Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 5
Law and Grace: Time Line: Isaac
Let’s turn to Psalm 2 where we left off in our last lesson. Remember, we’ve been talking about Abraham sending his servant to the far country, up into Syria, to get a bride for his son, Isaac. We brought out the point that this is a beautiful picture of the Holy Spirit working in this present age calling out a Bride from among the Gentiles for the Son, Christ Jesus. The reason that I like to use this illustration, is that Isaac had left his home tent and was out in the field some distance from home, when he met his bride coming from the far country. I think this is a perfect illustration of how Christ will leave Heaven and will call the Bride up to meet Him in the clouds of the air.
Before we get into the regular teaching, we have some requests from our television audience to sometime lay these things out on a timeline. Before I do that, I always like to make clear the understanding of the Old Testament program, in which there is no hint of this “Church Age.“ The Old Testament program was always God’s plan for Israel, and this is best laid out in outline form in Psalm 2. That’s the reason we are going to point this out, and how this program was interrupted and God went to the Gentiles to call out a people for His Name; and how He will one day come back again to finish this Old Testament program.
“Why do the heathen (Gentiles) rage, and the people (Israel) imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers (of Israel) take counsel together (Jew and Gentile), against the LORD (Jehovah), and against his anointed (against The Christ, or Messiah), saying, ‘Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.’”
Now that took place at the rejection of Christ at His Crucifixion. The response of God the Father in Heaven was that He would laugh:
“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them (the nations of the world) in derision (confusion).”
The word used in the Gospels, as Jesus foretold these days, was “perplexity”, and we are seeing that in our own times. Nevertheless, this was all looking forward to the coming of Christ and His rejection. The very first word of Verse 5 is a time word – “then.” In other words, after the nations had come to a place of derision:
“Then shall he (God) speak unto them (the nations) in his wrath (not in His Grace!), and vex them in his sore displeasure.”
The Psalmist is talking here about the Tribulation – that terrible period of time that is going to come on the world, but will be especially directed against the Nation of Israel. Then immediately following this period of wrath and vexation, which all of the Scriptures designate as seven years, in verse 6, God says:
“‘Yet have I (God) set my king upon the holy hill of Zion.’”
We can probably illustrate this in kind of a timeline. We are coming out of the Old Testament, and I like to start with the call of Abraham and his Covenant. We move on then to the coming of The Messiah, and Israel rejects and crucifies Him according to Psalms 2. After his rejection, He would ascend (see Psalm 110). Normally, people don’t think of the Book of Psalms as being prophetic, but there are many prophesies in the Psalms. Psalm 22 foretells the Crucifixion, and Psalm 110 portrays His Ascension to the Father’s right hand:
“The LORD said unto my Lord, ‘Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.’”
The word “until” is a time word. Jesus was to sit at the Father’s right hand – but not forever – “until” God made His enemies His footstool.
“‘The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.’”
All these verses tell us is that after this rejection of The Messiah, He would ascend unto the Father ‘s right hand. Then there would come an indeterminate period (according to Psalm 2) until the nations would reach a point of derision, and then would come that period of wrath and vexation which we know from Daniel and others is a period of seven years of Tribulation. Then back in Psalm 2:6, God says:
“‘Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.’”
And The King is always associated with the Kingdom. There is the Old Testament program. After you come out of the Old Testament chronology of Israel’s history, The Messiah comes on the scene and is presented as Israel’s King, whom they reject and crucify. He ascends, and the next thing on the agenda is the Tribulation.
It’s so clearly laid out here in Psalm 2.
“‘I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, ‘Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.'”
The word “Son” is capitalized and we know that it refers to Christ. I want also to define the word “begotten.” It does not refer to Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, but rather to His Resurrection. That is made so clear in Acts and in Romans 1:4, where Paul explains it so succinctly. I believe we can delegate the line of thought found in Psalm 2:8 to the Father, where He says:
“‘Ask of me, and I shall give thee (the Son) the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.’” When Christ returns and sets up His Kingdom, it will not be just in the Middle East, but it will include the whole world.
“‘Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash (break) them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”
This, of course, He is going to do after His second coming at the Battle of Armageddon, when the nations of the world will be removed from the scene.
“‘Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.’”
Again, we have the reference to God the Son. Now, in order to understand all that this little chapter is and is not saying, we know that at Christ’s Ascension (Acts 1:9-11), Peter and the eleven knew this Old Testament program. They knew that the next thing on the agenda was the coming in of seven years of wrath and vexation. Then they expected the return of Christ back to Jerusalem in order to set up His kingdom. (This is where a lot of people, church-going believers do not understand that, according to the Old Testament program, it was to unfold in this manner.) The King would set up His Kingdom, and as soon as it was established and He was ruling from Jerusalem, then the Jews could go into all the corners of the world to evangelize the Gentiles. That was to be Israel’s role(See chart on page 74).
Turn to Isaiah 42. I think my problem is trying to get across in a couple of hours what I’ve learned in 20 years, and of course, that’s impossible. But if I could just help people to see all these things in a clear cut way it would erase so much of the confusion that I think reigns supreme. In Isaiah 42:1 it is referring to the Old Testament program. God expected Israel to receive her King, get the Kingdom set up, and the Jew to go out and evangelize the world.
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment (rule) to the Gentiles.”
Turn now to Isaiah 49:6. I’m not exhausting the Scriptures on this subject by any means. I’m just picking out a few verses that are more clearly stated than others.
“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 for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my (God’s) salvation unto the end of the earth.’”
Always examine a verse. Who was the “thee” who was to be a light to the Gentiles? Israel! This was to be Israel’s role. We’ll take it a little further, so turn to Chapter 59. When I speak in days to come of God dealing with the Jew only – and He has been ever since the call of Abraham up until we get well into the New Testament – it’s Jew only, with exceptions.
“‘And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, (a mountain in Jerusalem) and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob,’ saith the Lord. ‘As for me, this is my covenant with them,’ saith the LORD; ‘My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed,’ saith the LORD, ‘from henceforth and for ever.'” In other words, we are already looking at eternity. Now go to Chapter 60.
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.”
Again, He was talking to the Nation of Israel. When their Messiah appeared He told them that “I am the light of the world,” and had Israel believed Him, they could have gone out and told the world. I’ll show you that in just a moment.
“For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.”
The darkness that was to cover the earth was a spiritual darkness; even Israel would be under that darkness.
“And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”
Those are all promises to Israel according to the Old Testament program – that even after they’d rejected and crucified their Messiah, their King, He would ascend until the Father had made his enemies his footstool. This would be during that time of derision, which wouldn’t have been long; then would come the wrath and vexation of the Tribulation; Messiah would return and set up His Kingdom; Israel would be the apple of His eye, and would be the very center of all activity with regard to bringing people to a knowledge of God. Now, turn over to the Book of Jeremiah 23. These are all verses that point out the fact that Israel was promised, not only The King and the Kingdom, but that they would be the vehicle to bring the pagan Gentiles to a knowledge of Israel’s God.
“‘Behold, the days come,’ saith the Lord, ‘that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.’”
Note that the words “Branch” and “King” were both capitalized so they refer to Christ The King. Note also, that He is going to be King in the earth – not just in Heaven. That will be the time when He returns to set up His Kingdom; when He will rule and reign over the whole earth.
To confirm what I told you a few moments ago about Israel’s being the evangelists, turn to Zechariah, the next-to-the-last book in the Old Testament. Zechariah 8:20. Don’t lose sight of everything that was in the Old Testament program. There would be the wrath and vexation. There would be the destruction of the nations as recorded in Daniel chapters 2, 7, and 9. That would take place when He would return to Jerusalem; destroy the nations that still survived after those terrible seven years of Tribulation; and then the earth would be restored to the condition of the Garden of Eden before man’s fall. (Isaiah 51:3, Ezekiel 36:35). Remember, Zechariah wrote about 500 B.C.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; ‘It shall yet come to pass, 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, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. (23) Thus saith the LORD of hosts; ‘In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying,’ ‘We will go will you: for we have heard that God is with you.'”
Lock verse 23 into your computer! This is talking in light of the Old Testament program – that as soon as The King and Kingdom were in place, the nations of the world would be funneled to Jerusalem which would be the very abode of the God of Israel, and all the Gentiles could be blessed by coming to a faith in Him.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; ‘There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.”
Note that the Gentiles were to come, not just from all nations, but from all languages, dialects, tongues and tribes – they were all to come to the Jews to go with them to meet their God. This is what Jesus had drummed into the disciples, and contrary to what most of us have been taught, the Great Commission in Matthew 28 was with this Old Testament program in mind. There had, as yet, not been one word spoken – even from Jesus to the twelve – of a period when God would set Israel aside, take away their Temple, and go to the Gentiles with the Gospel of Grace. So, as you read through the Four Gospels, keep this in mind. This Old Testament program was what Jesus was talking about, everything that had been promised to Israel with regard to His being their King. Of course, the disciples had no idea that He was going to be crucified. Turn to Luke 18. I remember one time I was teaching a week of classes. After one session, a young couple came up to me and said, “Wait a minute! Are you saying that Peter didn’t preach Christ crucified?” My answer to them had to be, “How could Peter preach that, when Jesus had not yet gone to the Cross, and Peter didn’t even know that He was going to!” Look at Luke 18:31-34. I can safely say that 90% of the church members don’t know that these verses are in here!
“Then he (Jesus) 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.’”
He was saying that everything that had been written about Him in the Psalms and the prophets: that He would suffer, be crucified (Psalm 22) and buried, and after three days rise from the dead. That He would ascend (Psalm 110); that He would come back after the years of retribution (Tribulation) to set up His Kingdom – they should have known all that!
“‘For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles (Rome), 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.'”
You know that these are exactly the things that happened! See Luke 22:1-24:8. Now don’t stop here. Look at verse 34:
“And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”
Even those twelve disciples who had been with Jesus for nearly three years, and were now ready to head to Jerusalem to wind everything up – didn’t understand anything of what He said because it was “hid” from them. If you recall, a couple of lessons ago I used the Hebrew term “Jehovah Olam.“ I told you that in that word Olam was a definition of something being hidden? That was exactly what God had done with what we call the “Church Age,“ as we showed on our timeline. In this passage, they had no understanding that He was going to die – that He was going to go to the Cross!
Look now at John 20. Scripture shows us as plain as day that even after Jesus went to the Cross, they still didn’t know that He would rise from the dead. We won’t take time to read all the verses here, but as a background, on the day of the Resurrection, Peter and John had been told that Jesus was no longer in the tomb—that His body was gone. So they ran to the tomb to see for themselves. I think that Peter was a big, old rugged fisherman, whereas John was probably more athletic. Consequently, John reached the tomb first, but he was timid and reluctant to enter. Peter, on the other hand, just rushed right in (remember this tomb was a cave – not a hole in the ground!) and they came to the conclusion that something supernatural had happened.
“Then went in also that other disciple (John), which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw (the evidence) and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.”
Peter and John hadn’t believed in Jesus’ Resurrection (even though they had been told), until they saw for themselves! And not only did they not believe, but also, most of Christ’s followers! Now wasn’t that plain?