What are the Oracles of God? (Part I)

What are the Oracles of God? (Part I)

What are the Oracles of God committed to the Jews? What are Oracles anyway?

Romans 3:1 What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there in circumcision?

2. Much in every way; chiefly because unto them were committed the oracles of God. 3. For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4. God forbid! Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar. As it is written: “That Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest overcome when Thou art judged.”

So what are these Oracles committed to only one group of people on earth to manage?

The Oracles of God Committed unto the Jews – Purely Presbyterian
But what are the components of these Oracles?

The Oracles is designated by Strong to be G3051 logion of God

Strong’s Outline of Biblical Usage

  • a brief utterance, a divine oracle (doubtless because oracles were generally brief)
  • in the NT, the words or utterances of God
  • of the contents of the Mosaic law

There are four times in the New Testament this word oracles (logion G3051) of God are used:

Act 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the Mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles (G3051) to give unto us:

Rom 3:2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles (G3051) 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 (G3051) of God; and become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

1 Pe 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles (G3051) of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The Greek word Logion is related to Logos! The Greek phrase translated as “oracles of God” is logion Theos (logion G3051 being the plural form of logos).

In the New Testament, in John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word (G3056 logos), and the Word (logos) was with God, and the Word (logos) was God. Thus the term oracles of God could be translated as the “Words of God.” 

But sometimes the term oracles has been used by some Bible translators as are the messages or words of God. In Acts 7:38, Stephen speaks of how Moses received “living oracles to give to us” — a reference to the life-giving nature of God’s Word.

Romans 3:2 mentions the oracles of God: “To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.” Paul highlights the fact that the Jews who received, copied, and preserved the Tanakh had been entrusted with the very Words of God.

In our twentieth-first century, the Scriptures or Bible has been delivered to us, all seems intact, but it’s not so simple. The Scriptures we have today have many components, all put together, some written, some not written. So what are the components of the Oracles (Words) of God?

No vowels in the original Hebrew Text that Moses wrote, only alphabets.

(1) The Hebrew alphabet. But unfortunately the original written Words of God couldn’t be understood without the “unwritten” Words of God – the written Words have no vowels! It was just the bones! 

(2) Only when the unwritten vowels were incorporated into the Texts could the Words of God be read and understood. The unwritten are the flesh. The bones and flesh constitute a whole. Like it or not, our standard Bible, like the King James, has already incorporated the unwritten words or the oral Words of God into the written Text. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” has a combination of both the Written and Oral Words of God.

(3) The Words of God also include the case law that had been decided by the judges (or oral law)

Deuteronomy 16:18 “Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes; and they shall judge the people with just judgment. 

19 Thou shalt not distort judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a bribe; for a bribe doth blind the eyes of the wise and pervert the words of the righteous.

Deuteronomy 17:11 According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do. Thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall show thee to the right hand nor to the left. 

12 And the man who will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest who standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die; and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. 

13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

The Set of Letters of the Hebrew alphabet | Hebrew alphabet, Hebrew,  Alphabet
Ezra changed the Paleo Scripts to Square ones but still no vowels. Vowels were added Millennium later in the 10th Century AD.

(4) The unspoken Word or the unspoken Will of God. These are for those who are willing and happy to go the extra mile, so what are they?

Four fasts – Zechariah 8:19 “Thus saith the Lord of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love the truth and peace.’

The Scriptures do not give any details, but they are in the Oral Law:

Ninth of Av (Tisha B’Av, full fast) — fall of Jerusalem on the same dates in 587 BC and 70 AD. – July 18, 2021

Fast of Gedalia (Tzom Gedalia, minor fast) — assassination of Gedaliah, the righteous governor of Judah (II Kings 25:22–26). – Sept 9, 2021

Tenth of Tevet (Asara B’Tevet, minor fast) — the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. – Dec 14, 2021

Seventeenth of Tammuz (Shiva Asar B’Tammuz, minor fast) — the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD. – June 27, 2021

But notice, these fasts by the “house of Judah” will turn to be a joy and into “gladness and cheerful feasts.” How so, you may ask? God must have accepted their prayers and fasts and will be duly rewarded. These four fasts are all related to Jerusalem, God’s beloved city.

Aleppo Codex | Hebrew Bible | Britannica
Aleppo Codex – the first Hebrew Text to be written with vowels in the 10th Century AD.

Zechariah 8:1 Again the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying,

2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury.

3 Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.

(5) Out of the unwritten Word of God came also rules and regulations in determining the calendar. During the time of Christ, the Sanhedrin met in a building called the Hall of Hewn Stones near the Temple in Jerusalem. When the new month should start depends on the crescent new moon actually being seen by at least two witnesses. The word “this” (in this verse in Exodus 12:2, “This month shall be unto you”) implies something that is actually seen. These witnesses could be local or from the Diaspora who arrived in Jerusalem to testify. And the phrase “be unto you” means the calendar is being given to us the layman, and not for the layman each to determine the calendar for ourselves.

The rabbis of the Sanhedrin would question the witnesses in the sightings of the moon on their arrival. They knew what the proper responses to their questions ought to be, and were thus quickly able to identify fraudulent claims. Starting with the elder of each pair, they would ask: “Tell us how you saw the moon.”

On whether to declare a leap year on a given year, the Sanhedrin considered several factors in the course of their deliberations. The primary factor, which may or may not override other factors, was the spring equinox.

(a) If the spring equinox would fall later than the first half of Nissan (from the 16th onward), then the year could be declared a leap year. This is because Passover should be observed “in its appointed season” (Numbers 9:2-3). Again “in its appointed season” is defined by the Oral Law as in the spring.

(b) However, it wasn’t enough for Passover to fall after the equinox, when it was “officially” spring; spring-like conditions needed to be evidenced. If in the land of Israel, the barley had not yet ripened, and the trees were not yet blossoming with seasonal fruit — that, too, was sufficient reason to delay Nissan by adding a second month of Adar. Spring had to be felt; it had to be bright and green.

(c) There were also several non-season-related factors which the Sanhedrin considered. For example, if the roads or bridges were in disrepair due to the winter rainy season, impeding the ability of the pilgrims to travel to Jerusalem for Passover.

This was an advantage to the Jews because they have God’s Words. Of course, this advantage was not only applicable to those who believed the gospel, but even to those who don’t believe. Roman 3:4 – God forbid their advantage be disadvantaged even if they don’t believe; let God be true, but man a liar. — the Words of God, both written and unwritten; And Case Laws, are still committed to the Jews.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The above is a combination of both the written and oral Words of God.

And the man who will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the Sanhedrin who were and are designated to minister before the LORD thy God, even that man shall die.

Deuteronomy 17:12 And the man who will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest who standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die; and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. 

13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

It’s a death penalty “that man shall die” because mankind have been found guilty of being presumptuous or acting presumptuously by creating our own calendars.

What are the Oracles of God? (Part II)

Is there a Calendar Omen?

~ by Joel Huan on July 15, 2021.

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