Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 53
One of our favorite letters that we received contains – “I get my cup of coffee, my Bible and my notebook and sit down and watch Through the Bible.” So again, we like to thank our television audience for your prayers, your help and your letters – my it just makes our day.
Now in the first two lessons today we’ve been introducing the Book of James because it’s been such a controversy I suppose through the ages because, of course, it is so legalistic, with all of its works. And remember, there is nothing in the Book of James that even speaks of the Body of Christ, the Church. Nothing of the power of the Resurrection, as we find in Paul’s writings. But, rather, it’s all Jewish and that’s hard for people to swallow, because so many want this letter and the other little letters following it to be Church letters to make their doctrine fit.
And so, this is what we’re attempting to show – why are these little letters written and what’s their purpose? And as Luther reminded me at break time, always remember who wrote it, to whom was it written, why it was written and so forth. But this is a good example of showing that in this little Book, as you’ve seen in our previous programs, the first verse of chapter 1 of James says:
“…to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” So we know it’s written to Jews. Peter opens his little epistle, “….to those scattered,” which meant that he, too, was writing to the Jews of the dispersion.
So now what we’ve been doing in the last two programs, in case you’re just catching us for the first time in this series, is to show that everything, all the way from the Covenant made with Abraham and the establishment of the Nation of Israel is to bring us up to the place where Israel would be ready for their promised King and his Kingdom. And as soon as that was established, then Israel could evangelize the nations.
Now I haven’t got time to go and repeat all these things all the time, but remember Zechariah said, “And then shall ten men take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew and they will say, We will go with you for we have heard that God is with you.” Well now, that is so obvious, then, that it has to be a scenario where the unbelieving Gentiles are following the Jews to be introduced to their Messiah, their King, the Jehovah of the Old Testament.
Alright now in the last moments of our last program, we jumped on up into Christ’s earthly ministry and we showed then from chapter 9 verse 35 that He went about all the cities of the Nation of Israel, going into their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. Now the word “Gospel,” you know as well as I do, means “the good news.” So the whole thrust of Christ’s three years of earthly ministry was to proclaim to the Nation of Israel the good news, that the King was now in their midst and he’s offering the opportunity to have the Kingdom. And if He would have the Kingdom, then Israel could become the evangelists and bring in the Gentile world. But, what was Israel’s problem? Unbelief, as always before. And so, in unbelief, they didn’t recognize him as the King and instead they said, “Crucify Him. Away with such a fellow.” And one of them said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” You know all those statements. And so they crucified him.
Alright now, you have to realize then that according to my timeline that I had on the board, and I’d better put it back up because every day I have somebody call and they say, “I’ve just caught your program for the first time.” Well, you see if I move on not using the timeline then somebody that catches this the next time won’t have the foggiest notion of what I’m talking about. And so, I think that I’m probably recognized in my program material for the timeline, so we’re going to stay with it. Now, after Abraham’s call to come out from among the pagan city of Ur, and he gets the promises that brought about the Nation of Israel, or the people that are known as the Jews – and for the most part, for those 2,000 years from Abram until Christ’s first coming, it was Jew only.
Now granted, theres always the exceptions, but everything written in the Old Testament concerning prophecy was concerning the Nation of Israel. And as we’ve been seeing now in the last two programs, they were to be a nation of priests. And they were to be a light to the Gentiles. And that one day their Messiah would come and He would be their King, but the Scriptures also foretold His death, burial and resurrection. And that He would ascend back to the Father’s right hand, that’s Psalms 110 verse 1. And then, after an undetermined period of time then would come what Psalms 2 says is the wrath and vexation, describing the seven-year Tribulation period. Now maybe Psalms 2 is a good place to start. Be turning to that as I finish my timeline. Daniel chapter 9 gives us the time frame of this seven years of Tribulation that is yet to come. And then after the wrath and vexation, Christ was to return and set up the Kingdom.
Now I haven’t done that before this afternoon, and maybe I’m remiss – I should have. If you were to take Romans through Philemon out of your New Testament, which are the letters of Paul, and all the Church doctrine, this is what you would have left. If it weren’t for Paul this Old Testament program is the only thing I could teach. These remaining letters are the Old Testament program. Most of you know that. And out of the Old Testament prophecies, we have the Four Gospels, we have Peter and the Eleven preaching in the early chapters of Acts, and they are pleading with Israel because of the wrath to come. And out of that wrath to come would be the return of Christ to set up His Kingdom – which as I pointed out in the last program, when you take these ten or twenty years (between the ascension and His Second Coming), that’s the last days of Scripture. But the writers didn’t know there would be this 2000 years of what we call the Church Age, sandwiched in between. Alright, now you have Psalms chapter 2, right?
“Why do the heathen (the non-Jew people, the Gentiles) rage, and why do the people (Israel) imagine vain things? 2. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers (that is of Israel, the religious rulers) take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed,…” In other words Jew and Gentile connived together to reject the Messiah, the Christ. Now verse 3.
“Let us break their bands asunder, (that is God’s rule and control) and cast away their cords from us.” You see the pronoun there, I always point out, always refers to the Triune God. Now look at verse 4.
“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.” Mans foolishness in rejecting the Anointed One causes the Lord to have a laugh of derision. Now verse 5:
“Then (time word. After they’ve rejected and crucified the Messiah, and the Lord literally laughs at the foolishness of men not wanting Him as their King – then the next event on God’s prophetic calendar is) shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.”
Now I want to take this slow because I’ve read several commentaries in the last year or two where they say everything about Psalms 2 except this. I haven’t read one that shows that this is a prophetic outline of history, but it is. The Messiah would come and He’d be rejected by Jew and Gentile together. And shortly after His rejection would come the wrath and vexation, or what Daniel calls the seventieth week, or what we now call the Tribulation. Then the next verse in Psalms 2 is verse 6:
“Yet (in spite of everything that’s happened, God’s program moves on and what’s the next event?) have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”
So according to Psalms 2 and according to all the prophecies of the Old Testament, what is to follow the seven years of wrath and vexation? The King! “Yet have I set my king on the holy hill of Zion.” And so, according to all the Old Testament prophecies, after Israel has had the Messiah, His three years of earthly ministry, His preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, then was to come the Tribulation, and then the Second Coming and then the Kingdom.
Now with Paul’s letters out of the picture, this would be so easy to understand – that all of it would just come right down the pike. And like I said in the other program, this three years plus probably six or seven, for a total of ten; another seven in here, so somewhere around fifteen or twenty years from His earthly ministry until His return to set up the Kingdom, would just be a few years. So these years right here were the last days. I don’t think you have any trouble seeing that.
Now then, if that is the case, then let’s move on out of Matthew where we have the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom; no let’s stop in chapter 16 briefly because the good news of the Kingdom was actually completely centered on one great fact that they had to believe. And that was, Who is Jesus of Nazareth? Who is He? Well you see, the whole purpose of those three years of ministry and miracle after miracle after miracle was to prove to the Nation of Israel that He was that Messiah. That was the purpose – to validate Who He was.
Now then, Peter and the other Eleven recognized that. You pick that up in Matthew 16. This is Peter’s profession of faith or the fact that he was believing the Gospel of the Kingdom, that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the King of Israel. It’s been a long time since we’ve reviewed some of this so I guess it’s about time, because we’ve got a host of new listeners who have probably missed all of this in the past.
“When Jesus came into the coasts (borders) of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, (The Twelve) saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” In other words, fellas, who do the rank and file of Israel really think I am? Now look at their answer after three years, this is at the end of His ministry. From here they go up to Jerusalem and the crucifixion.
“And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; (Elijah) and others, Jeremias, (Jeremiah,) or one of the prophets.” Isn’t that something? Israel’s unbelief that after three years of miracle after miracle after miracle. Now you’ve got to remember we’ve only got just a little tip of the iceberg recorded in Scripture. Just a tip of the iceberg, because what’s the last verse of the Gospel of John say? “And many other works did He do which if it were written, the world couldn’t hold the books.” Well I’m sure that’s a play on words, but nevertheless the whole impression is that His miracle working was far beyond what’s recorded in the Four Gospels and yet they could not believe Who He was, except a few.
“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” Are you going to tell me you think I’m John the Baptist? Are you going to tell me I’m Jeremiah? Who am I? Now here comes Peter’s profession of faith. This is the basis of Peter’s salvation, or all the other Jews that believe in His Messiahship, or His name, or believe the Gospel of the Kingdom – this was the root of it.
“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, (the Messiah, the Anointed One) the Son of the living God.” Period! Now let me read it the way most people think it should be read: “Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God Who died for me, Who arose from the dead and I have repented and have been baptized.” No, it doesn’t say that. All Peter believed was that Jesus was the Christ. There is not a word about believing in His death, burial, and resurrection as required in Paul’s Gospel for the Church Age. And it wasn’t required of him. All they were to believe was, Who am I? And when Peter said, “You’re the Christ,” Jesus was satisfied. In fact, He commends him in the next verse and He says:
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
Alright now let’s flip up through the Four Gospels and let’s come past the crucifixion, of course, which had to happen – it was prophesied. And then, when you come to Acts – and Peter now is preaching on the Day of Pentecost, again nothing has changed. It’s just an extension of all the Old Testament prophecies except now they have fulfilled the rejection, and Christ’s resurrection and the ascension, but other than that everything is still based on the Old Testament promises that God the Son is going to be the King of Israel. And He’s going to rule from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem.
Alright now let’s slip into Acts chapter 2, the Day of Pentecost. God the Son has gone back to Heaven. God the Spirit has come down and has manifested himself, but now look what Peter says in verse 22. Now this is just again the skimming, I’m not hitting half of the details, but here we are on the Day of Pentecost. The Jews gathered from every nation under heaven for these feast days. The Temple is still operating, remember and Peter says:
“Ye men of Israel, (how many Gentiles are in there? Not a one! How some can think this is Church language is beyond me.) hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, (for three years) which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23. Him, (speaking of the Messiah)being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,…,” God wasn’t taken by surprise when they rejected Him. This was all in the blueprint before even the creation.
“…ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: (or killed) 24. Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” (or held by it)
Any reference to Israel’s salvation yet? NO! It’s not tied to His death, burial and resurrection. So now Peter was going to go back into the Psalms, back into prophecy to show that all the way back here, from David especially, one thousand years BC, David prophesied without understanding of course, what he was writing – but David prophesied that the Messiah would be put to death, He would be buried, death couldn’t hold Him, He’d be raised from the dead. And in Psalms 110:1 shows so graphically that He would ascend back to the Father’s right hand. You all know Psalms 110:1 “The Lord said unto my Lord, come sit at my right hand until (time word) I make your enemies your footstool.” Well when will that be? The end of the Tribulation when God will have destroyed the enemy and then He will set up His kingdom.
Alright, so Peter now is showing from the Psalms that everything that has just happened in these last few weeks was fulfillment of prophecy. Not a word about being a salvation for the Nation of Israel. Now you come on down to verse 32:
“This Jesus (who has been crucified, buried and resurrected and ascended back to glory) hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”
Now goodness sakes, just be logical. Jesus and the Twelve, on top of everything that the prophets had been writing, is talking about a Kingship and a Kingdom – and now all of a sudden the nation has recognized that He’s been put to death; in order for that King and that Kingdom to still be fulfilled, logic tells us, what had to happen to the One they killed? Well, He had to be brought back to life; how else could He fulfill the prophecies? And this is what Peter is proving. Yes, you killed Him but God raised Him from the dead, the Kingdom is still valid. It’s still a valid promise. Alright now with that thought in mind, read on.
“Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, (I just quoted Psalms 110:1) and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” The evidence of the Holy Spirit coming down. Verse 34:
“For David is not ascended into the heavens; but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my LORD, (now he’s quoting Psalms 110 verse 1) Sit thou on my right hand, 35. Until…”Now every Jew knew that word “until” was a time word. That after He had sat at the Father’s right hand for a given period of time, He would yet be returning to set up the Kingdom. But according to the Old Testament timeline, how long would it be? Just a few years. Just a few years and He’d be coming right back and establishing the Kingdom. Now remember, I’m taking Paul writings to the Church out of the picture for all this. Now read on:
“Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36. Therefore…” Now whenever you see a “therefore” what do you do? You realize what it’s there for. Because of everything He has just said. That yes, you killed the Messiah, but God raised Him from the dead. He’s up there at the Father’s right hand waiting for the day when He will defeat His enemies and He will return, and you’re yet going to have the Kingdom. That’s Peter’s message. But in order for Israel to enjoy the Messiah and His Kingdom, what did they have to do with the spiritual side? Verse 38:
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent,…” Well now, of what? Having killed and rejected the Messiah. That’s obvious. It was a horrible national sin for Israel to have rejected their promised Messiah. So what did they have to do? They had to repent of it and that’s the message. Repent is the message!
“Then Peter said unto them, (Israel) Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,…” Well, this was a national thing concerning Israel, that they were to repent of having crucified the Messiah Who was now alive and well at the Father’s right hand waiting for the day when He could yet return and give the Nation of Israel her King.
Alright so the admonition for the Jew of Peter’s Pentecostal audience was repent and be baptized. Now wait a minute. Who was the first one that preached that to Israel? John the Baptist! Same thing. The only thing then that they had to repent of was their national sins, of the typical sins of the flesh, adultery, greed, and the various other sins that the Law forbade and of which Israel was guilty. They were to repent of all that and get right spiritually, so that they could have the King and the Kingdom. But they also had to bring about the fulfillment of the prophecies, so they rejected Him, Christ was crucified. But now God still comes back and He’s offering the nation a second opportunity of repentance. “Repent,” Peter says.
Now of course, the major sin is having crucified their Messiah. So he says “Repent” and just like John the Baptist, show that repentance with water baptism – no doubt about it, this is water baptism. “And then they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And, of course, we know that many of them did. Also remember this is still all Israel, so you can never confuse this with the Body of Church that the Apostle Paul shares with us in the Gentile Age of Grace.
Alright, now then, slip over into chapter 3 and if you think I’m pulling your leg when I say that Israel was still being promised the prospect of Christ immediately coming back after the Tribulation had run it’s course (which would be a matter of seven years), and set up His kingdom, then you can’t read Acts chapter 3, because it’s plain as day. Okay, chapter 3 verse 12. They have just healed the lame man much like they did in Christ’s earthly ministry. Nothing has changed, or nothing all that much has changed. And they’re still performing these kinds of miracles and the Jewish leaders are still confounded.
“And when Peter saw it, (the healing of the lame man’s wandering) he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, (how many Gentiles? Not a one!) why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we made this man to walk? 13. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, (see how Jewish this is? There are no Gentiles in here) hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, (One) and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;” Now verse 15.
“And killed the Prince of life,…”
Now look at the last half of verse 15. Even though Israel killed Him, what did God do? He raised Him up again. Israel isn’t going to stop God’s program.
“…whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.” Any hint of salvation based on His death, burial, and resurrection? Not a word. There’s no salvation attached to that death, burial and resurrection. It’s just a fact for Israel to understand that even though they killed the King, God raised Him from the dead and He is still able to be their King. Now, I’ve got to move on quickly to verses 19 and 20.
“Repent ye therefore, (again of having killed their Messiah) and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing (what would that be? The Kingdom!)shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20. And he shall send Jesus Christ,…”
For what purpose? To be the King. See how simple all that is? Israel is told to repent and God will yet send His Son to be their King.