Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 78
PART 2 of the MESSIANIC PROPHECIES – PART 1
Psalms 22, 23, and 24
We’re so glad to have all of you in the studio. For those of you joining us out in television, we just want to always remind you that we’re just a simple Bible study. I don’t want to get theological, and I don’t want to get deeper than what people can understand. But on the other hand, we do want to go beyond what most Sunday school quarterlies do. My whole premise is: keep it simple, yet get an understanding of what the Word really says. Because there’s a lot of ignorance out there that’s just almost unbelievable.
But for those of you out in television, again, we want to thank you for your prayer support and your letters. My, we continue to be amazed at our mail and how encouraging it all is. And the phone calls—once in a while the girls will tell me what they just heard, and they have to grab the Kleenex because the tears are flowing about the good phone calls they get. So we know the Lord is being awfully good to us. And again, we just ask that you would search the Scriptures with us, follow verse-by-verse. I’m always emphasizing to be just as aware of what is not in here as what is, because a lot of people have been told stuff that is not in here.
These next four programs will be, hopefully, in the next Messianic Psalms. We’ll be going to them in a minute, which will be Psalm 22, 23, and 24. Now, they all three kind of fit together. You’ll see that when we get there. But as a New Testament introduction to the Old, I’m going to start out with verses I use quite often – Romans 15. We’re just going to start at verse 4 and go all the way down, and verse 8 is sort of like the frosting on the cake.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime (that means back in the Old Testament) were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 5. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:”
“That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7. Wherefore receive you one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. 8. Now I say that Jesus Christ was (past tense—in His earthly ministry) a minister of the circumcision…”
Now catch that. He was a minister of whom? Israel. Not a word about being a minister to Gentiles back there in His earthly ministry. He was the minister of the “circumcision”—of Israel. Now I’m doing this because of one of the comments I’m going to make back in the Book of Psalms.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” Well, now goodness sakes, who were the Fathers? The Old Patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and later on Moses and David and the Prophets. It was all concerning God and His Covenant people, Israel.
Now one more before we go back to Psalms. I want you to turn to I Peter chapter 1. I think we did this in our last taping. This will be the theme now of all the Messianic Psalms.
I Peter 1:10a
“Of which salvation…” In other words—you know, that’s the theme of Scripture—whether it was to Adam or whether it was to Israel or whether it’s to us as Gentiles today. But Peter is dealing with fellow Jews who had now come into a relationship through the Kingdom Gospel—which required the Jew to believe that Jesus was the Christ. Nobody has told them to quit Law-keeping, so Peter is talking of that salvation.
I Peter 1:10
“Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, (those same prophets) who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:” At some point in the future.
I Peter 1:11
“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who was in them (That is, in the Prophets as they wrote.) did signify, when he testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the (What?)glory that should follow.”
Now, I think we put it on the board last week. We haven’t got it up there now. But that’s the whole theme of these Messianic Psalms—the suffering of the coming Messiah and the glory which would follow.
Now let’s go back to Psalms 22. Remember now, David is the primary author of the Book of Psalms, under the Holy Spirit, of course. But it’s the relationship, not between God and you and me as the Gentile world, but it’s the relationship between God and Israel. And since Israel was a pastoral nation—I trust you all know what I mean by that. What was their main commodity? Sheep!
They were sheepherders from day one. They had some other things. They had goats, and they had some cattle. But they were primarily shepherds with sheep. And that’s why whenever God dealt with Israel, that was so often the analogy—the shepherd and the sheep. All right, now we see this especially in these three chapters of Psalms that are all tied together with that shepherd and sheep concept.
In chapter 22, He is declared as the Good Shepherd. Now again, I didn’t intend to do this. But let’s just go back to John chapter 10, which I have always referred to as the shepherd chapter—the chapter concerning Israel’s Good Shepherd. And again, there is nothing in here that is directed to Gentiles, although we can take analogy from it. Of course we can. It’s the Word of God. But this is not directed to Gentiles. This is directed to Jews in Christ’s earthly ministry. Consequently, in chapter 10 verse 1 He said:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2. But (Now here’s the one we looked at in Psalm chapter 22.) he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.” And then He goes on and describes the Good Shepherd.
“To him the porter (or the door keeper) openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name,…” Now you’ve got to remember, that back in the days of Israel, they didn’t have these thousands upon thousands of head of sheep in herds like we’ve got out in our mountain states.
They were just small, little flocks. Indeed, they were almost like pets, and they probably all had a name. And they didn’t drive them, like we normally think of herding something. But what’d they do? They led them. They’d go ahead of their little flock of sheep.
All right, now that’s the analogy that Jesus is making. It’s in red if you’ve got a red-letter edition. That’s His role between Himself and Israel, like the Shepherd of the sheep.
“…the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, (He leads them. He doesn’t drive them.) and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” Now what is that? That’s the Good Shepherd. Now verse 11—this is the verse I really wanted to jump off to in Psalm 22.
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd (Does what?) giveth his life for the sheep.” Now think about that for a minute. What is He talking about? His own death, burial, and resurrection. For whose benefit? Now we’ve got to be careful up front. First and foremost, for whose benefit? Israel. To whom were all the promises given? The Fathers. Who were the Fathers? Israel.
It isn’t until Israel just rejects and rejects and rejects, and I’ve always used these same comments. When you get to Stephen’s martyrdom back there in Acts chapter 7, it was the epitome, the crescendo, not of Israel’s following the shepherd, but of her what? Rejection!
And then who were we introduced to at the stoning of Stephen? The next Apostle who is going to go to the Gentiles. But we have to leave it all in its own order. We’re dealing now, primarily—when we go back to Psalms 22, and it’s God relationship with His sheep—Israel. No Gentiles involved in here yet. It’s all between God and Israel. Now then, the Good Shepherd cries out:
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” Now, if you know anything about your Gospel account, what is this a prophecy of? The cross.
And that’s exactly what He cried out. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Here it is a thousand years before it happened! That’s why we call it a Messianic and a Prophetic Psalm. He’s rehearsing this to His own people Israel.
Now remember what John said? What does the Good Shepherd do for His sheep? He dies for them. Now this is a different set of circumstances, of course, than for some shepherd who probably has to fight off a bunch of wolves and so forth to protect his sheep and loses his life in doing it. But nevertheless, the concept is that the Good Shepherd is going to give His life for His sheep. That’s what this Psalm is all about.
But now we’re going to notice as we come through, and I’m going to take my time. Because you’ll see all the way from verse 1 up through verse 21, that it all deals with the crucifixion. And then all of a sudden at verse 22 it breaks into the joy and the power of resurrection. And then it’s resurrection from 22 to the end of the chapter. All right, we’re going to wait for that until we cover these verses that deal with His crucifixion.
“Oh my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3. But thou art holy, O thou who inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Now you’ve got to remember, that this is all speaking prophetically of that which won’t happen for another 1,000 years.
Now that just reminds me. How many times over the years haven’t I made the statement? Some of you may have never heard it. Some of you have heard it more than once. When Christ came at that first advent, Israel could have known who He was! Israel should have known who He was, because of all these Old Testament prophecies. But why didn’t they? Because they were so blinded by their unbelief.
But listen, don’t blame the Jew. We’re no different today. Look at the rank and file of even so-called Christian America. Churches on every corner—what percent of them know anything of this Book anymore? Very few. Very few. I get phone call after phone call. They find that out after they’ve learned something from listening to my program and they take it into their Sunday school class. What do they find out? How ignorant all the rest of them are. They never touch on these things. And why? They’re blinded with that same power of unbelief. So, yes, Israel could have known. All the prophets were declaring it. Israel should have known. But Israel did not know.
“Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.” Well, now this is a flashback in some of Israel’s history. The first one I think of is Joseph. My goodness, Joseph was a perfect picture of Christ. And what was he? Rejected by his brothers and cast into the pit.
But did God abscond from Joseph? No. God was with him. And even when they sold him to the slave traders, the Ishmaelites, did God abandon Joseph? No. God stayed with him. And even though he probably ended up in an Egyptian prison for what I feel was probably 10 years, yet the Scripture says, “God was with him.” Even in his adversity, God was with him. Then what happened? He became the second man in Egypt. He became the savior, not only of that part of the world, but especially the children of Jacob. These are all verses that flash us back to some of the previous things that took place in our Old Testament account.
“Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. 5. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.” Now we’re coming back again to Christ in His suffering and His rejection at the cross.
“But I am a worm, (Now you want to remember, He didn’t execute His authority and His power, but He let them do to Him whatever they wanted.) and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” Now we come up to the time that He was on the cross in verse 7:
“All they that see me (What’s their response? Sorrow and repentance? No! They were gloating. And they–) laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8. He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him,…”
Now, do you remember all this from Matthew and the Gospel accounts? Sure. This was the conversation out there in the crowd watching Him suffer. Well, if He’s who He says He is, let Him call down ten legions of angels. They’ll help Him. It was a constant scorn of their Messiah.
“But thou art he who took me out of the womb:…” Oh, my goodness, now we’ve got to stop. Now this, of course, is a conversation between the Son and the Father. What’s He talking about? Mary in Bethlehem—that the Son of God would come into the human experience through a human mother—through the womb experience.
“But thou art he who took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.” As a suckling babe. That’s how He became the God-Man prophesied back here 1,000 years before Christ.
Now, I guess the reason I’m going to be a little excited this afternoon in teaching these things, is that it just confirms again what this Book really is. It’s the supernatural Word of God—cover-to-cover. And we can believe every word of it, because of things like this. A thousand years before it happened, it’s already telling the exact way that God would become human flesh through the womb of a human mother.
“I was cast upon thee from the womb: (He never stopped being God, and yet He was always resting on the power and the promise of the Father.) thou art my God from my mother’s belly. (He never stopped being the Son of God, even in the womb.) 11. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; and there is none to help.”
Now, I’m just thinking of a verse. You know that’s the way I teach. I certainly wasn’t contemplating this before. Come back with me to the New Testament, to Luke chapter 18. Now remember the verse I just read, “Be not far from me; for trouble is near; and there is none to help.” All right, Luke 18, starting at verse 31—and this is at the end of His earthly ministry now. He has the Twelve up there in Northern Israel. They’re going to be making their way up to Jerusalem for Passover and the crucifixion. So there they are, up there at the headwaters of the Jordan River.
“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets (in the Old Testament) concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.” And here’s what’s going to happen. Jesus is speaking, knowing the end from the beginning, because of His Deity.
“For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33. And they shall scourge him, (That is with the whips.) and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” There it is, all in one verse. How He’s going to suffer and after three days in the tomb, He’d be raised from the dead. But now look at verse 34.
“And they (the Twelve) understood none of these things: (Why?) and this saying was hid from them,…” God didn’t intend those Twelve men to know what was coming, because—remembering what Jesus says from the Psalms—how many were going to help Him? None!
Well, what if these Twelve men would have gotten an inkling of what was coming? What could they have done? My, they could have raised up a few, anyway, to help Him fight back on the Romans. Because the Jews were tenacious, you know. They hated the Romans. And for any excuse, they would have had an insurrection. But you see, God made sure that for our benefit, to show us that Jesus knew what was coming—He kept the Twelve from understanding one iota.
Beloved, they had no idea whatsoever that He was going to be arrested, and that He was going to be put to death. And after He’d been put to death, they had no idea that He’d be raised from the dead. And remember, in this Age of Grace we live in, that’s what we have to believe for salvation (I Corinthians 15:1-4).
Now they could have, if they’d have known their Old Testament. But they didn’t. Remember what Peter wrote? “The prophets searched diligently.” Well, why were they searching diligently? They couldn’t find what they were looking for. That’s what it amounts to. And here we have it plain as day. As the Psalmist puts it in the words of the Lord Jesus from the cross, there were none to help Him.
All right, come back again, if you will, to Psalm 22 and verse 12. Now keep the picture of the crucifixion out in front of you, because that’s what this is all describing from a 1,000 year B.C. perspective, prophetically.
“Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.” Now I used to think that was just the crowd around Him. No. It was the demonic forces.
All the forces of Satan and Hell itself were surrounding Him there on the cross. Probably elated—just rejoicing that they finally had the One they were trying to usurp. They had Him where they wanted Him—hanging on that Roman cross. So, as He looked at it from a thousand years B.C., “They compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.” Now you come back to the crowd of humans around Him.
“They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.” Now remember, what was the cry of even the Jews at His trial? “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” Well, if they were crying that at His trial, do you think they stopped when He was on the cross? Well, of course not. It was just like a bunch of ravening wolves—get rid of Him! I don’t think we get a clue of the hatred that they had for this Jesus of Nazareth.
Have I got time? Come back with me to Acts chapter 26. This is from the lips of Saul of Tarsus—after his conversion, of course. Long after he’s been serving the Christ he once hated. But look what an intense hatred Saul of Tarsus had for this Jesus of Nazareth.
Saul was not that much different than the rank and file of Israel. Maybe this will give us a good indication of what we’re seeing in Psalms 22 of how those people hated and detested this One that was dying for them. That’s the pitiful part. He was dying for them who hated Him. All right, look what Paul tells Agrippa back here in Acts 26 verse 9.
“I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. (There are no ifs, ands, or buts about who he’s talking about.) 10. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints…” That is, those Jews who had embraced Jesus as the Messiah, and they loved Him with all their heart.
“…many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; (See, it wasn’t a one-man show. He had all the priesthood behind him.) having received authority from the chief priests; and when they (these saints, these believing Jews) were put to death, I gave my vote against them.” I was in favor of putting them to death.
“And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled (I forced them–) to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. 12. Whereupon as I went to Damascus…” Now, that gives you a little inkling of the hatred that the rank and file of Israel had for their Beloved Shepherd, the Messiah.
All right, back for the last few seconds to Psalm 22. He continues with the graphic description of crucifixion in verse 14.
“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: (from hanging there from those hands and so forth) my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my being. 15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.” That’s why He cried out, I thirst. Verse 16:
“For dogs have compassed me:…” Well who were “dogs” in Christ’s day? The Romans, the Gentiles. It’s all a graphic picture of the crucifixion.
“I may tell (I can count.) all my bones: they look and stare upon me.” What were they staring at? His suffering!