Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 65
BUT GOD! – (The Body of Christ) – PART 3
Matthew 6:33 and Various Other Scriptures
In case you’re a new listener, I’d like to share that we’re just an informal Bible study. The whole purpose of our teaching is to get folks to enjoy their Bible, be able to understand what they read, and learn how to study it on their own. I don’t want anybody to go and say, “Well, this is what Les Feldick says.” That doesn’t count. What does the Book say, that’s my favorite thing to hear – What does the Book say is all that counts!
All right, we’ve been, for the last several programs at least, talking about the Kingdom of God. We came out of that verse in Matthew chapter 6 where Jesus said, “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God,…” From that we showed what the Kingdom of God involved, with the big circle and the two smaller circles inside it. Then we taught several programs showing the Kingdom of Heaven as being one of the smaller circles. Now, we’re moving over to the other circle, the Body of Christ and how it came about.
There is, indeed, a parenthetical period of time where God has opened up the timeline, as we usually put it on the board. We’re proving, now, that there were instances in Scripture that indicated that that’s exactly what would happen.
I quoted somebody that ridiculed that there was nothing in Scripture to indicate any kind of a parenthetical period of time. Well, we showed you the one from the Island of Cyprus where Paul put blindness on the opposing Jew and how that represented how the Nation of Israel was blinded. Then, in Acts chapter 15 the tabernacle of David was fallen down, and while it is fallen down God is going to call out a group of Gentiles for His name which is the Body of Christ, which, we feel, is coming to completion in the near future.
Now, I’ve got one parenthetical period left, and that’s what I call the beauty of my line of teaching. I don’t have to completely start with something different – we’ll just keep right on going. Now, let’s go to Romans chapter 11 and we have another instance that is so obvious. This timeline is going to be opened up for a period of time, it will end, and then God will pick up where He left off with Israel. Romans chapter 11 and drop down to verse 25, where Paul writes:
“For I would not, brethren that ye should be ignorant (Or completely unaware) of this mystery,…” Now, we’re going to be looking at that word mystery quite a bit in the programs to come. It is translated in other places as secret – things that had never been revealed before, until it was given to this apostle.
“…ye should not be ignorant of this mystery, (Or, this secret that’s never been revealed before.) lest ye should be wise in your own conceits;…” Now, you know what that means. That’s just another way of saying that you’re so puffed up and think you know it all, but you know nothing. That’s what it really amounts to, and that’s where so many people are. They think they know it all, and they know nothing. All right, here’s what God has now revealed to Paul that has never been indicated before, except that little tidbit back in Amos that the tabernacle of David would be fallen down. But now Paul puts it in a little different language, and here it is.
“…that blindness (spiritual blindness) in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” Now, that’s the same word that we found back in Acts, when he put the blindness on the false prophet in Cyprus, and he was blinded for a season. Well, it’s the same connotation here, that blindness has happened to the nation of Israel, not forever, not from here on into eternity, but only for a period of time.
Now, Paul had no idea how long it was going to be, of course, but here’s what he had revealed, that blindness, a spiritual blindness for a period of time, has happened to Israel, the nation. What are the next words? “Until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” What’s the fullness of the Gentiles? The Body of Christ. So, when the Body of Christ, this out calling of Gentiles, is complete, then God takes it out of the way in the Rapture. Then He can pick up where He left off with Israel.
Now, it’s so easy to understand, in that light, that it’s getting closer every day. As the Body of Christ is filling up, there’s another phenomenon that I always tie together, and for this we go back to Luke chapter 21. They have almost been working as parallel railroad tracks. While God is calling out the Gentiles, a people for His name, and filling up the Body of Christ, there is another phenomenon that’s building over the same amount of time. Luke refers to it in chapter 21 verse 24 as “the times of the Gentiles.” Not the fullness as Paul says, but the times.
All right, Luke 21, let’s start at verse 20. We’ve got time enough. Again, this is Tribulation ground, just like Matthew 24.
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them who are in the midst of it (that is Jerusalem) depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into. 22. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23. But woe unto them that are with child, (Now, this is almost the same language that Jesus spoke in Matthew 24.) and to them that give suck (are nursing) 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:…” Now, I’ll have to back up! This is really a reference to 70 AD. This is NOT the Tribulation. I’m sorry. Matthew 24 is Tribulation. This is 70 AD and the key is that at the end of the Tribulation the Jews aren’t dispersed into all the nations. They are, as we teach today, home free for the rest of time. But here, Jesus is speaking of 70 AD when, indeed, the same kind of things took place. Jerusalem is overrun, but the key here that this is not Tribulation is that He’s speaking of them in dispersion into all the nations. But now, here’s the one we were looking for.
“…and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Jerusalem was trodden down by the Gentiles in the beginning, of course, in 606 BC when Nebuchadnezzar did the same thing – destroyed Jerusalem. The Gentiles have been lording over the Jewish people ever since. All right, so that’s called the “times of the Gentiles.” Jerusalem will continue to be under the boot of the Gentile world, “until.” There’s that time word again. It’s going to come to an end, and when will it end? When these “times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled.” Then, here comes the Tribulation.
“And then there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring. (Now, these are all signs of the end, remember.) 26. Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. (And now here comes the Second Coming.) 27. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up you heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
But dropping back up to verse 24, now. These times of the Gentiles, beginning with 606 BC and Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem, are when the Jewish people and Jerusalem especially would be under the Gentile boot until Christ returns. The times of the Gentiles are signified by the increase in wickedness and rebelliousness and ungodliness and all the things that pertain to the end-time scenario. So, as God is calling out the righteous, the Body of Christ, we have the other element, the ungodliness and the wickedness of the world coming at the same rate of speed, so that they both level out about the same time. That’s why we can teach that as we see the signs of this end, we also know that the Body of Christ is nearly full. They’ll coincide, and when the Body is full and we’re out of here, in come these final seven years of wrath and vengeance and the return of Christ to set up His Kingdom.
All right, now let me take you back to Romans 11, once more, to show how this is a prophetic indication that there would be a break in God’s timeline. He will open it up, for now 1900 and some years. Israel has been out in dispersion, but now she’s back in the land, and everything is being set for the end-time Second Coming of Christ, and at the same time the Body of Christ is filling up. All right, let’s read Romans 11:25 once more, before we go on.
“For I would not brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (This secret that has never been revealed before.) lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; (Here it is.) that (spiritual) blindness in part (for a period of time) is happened to Israel, (The nation. Now, that doesn’t mean an individual Jew can’t be saved, and they are. But the Nation, nationally speaking, is spiritually blind, and they will stay blind.) until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” Which is the filling up or fullness of the Body of Christ. All right, now I want to go to Ephesians chapter 3. We might as well start at verse 1.
“For this cause (In other words, what he has written in the first two chapters, of course.) I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.” Now, that’s why in Romans chapter 11 verse 13, what does he say? “Inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.” He knew that was his role in God’s program, that the Apostle Paul would be God’s spokesman to the Gentiles.
Now, let’s stop and think a minute. Most of our preaching and most of our teaching and most of our Sunday School and everything like that are in the four Gospels. Why? Because that’s what Jesus said! Most of it is in red. Well, that’s all well and good, and we’re not going to take anything away from who He was. He is the God of Creation! He is the Almighty! No doubt about it! But everything that Jesus said back there in the four Gospels was before the cross, for the most part, and still under the Law. So, everything He said has a law-keeping connotation to it. And that doesn’t fit for us in the Body of Christ.
But, when He now opens up this Age of Grace, He isn’t down here ministering to us like He did to Israel, but He has a designated spokesman and to that spokesman, the Apostle Paul, He has revealed everything that you and I need to know in this Age of Grace. Everything! Consequently, I’ll tell people that call, “Okay, if something in the Old Testament is in accordance with what Paul writes, use it. No problem. But if it flies in the face of what Paul says, you go by what Paul says, because this is Jesus Christ speaking on this side of the cross! Even though it’s not in red letters like it was in His earthly ministry, it’s the same Christ speaking through the Apostle of the Gentiles.” That’s why I make no apology for holding up the Apostle Paul, because he IS God’s spokesman for us today!
People can’t get it through their head that this is where it has to come from. That’s why I like that little tract I mentioned in the last program by William R. Newell, one of the great Bible teachers in the 20’s and 30’s. He makes it so plain that if a preacher isn’t Pauline, then don’t listen to him. I’ve told people when they call and say, “Well, Les, how can I find a good church?” This is what I tell them. Find the yellow pages. Find churches. Just go down the list. Call the preacher in his office and ask him “Are you Pauline?” If he doesn’t know what you’re talking about, say, “Well, thank you,” and hang up, because if he knows what you’re talking about, he’ll answer in the affirmative. He’ll say, “Absolutely I am!” If he isn’t, you don’t have to go there.
Because this is where it’s at, and then William R. Newell makes the statement, I said it in the last program, he said, “I don’t care how fluent a speaker. I don’t care how strong a preacher. If he’s not Pauline, he’s out in left field.” Well, I agree 100%, because Paul is singularly the Apostle of the Gentiles. Okay, now, Ephesians 3 verse 2, where he now writes:
“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God…” What’s that? Well, a whole new set of directions. You know, the best way I like to explain a dispensation, and there are various ways, but the one I like to use for practical explanation, is that when your doctor gives you a prescription and you take it to your pharmacist, he or she fills the prescription. But along with your prescription you get a set of what? Rules or instructions.
Now, you can’t take those pills home and put them in the medicine cabinet and then tomorrow look at the directions on another medication but take this one. You’re in trouble, aren’t you? You’re in trouble. That medication may say take three a day. This one over here may say take one. Well, you take three of this one and you’re in trouble, or visa versa. All right, now it’s the same way with dispensational teaching in Scripture. What God told Israel in the dispensation of Law is a whole different set of directions from what Paul gives us in the dispensation of Grace.
I think it was Dr. Ryrie of Dallas Theological Seminary, and I think it’s in one of his footnotes, at least I read it someplace. I hope I’m not putting credit in the wrong place. He used this analogy, and, of course, he was at that time a professor down at the seminary in Dallas. He said, “Naturally, we as a seminary, a college, put out a catalog for every year of school. And in that catalog you have the various courses that are being offered.” Now he said, “It wouldn’t do a nickels worth of good for us to send out a catalog for 1990 for someone going to school in 2005.” Well, that stands to reason. Why? Because everything has changed since 1990 to 2005. So, you go by this catalog. Well, that’s just another illustration that you can’t go back into the four Gospels, which are under Law, and build doctrine, because that’s like using a college catalog from ten years back.
I can use another one. You make out a will and you’ve got all the details. You’ve got all the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted and everything signed like it’s supposed to be, but five years later you make out a new will. You put it in your safe deposit box, and you die. Well, they go through your safe deposit box and they pull it out and say, “Well, here are two wills.” Well, now you’re all smart enough, I don’t have to tell you, which one are they going to use? Well, the last one. The first one is no account, because it’s been overridden by a second one.
Well, it’s the same way with Scripture. Law has been done away with. It’s a will that is no longer valid. So, where do we go? We go to the one that’s valid. And what is it? All right, you got verse 2?
“If you have heard of the dispensation of the Grace of God, which is given to me to you.” Now, do you need it any plainer than that? Well, let’s just repeat for emphasis. Keep your hand in Ephesians, I’m not through here. Come over to Colossians chapter 1. I guess I can spend the rest of the half-hour right here. This is a good place. Colossians chapter 1, because, now don’t lose me. We’re now showing the Body of Christ, which also is in the Kingdom of God. So, when we speak of being in the Kingdom, it’s really not appropriate, and yet, to a degree, it is, because when you’re a member of the Body of Christ, you’re a member of God’s Kingdom. But to be definitive, we should identify it as the Body of Christ.
All right, let’s start at verse 15. These are verses, again, that we have used many, many times. But I don’t think I can do it enough. Here we have the establishment that God the Son, Jesus of Nazareth, was the Creator of everything! Now, I just told somebody this afternoon, the first mark of a cult, and the easiest to determine, is – do they recognize Christ as God? They don’t. Cults, for the most part, in fact all that I know about, that’s the first red flag, they do not recognize Jesus Christ as God. They will put it in some other way. He’s either a prophet, or He’s this or that. But He’s not from eternity past. He’s a created being, whatever. That’s the first mark of a cult – that Jesus Christ was not the Creator, Eternal, from eternity past to eternity future, the Eternal God.
All right, now look at what it says in Colossians chapter 1. Let’s go up to verse 13 so we make sure that we know who Paul is talking about. Colossians 1 verse 13:
“Who (speaking of God the Father in verse 12) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” All right, now I’m glad I mentioned it. When we’re a member of the Body of Christ, we’re a member of what? The Kingdom of God. Absolutely! But the smaller part of it is, we’re in the Body of Christ. That’s more definitive.
“In whom (the Son) we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” Now goodness sakes, there’s only been one person of the Godhead that shed His blood for mankind, and it’s God the Son, Jesus of Nazareth. Okay? Now verse 15.
“Who (God the Son) is the image (or the visible appearance) of the invisible God. the firstborn of every creature:” Now, I just had to explain to someone in the last day or two, that up until Christ became humanity at Bethlehem, He was part of a Three Person, Invisible Godhead, in the realm of the spiritual. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit were invisible. But at Bethlehem, God the Son took on the manifestation of visibility. He took on flesh.
All right, that’s what Paul is telling us, that God the Son is the “…image (visible appearance) of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.” Or before anything else was ever on the scene.
“For by him (God the Son) were all things created,…” Now, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that! Theologians a lot of time can’t, but you can! Well, I don’t have much time for a lot them, I’ll admit it.
I read some of their stuff to Iris and I say, “Honey, listen to this. Listen to what this guy with all these degrees writes. It’s ridiculous!” But here it is as plain as English can make it that “by God the Son were all things created,”
“…that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”That takes in everything that you could ever comprehend. His creations are for His joy. They’re for whatever purpose He wants for Himself. He has every right to do it.
“And he is before all things, (In other words, He came out of eternity past, in that invisible Godhead, right along with the Father and the Spirit. They were all three in eternity past.) and by him (What?) all things consist.” Or are held together. Why doesn’t the universe just explode? God the Son has got His control on it. All right, verse 18, here it comes now. Now, this is language you won’t find in the four Gospels, not even a hint of it. So, you’ve got to come to Paul if you really want to know where you’re at in this world.
“And He is the head of (What?) the body, the church:…” This other circle. Not the King of it, like He is in the Kingdom. He’s the head of it, which means it’s a physical connection in a spiritual realm. But nevertheless, just like our head is part of our body, Christ is the head of this out-called Body of Christ. All right, read on:
“…who is the beginning, (from eternity past) the firstborn from the dead;…” Speaking of His resurrection. He is the first that was ever resurrected from the dead. Now, I always make that point when you speak of people being raised from the dead in the Old Testament. I think that when Elijah raised the widow’s son, that wasn’t resurrection. They merely were called back to life, and they died again. Lazarus was not a resurrection. Jesus called him back to life, but he died again. But Jesus Christ is the first and only One to have been resurrected, never to die again. That’s our Gospel – that Christ died for us, He was buried, and rose from the dead. This is what we must believe for salvation, as we see in I Corinthians 15:1-4
“…that in all things he might have the preeminence. (In other words, He’s above everything as the Creator. And because he was obedient to the cross:) 19. For it pleased the Father that in him should all (What?) fullness dwell;” Now, if God the Father has put His total approval upon the work of the Son, who is man to say, “I don’t believe it?”