Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 63
THE PRAYER OF THE REMNANT
ISAIAH 63:7 – 66:24
Okay, good to see this good turnout today. That’s what a beautiful day in Oklahoma helps, doesn’t it? The last time we taped we weren’t that fortunate. But we’re glad to see everybody. We’ve got some visitors back from Minneapolis area, and I’ve got my son and his wife down from Duluth. The cold weather has just driven them south. I guess when you guys left it was about 30 below, wasn’t it? I know it was when Todd and Kim left Duluth. They’re down in sunny and warm Oklahoma today.
For those of you out in television, again, we like to just introduce ourselves as a simple Bible study. We don’t have any axe to grind, we don’t attack anybody, hopefully, and all we attempt to do is let everyone, regardless of their background, just simply see what the Book says. I think it’s having a lot of impact. We’re getting a lot of mail. Like I said, I think in the last taping, hardly ever does anybody give us a hard time. We trust that that’s the reason. We’re not interpreting my own ideas. We’re not hitting any denominational slant, but hopefully just showing what the Word of God says. So again, we want to thank all of you out there for your letters and your prayer support as well as financial. I had a phone call the other day from some outfit and they wanted to know who we use for a fundraiser. I said, “We only have One, and it’s the greatest One in the universe. He always supplies just enough.”
All right, let’s jump in where we left off in our taping. It wasn’t the last program exactly, but at the end of the third program, which would mean there’s one in between this. We jumped ahead to pick up a little of the language which, in turn, sent us on up into the New Testament. We covered the plan of salvation, because it was referring here to Israel being saved and their sin and their shortcomings. We showed how that perfectly agrees with Paul in the book of Romans. But we’re going to come back, now, to where we left off at the end of the third program. We’ll drop in at verse 7.
“I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.” All right, now we have to understand, as we have seen all through the book of Isaiah, that the vast majority of Israel was in an attitude of rebellion and unbelief, but in the midst of rebellious national Israel, there was always a what? A remnant!
It’s always been that way, even before Israel appeared. Probably the best example of a tiny remnant was the flood. Out of the several billion people that were no doubt on the earth, how many were spared? Eight. Now, that’s a mighty small remnant. But that’s the way God has always operated. The vast majority of the human race has no concern. They’re in an attitude of unbelief and rebellion, but it’s upon the remnant that God pours out His love and mercy. All right, now to show you this, let’s come back to Isaiah chapter 1. We’re going to look at several of these verses, now, that deal with the concept of the small percentage of the human race that actually become true believers. Now, that doesn’t mean they’re religious. There are a lot of religious people. But you see, not all religious people are truly believers.
“Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, (Do you see that? Not a large remnant, but rather a small one. If it hadn’t been for that they…) we would have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” But, it was because of that small remnant.
Now, that should immediately make all of you think of another instance of when an Israelite, you probably don’t think of him as such, bargained with God. Where was it? Abraham – over Sodom. You remember that? He said to God, “If there are 50 righteous in Sodom, would you spare it?” God said, “Yes, for the fifty sake, I will spare it.” Abraham said, “How about 45?” God said, “Yes, for 45 I will spare it.” It went all the way down to how many? Ten. For ten God said, “I will spare Sodom and Gomorrah.” So, since He didn’t spare it, what does that tell you? There weren’t even ten. But, this is a whole concept of Scripture, from beginning to end, that God always has that small believing remnant.
All right, now let’s jump all the way up, for example, in the New Testament. We can go to Romans, chapter 11. This is the classic example I’ve used over and over. I never apologize for it, because it is so easy to understand. When Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal up there on Mount Carmel, now remember that’s Elijah, clear back before even Isaiah. That’s about 1000 BC. You all know the story. How Elijah killed the prophets of Baal and then old Queen Jezebel heard about it and said he’d be as dead as they are. What did Elijah do? He ran and he ran and he ran. A marathon ten times over. Finally, he sat down under a juniper tree and in so many words said what? “Take my life, I’m the last one left in Israel.”
What was God’s answer? Well, we pick it up in Romans, as well as in Kings, so let’s just see how Paul puts it, Romans chapter 11 and let’s start at verse 1.
“I say then, Hath God cast away his people?” Boy, now that flies in the face of a lot of Bible teaching and preaching today. They say what? “Yeah, He’s all through with the Jew. They faded away after the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD.” That’s not according to this Book. Paul makes it so plain. He has not cast away His people.
“God Forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.” In His foreknowledge, He knew everything that was going to come to pass. He knew that the Romans would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple, but He also knew that He would always have a remnant.
“Wot ye not (Don’t you know) what the scripture saith of Elijah? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, 3. Lord, they have killed the prophets and digged (or torn) down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.” 4. (But Paul asked the question.) But what saith the answer of God unto Him? (This is what God said to Elijah. Elijah, you’re not the only one.) I have reserved to myself 7000 men,…” Now, if we can call 50/50, there were also 7000 women; that’s 14,000. But, even so, out of a nation of seven or ten million, you’ve heard me say it over and over and over, what was the percentage? One tenth of one percent. One out of a thousand. Now, that’s a small, small remnant, but it’s still the remnant.
All right, now go on up into verse 5, and Paul is speaking from his own day and time in about 60 AD.
“Even so then at this present time also (when he’s writing) there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” In other words, there was a small percentage of Jews that were following Paul’s Gospel, and they were coming into the Body of Christ. In fact, let me just prove that. Keep your hand in Romans and let’s flip over to Galatians chapter 3, starting at verse 26. Now, this is written primarily to Gentiles, of course, but there was a small percentage of Jews embracing Paul’s Gospel. This is how he refers to them.
“For ye are all (No designated race or nationality) the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ (That is by the Holy Spirit, into the Body of Christ, according to I Corinthians 12:13.) have put on Christ. (Now, here’s the verse I was thinking of, verse 28.) There is neither Jew nor Greek, (Gentile) there is neither bond nor free, (or rich or poor) there is neither male nor female: (In the Body of Christ, we’re all the same.) for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
All right, now flip back to Romans 11, again. This is why we can refer to this remnant of Jews who had become believers of Paul’s Gospel, and become members, then, of the Body of Christ.
“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” In other words, they were not coming in under Judaism and the Law and the Prophets, they were coming in under Paul’s Gospel, but it was just a few, a remnant.
All right, now I ran across an interesting point the other night in one of my classes. I don’t remember where it was, but turn with me to I Corinthians. It brought about an interesting point that I’d never really thought of before. I Corinthians chapter 9 verse 22, and this all fits that whole concept for this Age of Grace, not only back in ancient Israel, but in this Age of Grace: God is only expecting the few, not the many, but the few.
I Corinthians 9:22
“To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save (how many?) some.” Now, let’s look what Peter was trying to do? Back up with me to Acts, I think that’s chapter 3. Now, I didn’t intend to do this, so bear with me if I don’t find it. Acts chapter 3, what a difference! Peter is now preaching and appealing to the nation of Israel in hopes of Christ yet returning and setting up the kingdom. That’s what he says up there in verse 20, that if Israel would repent, then God would send Jesus Christ who was preached unto them, but verse 26 sets the criteria. Got it?
“Unto you first (Well, who’s the you? Israel! That’s who he’s preaching to.) God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away (Some?) every one of you from his iniquities.” Now, what does every one mean? Every one! So, Peter wasn’t just looking for a little remnant there. He wants the whole nation to embrace Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, and then God would send Him and set up the Kingdom. But Paul knows better than that, and he doesn’t try to win the whole nation, but reckoning instead that he can only win a small remnant. So, it’s always been.
Now, I can think of another one. Let’s go back to Matthew 24. My, I’ll shoot the whole half-hour before I get out of verse 1! Here’s another remnant, and I’m glad I thought of it just before we went back to Isaiah 63. This is the remnant that’s making the prayer of these verses in Isaiah. This is Israel’s final remnant.
Now, I’ve got to wake people up once in a while with a smile. I hope people don’t mind that. I had a call the other day, and they said, “Les, I admit this is going to be the most stupid question you have ever had. He said, “I told my pastor that I knew it was a stupid question. He wouldn’t even bother to answer, it was so stupid.” This is his question. It will make you smile. “How did the writers of Scripture know when to pick up the red ink pen?” Did you get that? “How did they know to put the words of Jesus in red?” I about cracked up.
This is just a relatively modern day invention to give us the words of Christ in red. The only thing we can ever say, no matter who wrote this Book, they all wrote by inspiration. That brings up another point. I had somebody call, I think it was out in Kentucky, and they had a Bible teacher in their church who said that this Book was nothing more than stories and myths and legends. That maybe here and there was something that was God speaking, but for the most part it was stories. I said, “Listen, you go back and tell that guy that every word of this Book is Holy Spirit inspired.”
You know, I picked this up years ago when I was reading an article. Somebody made the comment that Luke must have been a tremendous diarist in order to have the facts and figures of everything that happened for his gospel account as well as what happened in Paul’s journeys and so forth. No, Luke didn’t have to keep a diary! Luke didn’t have to chase all over the country asking people, “Well, do you remember this situation?” No, Luke wrote how? As the Holy Spirit inspired him to write! Never forget that. Those of you out in television, if you are confronted by someone or other with the idea that there’s less than inspiration in this Book, remember that every Word of this Book was Holy Spirit inspired, even if they did remember the details, that isn’t what they wrote. They wrote what the Holy Spirit inspired them to write. Never forget that.
All right, now we’ll drop back in at Matthew 24 verse 15. These are the words of the Lord Jesus. Remember, Matthew 24 is all Tribulation ground. He starts right off at the beginning of the Tribulation, and how it’s going to open up, but now, by the time we get to the mid-point, he can refer back to Daniel – verse 15 says:
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, (Now, that’s from the words of the Lord Himself – Daniel was a prophet. What does that mean? He was legitimate. He wasn’t just telling tales and legends. He was a prophet inspired of God.) stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)”
Now, we’ve got to go back to Daniel chapter 9. We’ve got to do this quickly, because I didn’t intend to do this, no way, shape, or form. But, evidently it’s what we need to do. Daniel chapter 9, verse 27. This has to do with that 490-year period of prophecy concerning the Nation of Israel. 483 of those years were fulfilled at His first advent and the cross. The other seven have never yet been fulfilled, but as we look at the situation today, those seven years are getting pretty close. We think it’s about to come upon the world. This is the final seven years of that 490-year prophecy from the pen of Daniel. Now, this is the verse that Jesus is referring to in Matthew 24.
“And he (the prince that shall come, the anti-Christ) shall confirm the covenant with many…” Now, I think that includes the whole Arab world with the Nation of Israel. They’ll finally get peace in the Middle East because of this man. But, it’s going to be a supernaturally done thing, because it’s prophecy being fulfilled. God will now be in it.
“… with many for one week: (Or for a seven-year period, it’ll be a seven year peace treaty between the Arab world and Israel.) and in the midst of the week (Now, watch this carefully. At the end of that first three and a half years…) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation (or temple worship) to cease,…” Now, I put this on the program years ago. Here’s the way I put it. Can you stop something that’s never started? Well, no. So when did it start? It started at the beginning of the seven-year treaty.
That’s one of the statements of the treaty. The Arabs will permit Israel to build a temple up on the Temple Mount. Why, you wouldn’t dream of such a thing happening today, but it’s going to! Because, like I say, God is going to supernaturally bring it about. So, the Arab world will permit Israel to build the temple up on the Temple Mount. They’ll re-institute temple worship, everything is ready, remember, over there in Jerusalem. The mannequins are clothed with the cloaks of the priests. They’ve got all the shovels and everything for the altar of sacrifice. They’re all ready to go. So, when this peace treaty is signed and Israel gets the temple, they’ll have it for three and a half years. That’s why Paul writes in I Thessalonians chapter 5, that what will they say? “Peace and Safety.”
Oh, they’re going to think the world has finally arrived. Peace has come to the Middle East, and Israel will be euphoric. After all, they’re going to have permission to once again get up on the Temple Mount. But what happens in the middle, at the end of three and a half years?
“…in the midst of the week he (the anti-Christ) shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations, (He’s going to turn on Israel with the most horrible persecution the Jew has ever experienced.) he shall make it (that is the temple) desolate, even until the consummation (or the end of the seven years) all that determined shall be poured upon the desolator.” All right, now we can flip back to Matthew and probably get a little sense out of it. So, this is what Jesus is referring to – what Daniel the prophet wrote concerning these final seven years. How, in the middle of the seven years, the anti-Christ is going to go into the temple and defile it. Now, this is what he’s referring to.
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation,…” When the anti-Christ will go into that rebuilt temple. Now, it won’t be a fancy Solomon’s Temple. I’m of the impression it’s probably stocked someplace in a warehouse in Jerusalem. It’ll be a prefab. It’ll merely be functional, and they can get with Temple Worship once again.
Now you know, an interesting thing happened in Israel just a couple of weeks ago. They reformed the ancient Sanhedrin. Unheard of! Even the Jews were beside themselves with awe that once again, after hundreds and hundreds of years, they have a Sanhedrin. Some of the Jews were so euphoric that they literally announced to the press that this can only mean one thing – the coming of their Messiah is getting close. Well, if they think the coming of Messiah is getting close, we better agree, because we like to think so, as well. All right, time’s going by, let’s read on – verse 16.
“Then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains: (Now, He goes down and He gives us a cross section of any society.) 17. Let him which is on the housetop (Probably retired folks who have enough that they don’t have to be out there in the fields working every day.) not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” In other words, this is the working class. Now today, of course, that would be scientists and professional people and college people and you name it, not so much agricultural anymore, but all the cross section of the working class are lopped into this one word.
“And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! (those that are nursing) 20. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:” Because, after all, they’re back under the what? They’re back under the Law. The Law stipulated they couldn’t walk but just a short distance on the Sabbath. Well, that wouldn’t even get them out of town. So, all of this falls in place now that this is what I’ve always called them, you’ve seen me put it on the board before, “The escaping remnant.”
Now, we’ve got just enough time, I think, to go back to Zechariah, chapter 13. I think this is the remnant we’ve been talking about in Matthew 24. It’s going to be a little more than one or two percent, it’s going to be one third. One third of the Jews living at the time all this happens will be the remnant. Zechariah chapter 13 and we’ll drop in at verse 8, and if this doesn’t all fit, then I don’t know what does.
“And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third part shall be left therein. (Now what’s going to happen to the third?) 9. And I will bring the third part through the fire, (that is of Tribulation) and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them (or test them) as gold is tried: (tested) they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, it is my people: and they shall say, the LORD is my God.” Now, we’re going to see, in our next program, that this is basically what these prayer type people in Isaiah are saying. That’s why I’m going to try and tie the two together. That this is that Tribulation remnant that Isaiah is foretelling back there in Isaiah chapters 63, 64, 65, and so forth.
All right, this is, I feel, the remnant that Jesus is referring to in Matthew 24. Suddenly, they’re going to get a providential desire to flee the city. One way or another He’s going to gather them together out in the mountains or the deserts or wherever, and they’re going to be protected. They’re going to be saved for all the last three and a half years of torment and tribulation. I feel, I am not saying that this is what the Scripture adamantly says, but I feel, that at the end of that three and a half years, they’re going to witness the return of Christ coming in the clouds of Glory. Every last one of those Jews are going to say what? “There’s my God!” They will suddenly become believers, by believing that Jesus was indeed their Messiah, and that He has now returned to set up the King, the Kingship, and the throne in Jerusalem. That will be this remnant that we’re going to be talking about throughout the closing verses of the book of Isaiah. So, it all fits that they will flee, they will be spared, and God will bring them through it.