Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 30
I CORINTHIANS 15:35-16:24 – PART 2
Well hopefully we’ll finish I Corinthians in this lesson, I’m certainly going to try. So turn again to Chapter 15, and we’re going to take a look at this revelation of a secret which was part of that whole revealed body of truth which Paul refers to as the mystery. Before we look at I Corinthians let’s look for a moment at Romans Chapter 16. I want you to see that this is not just a flippant use of the word, for Paul uses it throughout his writings. And simply because the Holy Spirit has revealed to this man doctrines and truths that no one else ever dreamed would happen. They’re not in the Old Testament, or in Christ’s ministry, or in Peter’s activity in the Book of Acts, but rather it’s a whole new revelation which builds on everything that went before. And that’s why I teach the Old Testament and the Four Gospels just as much as I do the Pauline letters. Nevertheless this is something that has come out of every thing that has gone before, but it was never prophesied. Now let’s look at verse 25:
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, (the one by which you are saved in I Corinthians 15:1-4) and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.
Remember in our last lesson we looked at Deuteronomy 29:29:
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God:…”
He is a God who can keep things secret as long as He cares to, and this whole volume of revealed truths was one of those. God just did not reveal it, not even a hint of the Church age, and what we call the Rapture in any of the prophecies, or His earthly ministry. And that’s a good way that we can divide the Scriptures. The Old Testament was based on the prophetic word. Everything was based on what God said, “I Will, I Will, I Will,” That was prophecy! And all sitting on that Abrahamic Covenant. So Christ came in fulfillment of that Covenant. He came only to the Nation of Israel (Matthew 15:24) as their Messiah, and their King, and we’ve been teaching that over and over. But Israel rejected it, (Acts 28:27-28) they didn’t believe Who He said He was. Now God’s going to turn to the rest of the world by putting the Nation of Israel into a dispersion, and not using the Jew with the exception of this one man, the Apostle Paul who was a Jew, a Pharisee of the Pharisees of the tribe of Benjamin. So this Jew now has revealed to him and him only these mysteries, these secrets, and now He can take it to the Gentile world and reveal it.
Now in our time line, we always start back with Adam, and then 2000 years later we have the call of Abraham. That brought about the Nation of Israel which was pulled off the main river of humanity. But the Nation of Israel, instructed and taught, and nurtured through the Old Testament under the Law and prophecies, rejected Him, and they were dispersed then back into that main stream of humanity from which they were called in the first place. Remember God had intended for the Nation of Israel to evangelize the world, but when he sent them into dispersion, in the last chapter of Acts He put them into a place of spiritual blindness. Paul tells us now there is no difference between Jew and Gentiles. Now for salvation all must believe the Gospel that was given Paul by the crucified, risen Lord, the Gospel we find in I Corinthians 15:1-4. When this dispersion took place about 70 AD the Jews lost the Temple, and the city of Jerusalem, and their homeland. They were dispersed into every nation on earth.
But about 30 years before this dispersion took place, about 40 AD, the Apostle Paul was called by God, and he now is going to be progenitor of this Gospel of Grace and the calling out of the Gentile Body of Christ. Now when this Body of Christ, which is made up of Jews and Gentiles, is complete, and the last one has been saved, that’s when we have this meeting in the air (Rapture) that we talked about in the last lesson. This is when the soul and spirit of believers that have been in the presence of Christ after they died, are brought to the atmosphere by God Himself in the Person of Christ, and their bodies will be resurrected to be reunited with their soul and spirit in the air. And then in the next instance we believers who are alive and remain shall be caught up to meet The Lord in the air.
Then after that has taken place, the final seven years are ushered in and are associated only with the prophecies concerning the Nation of Israel, which in 1948 became a nation again. We call that period the final seven years or the Tribulation. Of course the ending of the Tribulation will bring about the Second Coming of Christ to the earth as we saw in the closing moments of the last lesson. This is when Christ will stand with His feet on the Mount of Olives. Now just to show the graphic difference again between the Rapture and the Second Coming let’s go back to Matthew Chapter 24. Now there are many other references to the Second Coming, but I’m going to use this passage as the prime example of how everything that the Old Testament, and Jesus and the Four Gospel accounts refer to in Christ’s coming is never this Rapture of the Church, this meeting in the air. That is something that the rest of The Bible knew nothing about. It was only a secret revealed by, and to the Apostle Paul.
Now all these other references to the end time events are directed to the Second Coming . When Christ will come and stand in that day on the Mount of Olives. All right now let’s just look at Matthew Chapter 24 for an example. At this time the Twelve disciples are still intact.
“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, `See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’ And as he sat upon the mount of Olives the disciples came unto him privately, saying, `Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?'” (or age)
Jesus gives them the answer, and He comes down through these series of verses and none of this is associated with the Church one iota. This is all instructions for the Nation of Israel concerning the Second Coming of Christ. So when I teach Matthew Chapter 24 this is why I stress this over and over. Matthew 24 is Tribulation ground. This is not for you and I in the Church age. This is prophecy for those last 7 years. We’re seeing the stage set now leading up to the Tribulation when there will be false teachers and there’s going to wars and rumors of war, and granted we’re seeing all this, but thank goodness we are certainly not in the Tribulation.
Now I was reading a book the other night by a dear old Bible teacher who had gone on to be with The Lord several years ago. And he was writing shortly after he had been at a prophecy conference, and he had been conversing with another well-known prophecy expert. As they saw the falling apart of western civilization and the apostasy of the Church, they thought that we were so close to the Rapture because they were seeing all the signs that were introducing the Tribulation. Well I read some of those things to Iris, and said, “Well what would those fellows say if they were alive today?” Stop and think about it. Look how far we have come to Tribulation ground in the last 20 years. But we’re not there yet, we’re not in the Tribulation by any stretch of the imagination. But everything is bringing us closer.
I had a banker friend tell me recently that every new technology is just bringing the prophecies that much closer, because the whole Book of Revelation is based on our tremendous technology. So it stands to reason that the Anti-christ could never be able to put his thumb on every human being on earth without the computer. But with the computer he’ll be able to, but I’m not saying that he will. But if the Anti-christ wants to pull up some data on an individual anywhere then all he has to do is request it and there it will be. And he’ll have every thing on that individual that he will want to know. Why? Technology.
Even in our ministry we’re on the Internet, but the more I hear about it, it just scares the socks off me, because there’s no place to hide. They can find anybody, and if they someday want to find us it will be no problem for them. There will be no place to hide. So what I want you to see in this lesson is that everything that was spoken in the Old Testament prophets; which was spoken by Jesus, and Peter, were all directed to the Nation of Israel, and His Second Coming. Not to the Church or the Rapture of the Church! So keep that in mind as we study even in these closing moments of this Book of I Corinthians. So let’s come back to I Corinthians and we find Paul revealing one of the mysteries that was part of that whole volume of truth that he puts in one category. And that category is “The revelation of the mysteries.”
Now there were all kinds of mysteries revealed to Paul, and they were unknown to the rest of Scripture. For example, that Jews and Gentiles would be brought into the Body of Christ on equal ground. Now I pay all respect to Israel’s Covenant position, as the favorite nation of God. I know they are where they are only because of that. But we must never lose sight that for a Jew today to experience salvation, he’s on the same level playing field that we as Gentiles are on. The Jew today is not in a place of special privilege when it come to his personal salvation. He’s a sinner who needs salvation. just a much as a Gentile. But in the great scheme of things they have to be in the land of Israel for the culmination of the Prophetic Scripture.
I had a young Jewish listener out in California tell me once, “Now Les, stop and think. I know that you would just love for all of us Jews to get saved according to what you teach, but if all Jews would get saved then we would all leave with you at the Rapture, and there would be nobody here to fulfill prophecy.” I told him that I hadn’t thought of it that way. But you know what he said is so true. Israel has to be in the land at the end-time scenario for that final 7 years. She has no choice because all of prophecy is directed to that. Well you take them off the scene and God’s Word would fall apart, and we know God’s not going to let that happen. I was reading one of my little books the other day and had made the point that, yes, we love the Arabs, and Palestinians on God’s behalf just as much as anyone else. But it’s too bad that they can’t understand that Scripturally they are not in the line of the Covenant promises given to Abraham. That was only for the Jew. If they think they’re going to drive the Jew into the sea, then they’ll have to deal with God first. Remember God has said that they are not going to disappear. They’re going to be there for the end-time.
Now back to I Corinthians 15: 54. I think we’ve touched enough on the Rapture for now. All I want you to remember is that, “The Rapture is not prophetically announced. We don’t know when it will happen, there is nothing to indicate that it’s going to be today, tomorrow or next year. But as the world scene is being fulfilled for that final 7 years, and the Second Coming, we have to be ready at least 7 years ahead of His Second Coming. So as you see all the signs of the world getting ready for the Second Coming just remind yourself, “Hey, we’re going to leave 7 years ahead of that so we’d better be ready.” Now verse 54. Here Paul continues on dealing with putting in the grave this corruptible, and resurrecting the incorruptible.
I Corinthians 15:54-56
“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal (this old body we have now) shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, `Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? (I think I said it just a lesson or so back that we all hate death.) O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; (that’s why we hate it. Death and sin are almost synonymous.) and the strength of sin is the law.'” It was the Law that showed sin to be what it really is. Then verse 57:
I Corinthians 15:57
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There is no other way to gain victory over sin and death. Religion won’t do it, good works won’t do it, joining a church won’t do it. It has to be by virtue of this resurrection power of the Gospel that does it. Now verse 58, and he begins this verse with the word “Therefore,” Now Paul is winding this letter down. So he can say “Therefore” in light of all that he has written in these previous 15 chapters, but especially with this hope of the believers. Before we read this verse I would like to show you a verse in Titus to tie it all together. This verse shows that the Rapture is a reality, and it will happen before the horrors of the Tribulation comes. Verse 13 says it all, but let’s start at verse 11.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath (already) appeared to all men. (no one is ever going to say, `But Lord I never heard.’ For this Grace is) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world: (and we are to be) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:”
When someone asks that you to show them in The Bible that Jesus ever claimed to be God well here’s one reference right here, and there are many others. But look at this verse. If this isn’t giving Deity to Christ then I don’t know what is. That we are to be looking for that blessed hope, and what’s the blessed hope? The glorious appearing of the great God, the God of Creation, the God of this Book, and Who is He? Our Saviour Jesus Christ! Now back to I Corinthians 15:58:
I Corinthians 15:58
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
We may not reap the rewards of our labor in this life. We may go to the grave as poor as church mice, but don’t let that discourage you. God hasn’t promised that, “Just because we’re believers we’re going to drive cadillacs, and live in mansions.” No way, but God has promised that He is keeping a record of our earthly activities. Then one day we’re going to cash in on the rewards in glory, and remember that Paul is always teaching that. We are to run the race for rewards. Now go to Chapter 16 to wind up I Corinthians. Here Paul is going to deal with something totally different from resurrection. Here he is going to come down to the nitty gritty of, “How we’re to give.” Many people are hung up on the legal system of tithing. I’ve got nothing against giving. But you are not under the tithe. Now I know this is going to ruffle a few feathers, but remember the tithe was part of the Law. Tithing was given only to the tribe of Levi. I dare say if we could ask some of our Jewish friends whether they teach tithing today, I’d be very surprised if they would say yes. Because they, too, do not know who the Levites are so I just have to doubt that good Jewish people still tithe. Always remember that Paul never says tithe, because that was part of the Law, but that doesn’t say that God doesn’t expect you to give. Let’s look how Paul puts it.
I Corinthians 16:1a
“Now concerning the collection (of money) for the saints,…”
Paul was always instructed to remember the poor saints at Jerusalem. Why? They had cashed in land and everything they had and brought the money to the feet of the Twelve disciples. It all went into a common kitty back there in Acts Chapters 2 and 3 in light of the Kingdom. But the Kingdom didn’t come because the Jews had rejected it. So what happened to these poor Jewish saints? They had to live off the kitty and I imagine it was a pretty good existence for a while. But God took care of them through Paul’s Gentile converts, and the money was taken back to Jerusalem for them. Now continuing on:
I Corinthians 16:1,2
“Now concerning the collection for the saints, (Jewish saints at Jerusalem) as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye (at Corinth). Upon the first day of the week(not on the seventh day Sabbath. Why first day of the week? Resurrection day!) let every on of you lay by him in store, (as a tithe? No, but rather) as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
Now that’s one of the beauties of the Christian life, that’s the beauty of God’s Grace. He has left us with that free will. We can give as much as we want to, but God is not putting the thumb on our head, and saying, “You will give 10%! Now that’s a guideline, and I’ll always say that. God more or less lets it be known that 10% is a guideline for giving. But God’s not going to zap you if you don’t give 10%. Now you may lose some reward in glory, but you are under no mandate under Paul’s teaching to give a set amount. That’s up to you as a believer as God has prospered you. And God has enough respect for your free will as a believer that you’re going to give as much as you can.
Paul told these believers at Corinth to take this offering before he came so that they wouldn’t be under his influence. He wanted that all taken care of before he arrived. Paul doesn’t want them to dig down in their other pocket and say, “Paul is here, and he’d better see how much I’ve given.” But Paul wanted that all taken care of before he got there. The rest of this chapter is referring to the Corinthians how he still wants to come and see them. He wants to stop in there again physically, but until he gets there they’re going to have to be satisfied with hearing from him, only by way of his letters. Now look at verses 10-14:
I Corinthians 16:10-14
“Now if Timotheus (Timothy the young preacher) come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him:(Timothy) but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren, As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time. Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity. (love)