Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 64
BUT GOD – (Kingdom of God)
Again, we like to thank our television audience for your letters and your prayers. My, as I’ve said over and over, our mail time is getting more thrilling all the time. Now, I have to share this with my whole nation-wide audience. The other day, five phone calls in a row were from men. Men are responding to our teaching I think, far more than anybody else, and they all say the same thing. They never had an interest before. A lot of them will say, “I never even went to church, but I caught your program and it has totally changed my life.” That’s the kind of responses we’re getting. So, we just praise the Lord, and for you gentlemen out there, we just say keep it up! Keep sharing the Word as you learn it.
Okay, I think we’re ready to get back into our study of the “But Now’s & But God,” whatever the case may be. All right, Matthew chapter 6 and we’re in Christ’s earthly ministry. If you have a red-letter edition, this is just about all red, the whole page. These are all words of Christ during His earthly ministry. I have stressed over and over and over that Jesus always spoke only to the Jew, with two exceptions, under the Law and with no indication of going to the Gentiles with what we call the Gospel of Grace. It’s just not in here. So, be aware of that as we study the words of the Lord Jesus Himself.
All right Matthew chapter 6, the verse that we want to find (the “But seek”) is verse 33, but let’s go back and see how Jesus builds up to that statement. Let’s go all the way back to verse 28, you can just about jump in on any of these because they’re all dealing with the same thing. Jesus says to His listeners, who are Jews:
“And why take ye thought for raiment? (or what your wear) Consider the lilies of the field, and how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Lilies) 30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, (or it just disappears) shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:)…” Now, if you know how to read, what does that statement right there tell you? He’s talking to Jews! He’s using Gentiles as an outside example. Now, the casual reader will just go right through that and never recognize it. But see, He’s talking to Jews, and He’s using those outside Gentiles as an example of how they are not to be. So He says, “Don’t be like those Gentiles. Be different.”
“(For after all these thing do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father…” Now, the Gentiles couldn’t say that. The Gentiles didn’t call God their Father. The only gods they had were the idols and the pagan, mythological gods and goddesses. They didn’t know the God of the Bible. This all points this out.
“…for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33. But (Now, here it comes, here’s what we’re building up to. Here’s the flipside. But instead of being all concerned about earthly and material and physical things…) seek ye first the kingdom of God,…” Not ONLY, you can’t just live on spiritual things in this old world. You still have to work. You still have to make a living. You have to provide for your family. We’re going to show all this in just a minute. But the order of priorities is what we’re talking about. Your first priority, Jesus says, should be to “seek the kingdom of God.”
Now, I’m going to stop right there, and I don’t know how long I’ll be on this. It’ll be a while. You hear so much today, “We’ve got to fill up the Kingdom. We’ve got to work for the Kingdom.” Well, that’s all okay up to a point. But you see, our number one priority is not the Kingdom of God as Jesus is presenting it to Israel.
Now, I think most of you and most of you even out in my television audience realize that you’ve got two references to kingdoms. One is the Kingdom of Heaven and the other one is the Kingdom of God. I get question after question, so I know that people are concerned about it. Are they both the same or are they different? What’s the deal? Why do we hear the Kingdom of Heaven on one hand and the Kingdom of God on the other?
Well, if I’d have thought of it, I would have brought a chalk with a string on it so I could draw a nice circle on the board, but since I didn’t I’m not going to. So, you’ll have to picture them in your mind. Just draw one large circle on your notepad. We’ll call that the Kingdom of God, because the Kingdom of God is that whole sphere of God’s Sovereignty over which He is in total control, which would include the heavens, the angelic hosts, all believers from day one until the end. Anytime you and I talk about things concerning the Word of God, it’s concerning the Kingdom of God, because it’s under His Sovereign grace and control. And so anytime that we have anything spiritual it pertains to the Kingdom of God. It’s that area where He is in intrinsic Sovereign control.
Now, on the other hand, the Kingdom of Heaven is in that circle that you have now labeled the Kingdom of God. So, draw another circle inside the big one. Here you have the Kingdom of Heaven. Then you can put a third circle over there and we’re going to come to that after awhile called the Body of Christ. Now, it’s the Body that you and I should be concerned about filling up today – not the Kingdom, necessarily. We’re never going to get that filled anyway. But we can work toward the filling of the Body of Christ, which is in the Kingdom of God. It’s part of God’s domain. Of course it is!
But all right, now in order to designate the Kingdom of Heaven, as we see it almost entirely in Matthew, and how the Kingdom of Heaven can sometimes be referred to as the Kingdom of God, because it is; it’s within that sphere of God’s influence. In fact, let me give you an example right here. Keep your hand in Matthew and go to Acts. Let’s go to Acts chapter 1, and I think this can probably explain it as well as anything. Acts chapter 1 and verse 3 – now, this is the Lord Jesus meeting with the Eleven after His resurrection, at the end of the forty days of His being with the Eleven until He will ascend back to Glory.
“…unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3. To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them (That is the Eleven in particular.) forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God:” But all right, what kingdom were the Twelve, or the Eleven, what were they really interested in? The earthly Kingdom of Heaven that Christ was one day going to set up!
All right, so here I think the “Kingdom of God” is a direct reference to the earthly Kingdom of Heaven, even though it’s called the Kingdom of God. Now, why do I think so? Go on over to verse 6 in this same chapter.
“When they therefore were come together, (That is Jesus and the Eleven.) they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Now, what kingdom are they talking about? The earthly Kingdom! That earthly Kingdom that’s been promised ever since, you might say, the call of Abraham. The day that would come when God the Son, the Messiah of Israel, would return to the planet and establish His throne room in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, and He would rule over an earthly, authoritarian Kingdom.
Now, I know that most of Christendom is just blank on this. I had a lady call from Texas yesterday, and she’s been in one of our major denominations, I suppose, most of her life She said, “Les, why, why haven’t we been taught this before?” She said, “I never heard of such a thing until I started watching your program.” I said, “Well, you’re not alone. That’s most of church people.” But this is the whole Biblical concept, that everything is moving to the day when Christ will return, not just to end everything but to establish an earthly kingdom, with flesh and blood people, with animals, kids, children, and homes.
But it’s going to be like Heaven, because Satan is off, and there’s no sin and no death. It’s going to be a glorious earthly Kingdom. Now, that’s the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s in the Kingdom of God, because it’s in God’s Sovereignty. Of course it is. Here is a good example that if you see the term ‘the Kingdom of God,’ look at it in the text in which it is located. Is it talking about the earthly Kingdom, or it is talking about that invisible sphere of God’s influence. It’s not that hard to do. This is a good example.
All right, let’s go back to the Old Testament and see how the concept of this earthly Kingdom begins to unfold. Go back first with me to Daniel chapter 2. I’m going to take my time on this because, like I said, we get so many questions from our television audience about these two Kingdoms. There is so little understanding amongst Christendom of this earthly Kingdom over which Christ will rule and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But the Old Testament is full of that. That’s what Israel was looking for, if they had any understanding of Scripture at all.
Daniel chapter 2 and I might as well start at verse 31. I might as well share with my television audience what I shared with the studio audience. I was contemplating winding up my producing programs with this program, and since it’s at the end of a book, it’d be a good time to stop. Then I mentioned that to a few people and they said, “No way!” So, I’ve decided we’ll keep on going for a while longer. Because, after all, I’m not getting any younger, all of you out in television know that. But anyway, now I’m not going to be in a big sweat. I was trying to wind everything up by the end of this afternoon. But we’ll keep going for a while.
Daniel chapter 2 starting at verse 31 and he’s addressing King Nebuchadnezzar about his dream. Daniel says to Nebuchadnezzar:
“Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. (or a likeness) This great image, whose brightness was excellent, (or frightening, or terrifying) stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible (frightening).” Now, you’ve got to use a little imagination. Nebuchadnezzar sees a huge likeness of a man, probably a military type. All right and now he says in verse 32.
“This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast (his shoulder area) and his arms were of silver, his belly (or his torso) and his thighs of brass. 33. His legs of iron, his feet part iron and part of clay.” Now, have you got the picture? We’ve done this in prophecy more than once. Here Nebuchadnezzar sees this humongous statue in the likeness, like I say, probably of a military figure, with a head of gold, a chest of silver, a belly of brass, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay. There it stood.
Now, we know from the rest of Scripture that it was a prophetic preview of the Gentile Empires that would be coming down history’s pike starting with Nebuchadnezzar in 606 BC, because the Babylonian Empire was the first and then came the Medes and the Persians. Then, they were overrun by the Greeks, and the Greeks in turn were defeated by the Romans. So, here are the four empires, prophetically speaking, and then the feet of iron and clay would be what we’re seeing in Europe tonight, or today, a Revived Roman Empire.
You can tell already from the news how those European nations have a hard time getting along because of all their differences – their ethnic background and their religious differences. So, they’ve come together. I thought last week they were going to have a new constitution, but it’s kind of been set back for a while. But nevertheless, it’s a revived Roman Empire, and that’s the feet of iron and clay.
All right, now here we have Gentile history, coming down from 606 BC up to the time of Christ and beyond when the Roman Empire disappeared. But now, 1900 years later, here it comes back on the scene in the form of the European Community. Now, let’s go on to Verse 34. Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that in his dream he saw this huge image, standing there in front of him, “Until.” I always use that word as a point in time. There would come a point in time when this whole preview of human history would come to an end. And we’re getting there. My, we’re getting there! Closer and closer. All right, now look what happens.
“Thou sawest until that a stone was cut out without hands,…” Now, there’s only one power in earth that can perform something without the use of human hands. Whose power is that? Well, God’s power. Who is the ‘stone’ in all of Scripture? Jesus Christ. All right, so here we have, prophetically speaking then, the coming of Jesus Christ, who is going to literally crush every vestige of these Gentile Empires.
“…stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.”
Now, we’ve taught this all years back, but I’m going to teach it meticulously again. Why does the stone strike the feet? Because that’s the empire that will be operating at His Second Coming. The European Community is coming up, coming up. In fact, somebody wrote and asked me the other day about the Euro dollar. She said, “You said something about it years ago.” And I said, “You bet I did.” And if I wanted to get a little proud, I could say, “See, I told you so.” But I’m not going to do that. But way back when we were teaching Revelation, they were still talking about a Euro dollar, but it hadn’t happened yet. I made the statement, “Now you wait and see. The day will come when it’ll go right on by in value to the American dollar, which is the benchmark for all the world currencies.” I think you all know that much about the market. Every currency in the world is registered according to the dollar.
Well, when they first introduced the Euro dollar a couple of years ago, it started out like 80 cents to a dollar. In other words, if you had a Euro dollar it was only worth 80 cents. Right now the Euro dollar, the last I read, is $1.39. So, what has it done? It’s gone right by the dollar in value. Now, I’m not saying it’ll stay there. It may drop back. But nevertheless, the European Community is being set to be the final Gentile Empire. Not America. Europe.
Now, I read a book the other night where there’s a lot of speculation about why America is never mentioned in prophecy? And this guy agrees with me. You can’t find it. There’s not even a hint of the Western Hemisphere in biblical prophecy. So, that being the case, something is going to have to happen to America so that Europe can be the primary power that the anti-Christ can use. Well, now this guy thought of something that I hadn’t even considered before, and he said, “It’ll be the Rapture.”
Here was his thinking. America has got, by far, more people who will be taken out in the Rapture than any other area of the world. That’s not hard to believe. All right, then he used two different poll figures. One poll I think was by Barna, who is quite reliable, and he comes up with a figure that there are probably around 50 million truly born-again Christians in America today. I think he’s high with that figure, but we’re not going to argue. The other fellow, I don’t remember who that was, came up with where I would come closer, that it’s somewhere between 25 and 30 million that if the Lord would come would be gone. So, this author said that even if you take the lowest figure, can you imagine what would happen to America’s economy if all of a sudden 30 million of us are gone from all walks of life? From the business world. All the house payments that will not be paid. All the car payments that will go defunct. It would devastate our economy in a week’s time.
Now, I don’t have to draw you the picture. If our economy should crash down to where it was in the “thirties,” with our young people as spoiled as they are, what will be the end result? Total revolution. It’ll be a total destruction. Now, I’m not a pessimist. You all know, I’m an optimist, if there ever was one. But I can still see that, prophetically, something like this is going to happen to bring America down to nothing, so that Europe can be the primary power. It has to be.
As we pointed out in our seminar in Tulsa here a few weeks ago, Iraq is not in that list of nations that will invade Israel and be destroyed. Why? Well, God evidently has something special in His program for the little nation of Iraq in the end time that they will not be destroyed with the rest of those Muslim nations in Ezekiel 38, which will be in the early part of the Tribulation. So, there’s something special. And I made the point then that this is probably why America and England were led to go in and do what we’ve done in Iraq. It seems hopeless right now, but I’ll just guarantee, that over time, Iraq is going to come out and blossom and be the main player in the Middle East. It may take a while, but that is what I think is in God’s program.
All right, now I’ve only got a couple of minutes left, so we’d better get back to our text -Daniel chapter 2. So, the Second Coming of Christ will strike the empire that is visible and operating at that time, which will be the revived Roman Empire coming out of Europe and the Mediterranean area. All right, now as that stone, symbolically now, remember this is symbolism, but it’s a literal fact that as that stone strikes the feet, the revived Roman Empire, it is going to crush the iron and the clay. Then, it will go on to the legs and then the brass and then the silver and the gold, in verse 35. In other words, that whole consortium of Gentile Empires that is back on the scene again right now. Iran is Ancient Persia. Syria is in the news every day. The Greek Empire is more or less indicated with some of the other Muslim nations. Then we’ve got, like I said, the revived Roman Empire and then the Babylonian. So, all of these empires are right back in every day’s news again today. So, for the Second Coming of Christ, then, they will all be lined up, and they will be destroyed, one right after the other. All right, so he says, verse 34, reading it again.
“Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 35. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, (That’s all the way up now to the Greek Empire.) the silver, (the Mede Empire) and the gold, (the Ancient Babylonian Empire – they were all…) broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floor; (And what is chaff? It just blows away and disappears.) and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them:” Now, here is the culmination of it all.
“…and the stone (Christ at His Second Coming) that smote the image became a great mountain, (And the word mountain in our Old Testament is a kingdom. So, Christ sets up a kingdom.) and filled the whole earth.” Not just Israel, “the whole earth.”
All right, now flip over a couple of pages, to chapter 7, and we’ve got Daniel having his own vision of the same scenario, but instead of having metals, he has carnivorous animals. But the end result is the same after all these empires have been destroyed. Now, I want to come down quickly to Daniel 7 verse 13 and 14. Because all I’m trying to establish is that there is coming an earthly Kingdom over which Christ will rule and reign.
“I saw in the night visions and, behold, one like the Son of man (and Son is capitalized) came with the clouds of heaven. and came to the Ancient of days, (He comes before the Father) and they brought him near before him. 14. And there was given him (the Son) dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: (Now, look at the rest of the verse.) his dominion (His rule, His Kingship) is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom (is going to be one that) shall not be destroyed.”
Now, the Old Testament doesn’t give us a time frame like the New Testament does, but it is going to be a thousand year reign of Christ.