62 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 2 - Book 6 - Calling Out a People for His Name

62: Lesson 1 Part 2 Book 6 – Calling Out a People for His Name

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 6

CALLING OUT A PEOPLE FOR HIS NAME

Turn to Romans Chapter 6. God’s calling out a people for His name, the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is also referred to as the Bride of Christ, and is predominately Gentile in its makeup because Israel has been blinded: sent into a dispersion that has lasted over 1900 years. I think that’s just about to end. We don’t know, but it would seem we’re coming close to the end of this Age of Grace. God will pick up where He left off with the Nation of Israel. We’ll spend this lesson on the doctrines for this Age of Grace. How do we become a member of this Bride of Christ? I think, even though we’re in the so-called Bible Belt, I find there is so much confusion on the simple plan of Salvation; and indeed, it is simple. A six-year-old can comprehend it, and yet it is so complex that I can’t comprehend it, and I don’t think anyone else can. It is beyond human understanding. It is an act of God. Let’s turn over to Chapter 6 of Romans and look at a verse that we made reference to several weeks ago. But in Chapter 6, Paul makes a tremendous statement. And again, it’s simplicity in its entirety. Verse 14:

Romans 6:14

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

Whenever I teach the Book of Romans verse by verse, I always point out that the word ‘sin’ (singular) is not the act of sin, such as theft or adultery, for example. The word ‘sin’ in Romans, unless the text clearly says otherwise, speaks of the old Adamic nature. That old sin nature that we’re born with. A question came up recently which asked, “How soon does a child show that sin nature?” You know what my answer always is? — “Just as soon as they can!” Even in their innocence. But now, Paul says, sin doesn’t always have to control us. In verse 14: “For sin (that old Adamic nature) shall not have dominion (control or reigning rule) over you: for ye are not under the law,…” (you’re under what?… Grace!).

Few comprehend the Grace of God. Most people understand the definition to be unmerited favor. But Grace is that attribute of God that can take the person who realizes he’s nothing more than a fallen creature; he’s under sin; he’s under condemnation; and there’s nothing he can do… then the Grace of God reaches down and saves him on the basis of his believing the Gospel (plus nothing). Now, that’s simple, isn’t it? Recently, we were explaining the conversion of Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. I describe him as a raging bull. He could hardly wait to get to Damascus and arrest more people (Jews of course) who had become followers of Christ, and bring them back to Jerusalem, and either have them put to death or have them put in prison. That was his attitude. And yet, despite Saul’s destructive mind-set, what did God do? He saved him! By Grace! He didn’t deserve it, work for it or do anything for it. He just said, “Lord, what would you have me to do.” Now, that’s Grace, and that’s exactly where every one of us have to find ourselves. We’re a totally undone creature. There is nothing we can do except call out for the mercy and the Grace of God, believing everything that needed to be done on our behalf was accomplished at the Cross. That’s faith, and you can’t add anything to it.

Alright, read it again: “…ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Now, go back to Romans Chapter 3. Remember that, beginning with the call of Abram (or Abraham), back in 2000 B.C. — with the calling aside of that favored nation, the Nation of Israel, God dealt only with the Jew (with exceptions, but they were few and far between). It was Jew only, His Covenant people. In other words, what did God do with the Jew? He called them out, set them aside, and made them different. He made them different to the point where they were never to have anything to do with the tribes and nations living around them. They were not to intermarry nor have any kind of social intercourse with them. They were to be a separated, holy people. But, in the final analysis, when we come to the Apostle Paul in Romans Chapter 3, verse 9; look at what it says:

Romans 3:9

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;…”

“What then…?” Now Paul is speaking of the Jew. Are we Jews better than they (Gentiles)? “…No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles,….” as what? As all under sin. Now, when God set Israel apart and made them different; in the final analysis, what did it prove? There is no difference. He also says in Romans 3:

Romans 3:1,2

“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision (practicing their Jewish religion)? Much every way: chiefly (or primarily), because that unto them (the Jewish people; the Nation of Israel) were committed the oracles (Word)of God.”

They had everything going for them. God gave them the priesthood, the worship, the civil law, the whole system of law. What did it accomplish? Practically nothing. So, finally, in Romans 3, Paul, by inspiration, brings us to the conclusion that, though they were different, it proved that that old Adamic nature is just as evident in the son of Abraham as it is in a Gentile. There’s no difference. We’re all under the control of the old Adam (there’s that word ‘sin’ again).

Romans 3:11

“There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”

Now, what did Jesus say back in John’s Gospel, Chapter 3, verse 19? They “…loved darkness rather than light (why?), because their deeds were evil.” It hasn’t changed a bit! People still would rather stay in their spiritual darkness than step into the light of the Gospel, because the first thing the Gospel shows is what? Our sinfulness! And we don’t want to see that. I remember a lady, several years ago, said to me, “Les, ever since I’ve been coming to your class, all I see every day is my own sin. I never used to.” I replied, “Don’t blame me for that.” But nevertheless, when you get into The Book and start studying, what do we begin to see?… that we are fallen creatures. We’re sinful. And yet, even though God has saved us, given us the Holy Spirit, and many other blessings, we still find ourselves constantly giving in to that old ‘sin’ nature. Let’s go a little further in this chapter. Remember, all I’m trying to point out is how we become members of this Body of Christ that is being completed (and we’re getting very close, I think, to the full mark). And, when it’s full, God will take it out, and He can pick up where He left off with Israel. Now verses 19 and 20 – here are some choice verses:

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.”

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law (in other words, to the Jew): that every mouth may be stopped, Jew and who?… Jewand Gentile; even though the Law was given to Israel, yet in its sovereignty and its perfectness, who did it also apply to?… the whole human race! It wasn’t just the Jew who was condemned because he stole. It wasn’t just the Jew who was condemned because he used God’s name in vain, or gossiped or anything that the Law forbade. But who else?… all!Gentiles as well as Jews — that all the world might become (saved?…righteous?…ready for Heaven?…what?) guilty…. How many people do you run into that say, “Well, I think I’ll make it;” or “I’m doing the best I can;” or “I’m keeping the Commandments?” That isn’t what the Commandments were for. If I could just get more people to understand! The Law can do nothing but condemn. That’s all the Law can do. It can’t save anybody!

Romans 3:20

“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.”

“Therefore by the deeds (or the keeping) of the law (or the Ten Commandments, however you want to put it) there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is (not the knowledge of Salvation, but rather) the knowledge of sin.” But the first step in Salvation is to recognize that we need something. And so, the very first part of our Salvation experience is to recognize what God says about us — that we’re sons of Adam, we’re sinners, and we’re a fallen race.

Romans 3:21

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

“But…. What does that word tell you? The flip side! The flip side is now the righteousness of God without the Law. We have to put the Law aside. And this righteousness of God without the Law is manifested; and again my definition for manifesting in Scripture is, ‘put in the spotlight’ – put under a microscope. This is what the word of God is going to do for us when we step into the truth of it. It is like being put in the spotlight, and it is being witnessed by the Law and the prophets. I want people to understand; yes, I am a great proponent of Paul as the Apostle to the Gentiles. And, that all our doctrine for Salvation and Christian living comes from Paul’s letters. But, I don’t isolate Paul’s letters and teach only from them. I use the whole Scripture, from Genesis through Revelation!

Paul, himself, says that all Scripture is inspired of God and is profitable. So, I don’t want anyone to ever think that I’m only a proponent of Paul. Unique to Paul’s writings, however, are these doctrines of Grace. In fact, I often shock people to get them into The Book. I’ll say something shocking, and they’ll say, “Well, I’ve got to look that up.” One way I’ll do this is by saying, “You can’t find the Gospel in John 3:16.” That shocks people! They think, “But that’s what I’ve heard since I was a kid!” Just analyze the Scripture. Go back through John’s Gospel, Chapter 3; beginning with Nicodemus and Jesus dealing with him. You can’t find one word of what we would call the Gospel. We can use John 3:16, but what must we use to make John 3:16 come into full flower? Paul’s Gospel!

You take Paul’s Gospel – that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again – and bring that into John 3:16. Then, bring out the fact that, when God gave His only begotten Son, He went to the Cross, died and rose from the dead. That’s well and good. But, just to simply use John 3:16 alone, the Gospel is not in it. This is where we must recognize that these basic truths come from Paul, and then we can go back in other scriptures and make application. Another one is Isaiah 53, the favorite chapter used to win Jews. How much would anybody get of the Gospel out of Isaiah 53 if we didn’t have the knowledge of Paul’s Gospel? Nothing! What can you put together of Isaiah 53:7, “…he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter(and) …openeth not his mouth,” if you didn’t understand how Paul lays it out, that this was God’s plan of Salvation. So, here you must be careful that you don’t malign me for being too narrow when, actually, what I’m saying is that we use all of the Scripture.

Romans 3:22

“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:”

This ‘righteousness’ that he makes reference to in verse 21; this righteousness of God which is by faith (not faith plus … not faith and…. But by the faith) of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all (that repent and are baptized, right? No! Upon all them who keep the commandments? No! Upon all them who join the church? No! See what I mean?… But upon all…them that believe…. I think of a sermonette I read as a teenager titled, “Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ and Thou Shalt be Saved – but, be sure you Believe!” In other words, I don’t adhere to ease of believeism — “Oh yes, I believe Christ died for me, and I’ve accepted Christ as my personal Savior” – I don’t go for that. I want a person to know that they, with all their being, have understood that they are a lost child of Adam and that when they believe that Christ died for them – shed His Blood, was buried, and rose from the dead, and they really believe it! – then, The Bible says, God moves in and makes that person a child of His and puts them into the Body of Christ. That’s how we get into the Body of Christ, by our Salvation. Continuing: upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:… No difference between what? Jew and Gentile.

Romans 3:23,24

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God:” I call this the very first step of faith in our Salvation process. all have sinned, and come short…. No one can say, “But I’m good enough.” God says none of us can be, or will be. Then verse 24: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”

“Being justified…. Justification is that judicial act of God. Now, when I use the word `judicial,’ I mean like a judge on the bench hands down a decree. Justification is when God, The Judge, judicially declares the sinner (that person who recognizes that they are undone and are under the control of old Adam) to be just as if he had never sinned. That’s beyond our comprehension. Even after we’ve been justified, we still are prone to fall and sin, yet what does God tell us? He says we are justified! He sees us as if we had never sinned! We’ll never have to come before the judgment seat of Christ, as believers, and have to answer for our sins. Never! Our sins are forgiven. They are under the Blood. Christ took care of it and we will never have to stand before Him with sin on our back. Our sins are buried in the deepest sea and God has put up a sign which says, “No Fishing!” He has completely removed them. They are not going to come back and plague us. That’s being justified.

Let’s continue in verse 24: “…freely (without a cause…and how did God do it?) by his grace (unmerited favor) through the redemption…. I think you all know what the word `redemption’ refers to: losing something and buying it back. And it’s a Scriptural term. When did God lose the human race? When Adam sinned. We’re all in Adam, remember? It was there God lost us. So now, what does He have to do? Buy us back with a price. Satan is a hard task master; he won’t let go of us easily. And this is the whole idea of redemption — that God has to buy us back for Himself because He lost us in Adam. The word redemption here, especially in Romans, goes back to the Roman slave market in particular, for a beautiful illustration. The Greek word is Agorazo. We’re not going to be concerned with that word so much, but we’re talking about a slave market.

Just like in today’s stock market, there were certain terms back then that applied only to the slave market. And these were the three that were usually exercised by wealthy Romans who would go down to the slave market and just spend the day. It was a good past-time for them to go down and buy a slave and leave it in the market. And, when they left that slave in the market (much like a stock trader today can buy stocks in the morning on the board of trade or stock exchange and, if at one o’clock in the afternoon, the market has jumped a couple of points, he can resell that same stock), if the price went up, they could sell the same slave that same day.

Well, the Romans could actually do that with slaves. But, the one we’re most concerned with here in Scripture is the term Exagorazo. Now the term ‘ex’ always means out. So, in this case, they could buy a slave, take it out of the market and take it home, thereby becoming that slave’s owner. Then, they could exercise the third part with regard to slaves — they could ‘Lutroo’ him, or set him free. So, with that background, let’s look at this verse. Here, the Roman legions have just come down from barbarian Gaul in Northern Europe. And they’ve got this teenage lad who has probably been beaten and dragged several hundred miles – and here he is in the slave market. But this rich, benevolent Roman sees this young man and sees something in him of worth. So, what does he do? He buys him; and instead of leaving him in the market to trade again, he takes him home, cleans him up and gives him light duty.

This young man has never lived so sumptuously, although he is a slave. And then, one day, this Roman master calls this young man into his office and says, “You’ve been an ideal slave and I’m going to now give you your freedom. I have paid for your citizenship. You are free to go wherever you want to go. You are a Roman citizen.” What do you suppose that young man would say considering the fact that slaves who were not fortunate enough to be bought, were thrown to the lions in the coliseum? He would probably say, “Master, there’s no way that I could do that after all that you have done for me. You bought me out of that awful slave market. You’ve put me in new clothes, you’ve cleaned me up and you’ve given me the best of duty. Master, I love you, and I will never leave you. I’m going to serve you all the rest of my life.”

Now, doesn’t that say it all? That is what God rightfully expects from every child that He has saved. He has taken us out of the slave market of Satan; He has broken the bonds of sin. He has cleaned us up and given us a whole new outlook on life. He has given us the Holy Spirit and all the promises of eternity to come. So, what should be our logical reaction?“Lord, you’ve done so much for me. The least I can do is serve you and be your faithful bondslave.”

61 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 1 - Book 6 - Calling Out a People for His Name

61: Lesson 1 Part 1 Book 5 – Calling Out a People for His Name

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 5

CALLING OUT A PEOPLE FOR HIS NAME

Turn to Acts Chapter 15. We showed that the Old Testament program as it was laid out in Psalms Chapter 2 never gave the slightest hint of this 1900+ years we call the Church Age. The Old Testament program foretold the coming of the Nation of Israel on the scene by virtue of the Abrahamic Covenant. And how The Messiah came and they rejected Him, they crucified Him, and after that was to come the Tribulation; that awful period of seven years spoken of in Daniel. And then Christ would return and set up His Kingdom. Not a mention of the Church in there whatsoever! But, as we’ve been pointing out, just when it seemed like the rebellion was reaching its pinnacle under Saul of Tarsus, God saved the chief rebel by His Grace, on the road to Damascus.

In Acts 15, we saw how the Jewish believers at Jerusalem got all shook up over the fact that Paul and Barnabas were bringing Gentiles into the Church at Antioch and, consequently, they sent men from Jerusalem to check it out. It caused so much consternation that they requested Paul and Barnabas come down to Jerusalem to ‘call them on the carpet’ because they were bringing Gentiles in and offering them God’s Salvation. That was just an anathema (a formal ecclesiastical ban) to the Jew of that time! Then, I showed how Peter had been silent during all the first part of this great controversy in Acts 15 until finally, Sovereignly, God reminded him of what he had experienced twelve years before when he had gone up to the house of Cornelius. And, I stress the fact that Peter, the good Law-keeping Jew, didn’t really want to go to Cornelius. I put it as ‘heel marks in the sand from Joppa to Caesarea.’ But, God forced it for this situation right here. Had Peter not had that experience of having Gentiles saved in Acts Chapter 10, I doubt he would have come to Paul’s defense in Acts 15. And had not Peter come to Paul’s defense in Chapter 15, I’m afraid Christianity would have stopped in its tracks! But God, in His Sovereignty, wouldn’t allow that to happen:

Acts 15:7

“And when there had been much disputing, 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.‘”

Let’s look at what Peter had to say. “And when there had been much disputing (I am sure this was later on after the meeting had begun), Peter rose up and said unto them, ‘Men and brethren, you know how that a good while ago (12 years ago) God made choice among us, that the Gentiles (remember the house of Cornelius) by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel (the Good News) and believe.'”

Acts 15:10

“Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, (the Gentile believers at Antioch) which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” Now, that was the Law, and Peter, of all people, stresses the fact that it was a burden, it was a yoke:

Acts 15:12,13a

“Then all the multitude (that crowd of Jews meeting in Jerusalem to consider whether Gentiles could have access to Israel’s God) kept silence, (after all, when Peter spoke they respected him) and gave audience (listened) to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace, James answered,…”

Most people automatically think it was the James of Peter, James and John; but it wasn’t. That James, who was one of the Twelve, was beheaded some time before. This James was not even a believer during Christ’s earthly ministry. He was one of the other children of Joseph and Mary. We call him a half-brother of Christ. The amazing thing is that, at this point in time, Peter is no longer the chief spokesman. When we study the Book of Acts, I always point out that beginning in Acts Chapters 1 and 2, Peter is the spokesman. He is the moderator – the head man. But, by the time we get to this situation, Peter has been sitting off in the corner, not really having a part in the discussion because he’s not part of the wheels anymore. Sovereignly, God shakes him up, brings him to the forefront, and he makes this statement that God had shown him Gentiles could be saved even as Jews! So this James, who is the moderator, shows just how far the Kingdom program has already slipped — that Peter is no longer the chief spokesman.

Acts 15:13b,14 continued

“…Men and brethren, hearken unto me (listen): Simeon (Peter) hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.”

Now, who are ‘a people?’ The Body of Christ; The Gentile believers! There can be Jews, but for the most part, this Age of Grace has reached into the Gentile people to bring out of them ‘a people’, or the Bride. The two words, ‘a people, are the calling out of the Bride of Christ, that Gentile Bride. The Holy Spirit has been working amongst (predominately again) the Gentiles. We are not going to leave the Jews out completely; there are some, but it’s predominantly a Gentile Bride. Then verse 15 (watch this carefully):

Acts 15:15,16

“And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,…” This calling out of a people – and to this, James says, agrees the words of the prophets; ‘as it is written….’ Now, verse 16:“After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:….”

Underline those first two words, ‘After this:’ now what have you got? Well, you’ve got a time setting. Now, you haven’t got a month and a day and a year, but you’ve got something denoting a time factor. So, ‘After this:’ well, after what? After ‘the calling out of a people for His name!’ See that?! It’s so easy to just read and not see what you read. But, all this just falls into place if you look at it carefully. James says, ‘yes,’ prophesy indicated that God would call out a people for His name. And when that is finished, when that has been concluded, after this, then what’s God going to do? Rebuild again, or He will return (verse 16), and rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen down. In other words, who is He going to go back and work with? His Covenant people, Israel! But in the meantime, He’s calling out a Gentile Bride. Now, do you see that? To enlighten us a little more on that, let’s turn to Romans Chapter 11.

Romans 11:25

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”

This is the chapter where Paul draws the analogy of grafting a tree. I’ve got a horticulturist in one of my classes who loves to graft, and he showed me a perfect example of it just a few weeks ago. This fellow had taken an ordinary native pecan, cut it off, and grafted in two or three other new varieties; and now he could show me the results. It’s unbelievable! He had clusters of pecans as big as my fist! That’s what grafting can do. He also explained that if he wanted to cut off those grafts, he could take another native pecan branch and graft it right back in – no problem.

That’s what Paul is describing here in Romans Chapter 11, concerning the Nation of Israel. They were the native tree! But, after dealing with the Nation of Israel for almost 2,000 years from the call of Abraham (1,500 years under the Law), they rejected, and rejected, until finally what did God do? He broke off those native branches and He grafted in the Gentiles. Then, Paul uses the analogy that if God could take a wild branch and graft it in, then how much easier will it be someday for Him to break off these grafted branches and bring back the natural – speaking of His coming back to deal once again with His Covenant people. As you come down through that Chapter, in verse 25, Paul writes, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be (what’s the next word?) “…ignorant….(!) We have to be careful in our use of language. We can be ignorant and still have a pretty high intelligence level, can’t we? Any one of us can be totally ignorant of a particular discipline, without having a low IQ, because ignorance is brought about by a lack of teaching; a lack of learning. That’s the only reason I teach.

All I try to do is get people to come into The Book and see what it really says. I’m not interested in making a Methodist something other than a Methodist, or making a Presbyterian something else, or a Baptist something else. I just want to get everyone to where they can study The Word of God on their own. As many of the people in my classes who are Sunday School teachers and deacons have found, they can go back into their local situation and teach The Book to others. So, Paul says here he would not have us be ignorant of this mystery or this secret, this very fact that has been hidden, even in the Scriptures. A lady here in Oklahoma said the first thing she got from my teaching was that, indeed, the Church was hidden until it was revealed. You know, I read something like that and I just about hit the ceiling, because this is what I want people to understand! What does The Book say about these things? Verse 25. “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery (secret), lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that (here’s the mystery)blindness in part….” The words ‘in part’ mean not forever, but for a period of time. There’s a good illustration of that in Acts 13. Paul and Barnabas have just begun their missionary journey and, as they have taken off from Antioch, they first stop at the island of Cyprus. This is a prophetic picture of the Nation of Israel.

Acts 13:6,7

“And when they had gone through the isle (of Cyprus) unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus (a Roman), a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.” This Gentile officer, or political leader, wants to learn more of the word of God, but his right-hand man is a Jew, a sorcerer, and a false teacher. In verse 8 this Jew is called Elymas, the sorcerer:

Acts 13:8-11

“But Elymas, the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.” He tried to keep Paul and Barnabas from this Roman deputy. “…seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.” Have you got the picture? He’s doing everything he can to keep this Gentile from Salvation.

“Then Saul, (who is also called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, ‘O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season.’ And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.”

Look carefully at these verses. “Then Saul (Paul), filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes upon him, and said (to this Jew), ‘O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease (or stop) to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now (Paul continues), behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind (now watch it carefully), not seeing the sun (or daylight; for how long?) for a season.'” Not for the rest of his days, but for a time. Now, what’s this a picture of? The Nation of Israel! Everywhere Paul and Barnabas, and later Paul and Silas, went in their missionary journeys, who was their chief opposition? The Jews! And, when he came down to Thessalonica, Paul even says that the dishonorable women withstood him — Jewish women. So, what did God do? Pick it up as we go back to Romans 11:10, to follow our line of thought on Israel being blinded even as Elymas was.

Romans 11:10

“Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.”

“Let their eyes be darkened….” — now this is out of Isaiah. God knew all this was coming, yet it had never been revealed until now, as Paul lays it out so clearly: “Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.” Then he goes on to the description of grafting. Now, back to Romans 11:25: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part (or for a time) is happened to Israel (what’s the next word? A time word! Not a month, day or year, but a specific time in God’s program that blindness is going to cover the Nation of Israel, spiritually) …until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” Now, the fullness of the Gentiles is what? — that ‘calling out of a people for His name’ back in Acts Chapter 15 — the Body of Christ! Now, when the Body of Christ is full, then that period of time will come to an end. God will remove the Body, and He’ll pick up where He left off with His Covenant people, Israel. There’s an interesting sidelight to all of this back in Luke 21. Running concurrently, side by side, are two great fillings; that’s what I like to call them. Not only the filling up of the Body of Christ, but also a filling up of the cup of iniquity of the Gentiles, or the world in general.

Luke 21:24

“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

At your leisure, read verses 20-23. For now we’ll jump on down to verse 24 where Jesus is speaking. And He says to the Twelve, “And they (that is the Jews) shall fall by the edge of the sword and shall be led away captive into all nations:…” Now see, that is the clue in this verse that we’re not talking about the return of Christ. We’re not talking about Armageddon.We’re talking about Titus in 70 A.D.

The attack by Titus, remember, was about 40 years beyond Christ’s Crucifixion, and so he was foretelling what is going to happen. And, we know it did from history in 70 A.D. They fell by the edge of the sword. They were besieged by the Romans! It was one of the most awful sieges in all of human history! I won’t take time to go into all of the details, but it was awful! In fact, one of the things that made the Romans so vicious (when they finally got over the walls, and knocked down the gates) was that, as those Roman soldiers would be climbing their ladders to get over the walls, the Jews would pour boiling oil on them. This just infuriated the Romans! And so, when they finally made it in, they were ruthless! They had no mercy, and that’s what Jesus is referring to when He said, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive to all nations: (and here’s the crucial part)and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, (what’s the next word?) until (there’s that word again. There’s coming a time when the Gentiles will no longer have Jerusalem under their feet. So Jerusalem, Jesus said, will be trodden down by the Gentiles) the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

I’d like to illustrate this as two concurrent vessels, if I may call it that. Beginning back in 606 B.C. That’s back before the Cross. Nebuchadnezzar, remember, came from Babylon and besieged the city of Jerusalem; he destroyed the Temple and took the Jews captive. From that point on, after the Babylonian empire, came the Medes and the Persians, and then came the Greeks, and then came the Romans, and up until the time Jesus is speaking, Jerusalem and Palestine had been overrun by these succeeding Gentile empires.

Even up to our present time of 1991: all this time, for the most part, Palestine and the Jew have been under the heel of the Gentile. Granted in 1948, they seemingly became a sovereign state; but for all practical purposes, are they all that sovereign? Not really. They wouldn’t survive a day without Uncle Sam and the wealth that comes from this nation, although a lot of it comes from the Jewish people. But still, they are not what you would call a sovereign state, fully independent of the Gentiles. Now then, from 606 B.C. up until Christ returns, Jerusalem will not have peace (and we don’t know exactly when His Second Coming will be). Now, I’m not talking about the Rapture of the Church, but at His Second Coming to the city of Jerusalem — that is when Jerusalem will finally have her peace – not until! They can talk peace until they’re blue in the face over there in Madrid, or Washington, or anyplace else, but there will be no peace for Jerusalem until the Prince of Peace returns.

All this period of time called the ‘times of the Gentiles,’ is like filling a container with the iniquity of the Gentiles. Running concurrently with that now, from sometime just beyond the Cross until The Lord takes the Church out, is the fullness of the Gentiles, and the coming in of a people for His name, which we refer to as the Body of Christ. Do you see how beautifully those two work together. While God is calling out the Body, during that same time, the Gentiles are filling their cup of iniquity, until the Second Coming. Let’s go all the way back to Revelation and you’ll get the full picture of how this iniquity is going to fill up.

Revelation 9:21

“Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”