Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 15
Let’s pick right up where we left off in Matthew 24. We had shown that Jesus had left the Temple area and had gone across to the Mount of Olives, explaining that the Temple would be destroyed.
“And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples cam unto him privately (Jesus and the Twelve), saying, `Tell us, when shall these things be (that’s the question that opens up prophecy)? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world.'” (Age)
What we have to understand is that throughout the Old Testament the Rabbis, and those who were involved in the study of the prophets, understood the two aspects of a coming Messiah. I read recently there were some Rabbis who actually thought there would be two different Messiahs. One who would fulfill the promise of being the King, and set up the Kingdom. And the parallel thought all the way through the Old Testament is the idea of a suffering Savior. The word “Savior” is “Jeshua.” From that name we get the name “Jesus” – because He shall save His people from their sins. So some thought there would be a Messiah for the King and a Messiah for the Savior. But we know they would be one and the same.
One reason some Rabbis thought there would be two Messiahs, was, by looking at the prophecies, they couldn’t see any time frame between them. It’s the same way when you approach two mountain ranges. It’s hard to tell the distance between the two ranges (especially if you were far away) because they look like only one range. That’s the problem they were having. They could see both prophecies but couldn’t see the 1900 + years of Church Age that we have had between them. They couldn’t because God kept the Church Age secret until He revealed it to the Apostle Paul. And we know from His appearance as first and foremost to be their King with the offer of the Kingdom, we know, too, that He also finally becomes the suffering Savior. Look at I Peter Chapter 1 verse 10:
I Peter 1:10
“Of which salvation the prophets (Old Testament writers) have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you (what was to be in the future).”
Remember these Old Testament prophets wrote by inspiration, and Daniel, at the last of his prophecy, said in Daniel 12:8,9 “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, `Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.'” Daniel didn’t know, but people would at the end-time. And it’s the same way with these prophets as they wrote Isaiah, Jeremiah and the rest. Now verse 11:
I Peter 1:11
“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them (they wrote by inspiration) did signify, when it (The Spirit) testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow (King and Kingdom).” We also understand by the New Testament accounts that He was glorified when He defeated Satan there at the Cross. The Old Testament writers couldn’t put it all together. Now verse 12:
I Peter 1:12
“Unto whom it was revealed (to these prophets), that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”
The angelic host didn’t comprehend all these things. So what this portion of Scripture is really saying is that all these Old Testament prophets had an idea of these events that would be tied to both aspects (the coming of the King and Kingdom and the suffering Savior to pay the penalty of sin), but they just couldn’t put it all together. And God didn’t expect them to. So the disciples are asking these same questions, “What shall be the sign of your coming, and the end of the age?” Verse 4:
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, `Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ (Messiah); and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.'”
As we study prophecy, I like to tie the four horsemen of the apocalypse of Revelation Chapter 6, almost one-by-one with events that Jesus lays out here. In other words, the first horse appears with a rider with a bow and no arrows and comes to take peace from the earth. I like to associate that with the wars and rumors of wars that Jesus is talking about here. The next horsemen that comes of the scene in Revelation Chapter 6 is the Red horse, and there we do have war, and that is in correlation with verse 7 here:
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:…”
The third horseman of Revelation 6 was the Pale horse which represented famine. As a results of all these wars in verse 7, we do indeed find famine, as food supplies will dry up and the world will have tremendous inflation, and food rationing, because of the massive destruction.
“…and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers place.”
I think everyone that follows Biblical and secular events knows the tremendous increase in earthquakes since 1970. They have been increasing each year, and now there is no telling how many we have each year. They are so common that our news doesn’t even report one unless there are deaths and lots of destruction. And these earthquakes happen all over the world. And this is what Jesus is talking about. Now verse 8:
“All these (events) are the (what?) beginning (they are not the end) of sorrows (travail or birth pangs).”
It’s in the same language of a child being delivered of its mother. All of this is now showing that the earth is approaching the day of her delivery from the curse. We looked at that while we were studying Revelation. It seems almost everybody loves the Books of Genesis and Revelation. It’s easy to fill the rooms for those two Books, but as soon as we teach Romans, Ephesians, or Philippians the interest always drops. It shouldn’t be that way. But I also know that people love to review what happened five or six thousand years ago, or something out in the future that they can’t put their hand on. But the dealings with the here-and-now is getting too close to home, and they don’t want to live in that. That’s what makes the movie business what it is: most people want to remove themselves from reality, and go into a world of make-believe. It’s not quite that extreme with Bible teaching, but I can sense some don’t want to get down to the nitty gritty of what we need today, and tomorrow and next week. But personally, I can’t wait to get to the Book of Romans, but that will be a while yet, because we must still go through the Book of Acts. But we must have the Book of Acts before the Book of Romans makes sense. But Romans is the here-and-now, and I love to teach it. The Scriptures we were going to look at were in Revelation 5. This is where John sees a scene in Heaven that is almost disturbing.
“AND I saw in the right hand of him (The Father) sat on the throne a book (scroll) written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.”
And in my teaching I always bring out that this scroll is the mortgage. It’s the mortgage that Satan has on planet earth, even tonight. Satan picked up the mortgage when Adam fell. When Adam lost his dominion, Satan picked it up and has been the god of this world ever since. Remember, the world lieth in the lap of the Wicked one. And there are other verses that tell us that Satan is indeed the god of this world. Anyway, God is holding this mortgage ready to be paid off, but Satan is the real holder of it and has the mortgage. And John wept because evidently there was no one in Heaven who was able to pay off this mortgage.
“And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beast (creatures) and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb (God the Son)…”God the Son qualified to take the mortgage because of what He had accomplished at Calvary.
“And he (Son) came and took the book (scroll) out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.”
“And they (the heavenly host) sang a new song, saying, `Thou (The Son) art worthy to take the book (scroll), and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;'”
God the Son takes this mortgage and He agrees to pay it off in order to lift the curse from the planet. To make that clear, we would need to go back into Israel’s history of how they would redeem and gain back titles for land that they had almost lost by default. It had to be a next of kin, and someone who was both capable of paying and willing to pay. A good example is the story of Ruth and Boaz. Read it in your spare time. Jesus was the only One in all of eternity who could fulfill the requirements for this mortgage! You see, He was the next of kin; He’s the Son of God. He certainly had the power and all the attributes to carry it out, and He is willing to do it. So He becomes the great Payer of this mortgage that Satan is holding. Back to Matthew 24. This beginning of sorrows we looked at in verse 8 is really just the beginning of the birth pangs that are coming on the earth as a prelude to the delivery from the curse. That’s the language that the Scripture uses. The earth is going to be delivered from the power of Satan and the curse. These Tribulation events are part of the things in trade God will use to pay Satan off in full.
“Then (once the Tribulation begins. This last seven years of Daniel Chapter 9) shall they deliver you (the Jew) up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for name’s sake.” If we think anti-Semitism is bad now, it’s nothing like it’s going to be.
“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” Even within the Jewish family children will report on their parents, and vice versa to escape the wrath that is falling upon them as a nation of people.
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many,”
The Scripture is constantly warning of the false prophets, not just in the Tribulation, but even during the Church Age. Paul’s message and Christianity had just begun. There had been a few churches established by him when false teaching started to pop up. This is why Paul had to write the Book of Galatians. He had no more brought these Gentiles out of paganism, and under the Gospel of Grace, than in comes Jewish false teachers. They would tell these Gentiles that they couldn’t be saved by Grace, but, rather you must keep the Law. So false teaching has been against Christianity from day one. And here in these Tribulation days, as all the calamities are falling, and people will be grasping for something, the false teacher are going to have a hay day. Now verse 12:
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
Now think about it for a moment, the only deterrent to wickedness in the world today is the Church. We are the only deterrent. The Holy Spirit Who is within us is restraining wickedness. Because (let’s face it) I’ve heard sociologists and some of the powers that be are beginning to recognize that a society without religion is a society that is doomed. Religion is the only thing that puts any kind of common sense into regulating behavior of the human being. But we also have to realize that most of the pagan religions of the world are grossly immoral, even in their religious practices.
What we think is horrendous, taking place here in our beloved America, with the break down of our morality and the casualness of gross immorality, has been commonplace in the Orient for centuries. It’s still part of their society. It has become so frightening to us because we’re coming out of a basic Christian structure. And now when we see the falling apart of all this we’re shocked, and we should be. But for the rest of the world it’s been pretty much that way down through the centuries. But, nevertheless, for the biggest part of the western world if I may use that expression, Christianity has been the breakwater of the falling away of moral principles. It’s the Christian that has to stand in the gap and say, “Now wait a minute, this is wrong.”
Take away every believer, and the Holy Spirit and His role as He works today, then what is left to hold back iniquity? Absolutely nothing! I live close to the dam that holds back Lake Eufaula, and I’ve often wondered (especially when you look at the map and see the many miles that Lake Eufaula covers) If that dam could suddenly be removed what would happen all the way from Whitefield, Oklahoma to the Mississippi River? It would be a flood of tremendous impact. It would destroy everything in its path. On the higher plane of behavior and morality what if you took away the Christian influence, and had nothing to hold back the forces of iniquity. What’s going to happen? Just what Jesus said in verses 12 and 13:
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold,” They will completely lose perspective of spiritual things.
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
Be careful right here. Does enduring save anybody? No. Jesus isn’t talking about salvation here by virtue of enduring the Tribulation, He is simply saying that if someone has the wherewithal, physically and mentally, to get to the end of that seven-year Tribulation, then he will be spared the death of it. I don’t believe that He is talking about salvation as you and I know it tonight. It’s just that some will survive these horrible events. Now verse 14. In our next lesson we will cover from verse 15 on and cover the last part of the Tribulation in those verses. But here in verse 14, Jesus is speaking toward the end of His earthly ministry, and, as I have been pointing out, what Gospel have they been preaching? The Gospel of the Kingdom.
“And this gospel of the kingdom (He uses the word `this’ because it’s contemporary with Him at that time) shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nation; and then shall the end come.”
Who is going to fulfill all this preaching in the Tribulation? As we saw in the Book of Revelation it is the 144,000 Jews, as they will circumvent the globe during that seven-year period. Not preaching the Gospel of Grace, by believing that Christ died, was buried, and rose again as was given to the Apostle Paul by Christ Himself, but rather preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom that Christ and His disciples preached during His earthly ministry. The King is coming, and indeed He will be coming in a little less than seven years when this takes place.
So many well-meaning folks have totally twisted this verse, as if we have to get the Gospel to every nation on earth, and after that has been accomplished, Christ will come. That’s not what that verse means at all. And that doesn’t mean that we are not to get the Gospel out. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t be here. But it isn’t the Gospel of the Kingdom that we are proclaiming, but the Gospel of Grace. And what a difference! Just compare them and see which one belongs to you here in the Church Age. Jesus said that in this future day that He’s talking about, this seven-year period, that the Gospel of the Kingdom would be preached, and these 144,000 will succeed in touching every nation, tribe, and language before Christ returns. We find in Revelation that millions will be martyred after believing this Gospel during the Tribulation. So this is exactly what this verse is talking about. Just leave the verse where it is, and don’t try to put us of the Church Age in it, and it will fit so nicely. Look at the verse one more time:
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”