap in their assumptions; but also an illogical conclusion.
You see, God gave the knowledge of the annual festivals of God, and the understanding of the calendar to the Levitical priesthood, Moses and Aaron. How do we know they were Levites? In Exodus 2: 1-10 it is quite clear that the parents of Moses were both Levites. We can clearly see in Exodus 12: 1 God showed Moses and his brother Aaron when the first month of the New Year was to be observed. There was not a single Jew in sight, just two Levites.
Therefore, when church leaders try to tell you that the calendar responsibility was given to the Jews, I think you can see the fatal flaw in their reasoning. You have to ask: why would they not be able to see the flaw in their logic? Could it be that they see clearly from Hebrews 7:12, that the priesthood has been changed, and that a new priesthood has been established?? Could it be that they refuse to acknowledge their own responsibility, so they hang the responsibility around the neck of the Jews?? Again, you have to ask why?
What exactly are the oracles of God, and how exactly does the calendar fit into this discussion? What does the Bible actually say on the subject? It may surprise you to know that there is no scriptural mention of a calendar, found in any of the 10 major bible translations. The scriptures do mention the months of the year, in several different languages; but no mention of any calendar.
Overwhelming isn't it? Since the bible makes no mention of a calendar, why is there so much dissension within the Church of God over this issue? I'll tell you my opinion. The word calendar is used as a distracter issue, created by the adversary to get us all looking in the wrong direction.
Neither the apostle Paul nor any other writer in the canonized bible ever make mention of a calendar. So then what's the problem?? By focusing the Church's attention on the calendar, we seem to have lost sight of the importance of the proper timing of God's annual feasts.
What was Paul really talking about in Romans 3?
Rom 3:1-2-3 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them (the Jews) were committed the oracles of God.
In order to get the full context and importance of what Paul was saying, we need to place the book of Romans, and the recipients of the epistle into the full historical context of the writing. On the first New Testament Pentecost, described in Acts 2:9-11, there were visitors to Jerusalem from the far reaches of the Roman Empire, including visitors from Rome itself, both Jews and proselytes. (Gentiles) Read it for yourself. The members of the Church of God in Rome, to whom the apostle wrote this letter, could very well have been among the three thousand who were baptized that day in Jerusalem, and received the Holy Spirit of God.
When they returned to Rome, they more than likely would have returned to the synagogue, and preached Christ, risen from the dead. Their faith was being spoken of throughout the known world according to Paul. Rom 1: 8. It would therefore seem logical to presume that the Holy Spirit led them to proclaim the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, to all who would listen??
It was into this setting that the epistle to the Romans was sent. In Rom 1: 11-13 Paul wanted to visit them in Rome so they could become established as a Church and elders appointed so they would bear fruit as Paul had done among the other Gentile churches.
We can only imagine the clash of cultures which was evidenced among them.
Jews and Gentiles, congregating together, without mature converted leadership to guide them! Paul wanted to be able to fix this problem.
Paul then proceeds to show them in chapter 1 and 2 that there was no spiritual superiority, no Jew better than Gentile, they are all sinners, both Jew and Gentile. From the subject of homosexuality in Rom 1:23-28 to adultery and idolatry in Rom 2:22-23, Paul goes on to show a litany of sins committed by both Jew and Gentile- from Rom. 3:9-23, arriving finally at the central point of the first three chapters; that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
In the midst of this indictment of the converted Church in Rome, Paul inserts the concept that the thing that places the Jews at a great advantage over the Gentiles, was the fact that the Jews had the oracles, the utterances, the sacred writings of God. The Jews not only had the oracles of God, some of them now had the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within them. They had the sacred writings that gave the Hebrew people the opportunity to walk with God in their daily lives, and some of them had the Holy Spirit which helped them to do so.
History, both biblical and profane, shows us that Jewish nation had failed miserably in this task. The writer of the book of Hebrews shows clearly that instead of being able to teach the world how to live, they needed to have some one teach them the very principles of the oracles of God!!
Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Rather than being the spiritual giants they thought they were, they were little more than spiritual babes; requiring milk instead of spiritual meat. They were spiritual children. They were babes in Christ, who had to learn their proper relationship with God, all over again.
Let us therefore understand what those oracles were. The Greek word oracles, according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of New Testament words, comes from the word logion neuter of NT:3052 meaning the Utterance (of God). These were not some magical, mystical mumbo jumbo Paul was speaking of, they were the utterances or words of God; sacred writings passed down from God through Moses and the prophets. The Hebrews had them and yet failed to grasp the weightier matters of the law, as Jesus said: "judgment, mercy and faith."
According to The New Unger's Bible Dictionary, article "oracle"
(, "utterance" of God). The divine communications given to the Hebrews. The manner of such utterances was various: God speaking sometimes face to face, as with Abraham and Moses; sometimes by dreams and visions, as with Joseph and Pharaoh; sometimes by signs and tokens, as with Gideon and Barak; sometimes by word of prophecy; and sometimes by a regularly organized system of communication (refer to the oracles given to Rebekah Gen 25:22-23 and Samuel in 1 Sam. 3)
We should see then that, on occasion, God spoke directly to humans such as Adam, Noah and Moses. And directly to the Jews by the prophets-
Heb 1:1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son...
Paul recognized that the Hebrew people had a definite advantage over the gentiles; because they had 2000 years of direct teaching from God, which their nation had, more often than not, completely ignored.
Ezek 22:26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
Yes the Levitical priesthood of old times, along with their modern counterparts have deliberately veiled, concealed and hidden God's weekly and annual festivals from God's people, then and now.
The Hebrew word translated hid in Ezek 22:26 is the word #:5956- in strong's: alam (aw-lam'); a primitive root; to veil from sight, i.e. conceal (literally or figuratively): KJV - any ways, blind, dissembler, hide (self), secret (thing).
The fact that the priests veiled and concealed these days from the people back in the time of Ezekiel and before should give us all pause to question: why in the world would some of the church leaders of today choose to follow them??