Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 77
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF SCRIPTURE – PART 45
Genesis – Revelation (Eternity)
Okay, it’s good to see everybody in this afternoon. Again, for those of you out in television, we’re just an informal Bible study. Today we’ve got folks in here from Kansas and Oklahoma City and several outside of Tulsa.
All right, again we want to always thank our television audience for your prayers. My, how we appreciate that you all pray for us every day. And your letters, my goodness, how we love our mail time. I want people to know that I’m not just wasting words when I say that we appreciate your letters. And of course, your financial help, we can’t pay the bills without that.
We’re in the final four lessons of Book 77 today. We’ve been connecting the dots of Scripture for the past four books. The girls have been asking me the last few days, “Well, Les, people are asking what you mean by connecting the dots?” Well, I just thought everybody knew. Sometimes you’ll see a blank sheet of paper with a whole bunch of dots and numbers. You take a pen or a pencil and start going from one to two to three to four to five, then all of a sudden something comes up that’s recognizable. It’s just a matter of making sense out of something that maybe didn’t make sense.
Well, that’s what we’ve been doing in these past four books, including this one. We’ve gone from Genesis through Revelation. We’re just hitting the highlights, not in-depth like we did the first time through, but just sort of a review. I like to think of it as an overview of Genesis to Revelation. I’m hoping that today we can finish with connecting the dots of Scripture.
But before we get into connecting the dots, I was reminded again by a magazine that somebody sends me every so often from people that call themselves Preterists. Now, a lot of folks aren’t acquainted with the term. It’s not new. I used to always call them Amillennialists, because they reject all end-time prophecy. But I have found out since I’m in the ministry, that a true Preterist maintains that everything was fulfilled in A.D. 70. And of course they go by Matthew 24, where it says “that this generation shall not pass until all things are fulfilled.” From that they maintain, and they show Scriptures—you know you can do anything with the Scripture if you look often enough—that Christ returned, and that everything was finished in A.D. 70. Israel disappeared and the Jews are no more, and the people who claim to be Jews today are not Jews at all. They’re impostors. Oh, it’s ridiculous.
But the thing that really raised my hackles in this last article was that they started it out by saying, “There is nothing in Scripture to indicate a gap or a parenthesis in God’s timetable.” And that’s what I’m always emphasizing that the Church Age is, a parenthetical period of time. We’re going to be looking at that after the boys turn the board.
I decided I’m going to confront that. I just can’t let people get away with something like that without warning people to “look out, look out!” They’re highly educated, no doubt about that. They use the Scriptures seemingly to make their point. But I’m going to use the Scriptures to show that they are totally out in left field.
So, we’re going to start right now in Acts chapter 15 at verse 13. The background for this chapter, of course, is that Paul and Barnabas have come up from their work of service amongst the Gentiles. Especially up in Antioch where Judaizers have been coming in behind them and telling Paul’s Gentile converts that they cannot be saved unless they practice circumcision and keep the Mosaic Law.
So the Lord directed Paul and Barnabas to go up to Jerusalem and confront the Twelve about this very thing. After they had spent a good part of a day, Peter, James, and John finally came to conclusion that Paul was right. He was sent specifically to the Gentiles. This is one of the portions that I feel makes it so plain that God definitely stopped the Old Testament timeline and opened it up for the Church Age.
All right, let’s start our reading in Acts chapter 15 verse 13. Now remember, they had been discussing these things all day up there in Jerusalem.
“After they had held their peace, James (who was the moderator) answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: (Now remember, he’s got nothing but a Jewish audience here.) 14. Simeon (Peter) hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them (the Gentile world) a people for his name. 15. And to this agree the words of the prophets; (the Old Testament) as it is written,”Back in Amos, and in a moment we’re going to go back and look at it in Amos.
“After this (After the calling out of a people for His name from amongst the Gentiles.) I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; (Which certainly it is as we speak.) and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:” Hasn’t happen yet, but it will!
All right, now if you’ll go back with me to Amos, we’ll see exactly what Peter is referring to. Amos chapter 9, now that’s right after Daniel and Hosea, and then there’s Amos. Those little Minor Prophets are sometimes hard to find. I know they are. Okay, this is what James quoted. And that’s what’s interesting about Scripture. When the New Testament writers quote the Old Testament, check them out. Go back and see exactly what the setting was in the Old Testament.
“In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, (In other words, it’s gone into the dustbin of history for all these hundreds of years now, remember.) and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:”
In other words, that’s the promise of Israel’s total restoration to all the things promised in the Old Testament. Of course, it’s a reference to the coming in of the King and the Kingdom, as we’ll see as we read on—verse 12.
“That they (Israel) may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, (the Gentiles) which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this. 13. Behold,…” Now this is the Kingdom after the Church Age has been Raptured out. Then God will come back and pick up where He left off with Israel in their prophecies and promises.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes (will overcome) him that soweth the seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. Well, enough of that.
I think my timeline is up here. Here we are. We’ve come out of the Old Testament promises and all the Covenant promises. Had Israel at some point in Jesus’ earthly ministry recognized Jesus of Nazareth as their King and their Messiah, then according to all the Old Testament, the Four Gospels, and the early chapters of Acts, after He had ascended in Acts chapter 1 then in would come the wrath and vexation—which we call the seven years of Tribulation. Then Christ would return and bring in the Kingdom.
All right, now here is the gap thing that these people are just furiously opposing – that God stopped His timeline before the Tribulation came in after He had ascended and brought in instead what Peter refers to as “a calling out a people for His name.” Well, that’s exactly what the Church Age is. Paul calls it the “Body of Christ.” Israel never tried to evangelize the Gentiles. They had no commission to go and bring salvation to the Gentile world until they had the King and the Kingdom. Then they would, but they rejected everything.
All right, so if you’ll come back to Acts a minute and rehearse what Peter said, because I’ve got to make the point in verse 15. Acts 15 and we’ll start at verse 14 for review, again.
“Simeon (or Peter) hath declared how God at the first (for the first time) did visit the Gentiles, (See? God never went to the Gentiles until Paul.) to take out of them a people for his name. 15. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16. After this (After the calling out of the Gentile Body of Christ, then–) I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David,…” And finish His program with Israel. Well, that’s my number one reason that it’s definite that there is a parenthetical time between Israel’s fall and her promises of the Kingdom.
All right, now I’ve got another one that I’ve used before. We’ll use it again, still in Acts. Change over to Acts chapter 13 and drop in at verse 6.
Here we have Paul and Barnabas just beginning their first missionary journey. They’ve left Antioch where the church has prayed for them and sent them out. And the Holy Spirit leads them, of course, first to the Island of Cyprus. As they go to the western end of Cyprus, they come to the major city, which, of course, is Paphos. Then we come to verse 6.
“When they had gone through the island unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, (who was) a Jew,…” And, remember, Israel in the future is going to do the same thing this Jew did—try to keep the Gospel from going out to Gentiles.
“…whose name was Bar-jesus: 7. Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.” In other words, this guy had his head on straight.
“But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy (the Gentile) from the faith. (That, of course, Paul and Barnabas were proclaiming.) 9. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Spirit, set his eyes on him, 10. And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” Now verse 11:
“And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind,…” Highlight those words, “Thou shalt be blind.” Now in this case, it’s a physical blindness, because it is a symbolic prophecy concerning the Nation of Israel as a whole. All right, this individual Jew who is withstanding the Gospel from going to the Gentiles will now be physically blind.
“…not seeing the sun for a season. (not for the rest of his life, but for a period of time) And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.”
All right, now there we have in symbolism, again, a preview of the Nation of Israel as a whole, who also were blinded because of their constant rejection of the Gospel of the finished work of the cross and who Christ was, and so on and so forth. All right, now just to make that point, come over to chapter 17. We’ll see what I’m talking about, that this Elymas was merely a preview symbolically of the Nation as a whole—because here, instead of just one Jew withstanding the Gospel, we’ve got a number of them. All right, verse 5 of Acts 17, they’re up in Thessalonica.
“But the Jews which believed not, (See that? Just like this fellow over on Cyprus.) moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, (Who was with, of course, Paul and Silas.) and sought to bring them out to the people.” All right, now then, just to take it a little step further, come on down to verse 10.
“And the brethren (That is the fellow believers up there in the area of Thessalonica.) immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: (Which is the next little city further south.) who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11. These (Jews) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 12. Therefore many of them believed;…” But now look in verse 13.
“But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, (to Gentiles, remember) they (the Jews from up at Thessalonica) came thither also, and stirred up the people. 14. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go (toward) as it were to the sea:…” So, there’s evidence that the Jews would not only reject it for themselves, but they did everything in their power to keep the Gentiles from hearing our salvation message of faith in that finished work of the cross and His glorious resurrection
All right, now in response to that, then, the Holy Spirit leads the Apostle Paul to make a graphic statement, and if you’ve had any contact with bringing the Gospel to the Jewish people, you’ll know exactly what it’s talking about. Romans 11 verse 7. Now this is years and years later, remember. We’re now into the early 60’s, whereas up there in the early part of Paul’s ministry, we’re still down in the 50’s. But here we are up in the 60’s, and Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes this graphic statement.
“What then? Israel (that is the Nation) hath not obtained that which he seeketh for;…” In other words, they were always looking for that glorious promised Kingdom and so forth, but they couldn’t see it as fulfilled in this Jesus of Nazareth. That was their hang up. Not that they didn’t believe in a King and a Kingdom. They just couldn’t see that Jesus had any connection to it.
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election (In other words, that little small number of Jews who did embrace Jesus as the Messiah—which later on became the church at Pentecost and the Jerusalem church. They embraced it, but they were only a small, small percentage of the Nation as a whole.) hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” The vast majority of the Nation was blinded. Blinded. Just like the sorcerer was up there in Cyprus, and that was the preview.
Now, why and when were they blinded? Well, they’ve been blinded for this whole period of what we call the Dispensation of Grace, or the Church Age. Not all Jews, but for the most part. In fact, I had a call from a Rabbi not too long ago. My goodness, he was hot under the collar to the extreme, because he said, “I’m getting phone calls from California to Tel Aviv.” I said, “Rabbi, I’m not on in Tel Aviv.” And he said, “You must be. I’m getting phone calls.”
But anyway, he’s probably listening. During the course of our conversation, he let me know. He said, “Now, Les, we do not believe one word of that New Testament.” I said, “I know that. Aren’t you glad it’s a free country? That’s your privilege. It’s a free country for me, so I can teach the way I see it.” And he had to agree that this is part of our freedom.
But you see, it just pointed out that the Jewish people in general cannot believe one word of the New Testament. Why? They’ve been blinded. Providentially blinded until the Body of Christ, the true Church, is out of the way. And then God will again pick up dealing with His chosen people Israel. Absolutely, God loves the Nation of Israel. He loves the Jewish people. But as Stephen said in the Book of Acts, and I think even Peter used the same word, they were stiff-necked. They just would not bow to the fact that Jesus was who He said He was. So, they’ve been blinded.
All right, that gives rise to my next point, which is still in Romans chapter 11 verse 25. And if this doesn’t show a parenthetical period of time, then I don’t know how to read.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery,…” Now let’s see, we don’t have the mysteries up here. They’re on the other side of the board. My, how much time we have spent on the mysteries in Paul’s epistles. It’s that whole body of truth between Romans and Philemon that was kept secret through the thousands of years of the Old Testament, through Christ’s earthly ministry, and through the early chapters of Acts. Nobody had an inkling of any of these so-called mysteries. Not a one of them.
All right, now here’s another one. Paul is again showing us a particular secret that was not understood until it came to the pen of this Apostle. All right, so he said:
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (or this secret) lest ye should be wise in your own conceits;…” Now stop and ask yourself a question. Who’s writing? Paul. Who’s he writing to? Gentiles. Not to Israel, he’s writing to Gentiles. He says that you should not be ignorant lest you should be wise in your conceits. Now, here is the mystery, the secret that nobody really understood until Paul comes along.
“…that blindness (a Spiritual blindness. Forever? No. What are next two words?) in part…” For a period of time.
Now for us this is a long period of time. It’s been over 1,900 years. How long is it in the mind of God? A snap of the finger. God’s timeless. Don’t ever forget that. Time means nothing to God. So when it says here that they would be blind in part, we think that more or less means a month or two. No, it’s been 2,000 years. But it’s a snap of the finger in God’s thinking. And here Israel has been blind all these 1,900 and some years, but now don’t stop there.
“…that blindness in part is happened to Israel, (And what’s the next word?) until (And what have I called that for 20-some years? A time word! Oh, it doesn’t give a month and a day and a year, but it gives a point in time that Israel is going to be kept spiritually blind—until some point in time, and then it’s going to be lifted.) the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” That is the Rapture of the Church!
All right, now you get the picture? While Israel is in a spiritual blindness, God is doing something He never did before. He went to the Gentile world with this glorious Gospel of Grace without works, without sacrifice, and without Temple worship. It’s a parenthesis, and it’s going to end. And when that parenthetical period of time ends, this “until” ends, and what is God going to do with Israel? He’s going to come back and deal with them on the basis of the Old Testament promises again.
Then all of this—that’s why we’ve got it in a double line. Once we get through this Dispensation of Grace and the Church is out of the way, God is going to pick up right where He left off. We’re still going to have Israel in the limelight, the seven years of Tribulation leading up to the Second Coming—which we’ve been talking about now for the last several months—bringing in the Kingdom.
Now, if you’re watching your news, my goodness, I think we’re getting close! You know we’re planning a tour to Israel – October? November? After reading some of my news magazines last night, I don’t know if we’ll be going or not. Because this one commentator maintains that either Israel or America is going to attack Iran before election day. Well, if they attack Iran before election day, we will not be going to Israel! And if it does happen, then to me that’s just the opening for the seven years of Tribulation. So we’re getting close one way or another. I don’t set dates. You know that.
But here we have a definitive statement that Israel is going to be blinded for a period of time during which God will go to the Gentile world with Paul’s Gospel. But when it ends, it’ll be when the Church is complete. All right, let’s get back to our verse in Romans again. My goodness, time is gone already.
“…that blindness in part is happened to Israel until (What?) the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” Now remember what James said back in Acts? That He would call out a people for His name from among the Gentiles. Well, something that starts has to what? End. I mean, that’s just common life. So, once God started calling out the Gentile Body of Christ, it’s going and going until it gets to the full mark, and then what? We’re out of here in the Rapture. It just has to be.
And once we’re out of here, what does God do? He picks up where He left off with Israel, and in comes the seven years of the Tribulation. Everything is now moving forward to the coming of the King and the Kingdom, which we will pick up again in our next half hour. All these things are just literally laid out so simply. First, James and Peter and John recognized that Paul and Barnabas indeed had a ministry to the Gentiles that did not affect Peter, James, and John and the Twelve whatsoever. They are over there with Israel. These guys are out with the Gentiles.
Then we have the picture of the Nation being blinded, because of their rejecting all these things. And when the Nation was blinded, that opened the door for the Gentiles. Then Paul comes back with this graphic statement that Israel’s blindness is going to end when the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in.
And my goodness, how many times have I used the illustration of a young lady who is waiting for delivery? What’s the time frame? Who knows? Nine months or thereabouts—when that little baby is complete and everything is in place, what happens? Delivery. And that’s what we’re looking for. We’re going to be delivered out of this mess. We trust sooner rather than later.