Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 75
BOOK 2 of CONNECTING THE DOTS
Genesis – Revelation
Okay, once again it’s good to have everybody back, and they’ve all had their coffee break. For those of you out in television, again we’re just an informal Bible study. I always have to remind myself to tell you how we appreciate your letters, your prayers, and your financial help; because we couldn’t do what we’re doing without you. We just know that the Lord is blessing it because of the response from our mail and our phone calls. I always remind people. If you don’t believe me, just ask them (Editor’s note: the secretaries), because they hear it all day long.
All right, now my little wife, again, bless her heart, wants me to remind our listening audience of this one and only book we’ve ever published. It is eighty-eight questions and answers. You know, in the last week I don’t know how many people have told me in their phone conversations that they use these books as a mission tool. They’ll keep eight or ten copies in the car, and whenever someone shows a smidgen of interest, they give them one. Cost is $11 which includes postage and handling. It’s a tremendous tool, because it’s in plain language. It’s not real hard stuff to understand, and it does get the message across.
All right, we’re going to move right on in to where we left off in our last program, and we’re just connecting the dots of Scripture. This is more or less an overview. This isn’t a verse-by-verse. We just want folks to get an understanding of how God has been dealing with the human race for the last six thousand years. We feel we’re close to the end. We don’t know how close. It could be today. It could be another hundred years. We don’t know, because I’ve learned that God is eternal. Time doesn’t mean anything to God, and His wheels grind slowly but surely. I’ve stressed lately that anything that the Scripture says is going to happen, is going to happen. You rest assured.
All right, so let’s jump in now at Acts chapter 2. The day of Pentecost has now come. Before we go any further, let’s go back to Leviticus, because I think too many of our theologians put the birthday of the church in Acts chapter 2. For the life of me, I cannot understand why, because if you come back to Leviticus chapter 23, we have the seven Feasts of Jehovah for the Nation of Israel. Seven of them beginning with Passover, and we’re going to drop down and read from verse 15 on to show you how clearly and specifically this day of Pentecost started at the very onset of Israel’s religious experience. There are seven feast days. Earlier in the chapter we’ve got the feast of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and now you come down to verse 15 in chapter 23.
“And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave-offering; seven sabbaths (or seven weeks, forty-nine days) shall be complete:” But it doesn’t stop at the forty-ninth day. Go to verse 16.
“Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number (How many days?) fifty days; (What does Pentecost mean? Pente in Latin means fifty. So, Pentecost was the feast of the fiftieth day. All right, let’s read on.) and ye shall offer a new meal-offering unto the LORD. 17. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave-loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; and they shall be baked with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.”
All right, now go back to Acts chapter 2. This is the feast of Pentecost, the fiftieth day after the feast of Passover. And that’s why when the Lord was with the Twelve, or the Eleven, for forty days, there was yet ten days till Pentecost. And in these ten days that we talked about in the last program, between the fortieth and the fiftieth, is when Peter had Mathias fill that twelfth slot.
And again, just to show you that I was not remiss in saying there were a lot of people that think Peter was remiss and should have waited for Paul. At break time, one of our listeners just came up and said somebody had just told him in a Sunday school class the other day that Peter was in a hurry and should have waited for Paul. But Paul would never fit the requirements, as we saw last program. It had to be a believer that was from John the Baptist until the resurrection. Paul doesn’t become a believer until years later.
All right, now then, as I come into this feast of Pentecost, this chapter 2; and, yes, it is the time when the Holy Spirit will come down. There is not one word of Gentile language in these early chapters of the Book of Acts. Not one word. It’s all Jewish. It’s just an extension of Christ’s earthly ministry. The only difference is that with the Holy Spirit coming down, these twelve men are going to be empowered with the Power from on high to carry on the very miracles and signs and wonders that Jesus did—but for what purpose? The same purpose—to prove that the One who had died and been raised from the dead and gone to Glory was coming back, and He would still fulfill all those Old Testament promises. Now isn’t that simple? Is that so hard to understand? The only thing that interrupted the whole thing was that which had to happen for the sake of the whole human race. Christ had to die. It had to happen. He had to be buried three days and three nights, and He had to be raised from the dead. Otherwise, everything would have fallen apart. But you see, with God things don’t fall apart. In the human understanding it may seem like it has, but it doesn’t.
All right, so here we are now, right according to God’s eternal purposes. The day of Pentecost has arrived, and the Holy Spirit is going to come down. All right, verse 1:
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come,…” What did I say in the last program?
“That when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son,” As we see in Galatians chapter 4. Well, what does all this mean? God’s timetable is never a day late or a day early. It’s always on schedule because He’s God. All right, so we have the same language.
“When the day of Pentecost was fully come, (It wasn’t a day early. It wasn’t a day late, but on the exact day.) they were all with one accord in one place.” That is these hundred and twenty Jewish believers that you saw back in verse 1. You’ve got to remember who we’re dealing with. That’s all there were after three years of signs and wonders and miracles—a hundred and twenty believers in the area of Jerusalem.
“And suddenly (miraculously) there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled all the house (or the building) where they were sitting. 3. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, (Now, there’s the key word. If it had been fire, it would have singed their hair; but it didn’t. It was just two little tongues that appeared as fire resting on their heads.) and it sat upon each of them.”
“And they were all (I’m assuming now the whole hundred and twenty.) filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, (Languages is a better word than tongues.) as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Now the reason I’m using languages—I’m going to show you in just a couple of verses.) 5. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.”
See, no Gentile in that word, Jews. But ever since the Babylonian captivity six hundred years before, what had happened to the Jews of that day in time? They were scattered throughout the whole then-known world, just like they did again after A.D. 70. They had gone out into Babylon instead of coming back to Jerusalem, like a few of them did. But most of them had already scattered and had set up businesses and trades and everything all over the Roman Empire. But they were still devout Jews.
Now, if they were devout Jews, what would they do? They would come back to Jerusalem for at least two of these seven feast days. They’d make more if they could, but a minimum was two. All right, so now you have thousands upon thousands of Jews flocking into Jerusalem from all over that then-known ancient world; which, of course, would be North Africa, the Middle East, and out into the Babylonian area—Iraq as we know now, and Iran and Syria, and then all along the Mediterranean on the north side through Turkey and Greece and Rome.
See, that was all the civilized world at that time. They could make arrangements to travel, and here they came for these feast days around the temple complex in Jerusalem, but they’re Jews. All right, they were devout men; otherwise, they wouldn’t take the time and spend the money to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. They came from every nation under heaven, but they were Jews.
Now remember, six hundred years is a long time. How many grand, grand, grand do we now deal with over generations? All right, now these great, great, great grandkids are no longer speaking the home tongue of Hebrew. They’re speaking the language of where they’re living; whether it was Rome or Athens or Babylon or Egypt. Naturally, they had picked up the language of the land in which they lived.
It’s no different today. My goodness, when people migrate into a foreign country, ordinarily what’s the first thing they do? Learn the language. That’s why I’m upset with our situation today. My grandparents, I can remember them talking about it. What was one of the toughest things of coming through Ellis Island over there in New York? Language! And how people would make fools of them because they didn’t know what they were talking about. I don’t even dare tell you about some of the things they went through. But language, well, what was the first thing they did? They learned English.
So, when I come along, my grandparents were still speaking German, of course, but their kids and their kids’ kids were now speaking English. Well, same way here. These Jews had been out of the Hebrew environment for so long that now they were at the fourth or fifth generation removed, and they were speaking the language of their homeland. So, what are they going to have to have? A common language. All right, that’s the miracle of Pentecost. Okay, read on in verse 6.
“Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, (They were amazed.) because every man heard them (these twelve men) speak in his own (What?) language.”
So, Jews from Egypt were hearing the Twelve in the Egyptian language. If they were from North Africa, they were hearing it in that language. If they were from Babylon, they were hearing it in Chaldean. So the whole crowd of Pentecost, every Jew from wherever they had come were miraculously hearing the Twelve speak in their own language. That’s what the Book says. That’s not my idea. It’s what the Book says, and why can’t people believe it?
You ought to read what some of these commentators say—that this is the beginning of the tongues movement. Are you kidding? No, this was language! All right, verse 7:
“And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these who speak (the Twelve now remember) are they not all Galileans?” Now, the average Bible reader doesn’t catch what’s going on. Jerusalem was the elite. They were the educated. That’s where all the priests and the rabbis originated.
What was Galilee? Well, that was the frontier. They were rough, and they were uneducated. And, my goodness, these uneducated men speaking eight, ten, twelve languages?
Now, I’ll never forget the first guy, Eli, when we first went to Israel. That fellow could speak fluently seven languages. That just blew my mind—to have that level of intelligence; to be able to have a busload of Americans today and tomorrow a bunch of Japanese come in. And he says, no, I don’t have any more trouble with the Japanese than I do with you, or when a bunch comes over from France. He could speak French as part of those seven languages.
Well, it was the same way here. These uneducated fishermen were speaking all these languages. Now that’s easy to understand, isn’t it? They were just as human as we are. That was the miracle of Pentecost, and theologians have twisted it all out of shape. All right, now verse 8.
“And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” Or where we were raised? Then he lists them.
“Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites,…” All these areas of the then-known world. In verse 11 it’s repeated again.
“Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them (the Twelve) speak in our languages the wonderful works of God. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?” Well, God had them exactly where He wanted them. They were thinking. And that’s all I ask people when I teach—to just stop and think: what is God trying to tell us? It’s not that hard, but you’ve got to put a little effort into it.
All right, so now they come up with all their crazy ideas. Peter has to stand up, and he says, no, no, no, no, no, you’re crazy. They’re not drunk. It’s only 9 o’clock in the morning. But what you’re seeing is what the prophet Joel spoke about several hundred years before Christ, prophetically. Now Peter goes right down the line and quotes from Joel chapter 2, word for word. It was prophecy, and it was all in their view coming right down the pipe.
Now, I think we’ve got the timeline back on the board, so let’s look at it. We’ve come out of the Old Testament with all these prophetic utterances concerning things to come. And in there, in veiled language that nobody really could comprehend, was, of course, the crucifixion, His burial, His resurrection, and the ascension back to Glory, as we’ve already seen. Zechariah said that He would return, and He couldn’t return if He hadn’t left, right?
That was all back here in the Old Testament in more or less veiled language. Then after His ascension, after a little period of time (they didn’t know how long), in would come those final seven years which would trigger the Second Coming of Christ, as we’ve already seen in the last half hour. He would return to Jerusalem. There He would set up His throne room, and in would come the 1,000 year earthly Kingdom.
Now, throughout all of this timeline, there was nothing revealed of this Age of Grace we’re living in until we get to the Apostle Paul. I mean absolutely nothing—nothing of the Age of Grace and this Body of Christ. It’s all based on Israel’s prophecies. But anyway, at the day of Pentecost all they can think about is that the Tribulation is coming. They knew that, and it would be followed by the Second Coming.
Come back with me to Peter—I have to look whether it’s first or second. I think its I Peter. I just made the statement that these Old Testament prophets had no idea of the things that were coming, except that there was something in I Peter chapter 1. I think I’ve got time. I’m going to take a few more verses than I would otherwise. We might as well start with verse 1, because I always want people to understand my rule of thumb. Who’s writing? The Apostle Peter. Who is he writing to? Jews, not Gentiles. Not us.
I Peter 1:1
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, (Now, I’m going to put in the word writing just for sake of understanding.) writing to (Whom?) the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” Were Gentiles scattered? No. Who was? Jews!!! All right, have I made my point? So, the apostle for the Nation of Israel is writing to his fellow Jews. All right, now come down to verse 7.
I Peter 1:7
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”What’s Peter talking about? Here we are. We’re right in here (as Les points to the time line). Peter is writing to fellow Jews that with this horror of horrors (7 years of Tribulation) out in front of them, they would be able to come through the testing which would be like fire. They would then visibly witness the Second Coming of Christ.
Now, what does that tell you? They expected it within their lifetime. That’s not so hard to understand, is it? Read it again, “That the trial (or the testing) of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth.” Now, I made the point in one of my seminars the other day. What’s the one most important thing that God is looking for from a lost human being? Not man’s works, but rather his faith. That’s all God is looking for. Can you believe me? All right, here it is, “That their faith might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
Now another verse comes to mind in Zechariah. This is the next to the last book in our Old Testament. I think this is the exact parallel that Peter was referring to, Zechariah chapter 13 verse 8. Zechariah, next to the last book in your Old Testament, and compare this with what Peter is just saying. Verse 8.
“And it shall come to pass, (My goodness, what did I just say about a statement like that? It’s going to happen. We don’t know when, but I’ll guarantee you it’s going to happen. All right, what is?) that in all the land, (That is of Israel.) saith the LORD, (Now watch this carefully.) two parts therein (two-thirds) shall be cut off and die; but the third part shall be left therein.” They’re going survive. They’re going to make it to the end. Now verse 9, God says:
“And I will (There’s the promise.) bring the third part through the fire,…” The testing of the Tribulation. Listen, no human being on earth understands what that seven years is going to be like. We can no more comprehend that than we can the glory of heaven, but it’s going to be awful. All right, but one third of Israel is going to survive.
“And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, (See the connection?) and will try (or test) them as gold is 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 again, to get the time element, here we are (timeline again). Peter is talking to them, but the one third are going to come out of the Tribulation, and they’re going to be right here at the end, and they’re going to soon witness the Second Coming of their Messiah. All right, back to I Peter verse 8.
I Peter 1:8a
“Whom having not seen, ye love;…” In other words, a lot of these believing Jews that Peter was addressing had come in as believers, never having really witnessed anything of His earthly ministry.
I Peter 1:8b-10a
“…in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, (in other words with your faith) ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9. Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.(Now, here’s what I come back here for.) 10. Of which salvation…” This salvation for the Jews at that time was based, of course, on who Jesus of Nazareth really was.
I Peter 1:10-11
“Of which salvation the prophets (the Old Testament writers) have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: (At some future day. Now verse 11, back to the prophets again.) 11. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who is in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”
All right, now in the twenty seconds I’ve got left, what’s that telling us? The Old Testament prophets knew this was coming, but they couldn’t get the picture. They just couldn’t understand how God would fulfill all these things back there. But now you and I with our New Testament can understand.