Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 66
BUT GOD! (Confirming the Promises) – Part 4
MATTHEW 16:15 – But whom say ye that I am?
Again, for those of you out in television, we want to thank you for your prayers and your letters of comfort. I mean, they are just a thrill to read. 99 out of 100 are so thrilling and show that the Lord is opening His Word and hearts. That’s all we really want to do. So, how else can I put it but that we thank you out there.
Well, let’s buy up the time and get back into God’s Word. I think that in this half-hour we’ll just continue where we’ve been all afternoon. I didn’t intend to do this. I thought I’d be on another ‘But Now’ by now. But this is too important to leave hanging by a thread, so I’m going to stay with it through this next half-hour. We are showing how Peter had an understanding, when he made his profession of faith back there in Matthew chapter 16 at the end of the three years of earthly ministry, when he said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter knew that Christ fulfilled all of these promises that God had made to the Nation of Israel concerning this coming King and Kingdom, and that He’d be a Redeemer as well as Messiah.
All right, now Israel rejected Him, according to God’s Divine purposes, and God raised Him from the dead and called Him back to glory. Now the Twelve are left in a dilemma, they don’t know how long until He will return and bring in this glorious earthly Kingdom. They’re still hoping and they have this hope because He’s alive! He’s not in the tomb, He’s alive, and He is at the Father’s right hand. According to Psalms 110 verse 1, when He had all of His enemies like a footstool, which would come at the end of the Tribulation, He would return. And when He returns, He would bring in this glorious Kingdom.
Of course, I think these men had the idea that it was still going to be in their lifetime, until they got nearly to the end. Now we know that Jesus implied that Peter would suffer death, but you know, we’re all prone to put these bad things aside. We just sort of forget about them, and I think Peter was the same way. He’d forgotten all about that until he got to the end of his life, and he suddenly realized that Christ was not coming in his lifetime, and that he would be a martyr instead.
But, let’s pick him up again in Acts chapter 2, and Peter is fired up that the hope of Israel is the return of their crucified, resurrected Messiah, but he doesn’t associate one iota of salvation to it. And that’s what I want people to see. Just watch the language. He does not say that by believing in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ they would have a salvation experience, as is the requirement for us today in this Age of Grace. It was only by believing who He was. That was the crux of the Kingdom Gospel, to believe that Jesus was the Christ. The Law and everything is still in place.
There is not a word, not a word, that they were to stop temple worship. Not a word that they were to stop keeping the Jewish laws of food and what have you. Not a word that they were to stop Saturday Sabbath keeping at the Synagogue. So be aware of that. It’s just not in here.
All right, so we were down to about verse 24 of Acts chapter 2 in our last half-hour. Let’s move on to verse 25 and see how Peter is referring his readers constantly back to the Old Testament prophets, because like Paul said, He, Christ, was the minister to the Nation of Israel, to fulfill the promises made to the fathers. And Peter is honing in on this. He’s reminding them that this is all as a result of fulfilled prophecy.
“For David (in the Psalms) speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26. Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27. (He’s quoting, literally, the Lord Jesus Himself in His death and burial, and so He says…) Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,…” That was the paradise side. Remember that Luke shows us torment on one side, paradise on the other. Jesus did not go into the flames of torment like some teach. He went into the paradise side. I always tell people, what did Jesus tell the thief on the cross? Today thou shall be with me in the flames of hell? Did He? No. That’s what some teach you know. Famous people are saying that. No. He said, “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.”
Paul makes it so plain in Ephesians, “but what is it that he descended first and then ascended up, taking captivity captive.” He didn’t go into the lost realms of hell. He went into the paradise side of that area called Hell, or Hades, and took those believing Old Testament saints with him up into paradise, which is now in Heaven. All right, so he says again:
“Thou will not leave my soul in hell, (in the paradise side) neither wilt thou suffer (permit) thine Holy One to see corruption.” His body never had one iota of corruption in those three days. Not a bit. All right, now verse 28, it’s still from the pen of David, but remember, he’s putting the words of the Lord Jesus Himself in prophetic form.
“Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.” Now verse 29, Peter comes back to the reality of his own day, and he says:
“Men and brethren, (fellow Jews) let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day.” David was not raised and gone up to glory. He was speaking of the Christ. All right, now verse 30:
“Therefore being a prophet,…” Now most people don’t usually speak of David as a prophecy writer, but he was. He wrote a lot of prophecy. Especially concerning the crucifixion. Psalms 22 is graphic, we’ve used it on the program.
“…and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;” All right, now in a few words, what’s that telling us? The House of David, that royal lineage that began with King David and came all the way down to Christ’s birth at Bethlehem, this was all in the promises made to David, out of the fruit of his loins, out of his genealogy, the Christ would come.
I always use two lines, because you’re got the genealogy of Joseph, His legal father on one side, and you’ve got the genealogy of Mary on the other side, and they culminate with the birth of Christ. That’s the House of David coming to fulfillment. All right, that’s what Peter is showing. It was all prophesied that beginning with David’s bloodlines Christ would come on the scene and would one day sit on David’s throne. Now verse 31, if you think I’m pulling your leg.
“He seeing this before spake of (What?) the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, (again in the paradise side of hell) neither did his flesh see corruption. 32. This Jesus (this Messiah, this Son of God) hath God raised up (from the dead), whereof we are all witnesses. 33. Therefore (Peter says) being by the right hand of God (Not on God’s throne) exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, (On this day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit has come down.) which ye now see and hear.” Now he comes back to David again. He says:
“For David is not ascended into the heavens: (David’s remains are still in the tomb.) but he saith himself, the LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, 35. Until…” I always make the point, that’s a time word. He’s going to sit at the Father’s right hand until it’s time to return to planet earth. That won’t happen until He has defeated all of His enemies, which will take place, of course, in the seven years of Tribulation.
Until I make they foes thy footstool. (That’s Psalms 110 verse 1.) 36. Therefore (Again, watch the language.) let all the house of Israel…” Now, that’s a double-barreled statement. How many people today are still teaching that there are only two tribes of Israel left? That the ten were lost and disappeared?
Well, then Peter could not say “the whole House of Israel,” that’s only two-tenths. But they are all here. In fact, I told one of my callers the other day, I’d risk my whole ranch – cattle, machinery, the whole shebang – on the fact that I think all twelve tribes are already represented in Israel, right now today. I think we’re that close to the end. When the two witnesses appear and it’s time to choose 144,000 young Jewish men, twelve thousand from every one of the twelve tribes, I think they’re all ready to go.
Now, that’s my own take. That’s all it’s worth. But ten tribes did not disappear. They had all been migrating down into Judah over the years. Yes, what was left the Syrians took captive, but that was only a small remnant of the whole. The rest were already back down in the environs of the temple and Jerusalem and the two tribes. So, when the Babylonian captivity came in, all twelve tribes were represented.
When you read Ezra and Nehemiah, it’s so obvious that when they came back to Jerusalem, all twelve tribes were represented. So, don’t believe this garbage that ten tribes are gone and there’s only two left. Then this whole Book would fall apart, because Revelation says as plain as day that there has to be twelve thousand from each one of the twelve tribes. Well, that can’t happen if ten of them are gone! Now back to verse 36, the whole House of Israel, every Tribe represented.
“Therefore let the whole house of Israel (How many Gentiles? Not a one. He doesn’t include a Gentile. This is a Jewish message.) know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now remember, the word Christ is what again? Messiah. He doesn’t stop the potential of being the Messiah of Israel. The crucifixion was something that God pre-planned for the salvation of mankind. But it didn’t affect His Messiahship. Peter is not recognizing anything pertaining to the death, burial, and resurrection, except that Israel in unbelief rejected Him and killed Him, but God proved His power by raising Him from the dead, and He can still bring in the Kingdom.
We’ll show you that in the next few verses. All right, verse 37, of course they begin to have second thoughts. Well, Peter, you’re proving that we did it. We killed our Messiah. Then you come to the end of verse 37, and naturally they ask:
“…Men and brethren, what shall we do?” The Nation. They’re in a dilemma. They’ve rejected their Messiah. They killed Him, but God raised Him from the dead. So now, what do we do? That’s logical, isn’t it? Look at Peter’s answer.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized (Yes, that was part of the Kingdom message.) every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for (the forgiveness or) the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Now, we did it on our Aegean Cruise. I laid it out just as plainly one night in our Bible class, that here we have Peter’s process for salvation, laid out as plain as English can make it. “Repentance. Water baptism. Forgiveness of sin. Then the Holy Spirit.” It is as plain as day. But then when he gets over to the house of Gentiles, poor old Peter was all shook up. It didn’t work that way. While he’s still preaching in Acts chapter 10, the Romans had become believers! God had forgiven them. The Holy Spirit came upon them, and not a drop of water had touched them! Boy, that puts a lot of preachers in a dilemma even today. Well, Peter was up against the same thing. So, what’s the first thing he says, hey, we’ve got to baptize them – after the fact.
Here in Acts chapter 2, Peter makes it so plain what the Jew had to do to have salvation, having rejected their Messiah. He doesn’t associate anything about the shed blood. Not a word of that in here. Not a word about all the power of resurrection for their salvation. But it was believe in the One you rejected, repent of it and be baptized, and you can have salvation. All right, now if you doubt me, let’s go on a little further. Chapter 3, now he’s going to heal the lame man, and the language hasn’t changed a bit. Acts chapter 3 verse 12; he’s just healed the lame man at the gates, or the door, of the temple.
“And when Peter saw it, (the consternation of the Jewish people) he answered unto the people, (Now watch the language.) Ye men of Israel, (Not a word about Gentiles) why marvel ye at this? (this healing of this lame man) or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? 13. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, (Any Gentiles in that term? Not a one. Can’t be. He is talking to a Jewish situation.) 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, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you. 15. And killed the Prince of life,…” My, he’s laying it on them, isn’t he? Now you talk about a guilt trip. That’s a guilt trip. But it was true. They were nationally guilty. But what was their remedy? Repent of it.
That’s why repentance was so imperative here. I guess I’ve got time. I’m going to explain. I have people calling all the time. They get upset because I do not maintain you have to repent to be saved today. Paul doesn’t teach it. And the reason is because they’re trying to use these verses in Acts and hammer it home today. Well, you see, Israel had every reason in the world to repent. They had killed their promised Messiah. You and I are not responsible for that.
In fact, I always have to think of a long time ago. We won a fellow to the Lord who was probably as ungodly as they come, in every category of life. And he was gloriously saved. Sometime later he said, “You know, Les, something bothers me. I keep hearing all the time you’ve got to repent, repent.” He says, “I never repented when I got saved. And he said, “I didn’t realize there was anything to repent of.” He said, “Everything I was doing came naturally.”
I said you’re right. That’s exactly the way it is. We don’t have a great big conviction of sin, because we’re not aware of all these things. We’re just doing what comes naturally in our lost estate. So, Paul doesn’t require repentance. Paul requires only one thing and that is what? Believe it! Faith in that finished work of the cross and His resurrection.
Now then, here’s where I get back at them. Yes, as soon as you believe the Gospel of salvation, and God works the work of salvation in your heart and life, what are you going to do? You’re going to change direction. You’re going to repent, if that’s the word you want to use.
But, to use it for salvation today, it’s as wrong as wrong can be, because, again, repentance is a ‘work.’ You can make up your own mind that, hey, I’m going to change my life. I want to do different. That doesn’t save you. But I’ll tell you what, when the Holy Spirit comes in and He makes a difference in your life, then you don’t have any trouble changing direction. So, don’t fall for this stuff that if you haven’t repented, God can’t save you.
Israel knew where they had gone off the deep end. They had killed their Messiah. They had to repent of that and that in particular in order to obtain salvation. But for us, we believe it, as we are going to see before the end of the half-hour, and then salvation comes in, and then we’re going to change our direction, or we’re going to have repentance.
All right, let’s continue where we left off in Acts chapter 3. Peter has healed the lame man, and he’s still dealing on Jewish ground. Now then, he comes down to verse 16, and he’s explaining how this lame man had experienced physical healing. And he says:
“And his name through faith (in His death, burial and resurrection? Is that what your Bible says? Faith in His what?) in his name hath made this man strong,…” His name! And what did the name imply? He was the Messiah. And we come right back to square one. What was Peter’s confession of faith? “Thou art the Messiah.” That’s all. It’s no different here. This lame man believed who Jesus was, and on that basis God healed him. Not a word about death, burial, and resurrection. Not a word about shed blood, yet. It’s all in believing who He really was. All right, come all the way down to verse 19 again.
“Repent ye therefore, (It’s the same scenario. Repent of having rejected your Messiah.) and be converted, (have a change of mind, have a change of direction) that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” Now, he’s not talking about the glorious Christian life. What’s he talking about? The Earthly Kingdom. If Israel had repented, Israel, to the last man, would have come into this kind of salvation. Now look at verse 20, what would God do?
“And he shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you:” And what was He preached as? The coming King. God would fulfill it IF Israel would have repented and become a believing Nation, but they would not. But that was the whole idea, repent of having killed your Messiah, and if you do it to the last Jew, God will send Jesus Christ to yet bring in the Kingdom.
All right, verse 21, Peter knows, according to the Old Testament, that even as prosperous as, what is the word I’m looking for? As a possibility that this was, yet Peter knew that there was one seven-year interval that they still had to go through. What was it? The Tribulation. The Nation of Israel would have to go through the Tribulation, because that was prophecy. You can’t kick parts of prophecy out under any circumstances. God has to maintain all these things. So, Peter says in verse 21:
“Whom the heaven must receive (That is when He ascended to sit at the Father’s right hand.) until (There’s the time word. He would have to stay in heaven.) the times of restitution of all things, (or putting everything back as it was in the beginning) which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world (ages) began.” And what was it? That after these horrible seven years of wrath and vexation, Christ would return and the earth would be made as it was in the very beginning in the Garden of Eden, and the King and His Kingdom would become a reality.
And these people thought that they were going to live to see the day. They thought it would just be a matter of seven, eight, nine years, and it would all be culminated. They had no idea that it was going to be pushed out into the future for 2000 years. All right, now let me bring you on down in this same chapter 3 to verse 24. He says:
“Yea, all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” Why does he mention Samuel? Because Samuel is in the time of David, and David is when these promises really began to be understandable. All right, now he says in verse 25.
“Ye are the children of the prophets, (Now that doesn’t include Gentiles. There’s not a Gentile involved in Peter’s thinking.) and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26. Unto you first God, (That is the Nation of Israel.) having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” That was the promise. But did they do it? No.
They rejected and they rejected. When Stephen makes the final appeal in Acts chapter 7, they stoned Stephen, and then we’re introduced to the other side of the coin, which we now call the Gospel of the Grace of God, and who is it? Saul of Tarsus. My, it’s beautiful how Scripture just keeps unfolding.
All right, go back with me to Acts chapter 7 and we have the stoning of Stephen. You’re all acquainted with that. Now come into chapter 8 verse 1, and here we’re introduced to the next major player on God’s stage of Biblical history.
“And Saul was consenting unto his death. (Stephen’s) And at that time there was a great persecution against the church (assembly), which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”
The Twelve didn’t go out into the world preaching the Gospel. They stayed in Jerusalem. What are you going to believe? Christendom? Or the Book? Well, the Book says they stayed in Jerusalem. All right, now we’ll just make one quick reference to it. I’m going to bring you over to I Corinthians chapter 1. I only have a few seconds left, so we’ll do this quickly. Now, whereas Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you.” Look what this next apostle writes to the Corinthian Church and to you and I today.
I Corinthians 1:17-18
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. (Now here it comes.) 18. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.”
What a difference! Now you see, all Paul knows is that salvation comes by only one way. Believing the Gospel he presented in I Corinthians 15:1-4