Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 29
I CORINTHIANS 15:20-23 – PART 2
Now as you know we’re in I Corinthians Chapter 15, and we’re talking about the various aspect of resurrection. Now the resurrection of the Just as we’ve been showing is seemingly in three parts or categories. (1) Those that were resurrected at Christ’s time, after He came out of the tomb, those were the firstfruits, which was the first part of the Jewish harvest when they would go in and take the sampling out of their grain field. Then we have the general harvest. (2) That’s the main harvest and that’s what we call the rapture of the Church, and then there will be that final aspect of (3) the corners and gleanings which I feel will be the Old Testament saints, and the Tribulation believers. And these Old Testament & Tribulation believers, as we saw in Daniel, will come back in resurrection bodies 75 days after the Second coming, or after the 1000 years Kingdom has been set up. They will then be part and parcel of the Kingdom and that will complete the resurrection of the Just of all the ages. In our timeline in the last lesson we got as far as Exodus Chapter 19, and before we go back to the Old Testament let’s look at verse 23 again.
I Corinthians 15:23
“But every man (will come out in resurrection) in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
Now let’s continue our thoughts from the last lesson. God gave Abraham the Abrahamic Covenant, called him out of idolatry and promised him a separated nation which would be Holy, and would come under the Covenant promises. That’s why we call Israel the favored nation, or God’s chosen people, because in His sovereignty that’s the way He ordained it. So He calls Abram and saves him by faith plus nothing. Abraham wasn’t saved by offering sacrifices. He was saved by being obedient to what God said. And then later the sacrifices come in, but he was that man of faith who was saved by faith, even as we are, plus nothing. And then in the closing moments of the last program we were in Exodus Chapter 19, where God had promised that Israel was to be a kingdom of priests or go-betweens. Now, we’ll see that come into play as you come into the book of Isaiah. Let’s look at Chapter 49. I’m not going to take a lot of time and look up all of these references because there are so many. I’m just going to take the ones that are more clearly understood. Here in Isaiah 49 is where this whole concept of Israel becoming a nation of priests is what God had on His mind. And remember, these things are all valid offers, even though God knows the nation is going to fall far short of all of this. Isaiah 49 and let’s go to verse 6. Remember what we read in Exodus – that “if” they are obedient with the Law or Covenant that God is now giving them at Mt. Sinai, then they would be a nation of priests, a holy nation, and they would be used of God sometime down the road to funnel salvation into the Gentile world.
“And he said, `It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee (the Nation of Israel) for a light to the (what?) Gentiles,….'”
Now by the time we get to Christ’s earthly ministry and on to the book of Acts, even the Jews had lost sight of all this. And even in Jonah’s day, when God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, what did he do? He took a ship and went west! He should have taken a camel and gone east. But he didn’t. Well, why not? Those Gentiles had nothing to do with his God. But it was his God Who told him to go. And so he takes a ship west. And you know the story of Jonah. And so finally God had to deal with him and bring him back to shore and send him to Nineveh. Yes, God can save Gentiles when He wants to. But the mind-set of the Jew was that God had no time for those pagan dogs. And even in Christ’s earthly ministry, that was implied with the Canaanite woman.
“But Jesus said unto her, `Let the children (Israel, the Jews) first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.’ And she answered and said unto him, `Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.'”
What was she implying? The Jews were in the place of privilege. They had the Word of God. But couldn’t she have a couple of crumbs? Now the Jews took that to the extreme, so that when Paul comes back after his missionary journeys among the Gentiles and he tells them in Acts, the minute he spoke the word Gentile, what happened? A riot! Who would even dare to say such a word? Now, as you see in Isaiah, God’s whole intent and purpose was that Israel as a kingdom of priests, would at one time go and evangelize those Gentiles. Now come back in Isaiah to Chapter 2 and you’ll see this in a little bit different language, but it’s the same thought. Now I think this will make sense. If I’d have read this first you wouldn’t have gotten it, but now I think you will.
“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass (it’s going to happen) in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house(what is a mountain in Old Testament symbolism? Kingdom! You can just put that word in there and you won’t violate the Scripture; that is that royal line coming from David) shall be established in the top of the mountains, (or it’s going to be the top Kingdom of the kingdoms) and it shall be exalted above the hills; (smaller kingdoms. And here’s the part I wanted you to see. Underline it if you don’t mind marking in your Bible) and all nations shall (what?) flow into it.”
Now isn’t that beautiful? Once Israel’s Messiah would come and set up His throne, His kingdom, there in the city of Jerusalem, all the nations of the world would just navigate and would be brought just about like a magnet drawing steel, to Jerusalem. Now let me show you another verse. Let’s go all the way up to Zechariah, Chapter 8, the next to the last book in the Old Testament.
“Thus saith the Lord of hosts; `It shall yet come to pass, (sound familiar? That’s exactly the way Isaiah put it) that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities. And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, (Jehovah) and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations (plural) shall come to seek the Lord of hosts (where?) in Jerusalem, (where He has set up His throne and His kingdom) and to pray before the Lord.’ Thus saith the Lord of hosts; `In those days (when Israel would be evangelizing those pagan Gentiles) that ten men shall take hold out of all the languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.'”
Now isn’t that plain? This was Israel’s prospect. But we know now, looking back in history, Israel dropped it. Israel blew it, as we say. But that doesn’t take away the fact that God is still intending to use the Nation of Israel to yet bring salvation to the Gentiles. (144,000 in the Tribulation)
Now out of all these verses that we’ve been reading back here in the Old Testament, there is still not one hint of the Church Age. All we’re talking about is God dealing with Israel and at one point in time God wanted to funnel them back into this pagan, polluted stream of humanity and thereby purify it. Remember Christ went up and down the land of Israel, all that territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan Valley for three years. I always sort of test people. Can you find one place in Scripture where He ever went outside the land of Israel? Not one! He never went to Babylon, or Syria, or Greece, or Egypt. He spent His whole three years only with the Nation of Israel. Now let me show you where I’m proving this from Scripture. Let’s go over to Matthew Chapter 10. We kind of shook a few people up. We were having our Bible studies after dinner each night in the hotels in Israel and we had other tourists come in. And when they heard me emphasizing this a couple of them got all shook up and they said, “Whoever heard such a thing? Jesus came to the whole world. Where do you get that He just came to the Nation of Israel?” Let’s see how plain this is. Matthew 10 and He had just chosen the Twelve up there around Galilee and let’s look what He said in verse 5. A lot of people don’t know this is in their Bible, but it is.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, `Go not (don’t miss that word) into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'”
“But he (Jesus) answered and said, `I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'”
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (Jews) for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:”
Why did he say that? Because all the way up since Abraham’s Covenant, God is dealing only with the His Covenant people, Israel, in the promise of making them a nation of people; in the promise of putting them in their geographical promised land and then one day coming to be their King and their Messiah. You may think you can’t swallow that, so let’s turn over to what Paul writes to the Ephesians in Chapter 2. And if this isn’t plain then I can’t do it any plainer. How plainly the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write it. Paul has been going to the Gentiles and he’s seeing them saved by grace. But he’s reminding them it wasn’t always that way.
“Wherefore (remember who he’s writing to. He is writing to predominately Gentile believers in the city of Ephesus) remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, (we’re not talking about spiritual things. We’re talking about in the flesh. Ordinary human beings) who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; (In plain language, who called the Gentiles uncircumcised? The Jews did. And that’s all he’s saying – that while the Jews were referring to you as uncircumcised and “dogs” )That at that time (what time is he referring to? This whole period of time during the Old Testament when Israel is under the Covenant promises and God is dealing only with His Covenant people, with exceptions. I’ve already referred to Jonah going to Nineveh and there was Rahab, the harlot, and Naaman the Syrian and so forth. But by and large he’s going only to His Covenant people) ye were without Christ, (without a Messiah) being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”
What’s an alien? Someone who has no right or access to that government. It should be that no one but a citizen and taxpayer should get anything from the government coffers. And this is what he is talking about. Gentiles had no rights from Israel. They were Gentiles or aliens. Israel had the Covenants, but could the Gentiles say, “Hey, that’s for me”? No, that wasn’t for a Gentile. It was only for the Jew. And so he says, you were strangers from those covenants of promise and this was the lot of the Gentiles. They had no hope and without God in the world. That’s what the book says. I didn’t put this in there. Yours says it too. This was the lot of the Gentiles. Why? Because God was dealing with Covenant promises and it was only for the Nation of Israel until she should be such a prepared spiritual, obedient people and then what would God do? He would send them into the Gentile world and they could then bring the Gentiles to a knowledge of their God. But what did Israel do? By now they had 2,000 years of having it pounded into them that they were special and then they couldn’t get it out of their head that anybody else was worth a nickel.
Turn back to Acts Chapter 22 where Paul has now been ministering to Gentiles for some 20 years or more. And he’s been having a tremendous response establishing churches throughout Asia Minor, and Greece and Rome. And now he comes back to Jerusalem and he just about gets killed by the mob. He’s coming up here before the religious leaders in Jerusalem and he recounts his whole conversion experience on the road to Damascus. He recounts his experiences out among the Gentiles and how they were coming to a knowledge of Israel’s God through the Gospel, through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Now come down to verse 17 of Chapter 22. He’s rehearsing what happened years back.
“And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; And saw him (we don’t know if it was in vision or whatever, he saw Jesus) saying unto me, `Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; for they (the Jews) will not receive thy testimony concerning me.’ And I said, `Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept (or held) the raiment of them that slew him.’ And he said unto me, `Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.’ (Now look at the reaction of these Jews) And they gave him audience (they listened to him quite intently) unto this word, (what word? Gentile! And then looked what happened – a riot!) and then lifted up their voices, and said, `Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.'”
Why would they say that? Because he so much as thought, “Gentile.” Well, what had happened? Israel had completely been blinded to her true role that Jehovah had intended and that was to be His vehicle to go out and reach these Gentiles. But they had completely rejected it in unbelief. And they won’t even permit this apostle to go to the Gentiles. They fought him every inch of the way. I’m not doing this to put the Jew down as a nation of people. But it was a result of all those years of being told and taught, “You are God’s Covenant people. You are special”. But it had gotten such control of their thinking that they never did see the truth of why God called them out in the first place. Now in the last statement in the Abrahamic Covenant we find:
“…and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
How was that going to come about? By their Messiah being crucified, and becoming the object of faith then not just for Israel, but for the whole world. And so today, yes, we proclaim the Gospel of God’s saving Grace (I Corinthians 15:1-4): how that Christ died according to the predeterminate counsel of God as we saw in the first lesson. And He came and fulfilled the purposes of God in bringing about the plan of redemption, not just for Israel, but for the whole human race. Now I’ve pointed out so often to my classes that just as soon as God announced to Abraham that through this man He was going to bring out a separated people, and He was going to deal with them, and that through these people would come a Redeemer of the whole human race, who immediately puts everything in high gear to thwart the program of God? Satan does, and all you have to do is look back at history and how Satan has constantly fought God’s dealings with the Nation of Israel. Every thing that comes about in the Nation of Israel in their unbelief, in their attacks from the Gentile world, just anything, who prompts it? Satan does.
Even today where we are right now, why is the whole world voting against the little Nation of Israel, and trying to push them tighter and tighter into a smaller area of Jerusalem? Well it is the satanic ploy still trying to get rid of the Nation of Israel, because if Satan can succeed in getting rid of the Jew then God can’t perform his prophecies. Because all the prophecies rest on that little nation, now can you see the ploy of Satan? Oh he’s working overtime not just because he hates Israel, but rather because he hates God, and he’s doing everything in his power to thwart the eternal purposes of God. Just watch your news and even when the Israeli government has scandal come in that almost upsets their political system, who’s behind it all? Satan is, because he’s behind everything that is happening to that little nation. But always remember God is not going to permit anything to remove them from the scene, they’re going to survive. Now we know it’s getting tougher and tougher for them, we know the whole world is coming more and more to the whole idea, “Well why do they have to have the land of Palestine? Let the Palestinians have it they were there first.” What does the world do with all these promise God made to that little nation? They ignore them or they don’t even know they are here. But God told Jeremiah:
“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel…”
So the sun and moon will have fall out of their orbit before Israel will disappear from view.