Shelby G. Floyd
The scriptures declare, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways” (Hebrews 1:1). We note that the text says this divine communication was done in “in the past.” What does that mean? That means that everything God said to man before the cross is included in that statement. “In the past” started with Adam and goes all the way to the cross of Christ. He spoke to “our ancestors.” How did he speak? He spoke by the prophets. God spoke at different times, and different places, and in different methods.
Notice a few examples of the manner, means, and methods God used in speaking to the fathers in times past.
1. To Adam God spoke “face-to-face” or “word of mouth.” Can you imagine what it would be like to stand before God almighty, which created the heavens and earth and hear him speak to you? That is how God spoke to Adam. An example of this “viva voce” communication is found in Genesis: “The Lord called unto Adam and said unto him, where are you” (Genesis 3: 9)? God asked this question after Adam had sinned and lost his halo of innocence. Because of guilt and shame Adam hid himself behind the trees, for he did not want to talk to God who he had disobeyed.
2. To Abraham the father of the Hebrew race, God spoke by angels and by dreams (Genesis 12-18).
3. To Lot God spoke by angels (Genesis 19).
4. And to Jacob God spoke by dreams and visions, as when he dreamed of a ladder that reached from earth to heaven and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it (Genesis 28:10-22; John 1:51). This was a symbol indicating that divine communication would be possible between God and man.
5. Finally, to Moses God spoke through a burning bush. When Moses approached a burning bush that was not consumed God said, “Moses take off your shoes, for the ground on which you stand is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5).
The idea we observe is that God used different means and methods in speaking to man in times past. But our text says that he spoke to the fathers by the prophets. The prophets, from Samuel to Malachi, then were the principal agents in the divine communications in times past (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). We have a record of what God said through the prophets. And what the prophets said to the fathers in times past has been fulfilled in Christ, the church, and the plan of salvation (Acts 3:22-24).
Today, however, God has spoken to us through his beloved Son and the inspired apostles:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Hear, heed and obey God’s Word!
Copyright © 2017 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142