108 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 4 - Book 9 - Israel: From Joshua to Nehemiah

108: Lesson 3 Part 4 Book 9 – Israel: From Joshua to Nehemiah

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 9

ISRAEL: FROM JOSHUA TO NEHEMIAH

Now I would like for you to turn to the Book of Ezra. I mentioned two or three lessons ago, about the spiritual wickedness in high places. And immediately I felt I might be misunderstood, so I qualified what I meant right away. I wasn’t talking about our local pastors, and men who are sincere and are proclaiming The Word. When I castigated some of these false teachers, what I was talking about were the big wheel scholars, and as I said in my last lesson (I didn’t have the magazine handy), when I got home, I had a copy of the Archaeology Review in my mail box, and there was an article in there titled, “Did Jesus really die on the Cross?”

Fortunately, I had seen a portion of a TV program interviewing the lady who wrote the book, and she had cast all this doubt on the Scriptures. And she is a “scholar” now at the University of Sydney in Australia. She is almost totally committed to studying the Dead Sea Scrolls. There is nothing wrong with that. Now the Archaeology Review had read her book and was reviewing it. And to make a long story short she jumps to the conclusion that the famous teacher of righteousness of the Qumran text is John the Baptist. And that his opponent, the wicked priest whom she conflates with the man of the lie, is none other then Jesus. Imagine! and she’s a scholar. She also scoffs at the Virgin Birth and writes that Joseph was the father of Jesus.” And she goes on to say, “The story that Jesus died on the Cross is “fiction.”

So, in short, the review was that the book was a farce from start to finish. But anyway, I want you to be aware of a verse in the Book of Romans, in Chapter 1:22. Paul writes“Professing themselves wise, they became fools.” Now isn’t that perfect? And that is exactly what we are up against. I had a lady tell me a couple of years ago, “Les I’m beginning to feel a belligerent antagonism against my faith.” I thought maybe she was exaggerating a little, but listen, it’s coming on strong. I’m having a lot of people in my classes who are beginning to feel it. Also our Christian students are feeling the pressure in our university environment. They hear, “To believe this stuff, you must be some kind of a nut.”

Now listen, here we have to be concerned as Christians where America is going. I read an article by a university professor years ago; I think he was at the University of Minnesota. This was back in the 60’s and he was advocating that if Fundamental Christendom stands in the way of social progress, one of the ways to reduce their influence would be to commit them to insane asylums. After all they are not mentally fit for our society. You see Hitler and Stalin did the same thing. And now we have people in this country that are advocating that same thing. It is not that far away. I’m not a prophet of doom and gloom, as you well know, but sometimes we have to be made aware of what we are up against.

Back to Ezra. At the end of our last program we saw the Southern Kingdom of Judah overrun by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and he empties the land of the Jews. They end up in captivity for seventy years. Now at the end of the seventy years Cyrus, the King of Persia, made a decree that the Jews could go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. They could then re-establish temple worship, and re-establish their national entity, of course, under his sovereignty. Now in Ezra Chapter 1 verse 1.

Ezra 1:1,2

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled (He said it years before it happened), the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, `Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, `The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he (The God of heaven) hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.'”

So he puts the proclamation out to the Jews, who have been there seventy years. In fact two things happen to the Jews in that seventy years. Number one, they were cured once and for all of idolatry. A Jew may be anything but orthodox, but he will never be an idolater. For example, you will not find a Jew worshiping oriental religion. The second thing that happened is that they found out they had an acumen for business. That is where they learned it. In Babylon they became tremendous business people. Now remember Babylon was the beginning of our whole system of banking. In Daniel Chapter 2, we see all the various empires in that image that Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of, and we see that all of it is consummated with the second coming of Christ. All of the remnants of those previous empires in Daniel 2 – the Babylonians, Medes and Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans, as well as the revived Roman Empire, will all have residues of those previous empires with us today. And so the residue of the ancient Kingdom of Babylon that is part and parcel of our everyday existence is banking. The whole idea of interest and usury was really begun on that kind of scale in Babylon. So the Jew just embraced it and took that with them. But the amazing thing is that of all who were taken to Babylon (and it could have been a million), precious few take the offer to go back to Jerusalem and build the temple. We pick that up in Chapter 2 verse 64. Cyrus has now made it possible for any Jew to go back to Jerusalem. Remember, it’s a barren wilderness; there is nothing there. It will take a lot of hard work. But it was still home. Now look how many take the offer:

Ezra 2:64

“The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore.”

That’s 42,360 Jews. That’s not very many is it? This is about 535 B.C. Remember Nebuchadnezzar came over here to Israel in 606 B.C. and 70 years later they are permitted to come back and rebuild the temple. Then turn over to Nehemiah for more of these historical events. They are so basic to understanding prophecy. Now remember I told you a few lessons back that all prophecy is centered on the nation of Israel. There is no prophecy to the Church. So if you really want to be a student of prophecy, you had better learn, and like, history. Because everything is going to be based on the history of Israel. Now some years later, almost 100 years after Ezra led those 42,360 Jews back and began to rebuild the temple, there comes another group also from Babylon, under yet another King and his name is Artaxerxes. We pick this up in Chapter 2 verse 1.

Nehemiah 2:1,2

“And it came to pass in the month Nisan (April) in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I(Nehemiah) had not been beforetime sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said unto me, `Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart, Then I (Nehemiah) was very sore afraid,”

Now just put yourself in his shoes. You come before a king, and back in those days kings had power, and if you insulted him even a little bit, he could simply have you put to death. So I can see where old Nehemiah, when the king recognized that something was bothering him, would be scared stiff. And do you know what he did? Now here is the whole idea. You don’t have to be in a prayer closet, or on your knees in a church pew or altar to pray. You don’t even have to pray out loud. So what does Nehemiah do? The only thing left to do. He prayed.

Nehemiah 2:3,4

“And said unto the king, `let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?’ Then the king said unto me, `For what doest thou make request?’ (can’t you just see old Nehemiah just melt.) So I prayed to the God of heaven.”

Now he didn’t pray audibly in front of that king. So how did he pray? Silently. Does God read our thoughts? You had better believe it. The Psalmist says it as plain as day. “He knows our thoughts like an open book.” I know we can’t add to Scripture, but sometimes I can’t help it. Like a book in large print. I mean there is nothing we can keep from Him. He knows our every thought. So He saw and heard Nehemiah’s prayer. And as a result of it, Nehemiah is given permission to also go back to Jerusalem (not to build the temple, that happened under Ezra, but) to rebuild the city walls. Now I’m emphasizing that because when we get to Daniel Chapter 9, in a few more lessons, the prophecy there is based not on the day Ezra comes back, but on the day Nehemiah comes back. If I remember correctly, Daniel’s prophecy from that day, I believe is April 14, 445 B.C. That is when Nehemiah got his permission to rebuild the city walls until Palm Sunday was fulfilled to the exact day.

Let’s go to Daniel in the short time we have left. Daniel is writing from Babylon, while in captivity. We won’t get into the prophetic part of it during this program, but nevertheless, I want to introduce you to the Book of Daniel, historically and hopefully, prophetically. Now when Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, and destroyed the Temple, and took the Jews captive, Daniel and his friends were just young lads. Probably early teen-agers.

Now the scoffers just love to scoff at the Book of Daniel, and they maintain that some impostor wrote this long after the fact (that it is not what we claim it to be). And one of their main arguments is that Daniel writes a good portion of this Book in the Aramaic language, and the rest of it in the Hebrew. But when you really analyze it, that’s not a point of scoffing, that’s a point of inspirational truth. Here he is a young Hebrew lad when he is brought captive to Babylon. Being in that environment, he is going to learn the native language. He already knew his Hebrew. But out in Babylon, in the course of instructions by the King to prepare Daniel and some of the other sharp young Jewish men for service in his government, they naturally learned the Aramaic language. So it is natural that Daniel learns to write in Aramaic. Secondly you need to remember that Daniel is a prophecy that is going to deal with the Gentile empires as they have contact with the nation of Israel. That is why prophecy is always centered on Israel, but it will include those Gentile empires that included Israel in their conquest. That is why you don’t read about any great Russian or German Emperor, you don’t read about the Kingdom of Great Britain, because they were not centered with the nation of Israel. But these Kingdoms, as we will see them come on the scene in the Book of Daniel, were all intricately involved with the Jew, so they come into prophecy. Now a verse or two in Daniel Chapter l:

Daniel 1:1,2a

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his(Nebuchadnezzar’s) hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar (back to Babylon) to the house of his god;…”

In other words, he took all of those gold, silver, and brazen vessels from Jerusalem back to Babylon and put them in one of the temples of his god. I think Nebuchadnezzar got away with it, because he probably didn’t use them until you come to that great drunken feast of Belshazzar, when they brought in the vessels and used them for their partying. And then what happened? The hand writing on the wall. Before we go any further in the Book of Daniel (this now is into the area of the Gentile empires), I want to take you to Luke Chapter 21. We probably won’t get back to Daniel again until our next lesson. Here we have Jesus speaking. And he is addressing the scribes and elders and priests:

Luke 21:20-24a

“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these (Jesus says) be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. (prophecy will always be fulfilled; nothing can stop that) But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land (Israel), and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations (now there is the clue): and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the gentiles, until…”

There is that time word “until.” It doesn’t put a day on it, but nevertheless there is coming a time when the Gentiles will no longer trod the streets of Jerusalem. Let’s look closely at that last verse we read. It said “they shall be led away captive into all nations;” The casual reader will read this verse and automatically think this is Armageddon, but it is not. The Jews will not go into captivity during the tribulation period. Jesus here is referring to the besieging of Jerusalem by Titus the Roman General in 70 AD. But as He makes this statement concerning Jerusalem, He goes on to say that Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the heavy boot of Gentile armies until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

The times of the Gentiles of course started back here when Nebuchadnezzar first took Jerusalem. Jerusalem, for the most part, has been under Gentile dominion ever since, and will be until Christ returns. We look at Israel tonight and think she is a sovereign state. The Gentiles aren’t overlording her. Oh No? How much can Israel do without the permission or the financial aid of the Gentiles? They wouldn’t last overnight. And although they have accomplished a lot, they are still under the control basically of the Gentiles.

Now I think I have time to go to Romans Chapter 11. Here we have another statement concerning the Gentiles, but it is in the exact opposite setting. The times of the Gentiles is that time when the Gentiles are overlording the Nation of Israel as I said, and I call it the filling of the cup of iniquity of the Gentiles. They are filling it and filling it and filling it, as they make that slide down, down, down. But counteractive to that, we have another group of Gentiles and here Paul speaks of them:

Romans 11:25

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery (it has never been revealed before), lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness (spiritual blindness)in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”

What is the fullness of the Gentiles? The Body of Christ. As Gentiles are being saved, they are being placed into the Body of Christ. And when the last Gentile has been saved and the Body of Christ is full, it will be taken out (the Rapture) and God will pick up once again where He left off with Israel.

107 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 3 - Book 9 - Israel: From Joshua to Nehemiah

107: Lesson 3 Part 3 Book 9 – Israel: From Joshua to Nehemiah

=

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 9

ISRAEL: FROM JOSHUA TO NEHEMIAH

I would like for you to come back with me momentarily to II Kings Chapter 17 verse 23. Remember now, Israel has been a divided nation now for many years. We have the ten tribes to the north. We have the two tribes to the south; that was basically Judah and Benjamin. And then the capital of the northern Kingdom was Samaria, which we get the Samaritans of Christ’s day. Then the Syrian King, Sennacherib or one of the others, would come in and they would take the northern kingdom captive. And take them out of the land. Now let’s read verse 23.

II Kings 17:23a

“Until the LORD (providentially or sovereignly) removed Israel out of His sight,…”

Now that’s a terrible statement, isn’t it? We feel that America is at the same kind of a crossroads. You know I’ve always said that I wasn’t a preacher, so I’m not going to get on the stump and start preaching. But listen, I’m worried about our nation. I’m a patriot. I love America. I love my freedom; not just to worship but for everything. Imagine! There isn’t a nation on earth that has the freedoms that the Americans have. I mean, we can just pick up and change jobs. We can go anywhere we want to go. We can pursue any profession or occupation that we want to pursue. Listen, there’s not many places in the world that you can do that.

But we’re seeing it at a crossroads. And it’s not because of a political party, per se. But it’s because of the moral climate of our nation. And I don’t care whether it’s Republican or Democrat or Independent. When the moral climate declines, the moral fabric of our nation begins to fall apart. Some party can’t change it. The Republicans can’t change it. The Democrats can’t change it. It’s going to have to be an intervention by the power of God. We have to come back to The Book. And I like to feel that I have a small part in that. Of getting people, at least those watching the program, and getting them into the Book with a renewed interest in God’s Word. You know, it’s being ridiculed; it’s being scoffed at, by and large. But if people will just take the time to study it, like we do in my classes, it’s not so impossible to believe all this. It’s so valid, so logical. I mean, there’s nothing else more logical than what is laid down in This Book. But Israel had come to the place where God just simply puts them out of His mind. So He permitted the Assyrians to come down and take them captive.

Now I have to stop here for a moment, because there is so much false teaching. Remember a few weeks ago I made comment about the satanic powers in high places, and I said, “Now that doesn’t mean in government, but in spiritual places.” Well you know, I got home that afternoon, and the Biblical Archaeological Review magazine was in the mail. And in there was an article that I wanted to share with the class here as well as with the television audience, that said explicitly just what I was talking about. And we want to share this with you. Sometimes people in high places come out and ridicule the things that we know are the truth of God’s Words under the name of “scholarship.” Now I have nothing against education. In fact, I wish that I had a few degrees: instead I have none. And I make no apology for that. But if education takes a man to the place where he says some of the stuff that these people say, I’m glad that I haven’t got it. And I’m sure that most people would agree with me.

But anyway, there is so much teaching, and I think it primarily came about from one great Bible preacher, who’s now gone. As near as I can tell, he more or less instigated the doctrine of British Israelism. And he takes the approach that these northern ten tribes were taken captive up into Syria, and that they never came back tribally. Consequently we have the term,“the lost ten tribes,” and you’ve all heard it, haven’t you? As if they been lost and God lost track of them. Don’t you kid yourself. Number one, even though the Assyrians might have taken a lot of them captive out of the northern part of Israel, I want to show you from Scripture that so many of them migrated down into the Southern Kingdom, down into Judah. So that by the time that Judah comes into the same place that the Babylonians are going to come and take them captive, it isn’t just two tribes going to Babylon, it’s going to be all twelve.

Alright now let’s chase down some scriptures. Go with me to II Chronicles Chapter 13. And then in your spare time, if you don’t mind reading some of these statistics of history in the Kings and the Chronicles, you can chase this down more in detail than I have been able to so far. But in II Chronicles Chapter 13, I’d like to have you come down to verse 3. Now remember, this is while both segments of the country are still in place, the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom. And they’re about ready for a civil war. That’s just about what it really amounts to:

II Chronicles 13:3

“And Abijah set the battle in array with an army of valiant men of war, even four hundred thousand chosen men (now Abijah was from the Southern Kingdom of Judah and Benjamin. He can only raise four hundred thousand top troops): Jeroboam (now remember, he was the first king of the Northern Kingdom. He was the one who seceded, as I taught here last week.) also set the battle in array against him (that is, against Abijah. And how many troops does he have?) with eight hundred thousand chosen men, being mighty men of valour.”

Now that’s logical, because you have ten tribes up here and only two down here. So this king is able to put eight hundred thousand men of war against the Southern Kingdom’s four hundred thousand. Now as you follow the numbers through the intervening years of history, you find that you finally get to the place where the Northern Kingdom can only put five hundred and eighty thousand troops in the field. The ten tribes, so called. Whereas the Southern Kingdom comes on the scene with a million one hundred and sixty thousand. Well, what has happened? Well, there’s been a mass migration of Israelites from the northern down into the southern. Over the years they just keep filtering down and filtering down, so that the tables are completely turned. And then when you finally get to the place at the end of the history of the Northern Ten Tribes, look how they have been so depleted in numbers.

I Kings 20:27a

“And the children of Israel were numbered (that is of the Northern Kingdom, now we’re not talking about Judah), and were all present, and went against them (that is, against Benhadad of the Syrians): and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids;…”

What does that tell you? Well, they weren’t even enough to fool with. That’s all they had left. Now let me see if I can find another verse. Come back with me again to II Chronicles Chapter 15 to prove my point that we have a constant migration of Israelites from the Ten Northern Tribes down into Judah. So in reality, all of Israel is down here at least representatively. II Chronicles Chapter 15 verse 9 makes it plain that this is just what happened:

II Chronicles 15:9,10

“And he (Asa, from verse 8) gathered all Judah and Benjamin (that’s the southern kingdom), and the strangers (you could say the non-citizens, the aliens) with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon (see, those were all tribes out of that Northern Kingdom): for they fell to him out of Israel in (what?) abundance, (see, they were migrating down to him so fast that he couldn’t even keep track. And Israel is being depleted and Judah is being expanded.) when they saw that the LORD his God was with him. So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.”

Let’s go all the way to the New Testament. Years and years later. Go back to the Book of Acts Chapter 2 verse 22. Now this is about seven hundred years later. Time just keeps rolling by. Seven hundred years later Christ has already come and been crucified and now we’re in the Book of Acts. Now let’s look what Peter says to that Jewish audience out there on that temple complex.

Acts 2:22a

“Ye men of (Judah? Where?) Israel,…”

He’s not just talking to the residents of two tribes. He’s talking to all twelve tribes. Now verse 36 he says it even better. As he winds down this sermon of Acts Chapter 2, Peter says:

Acts 2:36a

“Therefore let all the house of Israel…”

Is that two tribes? No, that’s all of them. When he says all the house of Israel, he means all the house of Israel. Those tribes aren’t lost. Oh, parts of them may have disappeared into the woodwork. Some of them we know came back and set up worship in Samaria. And they became the hated Samaritans of Jesus’ day, because they were half breeds. Remember that the true Jew was proud of his heritage. He was proud of his bloodline. But these Samaritans had intermarried and they had adulterated their bloodline and they had also adulterated their worship. They had set up a false temple. And consequently, the Jews of Jesus’ day wouldn’t even go through Samaria because they were hated for being half-breeds. But they were still more Jew than they were Gentile.

So when Jesus talks to the woman of Samaria at the well, I still maintain that He’s not talking to Gentile, He’s talking to a Jew. Now let’s go back one step further. Go back to the Book of Revelation Chapter 7. And of course this is still future. And I like to think not very far into the future. I think we’re getting very close to it. I think that things are winding down so fast that it’s going to be here before we know it. But look what happens. As soon as the tribulation has begun, one of the first things that happens in Jerusalem is the appearance of God’s two witnesses that are going to preach to the nation of Israel. And out of their preaching, the first thing I think that happens are the setting aside of these hundred and forty four thousand Jews. Now contrary to one of the cults that’s so evident, who maintains that they’re going to be the hundred and forty four thousand? Remember these hundred and forty four thousand are Jews. Look at it. Plain as it can be. Verse 4. And this is shortly after the opening of the seven years of tribulation:

Revelation 7:4

“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of (how many?) all the tribes of the children of Israel.”

You can’t make it any plainer than that. It doesn’t say two tribes. It doesn’t say the rest are lost. But they’re all represented. This is one of the amazing things about the nation of Israel. They’ve been in a dispersion of one sort or another for almost twenty seven hundred years. Out amongst all the nations of the world, and yet they’re still what? They’re still Jew. And then on top of that, when God brings them back to the land as we see them going back now, whether it’s out of Russia or wherever, they’re Jews. And even though they themselves cannot tell you what tribe they came from, I know someone who knows. God does.

He has providentially kept at least this many young Jews fairly pure in their tribal blood line so that He can say, “Twelve thousand from the tribe of Reuben. Twelve thousand from the tribe of Gad. Twelve thousand from the tribe of Asher.” And right on down the line, He’s going to be able to finger them and say, “You’re from that tribe.” This is amazing; after all these hundreds of years, there’s still going to be that many young, Jewish men who are going to have their tribal lineage intact enough for God to say, “You’re from the tribe of Reuben.” Now that’s your hundred and forty four thousand, and nothing else. They’re Jews. They’re going to be young Jewish men, who are going to circumvent this globe with the preaching of the Gospel (not of Grace, that has ended). The Church is gone and God is right back where He left off with Israel; back up there in the early part of Acts. And these young Jewish men are going to proclaim the coming of The King. The Gospel of the Kingdom. But I want you to see that all twelve tribes are going to be represented. Alright then, let’s go back quickly and pick up the remaining history for these two tribes and all the immigrants from the other tribes. About a hundred and fifty years after the Northern Kingdoms are taken into captivity and it’s left a waste land, Judah’s turn comes. They too have gone into abject idolatry. And for that we have to go all the way to the last Chapter of II Chronicles. Remember who we’re dealing with, the Southern Kingdom in the area of Jerusalem:

II Chronicles 36:15

“And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:”

What’s it saying? God sent prophet after prophet; first to the Northern Kingdom (and again, we didn’t touch on it when we were dealing with the Northern Kingdom, but who were two of the great prophets of Israel up north? Elijah and Elisha. They prophesied and they worked the nation constantly, trying to bring them back, but they would not). Now God does the same thing with Judah.

Jeremiah was a prophet down here in Judah. That’s why he’s called the weeping prophet, because he could see (just like I said about America) the handwriting on the wall concerning Judah. God had told him that if they didn’t turn from their idolatry what would happen to them. Jeremiah prophesied, “The Babylonians will come and overrun you. They will kill you without mercy. They will come and take what’s left of you captive.” And do you know what they did with Jeremiah? The threw him into a dank, wet dungeon and left him there to rot. And that’s exactly where the Babylonians found Jeremiah, down in a dungeon. And do you know why he was there? Because he tried to warn his people. But they wouldn’t listen. So let’s go on. God, often times, sent the prophets and the messengers to warn them:

II Chronicles 36:16

“But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his Words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.”

Now, you know, one of the parables refers to that. And those of you who have been in my classes know which one that is. You remember where a husbandman set up a vineyard. Got it all prepared and got it into production. And then where did he go? He went off to a far country. And after a while he thought, “Boy, I had better have someone go and check on my vineyard.” So he sent a servant, and what did they do to the servant? They killed him. So some time later, he sent another servant and what did they do with him? The killed him. Finally he said, after losing all those servants, “Well maybe if I send my son, they’ll listen to him.” So he sent his son, and what did the keepers of the vineyard do to the son? They killed him. Now what was the parable talking about? God dealing with Israel. So when He sent the prophets into Israel, what did they do with them? They killed them. Finally He sent his Son and what did they do with Him? They killed him. Well anyway, let’s get back to this. So finally they:

II Chronicles 36:16b-18a

“…despised his Words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy (no hope. isn’t that sad?). Therefore he brought upon them the King of the Chaldees (or the Babylonians from Babylon), who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: He (God) gave them all into his (the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar’s) hand. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD,…”

Now remember that the temple that Solomon built was beautiful. It was gorgeous. It had tons of gold and silver and precious stones in it. And all the utensils that were made of gold. And what happened to them? They took them to Babylon. Alright, verse 20:

II Chronicles 36:20,21

“And them that had escaped from the sword carried he (that is, Nebuchadnezzar) away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia (in other words, throughout the whole concept of the nation of Babylon until they were defeated by the Medes and the Persians. Now all this happened): To (what?) fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah (see now when God prophesies something, and especially when it’s in a time frame, it’s going to happen), until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.”

That’s seventy years. What had happened? Well you see, when Israel went into the land under Joshua, and they were occupying the whole land of Canaan, one of the laws that God laid down was that every seventh year, the farm land was not to be cropped. It was called a sabbatical year, and we still use the term. But you see, Israel hadn’t been in the land very long and their greed got the best of them. What did they do the seventh year? They farmed it anyway. And God said, “I’m going to get it back. The land is going to lay fallow for seventy years. One out of every seven that you obliterated it.” So how long did they forget to keep the sabbatical? Four hundred and ninety years. And God said, “The land will lay rest.” So they were in captivity in Babylon, and that’s clear out here if you remember, on the Euphrates, for seventy years. And while they’re gone, the land remains empty. It just becomes a habitation of wild animals and what have you.

II Chronicles 36:22

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,”

Now you remember that is was the Persians and the Medes who destroyed Babylon. They had run their course. And Daniel, when we come to it, is the second man in the Babylonian kingdom. But when the Medes and the Persians overrun Babylon, Daniel winds up as the second man in the Persian Kingdom. Amazing. He must have been some sort of a man. But anyway, Cyrus is now the Persian king. And when the seventy years are expired, Cyrus, who was named in Jeremiah’s writing hundreds of years before, comes on the scene and God uses him to proclaim:

II Chronicles 36:23

“Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, `All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he (God) hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.'”

106 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 2 - Book 9 - Israel: From Joshua to Nehemiah

106: Lesson 3 Part 2 Book 9 – Israel: From Joshua to Nehemiah

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 9

ISRAEL: FROM JOSHUA TO NEHEMIAH

Joshua, over a period of twenty-six years, gets the children of Israel to the place where they occupy all of land of Canaan west of the Jordan river, with the exception of two and half tribes who stay on the east side. One of them was Reuben, the other one was Gad, and the half tribe was Manasseh. Now I emphasize that for a reason. They are going to set up shop over here on the east side, which takes them all the way up to the Golan on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. Now remember who they are: the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh.

When we get to Christ’s earthly ministry, I will be maintaining that Jesus only had anything to do with two Gentiles, the Canaanite woman and the Roman centurion. Invariably someone will come up after class and say, “Les, you forgot about the maniac in Gadara that Jesus cast the demons out of?” And I reply, “Oh he wasn’t a Gentile.” And they say “He had to be. He was over there on the east side of the Jordan. Then my answer is, “What are the first three letters of the word Gadarene? Well, it’s Gad. That maniac of Gadarene was a descendant of the tribe of Gad, which lived on the east side of the Jordan. So when Jesus dealt with that maniac of Gadarene, He was still dealing with someone who was more Jewish than Gentile.” So I merely wanted to mention that those two and a half tribes, stayed on the east side of the Jordan.

Now turn with me to II Kings Chapter 17. As we’ve skipped over now, the rest of the Book of Joshua which covered twenty-six years, we’re going to skip through the book of Judges which covers three to four hundred years. That’s a long time. That’s twice as long as America has been a nation. But in that period of the Judges, if you know anything of Jewish history at all, they have occupied the land of Canaan of course, but did they destroy the Canaanite people as God instructed? No they did not. And they got soft hearted and they thought, “We could use these people for servants or for one reason or another.” They left off destroying the Canaanite people. Now just exactly as God promised (we studied it two or three weeks ago), what kind of an effect did the Canaanite people have upon the children of Israel? They took them right into idolatry. Now that’s hard to comprehend. How a nation of people such as Israel, who had all of the manifestations, the miracle working power of their JEHOVAH God in their midst, could turn to pagan idols. The history of Israel then, throughout the three to four hundred years of the Book of Judges, was a roller coaster. They will reach a spiritual height under a good judge, who was merely a ruler under God. A God centered government. And then when he would pass off the scene, the children of Israel would forget all about him and Jehovah, and would dip into idolatry and down they would go. Enemies would come in and overrun them and tax them, and put them under servitude. And finally the Jews would cry and lament their state and God would hear them and bring another Judge on the scene. Now when I speak of the Judges, I’m talking about Gideon, Samson (although he was a sorry one), Barak, and the last of course was Samuel.

So every time they have a good judge come on the scene, Israel comes up spiritually, prospers materially and they have it pretty good. And then he dies and down they go. Then another good judge comes and up they go again. There was three to four hundred years of that. Now come back with me to I Samuel Chapter 8. Israel, after all of her ups and downs, has it fairly good at the time of Samuel. But Samuel is getting old. And his sons, of course were a grief to him. They were certainly not Godly. And so when his ungodly sons started carrying on, the people started to complain to Samuel. After all, his sons were not honoring Jehovah. And so they come to this place in I Samuel 8:4:

I Samuel 8:4,5

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And they said unto him, `Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: (they are not in relationship to Jehovah like you are) now make us a king to judge (or rule) us like (what?) all the nations.'”

See, everyone had their King. You want to remember that when God made that Covenant first with Abraham and then with Moses and the nation of Israel, the first thing that He mandated was that Israel was to be different. They were to be a set-apart nation of people. That’s what sanctification really means. They were to be a sanctified people. They weren’t supposed to be like the rest of the nations. But now what do they want? “Hey, we want to be like everybody else. They’ve all got a King, we want a King.” And poor old Samuel is just heartbroken. Read on, verse 6:

I Samuel 8:6,7a

“But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, `Give us a king to judge (or rule) us.’ And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, `Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: (do you hear what He’s saying? He’s saying, “Samuel, let them have their way.”) For they have not rejected thee (Samuel), but they have rejected me,…'”

They had turned on Jehovah. Now I imagine that Israel well knew that all these nations around them that had kings were pagan. They were idolaters, every one of them. I always have to stress that no one but Israel had the knowledge of the One True God. And when Israel would leave off and go into idolatry, there was no witness left. And then God would have to, again, pick out one man, such as a Gideon or a Samson or a Samuel. It was a sorry state of affairs. So anyway, they’ve rejected God and He says, “Go ahead and let them have a king.” And when you get into Chapter 9, you get the account of Israel choosing their first king, and who is it? King Saul.

Several people had written that they picked this up through the program, and I’m glad when people think about some of these things. All through Scripture, there is a format that is never abridged and it is, first the natural and then the spiritual. It carries all the way through, from Genesis to Revelations. Now what do I mean, first the natural and then the spiritual? Adam, the first man was natural. He was of the earth; he was earthy. The second Adam, as we pick up then in Romans and Corinthians is who? Christ. And He wasn’t earthy, He was spiritual. First the natural and then the spiritual. So now you come into the birth of the first two boys on record. The first was Cain, a natural man who had no faith. The second wasAble, the spiritual man. You come forward a little (and I’m just hitting a few of the well known ones) and find Esau, the natural, no faith, and Jacob, the spiritual.

Now we come to King Saul, the natural, not a godly man. And who will follow him? David, the spiritual. And all the way through Scripture. Now bring it down to our own situation.We come on the scene and what are we? We’re natural. That’s our lost estate, we’re natural. We’re of the flesh. But when we have our born again experience, we become what? Spiritual. And I said all the way to the very end. First you have the false Christ, the counterfeit Christ, the man AntiChrist, the natural. And he will be followed by the second coming again of the true Christ, the spiritual. So just watch for it, all through Scripture. First the natural and then the spiritual.

So then King Saul comes on the scene as the first king. He is natural. He is of the flesh. He is not of the spirit of God. And of course you know what happened to Saul during his reign. He finally went off the scene in disrepute and King David comes on the scene and takes his place. Now just as a quick, off-the-cuff review of Israel’s history. Most of you are aware that after David dies, and Solomon takes the throne, Solomon took the Kingdom of Israel to it’s greatest height. Under Solomon, Israel even had a little more than the 2 1/2 tribes had on the east side of Jordan. Remember under the Abrahamic Covenant the Euphrates River was the eastern border of the Nation of Israel. King Solomon didn’t get all their land, but he got more than any other of Israel’s kings. Of course, Israel will have to wait until Christ returns and sets up His Kingdom to receive all the land that was promised to them under the Abrahamic Covenant. But, nevertheless, under King David and King Solomon, Israel did reach a pinnacle of greatness. Remember what the Queen of Sheba said? “Why, the half hasn’t even been told of the glory of Solomon’s Kingdom.”

It had great copper mines, which the scoffers said for years they couldn’t have had because they didn’t have the technology. Well, now we know they did. Solomon indeed produced copper. He had chariots and horsemen by the thousands. They had a great world trade with the then-known world under Solomon. But even though Solomon started out as a Godly king, how did he finally wind up? Well, with his 900 pagan wives, and his altars all over Israel, he was setting the stage for the fall and demise again of God’s Covenant people.

So Solomon dies. And Solomon has a son by the name of Rehoboam. And he was naturally heir apparent to the throne. And so Rehoboam comes on the scene and immediately the elders of Israel tell him, “Now look, your father built a great and glorious kingdom, but it was at the expense of the ordinary taxpayer.” Aren’t we up against the same thing today? Remember, a few years ago, when they had that tax increase that was supposed to balance the budget. For every dollar that they raised our taxes, how much did they spend? A dollar and eighty-three cents. That’s exactly what is happening to us. They can raise our taxes, but they spend twice as much as they take in. Well, it was the same way under Solomon. Nothing is new under the sun. They taxed them to death. So they told Rehoboam, “Now look, your father Solomon was a great king, but he taxed us and he taxed us and he taxed us. Back off from that and Israel will just elevate you. They will just think the world of you.” Good advice wasn’t it. But what did Rehoboam do? He said, “No way. Tax them some more.”

So when Rehoboam refused to lower the taxes and keep peace among the people, the ten tribes of the north (except Judah and Benjamin) seceded I guess we would say. And they said,“Alright, we’ll have our own king.” And that turned out to be a man who was not even in the kingly or royal line. And his name was Jeroboam. It’s not necessary to remember these names, but nevertheless you have Rehoboam, now, a son of Solomon, who is going to set up shop on his father’s throne in Jerusalem, where of course, the Temple is now. So we have these ten tribes of the north which we normally refer to as Israel, or the northern kingdom. And we have Judah and Benjamin down here in the southern part. And so Rehoboam is king here in Jerusalem, and Jeroboam becomes the king of the northern ten tribes. Keep that in mind because I think this is relatively important, even up to our own day. So the nation is divided. The first part of Israel that will go into abject idolatry will be the northern kingdom under Jeroboam. He immediately leads the northern ten tribes into idolatrous worship. So they’re going to go down the banana peel first. A hundred and fifty years later, Judah is going to follow.

So now we come to II Kings Chapter 17. Again, a lot of time has gone by. The years are piling up. We are at the time of the fall of these northern tribes, about 740 or 750 B.C. Look what God has to do. They’ve been going down, down, down. Here was the state of Israel. I know that this is almost too fast a review of Israel’s history, but not everybody likes history like I do, so I won’t bore you with it unnecessarily. But as the nation has been divided, they have set up a separate government and religious system at Samaria. And now Syria is up here to the northeast. And Syria has always been a mortal enemy of Israel. And The Book says:

II Kings 17:7-9a,10

“For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, And walked in the statues of (who?) the heathen (imagine. They became just exactly like those heathen Canaanites all around them.), whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God… And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:”

Can you imagine what that was like? As you would walk through the countryside of Israel, wherever there was a little hill with trees growing on it, what was in the middle of it? Some idol, or shrine. So it was easy to just stop and worship.

II Kings 17:11

“And when they burnt incense in all the high place, as did the heather whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger:”

Remember, it wasn’t that they just bowed their knee to an idol, which was bad enough. But when you go into idolatry, you go into abject immorality as well; in the name of religion. That is the way it has always been, and always will be. So they went into all the sins of the heathens:

II Kings 17:12

“For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, `Ye shall not do this thing.'”

II Kings 17:14a,15a,16a

“Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks,… And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers,… And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God (do you see what they are doing? They are just literally telling God, “Get out of my life, we don’t want you, we don’t want you in our national life or personal life.”),…”

II Kings 17:17

“And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire,…”

They actually offered their own little children to the gods in fire. The idol of Molock was sort of like a Buddha with his arms outstretched, and they would heat that white hot, and then lay their babies on the outstretched arms of the god Molock. That’s just unbelievable that an Israelite would do that. Well God couldn’t take it any more.

Let’s leave II Kings for a moment and go to Jeremiah. Jeremiah foretold all these things and tried to warn Israel as well as Judah. Remember Jeremiah was primarily in the Southern Kingdom. Now, in Jeremiah 44, we see the mentality of the Israelites. And this is why God had to deal so severely with them. They had completely turned their back on everything He had tried to do with them. Now as we look at all of this, keep your mind on Genesis 12, when God called Abraham, and made that Covenant with him, that they were to be a nation of people living in the land, who would in turn be under His Sovereign Kingship. And then, if they would be a nation of believers, God would use them to take a knowledge of Himself to all those heathen around them. But you see, they are losing their set-apart position. They are losing everything God had given them. Now look what they do. It looks like we are seeing the same thing today. I’m not anti-feminist, you ladies know that. But when it comes to apostasy in spiritual things, the women lead the way. Look at it here:

Jeremiah 44:15,16

“Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods (who was doing it? Their wives) and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, `As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.

Jeremiah 44:17a

“But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven (who was the queen of heaven? The female goddess. It was always the female goddess that was at the very core of most abject idolatry.), and to pour out drink offerings unto her,…

Jeremiah 44:18

“But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things (they are saying, “If we don’t worship the queen of heaven, we won’t have anything. We can’t even get food to eat if we don’t worship her.” That is what they are saying.),…”

Jeremiah 44:20-22a

“Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying, `The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind? So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings,…'”

Now let’s come back to II Kings. What did He finally have to do? Remember, we are talking about the Northern 10 Tribes:

II Kings 17:18

“Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.”

II Kings 17:20,21a,22,23

“And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight. For he rent Israel from the house of David (that was when they succeeded); and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king:… For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them (and now read that last verse); Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.”

105 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 1 - Book 9 - Israel: From Joshua to Nehemiah

105: Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 9 – Israel: From Joshua to Nehemiah

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 9

ISRAEL: FROM JOSHUA TO NEHEMIAH

Let’s turn again to Joshua Chapter 3, and remember we closed the last lesson with Rahab, and how her little bit of faith was sufficient. And God recognized that faith by placing her in the genealogy of Christ. She is in the very family line of the Messiah. Remember that Rahab is one of four women in that genealogy. I have always said when we teach Matthew, that most people would say “I don’t want those women in my family tree.” But there they are. I’ll explain that more in detail when we get to Matthew someday. Remember, Israel is coming in from the east side of the Jordan River. Let me put my makeshift map on the board (see page 38). Notice Jericho sits right off the northern tip of the Dead Sea.

So Israel has come out of the wilderness experience through Moab and there they are on the east side of Jordan. It is spring time and the river is now in flood stage. It may be a mile or two wide. Ordinarily the Jordan River is not very big. Those of us in Oklahoma would probably call it a creek. But at flood time it can be very wide. This is what Israel is up against. They’re up against the Jordan River, in the spring at flood time. And just on the other side, about five miles in from the river, will be the city of Jericho (and of course you all know the story of Joshua and the city of Jericho). But now here in Chapter 3, I want you to see how things are changing a little bit. Remember when they came out of Egypt, the children of Israel were led by the Cloud or the Pillar of Fire. And throughout that whole forty years of wilderness experience there in the Sinai, that Cloud and the Pillar of Fire have been evident. That has been their leading force. But now when you get here, something else happens. It’s not the cloud leading them into the river; now it’s the Ark of the Covenant being carried by the priests. Let’s pick up the account in Joshua Chapter 3:

Joshua 3:1a

“And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel,…”

And we’re not talking about a few thousand; we’re talking about a few million. I don’t want you to lose that concept of this great multitude of people, plus all of their livestock, plus a great number of hangers-on (called the mixed multitude in the Scripture).

Joshua 3:2

“And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

Now `three days’ keeps popping up, doesn’t it? And whenever you see that three days, there’s an insinuation of the three days that Christ was in the tomb:

Joshua 3:3

“And they commanded the people, saying, `When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levities bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.'”

That’s going to be the sign of their leadership, the Ark of the Covenant. Remember from our Tabernacle study; that’s why we had to stop there a few weeks ago. The Ark of the Covenant was that little box, overlaid with gold, in which were the tables of the Ten Commandments, the samplings of the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded. When I asked on television what was in the Ark of the Covenant, I thought I would get a hundred answers. But I only got one, and it wasn’t right. But anyway, the Ark of the Covenant contained these things. And over the Ark of the Covenant, remember was what? The Mercy Seat. The place of mercy. Now when everything was completed, and they were ready to begin their Tabernacle worship, the Shekinah glory, this cloud, placed itself right above the Ark of the Covenant which was in the Holy of Holies. It’s this same piece of furniture now that is signified by the very presence of God, the very mercy of God, that is going to lead the children of Israel. Back to verse 4. He says:

Joshua 3:4

“Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits (that would be about three thousand feet; that would be a little over a half a mile. They were never to get too close, remember, to the Ark of the Covenant.) by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.” Now, as they are ready to cross Jordan, verse 6:

Joshua 3:6,7

“And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, `Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people.’ and they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people. And the LORD said unto Joshua, `This day will I begin to magnify thee (that is, Joshua who has now taken Moses’ place, remember) in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.'”

In other words, God is going to prove to the nation of Israel that Joshua is, indeed, now His man to lead them in and occupy the whole area of Canaan which is still inhabited by the Canaanites and the various tribes. Tribes that God told Abraham would be driven out so that his offspring could have the land of Canaan.

Joshua 3:8

“And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, `When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.'”

What happened? As they stepped in, the water just sort of piled up. And like the Red Sea experience, Israel is now able to cross the Jordan on dry ground even though it’s at flood stage. I’ve emphasized before that when you deal with God and Israel, the supernatural is common place. Never be shocked by any kind of supernatural, miraculous event when God deals with Israel.

Now of course, we’re living in the Age of Grace. We’re not living in the time when God is dealing with His Covenant people and God is still the same, all powerful, sovereign God. We know that God can still do anything that He would want to do. But in this Age of Grace, He has chosen not to perform the supernatural. And I think the reason is that He has given us His Word, and it’s all that we need. You and I today do not need a manifestation of the miraculous in order to believe and trust what God has said. But Israel, you see, even as Paul says in I Corinthians 1:22 that the Jew required, what? A sign. It was just part of their nature. They had to constantly see the very proof of God. So the miraculous was common place. Just think for a moment as you go up through Israel’s history of all the supernatural events that were just constantly happening, whether it was in war or whether it was in the scope of their religion.

For example, when Elijah built that alter up on Mount Carmel; and he was going to confront all the priests of the gods of Baal. He filled the trenches with water and soaked the sacrifices with water. And then he encouraged the priests of Baal, “Alright, tell your gods to come down and burn up these sacrifices.” They couldn’t. After all, pagan gods are powerless when it comes to something like that. Now they do have a power that of course, comes from the other side. It’s satanic power. But they didn’t have the power to do what Elijah was tempting them to do. But what does Elijah call on his God to do? The same thing and what happened? Why, the fire came down, licked up the water out of the trenches, and burned up the sacrifices. It was miraculous; it was supernatural. Never doubt that it happened. And on and on we could go. Remember when old Samson finally stood between the main pillars of the pagan temple. It wasn’t Samson that pulled it down. He was merely a vehicle that God used. God crumbled that temple. Again, it was a supernatural, miraculous event. Back to the text then. Supernaturally, miraculously, God stops the waters of the Jordan from flowing. They pile up and Israel crosses over on dry ground. Now verse 13:

Joshua 3:13-17

“And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the LORD of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap (in other words, the water was just going to pile up). And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water (Now here it is, the scriptural account), [for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,] (now that would be barley harvest, which was the first crop in the early spring; March, April) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.”

Joshua 3:17

“And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan (now that’s how completely God held back the waters of the Jordan River, even at flood stage. And they walked over again, as they did from Egypt on dry ground), and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.”

In Chapter 4, he sets up a memorial of twelve stones and so forth. Read that in your spare time. Now I’d like you to go to Chapter 5:

Joshua 5:1a

“And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward… (in other words, in this area now between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, Canaan. Occupied by these pagan nations that), …heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their hearts melted,…”

That’s what you call the fear of God. They had the proof that Israel’s God was alive and well and still performing the miraculous. They had heard about what had happened 40 years earlier. Rahab rehearsed that. “Oh we’ve heard how God dried up the Red Sea. We’ve heard how your God brought you out of Egypt.” Now they’ve been close enough. They probably had eye witnesses that saw that old Jordan River suddenly dammed up by an invisible power. “And so their hearts melted.”

Now. I am going to say this with all sincerity. They’ve just crossed the Jordan river. They’re now in enemy territory. They’re only a mile or two away from the first city they’re going to have to conquer. And then God stops them; and they have a tremendous national right of circumcision. Imagine! At the doorstep of the enemy, they have a national circumcision! Why? Because they had neglected it for forty years. I always have to put it this way. When it comes to dealing with God, it’s first things first. In other words as far as God was concerned, it was more important that Israel fulfill their Covenant relationship with Jehovah, which of course, had been demanded from day one. First things first. Even at the doorstep of a mortal enemy, the city of Jericho, God literally lays the nation of Israel in a useless position. We think that’s foolishness, don’t we? That He would incapacitate the whole nation at the doorstep of their enemy. But that’s what He does. So they went through this whole right of circumcision, in order to prepare them spiritually for the physical battles that were coming. It was a Covenant relationship that had to be consummated. Now then:

Joshua 5:8-10

“And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, (that is, whatever they were living in; tents or whatever) till they were whole (or until they were all healed). And the LORD said unto Joshua, `This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you.’ Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal (or rolling) unto this day. And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.”

Now mark this one down. This Passover, right here, is forty years to the day from the Passover they celebrated that night in Egypt. I was teaching in one of my classes last week on prophesy. A lot of people don’t have the real, true definition of prophesy. They think that anything that speaks of something in the future is prophetic. Well maybe it is, but when you come to Old Testament Bible prophesy, always remember that not only does God foretell something, but He puts it in a time frame. God’s timing is so exact that when He says something is going to happen, prophetically, at a specific time in the future, be it forty years, seventy years, five hundred years, or even a thousand years or more, you just bet the farm that it’s going to happen just like God says. Now that’s true prophesy and this is only associated with the nation of Israel.

Now we’re still here today. Koreans are sitting on the mountain tops, they tell me, waiting for the Lord to come. They’ve already sold their houses and their lands and they have said that“Today is the day that the Lord will come.” Well they’re not the first. Others have done it before them and there may be others, but this is where they’re way out in left field. Prophesy mandates dates setting for the most part. But you see there is no prophesy given to the Church. For that reason, the Church does not know when the Lord is going to come for her. Because if a date could be set, then you’re putting the Church back under prophesy. You can’t do that any more than you can put the church under law. You can’t put the Church under prophesy because the two absolutely will not mix. So always remember that. There is nothing designated, date or time wise, for the Church. And consequently there is not prophesy, as such given to the Church. That’s what insulates us and isolates us from the whole Jewish program.

I want to make a couple of real fast scripture references here. Now Israel has come through on dry ground again, even as they did coming out of Egypt. It again, is a picture I think, of our coming through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. All this, remember, is a picture for us. Everything that we try to teach out of the Old Testament has a New Testament doctrine attached to it. Now then, before we go to the New Testament. After they have finished circumcising, they have crossed the river Jordan and they have celebrated the Passover, and now in verse 11:

Joshua 5:11

“And they did eat of the old corn of the land (that is the land of Canaan) on the morrow after the passover…”

This was probably the old grain that had been stored in the granaries of the Canaanites. Israel now partakes of that instead of, (now think a minute, what have they been eating for forty years?) manna. And now the manna stops. That is part of their beginnings. That was part of their weakness, you might say. But now that they have crossed over; they have gone through the river Jordan, they have gone through the circumcising, they have gone through the Passover, and now they eat of the old corn of Canaan.

What’s the lesson? Now, we have to go to the New Testament. Turn with me to II Corinthians Chapter 5. Again we have to remember that in order to get to where you and I live tonight in this Age of Grace, there’s only one section of your Bible that gives us all the instructions for it, and that is Romans through Hebrews (the writings of Paul). Look what Paul writes to the Corinthians, basically a Gentile congregation. He could just as well be writing to you and I tonight. Beginning with Chapter 5 verse 14:

II Corinthians 5:14,15

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

Now what is that? It’s Paul’s Gospel that Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead. Now verse 16 (I never get tired of teaching it and I don’t think people ever get tired of hearing it):

II Corinthians 5:16

“Wherefore (whenever you see a `wherefore’ or `therefore,’ you always reflect back to what has just come before it. Well, Christ died for all and rose from the dead.) henceforth (what does that mean? He’s going forward. He’s not going back forty years. He’s talking from this time on.) know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more.”

Remember what I just said about manna? They feasted on manna as a result of their weakness. They had nothing to do but just wait on God. It was the very simplistic beginnings of the nation. But now that they have the crossing of Jordan behind them, and they’re now ready to occupy the land, God says, “No more manna. You’re going to have to get off the manna and you’re going to have to eat off of what? The grain of the land.” You see what Paul was saying? He was saying, “Oh I knew Christ in the flesh.” And I’m sure he did, even though there’s no record of the two ever meeting face to face. But Saul of Tarsus was a contemporary of Christ. I think they were basically the same age. So he had heard, and he had probably witnessed all that Jesus had done up and down the land of Israel. But Paul never concerns himself with Christ’s earthly ministry. Paul concerns himself only with Christ after His resurrection. The power of the resurrection is all that Paul knows. And so he says, “Yeah, we knew Christ in the flesh, but henceforth since His resurrection, we know Him as such, no more. That has to be behind us.” Let me show you another one. Turn to II Corinthians Chapter 13 verse 4:

II Corinthians 13:4a

“For though he was crucified through weakness (hey, that throws a curve at us, doesn’t it? What is he referring to? His earthly ministry again. Even though He performed the miracles and everything else, what kind of a man was He? Meek, lowly, riding on the foal, or a colt of an ass. He had no place where with to lay His head, not even a pillow. He said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests…” but He had none of those. So He was basically in a ministry of humiliation and as Paul says here, a time of weakness) yet He liveth (now what are we talking about? Resurrection. By what?) by the power of God…”

Do you see that. There has to be, even for us, a circumcision. Let’s keep turning to the right. Colossians 2:11, and again Paul is writing to us Gentiles and he says:

Colossians 2:11a

“In whom also (and that is the Godhead of verse 9 and 10) ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands,…”

Now when something is done without hands, who’s performing it? God is. It’s the very power of God that is performing a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sin of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ. What has to be cut off at our salvation? The old Adam. That’s spiritual circumcision. When the old Adam is cut off, it’s superfluous, it’s of no use. And a result of that, of course, is our entering into the Body of Christ. We enter into the Body of Christ no longer feasting on manna, but we’re feasting on the old corn of the land. In Hebrews Chapter 5, Paul says, “Get off the baby bottle, it’s milk, and for goodness’ sake get on to a diet of what? Meat.” I used to tell my little Sunday School kids, years ago, “You come into my class; you throw away the baby bottle. We’re going to start feeding you steak and vegetables.”

104 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 4 - Book 9 - Deuteronomy 26-34 - Joshua 1-4: Rahab

104: Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 9 – Deuteronomy 26-34 – Joshua 1-4: Rahab

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 9

DEUTERONOMY 26-34: JOSHUA 1-4: RAHAB

We’ll go right on into the Book of Joshua. Remember, God called Moses up into Mt. Nebo. It was now time for him to pass off the scene. He could see the Promised Land, but he couldn’t go in. And as we ended the Book of Genesis, with the death of Joseph, so we end the Book of Deuteronomy with Moses’ death. And I think the same thing still holds true, God buries His servants, but never His program. It may look as if all hope is lost but things continue on right up until the present. You know so many people, especially these environmentalists, are so worried about the future of our planet. I certainly am not one for polluting it and nobody loves a beautiful earth more than I do. But listen, God is not going to let mankind ruin His program. This old planet is going to do all that it was intended to do until God is ready to finish it. And He’ll do it His own way and in His own time, so we don’t have to try to restore, “Mother Earth.” Now in the Book of Joshua, God’s program is going to continue on. The new leader is in place:

Joshua 1:1-4

“Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, `Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have (past tense) I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.'”

Does that ring a bell for those of you who have been with me in Genesis? Isn’t that exactly what God told Abraham? All the way from the Mediterranean Sea to the river Euphrates. Down to the Persian Gulf and then across the Red Sea and then out to the river in Egypt. That’s all been deeded to the nation of Israel by way of Abraham. So God repeats it now to Joshua. But we know historically that Israel never occupied very much; we’ll see that in a little while. They got a little bit east of the Dead Sea. And then under David and Solomon, they got a little bit up toward the Euphrates. But Israel has never occupied every thing that was promised back here in Genesis, and now in Joshua. That’s still future. They’re going to. One day, they will have the whole thing. But so far, historically, it has not happened. So now come down to verse 5. God tells Joshua:

Joshua 1:5a

“There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life…”

How long did Joshua reign as the leader of Israel? Twenty six years. Not long; twenty six years and then Joshua too, will die. And then Israel, as we’ll see, will go into the time of the Judges and the Judges cover three hundred years. And then we come to King Saul and King David. So God said:

Joshua 1:5b

“…as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

You know where else that verse is? Hebrews. The New Testament. It’s the same promise that God has given to you and I. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Now, no one knows better than you people that I am a stringent separator of Law and Grace. And that much of what God gives to Israel under Law is strictly for the Jew, under the Law. But on the other hand, there is so much that we can take and apply to our own situation today. Now here is one of them. Just as surely as God tells Joshua to be of good courage and be strong, isn’t that the admonition for us today? Absolutely. In fact, a verse of Scripture comes to mind. Go back to Ephesians Chapter 6. Most of you know these verses from memory. You all have heard many sermons on them so I’m not going to enlarge on it. But I want to show you that the God of Joshua is the same God that we deal with today. And as He told Joshua to be strong and of good courage, look what He tells us through the apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians:

Ephesians 6:11,12

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Do you know what high places means? It means spiritual high places. It means the big wheels of denominations or what have you, who have abdicated their position. They have turned, doctrinally, from the basic truths of Scripture. They no longer ascribe to the burial and resurrection of Christ. They will not recognize that He was the Creator God. They will no longer preach the atoning power of the Blood. Listen, we’re up against that. And these guys have got a lot of influence. They’ve got a lot of power. They can crank out the books, like I couldn’t even dream of doing. And people read them and people are influenced by them. We are up against spiritual wickedness in high places. I’m not saying all, but there are too many. I know that we still have good men out there. I know that we still have good men in seminaries, so when I say these things, I’m not making a blanket statement. My wife and I agreed many years ago that there were a couple of words that we should never use: never say never, and never say always. Because they will get you in trouble every time.

Ephesians 6:13-16a

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to (what?) withstand (now this is a promise. God says that if we will do our part, then He will do His part.) in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore (that is, positionally), having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness: And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking (above everything. Coming back to what I have talked about. What is paramount?) the shield of faith…”

Obedience to what God has said. Several people have come and asked me about prayer, well what does it say?

Ephesians 6:18

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, (that is, as the Holy Spirit is that One that takes our prayer right into the throne room of Heaven.) and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

I think prayer has been neglected too much. And as I’ve told several individuals, never underestimate the power of prayer. Don’t limit God in prayer. I know there are some that say,“Well, we have no business asking God for anything but spiritual things.” Listen, God is just as concerned about our physical needs and our material needs as He is with the spiritual. Remember when we were back in Genesis and I taught that God has made us not just soul and spirit, but He made us what? Body, soul and spirit. He’s concerned with the whole person. If you’ll come back to Joshua, just as surely as He told this man to be strong and of a good courage, so we can take that in application. So now He says:

Joshua 1:6b

“…for unto this people (the nation of Israel) shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.”

Here we come to that Abrahamic Covenant. God promised Abraham that not only would he have a nation arise, but that nation would have its own land in which to live. Here it is now. It’s right before them. And God is telling Joshua, “You’re going to divide the land,” that is, to the various tribes of the twelve, all except Levi of course, and they are going to live off the inheritance of the other eleven.

Joshua 1:7a

“Only be thou strong and very courageous…”

And then verse 8. Now I believe that this is just as applicable, even though to Joshua, the Law is what He is talking about. Yet for you and I, living in the Age of Grace, the Word of God is still paramount in our everyday experience.

Joshua 1:8a

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein (how much?) day and night…”

You wake up in the middle of the night, what do you think about? Do you think about the Word of God? That’s what God expects. And He’s not expecting the impossible. The moment you wake up in the morning, what’s your first thought? Oh, thank the Lord that I’m still in His care. You see that beautiful sunrise and do you give the Lord credit for it? We live in a beautiful part of Oklahoma. It’s a beautiful sight to look at that sun coming up over, or setting on, those mountains. Do you stop and give the Lord the glory for it? Well this is what He wants:

Joshua 1:8b

“…meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: (now I’ve got to constantly remind us that He’s talking about the law back here, but nevertheless, for you and I, it’s the same God and He expects the same kind of a reverence toward Himself. And then He says, according to an Old Testament economy; He doesn’t promise this in the New Testament or Paul’s writing, but here He does. That if they would be obedient,) for then thou shall make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

That’s what I call the “Prosperity Gospel” preacher, because they like to grab a verse like this. But Paul never says something like this. Paul never says that if you’re obedient, that you would be rich. Paul doesn’t even guarantee good health. In fact, I have to think as a good example, certainly a lady that must have loved the Lord. If you could have any judge of character by the songs that she wrote. Blind from birth, who was it? Fanny Crosby. Don’t you suppose that if this held true, that she should have had her sight? Other believers went through terrible times, and according to this, that shouldn’t have happened. Listen, we don’t have that kind of a promise. The only thing God promises in the Age of Grace, is a roof over our head, clothes on our back, and food to eat. Everything else is just an outpouring of His grace. We don’t deserve any of it. Come down to Chapter 2. Remember that Joshua is going to bring them across the Jordan River. And they’re going to come across in the springtime, when Jordan is at flood stage. It isn’t a little narrow river that most of us see when you get over there. It’s going to be a great expanse of flood tide.

Joshua 2:1

“And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, `Go view the land, even Jericho…'”

Remember, Jericho is just across the river. This is why it’s good to go to the Holy Land, to go to Palestine if you get a chance. I never realized until we got there, back in 1975, that Jericho was just off the edge of the Dead Sea. I didn’t realize that Jericho was just fourteen or fifteen miles, steep down a mountain, from Jerusalem. But when you get there, all of this suddenly falls into perspective. I never realized until we got there that Bethlehem was only five miles from Jerusalem. And I didn’t realize that Hebron was only six miles south of Jerusalem.

I couldn’t believe that I was so ignorant of the geography of the Holy Land until I got there. I always tell people that if you can afford it, by all means, go to the land of Israel and see it first hand. It’s just amazing. Here they are just opposite Jericho. So they’re going to spy on the place; they’re going to look it over. Remember, Jericho was one of the great walled cities of that day. They had a wall large enough to drive chariots on. But not only that, they lived on the wall, some of the less fortunate. And so, as they went on the wall, they came into the house of a prostitute, believe it or not. And this harlot’s name was Rahab.

I have to stop and teach a little bit about Rahab. Someone asked the question, “Les, how much faith do I have to have to be saved?” Now that’s a logical question, isn’t it? We sometimes wonder, “Do I believe enough?” And of course that’s why a lot of people have doubts. Have I believed enough? You know what my stock answer is? How much did Rahab have? Enough to be saved. She didn’t know everything all the way back to Adam. Rahab couldn’t have written a book like Moses and Joshua did. But yet, Rahab had just enough faith that God could save her and call her His own. Let’s read on. So the King of Jericho finds out that there are spies. And he has a good idea that they had hid out in the home of Rahab. And of course that’s where they are. So anyway, the authorities from the King of Jericho come to Rahab:

Joshua 2:3b-5a

“`…Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. And the woman took the two men and hid them, and said thus (now she’s lying no doubt about it. But for the benefit of God’s servants. And she said), There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out…”

So she’s telling them, `There not in the city, they’re long gone.’ In fact, she uses a ploy that people still use today. She says, “They went that away.” But where were they? They were still in her house. And she hides them in the thatched roof.

Joshua 2:6-9

“But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate. And before they were laid down, (for a night’s sleep) she came up unto them upon the roof; And she said unto the men, (here comes what I call that small portion of Rahab’s faith. She didn’t know everything, but she had enough faith that God could do what He did. So she said to these spies of Joshua) `I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.'”

Now remember what King Balak faced back there in Moab, and the Canaanites are facing the same thing (they see this multitude of Israelites). But that didn’t effect them near as much as what they had been hearing. And what had they been hearing? All that their God had been doing for them.

Joshua 2:10,11

“For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt (40 years previous); and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things (about the power of Israel’s God), our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.”

Now I call that Rahab’s profession of faith. She couldn’t profess faith in the Gospel as we know it, that Christ died for her, was buried, and rose from the grave for her, because it hadn’t happened yet. In fact, Isaiah Chapter 53 hadn’t been written yet. But what little knowledge God had given to her, she responded to it. And she embraced it in the arms of faith. I usually like to put something on the board. What is the basic difference between believing in God and believing God? It is all the difference in the world. See you can believe in God, and I suppose that 95% of Americans say, “I believe in God.” The other 5% say they don’t, but way down deep when the deathbed comes they do. I do not believe there is an absolute atheist. To believe in God is one thing. To believe God: that enters into faith; that implies that God has said something. And as soon as God said something and we believe it, then it is faith. For example, He tells us (in I Corinthians 15:1-4) that for our salvation we are to believe that Christ died for us, was buried, and rose from the grave, and that he did that for you and me. Now that is faith. Let’s turn to the Book of Psalms for a moment. Chapter 14:

Psalms 14:1

“The fool hath said in his heart, `There is no God.'”

Now the translation has two words there that are italics or in different print, and those two words are what? There is. I’ve told you over and over, the reason words are italicized is because they have been added by the translators, to hopefully clarify. Leave those two words out as it was originally. I like to put a comma after the word no. Now what does it say?“The fool hath said in his heart, no, God.” So the fool says no, God. He is saying no to what God has said. That is the real fool.

I don’t think there is a big enough fool to say that there is no God. But there are millions who say. “No, God, I don’t want to believe what you say. I don’t want to do what you say.” Just as soon as we get like Rahab, and we can not only say, “Yes, I believe in God,” but Rahab was already being obedient to God by hiding the spies. She was already putting her faith into action. Here we have one of those exceptions that I usually talk about in the Abrahamic Covenant, and that is Jew only with exceptions. Rahab is one of the exceptions. She is a Gentile, not a Jew. And she not only comes into the family of God, but in Matthew Chapter 1, we see this little bit of faith. Remember she was a harlot, a prostitute, living on the wall in Jericho; but she recognized who God was, and what He could do for her. And then in Matthew 1:5 who do we see in the genealogy of Christ? Rahab.