Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 46
Now we always like to make it plain that we’re not associated with anybody, we don’t try to destroy or attack anyone, nor lift any one group up over another. I’m just a layman, a cattle rancher, that the Lord has seen fit to use me, from a lay person’s point of view, to just simply teach the Scriptures and help people. As our letters say over and over, “for the very first time in our life, we’re reading our Bible and understanding what we read.” Well that’s all we’re trying to do.
Now we’re in the Book of Hebrews and we’ve been stressing ever since we started this study in Hebrews that it is addressed primarily to Jewish people who were having a hard time making the break from Judaism and the Law, and to step into this tremendous Salvation of the Grace of God. Now I can sympathize with people who have that problem. I know I have a lady who used to be in our class and was in a cult, or at least I would call it that, and oh, she wrestled with it for years. But finally one day with a broad smile on her face she said, “Well Les, I’ve finally whipped it and can finally let go, because this was drummed into me since I was 3 years old.” So it’s not easy to turn your back on something that has been hammered into us for years and years.
But this Book of Hebrews is just going to trumpet Who Jesus of Nazareth really was. Now you want to remember that during Christ’s earthly ministry, that the purpose of all His signs and wonders and miracles was to prove to the Jewish people of His day that He was the promised Messiah, and we’ll probably be touching on that sometime in the next few programs. But nevertheless, remember that the purpose of the Book of Hebrews is to prove to these Jewish people Who He really was, and Who He is, and that He is the supreme God of the universe. He’s not just another person below the Father, because He and the Father and the Spirit are ONE!
So as we saw in our last lesson, He brought about this great Salvation, and not just for Israel, but rather for the whole human race. Now let’s come right back, and we’re still in verse 3, hopefully we’ll finish verse 3 in this half hour, and maybe go into the next verse in our last program this afternoon.
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, (that is by the Son, the One we’re emphasizing here in these first two chapters) and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him:”
Now I guess the best place to start is, “What do we mean by this Salvation which was first spoken by the Lord Himself?” So turn back to Matthew, and we’ll go into His earthy ministry again, because I think if anything else I’ve stressed in my years of teaching, and I think most of you and our listening audience out in television land are beginning to understand, is that the Bible is a progressive revelation. They didn’t have everything back there in Genesis, and the prophets still didn’t know it all. The Twelve didn’t get a grasp of it all, because it was a progressive thing.
So as we progress on up through human history, and we come up through the Scriptures, then we finally come to this place where the Apostle Paul becomes the number one player on the stage, and he reveals how that all of these things were coming to the place where Salvation could now go to the whole human race. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by faith in what Christ accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection. Alright, but we’re not there yet in Christ’s earthly ministry, He’s still in the Kingdom economy, so come back to Matthew chapter 4, and let’s just drop in at verse 17. We’re not going to stay here very long, we’re going to shoot right back to Genesis in a minute, but this is a good jumping off place from what he meant in Hebrews, that this great Salvation which at the beginning was spoken by the Lord Himself.
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Well, what was He talking about? He had come to them to present Himself to Israel as their Messiah, their Redeemer, and their King. Now where do we get all that. Well let’s go all the way back to Genesis, even though I’m sure Paul is making the original reference to the Lord’s earthly ministry there in Hebrews 2:3, but yet I think we can take the opportunity to go all the way back to when it all began in Genesis chapter 3, where we have the first prophetic utterance concerning the coming of a Redeemer and Saviour for the whole human race.
Genesis 3:15, a verse that most of you know forward and backwards, and this is just after the fall of mankind. Adam and Eve have just eaten of the tree, prompted, of course, by the adversary, the old tempter, the Devil himself. So God is dealing with Satan, and He’s making him a promise. A promise that He fulfilled when He finished the work of the cross. So God says:
“And I will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman, and between thy seed (the forces of Satan, and his whole demonic system of power. It would be an enmity between that) and her seed; (or the Seed of the woman, and we know from Galatians chapter 3, that the Seed of the woman was Christ. And He came through the woman, she was the vehicle) it (the Seed of the woman, Christ) shall bruise thy head, (that’s where you defeat a snake, you kill it at it’s head. So that’s where we struck Satan his death blow at the cross, but Satan got in his lick by making Christ suffer) and thou shall bruise his heel.”
Now then the next great event in human history that leads to the coming of our great Salvation is the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis chapter 12. It’s been a long time since we’ve covered that on the program, and so we’re going to hit it again. You know I’m always apologizing for repeating, and even though people write constantly and say, “keep repeating” I always feel that once I’ve said something, that should settle it.
I read a book again the other night, and I won’t give you the title or contents, because it was a book that was in total opposition to everything that I teach, so it took something to stay with it, but the author proved something to me. He uses one verse of Scripture throughout that whole book, and on some pages he used it four times, now that’s repetition. Over and over he’s coming from only that one verse of Scripture – I mean riding it like a hobby horse. Well I have to look at my own teaching and compared to that, I don’t repeat much at all. But some of these important things we do repeat and here’s one of them, the Abrahamic Covenant. I’ve taught it and taught and taught it, because it is so fundamental to this great Salvation. Now verse 1 of Genesis chapter 12, and remember this is half way between Adam and Christ’s first advent:
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: (which of course will be the land of Canaan.) 2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee: (now here comes the promise on which your Salvation and mine rests) and in thee (Abraham) shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Now I maintain that Abraham had no idea what God had in mind. Abraham had a to wait a long time before he even got his first son, and how can you get a nation until you have a son? But from that one son, Isaac, there came another generation with one son, Jacob, then finally Jacob has the twelve sons, and the twelve sons and their families end up down in Egypt. Then, after the hundreds of years in Egypt, God raises up the next great character in Scripture, in Moses the deliverer. And Moses leads the Nation of Israel out of bondage. And to that Nation of Israel, He now gives the Law. The Mosaic Law was a whole idea of preparing that nation of people for the coming of a Redeemer. But according to the Abrahamic Covenant it was to be more than just a Redeemer, He was also to be a Messiah and a King over an earthly Kingdom.
And all of these things begin to snowball as you come up through human history, leading up to the day when Christ makes that initial appearance to the Nation of Israel. Now come back again to Matthew chapter 4, and we see He started His ministry crying:
“…Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Now come on over to chapter 9, and remember the basis for me doing this. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a Salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord.” Do you see where I’m coming from? Alright then, how did the Lord come? By virtue of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets – and now here He is, and makes His appearance. Now let’s begin with verse 35, and this is the beginning of His earthly ministry, as we call it.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues,…”
How many times have you heard me say it, and I’ll keeping saying it as long as the Lord gives me breath, “When Jesus made His appearance to the Nation of Israel, everything He said and taught was directed to the Nation of Israel and He was under the Law.” And all I ask people to do is just stop and think, did He ever one time tell the disciples or his followers to quit Temple worship. No, never! Did He ever tell them it was no longer necessary to bring sacrifices? Never! And every thing that He taught is in accordance with the Law. Let me give you an example over in chapter 19. Sometimes I start heading for a Scripture, and then I’m not sure I’m going to the right place, but this one I hit right. And this Scripture just confirms what I just told you about Jesus teaching according to the Law. Everything He said, was directed to the Jewish people under the Law, and oh, that’s hard for people to understand. This is a whole different economy than where we are today. We’re not under Law, we’re under Grace, but Jesus ministered under the Law of Moses.
“And behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Is that a good question to the One Who gives eternal life? Absolutely! But look at Jesus’ answer.
“And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, (that is eternal life) keep the commandments.”
Now a lot of people are trying to get to heaven by using that today. I know they are, because I had a lady call once from out on the East coast one Monday morning. And she said, “Les I’m confused, because yesterday morning my preacher preached a sermon from Matthew 19, when the young man came and wanted to know what he must do to receive eternal life, and Jesus said, keep the commandments. Then this morning you said, we’re not under Law, but rather under Grace. So I’m confused.”
I said give me five minutes, and maybe we can straighten out your thinking. So I did what I’ve done in the past few moments, I started with Abraham and just on our phone conversation, brought her all the way up through, and how that we went beyond the cross, and that when Christ was crucified then the Law was crucified with Him, and He arose in resurrection power, and then He revealed to this last apostle, the Apostle Paul, all of these Grace Age revelations, and through that work of the cross the Law has been satisfied and all the sins of the world were laid on Christ, and now we just take it by faith + nothing; it’s all done. Do you know what that dear lady’s answer to all that was? She said, “It’s all so logical isn’t it?”
Yes, it is, if you’ll just see the whole picture. But you see, too many people aren’t seeing the whole picture, they can only see Christ’s earthly ministry. I had a pastor from somewhere down South called just this morning, seeing all this for the first time. He said. “I’ve preached the Four Gospels all my life, but you’ve shown me that’s not where it’s at, it’s in Paul.” I said, “Praise the Lord!” Well I hope we can make the point. Now back to Matthew chapter 9. So Jesus in verse 35:
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, (according to the Law) and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, (which had been promised all the way since Genesis chapter 12. That through the Abrahamic Covenant would come this Kingdom promised to the Nation of Israel. So He was preaching the good news of the Kingdom) and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” Now to show how it was confined to the Nation of Israel, just come across the page to Matthew chapter 10.
“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples,…” Then it names them. You know them, and I don’t have to read them, but then come down to verse 5:
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them,…”
Now when I read this verse to my classes, I always stop to make the point, He doesn’t suggest and say, “Well, maybe you’ll have a little better result if you do this.” No He commanded them, and He’s the Lord of glory, He’s the Creator, He’s the God of this universe, and He had every right in the world to command them, and look what He tells them.
“…and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Do you see how plain that is? He commanded them not to have any thing to do with anybody but Jews. And then verse 7.
“And as ye go, preach, (the same thing He’d been preaching) saying The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
And along with that they were to have the power of healing and miracles and signs and wonders. Now verse 8.
“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses.”
My what a different scenario than what we’re in today, but that was the Gospel that Jesus was proclaiming to the Nation of Israel. Alright, the other one I like to use with regard to that same Gospel of the Kingdom is in Matthew chapter 16. This is all that Paul is referring to, how that at the beginning the Gospel as we understand it, even in our Gospel of Grace, began back here, but it’s a progressive thing. It began with the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophets. It began even further when Jesus appeared to the Nation of Israel, and we’re going to see in a little bit how it goes on into Peter’s preaching in the Book of Acts. Then it’s going to lead to the appearance of that last apostle, the Apostle Paul.
But here in Christ’s earthly ministry, here is what Israel was to have believed under the Law, without giving up anything of the Mosaic system. This was an added requirement of faith. This is toward the end of His earthly ministry, they’re up there in northern Israel, and they’ll be making their way down to Jerusalem for the crucifixion. But look what happens.
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, (the Messiah) the Son of the living God.”
Now listen that’s all they were to believe. That under the Mosaic Law, keeping the commandments, they were to now simply believe this Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God. And that requirement runs all the way through the Four Gospels. Let me take you on to another one over in John’s gospel, chapter 11, and let’s come down to verse 23.
“Jesus saith unto her, (Martha) Thy brother shall rise again. 24. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (now look at her answer. It’s almost identical with Peter’s answer) 27. She saith unto him, Yea Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”
Now isn’t that obvious? This is all the Gospel now that began with the coming of Christ to the Nation of Israel in fulfillment of all those Old Testament prophecies, but now this was their Gospel, and that’s what they had to believe. That He was the Christ, but under the Law. Nobody said anything about no longer keeping the Law. Now let’s go to the Book of Acts, and now look at how Peter approaches it in chapter 3. And how this Gospel just keeps moving on through the earthly ministry, past the death, burial, and resurrection, and now we’re into Peter’s preaching still to the Nation of Israel. Here they’ve just healed the lame man, and Peter comes on down and reminds them again that they denied the Holy One in verse 14.
“But ye denied the Holy One…”
In verse 15 you desired the murderer:
“And killed the Prince of life,…”
But now look at verse 16. Here is the continuation of that Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus began.
“And his name though faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of your all.”
How did that man receive healing, as well no doubt Salvation? By believing that the One Who had been crucified, had risen from the dead, and now it was through faith in that name, that he could receive healing as well as his Salvation.