50 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 2 - Book 5 - Law - Weak and Beggarly

50: Lesson 1 Part 2 Book 5 – Law – Weak and Beggarly: Genesis 21-23

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick


Law – Weak and Beggarly

Genesis 21-23

Go to Genesis 21 where we left off the lesson before last (the allegory of Ishmael and Isaac that we explored further in Galatians).

Genesis 21:14,15

“And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away; and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.” God had instructed Abraham to do this, remember. Hagar, with her son wandered in the desert of Beersheba, which is in the south of Israel, in the Negev.

“And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.”

The language here would seem to indicate that Ishmael was only a two or three-year old child. But we must remember that he actually was thirteen or better, so he was a pretty good sized lad. Most likely, Hagar said something to him such as, “Go sit in the shade of one of those shrubs,” and she went a little way away from him.

Genesis 21:16,17

“And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, ‘Let me not see the death of the child.’ And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.” And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, ‘What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.'” Remember, the “Angel of God” or the “Angel of the LORD” is always Jehovah; God the Son in another theophany, or appearance in human form.

Genesis 21:18,19

“Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.” Again, remember that most of the Arabs today came from the line of Ishmael.

“And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.” The provision from the human element was a bottle of water. That’s all Abraham provided. But notice God gave her a well! Isn’t that always the way? When we depend on the flesh, we get “a drop in the bucket;” but with God, we get wells of living water!

Genesis 21:20,21

“And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.”

Hagar, Ishmael’s mother, had originally come from Egypt? And notice where she went to get him a wife – back home. So there is a double connection for the offspring of Ishmael, who became the Arab nations to the nation of Egypt. We’ve pointed out, as we’ve reviewed the genealogies recorded in Genesis so far, that Egyptians are not true Arabs. But they are so closely related, that in political situations they usually work pretty well together. Let’s skip some intervening verses here where Abraham deals with Abimelech.

Genesis 21:33

“And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.” Remember that Beersheba is down in the southern part of Israel, or Palestine, down in the desert area. In the city of Beersheba they now have a shrine for the ancient well spoken of here that was dug by Abraham.

A few weeks ago we explained these names of God or Jehovah, God the Son. Abraham, from Beersheba called on the name of the LORD, or the name of Jehovah, the everlasting God. Although the English kind of leaves us “hanging” here, in the Hebrew, the “everlasting God is “Elohim Olam.” Here’s where things get a little bit more interesting if you dig below the surface. Abraham called on Jehovah (and remember, Jehovah is God The Son, The Christ of the New Testament!) Who is, to clarify, “the everlasting God.” This fits beautifully with what we’ve studied in these last two lessons concerning the fact we’re not under Law, but under Grace. We see that God can do this from His very Name of Deity. He is “everlasting God.” I’ve already mentioned the word “Elohim, which is the plural form of the word for “God,” and this now states that He is the “Elohim Olam.” This word “Olam”is translated out of the Hebrew, with three different meanings (yet are all pretty closely related). In Leviticus “Olam” is used to speak of “a specific time.” The verse says that if the people want to redeem a piece of land, at that time, they have to do such and such. So it speaks of a specific time. In another place, “Olam” is translated as “hid” or “hidden.” To see this, turn to Psalms 10:1:

Psalms 10:1

“Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thy self in times of trouble?”

While in Leviticus, “Olam” was translated as “time,” here in the Psalms, this same word was translated “hidest.” So the word “Olam” here refers to something hidden, or more specifically, God’s being hidden from view. Let’s look now at Psalms 90, (and I’m trying to use these words within the context of one book so that we don’t have to spend a lot of time looking them up.), where this very same word, “Olam” is translated “everlasting.” See verse 2:

Psalms 90:2

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting (Olam) to everlasting (Olam), thou art God.”

The everlasting God, then, as used in Genesis, is speaking of more than the God who exists from eternity past (before Genesis 1:1) through the end of the timeline to eternity future.

God from Everlasting to Everlasting

Eternity <________________________________________>Eternity

past future

This is the God of Creation, the everlasting God. But, as the word “Olam” is used in these other Scriptures, it points out that God is not only from everlasting to everlasting, but also is a God Who is associated with time, and that within time, in His everlasting role as Sovereign God, He can hide things at His pleasure. This may sound at this point like a bit of “gobbledy-gook,” but I’m trying to build my case. The God Who is from everlasting to everlasting is also the God of intrinsic time. Also, since He is Sovereign, He is fully able to either reveal everything within time or keep it secret. I know this is getting deeper than you may like to go, but I think it’s imperative to understand this premise, so that we can go to the timeline and show how there were times when God did not reveal, and there were times when He did reveal. Go back to Genesis and come up through our timeline as we did when we started our study.

Initially, Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, and we don’t know for how long. While they were in the Garden, God gave them no hint as to what would happen in the future. There were no prophetic statements that, by-and-by, something like this was going to happen. He simply chose to put them in time, and that was all. Then Adam and Eve sinned, and were driven from the Garden, and the next period of time runs from their expulsion from the Garden all the way down to the Flood. I like to point out that when Adam and Eve went out of the Garden, they entered a totally different situation than the one they had experienced in the Garden. In the Garden, they had no responsibilities but to enjoy their paradise. But when they came out, they had to labor for their livelihood under the curse. Everything was different! They had to work by the sweat of their brows; they had to work with sin around them; they had to deal with God regarding redemption; they had to bring blood sacrifices – everything was totally different. Then, because mankind went down, down, down, we come to the time when God decided He’d have to start all over, and so came the Flood.

Again, I need to point out that when Noah and his three sons came out of the Ark, the situation they found was totally different! All of the earth was different, from the atmospheric conditions on. Noah and his sons were then given permission to kill animals and eat the flesh thereof, which had not been allowed by God before. So it’s important to see that each time we come to the various breaks in time, entirely new sets of circumstances arise. So, after Noah and his family came out of the ark, they were instructed by God to set up a human government to maintain law and order (which had not previously existed). Then, about 175 years following the flood (because the people had been disobedient and had not scattered across the earth as God had instructed, but had congregated in the valley of Shinar at the tower of Babel), God confused their languages and caused them to scatter. And about 150 years following the dispersion from the Tower of Babel, God did something else which was totally different. He called out the man we have come to know as Abraham, through whose descendants He chose to work a different plan, while the rest of the world would go on in its own pagan ways.

Beginning with the Nation of Israel, Abraham’s descendants, God began to work in a totally different manner with regard to things being hidden or being revealed. From Genesis 12 forward, He began to reveal things to the Nation of Israel in great detail before they happened, and we call that prophecy. Everything that was to happen to Israel, God began to reveal beforehand – even to naming some of the people who would be involved such as Cyrus hundreds of years before they were born! He foretold the Cross, the Resurrection and the Ascension; He foretold the final seven years of Israel’s tribulation called “Daniel’s 70th week.” So, in contrast to the past in which He had kept things secret, God began to revealthe things that were to happen ahead of time to the Nation of Israel. In the New Testament, Jesus foretold the destruction of the City of Jerusalem; and the dispersion of the Jews which was to follow His Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension; and the establishment of the Church in the first part of the Book of Acts (see Luke 21). Then the Scriptures look forward to the seven years of tribulation (Jacob’s trouble referred to in Jeremiah), and reveals much about the end-times in the Book of Revelation.

But through this prophetic time, when God is dealing with Israel, there is one thing that’s never mentioned – the Age of Grace. Not a word about His going to the Gentiles to call out a multitude of people for His Name. About that He was totally silent. This period of time which I’m calling the “Age of Grace” is an undetermined period. Back in Israel’s history, God would lay out his plan on a time-table. He told Abraham that 430 years following his call, Israel would come out of Egypt, and they did! He told them there would be 490 years from one Temple to the next. He told them that there would be 490 years from Daniel’s prophecy to the appearance of Jesus on Palm Sunday. All the way through Israel’s history there was a distinct time-table, and it was right to the letter. But, when it comes to the “Church Age” or the “Age of Grace” there’s not a single time element mentioned. This was to be an undetermined period of time, about which God chose not to reveal details according to His sovereign decree. Look at Romans. This is a passage that I fear few people know is in their Bibles.

Romans 16:25,26

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:”

This is Paul writing to the Gentiles. And this period of time to which he refers (as well as everything that God is going to bring about during it), has been kept a secret from the beginning of the age! This is within the scope of the God Who is from Everlasting to Everlasting. He can do anything He wants! This is the God Who is from “Olam” to “Olam.” He is not only the God of everlasting time, but He is also the God of time; He Who can hide things in time. This is exactly what The Bible said He did concerning this Age of Grace. Turn to Ephesians 3. I’m going slowly because these are concepts not easily absorbed, and we need to read the Scriptures carefully. Start at verse 1. This concerns the fact we are not under Law, we are under Grace, and only the Sovereign God has the right to make that distinction. But He chose through the ages to keep secret the fact that there would be a time when men and women would be saved by Grace through faith plus nothing!

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:…”It was no longer for Jews only, but now Gentiles were included!

Earlier we showed that when God gave the Law to Israel through Moses on the mountain. Moses then came down to the people and gave it to them – so it came from God to Moses to the people of Israel. We have a similar analogy here. Paul had gone into the wilderness of Arabia (and I believe he was in Sinai), and as Moses received the Law, Paul received revelation of Grace, which had been kept secret since the age began.

Ephesians 3:3-6,9

“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ); Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:” When Paul referred to “other ages” in verse 5, he used the Greek word “Aion” which is synonymous with “dispensation.”

(9)“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” ‘Men’ in verse 9 is italicized because the translators added it. One more portion we need to look at is:

Colossians 1:24-26

“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery (secret) which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:”

The world can’t understand it! The unbeliever can’t comprehend it! But child of God, tonight you can!

49 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 1 - Book 5 - Law - Weak and Beggarly

49: Lesson 1 Part 1 Book 5 – Law – Weak and Beggarly: Genesis 21-23

YouTube video


Through the Bible with Les Feldick


Law – Weak and Beggarly

Genesis 21-23

Turn to Galatians 4. Remember, we covered the allegory that Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was brought about by the energy of the flesh – God never told Abraham to have a child by the Egyptian slave girl, Hagar. But Isaac was the child of promise. As I’ve pointed out many times before, everything in the Old Testament was set up for our learning, and this is a prime example. Even as Ishmael was a child of the flesh, as opposed to Isaac, who was the child of promise. In the Book of Galatians Paul uses the allegory that Ishmael represented the “Law” which was fleshly (and here I’m expecting some flack!). Whereas Isaac, the child of promise, is indicative of the Age of Grace; the very Grace of God, based upon all the promises that He would form a plan of redemption. To refresh your memory, go back to the Book of Galatians. Here Paul quotes from Genesis:

Galatians 4:30,31

“Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son (Hagar and Ishmael): for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman(Sarah and Isaac). So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”

Paul was writing to Gentile believers in the province of Galatia, who were being besieged by Judaizers. These Judaizers taught that Gentiles could not be saved unless they also kept the Law. Paul, however, was adamant that legalism could not be brought into Grace. This, then, is the reason for this allegory – that just as surely as Ishmael had to leave the whole area (God didn’t tell Abraham to build Ishmael a little tent next door so he could remain in close proximity), but rather, Abraham was to “cast him out” into the wilderness so there could be no contact between the two boys. The lesson is; that this is what we have to do with the Law and legalism in all its insidious forms. We have to be totally separated from it – we have to “cast it out.” Remember, the Law was carnal; it was fleshly; it was weak (I know that will not go down easy with a lot of people because we know that the Law was spiritual, it was perfect and holy – from God’s point of view. But from man’s side, the Law was what we said above – carnal, fleshly, and weak!). Look back now at Galatians 4:9, and I’ll show you what I’m talking about. Paul wrote to the Galatian Gentile believers who had been saved by Grace, but who were being tempted to go back under the Law.

Galatians 4:9

“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”

Paul was referring to the Law. Look at Romans 8:2,3 where he says practically the same thing. Remember, Paul was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit when he said, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” “The Law of sin and death” – does that sound like something very beautiful? The “Law of sin and death” was the Mosaic system!

Romans 8:3

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:”

The Scripture tells us that when it came to the Law from man’s dire need and point of view, it was weak and beggarly! Now, because there are many people who don’t like the writings of Paul, even though the epistles of Paul are the very bedrock of our Christian faith, (I’ve even heard some say the letters of Paul shouldn’t be in our Bible!), let me show you another scripture where the apostle Peter referred to the Law in the same way. Turn to Acts 15:1. The setting for this passage is that Paul had been in Antioch, north of present day Beirut, on the corner of the Mediterranean Sea, ministering to Gentile believers. It was in Antioch where believers were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). When the Jewish believers in Jerusalem got wind that Gentiles were being brought into a relationship with “their” God, they got “all shook up!” So they sent men from Jerusalem all the way to Antioch to see if this was true! Was Paul, a Jew, really permitting Gentiles to claim they were saved without becoming proselytes of Judaism?

Acts 15:1

“And certain men which came down from Judaea (Jerusalem) taught the brethren (the believers at Antioch), and said, ‘Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.’” Plain English. That’s what the Jewish believers from Jerusalem were trying to convince the Gentile believers at Antioch! Look further at verse 5. Paul was taken back to Jerusalem like a heretic, to be ‘called on the carpet’ before the church there.

Acts 15:5

“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, (these weren’t the self-righteous Pharisees that we are most acquainted with in the Gospels. These were Pharisees who had come to believe that Jesus was The Christ, but who were still Law-keepers) saying, ‘That it was needful to circumcise them (the Antioch Gentile believers), and to command them to keep the law of Moses.’”

This wasn’t just a suggestion from the Jewish believers saying, “Maybe it will help the Gentile believers if they keep the Law.” No! They wanted it to be a commandment! They were adamant about this as they came up against Paul, and instructed him to “command” them to keep the Law of Moses. There was a great controversy in the Jerusalem church over this. Though it doesn’t say so specifically in Scripture, I believe it went on for the better part of the day. There was a tremendous argument between Paul and the Jewish believers in Jerusalem. (Read Galatians 2 in your spare time, where Paul continues to say that the Gentile believers could not be forced to stay under the Law, for they were under Grace!) In Acts 15, Peter enters the controversy. I believe he’d been sitting back listening to everything being said (as opposed to the times in the Gospel accounts where he had been the primary spokesman). Finally, I believe the Spirit of God woke him up to speak out.

Acts 15:7

“And when there had been much disputing (there’d been a lot of argument), Peter rose up, and said unto them, ‘Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.’”

The very wording in this verse “Peter rose up” indicates that Peter had been sitting back listening, taking in the whole scene nonchalantly, while the others had been actively engaged in animated conversation and debate. But, he finally spoke out. He reminded them of the events recorded in Acts 10, events that had taken place nearly twelve years earlier, when Peter had been sent to the house of Cornelius. I believe that this was providential – this was the Sovereign God at work! God reminded Peter (and the others through him) of those special events when the first Gentiles were saved through Peter’s preaching. This is another good example of the situation we discussed a couple of lessons ago, when Hagar was sent back to the tent of Abraham and Sarah, before Ishmael was born, just to have to go through the same thing fifteen years later. Why? So we would have a New Testament lesson. This is the same kind of situation. God certainly wanted the house of Cornelius saved, but in the bigger picture, this was a preparation for Peter in Acts 15 to come to Paul’s defense by reminding the brethren that God had saved Gentiles by Peter’s preaching years before. Verse 9:

Acts 15:9

“And put no difference between us (Jews) and them (Gentiles), purifying their hearts by faith.”

This was a tough thing for Peter to say! He was like every other Jew. He thought that Jews were God’s own people and that Gentiles were just “dogs,” who could maybe get the“crumbs” like the Canaanite woman was able to do (Matt. 15:22-28). But here, Peter had to admit that there was now no difference between Jew and Gentile (as Paul had been teaching for years).

Acts 15:10

“Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”

We are continuing here to see that the Law was weak and beggarly. Peter calls the Law a “yoke,” a “burden.” It’s amazing how many people still believe that they can get to Heaven by keeping the Commandments – doing the best they can. This is why I feel I need to “raise my voice” to say that the Law was never given to save anybody. The Law was never intended to save even the Jew who was under it. We’ll see this in this lesson or the next. Turn to Galatians 5 where Paul uses exactly the same word to describe the Law.

Galatians 5:1

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty (as opposed to the yoke of bondage of the Law) wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Just as soon as someone says that they are trying to keep the Commandments, they are placing themselves under this yoke of bondage. Another scripture says that if you are going to keep part of the Law, you have to keep all of it (James 2:10 !) If you are going to keep all of the Law, you’d better have a temple, a priesthood, an altar and a flock of sheep; because they are all involved in the sacrifices required by the Law. Just as soon as the Age of Grace came on the scene, what did God sovereignly have happen to the Temple in Jerusalem? It was torn down stone-by-stone by the Roman army; totally destroyed because the Age of Law had faded off the scene and the Age of Grace had commenced. But people are still trying to somehow go back to the Temple worship, even though it is a poor facsimile! They are trying to resurrect that legal system. But it is gone – the Temple is destroyed.

It will come back someday, but not until the Age of Grace has ended. Even now, Israel is all excited about rebuilding their Temple. They’ve got all the clothing for the priesthood made and hanging on mannequins. They’ve got all the utensils ready for the sacrificial worship. They’ve got young men trained and ready for the priesthood. The Jerusalem Post reported a few months ago that the red heifer was on some isolated farm in the countryside of Israel, ready to be sacrificed, so the ashes could be sprinkled in the new Temple when it is built, purifying it. It’s all ready! But the Church is going to have to go first! For now, we are not under Law, we are under Grace! Let’s pursue a few more verses about the Law. Turn to Romans 3. Paul makes the statement for the first time that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. If you know your Bible, you realize that the mentality of the Jew, all the way through Paul’s ministry and even up to our day, claims that they are the only ones with access to God. To put the Gentile in the same position with them is an anathema! They couldn’t stomach that idea.

I like to point to verses in Acts (21:27-22:30) where Paul was addressing the huge Jewish crowd in Jerusalem that only a few moments before had tried to kill him. The Roman authorities had rushed in to rescue him, and then from a secure position on a stairway, they allowed him to speak to that audience. He spoke to them in Hebrew to get their attention, telling them of his qualifications as a Jew; of his persecution of the Church; of his conversion on the road to Damascus; and in Acts 22:21, of Jesus’ instruction to him to “‘Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.'”

At that, the Jewish crowd went into an uproar and had it not been for the Roman authorities, the crowd would have torn Paul into pieces. At the word, “Gentiles, they went berserk. That was the thinking of the Jews, and when Saul of Tarsus (Paul) said that there was no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles, the Jews were ready to tear him limb from limb! Can you now see why Peter had so many problems with reaching out to the Gentiles. I’ll point out later how Peter in his little Epistle (near the back of your Bible, just shortly before his life is ended in martyrdom), wrote, as Paul did in all his Epistles (II Peter 3:16) “…things hard to be understood…. If Peter thought they were hard to understand at the end of his life, you can imagine how he must have felt earlier.

Romans 3:19

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

Of all the peoples of the earth, there was only one group that were literally under the Law – the Jews. God didn’t expect the Gentiles to keep the Law or to have Temple worship. There were a few proselytes who kept the Law, but I think that even a lot of them were not really true believers – they were kind of “hangers-on.” But it was to the Jews that the Law was given. But look what follows the colon in verse 19, “that every mouth may be stopped,.” Now, who does it include? The whole human race! Israel was under the Law, but the Law also condemned the whole human race, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” That’s not sending you to Heaven! That’s sending you the other direction! This was the only purpose of the Law – to condemn mankind, to show man that he is a sinner and not fit for God’s Heaven, that he is a Law-breaker!

Romans 3:20,21

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Isn’t that plain English? Why can’t people see this? That’s all the Law could do – condemn! All it could do was show man that he fell far short of what God demands in righteousness.

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the prophets;..”

“But” always shows us the “flip-side.” Whereas the Law condemns and proves everyone is a sinner, unfit for God’s Heaven, but now, the righteousness of God is manifested without the Law! Most people don’t like that, but that’s what The Book says! As I was driving up this morning in preparation for this program teaching, I was thinking how many people there are who somehow say, “I’m doing what my church teaches,” or “I’m doing what my parents and grandparents taught.” But think, how many of these people are going to stand before Christ, the Righteous Judge, someday and will say, “Lord, didn’t I agree with what my denomination taught,” or “Didn’t I agree with what so-and-so said?” But the Word says inRomans 2:16 that every person is going to be judged “according to my (Paul’s) Gospel.” Don’t ever forget that!

We’re not going to be judged on the basis of “what I’ve been taught” or “I did the best I could” – we’re going to be judged on the basis of what we did with the Gospel!

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