Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 14
INTRO TO THE NEW TESTAMENT CONTINUED
It’s good to start another lesson. We hear from lots of people who tell us they have become more and more involved in studying The Book. We don’t want you to necessarily go by what we say, but rather what The Book says. And we want you to be able to study on your own.
Now as we ended our last lesson we were having a little review of how the Abrahamic Covenant ties in so beautifully with the New Testament. So as we come through the four Gospels we want to pick up the main theme of how all of these things unfold, and prepare everything for the end-time. Now we always must realize that the Bible is simply God’s record of history written in advance. This Book is a progressive revelation. In other words, God didn’t see fit to give the whole picture of everything back here in the Book of Genesis. Now all the seeds of it are back here. But as we come up through the Scriptures and into the New Testament, we are going to see that there is a constant revealing of something that had never been revealed before.
I’m going to try to show you a couple of examples of that before we actually go into the Book of Matthew. The reason I’m doing this is because when I first started teaching these kind of classes (beginning with Genesis, 23 years ago), I wasn’t satisfied with the way I had been taught the four Gospels, Christ’s earthly ministry, and the Book of Acts. So believe it or not, the first two or three times I taught from Genesis to Revelation I would just sort of skip the four Gospels and the Book of Acts, because I just wasn’t comfortable with the way I had been taught, and with the Sunday School material I used. And then all of a sudden the Lord began to open my eyes to this very fact – that all of a sudden God didn’t just dump everything on the human race, but rather that it is progressive. And there are certain aspects of Scripture that were kept hidden in the mind of God, until He saw fit in His own time to now reveal it. And this is the way we must look at Scripture.
Now to prove my point I’m going to take a few verses throughout Scripture that show this is exactly how God did operate. So we’re going to start way back in Genesis again. Back in Chapter 21 verse 33. Of course, we’re still dealing with the man, Abraham back here.
“And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba (remember that’s down in southern Israel), and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God.
Look at these various names of Deity. It’s always the same God, but His Name would be used in a particular situation or particular point to be made. In other words, back in Abraham’s dealing with God, when he was going to offer Isaac, you remember, God provided a ram in the thicket. Do you remember what the name of Jehovah was there? Jehovah-jireh. “The LORD will provide.”
But here we have another name of Deity and in the Hebrew it’s El Olam, “The everlasting God.” But it’s interesting that in the Hebrew, this word Olam, when used in common usage, always refers to things hidden. And it refers to God’s Sovereign ability to hide things. So put it in this light. He is the everlasting God. Eternity to Eternity, but He is also the God who can keep things secret until He sees fit to reveal them. Now that’s what the term in the Hebrew means here. That He is the eternal God, but He is also the God who keeps secrets. And He doesn’t have to reveal them until He is ready to in His own time. Several weeks ago we brought this out in our class in Wilburton, Oklahoma, and the next week one of my students came back to class so excited. He had found this verse in the Book of Deuteronomy that I had missed. And it just says it all so beautifully.
“The secret things (do you see that word?) belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us…”
Now remember, Moses is speaking directly to the children of Israel. So the `us’ here is dealing with Israel. But you see, it doesn’t limit it to Israel. It is God dealing with anytime in history, that when He reveals something in history, to a certain people, then they become responsible to believe it.
And if I don’t accomplish anything else in this lesson, I hope I can get the point across, and that you understand, that God did not reveal things until He in His own timing revealed it. Now let’s come on up through the Scripture. And I’m just going to bring you all the way up to John’s Gospel. There are many others, but I’m just trying to hit those that are the most obvious. And this is where we happened to be studying, when this individual went back and started looking for other verses regarding things kept secret that were revealed later. And here we were in John’s Gospel Chapter 13, and we dropped down to verse 6. Now the setting here is Jesus washing the disciples feet. You know the account.
“Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, `Lord, dost thou wash my feet?'”
Now you can understand that. You can understand clearly that Peter just felt that the Lord had no business condescending to such a lowly place of service as to washing their dirty feet. Now you want to remember, back in those days, they wore sandals and the streets were filthy and feet got filthy likewise. And no doubt, Peter was very well aware of this. Now verse 7:
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, `What I do thou knowest not (what’s the next word?) now (but don’t stop there. What comes next?); but thou shalt know hereafter.'”
Now do you see what he was saying? Peter was not in a position to understand all this yet. And so Jesus plainly tells him, “Peter, you don’t know what I’m doing. But you will when God reveals it at a later date.”
Now if you will go with me to Romans 16, now of course, the apostle Paul has come on the scene for the Gentiles. And Paul is going to use a word that is unique to his writings and we will look at that in a little more in detail later.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” Now let’s digest that verse.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel (the gospel he preached had only been revealed to him by our risen Lord), and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation (what does revelation mean? A revealing of something that has never been revealed before) of the mystery (that comes from the Greek word, `musterion,’which is translated, `secret.’ And so he says), which was kept secret (how long?) since the world began.“
Now do you see what he’s saying? This same thought, that God sees fit to keep certain things totally unrevealed until it’s time to reveal them. Come with me to Ephesians. Just keep that same thought. That’s what I’m trying to show you as we come up through the Scripture. Beginning all the way back with the Hebrew term of Deity, El Olam, “Everlasting God,” also has the Sovereign capability of keeping things secret until it is His time to reveal it. Ephesians Chapter 3 beginning at verse 1. Remember now, this is Paul writing to us Gentiles believers.
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God (now watch how it came) which is given me to you-ward.”Now there was the process.
“How that by revelation (there’s that word again. By the revealing of something that had never been revealed before) he made known unto me the mystery (or the secret again) [as I wrote afore in few words,]”
“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery (or the secret) of Christ”
Now what’s he talking about? Something that no one else before ever had an inkling of.
Sometimes I shake people up when I tell them you’ll find nothing of the Church in the four Gospels. Why isn’t the Body of Christ, the Church, in there? Because God had not seen fit to reveal this secret which is really the body of truth that is involving the Church. So this is what Paul is making clear. It was revealed to him. Now do you see how clearly this is put? You don’t have to be a theologian. You don’t have to be an expert in language to understand this. But you see, most of us have read our Bibles so fast and have read it so glibly, we just don’t see what it says. But look what the next verse says:
“Which in other ages (or generations) was (see, it was) not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed (now do you see the difference? That which had not been revealed before, now it is) unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;”
Then drop down to verses 8 and 9. The Apostle Paul says:
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles (see) the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery (or the secret), which from the beginning of the world (or the age. This mystery of Grace) hath been (past tense) hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” See how plain that is when you take time to analyze it. And not only was the Gospel of Grace given to the Apostle Paul, but just about every doctrine concerning the Body of Christ (The Church) was given to him only.
Now what the Apostle is saying is the same thing that Moses said in Deuteronomy: that God in His Everlastingness and His Eternalness has seen fit to only reveal things by bits and pieces as we come up through the Bible and human history. A good example is the verses we just looked at concerning our salvation – the Grace that was given to Paul, we shouldn’t take these secrets and revelations that were given only to him, and try to force them back into writings before they were revealed to him. Christ didn’t, so why should we
Turn back just one page here in Ephesians to Chapter 2. And here again are shocking words. I’m amazed when people will see these things for the first time. And I’m not doing any thing except just showing what it says. Now again, in these verses, keep this whole concept in your mind that things were kept secret by God until He chose to reveal them.Remember, you can’t find the Body of Christ, the Church in the Old Testament or the four Gospels. And neither can you find any mention of the Rapture of the Church. This is what throws a curve at people, because that had been kept secret by God, until revealed to the Apostle Paul in I Thessalonians and I Corinthians. So only Paul writes of the Rapture.
In our next lesson we will try to point out the vast difference between the prophetic program as you have in the Old Testament, and this Body of Truth that Paul refers to as the“mysteries” that are suddenly now revealed. Now all that Paul is saying here in the next two verses is what the dilemma of the Gentiles was at the time Israel was still under the promises of God, back in the Old Testament economy and even into the New Testament. God was dealing with Jew only, with few exceptions.
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision (normally called uncircumcision dogs) by that which is called the Circumcision(Jews) in the flesh made by hands:”
“That at that time (what time? Back when God was still dealing with Israel on the Covenant basis) ye (Gentiles) were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise (and we will be talking of the Covenants again in a little bit. But remember Gentiles were strangers to those promises), having no hope, and without God in the world:”
Some people get upset by that. They say God wasn’t fair. We can’t ever say that God wasn’t fair. He has always been fair. He’s always just. He’s always righteous. So He had every right in the world to do things as He did them. Because He knew what these Gentiles would have done with the plan of salvation, even if He would have revealed it to them. They wouldn’t have bought it. And so while He is dealing with the Nation of Israel, He leaves these Gentiles in the state that Paul says they were in. Outside the Covenant promises, they were not citizens of the commonwealth of Israel, and consequently they were without Christ. But now let’s not stop there! Look at the next verse. As a result of these revelations, Paul can now write:
“But now (things have changed) in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ (the Crucifixion).”
Now look at Luke 18. Once God reveals something, what does He expect the human race to do? Believe it. And when they don’t, God has every right in the world to reject them someday. Because He’s Sovereign. But He doesn’t expect anyone to believe something that He has not yet revealed. Here is a good example. We are at the end of Christ’s earthly ministry. They are up in Northern Israel and are on their way down to Jerusalem, where He will be crucified. We are probably within a week of the end of His earthly ministry.
“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, `Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.'”
Is that plain language? You can’t get it any plainer. Did He know what was coming? Sure He did, He was God! So He tells the twelve in plain language what was going to happen. But don’t stop there, read the next verse.
“And they (the twelve) understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”
Jesus told them more than once that this was going to happen, but again God never opened their eyes to it. And also remember that when Jesus was being crucified, did the Twelve know that on Sunday morning He would rise from the dead? Well, of course not. Had they understood that, they would have been waiting outside at the tomb for Him to come forth. Let’s look at one more over in the Book of John before we close. Now remember this is on the Resurrection morning and Mary has come to anoint the body of Jesus, and discovers that the body is gone. She’s all shook up and so she runs and tells Peter and John that someone has taken the body of Jesus.
“So they ran both together: and the other disciple (John) did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in (John was more timid). Then cometh Simon Peter following him (John), and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet the knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” And why didn’t they know? It was hidden from them!