Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 76
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF SCRIPTURE – PART 25
Genesis – Revelation (Dispensational View)
It’s good to see everybody in again this afternoon as we begin Book 76. For those of you out in television, we thank you for joining us and studying with us. My, our letters just keep encouraging us more and more, that for the first time in people’s lives they’re enjoying their Bible. They’re studying it, and they’re reading it. And that just thrills us that we’re getting people to finally do what God really expects. Because this Book, as I’ve said a hundred times on this program, was made in such a way that plowboys in England could understand it. And if a plowboy in England in 1500 had enough wherewithal to understand this Book, then there is not a person in America that can say, well, I can’t understand it. It’s just a matter of knowing how to read it and how to separate some of these things.
So anyway, we’re going to come right back to where we left off with Connecting the Dots of Scripture. We started this series with Book 74 when we started in Genesis. It’s just sort of an overview instead of verse-by-verse like we’ve done for the last 16 or 17 years. We’re just doing a fast overview. We’re following the timeline as we come up through the Old Testament.
We’ve now come through the four gospels and the Book of Acts. We have just come past Saul’s conversion, which means it’s the beginning of Saul’s (Paul’s) ministry to the Gentiles. That’s where we’re going to pick up, now, in the Book of Acts, if you will join me. Come back to chapter 13 where Paul and Barnabas have just begun their ministry to the Gentile world. Having left Antioch they stop on the island of Cyprus, and they go to the far western end where the largest city was, Paphos.
“And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John (John Mark) to their minister. 6. And when they had gone through the island unto Paphos, (the city at the far western end) they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus: 7. Who was with the deputy (or the governor) of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.”
Now, do you get the picture? Here we have a Gentile that is open to the Scriptures, and Paul and Barnabas are attempting to get to him so that they can lay it out in front of him. But this fellow servant, who was a false teaching Jew, a sorcerer, did everything he could to keep Paul and Barnabas from him in order for this deputy or this governor not to hear the Word. Continue reading with me and see what happens.
“But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, (See? Held them at bay and wouldn’t let them see the deputy, or the governor.) seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. 9. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul) filled with the Holy Spirit, set his eyes on him,” Now, this is not just a response of an angry Jew against another Jew. This is God’s chosen apostle to the Gentiles filled with the Holy Spirit. Now look what he does. He sets his eyes on him, and he says to this false teaching Jew–
“And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 11. And now, behold, (Paul puts it on him.) the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.”
If you’ll just turn the pages while we’re in this part of Acts to chapter 17, and now we get the big picture. Elymas the sorcerer was just a symbol, or a picture or a type, of the nation of Israel in general as a whole. Now, when we were teaching this years and years ago, I made the point, I know I did, that God always dealt with Israel back then on two levels—national and individual.
Nationally these things happened, but that still left the individual Jew with the opportunity for gaining salvation. So it isn’t that it shut the Jew out completely, but nationally they are no longer responding as the nation that they were under Moses and so forth.
Now then, Paul and Barnabas come into their ministry among the Gentiles. We pick them up again over in chapter 17, where they have now begun their second missionary journey. They started up there at Philippi, and they’re coming down the Aegean coast in Greece. Let’s drop in at verse 5. I think they’re still at Thessalonica.
“But the Jews who believed not, (That rejected Paul’s message now of Grace.) moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city in an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.” In other words, they were just adamant in their opposition to anything that Paul was trying to do. And then verse 8.
“And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. 9. And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.” All right, now as you follow on down, you see that as Paul and Barnabas continue their ministry, it is constant opposition from the unbelieving Jew. Now, when I say unbelieving, it is that they could not recognize that Jesus was the Christ. They were still orthodox. They were still in their Judaism, but they could not accept that Jesus was the Christ.
Here we have the fore view, then, that this Jew on the island of Cyprus was merely an indication of how God would deal with the nation as a whole later on. Now in order to follow that up, go with me up to Romans chapter 11 and verse 7. And again, it’s the same setting. Every place that Paul went, he would always go first to the synagogue of the Jew. And when they would reject him and his message, then he’d go out into the Gentile community and have his converts.
Here again, this is what God finally did with the nation. Now remember, I’m emphasizing that individuals can still be saved, but nationally the majority are rejecting everything.
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” In other words, you can’t have both ways. It’s either works or it’s Grace.
Now under Judaism, of course, it was primarily works. We’re going to look at that later. But under Grace, it’s without works—now verse 7.
“What then? Israel (the nation) hath not obtained that which he seeketh for;…” Well, my goodness, all the way up through the Old Testament what was being promised to the nation of Israel, and what were they looking for? The Messiah and His Kingdom.
Just get rid of all these Gentiles and their oppression, and they could have what we call Shangri-La or whatever, or utopia; if they could just get rid of all these Gentile armies. So they had that in their mind that that’s what they were looking for. But they didn’t want to do it God’s way. They wanted to do it their way, just like people today. And that was their problem.
You know, I’ve shared this I think more than once on the program. One of the first times that Iris and I were in the Holy Land, we were in Jerusalem. That goes back quite a few years. It might have been the very first time—in 1975 or 1976. We were coming out of the dining room in one of the hotels in Jerusalem, and a nice, well-dressed gentleman came up to us and said, “You’re Americans, aren’t you?” “Yes.” “What do you think of our little country?” I said, “It’s amazing what God has done.” And he bristled. He said, “God didn’t have a thing to do with it. We did it.” Well, you see, that’s their mentality. They think they don’t need God. They can do it on their own.
That’s exactly what Paul is talking about clear back in his day. They couldn’t accept the fact that God still wanted to do all these things God’s way. No, they wanted to do it their way.
“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Just the small percentage of Jews that did become believers is called the remnant. So the election hath obtained it, and the rest, the vast majority, were what? Blinded. Not physically, but to spiritual things. Just exactly like the type that was set with Elymas. He was blinded physically, but it was a symbol of Israel’s national spiritual blindness.
All right. Now Israel is going to be blinded, but it’s not forever. It’s not till the end of time; it’s only for a season. So jump ahead with me to Romans chapter 11 verse 25. We’ll be coming back to this same verse a little bit later, because you can’t help but repeat some of these things. Romans chapter 11 and we’ll find the national blindness is going to end, just like Elymas’s would end sometime after Paul put that thing on him. He would receive his sight back before he died. Now here in 11:25 we have the same kind of a picture nationally. Verse 25, where Paul writes primarily to you and me now as Gentiles.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery,…” And I’m going to be coming back to it. It’s one of the mysteries that I’m going to touch on in the next few programs.
“…lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; (Now here is this mystery. No other portion of Scripture ever explained it to the point where people could believe it until we get to this apostle.) thatblindness in part (a spiritual blindness) has happened to Israel, (But what’s the next word?) until (That’s a time word. So there is coming a day when Israel’s blindness will be removed. And when will that happen?) when the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”
Well, what’s the fullness of the Gentiles that Paul is talking about? The Body of Christ. When the Body of Christ, the out-calling of Gentiles that we’re going to pursue now in a little bit—when the out-calling of Gentiles is complete and we’re out of here in the Rapture, then what can God do? He can open the eyes of Israel and go back and finish His dealings with them.
God’s not through with Israel. Their future is still glorious. And I don’t care what people say about God being all through with the Jew. He is not. If He were, then all the promises of the Old Testament fall apart, and that means that our promises wouldn’t mean anything either. But God will yet come back and fulfill those Old Testament covenant promises with the nation of Israel after the Body of Christ has become complete.
Now that word after just reminded me of another portion that we’re going to look at. Come back with me to Acts chapter 15. And for sake of time, because we’ve looked at it several times, Acts chapter 15 is a parallel with Galatians chapter 2. It’s the Jerusalem council of A.D. 51—when Paul and Barnabas had to go up from Antioch to Jerusalem to deal with the Jewish church, believing Jews, but they were not Grace believers. They were Kingdom believers. That’s why I’m glad I was able to put the Lewis Sperry Chafer statement on the board in our last taping. I hope everybody got a chance to read it.
But anyway, here we are in the Acts account of that Jerusalem council. The whole purpose was for Paul and Barnabas to convince James and Peter and John and the rest of the 12 that God was saving Gentiles by faith and faith alone without the ramifications of Judaism. No circumcision. No law keeping. They’ve been saved by Grace. This was the big controversy. Finally Paul gets through and more or less wins the day. And now James, the half brother of Jesus who is moderating this particular meeting, comes in at verse 12.
“Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience (or listened) to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. 13. And after they had held their peace, (Everything quiets down. The arguing stops with Peter, James, and John—who we’re dealing with especially in Galatians chapter 2.) James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:” In other words, he’s addressing his Jewish congregation up there in Jerusalem.
“Simeon (or Peter) hath declared (What took place in the house of Cornelius back in Acts 10.) how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, (Now watch the language.) to take out of them (Who are the them? Gentiles. See, you’ve got to watch your pronouns. God is going to take out of the Gentile world not everybody, but a small percentage.) a people for his name.”
Of course no one but Paul ever uses the term the Body of Christ, but here it is. Even though Peter, James, and John didn’t understand that that’s what it would be called. All they realize is that there are going to be Gentiles called out of their paganism, or whatever, to become part of God’s own modus operandi. Which when we get to Paul will be called the Body of Christ.
So at the first, in Acts chapter 10, when Peter went to the house of Cornelius, he witnessed that God would save Gentiles by faith right on the spot—without repentance, without water baptism, without anything else. Now verse 15—James is still speaking.
“And to this agree the words of the prophets: as it is written, 16. After this…” See, that’s what made me think of it. After what? After God has called out a people for His name as we saw in verse 14. Or we could say, after the Rapture and the Body of Christ is removed from the earth to Heaven. See how it all fits?
“…to take out of them a people for his name.” That’s when the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in. So the question is—when will that happen? “After this”—as we see in verse 16. So after this, the prophet says:
“After this I will return, (At His Second Coming! And, of course, he’s merely the spokesman for God Himself. So God says, I will return–) and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:” That is when God shall set up His 1,000 year earthly Kingdom after the Tribulation. And the other word for tabernacle was temple, remember? He’ll rebuild again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down and has been now for almost 2,000 years.
He goes on to say in verse 16, “and I will build again the ruins thereof.” Now, what does that mean? God is still going to finish His Old Testament promises with the nation of Israel. Let’s go back and look at it. It’s in the Book of Amos. And you’ve got to read it with your own eyes. Amos chapter 9—because this is the very verse that James was prompted to quote. Now here in Amos chapter 9—just like all the prophets of Israel, the major as well as the minor—they were always talking about the bad things that would happen to Israel, their chastisement. But the end result would be God’s blessings.
To rehearse their chastisement: well, first is the Babylonian, remember. Then came the Roman invasion of A.D. 70. Now the one that is left is the seven years of Tribulation and the Second Coming. Now Amos has brought all three of these around. You can just jump in at verse 8 so you get the flow, as I call it. Amos chapter 9 verse 8:
“Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it (See what I talked about? The bad things happen before the good things?) from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD.” See, He’s not going to totally annihilate them. There’s going to be a nation of Israel left for the end time. Verse 9:
“For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, (That’s why they’ve been out in dispersion.) like as corn (or grain) is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. 10. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.”
In other words, they rebel against all of God’s overtures. But now verse 11—after all the chastisements, after the horrors of the tribulation are past, here comes the promise. And this is what James quoted.
“In that day (When God is ready to come back and finish His work with Israel.) will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: 12. That they may possess…”
And then you come down to the verses at the end of the chapter. We might as well read them, because this is Israel’s future. Don’t you ever let somebody tell you that God is through with Israel. No, He is not. Their blessings are coming—the greatest they’ve ever had. But it won’t be until the Church is complete and we’re out of the way. And then after that, yes, here it comes. Now, let’s just read them for the thrill of it.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth the seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. (That is with blessings.) 14. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.”
Do you see what that is? That’s just fantastic production. That’s the milk and honey that Israel was promised when they were offered the land of Canaan the first time. Here it’s going to be. It’s just going to be glorious. And then verse 15:
“And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.” Well, when will it happen? After the Church has been completed and taken out of the way. Now, that brings me back to what I call the third reason that we can open up the timeline scripturally. We have to do it scripturally; otherwise, we’re just pulling it out of the woodwork, as I said. But here we’re going to have the third reason.
The first one was that Elymas was a type of Israel being spiritually blinded but receiving her sight at some time in the future. Then the second one was, as we went back into Romans 11 where the Body of Christ, the true Church has to be called out and completed with the Rapture. And in that period of time, Israel is under a spiritual blindness.
I want to come back to that one now for the last few minutes of this half hour. Come back to Romans chapter 11 to, again, show that we have to have a break in the Old Testament timeline. We’ve already got it up here, so I better use it. Here we come. We’ve come all the way out of the Old Testament and up through the prophets since the Babylonian captivity in 606 B.C. Then Israel comes back into the land seventy years later. They were there. They had temple worship and everything going. Then the Messiah appeared. He has His three years of earthly ministry. They rejected Him. He was crucified, buried, and risen from the dead. He ascended back to glory.
After He ascended back to glory, Peter and the Eleven thought that they’d go right on through into the seven years of Tribulation and then the Second Coming and the Kingdom Age would appear. Well, you see, that’s where most of replacement theology is even today. They totally ignore this second line that has the Body of Christ here. They think everything just keeps on going up here on the top line.
Well, years ago now, we taught those little epistles at the back—Peter, James, John and Jude. And I know I shocked a lot of people. All those little epistles were written to believing Jews in this point in time here between the ascension and the Tribulation. The Tribulation certainly hadn’t started, but they thought it would at anytime. Here they are. So, all those little Jewish epistles were written to believing Jews to prepare them for the horrors of the Tribulation. They knew that if they could get through it, they would have the glories of the Kingdom. It’s so plain.
But what nobody understood, and a lot of Christendom today can’t understand, is that God stopped the timeline right there, and now we drop down to this one (Body of Christ). And we open up to what Paul refers to. We’re going to look at that all afternoon and maybe the next taping. But we open up this parenthetical period of time that we call the Dispensation of Grace, where God is calling out the Gentile Body of Christ. And when it’s full and out of the way, yes, then He’s still going to finish this program up here on the top line with the nation of Israel. To me, it’s so plain; a five year old should understand it. But, you know, most of Christendom can’t get it.
They just ignore Paul. It’s just unbelievable the mail that we get. I had one come—maybe I referred to it before. I know I did to a couple of my classes. I had a lady in a far part of the country write me. And across the top of her newspaper she wrote “Now I see what you mean when you say that people hate Paul.” Well, there was a letter to the editor in there, and it was the most venomous language you could ever imagine and still be printable—all against the Apostle Paul. Some of the language was—they kicked him out of Greece, they kicked him out of Turkey, and what an idiot. That’s the kind of language they use about the Apostle Paul. Well, if you’re going to use that kind of language about Paul, you’re not going to be studying him, so you’re going to miss the boat. And that’s most of Christendom. They just totally ignore him, or they dislike him.
Now, if you’ve got Romans 11:25, let’s look at it again.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery,…” This secret that was never mooted or hinted at anywhere else in Scripture except for what we read in Amos. But what could you take out of that if you didn’t know it after the fact? Nothing. And the same way with other little statements. It didn’t mean a thing until after it was fulfilled.
It was a secret that was kept in the mind of God. And what was the secret? That Israel would go through a time of spiritual blindness beginning in Paul’s day, and it’s going to continue right up until the Church is gone in the Rapture and the Tribulation begins. Then Israel will begin to have an awakening. Now, I say begin, because it’s not going to happen to the whole nation all at once. But as you open up the Tribulation, you’ve got the 144,000 young Jewish witnesses. Well, those are just the beginning. Then the 144,000 circumvent the globe. By the time we get to the end, yes, there’ll be a remnant that will suddenly realize who Jesus Christ really is. So, finishing verse 25.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness (a spiritual blindness) in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” In other words, Israel will not respond in great numbers to the Gospel until the Church is gone. Now, we always rejoice about every one that we get, naturally.
But we’re not going to make a big issue of it that you have to see every Jew saved before anything can happen, because God has His own time table for the nation of Israel. But never lose sight of the fact that He has not walked away from Israel and their promises. They’re still going to enjoy it. But until that day comes, He’s still working through the Body of Christ. He’s still out there with the Gospel of the Grace of God, and it’s our responsibility to simply tell it to whomever we can—that Christ died for the sins of the world, that he was buried, and that he rose again. That’s the Gospel. That’s plain and simple. Now, how in the world can they accuse me of anything so false if that’s what I primarily proclaim? That’s salvation. That’s it in a nutshell. And, oh, my goodness, I wish you could see our letters and hear our phone calls. Over and over and over, it’s the same thing. How that God opened my eyes, and for the first time I’m believing the Gospel, and I know I have salvation.
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