One of the most useful verses to teach dispensational Bible study is found in Hebrews 1:1.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets…” – Hebrews 1:1
God spake! But how? To whom? About what?
God did not only speak once (like to Joseph Smith or Muhammad); he has spoken multiple times. The word “sundry” means more than a few, but also different.
If the times were different, then context is important. What God said at one time may be different than what he said at a different time. When we study the Bible we must respect the sundry times in which God spake.
God also spake in divers manners. He spake through angels, audible voice, visions, donkeys, and dreams. He spoke in divers manners.
Sometimes he spoke to teach, sometimes he spoke in mercy, sometimes he spoke in wrath and anger, sometimes he spoke to reveal new information. He spoke in divers manners.
God is not a heavenly pull toy. He spoke in divers manners according to his purpose and will… in time past to the nation Israel.
There is a difference between how God spoke in time past compared to how he speaks now. It would be wrong to say that God speaks throughout history in the same manner at the same time to the same people in the same way.
In time past he spoke to the fathers of Israel, the prophets of Israel, the kings and people of Israel. The chief advantage of Israel is that unto them were committed the oracles of God (Rom 3:2).
What God said and how he said it was different in time past than it is now, and will be in the future.
Unto the Fathers by the Prophets
Asking to whom God speaks is essential for proper Bible study. God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the fathers of Israel a land, a nation, and a blessing for the whole world through them.
The Son of God came to Israel to confirm the promises made to the fathers (Rom 15:8).
Jesus came to Israel to fulfill prophecy concerning him, and spoke to his twelve apostles about the last days fulfillment of the promises in the world to come (Heb 1:2; Heb 2:5).
Unto Paul in a Mystery
It was after the King and his earthly Kingdom was rejected by Israel that the Lord Jesus Christ sent Paul to the Gentiles with the fellowship of the mystery.
According to this new dispensation of grace, God would send salvation to all men in sin in order to create a new creature saved by grace without Israel, apart from their covenants, and without the law (Eph 3:2-9).
When we combine the dispensational understanding of Hebrews 1:1 with what we know Christ revealed to Paul, we get a tremendous picture of the dispensational change that has brought us to today.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto [the Hebrews] by his Son,…” – Hebrews 1:1-2
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets…” – Romans 3:21
“…and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began…” – Romans 16:25
“Unto [Paul]… is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery,…” – Eph 3:8-9