Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 75
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF SCRIPTURE – PART 17
Genesis – Revelation
Okay, good to see everybody in on this beautiful day in Oklahoma. For those of you out in television, again, we just love to invite you to sit down and study with us. I, hopefully, don’t preach at you, but once in awhile it almost gets close, doesn’t it? Anyway, we attempt to just teach the Book and help folks to read it and understand it on their own. I think we’re making headway. My goodness, according to the mail we get, it’s really encouraging that folks are beginning to enjoy their own Bible.
We’re going to pick right up where we left off in our last taping. We finished in Acts chapter 3, so I’m going to start with the last couple of verses in Acts chapter 3 and then move on. “Connecting the Dots”is the title Jerry has given it. We started at Genesis and that’s just what we’re doing. We’re connecting the dots. I always like to let people be assured and be confident that this Book is true. It is the Word of God, and it’s the only Word of God. For that reason, we like to show how everything fits.
So in Acts chapter 3, let’s review a little bit of how Peter is ending up his second message after Pentecost. As I’ve been emphasizing, it’s still all Jewish. Everything is still concerned with the temple and all the covenant promises made to Israel. Hopefully, we’re going to point out a few things that I’ve even neglected to see before. Not that I didn’t see it, but I just didn’t think it was important enough to bring it to the top. But we’re going to look at that in a little bit. Now, Peter is ending up his second message after Pentecost. Already a few weeks have probably gone by, maybe even a few months. Look again at what he says in verses 24, 25, and 26. Then we’ll move on.
“Yea, and all the prophets, (Well, now if you’re a Bible student, what’s he referring to? The Old Testament.) from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold (Or prophesied—of what days?) of these days.” Now you remember, oh, my goodness, how long ago has it been? I had some statements on the screen? If you’re going to be a Bible student, the first thing you do is what? Determine who is writing. Then what? Luther, you know them. What is he writing? To whom is he writing? When is it written? What are the circumstances? What went before? What follows after? What’s Peter talking about here when he says, “Samuel and those that follow after have spoken of these days”? Ours? No, theirs. Where Israel was at that point in history, and it was shortly after the crucifixion. Fifty days later we had Pentecost. That’s where we were in our last taping. Now we’re some months beyond Pentecost, but it’s still all part of that prophetic end-time so far as the Old Testament was concerned. Maybe I should have him flip the board and show the time line, but I won’t. We’ll do it in our next program.
We’ll just use an imaginary line on the board. Here we’re coming from the Old Testament, past the crucifixion, His ascension, Pentecost, and we find Israel. A lot of them are responding; as we’re going to see in a little bit, but percentage-wise for the whole nation, just a few. But nevertheless, the emphasis has been that God is winding up prophetic statements of the Old Testament. The end is in view. All they’re going to have to do is go past the Tribulation and Christ would return and in would come that Kingdom.
They had no idea of a two thousand year church age. Don’t ever think, well, what about this truth. No, they didn’t know that. They were thinking everything was just going to come right down the way the prophets had foretold in the Old Testament. That’s why he said “in these last days”. See what a difference one word can make? Now verse 25, he is addressing the nation of Israel.
“Ye are the children of the (What again?) prophets,…” They were the ones to whom all the Old Testament prophets wrote. Well, like you said, where do you start? Samuel. Who’s the next great prophet? David, and then Solomon got his words in with Ecclesiastes and so forth. Then you start the Major Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Then those twelve Minor Prophets: all of them writing pretty much on the same level—prophesying this glorious, earthly Kingdom that God’s going to give to Israel.
So, all of the word from Samuel until we get to where Peter is today is how Israel was being admonished to look for this glorious King and His Kingdom. But from our vantage point, they rejected it. So that whole program had to be laid aside. And God, as we’re going to see before the afternoon is over, brought up the other dispensation through the Apostle Paul, which we call the Age of Grace. It was totally unknown to all these prophets. They never once said one word concerning this Gentile Age of Grace. Their writings were all directed to Israel and her coming kingdom. All right, now verse 25 again.
“Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant…” Now you remember, we did a whole series on covenants a year or two ago in book 63. All the Old Testament covenants were not between God and the world. They were between God and Israel. The covenants belonged to Israel.
I’m going to put a statement on the screen before the afternoon is over by a famous dispensationalist who actually founded the Dallas Theological Seminary. Somebody sent it to me, and I’m going to hopefully get it on the screen before the afternoon is over. I’ve never read it before, but he said word-for-word what I’ve said over and over, so that just confirms and gives me confidence. The gal that sent it to me went on to say, “See, you’re not some nut coming out of the woodwork.” No. No, I’m not alone. My, there are a lot of folks that see this the way I teach it. So don’t ever get second thoughts and think, well, maybe Les is just out on left field. No, I’m not in left field. Acts 3:25 again:
“Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, (back in Genesis 12) And in thy seed (That is the offspring of Abraham, which would be the nation of Israel.) shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.” Well, who was included in that seed of Abraham? Jesus Christ. And it was through Jesus and His work of the cross that He reached to the whole human race and not just Israel. All right, now verse 26 and then we’re going to move on.
“Unto you first God, (Now, remember our rule of Bible study. Who’s he talking to? Israel, the Jew. So, unto you Jews first, that’s where it all had to start.) having raised up his Son Jesus,…” After they rejected Him, and, as Peter says in chapter 2, they killed Him, but God raised Him from the dead. So, the King is still alive. He’s still going to fulfill the prophecies. That’s the whole thrust of these early chapters. That the One they killed was alive, and He could still fulfill all the promises.
“…God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” And in my closing remarks, if I remember right, I made the statement. Here, God expects the whole nation to respond before He could actually fulfill the promises. But they didn’t. Only a small percentage responded. But on the other hand, when the next apostle comes, He never tells Paul, you’re going to go out and win them all. You’re going to win how many? “Some.” And that’s the way we are today. God is just calling out one here and one there. It’s the way Christendom has unfolded. It’s not the multitudes. It’s the one here, one there, the sum.
All right, now continuing on with Peter and his Jerusalem believers, all Jews, come over with me to chapter 4. I was going to skip it and go on a little further, but let’s stop at chapter 4 just for a verse or two. Starting at verse 32 because of what I’m going to show you this afternoon. We’re not just dealing with a little flock like a few chickens or something like that. We’re dealing with thousands of people, which is only a small percentage of the whole, because Israel has always been between five and ten million. Nevertheless, there are thousands of people responding to Peter’s and the Eleven’s message here in the nation of Israel. All right, verse 32 of Acts chapter 4.
“And the multitude (Now that indicates a fairly large number of people.) of them that believed…” Now, I’ve got to stop again. Believed what for salvation? That Christ died for their sins and rose from the dead? No, that’s the Age of Grace message for the Gentile Body of Christ today. That hadn’t been revealed yet, and won’t be till Paul is given that revelation.
So, what did Peter’s believers believe for salvation? That Jesus was the Christ! That’s all. They were still under the law. Nothing has changed. They still keep the food laws. They still keep the Saturday Sabbath. They still keep the feast days. But now they have recognized that Jesus of Nazareth was that promised Messiah and on that basis God saved them.
Now you want to remember, salvation has always been by what? Faith, it is always by faith. Well, go back to Adam. What was Adam’s faith? You remember? I showed it when we went back there sometime ago. What was Adam’s faith? When he named his wife what? Eve—the mother of all living! Well, God told them they’re going to die. So how does he know now that she’s going to live long enough to have children? God told him. And how did Adam respond? He believed Him! And what did God call it? Faith.
God told Noah a flood was coming and to build an ark. How much did Noah know about water and arks and so forth? Nothing, but what did he do? He built the ark. On what basis? Faith. All right, now here comes Jesus into this religious little nation of Israel, with all their temple worship and all their Old Testament prophets. He proclaims Himself as their Messiah and King. What did He expect them to do? Believe it, but only a few did. But now since Pentecost, it’s coming a little more. Now we have the reference of multitudes having now believed that Jesus was the Christ.
“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of things which he possessed was of his own; but they had all things common.” Now stop and think. Here you’ve got multitudes of people, as we saw in our last taping, that had come in from every corner of the then-known world—from out at the Far East, all the way to probably Spain, maybe a few from Great Britain, certainly all North Africa was now civilized and under the Roman Empire.
These Jews have been coming from all the corners of the Roman Empire. They literally filled the city of Jerusalem. But as I’m going to show you before the afternoon is over, most of them evidently stayed in Jerusalem and did not go back to their homeland out in the Gentile world. Why not? The King is coming. That’s what I want to impress on you this afternoon.
They stuck tight to Jerusalem, because they were convinced that now that Christ had finished the work of the cross, had been raised from the dead, and had ascended to glory, in short order He would be coming back and fulfilling the promises made to Israel. So, many of them did not go back home. And they had it so good, as this passage is going to show us, so why should they? My, when you got a free lunch, why go back home and struggle. All right, now just watch this attitude as we come through these verses. Now verse 32, I didn’t finish it.
“… neither said any of them that ought, of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.” What is that? That’s pure communism. Now, we always think of communism on the evil side, but, you see, this was a righteous communism.
Nobody was claiming anything more than his neighbor. They all pooled their resources, and they were all living out of that common wealth that had now been accumulated. Now you have to remember, if you’ve got multitudes—thousands—because three thousand were saved on the day of Pentecost, and then everyday from then on multitudes were coming into salvation and were all glued to what I call the Jerusalem church. I’ll probably address that in the next program. Now then, all of these people are pooling their resources. That’s what it says. Now look at it.
“And with great power gave the apostles (the twelve) witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus:…” In other words, that they knew their King was alive. There’s no salvation attached to it. That’s where people miss the boat. Peter never says believe that Christ died for your sins and rose again. They never said that. All Peter says is that the One you’ve killed is alive and He will yet come and bring in the Kingdom. Now, is that so hard to understand? And you can look for it and check me out. You won’t find it associated with their salvation. It was merely the emphatic fact that He was alive.
“And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. (In other words, the blessings were just flowing on this congregation of Jews in Jerusalem.) 34. Neither were there any among them that lacked: (What does that mean? Hey, nobody was going hungry. Nobody was going without necessary food and shelter. They had it pretty good.) for as many as were possessors of lands or houses…”
What did they do with them? Turned them into cash. And what would they do with the cash? Turn it into the twelve apostles. And so the wealth is accumulating. I have often said, if they could have just invested that with fifty percent interest, they’d still be going. But they didn’t, and they couldn’t. And as we’re going to see, in time the funds ran out. Then we’re going to end up with a bunch of what? Poor Jews. It’s coming.
Okay, stay with me. But here they’ve got nothing lacking. They’ve got ample funds, and so far the Twelve have been able to handle the paperwork, as we call it today, the administration of it all. Now stop and think, was that simple? Was that simple to be able to take care of thousands of people with all of their physical needs? Now, that took some administration work. That took paperwork. They had to know how much was going out, how much was coming in. All right, read on. Keep that all in your computer up here.
“…for as many as were possessors of land or houses sold them, and brought the price of the things that were sold, (See how plain that is? They brought it all to the Twelve.) 35. And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” What does that entail? What I just was talking about. They had to administer this. They had to keep track of what was going out compared to what was coming in, and that somebody wasn’t being corrupt and taking more than they needed. It took administration. It took paperwork. Okay, read on.
“…and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” What would that mean? Maybe the head of a household of five or six naturally needed more than a husband and wife or a widow. All of this is just plain common sense if you’ll stop and think it through. All right, now verse 36.
“And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (The same Barnabas that will end up with the Apostle Paul.) (who is, being interpreted, the son of consolation,) a Levite (the tribe of the priests),and of the country (or the island) of Cyprus.” Now, if you know your geography, Cyprus has always been a rather productive piece of real estate. They’ve got beautiful vineyards and orchards, and Cyprus is a good place to own some property. All right, so he owned land on the country of Cyprus, verse 37.
“Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” Now, this is what I did the last couple of days that I’d never done before. Do you think Barnabas was the only one that did that? Think. No, there must have been a number of Jews that probably had property. Who knows? North Africa, Italy, Greece, you name it; and they evidently did the same thing.
Now, if you don’t want to agree with me, that’s fine. I’m just projecting here what I feel human beings would do. If Barnabas did it, no doubt many other wealthy Jews did the same thing—sold their property, wherever it was, and brought the money. So here they’re piled up with wealth. I know they were. They had a bunch of it. All right, now the numbers are increasing, and I’ll jump across the page in my Bible to chapter 5 verse 12.
“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people;…” Now you remember, I think it was in the last taping, or the one before. I don’t know, but I made the statement. I made it as clear as I knew how. Why were the Twelve given the same signs and wonders that Jesus practiced? It was for the same purpose.
Now, let’s back up to His earthly ministry. What was the reason for His signs and wonders and miracles? To convince Israel of whom He was. What are they still trying to do? Convince Israel that the One they crucified was the Christ. See, nothing has changed, except the work of the cross is now completed. Everything has been set for us as Gentiles. But so far as Israel is concerned, it was just an extension of these Old Testament promises. And now the Twelve are performing the same kind of wonders and miracles that Jesus did for the same purpose, convincing Israel of who Jesus of Nazareth really was. All right, now verse 13.
“And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 14. And believers…” Now, keep it straight, not Grace Age believers yet. What kind of believers? Jewish believers who had believed who Jesus was. They are still in the Kingdom program. They’re still looking for the King.
“And believers were the more added to the Lord, (What’s the next word, at least in the King James?) multitudes both of men and women.” Now, so that you catch what I’m driving at, go back to chapter 2 verse 41. We’re not just talking about a couple of dozen, or even a couple of hundred, we’re talking about thousands of Jews, all gathered here in Jerusalem around the temple area or wherever.
I thought of this during the night last night. The Scripture never tells us, but where do you suppose they fed all these people? Where do you suppose they kept all the things that were necessary for the daily needs? I don’t know, but it must have been a big facility some place there in Jerusalem. I remember when I was in the service. At one time we ate in a battalion mess hall. And that thing was huge. Thousands of guys could come in and eat within the same hour. But it took facilities. It took big kitchens. It took umpteen tables. That’s the term we’re going to see here. All right, we’re doing the same thing with these believing Jews in Jerusalem, thousands of them. I didn’t read it yet, did I? Chapter 2 verse 41.
“Then they that gladly received his word (That is Peter’s.) were baptized: and the same day (the day of Pentecost) there were added unto them (That is the Jerusalem church, starting with the hundred and twenty. Remember how many?) about three thousand souls.” That’s a good bunch of people in anybody’s language.
All right, now on top of that then, we have here in chapter 5 that multitudes are still coming. Now, what are we ending up with? Here are a bunch of people that are not working. They are all eating and everything out of that common kitty is the way I used to call it; all the accumulation of the wealth of these people who were selling what they had and bringing it to the apostles’ feet. All I’m trying to impress on you this half hour is that we’re dealing with a lot of people, and they’re all dependent on the administration of these twelve apostles.
All right, now I’ve got three minutes left. Let’s jump over to chapter 6 verse 1. Now, we’re still on this same level playing field. We’re dealing with these Jews that are coming into the Jerusalem church, who are becoming believers in the Kingdom gospel, looking for the King and the Kingdom to come in short order. Now verse 1.
“And in those days, (While this is all going on, and it could already be a couple, three years down the road.) when the number of the disciples (or believers, or these followers of Peter and the eleven) was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews,…” Now, do you know what I always call that? That’s the first crack in that beautiful veneer of this glorious congregation of believing Jews.
Remember it said back in chapter 4 that they were all of one accord. Everything was just hunky dory, no arguments, no disputes. All of a sudden there’s a crack in it, and what is it? “There arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews.” All right, now you have to know a little bit of Greek. Who were the Grecians? They were Jews who had been raised in and learned the language and customs of a foreign country.
All right, out of this multitude of Jews that had come in from every corner of the world, had become believers, and had become part of this great Jewish congregation, with all this accumulated wealth to meet their every need, there were Grecian widows. They were not homeland Jews. They were Jews from other areas of the world. You know, it’s no different in Israel today. I read an article in Jerusalem Post some time ago that when American teenagers move to Israel, do you think they’ve got an easy go? No, because the native Israelis just sort of make life miserable for them, until they really get acclimated. I mean that’s common right here in America.
You move from one part of the United States to another part, and you all experience the same thing. I don’t care where it is. It’s always the same. What do they treat you as? You’re an outsider. You’re not part of us. Well, Israel was no different. So these Grecian widows who were not part of the original Israeli or Jewish citizenry were being slighted when it came time to hand out the goodies.
“…there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.” Well, what does that tell you? Somebody’s in control. They had to be. So, it was an administration problem that they had to deal with immediately.