Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 53
The Word Complete
Now in our last taping session, I really didn’t intend to take all four lessons just as an introduction to the book of James. And that introduction isn’t just to the Book of James but all of those Jewish epistles that follow the Book of Hebrews – James, Peter and I & II & III John are all basically written to the Jew and that’s why we call them the Jewish epistles, as well as Jude and Revelation.
I told Laura and Iris this morning, I will probably almost drop a bomb in people’s laps today because I’m going to make a statement that I haven’t made before on television.It’s always been in the back of my mind – in fact, if you’ve seen my series on Revelation, you’ll remember that I did not touch on those seven letters to the seven Churches because I was never convinced that that was Church language. There’s not a word of Church language in them and, consequently, I was also never convinced that the Book of Revelation was not written until 95 AD.
Well, I can no longer agree on the date given for Revelation, and you’ll see why in a little bit. We’re going to come back and take a little better look as our introduction continues on. I’m not going to change anything from what we said before but, you remember, the last four programs we had our Old Testament program, and the prophetic timeline coming out of all the Old Testament prophets on the chalk board. And then we have Christ’s earthly ministry, the three years in here before the cross, where we have specified over the years that Christ ministered only to the Nation of Israel with a couple of exceptions, because of the Covenant promises that were given only to Israel. (Romans 15:8)
Then we are introduced to the rejection of His Messiahship. He’s crucified. He goes back to Glory according to Psalms 110 verse 1 to sit at the Father’s right hand “until” His enemies are His footstool, which would be at the end of the seven years of Tribulation.
So here on the chalkboard, if you leave Paul and his message out of the picture (and by doing that you would leave everything from Romans through Hebrews out of the Biblical picture), this is your timeline we have on the board. Looking at it that way, you’re coming through the crucifixion, the ascension, and then the ministry of Peter and the Eleven – and then they were looking for the Tribulation and the Second Coming, and then the Kingdom, in that order. And remember, that’s the way it’s prophesied in Psalms chapter 2, as there is not a mention of this past 2,000 years of the Age of Grace.
And even the Apostle Paul, who begins his ministry back there at about 40 AD, still was looking for even the out-calling of the Church in his lifetime. He had no comprehension until we get to II Timothy that he was going to lose his life by martyrdom and evidently time would go on. All right, so according to most of the chronologers, and I’m taking a little liberty, I’ll admit that, because not every chronologer is year to year in agreement. There’s usually four, five, six years, sometimes more than that, in their differences. And so I’m just taking a more or less average of the chronology. What we find, then, is that the Four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Book of Acts, as well as these little Jewish Epistles of James, I Peter (not II Peter because that was written several years later) and all of these Jewish writings coming on through I & II & III John and Jude, as well as the book of Revelation, were all written in this time frame between 40 and 58 AD, and I’ll show you why in a moment.
By the time that has been pretty much accomplished, then, we have the Apostle Paul and his epistles starting with Thessalonians, the Corinthians, the Galatians, the Roman letter and Hebrews and I Timothy and Titus. And he more or less wrote those in the same period as a lot of those we just mentioned including the Four Gospels and so forth. Paul probably started his earliest letters of Thessalonians probably from about 58 AD, and then he winds up his letters with his prison epistles beginning with Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon (that’s 64 to 68 AD), and then I think at 68 AD we have II Peter and II Timothy. So, here’s where I’m probably going to shock a few people, I think II Timothy is the end of the New Testament writings. That would be the last book written. Now I have to prove that from Scripture don’t I?
Come back with me first and foremost to the Book of Romans. Romans chapter 15 because, even though I may take a little liberty with chronology, I will not take liberty with The Word because that has to be left as it is. In Romans 15 verse 4 is an amazing statement. And I remember when I taught Romans several years ago, I used this verse to indicate that everything that had been written in Old Testament time is what he’s referring to. But now, after these last several years of deliberation and a lot of lost sleep, believe me, I’ve come to a conclusion.
I can show this kind of a time-frame for the Jewish writings, the Four Gospels, and of course Acts is Luke’s account of the activity in that period of time between the ascension and the close of the Scriptural writings. Then you come down to James and I Peter and (I, II, III John) Jude through Revelation, then that completes all of the non-Pauline writings. Now then, look what Paul can say. Since everything else in the New Testament has already been written, now look what the Scripture says:
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime (in other words, before he came into the picture) were written for our (what?) learning,…” And isn’t that exactly what they all are? We never tell people, “They’re inappropriate, don’t read the Old Testament, don’t read the Four Gospels.” we never say that. But, all we do say is that you won’t find Church doctrine in the Old Testament. You won’t find Church salvation in the Old Testament nor in the Four Gospels. Those are only found in Paul’s writings. So this verse is so appropriate – that everything written before Paul begins his writings was written for our learning. It’s background, but you can’t go in there and find salvation, and you can’t find the order of church behavior. That all has to come from Paul.
All right, then, I found another verse just several weeks ago that really put the frosting on the cake and I, just about in exultation, said, “Lord thank you!” because this is what I needed. Turn with me to Colossians chapter 1 and this is going to blow you away, I know it is. But you can’t refute it because it’s what the Book says. And let’s just drop down to verse 25. And I invite you folks with your electronic concordances and so forth and Greek, you just check me out. And here Paul writes:
“Whereof I am made a minister, (that is for the Body’s sake up in verse 24) according to the dispensation of God to which is given to me for you to fulfill the Word of God:” If you happen to have a different translation or if you have a margin, what is a better translation of the word ‘fulfill?’ Who’s got it? Complete! What does complete mean? Just exactly what it says! Now read it in that light.
“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God, which is given to me for you, to fulfil the Word of God;”
One of my Greek definitions went even another step further, ‘to put an end to.’ That says it all. Now you have to stop and analyze a minute then. What did Paul write last of all? II Timothy. Now I hope I’ve got time to do all this because, like I said, I’ve lost a lot of sleep on this particular concept and I want to make sure that I get it across so that people can see where I’m coming from.
All of Scripture, as I’ve pointed out in the last four programs, understood only this one timeline. They had no concept of this 1,000 year Kingdom being pushed out into the future for 2,000 years. Everything was looking forward to the coming of this horrible wrath and vexation, followed by the return of Christ at His Second Coming, and then the Kingdom Age. Now let’s just chase a few of these down. If I don’t finish it in this half-hour, we’ll just pick it up in the next one. Let’s go all the way back to Matthew. We can just start in Matthew 24, and these all are Scriptures that are so obvious, that everything was looking forward to the end of everything, and the coming in of the Kingdom.
Here in Matthew, let’s just look at the last three verses of 23. Now we always have to realize, and never forget, that Jesus of Nazareth WAS God. He never stopped being the Deity. So He knew a lot – in fact He knew it all – but He knew a lot of things that He never revealed. He kept it secret, which was His prerogative. And so you have to understand that, even though He could have given the whole scenario (that this is what’s going to happen and that’s going to happen), he didn’t because of the things that are kept secret. All right, so here in verse 37 we get an inkling that He now sees that Israel is not going to accept the King and the Kingdom, so He says:
“Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, (way back in the Old Testament) and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38. Behold, your house is left unto you (what?) desolate.” That doesn’t sound like a Kingdom, does it? Now verse 39.
“For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till (there is a time coming) ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” According to all of prophecy, when will that happen? Well when the Kingdom begins when Christ returns. See? And so Jesus is indicating now that all of these things that have been prophesied are not going to bring in the Kingdom at that time.
I was so thrilled (I think it was in the article Charles gave me), where the gentleman that wrote the article explained all this just exactly like I do, with not one difference of opinion. In fact, Charles said, “You know, I’d have sworn he copied what you wrote.” No. That wasn’t the case. We’re just simply both reading the same Book. But, anyhow he made it so plain as well, that when Jesus began His earthly ministry (these three years), and as He was proclaiming that He was the fulfillment of all those Old Testament promises, Israel could have had the King and the Kingdom.
That was their prerogative. They could have had the Kingdom at that time. And how many times have you heard me say, “It was a valid offer.” He wasn’t lying. They could have had the King and the Kingdom but they rejected it, which of course God knew they would in foreknowledge. All right, so these Scriptures we just read are where Jesus now is giving us a little indication that He knows what they’re going to do. They are not going to succumb to His offer of the Kingdom, but they’re going to reject Him until the place that they become ‘desolate.’
Now let’s move on into chapter 24, and drop down to verse 3. Here Jesus is sitting on the Mount of Olives speaking to His disciples.
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples (that is the Twelve) came unto him privately, (in other words, there was no press of crowds or anything like that. It was just Jesus and the Twelve in a private meeting.) saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (Ages) 4. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” So now He starts laying out in perfect accord with Revelation chapter 6 all the events of these seven years. Step by step how that these things would unfold. And when you get to verse 15 He says:
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,…” Which is the mid-point of the Tribulation. See, He’s got it all right in a row. All right, so he’s speaking of these days of wrath and vexation shortly following everything that is going to happen with association with His crucifixion and His ascension. All right, now then let’s move on over to Luke chapter 21, because I was just wanting you to see how that all of these, what I call these Jewish Scriptures, are all speaking in full accord with the Old Testament prophecies. And let’s just drop in at verse 20. Now I hope those of you on television will bear with me. I’m not going to be in a great big sweat to hurry up and get through the little letter of James – in fact, like Laura knows only too well, I haven’t looked forward to it with a lot of expectation because James isn’t like Genesis and James isn’t like Revelation; it’s just more or less like Proverbs. James just speaks of practical behavior. So, I’m in no great big hurry to get into the Book of James, but on the other hand I felt this was so imperative that our people understand why these things were written the way they were written. It’s because it’s in the fulfillment of the Old Testament. And it has nothing to do with this period of time that you and I are from – the Church Age. That’s going to be totally set apart and insulated. Here in Luke Jesus is again speaking in His earthly ministry. And He says:
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof (that is, of Jerusalem) is nigh. 21. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. (why?) 22. For these be the days of (what?) vengeance,…” Vengeance. Now, stop and think. How does Psalms chapter 2 put it? “Vexation and wrath.” All the same period of time. So now He says these are going to be days of vengeance.
“…that all things, which are written may be fulfilled. 23. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” And that, of course, will bring in the time of Kingdom, the rule and the reign. All right, now John, in the Gospel of John, speaks almost nothing of those kinds of prophecies so we’re going to go right through John and come on over into Acts. Acts chapter 2 and this is all I want you to see is how all of these letters and writings concerning the Nation of Israel are looking only at the next great event in history, which would be the Tribulation and the return of Christ at His Second Coming. All right, so in chapter 2, and Peter has now stood up on the Day of Pentecost and he tells this crowd who are aghast at the miracles that are taking place…
“For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; (Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled.) 17. And it shall come to pass in the last days,…” In our last session I explained what the ‘last days’ of Scripture were? The last days of Scripture included that period of time from the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry until His Second Coming. That was the ‘last days,’ which was to include not only the crucifixion and the resurrection and ascension, but the coming in of the horrors of the Tribulation and the Second Coming. That was the last days. And over and over Scripture refers to these as the last days. Even Paul will refer to it as the last days.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, (Now remember he’s quoting from the Old Testament book of Joel.) and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; (that was what happened there at the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down) and they shall prophesy: (or speak forth.) 19. And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath;…” See, all of this, so far as Peter was thinking, was right down the pipe. There wasn’t going to be any interruption. All right, here it comes – the Tribulation.
“…blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:” This is exactly how Revelation describes it, see? That is the wrath and vexation. All right, that would usher in the Kingdom and, again, just like Jesus said concerning the hen and her chicks back there in Matthew 23, we have in verse 21 the following:
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Now that is not the same setting of calling on the Lord that Paul is talking about in Romans chapter 10. This is what it would be when Christ would set up His Kingdom. Israel was going to evangelize, you remember, in our last four programs – how that Israel would go out and “ten men of ten nations would take a hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew.’” Remember that?
And “they will tell these Jews that we will go with you for we have heard that God is with you.” And then what? The Gentiles would respond. And how would they respond? They would call on the name of the Lord and they could be saved. Now there’s nothing in here yet of the Age of Grace that has been going on now for 2,000 years. Do you see that? This is all talking about the Kingdom economy, when the Tribulation has run its course. Christ has returned and the world is now ready to recognize Him as their King.