60 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 4 - Book 5 - Introducing Paul

60: Lesson 3 Part 4 Book 5 – Interruption of Old Testament Progress – Introducing Paul

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 5

Parenthesis and Dashes: The Interruption of

Old Testament Progress: Introducing Paul

Let’s pick again in Galatians. We’ll eventually get back to Genesis 24, but this is just an extension of that chapter, where Abraham sends the servant up in to a far country to get a bride for his son Isaac. Remember, we made the correlation that this is a beautiful picture of God sending the Holy Spirit out among the Gentiles to gather a Bride for His Son, which of course is the Church. So what I’ve been doing for the last couple of lessons, is showing how this Old Testament program that we found in Psalms 2 and various other places of the Old Testament, would be interrupted, and it would be actually brought about through the conversion of the Apostle Paul. And then, would follow his revelations of these great doctrines of Grace that you’ll find no where else in Scripture. And this is why there is so much confusion.

I had a young man tell me recently that I was the first one that hadn’t taken all The Bible, put it in a blender, turned it on high, and then dished it out and given everybody indigestion! I said, “Now, that’s hitting the nail on the head, because that’s what most of them do, you know.” They mix it all up, and then they wonder why people can’t keep from throwing up. But all you have to do is just keep it in it’s progressive revelation as all these things unfolded in God’s own time and under His sovereign Grace. Then The Bible will just become so exciting. It is so much easier to study and understand. I think of all the hundreds of people I’ve had in my classes over the last twenty years, not one would disagree with me on that. It’s when you begin to keep all these things in their rightful place instead of mixing them, that there isn’t any confusion.

We’ll eventually get back to Genesis, but for right now we’ve got to get to where the Bride of Christ is actually brought on the scene. Several have asked if we wouldn’t delineate a little bit more about end-time things. So, since we’re back in the New Testament, and we’re dealing with the Church Age, we’ll probably take one lesson to go into the Tribulation and the Rapture, and the actual return of Christ. We won’t do it in depth or detail, but we’ll lay it out enough that hopefully, you’ll be able to understand it.

Come back to Galatians Chapter 1, where Paul has defended his apostleship. We explained in the last lesson what Paul’s Gospel is. That it’s all centered on the death, burial and Resurrection of Christ, the Son of God, Israel’s Messiah. And then in verse 12:

Galatians 1:12

“For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

For I never received it of man. In other words, as I pointed out, he never went back to Jerusalem, and checked in with the disciples. neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” We can see that everything Paul teaches and writes, came directly from the ascended Lord in glory. I’ve had people kindly say, “Wait a minute Les. You say that we go by what Paul says, I always thought we go by what Jesus said.” That, of course, would be in the Gospels. Well, wait a minute. Everything that Paul writes, is what Jesus said ( By revelation). But it’s what Jesus said after his death, burial, Resurrection and Ascension. And it’s just as if you made a will 5 years ago, and today you make a new one, and tomorrow you die. And now they bring both wills before the court. Which one is valid? The last one, because it’s what you spoke last!

This is the way we must look at Paul. Paul’s revelations are from the ascended Lord, whereas the Gospels are talking about Christ during His earthly ministry. And as I always remind people, please remember that during His earthly ministry He was living under the Law. He was ministering to a people under the Law. And so, everything that he taught was in that flavor. Now granted, we can go back and study the Gospels, and we can get a lot of moral applications. It’s certainly nice to know the things that Christ did (his compassion for example), and I have no problem with that. But you won’t find the Gospel back there, because He hadn’t died yet; He hadn’t shed His blood; He hadn’t risen from the dead.

Galatians 1:13

“For ye have heard of my conversation in times past (or my manner of living) in the Jews religion….”

I’ve made it evident over the past few years that I detest the word religion. I hope nobody ever calls me religious, because Christianity is not a religion. But, now, you see, Paul uses the word in a bad light. What does Paul think of the Jews religion? Just exactly as he implies – it’s what made him like he was. It made Paul a hater of The Messiah, The Christ.

Galatians 2:14

“And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”

What’s the key word? Tradition. Oh listen, that’s one of the most dangerous words in the Christian community. Tradition is sending millions to a lost eternity. Let’s be on guard that we don’t just subscribe to something because that’s what Dad believed. How do we know that what they believed was right? We’ve got to come back to The Book. I always tell people that what I say doesn’t count. But you can say, “Les says to look at such and such a verse.” I don’t mind that. But don’t ever ascribe anything to what I say, or what any other human being says. We have to rest on the Word of God.

Galatians 1:15

“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace….”

Remember I emphasized last week, when Saul was on the road to Damascus, he was a total enemy of Christ. Instead of zapping him off the scene, Christ saved him! Now, that was Grace. And Paul recognized that all through his writings.

Galatians 1:16

“To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:…”

To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen (Who?…The Gentiles and Heathen, not amongst the Jews so much, but among the Gentiles.); immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: When we were in Acts Chapter 9 last lesson I told you there had to be about a three year gap between those two verses:

Galatians 1:16

“Neither went up I to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me, but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.”

Where did he go? Into Arabia. Now, the reason I put Sinai along with Arabia is because in Chapter 4 – you might want to turn there with me for a minute – in verse 25, he uses the term Mount Sinai in Arabia. Putting two and two together, you’ll come up with the fact that here in Chapter 1, when God sovereignly drove him out of Damascus, He sent him down into the desert of Arabia to Mount Sinai. And I like to make the analogy, as I’ve done in programs of the past, that just as surely as God gave the Law to Moses, and Moses took the Law down the mountain to Israel, so God gave to the Apostle Paul at Sinai the doctrines of Grace. Paul tells us in Ephesians that we Gentiles have what we have, because he (Paul) gave it to us.

Galatians 1:18

“Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and

abode with him fifteen days.” After three years: that’s where I get that Paul must have spent about three years at Mount Sinai, where God revealed the tremendous truths of this Age of Grace.

Galatians 2:1

“Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.”

Now, fourteen years after, see how time is unrolling. Just get this idea: from Pentecost to the sermon of Stephen was about seven years. Then, within a year or two of that, you have Saul’s conversion. Then within the next year probably, Peter goes to the house of Cornelius. We are then about twelve years after Pentecost. Then Paul goes down for three years to Sinai. And then he comes back up into the area of Cilicia. And so fourteen years after all of this has taken place, he comes back to Jerusalem in Acts Chapter 15, and we call it thecouncil in Jerusalem. That’s where they called Paul on the carpet for preaching Salvation to the Gentiles. Please turn to Acts Chapter 11, where you want to remember that the Jews have been under intense persecution, which was brought about by the old Saul of Tarsus. They were forced to flee. You might want to go back and look at Chapter 8. I don’t like to say things without letting you see it in Scripture:

Acts 8:1

“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

Saul was consenting unto Stephen’s death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the assembly at Jerusalem: and they were all, every Jewish believer. I’m a stickler for words in Scripture, because I don’t think the Holy Spirit would permit a word to come in that is used loosely. And so I think, when it says that they were all, it meant all. So they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except who?… the apostles …do you see that? We pointed that out recently. But we are prone to forget, everyone does. They all scattered except the apostles; and here it is eight years after Pentecost, and they are still in Jerusalem. Alright, come on over to Chapter 11, where we were. Come down to verse 19. This the verse that virtually blew my mind several years ago. I’ve mentioned more than once, that I wasn’t raised in the teaching that I now teach. And this is one of the verses that opened my eyes. I was of the same mindset that Christianity began back there with John the Baptist. I don’t know what we thought. But, I had always had it all mixed up, too, you know (I already see some heads nodding). I never differentiated, but this verse hit me one time and I thought, this tells me something. And what does it say?

Acts 11:19

“Now they that were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but the Jews only.”

Now, when he speaks of “preaching the Word,” which Word did they have? The Old Testament, that’s all. And so they preached that Christ was The Messiah from the Old Testament; and they preached the Word to (and look at the next word) none but unto the Jews only.” Now isn’t that plain. Many people get the idea that as soon as Christ left the scene, the twelve went all over the world preaching the Gospel. No, they didn’t. They stayed in Jerusalem and even the believing Jews that were scattered, because of the persecution, preached to nobody but Jews. They had no idea that God was going to go to a Gentile. That was anathema to them. Now read on:

Acts 11:20

“And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.”

Now, they’ve come to Antioch and they’ve scattered away from Jerusalem and all through parts of the Mediterranean. Some have come to Antioch, where they spoke unto the Grecians, or Greeks. It wasn’t unusual to speak to Grecians because they were Jews who were living in Greece, or at least speaking the Greek language. But Greeks speaks of Gentiles. That’s what I want you to see. So, you see now what God is sovereignly doing? Even these Jews who had been forced out of Jerusalem, have now come up as far as Antioch and without their even realizing what’s going on, God is beginning to cause Gentiles to be interested enough to listen to what these Jews have to say. Now read on: “…preaching the Lord Jesus.” There’s still no reference to the death, burial and Resurrection, because they didn’t understand that either yet, but at least they are approaching these Gentiles.

Acts 11:21,22

“And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.”

Now, what do you suppose the Jewish people of Jerusalem thought? “Hey, what in the world is going on here? They can’t be talking to Greeks. This is our business.” And then they sent Barnabas to check this whole thing out.

Acts 11:23

“Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.”

When Barnabas saw the Grace of God, he was glad. Most Jews wouldn’t have been, but Barnabas was special, as you’ll now see:

Acts 11:24

“For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.”

When he says much was added unto the Lord, that included Greeks too. Now, here’s where the Holy Spirit moves in a special detail. The Gentiles are being approached and showing interest; and many are even believing, which I would still call the Jewish message, that Jesus was indeed The Messiah of Israel. What does Barnabas understand has to be done?There’s only one man for the hour and who is that? Paul. So what does the next verse say?

Acts 11:25,26

“Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Note how it says that Barnabas went to seek Saul and how he found him. See how this all fits. He went up into the area of Tarsus, which is not that far, and I can just see Barnabas going up and down the streets of these cities, along that river valley, asking if any had seen Paul. And then he finally finds Paul. And look at what he says in verse 26: “And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.” And they stayed for a whole year, teaching this group of Jews and Gentiles. And these disciples, or believers, were called Christians, where? Not Jerusalem.

I’m so amazed that every writer that I read, even great men all over; they all refer to those Jewish believers at Jerusalem as Christians. The Bible never does. Just think about that. The Bible never calls those Jewish believers Christians, from the time of John the Baptist, all the way up until Paul. But all the theologians do. The Christians there at Jerusalem. I don’t know where we get it. Because you see, it wasn’t until Paul came on the scene and began to expound on the Age of Grace, based on the death, burial and Resurrection, that The Bible says those people were Christians. Those Jewish believers, I maintain, were not in that category. They were not like these Gentiles. They were called Christians first there in Antioch. If you’ll come down to Chapter 15, you’ll see Paul and Barnabas have now come back from their first missionary journey up in Asia Minor, and they’ve established churches. Gentiles have been saved. Now, before we go to Chapter 15, let’s jump over to Romans Chapter 11. Here in Romans Chapter 11, these three little chapters in the middle of the book are dealing with the Nation of Israel. And now look at what Paul says in verse 11:

Romans 11:11

“I say then, ‘have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.'”

When he says have they stumbled that they should fall?, he is speaking of the Nation of Israel. In other words, are they cancelled out of this Old Testament program. Is God all through with the Jew? What’s his next statement?…“GOD FORBID (or banish the thought): But rather through their fall Through their rejecting their Messiah and crucifying him, through their fall, Salvation has come to whom? The Gentiles! Now, do you see it. You can’t get it any plainer. Israel rejected it, crucified Him, and by so doing, they brought about God’s plan of Salvation by Grace.

Now, come back to Acts 15. The Jerusalem believers are all shook up that Gentiles are supposedly being saved up in Antioch. So they send men up there to check it out, and sure enough, they are! And so they decide they’d better bring them back to Jerusalem. Now, this is what Paul is referring to in Galatians 2, when he says fourteen years later he went up to Jerusalem.

Acts 15:2

“When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.”

Paul and Barnabas had this big argument with these Jews from Jerusalem, saying the Gentiles could not be saved unless they were circumcised after the manner of Moses, as stated in verse 1. And then you come over to verse 5 of the same chapter. Look what these Jews in Jerusalem (including the Twelve), are saying:

Acts 15:5

“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them,(those Gentile believers up in Antioch) and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”

Most people don’t know this chapter in The Bible! But see, this was still the setting of the Jerusalem church. It was still based on the Law and circumcision, and everything else. The Gentile was based on the Grace of God, and so the Jerusalem church had to reconcile it. So they called Paul down on the carpet. And I can just imagine how they thought they almost had him until, finally, Peter wakes up and realizes that by a previous experience, God had shown him that He would save Gentiles. Had it not been that God providentially took Peter up there (in Chapter 10), to the house of Cornelius, he would have never come to Paul’s defense here. It’s the only thing that kept it going.

59 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 3 - Book 5 - Introducing Paul

59: Lesson 3 Part 3 Book 5 – Interruption of Old Testament Progress – Introducing Paul

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 5

Parenthesis and Dashes: The Interruption of

Old Testament Progress: Introducing Paul

Now back to Acts Chapter 9. Remember Saul of Tarsus, that religious zealot. He was nothing but a renegade, and was doing nothing but upsetting everything. So get rid of him! Or at least punish him severely. Instead, what does God do? He saves him! What do you call that? Grace! That’s what I want you to see. That is why he is not only the apostle of Grace, but also the epitome of Grace. If anyone was deserving of nothing, it was Saul of Tarsus. Are we any different? Isn’t that exactly what we were before we were saved? We were rebels; we were lost; we were condemned. But what does God do? He saves us by His Grace. But, as we saw in the last lesson, Saul of Tarsus went straight to the synagogue and preached that Jesus was The Christ. There was no mention of the power of the Resurrection, or His having fulfilled the Law, by His death on the Cross. Then we noticed God had to providentially get Paul out of Damascus. He hadn’t gone up to Jerusalem.

What about in Chapter 9 verse 26, where it said that Saul had come to Jerusalem. Verse 25 said they let him down the wall. Now, you have to know your Scripture and know how to study. Because Paul says so clearly in Galatians that he did not go to Jerusalem until a long time later. So what you have to understand is that between verse 25 and 26, is probably a three year gap in time. I’ll go back to Galatians to pick that up. This is probably one of Paul’s earlier, not earliest, epistles, and I like to compare Galatians with the Book of Romans. It’s fundamental, and is the very rudiment of our Grace Age doctrine. Yet it does not get into those higher levels of Church standing as Paul finally brings about in Ephesians, Colossians, and so forth. But, here in Galatians he’s going to start the very rudiment of our Christian period of Grace.

Galatians 1:1-6

“Paul, an Apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)” Look at the change in language from what Peter and the Apostles have been saying compared to what Paul now writes. What is he already emphasizing? The Resurrection.

“And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ (always watch your punctuation marks), Who (speaking of Christ) gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:” Notice how he doesn’t say they were called into the Law, but Grace of Christ, and he said you’re going to (what’s the next word) ‘another’ – a different gospel.

Galatians 1:7,8

“Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you,and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” Let’s look at that word, pervert. In other words they had been taking the Gospel and had been perverting – or adding to it. And, in our day and time, they do both. They add to and take away. It’s sad to say, but oh listen, this is strong language in the next verse:

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

That’s very strong language. In verse 9, he repeats it. Every word Paul writes in his Epistles is as inspired by the Holy Spirit as any other portion of Scripture. This is God speaking through this man to us. And he repeats all this in verse 9. Let’s look at it:

Galatians 1:9

“As we said before, so say I now again, ‘If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.'”

“As we said before, so say I now again, ‘If any….'” (now, the word ‘man’ is italicized and what does that mean?…It’s been added by the translators so it’s not in the original. I like it better left out.)

“…If any preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

Let’s go back to I Corinthians 15 and pick up what Paul calls his Gospel. Or, as I pointed out several lessons ago in Romans 16:25, Paul calls it the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery which had been kept secret since the age began. What is that mystery Gospel? That which was never revealed until it came to the Apostle Paul. Well, here it is in I Corinthians Chapter 15:1-4. Simple? Absolutely. So simple a five-year-old can understand it and yet so complex we could live to be a hundred and never comprehend it. It is just both extremes. But here it is:

I Corinthians 15:1-4

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve.”

Look what he says: “I declare unto you THE GOSPEL.” Now the article, the, instead of the article “a, designates what? One. That’s what I want you to see. There’s only one Gospel! I sat with a fellow several years ago at a football game in which our kids were both participants. We got to talking about some of these things and I was aghast. He said, “You know, I look at this religion bit sort of like our cow paths out in our pasture. They come from every which direction down to that pond, where they can get their water. And that’s the way it is with all these churches and religions. They’re all coming from a different direction, but they all come to get that same drink of water.” Imagine! Here in The Bible Belt, a man who has been in church all his life, making a statement like that. I couldn’t believe it. There aren’t 15 different paths to Heaven. There are not so many different ways to approach God. The Bible says there is ONE WAY! And a Moslem has to admit that it’s the only way. A Hindu had better admit that it’s the only way. And everybody else had better admit it’s the only way, because IT IS the only way. And yet we’re so glib and ready to say, “Oh well, if that’s the way you want to believe, that’s alright.” You know, I have heard people even in my own denomination say that. Listen, there’s an eternal lake of fire waiting for such people.

I’ve said through the years, if Christians were as adamant and energetic as the Communists were when Communism was taking over the world, we would have made an impact. Because when a communist got off work, where would he go? To party headquarters and give the rest of his day to the party to enhance communism. What are Christians doing? We’re sitting on our seat and most of us are just blase. I don’t believe in a militaristic Christianity. Not by any means. I know that we can’t force these things on people. But listen, most Christians today could care less about their neighbor. And I suppose I’m as guilty as anybody. But oh, listen, the Gospel is the only Gospel and it’s up to us to let the world know what it is. Let’s look further at these verses in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15. In verse 1 Paul says, “I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand (positionally):…” We stand in our assurance of Christ’s presence in our lives, and we also stand in the assurance we are His in the life to come. It’s positional. “By which also ye are (what?…) saved.”

Years ago (I hadn’t been teaching very long) we were having our coffee break. One of the ladies sat next to me and said, “I wish you wouldn’t use that word, ‘saved.’” I replied, “Why not?” And she said, “Well, it sounds like such a narrow word.” I said, “What would you prefer I use?” She replied, “Well you could use ‘converted;’ there are a lot of things you could use without using the word saved.” I picked up my Bible and went through Paul’s letters – and over and over what does he say? Saved!!! It’s the preaching of the Cross that is to those who perish, foolishness. But to those of us who are saved, it’s the power of God unto Salvation. So, ‘saved’ is a Scriptural word and Paul uses it over and over. It is just another English term from the root word, ‘salvation.’ We use it in everyday language. If someone is in dire straits financially, and all of a sudden he has a rich uncle die who leaves him all of his estate: what would you say about the guy’s financial affairs? “Oh, it was his salvation. He was saved from bankruptcy.” And that’s the way the word is used here. We are saved from the eternal doom that is waiting for us if we do not believe.

Now I Corinthians 15:2. “By which also ye are saved, if you keep in memory (and that just simply means if you know and understand) what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” In other words, you have to know what you believe. You can’t just hope that God thinks that you know. You are supposed to know! And then he says, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received.” (We’re going to go back to Galatians in just a moment.) And where does he receive this Gospel? From the ascended, glorified Christ. Let’s go on: how that (and here comes the Gospel) Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures Now, what scriptures is Paul referring to? Old Testament! All of this was promised in that prophetic program, that Christ would die. Psalms depicts his burial, his Resurrection. Psalms 110:1 says of his Ascension, come sit at my fathers right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.

It’s all back there, so Paul can rightly say that all this is according to the Old Testament Scriptures. Looking at verse 4 again: “And that he was buried, Christ was really dead! He didn’t just go into a swoon, like some would like to say. He didn’t just go into an unconscious state. He died, and that was the reason for the three days and three nights in the grave – to prove that his death was complete. that he was buried and that he rose again the third day, and it, too, was what? according to the scriptures.” It was foretold that these things would happen. Now, this Gospel then, was unknown to Peter and the eleven. Let’s go back, again, to Luke 18. This is what I want people to see. This was not always known. It was kept secret as long as this Old Testament program was still on the scene. This reference, again, is to Jesus in his earthly ministry, and they’re just about a few days from Jerusalem and the Crucifixion.

Luke 18:31-34

“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 concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” You can’t get any plainer than when He told them that on the third day He would rise again. That’s just as plain as you can get it. But, let’s read the next verse:

“And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”

“And they…. (the Twelve) understood, how much? None! They understood none of these things, and this saying was hid. You see, there’s that word – it was ‘hid.’ It wasn’t time for God to reveal these things, because He was still approaching Israel on this ground. And they had no idea that He was going to die and be buried, and rise again and ascend, and to turn to the Gentiles in Grace. That was so totally beyond them. That’s what I said a few lessons ago, Peter didn’t have the foggiest notion of what the gospel of Grace was all about. Now, let’s read on. and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” Now, lest someone says we’re just using one verse, on your way back to Galatians, let’s stop at John’s Gospel, Chapter 20. You all know the account of Peter and John running to the sepulchre after Mary had told them that He had risen. They couldn’t believe even Mary’s account, let alone that they understood it before. And so, they come running to the tomb to check it out. They finally went into the tomb, and saw the evidence that, indeed, He had supernaturally been raised out of that tomb.

John 20:8,9

“Then went in also that other disciple (that is John), which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, (the evidence) and then believed.” Until then he wouldn’t have believed.

“For as yet (they’ve been with Christ for three years – these disciples should have known the Old Testament.) But it says, they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” How can you get any plainer? They had no idea of this coming about of what Paul calls, his Gospel. Go to Galatians and we’ll chase down the scriptures that show how God is all of a sudden, through this one man, going to reveal a change in the program.

He’s going to interrupt it right after the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the Tribulation does not come in. Instead, we’re going to have the introduction of the Age of Grace. Remember I had you put the parenthesis and dashes in some of those other scriptures. But now comes the Age of Grace, what we call the calling out of the Body of Christ, or we’d better refer to it as the Church Age. I’m getting more and more definitive on that use of the word, Church, because few people understand the Church is the Body of Christ. Granted, the local church is certainly a God-given entity. But not everyone who is a member of a local church is in the Body of Christ. Every church I’ve ever known has a mixture of believers and unbelievers.But there are no unbelievers in the Body of Christ. That’s something God is in control of and you can’t get into the Body of Christ unless you have experienced Salvation and the Holy Spirit places you into it. We’ll see that in coming moments. Now, back to Galatians. Paul is defending his apostleship:

Galatians 1:10

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I see to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

In other words, you can’t be both. You cannot be a servant of Christ and yet please men. I found that out, and I think most believers find it out also. I’ve come up with a little cliche that I’m sure is original to myself, at least I’ve never heard it or seen it in print. And that is this: “That when it comes to the things of the spirit, the majority is always wrong!” Why do I say that? Well, when you came down to Noah’s ark, what went in to the ark? The majority or the minority? Well, a mighty small minority.

All through the Scripture, even the Old Testament and God’s dealings with Israel, what was the percentage of the Jews that were genuine believers? Precious few. Elijah thought he was the only one. And, of course, he wasn’t that far off. But nevertheless, God said he had 7,000. How much is 7,000 out of probably 6 or seven million? That’s about 1%. It’s just a drop in the bucket. And so, all the way through, even during Christ’s earthly ministry, how many believers do you think there were by the time he was through after three years? I tend to believe, and I stand to be corrected, and I may be wrong, but according to Acts Chapter 1, the believers in the immediate area of Jerusalem, numbered how many? 120! That’s all. And we have nothing to indicate there were more than that. They all came together and gathered in that upper room. I’m talking about the area of Jerusalem. I’m not talking about the rest of Israel.

But even after Christ’s three years of earthly ministry, the majority of Israel still said he was an imposter. They were wrong. And you come all the way through the last 1900 years or so, and for the most part, the majority of mankind has rejected the Gospel and that means what? They’re wrong! So, always rest on the fact that if you’re going to be a true student of Scripture, you’re going to be a child of God; you’re going to be in a mighty small minority, and it’s getting smaller all the time. Now, let’s go back to Galatians.

Galatians 1:11

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.”

Paul says, what I’ve got, I didn’t get from man. But, how did he get it? By the revelation of Jesus Christ. The Ascended Lord. The Resurrected Lord. That makes all the difference in the world! Let me go back to another verse. I always have to take them as I think of them. Go back to II Corinthians 5 to a verse I dare say, 90% of even good Bible students and Christians, do not understand.

II Corinthians 5:16

“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”

“Wherefore in other words, because of the Gospel, henceforth know we no man after the flesh, Who do you suppose he’s referring to? He’s talking about Christ in His earthly ministry. Just look at it. “Wherefore because Christ died and rose from the dead. Now, while His earthly ministry was one of “Jesus going about doing good…” – and it’s good to know about Bethlehem, about His miracles, about His suffering, about all that took place; we must note carefully that that is not what is required for Salvation. What’s required for Salvation is: believing that this Christ, this Son of God, The Creator God went to the Cross and died for our sins and arose from the dead. See the difference?

Now, read on, and here’s why I know he’s speaking of Christ and His earthly ministry – this next statement: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh;” Now, what do you think he is saying? Let’s reconstruct. Saul was, no doubt, about the same age as Christ. As near as I can discern from Scripture, he was probably contemporary with Christ in age. He was probably 30 or 35 when Christ was crucified. Which means that during Christ’s earthly ministry, Saul of Tarsus was in the very prime of life. Do you think that even though he never indicates that he met Jesus face to face, do you think for a minute that this religious Jew didn’t know everything that was going on in Israel? Of course he did! He knew all about Jesus and about all that He was doing. And that’s what gave him such an attitude of rebellion. He wanted to stamp it out. Now, read on: though we have known Christ after the flesh (I’ve known about him in his earthly ministry), yet now henceforth (in other words from His Resurrection on) know we him no more.”

Back in the early 70’s when I was still teaching up north, I had a large class of college age young people every Saturday night. We’d just pack them in – about 45 or 50 kids on the living room floor (not in our home – another lady hosted them). I had a lot of people who came out of the “Jesus Movement”, the hippy days. Do you remember them? They talked “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”, but they knew nothing about Jesus. They knew nothing of the Gospel! And do you know why? Just what Paul says here: We’re not saved by knowing His earthly ministry, but by His death, burial and Resurrection.

And again, let me repeat what Paul says, we preach Christ crucified.” Here’s where we have to understand that our Gospel is not based on His earthly ministry, nor on His miracles, nor signs and healings. Our Gospel is based on the fact that He died, He paid the sin debt, He defeated death and Hell, and Satan, and He rose victoriously from the dead and now He can proclaim that His life can be our life. And because He rose from the dead, we have already risen from death spiritually. And one day, if we live long enough, and the Lord tarries long enough that we die, we’re going to be resurrected to a new life. But, I think it’s getting close enough that we don’t have to worry about the cemetery. I think we’re just going to go up one of these days. I honestly think it’s getting that close.

58 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 2 - Book 5 - Introducing Paul

58: Lesson 3 Part 2 Book 5 – Interruption of Old Testament Progress – Introducing Paul

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 5

Parenthesis and Dashes: The Interruption of

Old Testament Progress: Introducing Paul

Turn to Acts Chapter 7. In our last lesson, we were talking about the Old Testament prophetic program, how that over and over the Old Testament laid it out. At the particular prescribed time, Christ would come; He would be rejected; He would ascend; the Holy Spirit would come down, and then would come the seven years of Tribulation, and then Christ would return and set up His Kingdom. But, we know that historically, that didn’t all happen. There was nothing that was part of the Tribulation. After the Holy Spirit came down, the Old Testament program just came to a halt. God’s Time Clock stopped. Now, we’re going to try and show you, coming through the Book of Acts (and again this is not an in depth study of Acts, but rather, we’re just going to kind of skim it), how this program is going to be interrupted. This last part, from the Tribulation on, will be shoved out into the future. It is still future, and in that interim, God has, by way of the working of the Holy Spirit, been calling out a people for His Name.

To pick that up a little bit, let’s jump into Acts Chapter 7, and remember this is about seven or eight years after Pentecost. Peter and the 11 have been preaching their hearts out to the Nation of Israel, knowing that they could never go out into the ends of the earth and preach the Gospel, until Israel had first been converted. But, Israel is not converting. She is going more and more in the opposite direction. Now, in Chapter 7, we find Stephen, who is not even one of the Twelve. He’s one of the seven deacons that was appointed by the Twelve to take care of the mundane things of the church. But, Stephen is pointed out in this chapter as a man full of the Holy Spirit. Over and over it tells us he’s a man full of the Holy Spirit. He brings Israel to the place of realizing that through all of their history, God has been preparing them for the coming of their Messiah and they missed it. And so, he just comes down hard on them. And if you will come down to verse 51, where he accuses the nation (and he’s talking only to the Jews), Stephen says:

Acts 7:51,52

“Ye stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One;…”

We went through this in a previous lesson. Someone brought up a question about the unpardonable sin. I always tell people not to worry about the unpardonable sin. That has nothing to do with us in the Gentile age. That was God dealing with Israel because when God sent Israel the prophets, what did they do with them? They killed them. Then, according to the parable that Jesus gave of the vineyard let out to husbandmen, who refused to listen to the servants sent to receive the crop. Finally, the lord of the vineyard said, “Well, I’ll send my son; surely they’ll listen to him. What did they do with the son? They killed him. That was the rejecting of the Father and the Son and now what are they going to do with the Holy Spirit? I think that’s in Acts Chapter 7; Israel is having the opportunity, now, to listen to, and come under the influence of, the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit; and what did they do? They stoned him (that’s Stephen)We pick up where Stephen is approaching Israel, by way of the work of the Holy Spirit, and he says, “…they have slain them which shewed before the coming of the Just One; of whom you have been now the betrayers and (what’s the word?) Murderers!” It’s as plain as you can put it. They killed Him.

Acts 7:53-56

[“You” (is implied)] “who have received the Law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. And when they (the Jews of his audience) heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, (and here it comes again) being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God, and(he saw) Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And (he) said, ‘behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man Standing on the right hand of God.'”

We always think of Him as seated at the right hand of God. But, the Jew also knew that if He was anywhere, He was to be seated. For Him to be standing, that implied that He was ready to return. The Old Testament spoke of it, that He would sit at His father’s right hand until His enemies were His footstool, and then one of the Psalmists said to the Nation of Israel, “then He would arise.” In other words, He would stand and He would be ready to come and deal with His people. And the Jews caught it. And so, when Stephen says, “I see him standing on the right hand of God,” then… when they heard that, they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord. And cast him out of the city and stoned him and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet whose name was Saul.”

We are now going to see a change of operation. And here’s Saul – being introduced as the persecutor (he’s been heading it up) of these Jewish believers. It was a terrible persecution and so vicious that when you come down to Acts Chapter 8, verse 1, it says Saul was consenting unto his death. And, at that time, there was a great persecution against the church…. Now, we have to be careful how you use that word, church. The Greek word is ecclesia. And all it means in the Greek is a called out assembly. And so, what you have to learn to do is use the word according to its setting in the text. Is it talking about, for example, the crowd at Ephesus, when they went into the amphitheater, and they had a mob rule and said, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians,” – the same word is used to describe them. They were in ecclesia. They weren’t a religious group or godly group. They were an ungodly group. That would be translated now, church. Theirs was simply called an assembly.

Stephen, in Chapter 7, speaks of Israel as being the church in the wilderness. Now, you know the Church wasn’t on the scene when Israel came out of Egypt. But what was Israel? A called out assembly. So be careful when you get into the actual Church Age, and what we call the Church. Paul almost always identifies it as the Body of Christ, which is the Church. Or the Church, which is His Body. See the difference? This assembly of course, is Jewish believers at Jerusalem. And it’s rightfully called a ‘called out assembly.’

Acts 8:3

“As for Saul, he made havock of the church,(or these called-out Jewish believers) entering into every house, and haling men and women (and) committed them to prison.”

In other words, Saul was just so intent on stamping out anyone who was following this Jesus of Nazareth. Why? Saul was a tremendously religious man. He had been taught at the feet of Gamaliel, the greatest rabbi of the day. Saul of Tarsus honestly thought that Jesus was an imposter, a blasphemer. And the best thing that could happen to Israel was to have everything connected with Jesus stamped out and put out of memory. So he was what we would call today, a religious zealot. A fanatic to the extreme. But, he thought he was doing his God a favor. The reason I’m painting this kind of picture of Saul of Tarsus, is because we’re going to see in Chapter 9, this man as the one who is going to literally turn the world inside out. All I wanted to show you in chapters 6, 7, & 8 was the introduction of him. In fact, I was encouraged that one of our national news magazines, U.S. News and World Report, had a lead article on some of the men who had been most influential in changing the direction of human history, by one way or another. And believe it or not, one of the men that they listed was the Apostle Paul. And they gave Paul the credit for being the instigator, or the beginning, of Christianity as we know it.

Now, most will just say that Jesus was the one who started Christianity. Jesus is the foundation of it, no doubt! Yet, who built upon that foundation? The Apostle Paul! And so, I was encouraged that there are a few people starting to recognize that Christianity would not be where it is today had it not been for the Apostle Paul, the previous Saul of Tarsus. So this religious fanatic, trying to stamp out anything that had to do with Jesus of Nazareth, is met in Chapter 9 on his way to Damascus.

Acts 9:1,2

“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”

You have to remember that when this scripture refers to the synagogues, that this is all Jew. Gentiles didn’t worship in the synagogues. There may have been an occasional proselyte, but not very many. And so, he wants to go to Damascus where he can bring those Jewish followers of Christ in His earthly ministry, and in His Messiahship, and bring them, it says, bound unto Jerusalem.

Acts 9:3,4

“And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”

God is sovereignly working to interrupt His Old Testament program in order to make room, to call out a Bride, a Gentile Bride, for the Son. That’s why we are taking all these references and taking the time to digress from the Book of Genesis for a few lessons.

Acts 9:5

“And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”

It was Saul who said, Who art thou, Lord?” Now, I hope I’m not violating the Scripture, and I certainly don’t think I am, when I say that there was only one Lord, so far as a religious Jew of Christ’s day; and who would that have been in the Old Testament? Well, Jehovah, wasn’t it? Now, I like to think that Saul of Tarsus, religious fanatic that he was, when he saw that intense light come from Heaven, and heard the voice from Heaven, who did he immediately, naturally think it was? Well, Jehovah. That’s the God that he knew intricately, he thought. That was the God he thought he was serving – the God of Abraham – Jehovah. So, I like to think that when Saul saw all of this happening, he just cried out,“Who art thou Jehovah?” And now, look what Jesus (or Jehovah, if you please) answers: “And Jehovah said, I am Jesus.” Can you get just an inkling of how Saul must have felt when he heard the very person that he thought was a blasphemer, and an imposter, and somebody that he had to stamp out, tell him that He’s Jesus? I think Saul, as we know he did, just melted. He was converted on the spot:

Acts 9:6a

“…Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?…”

There was no more argument or debate. He suddenly realized that he was dealing with that Jesus that he thought he hated, and recognized Him for Who He really was – The Jehovah of the Old Testament. That’s why I’m always teaching back there. Never lose sight of the fact that Jehovah, God the Son in the Old Testament, is Christ in the New Testament.There is no difference in their personality. The only difference is He has become flesh, and has become, as Paul says in Colossians, the image of the invisible God, But, it’s the same person. And Saul sees it; he has no argument and his immediate response is, Lord, what would you have me to do? You know the rest of the story. Let’s go to verse 10:

Acts 9:10-15a

“And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Behold I am here Lord.’ And the Lord said unto him, ‘arise, and go into the street which called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for behold, he prayeth. And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.’ Then Ananias answered, ‘Lord I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem. And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.’ But the Lord said unto him (Now watch this – this is before Saul even has come out of his temporary blindness, and the Lord tells Ananias) Go thy way (in other words, don’t argue with me, just go do what I tell you): for he (Saul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before (who?) the Gentiles,…”

If you have any idea of how the Jew felt about Gentiles, turn with me, if you will, to Chapter 22, just to get an idea of how the average Jew, at that time, felt about Gentiles. You should keep in mind, the Jews were steeped in all of this. They were steeped in the Covenant that God gave Abraham, and in the Law that God had given to Moses. And even thought they didn’t understand much of it, yet they did realize that they were a chosen, Covenant people and that the Gentiles had no part in that relationship. Now, let’s look at verse 17 of Chapter 22, where Paul, as we now call him, is addressing again, a tremendous Jewish crowd there in Jerusalem. He’s explaining, as best he can to his Jewish cohorts, how that God had showed him who Jesus was and he rehashes again, his conversion experience and now he comes down to verse 17:

Acts 22:17-22

“And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance: And (I) saw him (this Jesus) saying unto me, ‘Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they (the Jew) will not receive thy testimony concerning me.’ And I (Paul) said, ‘Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.’ And he said unto me (Jesus now), ‘Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.’ And they gave him audience (they listened to him) unto this word, (what word? – Gentile! And when he as much as breathed the word ‘Gentile,’ look at what happened) and then lifted up their voices, and said, ‘Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.'”

That was the mentality of the Jews of that day. And they weren’t all that far wrong. Now, go back to Acts Chapter 9. And, of course, Saul ends up under the roof of Ananias and in verse 17 says:

Acts 9:17,18

“And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.’ And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”

(And of course, that was right in line with the Jewish program that began with John the Baptist.) Then Paul received food.

Acts 9:20

“And straightway, he preached Christ (where?) in the synagogue…”

He didn’t go out into the Gentile marketplace and approach Gentiles. He goes to the synagogue. He is still Jew only. He goes to the synagogues and he preaches Christ, that He is the Son of God, who died for me and rose from the dead? That’s not what it says, is it? That’s what a lot of people think it should say. But does Paul, or Saul, know anything of a Gospel based on death and Resurrection? No! Just to show you how this was in perfect alignment with that which has been on the scene ever since Christ’s first appearance, or even John the Baptist, go back with me to Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 16. Here we have Christ having almost finished His three years of earthly ministry. The Twelve had been with Him almost constantly, and it’s about time to go up to Jerusalem and be approached for the Crucifixion. At this point, they are still up there in the area of Caesarea Philippi, north of Jerusalem:

Matthew 16:13-16

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am? And they said, ‘Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.’ But he saith unto them, ‘But whom say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art The Christ, the Son of the living God.’” Who died for me and rose again? No! That’s not what it says. So, what does Peter know? That Jesus is The Christ, The Messiah, The Son of God. That’s all he knows. Now, was Jesus satisfied with that answer? Of course He was – that’s all that Peter could know up to that time. Now, read on:

Matthew 16:17

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed are thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

Now, turn to Acts Chapter 8. This, of course, is taking place before Saul’s conversion in Chapter 9. That’s an important fact to remember. In Acts Chapter 8, Philip has been up to Samaria. He’s been preaching there that Christ is The Messiah. The Holy Spirit directs him down to the South in Gaza. He runs across this Ethiopian eunuch, who has been to Jerusalem, to worship there (verse 27):

Acts 8:29,30

“Then the Spirit said unto Philip, ‘Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.’ And then Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, ‘Understandest thou what thou readest?” You know the account, how Philip explained to this Ethiopian eunuch who Isaiah was talking about. Go to verses 35 – 37:

Acts 8:35

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him”

Christ crucified? No! He preached unto him ‘Jesus.’ He doesn’t preach Christ crucified. That’s what I want people to see. We assume so much. Now, when you get into Paul’s writings, what does Paul say? But, we preach Christ crucified. You see, they can’t do that yet, because it hasn’t been revealed as Gospel. And so, Philip is in perfect accord with even what Peter understood, that Jesus was The Christ: “Then Philip opened his mouth,…and preached unto him Jesus…”

Acts 8:36,37

“…and the eunuch said, ‘See here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?’ And Philip said, ‘If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest…” Now, look at the eunuch’s confession of faith. …And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'” Who died for me and rose again? No! “..that he is the Son of God.” And that was their profession of faith. They understood who Jesus was. Now, come across to Chapter 9, Here we find Saul has received his sight. He’s been baptized right in accord with all the rest of them:

Acts 9:20

“And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.”

Could God let Saul, later known as Paul, go and preach that message? Of course not. That wouldn’t be the Gospel for the Gentiles.

Acts 9:21,22

“But all that heard him were amazed, and said, ‘Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?’ But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the (Who?..the) Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is (the) very Christ.”

What is Saul leaving out? Anything concerning the Crucifixion and Resurrection. He’s just simply proving from the Old Testament that this is the promised Messiah. Now, look how God sovereignly enters in. He can’t leave Saul there under those circumstances:

Acts 9:23-25

“And after many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:” Now, what is old Saul going to have to do? He’s going to escape, and we know what happened:

“But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.”

And now he must flee. Where does Saul go? You would normally think that since the Twelve disciples had been with Christ for three years and knew Jesus and his ministry, most people would think that Jerusalem would have been the logical place to go. It would have be logical for Saul to have gone back to Jerusalem, and said, “Hey fellows, fill me in. Tell me everything you know about The Christ so I can go out and preach.” But does he? No, the Scripture makes it so plain that’s the last place he would have gone. So where does he go? He goes down to Mount Sinai in Arabia. We are going to see that Saul is providentially moved from Damascus. He is not permitted to go to Jerusalem to the Disciples. He goes down to the desert to Mount Sinai, and we’ll see in Galatians what happens.

57 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 1 - Book 5 - Old Testament Progress - Introducing Paul

57: Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 5 – Interruption of Old Testament Progress – Introducing Paul

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 5

Parenthesis and Dashes: The Interruption of

Old Testament Progress: Introducing Paul

Last time we were together, we went from Genesis 24, the calling out of a bride for Isaac. Abraham, the father, sent his servant up into a far country to his original kin folks, to find abride for Isaac. We likened the servant to the work of the Holy Spirit in calling out the Bride of Christ. I said we would be jumping from Genesis 24 into the New Testament; to follow up this illustration of how God has now sent the Holy Spirit amongst, primarily, the Gentiles. However, some Jews are being saved. But it’s primarily the age of the Gentiles. A Gentile Bride for God The Son. And so, in order to really explain how that all came about, I went back to Psalms Chapter 2. We put up a timeline – that from the call of Abraham in Genesis 12, we’re under the Abrahamic Covenant.

About 490 years after the call of Abraham, we had the call of Moses and the Law. So, Israel goes under the Law, then in Daniel Chapter 9, God says 490 years are determined upon your people Israel. I also emphasized earlier, how during the Old Testament, during the program of prophecy, God would tell everything long before it happened. That’s what prophecy really is. He would say to Abraham, in so many generations they would be down in Egypt, but He would bring them back. That was prophecy. And then He foretold their Babylonian captivity, that they would be 70 years in Babylon. And He foretold that Cyrus, The King of the Medes and Persians, would send a decree to put them back into Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. Everything was laid out ahead of time and that’s why we call it the prophetic program. In that prophetic program, there is not one hint of the Church Age. The Church Age is just not in there, because God had a reason.

Several weeks ago we used the term Jehovah El Olam. El Olam is translated in some places as Everlasting, or the Everlasting to Everlasting God. It is also translated as the God of Time, and in another place, the same word is translated hid, and hidden. Also, I emphasized that even though God lays everything out to the Nation of Israel, openly and prophetically, yet God has seen fit by Him being Jehovah El Olam, to hide and keep hidden the Church Age. So I went back to Psalms Chapter 2, the last few weeks we have been together. And this is the way it unfolds:

You come out of the Old Testament; The Messiah appears; He’s rejected by Jew and Gentile alike; they crucify Him. Then Psalms Chapter 2 says, after that he would ascend and be seated at the Father’s right hand. Now, we know that the Holy Spirit came down (that’s not in Psalms 2, but it’s in other references which we will see in a moment). Then Psalms 2 says the next thing that would happen would be the wrath and vexation of the Tribulation. We get the seven years of the Tribulation from Daniel, and we’ll be looking at that, hopefully, in the next few lessons. And then Psalms 2 says that after the wrath and vexation, “Yet have I sat my King on the Holy Hill of Zion.” Here we have The King and the Kingdom. That’s the Old Testament program just laid out so beautifully. But not a word of the Church Age. What we want to do now, is follow some of these Old Testament references, and pick up one where Jesus gave one little hint. He didn’t tell us what He was doing, but we can now see that He was giving a hint. We can pick that up in Luke Chapter 4. But, before we go there, go back to Isaiah 61:

Isaiah 61:1,2

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;”

If you will look at those scriptures carefully, you have that same line of prophecy. Let’ look at it once again. “He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted. That all took place at the First Advent. Now he comes down to verse 2, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” When did He do that? During His earthly ministry. He tried to tell Israel who He was, and He performed all his miracles to prove who He was. And what did Israel do? They rejected Him. Now go on in verse 2, after the word “Lord,” there is a comma. “And the day of vengeance of our God;” Now, what is he referring to? The Tribulation! Just like Psalms calls it wrath and vexation, Isaiah here calls it the vengeance, or the day of vengeance of our God; There again you have a semicolon .

What’s the next statement? “To comfort all that mourn;” Again, what’s he referring to? The Kingdom! When you read the beatitudes in Matthew, always remember that beatitudes are primarily the description of the atmosphere, or the climate of the Kingdom. It’s when the Kingdom comes in that the poor will be blessed, and the meek will inherit the earth. He also said blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Here it is. Those that He has come to comfort are those that are mourning in the verse of the beatitudes. Now, keep your hand in Isaiah 61, because we are going to come right back for a comparison. If you will turn to Luke Chapter 4. where Jesus is in his early earthly ministry. Here, we find Jesus up in the area of Galilee, and just a few miles west of the Sea of Galilee is the town of Nazareth. This is where Jesus grew up and it’s still a tourist attraction today:

Luke 4:16

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And He (that is Jesus) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day.

Now what does that tell you? He lived under the Law, and He kept the Law.  And (he) stood up to read.” It was customary when a visitor would come into the synagogue, one of the ministers would bring him a scroll, and the visitor would have the honor and privilege of reading Scripture. You need to remember, all they had was the Old Testament, and it wasn’t in book form, it was a scroll. So they brought him the Book of Isaiah. And when He had opened the book or scroll, He found the place. When you see the word “found” what does that tell you? He looked for it. In other words, he didn’t just open the book and start reading.

Luke 4:17-21

“And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, ‘This day is this scripture fulfilled in you ears.'”

Back to Isaiah 61. He’s God and knows from beginning to end. So Jesus knew exactly where to stop in this verse in Isaiah.

Isaiah 61:2

“To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, (in Luke, He stopped and sat down – But, what’s the punctuation mark in Isaiah ? It’s a comma – it’s not the end of the sentence. Now read on) and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.”

Why did He stop where He stopped? Because Jesus knew that this Old Testament program was going to be interrupted at some point in time, shortly after His Ascension. The day of vengeance would not come in, the Kingdom would not come in until some later day. We will now show from some other portions of Scripture, that this prophetic program stopped. I like to point out, or use the analogy of God’s Time Clock, that everything has been on schedule. In fact we’ll go back right now and pick this one up. There was to be 490 years of God dealing with Israel before The King and the Kingdom would come in. These 483 years culminated with the Crucifixion, and then God’s Clock stopped right there. And it won’t pick up again until it’s time for the Church to be completed; and the bride is complete, and then He can bring in those final seven years.

Come back to Psalm Chapter 2. We’re going to show how over and over (and I’ve picked out a few of the plainest ones) the Old Testament program was interrupted. And interrupted for the purpose of calling out the Bride of Christ to complete the Body of Christ. To take it out of the way, and then continue on with this prophetic program. Let’s go to Psalms 2. Come down to verse 3, where leaders of the Gentiles and the Jews have rejected Christ’s offer to be their King and set up the Kingdom. Instead they say:

Psalms 2:3-6

“Let us break their bands of asunder; and cast away their cords from us.” In other words, what did they tell Jesus? We’ll not have this man to rule over us. Verse 4 continuing:

“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision,” Verse 5 continuing:

“Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.”

Right in between verses 3 and 5, you can put a parentheses in your Bible with a dash between it (–), because here is where the Old Testament program is going to be interrupted. The wrath and vengeance and vexation did not happen at Christ’s first coming. It stopped short. Now, if you don’t mind marking in your Bible, I always have people put a few references in their margins, then they can share it with someone else without going through a concordance. So, in the margin here in Psalms Chapter 2, and with that (–) between verse 3 and 5, mark that if you don’t mind. The next one will be in Psalm 118 verse 22:

Psalm 118:22

“The stone which the builders refused (–) is become the head stone of the corner.” “The stone which the builders refused;” Who was that?

That was Christ – He’s always the Rock and Stone of Scripture. When did they reject Him? When they crucified Him. And then the next one-half of the verse says is become the head stone of the corner.” Now, He is not the Headstone of the Church, He is the Head of the Body, which is the Church. But His Headstoneship refers to what? – His kingdom, which is still future. So make your parentheses right between the word refused and the word, is. The last half of that verse has never been fulfilled. The next one we go to is a very familiar one. It is in Isaiah Chapter 9 and, especially at Christmas time, if you have ever listened to Handel’s Messiah, here is where that great Hallelujah Chorus gets its theme – from Isaiah 9:6 Watch carefully, and by the time we get a few more of these (–) you will be able to see them before I even mention it.

Isaiah 9:6

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: (–) and the government shall be upon his shoulder.”

What government? The Kingdom! So, where are you going to put your (–)? Right after the word given. That happened at the First Advent. The promised Son came to the Nation of Israel. He came unto his own, and His own refused Him. So, the last half of that verse is interrupted and hasn’t happened yet. If everything that was spoken of in prophecy was fulfilled up to here, could it be the Word of God and this not be fulfilled? Of course not. It’s still going to happen, because He said it would. And He had the prerogative of interrupting it, and we’ll soon see how. From Isaiah Chapter 9, let’s go to Daniel Chapter 9. Here is that great prophecy, the one Jesus referred to in Matthew 24. When He says, when you see that which was spoken of by Daniel the Prophet – well here it is:

Daniel 9:26

“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, [crucified] (–) but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”

That is, the people out of which the Anti-christ will one day come. We now know that was the Roman Empire. Daniel can’t speak of it because it was still prophetic in his time. But, we know he was talking about the Roman Empire that destroyed the Temple. Out of that Roman Empire shall come the prince. Now where are we going to make our parentheses? It’s going to be “after Messiah has been cut off.”

Daniel 9:27

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week…”

That’s the Tribulation. That didn’t take place at Christ’s first coming. It’s been postponed. The next one is Joel Chapter 2. And here, of course, we have the introduction of the coming down of the Holy Spirit in that Old Testament program. Although it wasn’t listed in Psalms, here it is in Joel:

Joel 2:28

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,”

Always remember these prophets of the Old Testament were always writing to what people? The Jew. Now, when did the Spirit come down upon the Nation of Israel? At Pentecost! The Holy Spirit came down and this is the prophecy of it. your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visionsThis all took place at the advent of the Holy Spirit there at Pentecost in Acts 2. Then Joel, verse 29, is still referring to it:

Joel 2:29,30

“And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (–) And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.”

Did that happen? No! That’s the Tribulation. So, you see, you put your parentheses between verses 29 and 30. Everything in 28 and 29 took place at His first Advent, in the remaining verse it didn’t; it’s still ahead. Let’s come on up through your Old Testament, all the way to Zechariah Chapter 9 and drop in at verses 9 and 10:

Zechariah 9:9,10

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (–) And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.” When did that happen? At the First Advent. You know how, on Triumphal Sunday, He came riding in on that little young donkey.

Zechariah 9:10

“And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: (what’s that?…the Tribulation – Armageddon) and he shall speak peace unto (who? The Gentiles, or) the heathen: and his dominion (His kingdom) shall be from sea even to sea, (it’s going to encompass the whole world) and from the river even to the ends of the earth.”

Where are you going to put your cut off? Right between verses 9 and 10. Verse 9 all happened at His first coming. Verse 10 is still future. So, there’s an interruption. Now, let’s go into the New Testament and into Luke’s Gospel Chapter 1 – and here’s the announcement of the birth of Christ:

Luke 1:31,32

“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. (-) He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father, David.”

Where are you going to put your parenthesis this time? Between 31 and 32. Of course He was born, and of course they named Him Jesus, but, in His first Advent, did He assume the throne of David? No! Is the Scripture lying? Of course not! It didn’t take place, but it’s going to. Let’s go all the way into the Book of Acts, Chapter 2. While you’re looking for Acts Chapter 2, I should have told you to keep your finger in the Book of Joel, and maybe some of you did. But, if you can still find Joel, find it quickly, because Peter is going to quote from Joel, like Jesus quoted in Luke from Isaiah. And what I want you to see is that Peter did not have the omnipotent insight that Christ did, so he couldn’t stop at the right place. He didn’t know that this program would be interrupted. Peter preaches it as if this is all coming. Peter has no idea of a Church Age. Acts Chapter 2? And you know the account there:

Acts 2:15,16

“For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.( It’s only 9 o’clock in the morning.) But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.”

Now, when he says, this is that…., what is he saying? Peter is saying, what you’re seeing take place in our lifetime, what you have just experienced in His ministry; His Crucifixion; His Resurrection; and now the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, is what Joel was talking about. It’s all coming right according to prophecy and Peter could see this whole thing. He knew that the next thing on the agenda would have to be the Tribulation and then the return of Israel’s King and the Kingdom and, as I pointed out in our last lesson, then what could Israel do? Oh, then they could go out and bring the Gentiles to a knowledge of their God. But Israel rejected it. Jesus knew in Luke Chapter 4, where to stop, because that last half of the verse would not be completed until much later. Peter goes right on through it and doesn’t know the difference. Let’s read it now from the Book of Acts:

Acts 2:17-21

“‘And it shall come to pass in the last days,’ saith God, ‘I will pour out of my Spirit (that is the Holy Spirit), upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:…'” (–)

“‘…And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke, The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come; And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'”

Why didn’t Peter stop in the middle like Jesus did? Peter didn’t know! So far as he was concerned, this was all that he knew.

56 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 4 - Book 5 - Law & Grace - Timeline - Isaac

56: Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 5 – Law & Grace – Timeline – Isaac: Genesis 24

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 5

Law and Grace: Time Line: Isaac

Isaac: Genesis 24

In our last lesson we studied how that the Old Testament, and even Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel during His ministry on earth, gave no indication of what we have come to refer to as the “Age of Grace. Peter and the eleven, when they were sent out prior to the Crucifixion to preach, never preached Christ crucified! They didn’t understand that He was going to have to go to the Cross for us! They had no indication of anything other than the Old Testament program (illustrated above) as we saw in Psalm 2. We said last lesson, that though Jesus told them clearly that they’d be going to Jerusalem; that He’d be put to death and would rise again on the third day; they comprehended it not. They had had no idea that He was going to die; and after He was dead, they had no idea that He was going to rise again. Else, why weren’t they there that Sunday morning. The only one that did show up at the tomb that morning was Mary Magdalene, and she certainly wasn’t there to see if He’d come out of the tomb! She was there to carry out the custom of anointing the body with spices and so forth. So they had no indication, even after three years of Jesus’ earthly ministry, of His pending death, burial and Resurrection, which is the very heart of our Gospel today. We have to realize that they did not preach Christ crucified, buried and risen from the dead.

Turn to Acts 1. We’ll continue that theme for a while. The eleven (Judas Iscariot, of course, was gone and his spot had not yet been filled by Matthias) were all meeting on the Mount of Olives, and Jesus was about to ascend, as Psalm 110:1 had said He would. The Father had, in effect, said to Him, “Look, they’ve rejected You, they won’t listen to You, so come sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.” The “until” there referred to the time when God would send Christ back to be The King of Kings.

Acts 1:6

“When they therefore were come together (the eleven and Jesus), they asked of him, saying, ‘Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?’”

Note the use of the term “restore again? in that verse. Those eleven men were remembering David and Solomon’s glory, and they were wondering whether Israel at that time would have a kingdom like unto Solomon’s. Their question was appropriate. But why would they have the kingdom uppermost in their minds? Let’s look briefly to the Gospels for the answer now, even though we will be studying them in depth at a future time. Turn to Matthew 19:27. In this passage, the Twelve are still part and parcel of Jesus’ earthly ministry. I often think of those times in Scripture, as we’ve already seen in Genesis, when Abraham had received all the promises of God, but had not yet seen them fulfilled, and he finally got to the place of saying to God, “Yes, but how do I know?” Here in Matthew 19, Peter was doing much the same thing:

Matthew 19:27

“Then answered Peter and said unto him, ‘Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?’”

They had left their families and fishing, or other businesses, to become part of Jesus’ ministry, so this was a logical question for him to ask. He wasn’t talking about Salvation. They knew they had that. But Peter’s question concerned the idea of, “Lord, what more is in this for us? What does the future have for us?”Now look at Jesus’ answer in verse 28:

Matthew 19:28

“And Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”

In this case, Jesus was specifically talking only of the eleven, since He already knew what Judas was. The term “regeneration” refers to remaking something that already has been over and restoring it to it’s original condition, just like it was before. So what He was saying, was that when the time comes that the curse is lifted and the Kingdom set up; when the earth is restored to the condition it was in at the time of the Garden of Eden, prior to man’s fall; then Christ will sit on an earthly throne and rule His kingdom in glory. The disciples, also, would sit upon twelve thrones ruling or judging the Nation of Israel. Do you think Peter and the others ever forgot that? Not for a moment! This was uppermost in their thinking. Now, let’s go back to Acts 1 and look at verse 6 again in the light of what we just saw in Matthew:

Acts 1:6

“When they therefore were come together (the eleven and Jesus), they asked of him, saying, ‘Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel (so that we can rule the twelve tribes)?'”

How did Jesus answer him? Does He upbraid him for not realizing that He was talking about something way out of this world? No! Again He answered them with the perfectly legitimate statement, saying in effect, “It’s not for you to know when, but the time is coming. You’re still going to rule the twelve tribes of Israel, but it’s not for you to know when.”

Acts 1:7,8

“And he said unto them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.’” Verse 8 starts out “But” – in the interim until it becomes a reality,

“‘But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’”

“You shall receive power(!)…” That’s the whole idea of the Holy Spirit’s coming on the day of Pentecost – to give the Jewish believers the power to continue the ministry that Jesus had been accomplishing for three years – signs and miracles beyond human understanding. That sounds to us very much like what we call “The great commission” back in Matthew 28. From this we have gotten the idea that as soon as Christ ascended here in Acts 1, and the Holy Spirit came down in Chapter 2, that these Jews would begin going around the world preaching the Gospel. Did that happen? I guess not! Let’s go to Acts 8. Please realize that this is just an overview, rather than an in depth study. I am trying to set the stage for going back to our analogy of Isaac’s bride and Christ’s Bride – the outcalling of the Gentile Body of Christ. Acts 7 gives us the story of Stephen’s martyrdom, and of Saul of Tarsus egging the persecutors on:

Acts 8:1

“And Saul was consenting unto his (Stephen’s) death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

We need to get a time frame in here. This is about seven or eight years after Pentecost. A heavy persecution was going on against the assembly of called-out, believing Jews who believed that Jesus was the true Messiah. They were, however, still deeply entrenched in Judaism; they still practiced the Law; they still worshipped in the Temple; but they were also a set-aside group who had recognized their Messiah and put their faith in Him.

Look at those last three words in the verse; “except the apostles.” If those men who had been with Christ for three years couldn’t understand the Word of God and their commission, who could? But they did understand, and that was why they “sat tight” in Jerusalem. Seven years had elapsed since that commission, but they were still in Jerusalem, rather than being out among the Gentiles. All the other Jews had been scattered because of the persecution, but those twelve men stayed in Jerusalem. But why? Let me give you an illustration. A few years ago I had some meetings and I went alone at first, but near the end of the week my little wife came to join me. I was to meet her at the bus depot, but the bus was late. Right across the street from the depot was a coffee shop and I really wanted some coffee. But I knew that just as soon as I went over there and got some, the bus would come and I wouldn’t be there to meet her. As I was sitting in the car mulling all that over in my mind, I thought of this verse.

This was exactly the state of mind of these men. They weren’t about to go down to Cairo or Rome or anywhere else, because they were convinced that just as soon as they’d leave Jerusalem for someplace else, The Messiah would come again, and they wouldn’t be there to meet Him. So, in spite of all the pressure of that horrible persecution, they stayed on in Jerusalem. This was not contrary to the Word of God, because Peter understood that he had no ministry to the Gentiles until Israel’s King was in place. This is kind of hard for some folks to swallow, and I know it took me a long time, even from the Word, to be ready to pass it on, but once you see it, The Bible just opens up clear as a bell. You can see that Peter and the eleven saw that they couldn’t go out and evangelize the Gentile world until the Kingdom had come to fruition. Now to Acts 11:19 and we’ll back up what I’ve just said.

Acts 11:19

“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto Jews only.”

The ones which were scattered…. refer to the ones we’ve already talked about in Acts 8:1. The Antioch referred to here was the one north of present day Beirut, Lebanon. Notice that they preached the Word only “to the Jews.” Even seven years after Pentecost, nobody was going to the Gentiles. The Word is so plain. But why hadn’t they gone to the Gentiles? Because the Old Testament program was the only plan they knew.

Now, look at what happened in Acts 9. Saul of Tarsus (Paul) was converted on the road to Damascus, where he was headed in his religious zeal to persecute the church – to stamp out the followers of the “imposter” Jesus of Nazareth. Saul was going to wipe them out at any cost, but on his way there, he had that confrontation with the ascended, glorified Lord of Glory. Look at verses 11-15 where Christ talks to Ananias – that believing Jew in Damascus.

Acts 9:11-15

“And the Lord said unto him, ‘Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.’ Then Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:”

“‘And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, ‘Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:”

God hadn’t forgotten the Gentiles. He did know that Israel wasn’t going to fulfill that Old Testament program, because she was continually rejecting The Messiah. So God said, “I’m going to do something totally different! We need to remember that the “Age of Grace” was predominately for the Gentile, even as the time before was predominately for the Jews, but the Jew was not locked out of Salvation during this time. So some could be, and have been saved.

Acts 9:16

“‘For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.’”

Look down to verse 20. This Saul of Tarsus, having just realized who Jesus really was – the God that he had thought he was serving by persecuting the followers of Jesus – this same Saul in verse 20, goes to preach Christ in the “synagogues. He was still “Jew only! He had no idea that God was going to go the Gentiles with a different program. All he knew was the Old Testament program. Remember, it was almost 100 years after Christ before the New Testament began to come together. And even then, it didn’t come together as a canon of Scripture for another three to four hundred years. At this point in time, there was no New Testament written. All they had was the Old Testament, but they really knew that Old Testament, and they knew that program. They knew the promise of The King and the Kingdom, and that was when Israel could evangelize the world.

So, as we see in verse 20, Saul went straight to the synagogues to preach. But he didn’t know any more about the death, burial and Resurrection as God’s plan of Salvation, than Peter did, back before Jesus was crucified. We must understand this. Remember, faith is taking God at His word, but you can’t take Him at His word until He speaks it. You can’t assume what He’s going to say. We must wait until God gives explicit instructions; then we can take it and believe it. So, here was Saul of Tarsus, filled with wonder to know that the One whom he thought was a blasphemer and imposter was, indeed, his Jehovah, and that He had died and been raised from the dead. What he was preaching was that Jesus truly was The Messiah.

If you’ll read on, you’ll find that God took supernatural means, immediately, to get Saul out of Damascus. There came a threat on his life, so that he had to be let down over the wall of the city at night in a basket, to escape. And we saw a few lessons ago, in Galatians, that Saul then went down to Mt. Sinai in the Sinai peninsula (we think), because he says that he went down to Arabia, and in another place referred to it as Sinai in Arabia. There, he spent three years alone with his ascended Lord, and God poured out on that man all the doctrines that were to go out to the Gentiles – totally new and totally different doctrines. This is why he used the language he did in his letters. Paul was specifically commissioned to go to the Gentiles, as we’ll see in the following verses.

Ephesians 3:1,2

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation (administration) of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [How did Paul get it – to give to us? By revelation!] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.)”

That’s the difference between revelation and instruction. When one is instructed he is taught by another human being. Paul never claimed to be taught by anybody. He received everything by revelation. Go now back to Acts 18:

Acts 18:1-3

“After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;

And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome); and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he (Paul) abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.”

I like to compare Paul’s working with Aquila and Priscilla to that of a group of ladies around a quilting frame. While they are quilting, they are talking, visiting, discussing. I believe the same thing happened with Paul and his friends. While they were sewing on that tough, old canvas, Paul was telling them all about what God had revealed to him – laying it all out for a purpose. Turn to verse 24:

Acts 18:24,25

“And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures (the Old Testament), came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.”

This is why I wanted to use this as an illustration. This man had been taught, probably in a seminary. But his education was limited. He, too, knew nothing more than the Old Testament program. He hadn’t heard of the Gospel of Grace, but look what happens.

Acts 18:26

“And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”How could Aquila and Priscilla teach this learned man anything? They’d been with Paul, and look what Apollos was gentleman enough to do – listen! He learned from two “little lay people.”

Acts 18:27

“And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia (part of Greece), the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:”

How could Apollos have helped those “Grace believers” without having been taught the things of Paul? He couldn’t have! Now then, for comparison purposes, go back to Galatians 1. This was Paul’s account of where he got his information.

Galatians 1:11,12

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

He didn’t go back up to Jerusalem after his conversion and say, “Hey, fellows, teach me everything you know about this Jesus, since you were with Him for three years.” No, he says he received it by “revelation of Jesus Christ.” There’s the difference between revelation and instruction. So, Saul knew nothing about the Gospel of Grace until God separated him down to Sinai and gave him, by revelation, the great new doctrines of Grace that would go to the Gentiles. Next time we’ll show you on our timeline how these things were pushed out into the future to make room for the “Age of Grace.”