Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 67
BUT NOW! (Christ is Risen!) – Part 4
I Corinthians 15:20
Okay, we’re going to jump right back in where we left off. And remember, we’ve been talking about the harvest in Israel. First, they were to go in and take a sampling of the newly ripening grain, called the first fruit. That was fulfilled with Christ at His resurrection and those that came out of the graves and went into Jerusalem and evidently went on up into glory.
Next, Israel was to come in and harvest the main part of the field. After they had harvested the main part, they left the four corners and gleanings. You remember in the Book of Ruth how she went in and gleaned in the field of Boaz. Well, that was the system of harvest – the main field and then leaving the corners and the gleanings.
Now, as we’ve been showing in the last couple of programs, I feel the main harvest is the Body of Christ, the Grace Age believers who have come into God’s program of salvation following the Apostle Paul.
Now, I’m again going to review the big picture. Everything from especially the call of Abraham all the way through to the very end, if you drop Paul’s epistles out, just take Paul’s church letters out of the picture for the time being, and you will have God dealing with Israel in view of the King and the Kingdom. By the way, it won’t be long and we’ll be finishing Hebrews in the daily program. That’s especially for you here in the audience. We’ll be finishing Hebrews, and for goodness sakes be sure you catch my introduction to James and Peter and John. We used four programs, I think, just for introduction. What I’m showing is just that. That all the way through Scripture everything is God dealing with Israel in view of the King and the Kingdom.
Now, they rejected it at His first coming. Peter and the Eleven pick it up in the early Book of Acts, and it’s still the same premise that if they would repent of their sin of crucifying their Messiah, God would send Jesus Christ. Well, for what purpose? To bring in the Kingdom. But, Peter says, the Tribulation has to come first. See, they’re not going to drop anything out of prophecy. Then when the King and the Kingdom would come, that would take us to eternity.
But, God opened that timeline and let Israel go into the dispersion and saved the Apostle Paul in Acts chapter 9. Then we have other references that show that He’s going to call out a group of Gentiles for His name’s sake and prepare them to be God’s people for eternity without Israel. Israel is gone on into dispersion, and the Gospel of Grace is now gone to the whole human race, calling out this main harvest, which I feel is the Body of Christ.
All right, now since the Body of Christ is an interlude, if you want to call it that, completely isolated from the Old Testament programs, you can’t push it back up in there. It won’t fit. You can’t take the Body of Christ and bring it on up with Israel in the Tribulation, like a lot of people are trying to do. It won’t fit. We are a people of grace! In the Tribulation, it’s going to be Israel under the Law. They’re going to have a Temple and all the rest of it, so the Church just will not fit in that timeline for Israel. So, what has to happen? God has to take it out of the way. And then He will finish the prophecies made to Israel.
All right, the taking out of the Body of Christ then, we pick up in this same chapter of I Corinthians chapter 15 and drop down to verse 51. Now again, I can’t emphasize it enough. Nowhere in Scripture, outside of Paul’s epistles, will you find any kind of a reference to the Rapture. Now, I know some people like to try John’s Gospel chapter 14 verses 1 through 4 where it says, “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions, I would have showed you…” and so on and so forth. “And if I go, I will come again unto you that where I am there ye may be also.” That was Jesus talking to Israel. He was talking to the Twelve. That has nothing to do with, as I see it, the Body of Christ.
So, the only place you can find any reference to this glorious work of God saving non-Jews particularly, by faith and faith alone in that finished work of the cross, and we’re brought into the Body of Christ following in the steps of the Apostle Paul. You won’t find it anywhere else. Nowhere! There’s not even a hint of it in the Old Testament. Jesus never alluded to it, as we were just talking at break time. Well, isn’t the church what He was talking about when He said, “Upon this rock I will build my church.” No. The word ecclesia is always translated either church or assembly, and it’s not always the same group. So, when Jesus was speaking, “…I will build my church,” He was not talking about the Body of Christ. He was talking about Israel. Israel is God’s called out ecclesia. So, I’ll repeat it again. You cannot find anything concerning the Body of Christ; you cannot find anything concerning what we call the Rapture, anyplace but Paul. And that’s why most people miss it.
You know, some of my listening audience has taken my little illustration of the blender and they have come up with a new English word – blenderize. All the time now we’re getting letters where they say, all I hear is what’s blenderized. Well, you know what I’m talking about. They take the Scriptures and they mix it all up and parcel it out. And I don’t. You’re going to get it bit by bit, and it’s all going to keep separated in its own place. All right, here we have the Rapture. It is totally insulated from anything else in Scripture.
I Corinthians 15:51a
“Behold, I show you a (What?) mystery;…” Now, that’s a Pauline term. He uses it throughout his letters, speaking of things that had been kept secret from all the rest of the writers of Scripture. Isaiah knew nothing of it. David knew nothing of it. Peter certainly knew nothing of it. This was a Pauline revelation. And all of his doctrines, he refers to them the same way. As a mystery – let me show you what I’m talking about.
Back up to Romans chapter 16, so that you know what I’m talking about – verse 25. You know, I’ve asked my seminars around the country, “Have you ever heard this preached on a Sunday morning?” Never. “Have you ever seen it in a Sunday School class quarterly?” Never. Why? Because they don’t want it. They don’t want truth. It flies in the face of everything that they think they’ve believed over in the four Gospels, which were under Law. But it’s what the Book says! That’s my favorite cliché. This is what the Book says.
“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel,…” And who’s writing? Paul. To whom? Gentiles. All right, so what’s Paul’s Gospel? Believing in your heart for your salvation “That Christ died for you, He was buried, and He arose from the dead the third day.”
“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept (What?) secret (How long?) since the ages began.” Those secrets were revealed by this apostle. Now, is that so hard to comprehend? All of these Pauline truths, and especially the ones he refers to as “mystery,” were kept secret in the mind of God from the time of Adam all the way until He revealed it to this Apostle, probably in those three years out in the desert.
Secret. And don’t lose that! Nobody else knew what he was talking about. In fact, let me take you back to Peter. I use it all the time. Most of you should know it from memory by now. II Peter chapter 3, and drop down to verses 15 and 16. Now this is Peter, the beloved apostle, but at the end of his life, not up there at the beginning. He doesn’t say something like this in Acts chapter 2, 3 and 4. But at the end of his life, probably around 68 AD, the Temple will be gone in a couple more years. Probably at the same time, that Paul is about to be martyred down there at Rome. I think Peter was in Babylon. But, look what he writes.
II Peter 3:15a
“And account (understand) that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given unto him…” (From where? From Heaven! From the ascended Lord. Not from Jerusalem. Not from the Twelve. But from the ascended Lord. Now remember, we’re at the end of all the writings of Scripture.
II Peter 3:15b-16a
“…has written unto you; (probably a reference to the Book of Hebrews) 16. As also in all his epistles, (all of them – Romans through Philemon plus the Book of Hebrews. All from the pen of the Apostle Paul) speaking in them of these things; (Salvation. How to become a believer and fit for eternity.) in which (Paul’s epistles) are some things hard to be understood,…” That’s Peter! Peter can’t comprehend some of these things that Paul writes. That’s what it says! And I don’t know what he’s referring to. I’ve got an idea, but yours is just as good as mine. But Peter says Paul’s got things that I can’t understand. So, he can’t even comment on them.
II Peter 3:16b
“…which they that are unlearned (In other words, multitudes of theologians and preachers fall into this category. They’re–) unlearned and unstable (Consequently, what do they do? They–) twist (what Paul writes) as they do also the other scriptures,…” Now, you know what I like about that statement? That term “other Scriptures” What does that tell you? Every word that Paul writes is Scripture! Don’t ever let anybody tell you that the Apostle Paul doesn’t belong in this Bible. Oh, they’ll try. I hear it all the time. “Paul doesn’t even belong in here. We don’t have a thing to do with him.” But Peter confirms it, that everything that Paul writes is Scripture. It’s the Word of God. It’s just as much Spirit-inspired as any of the other writers.
Okay, so now then, we come back to I Corinthians chapter 15. Paul is revealing something that you will never find in any of the other writers of Scripture. Nowhere, because everything else is referring to His Second Coming when He will come to the planet. And as I’ve been pointing out wherever I go, look at the two scenarios and it becomes as plain as the noonday sun. At the Second Coming, it’s nothing but death and destruction. I can read to you from Jeremiah 25 and it’s enough to keep you awake all night. What does it say? From one end of this planet to the other there’s going to be nothing left. The carcasses of human beings are going to be laying so thick on the ground that they won’t be able to do even a burial. That’s what’s coming. That’s the Second Coming.
Paul never speaks of things like that associated with the Rapture. Paul never says there’s going to be great earthquakes and volcanoes and atomic energy and all that, and then the trumpet will sound. No. Paul says that even right now this afternoon it could happen. We could hear the trumpet call, and we could be out of here. It’s imminent. It can be at any time. There is nothing catastrophic associated with the Rapture. And yet the Second Coming is nothing but catastrophic. All right, so he says:
I Corinthians 15:51a
“Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (will not all die),…” Well, now stop and think a minute. Isn’t that logical? It has to be that way, because otherwise God would have to put every believer to death so that they could be resurrected. Right?
But He’s not going to. He’s not going to kill all of us believers so that He can resurrect us. So, this is for those that are living when we get to the end of the Church Age and the Body of Christ is complete. I always, you’ve heard me do this more than once, liken it to the baby in the womb. That mother is putting cells into that baby by the jillions over a nine-month period of time. When the last cell is in place, under a normal birth, and everything is perfect; the eyeballs are finished, the fingernails are there, the hair is there, everything is finished, then what? Delivery! The body is complete and it’s delivered. All right, the Body of Christ is going to be the same way.
When the last believer, out of all these millions that have been coming into their own particular place in the Body, when the last one is brought in – (snap) delivery! We’re out of here. It’s the only way it will work, because we’re not going to be left for the death and destruction that is coming. All right, we’ve got to move on. So, we’re going to be changed. We’re not all going to die.
I Corinthians 15:51b-52a
“…We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed, 52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,…” Now, the Greek word here is the shortest period of time. A nanosecond. Or a quark? What’s another one? Instant! And never forget what Jesus told us. “With God nothing is impossible!” We can’t think of something that God couldn’t do. So, when he says that in a split second we’re all going to be changed from this body to an eternal body. Hey, believe it! God can do it! I’ve got no problems with it.
I Corinthians 15:52a
“In a moment, in the twinkling (or the blink) of an eye, at the last trump:…” Now, that’s singular. I always point that out, because so many anti-rapturists try to put us at the Tribulation’s seven trumpets. No. This is singular. This isn’t the seventh of seven trumpets. This isn’t an angel’s trumpet. This is God’s trumpet, and it’s singular.
I Corinthians 15:52b
“for the trumpet (singular) shall sound, and the dead (The believing dead now. We’re not talking about those that are without faith. They’re going to wait a thousand years, remember. We’ll pick them up in our next taping.) and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we (Now that’s an interesting pronoun. When Paul writes and says–) we shall be changed.” The indication is what? He expected it in his lifetime. And that would be in perfect accord, again, with the Old Testament timeline.
There was nothing in all of prophecy to indicate a 2,000 year Church Age. So, Paul could readily feel that by the time his 25 years of ministry had been accomplished, the then known world had now heard the Gospel of Salvation. Now, you’ve got to put all of this in historical perspective. At the time that our Scripture was being written, the only world that was known was that area around the Mediterranean and maybe out into the Orient. That’s all. They didn’t know anything about the Western Hemisphere. They didn’t know anything about the South Sea Islands and Australia and so forth. So, they had pretty much covered the then known world. So he was, I think, perfectly right in thinking all this could happen in his lifetime. So he uses the first person. “And we shall be changed.” All right, now verse 53, it has to be.
I Corinthians 15:53
For this corruptible (This body of flesh can’t go into eternity. That would never work, would it? So, it’s got to be changed.) this corruptible (prone to die) must put on incorruption, and this mortal (which is prone to die) must put on immortality.” Now that’s logical, isn’t it?
All right, now let’s go on over to the companion passage in I Thessalonians. You know, I was so thrilled, and I don’t name names on this program, I’d like to and I would have no compunction, but I just don’t like to do it. But in one of the magazines that I get, have for years and years, since Iris and I were first married, there was an article by one of our most famous Greek scholars in America today. And, oh, my goodness, it just thrilled me to tears. I could have almost sworn he plagiarized my material. But he didn’t. He’s too much of a scholar to even know who I am. I read part of a diary. Just exactly the same language that I use, teaching the imminency of the Rapture and using the same Greek connotations that I’ve used over the years, and it just gives me all the more confirmation that I don’t have to back down to anybody. This IS what the Book says.
I Thessalonians 4:13
“But (Paul writes) I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, (Well, ignorant of what? The mystery! He could have just as well have had it in here that he would not have you to be ignorant of the mystery that he wrote about in I Corinthians.) concerning them who are asleep, (Same people that he talks about in I Corinthians, or who have died.) that you sorrow not, even as others who have no hope.” Now, what’s he talking about? Well, the Thessalonians had already seen some of their loved ones and family members who were believers die. They were beginning to think that they were in the Tribulation, and so they’d missed it. And their loved ones were on in glory. Paul is writing to comfort them. He says, no, you don’t have to sorrow because you have hope.
Now verse 14, now here again, line this up with people who try to put everybody into one resurrection. This verse disqualifies a certain number. Look at it carefully. Here are the qualifications for being caught up in the Rapture of the Body of Christ.
I Thessalonians 4:14a
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,…” Now think. That’s what I try to get people to do. Think! Did the Old Testament believers believe that? No. They hadn’t heard of a death, burial, and resurrection. Did the Jewish believers in Christ’s earthly ministry believe that? No. Jesus didn’t preach death, burial, and resurrection. It hadn’t happened yet. So, all the way through Scripture you can find that there are believers, they’re going to be in eternity with us, but they’re not members of the Body of Christ, because only those who have believed for salvation that Jesus died and rose from the dead, which is Paul’s Gospel that he preached, will be in this great out-calling, what we call the Rapture.
I Thessalonians 4:14
“For if we believe (verse 14 again) that Jesus died and rose again, even so them who are dead in Christ (They were believers of this same Gospel.) will God bring with him.” In other words, when he leaves Heaven to come to the air, He will bring the soul and the spirit of our departed loved ones, and they’re going to be reunited with that resurrected body. All right, verse 15:
I Thessalonians 4:15
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain (See again, Paul is including himself.) until the coming of the Lord (for the Body) shall not precede (or go ahead of) them who have died.” Why? Because there has to be that split second to resurrect the bodies of the believers who have died to be reunited with the soul and spirit. Because Thessalonians tells us we’re going to go into eternity once again, like Adam was created in the beginning, with a perfect body, soul, and spirit.
All right, so the soul and spirit, which is in the presence of the Lord, will be brought and reunited with their resurrected body. I don’t care if there’s only one-half of an atom, that’s all God needs for resurrection. But there has to be that much, because you can’t have resurrection of something that has not lived and died.
I Thessalonians 4:16
“For the Lord himself (Jesus the Christ) shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: (Not an angel’s trumpet, God’s trumpet.) and the dead in Christ shall rise first;” And immediately they’re reunited with their soul and spirit, and they are complete now and ready for eternity. Then in verse 17, the next split second.
I Thessalonians 4:17-18
“Then we who are alive and remain (We’re still living as believers.) shall be caught up together with them (Our loved ones and all the members of the Body of Christ going back to Paul’s ministry) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” All right, now with the few seconds we’ve got left, drop down into chapter 5 and what do you see? The left-behinds! The pronouns all change from we and us to they and them. Verse 3
I Thessalonians 5:3-4a
“For when they (See, that’s not including us.) shall say, Peace and safety; (When the anti-Christ makes all of his promises.) then sudden destruction cometh upon them, (The Tribulation will set in.) as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4. But (he says) ye, brethren, are not in (that kind of) darkness,” So, here we have the main harvest of the resurrection. Now in our next taping, we’ll pick up the rest of them – the Old Testament, the Tribulation, and so forth.