The Lively Oracles

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

“This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us” (Acts 7:38 KJV).

To mess with the “lively oracles” is to deal with the “living God!”

The expression “the lively oracles” appears only once in our King James Bible. Stephen used it in today’s Scripture in his sermon to Israel’s national leadership. In that context, Stephen affirmed that Jesus Christ was the Prophet whom Moses predicted back some 1,500 years prior in Deuteronomy 18:15-18. That same Jesus Christ was with the angel that spoke to Moses in Mount Sinai, when Moses received the Ten Commandments from God (cf. Galatians 3:19).

While the Ten Commandments were written on cold, dead stone, they were the very words of God Himself: “And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables” (Exodus 32:16).

Those words were “lively oracles” because they were the words, not just the thoughts, of the living God. As Jesus declared, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The word “quick” in older English means “living and life-giving” (“quick” in Hebrews 4:12 is the same Greek word, zao, translated “lively” in today’s Scripture).

God’s Word is not only living, it can impart life to its hearers and readers. Hence, Jesus’ spoken words raised Lazarus and others from the dead. His inspired words, the Gospel message we trusted, raised us out of spiritual death and gave us new life and a home in heaven. The same powerful words that God Himself wrote centuries ago, we have them preserved today in our language (the King James Bible). May we never let “scholarship” kill our faith in the living words of the living God! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘kicking against the pricks’ mean?