Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART * BOOK 14
NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH
We are going to come back to the activities in Heaven, as the Tribulation is raging here below. I think many times a lot of believers don’t have a good handle on what’s ahead of us (except going to Heaven). But the Bible tells us what we can look for. If it’s in here, then I think God wants us to know it. We will be looking at that aspect, beginning with Romans Chapter 7. We love to get letters from folk who tell us that they feel like they are a part of the class, and that’s the reason we conduct the class the way we do, in a very informal atmosphere. We love to teach The Book, and never want to be guilty of trying to twist arms. We just try to show you the Scriptures and tie them together where they dove-tail smoothly. We trust you will be blessed by our teaching. In the television studio here in Tulsa, a couple of months ago, we were ready to video one of the lessons, when someone said, “Les, do you get nervous when the cameras begin to roll?” I told him that I wasn’t in charge of the lesson. I totally rely upon the Holy Spirit. But, if I was in charge myself, then I would be nervous. And I do totally rely on the Holy Spirit for this teaching, as I do not have notes nor do I have my Bible marked. But it always thrills me to see people with their Bibles marked up. That tells me they are studying. So get your Bibles and let’s study together.
We realize that after we come through the Bema Seat in glory, the next aspect will be the wedding, which I feel will be in Heaven while the Tribulation is going on here on earth. The wedding will be between Christ the Lamb and the Body of Christ “the Church” Paul (especially since he writes concerning the Church), makes so much of Christ and His Body which is the Church. In Romans Chapter 7 we can only apply this to one verse and that is in verse 4:
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law (that is the Law of Moses. We are dead to that, it no longer has any power over us) by the body of Christ (we are not dead to be forgotten but);that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
Now, of course, that begins in this earthly sojourn. As soon as we become a child of God, and we become a member of the Body of Christ through faith in the Gospel, we are already connected to Christ. We have become joint heirs with Him, and He is the Head and we make up the members of the Body. We find more of this in the Book of Ephesians. Ephesians is where Paul gets into some of the deeper aspects of our position in Christ. The Book of Ephesians is not a simple Book. It’s very deep. But here in Chapter 5, Paul comes into the analogy of the husband and wife relationship here on earth, as being a correlation with Christ as the Head or Husband of the Body of Christ, that composite of Church Age Believers. Now I for one (I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on everything, and they don’t have to) don’t believe that the Old Testament Believers will be members of the Body. They were part and parcel of their relationship to their Jehovah God. The Body is unique to this Age of Grace. Those who have come by faith trusting in the finished work of the Cross, or the Gospel as we saw in our last lesson. And the Body will consist of mostly Gentile believers with some Jews but not many. Here in Ephesians, Paul is writing in regard to the human husband and wife.
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear (reverence) of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”
I know there are some ladies out there raising their hackles at that statement, saying, “Now wait a minute, we believe in equality between the sexes.” That is all well and good. But God has still mandated this husband and wife relationship as is such, that the husband is the head of the wife. I’ve always told my classes over the years that does not mean that she can be his slave, or that he is someone who can lord it over her. The very next verse makes it so plain how this relationship is to be equated. And that is as the Lord is to the Church. That is how the husband is to be to the wife. And then the wife is to be to the husband as the Church is to Christ.
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church:…”
Now there is that analogy. I have always asked my classes if there is anything uncomfortable or miserable about being in the Body of Christ with Christ as the Head? Of course not. He has nothing but the purest love for us. He has come that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. And that is exactly how the husband and wife’s relationship should be. The husband should live totally to the benefit of his wife. And she should not take advantage of that, but rather respond to it. When God created that first human couple; never throughout all of human history did God command the wife to love the husband. Not once. Not even here in the Book of Ephesians. But it’s the other way around:
“Husbands, love your wives (that’s a commandment. A lot of people think the only commandments are the Ten. But that’s not so. When the Bible stipulates something like this, it becomes a commandment), even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”
Any time you keep that analogy in view you can’t go wrong. Now backing up to Adam and Eve. If God mandated from creation that the husband was to love the wife, but doesn’t tell the wife to love the husband, what do we know He put into the woman? That responder. Do you see that? And that is exactly the way He has created us. That if the man will love the wife, God has put within the female of the species that ability to respond. And that’s what makes a marriage work. And this is constantly referred to as an analogy that as Christ is with the Church, so the husband is with the wife. Coming back to verse 23 and finishing it we find:
“…even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” That is the Body of Christ.
Let’s come back I Corinthians Chapter 12 for a moment. Here Paul makes such a beautiful description of this Body of Christ. And remember only Paul uses this term. Jesus never referred to a group of believers as His Body. Never! That is strictly a Pauline doctrine – that we are members of the Body of Christ.
I Corinthians 12:12,13
“For as the body (human body) is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”
“For by one Spirit (capitalized, so it’s the Holy Spirit) are we (not just the most spiritual, or the ones who are most holy, but) all (that includes every believer and they have been)baptized (by the Holy Spirit) into one body (the Body of Christ),…”
Can human hands touch that? No! This a baptism that no organization or denomination can adhere to. This is something that only the invisible, Almighty Spirit of God can do. And it happens the moment we believe the Gospel. That’s one of the results of our salvation. Immediately, the Holy Spirit places us into the Body of Christ. This whole wide congregation of genuinely born-again people, become part and parcel of this Body.
You can go into a strange community, and assemble with a group of genuine believers, and how long are you a stranger? Not over five minutes. I imagine you here in the class have already experienced that today. I know I have. I remember years ago I was invited to to go down into Central Iowa and teach a group of young people, and I didn’t know a single person. I was sort of filled with trepidation as I was driving, and I wondered what this was going to be like. But the minute I got into that living room full of kids, it was just like I had known them all my life. That’s the beauty of the Body of Christ, we are never strangers very long.
So as we are baptized into this Body by an invisible, unfeeling, act of God, it is something that we take by faith. Now continuing:
I Corinthians 12:13b,14-16
“… whether we be Jews or Gentiles (remember, they are the only two groups on earth), whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
“For the body (the physical) is not one member but many.” And now he describes the members.
“If the foot shall say, `Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body;’ is it therefore not of the body?” Why of course not. They both are.
“And if the ear shall say, `Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body;’ is it therefore not of the body?”
Paul is making it very simple. No one in the Body of Christ can say, “I’m of no use.” And no one in the Body of Christ can say, “I’m at the top of the heap.” Regardless of our role, whether we are visible or just the little toe which most of the time is covered by the shoe, yet we are just as important in the sight of God, and in the Body of Christ as something out front and visible. And that is the point Paul is making here. That everyone of us are equally important in our role and function.
I Corinthians 12:18
“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”
In other words every believer is in a place that God puts them. And it’s up to us to simply say, “All right, Lord here I am, use me.” I’ve told people that you have to be careful when you say that, because you might be surprised how all of a sudden He will take hold, and start using you. So the Body is comprised of all the believers. And, since we are members of the Body and we have a common goal, it behooves us then to get out there and get busy and serve Him. Not only for the good of the Body, but also for the rewards we will received from our Lord. Now back to Ephesians Chapter 5, the whole function of the Body is to respond to the Head. Which is Christ! Use your own physical body as an example. If you stub your toe, where do you hurt? All over. And if you mash your finger with a hammer, the same thing. Why? Because all these nerves go up to the central nervous system that responds to every part of the body. It’s the same way with the Body of Christ. He is the Head, and if a believer over in China is hurting, every believer around the world should hurt with him. That’s just the way it is supposed to work.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” Husbands should be willing to die for their wives. And that of course is the epitome of love isn’t it?
“That he might sanctify (set it apart) and cleanse it (the Body of Christ needs a constant cleansing just as sure as the physical body does. But instead of using water to cleanse, the spiritual Body is cleansed how?) with the washing of water by the word.” The Word of God! And that is why I love to get people into the Book so they can see these truths.
“That he might present it to himself a glorious church (or Body), not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
That’s the whole concept of walking the Christian life. We are not to be careless. We are not to take the attitude that I’m saved, so what. That should never be the believers’ attitude. Our attitude should be, I want to do all I can to bring glory to His name. And that brings about the old question about man, “What is the chief end of man?” To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. And that should be our constant desire to bring glory to Him. Now for a moment let’s go to the Book of Colossians in Chapter 1.
The Lord is filling up the Body of Christ, and we feel that it is getting awfully close to the midnight hour. When the last one will be brought into the Body, and then the Body will be complete. That is when we feel the Rapture will take place. Here in Colossians Chapter 1 are beautiful verses, but let’s jump in at verse 13:
“Who (speaking of God the Father in verse 12) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” In whom (The Son) we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
Remember our last lesson on Salvation? The death of Christ made possible our whole plan of Salvation. Paul then say in verse 15.
“Who (God the Son) is the image of the invisible God (now that would take another hour and a half to cover completely. God is what? Invisible. The Spirit God. The Triune God. The Godhead, as He refers to later in this Book, all are invisible. But at the appropriate time what happened? One member of the Godhead took on visibility), the firstborn of every creature:”
“For by him (The Son) were all things created (remember in Genesis we found that God the Son did the creating. All three Persons of the Godhead were there, of course, but it was the Son Who was the Creator), that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, (The Son) and for him:”
“And he (The Son didn’t just come on the scene at Bethlehem, which a lot of people think. But rather, He has always been and) is before all things, and by him all things consist (He is holding all things together).”
“And he is the head of the body, the church (do you see that?): who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him (The Son) should all fullness dwell;” And that word `fullness’ is better translated `complement,’ it adds to or completes. What is the completion of the Son? It’s the Body of Christ. There is another verse along that same line in Ephesians Chapter 1:
“And hath put all things under his (The Son’s) feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body (the Church and His body are used in unison over and over), the fullness of him that filleth all in all (or the Church is the complement of the Son).“
Remember you have that marriage relationship only as a positional thing, there is no reproduction in all of this so far as sexuality is concerned, this is all in the vein of position. But here, the Body of Christ, of which you and I are members, becomes the complement of Christ. Let’s go all the way back to Genesis Chapter 2. Here we have Adam, and up to this point in time Adam is still alone. We learned that Eve was within him. He named all the animals, and no doubt they came with their mate, and Adam must have been heartsick, because he didn’t have a mate. And so God says in verse 18:
“And the LORD God said, `It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet (a complement) for him.'” So as Eve was the complement that completed Adam in that relationship, so the Body of Christ is that complement for which Christ is still waiting and looking for. And when that Body is full, He will bring it unto Himself. Now back Revelation.
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” It is unfortunate they have used the word wife instead of bride, because in verse 8 we know it’s the bride.
“And to her (the bride) was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness (or the positional aspect) of saints.”
Now several lessons ago, we looked at this Chapter in verses 11 through 16. We now have the Second Coming of Christ to the Mount of Olives as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Verse 14.
“And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” Those are the saints! And as I’ve said so often, at the Rapture He comesfor the saints. At His Second Coming He comes with the saints. That separates these two events completely. Members of the Body, but also citizens of the Kingdom.