Do not Hebrews 13:8 and Malachi 3:6 disprove dispensational Bible study?

DO NOT HEBREWS 13:8 AND MALACHI 3:6 DISPROVE DISPENSATIONAL BIBLE STUDY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In an extremely desperate attempt to salvage their denominational system, opponents of dispensational Bible study argue, “God never changes therefore His dealings with man never change.” They appeal to Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8 for Scriptural “support.” They certainly sound convicting when they quote, “For I am the LORD, I change not” and “Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Still, we are not going to take two verses and just ignore the contexts. We will examine these two verses, as well as others, and let the Bible speak for itself.

MALACHI 3:6

If we read Malachi 3:6 in its entirety, which anti-dispensationalists rarely do for obvious reasons, it says: “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” All this verse means is that God is faithful; if God was as “faithful” as sinful Israel, He would have destroyed them long ago! Since God was, “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:6-7), He had grace, mercy, and forgiveness for and toward Israel.

Malachi’s book primarily focuses on Israel’s corrupt priests, and it was because of God’s goodness that He tolerated that wickedness for that long (even after He had already scattered the nation Israel centuries before because of their pagan idolatry). The Prophet Jeremiah, writing about Jerusalem’s destruction and Judah’s dispersion amongst the Gentiles about 200 years prior to Malachi, “[22] It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. [23] They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Malachi 3:6 is thus interpreted for us: God is always faithful, and His faithfulness keeps sinners from being consumed by His righteous indignation and wrath.

HEBREWS 13:8

Rereading Hebrews 13:8, it says: “Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” The context of the book of Hebrews is “the world to come” (2:5). During the seven-year Tribulation, the nation Israel will come under intense pressure and persecution. The Antichrist will be ruling, as well as slaughtering those who refuse to accept him as Messiah, instituting a false religious system that will resemble the Mosaic Law. We find these passages in the Bible books of Daniel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, 2 Thessalonians, and the Revelation.

Instead of using Hebrews 13:8 to advance our denominationalism, we simply let its context interpret it for us: “[5] Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. [6] So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. [7] Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. [8] Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

While Israel’s little flock hiding out in the wilderness will not enjoy unfathomable riches until Jesus Christ returns (His Second Coming), the writer of the book of Hebrews encourages them to be thankful for the basic necessities that JEHOVAH will meet out in the wilderness (Matthew 6:24-34; Luke 12:22-34; Revelation 12:6,14). Just as Moses told Israel (Deuteronomy 4:31; Deuteronomy 31:6,8), just as God told Joshua (Joshua 1:5,9), and just as David told Solomon (1 Chronicles 28:20), JEHOVAH, even in disappointing circumstances, will never disappoint because He will never leave or forsake His people. Jesus Christ, whether in the Old Testament, or the New, He will never forsake His people. He is just as faithful today, and He was yesterday, and as He will be tomorrow. God never changes, but His dealings with man change because man changes.

SUPPLEMENTAL: FOUR OPPOSING DIETARY SYSTEMS IN SCRIPTURE

Anyone who simply reads the Holy Bible with an open mind will see how God gave various instructions to different people at various time periods—even if the average church members cannot see them (too blinded by religious tradition), the Bible critics and skeptics enjoy pointing out these “Bible contradictions!” Below are extremely simple examples of God changing His instructions to mankind. Dispensational Bible study is the only way to make sense of the following Bible passages.

ADAM AND EVE, BEFORE SIN. “[29] And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. [30] And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so” (Genesis 1:29-30). In Genesis chapter 1, God told Adam and Eve to eat things that grew naturally—nuts, fruit, seeds, vegetables, and so on. They were vegans, not even partaking of animal products (such as eggs or milk). Before the curse of sin and death, every animal and human strictly ate vegetation. Originally, all people and animals were herbivores; they only ate vegetation. Once man fell into sin, this changed.

NOAH, AFTER THE FLOOD. About 1600 years after Adam, we see Noah and his family getting off the ark. Once the global flood waters have receded, God gives the following instructions to Noah: “[1] And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. [2] And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. [3] Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. [4] But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat” (Genesis 9:1-4). Once the curse and the global flood came, God directed Noah and his family to now eat any animal they could trap or catch, provided they did not consume its blood. From the time of Noah until Moses, mankind was free to eat vegetation and animal meat. See how, one sin entered, God incorporated meat into the human diet. Friends, if you have noticed, in the book of Genesis alone, we have already seen two opposing dietary restrictions imposed by God. But, there are two additional sets of dietary regulations yet to come in Scripture, verses that say other things!

NATION ISRAEL, UNDER THE MOSAIC LAW. When we come to Moses, about 800 years after Noah, the nation Israel is receiving the Mosaic Law from the LORD. In passages such as Leviticus 11:1-31 and Deuteronomy 14:1-21, God gives Israel some very specific instructions: they can only eat “clean beasts,” not just anything like Noah had been instructed centuries earlier. To the Jews, creatures such as bats, owls, camels, vultures, lizards, and swine were “unclean,” and were not to be eaten. “Clean” beasts were animals such as sheep, locusts, oxen, goat, and fallow deer: these could be eaten. The kosher food laws of Judaism remained in effect for the next 1500 years.

APOSTLE PAUL, IN THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE. When we come to the Apostle Paul, about a year after the cross, the Dispensation of Grace has begun, and a new group of believers exists, separate and distinct from the nation Israel—the Church the Body of Christ. Look at what Paul writes: “[3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:3-5). Now, all creatures can be eaten, as long as we give God thanks. We can even eat the animals that God forbade Israel to eat in time past (Colossians 2:16-17)! In this the Dispensation of Grace, regardless of what some religious authority may tell you, there are no diet laws. Our apostle, Paul, says to eat what you want, and give God thanks!

In the Bible, God gave various instructions (dispensations) to different people at various time periods. On four separate occasions, God gave different dieting instructions to various people. Dispensational Bible study is the only answer to understanding and explaining these so-called “contradictory” portions of the Holy Scriptures. While the Bible may seem contradictory, notice these directions were not given to the same group of people! Each set of directions was given in a different dispensation. God’s Word never contradicts itself as long as you apply the principle of right division: “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). As long as we leave the directions in the proper dispensation during which God gave them, and understand that God’s directions to us come from the Apostle Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon like Romans 11:13 says, then all of the confusion disappears!

When we ignore the fact that God gave us all animals to eat, and we demand that others must also abstain from certain foods for religious (or meat for nature-worshipping) purposes, the Bible says that that is a “doctrine of devils” in this dispensation (1 Timothy 4:1-5). The creature should not be worshipped; only the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, should be worshipped (Romans 1:25). As long as we thank the Lord for whatever creatures we eat, the Bible says that consuming animal flesh is acceptable and godly.

CONCLUSION

God never changes: that is the meaning of Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8. His essence and nature never change, but He does change His dealings with man from time to time. While He provides a progressive revelation (revealing more of His Word and will as we read from Genesis through Revelation), while He gives various dispensations (instructions) to man through the ages, He is always faithful, whether strengthening and providing for His people (Hebrews 13:8), or faithful in longsuffering, tolerating His people when they are very rebellious (Malachi 3:6). These two verses do not disprove dispensational Bible study. Actually, there are far too many Bible verses to ignore if we are going to argue that God never changes His dealings with mankind. To take two verses to disprove scores upon scores upon scores of other verses is ridiculous. Let us just use God’s Word, God’s way, and not worry about enhancing a manmade system that is bound to pass away anyway!

Also see:
» If dispensational Bible study is true, then why do few believe it? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Is dispensational Bible study heresy? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» What is dispensational Bible study?

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