180 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 4 - Book 15 - Matthew 24 Part 4

180: Matthew 24 – 4 – Lesson 3 Part 4 Book 15

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 15

MATTHEW 24 

In Revelation Chapter 12, I will show you where these Jews are going to flee when they suddenly must leave Jerusalem (as Jesus admonished them in Matthew 24). This will be the mid-point of the Tribulation, when the Anti-christ will defile the Temple, turn on the Jew, and set himself up as God. It is also at this time, Psalms Chapter 2 says the wrath and vexation of God will come down on the earth. Remember also, Satan is cast down from Heaven the last time to the earth, and he too, will pour out his wrath upon the earth because he knows he has but a short time left. This will be a double barrel attack on mankind. The wrath of God and the wrath of Satan, and all of nature will feel it. But remember the end result of all of this is to pay off the mortgage on the earth, so the curse can be lifted, and go into the millennium reign of Christ. Now let’s see where that cross-section of Jews from our last lesson will be headed when they leave Jerusalem at the mid-point. We know they will flee to the mountains (some feel it might be the ancient city of Petra. I don’t think that will be big enough, but it is a possibility). Let’s see what it says (Israel is the woman in this chapter):

Revelation 12:3,4

“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon (Satan), having seven heads and ten horns (indicating his power), and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth (this probably refers to Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14, when Satan said he would be like the Most High, like God. Satan evidently took a third of the angelic host with him – the angels you find in the Book of Jude who left their first estate): and the dragon stood before the woman (Israel)which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” That’s speaking of Christ being born in Bethlehem. How was Satan ready to devour the child? By King Herod’s decree to kill all boy babies under the age of two.

Revelation 12:5,6

“And she (Israel) brought forth a man child (Christ), who was (future) to rule all nations with a rod of iron (when He returns at His Second Coming, and sets up His Kingdom): and her child (Christ) was caught up unto God (at His ascension in Acts Chapter 1), and to his throne.”

“And the woman (Israel, the cross-section remnant of Jews in Matthew 24) fled into the wilderness (an uninhabited area), where she hath a place (watch this language) prepared of God, that they (The Godhead) should feed her (the remnant) there a thousand two hundred and three score days.” That’s 3 1/2 years.

Here you have the remnant of Israel having escaped to a place prepared of God where He will protect and feed them and provide for all their needs. That’s exactly what He did for Israel for that forty years of wandering. Even their shoes didn’t wear out. And just as miraculously, as He did that under Moses, He’s going to accomplish the same thing here. He will sustain them! He will totally protect them from all the ravages that will be going on around them. That one little portion of the earth where this little remnant will be, won’t come under all the earthquakes, pestilences, wars, famines, and cataclysmic events that the rest of the earth will be under. They will be in total safety and security for those 3 1/2 years.

We are still at the mid-point here and Satan indwells the man Anti-christ. Think back a moment, when did Satan indwell Judas? It was in the upper room at the last supper, Matthew 26:25, “Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, `Master, is it I?’ He said unto him, `Thou hast said.'” That’s when Satan entered into Judas. From that moment on Judas became an instrument of Satan. As a result, Judas was able to betray Christ in the garden. But when Judas tried to resist the power of Satan and throw the silver at the feet of the priests there at the Temple, what happened? The language is kind of confusing. In one Scripture it says Judas hung himself, and in another it says that Judas fell head-long and his bowels burst forth. In reality both are correct. There are no contradictions in Scripture. When he tried to rebel against Satan, Judas’s body almost exploded with the power of Satan. As he was catapulted, Judas’ body burst asunder, and at the same time he hanged himself on a pole as the result of the catapulting. We will try to cover that before we go into the Book of Acts. So Satan is going to indwell the man Anti-christ, and from that point on everything the Anti-christ says and does will be a word and act of Satan himself.

Revelation 12:13,14

“And when the dragon (Satan) saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman (Israel) which brought forth the man child.”

“And to the woman (this remnant that is escaping as we see in Matthew 24. I think the majority of Jews that remain, according to Zechariah, will lose their lives during the Tribulation)were given two wings of a great eagle (that’s not the air force but rather it will be a supernatural walk. They will be walking, I believe at a supernatural pace. The same thing happened with the the children of Israel under Moses. Exodus 19:4, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” Remember, they walked here also, taking their flocks and herds with them. But for them to have walked that far, I feel that God had to move them along supernaturally), that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time (3 1/2 years), from the face of the serpent.” Verse 15 backs up a little bit:

Revelation 12:15

“And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.”

The language here is hard to understand unless you flash back to the Exodus out of Egypt. As Israel was leaving Egypt under Moses, just as soon as word got to Pharaoh that indeed these Jews were all leaving, what command did Pharaoh put out? Destroy them! So he sends his army after the children of Israel, but what happens to the Egyptian army? They are engulfed in the Red Sea. Here we have the perfect analogy of this same situation. The Anti-christ, indwelt by Satan, is also sending an army (in the language of a flood of water) after this escaping remnant in almost the same details so he sends the command to destroy this escaping remnant.

Revelation 12:16

“And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood (armed force) which the dragon cast out of his mouth.”

Here God didn’t use the Red Sea, but rather the earth to help this escaping remnant. Do you see how this parallels the Book of Exodus? Not only here, but when you get into the plagues and miracles they are almost identical. Now back to the Book of Matthew. Jesus is speaking to the twelve there on the Mount of Olives, and this is prophecy. He’s telling the things that are going to happen before the age ends:

Matthew 24:27

“For the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

Here Christ uses the analogy of a storm. When we have a storm and when it has finally blown over and we see the lighting flashing in the eastern sky, do we run for cover? Why, of course not. The storm has already passed. Under normal weather patterns the weather moves from west and southwest to east and northeast. And from north and northwest to south and southeast. The climate in Israel is like ours here. Jerusalem is at the same latitude as Waco, Texas. And the temperature is almost the same. And so Jesus is using weather analogy that they all understood. That when you see lightning in the east you know the storm has already passed. What’s the storm He’s talking about? The Tribulation. It’s over.

Matthew 24:28,29

“For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” That’s the clean up after all deaths at Armageddon and all the other things that have taken place. Then verse 29:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”

Matthew 24:30,31

“And then (there is the time word) shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see [I think the Rapture of the Church will be a silent event. We’ll be gone in an instant. There’s going to be a trumpet sound, but the world won’t hear it. But at the Second Coming, the survivors then which endured (and there won’t be all that many but there will be some), will see Him as He comes] the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Isaiah tells us a few around the earth will survive the Tribulation, so they will have to be gathered. Is there anything in here of Church language? Does it say anything about the Body of Christ? You can’t find it … Jesus didn’t know? Of course He knew! But it was kept secret from the Twelve because He is going to reveal the Body of Christ, the Church, to the Apostle Paul in just a few short years. These disciples knew nothing of the 1900 + years God would deal almost exclusively with the Gentiles. Everything Jesus said was directed to the Jews. As soon as the Tribulation has run its course, part and parcel of those final hours will be that the sun and moon are going to be affected.

Turn to Acts Chapter 2. I want you to see how Peter is in perfect accord with the Jewish program and that he doesn’t know anything else. Psalms 2 lays out the Old Testament program so beautifully. It shows the Old Testament prophecy being fulfilled with the coming of the Messiah. They crucify Him. He’s resurrected. He ascends back to glory to sit at the Father’s right hand. And then the nations would go into derisions, and then would come the wrath and vexation of God. Then would come the Kingdom. What did I leave out? This 1900 + years of the Church Age. Why did I leave it out? Because the Old Testament does. It’s not back there. Paul says in Romans 16:25, “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.”

Now here Peter is in the same mode of language that is in Psalms Chapter 2 and the same language that Jesus is using. And here Peter is quoting out of the Book of Joel. Remember, these unbelieving Jews had accused these Galileans of having too much wine, because they were able to speak in all these languages.

Acts 2:15-18

“For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;” So Peter says that this is the prophecy of Joel. And here he quotes word for word from Joel. Now verses 17 and 18:

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

These things had happened the day of Pentecost. If Peter would have known about the 1900 + years of the Church Age to come, he would have stopped right there. But Peter didn’t know, so all he can see is the Tribulation that is coming. Now read on:

Acts 2:19,20

 

179 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 3 - Book 15 - Matthew 24 3

179: Matthew 24 – 3 – Lesson 3 Part 3 book 15

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 15

MATTHEW 24 

Let’s begin where we left off last lesson. We’ll start at Matthew Chapter 24 verse 15. When we came into this Chapter I told you that it was all Tribulation ground. Jesus is speaking prophetically to the Nation of Israel about the final seven years. And remember, He always addressed the Nation of Israel during His earthly ministry. We are already seeing some of these prophetic things starting to bloom. For example, we are seeing more earthquakes, unruly weather and wars that even the United Nations can’t handle. But it’s nothing compared to what will break loose once the Tribulation begins. It’s like the stage is now being set for that whole seven years. There’s a lot of activity that must take place before the curtain actually rises, and the Tribulation drama is played out. We are seeing the props being gathered, all the advertising, and the stage set. I’ve got a dear friend in Muskogee that every time he writes he says, “Les, just keep teaching prophecy.” But we must also teach the whole picture as it unfolds from Genesis to Revelation. Here in verse 15, we are at the mid-point of the Tribulation. The first 3 1/2 years have been culminated by the events of verses 5-12. Verse 13 and 14 go all the way to the end.

Matthew 24:15

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)”

As you see those words, “Daniel the prophet,” and perhaps have read where someone is ridiculing Daniel’s Book of prophecy as a fake, or something that has been inserted by Jews somewhere along the line, you come right back to the Scripture here. Because Jesus said those words, and what more proof would a person need for the validity of Scripture than that. And it’s the same way with Jonah. I know Jonah may be hard for the unbeliever to accept, but Jesus Himself gave proof of it when He said in Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” If Jesus said it, how can we help but believe it. He’s the Author and finisher of this Book. And when He puts His stamp of approval on it, we had better believe it.

Jesus is referring back to Daniel the prophet, and Daniel says that when this individual stands in the holy place, the Tribulation Temple whoso readeth, let him understand. In the past we have had two Temples in Israel, and the third is about to come on the scene even as we teach tonight. The first Temple was built by King Solomon about 960 B.C. Remember King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed that one. Then the second Temple was the one that was rebuilt first by Ezra, as Israel came back from the Babylonian captivity, but this Temple was pretty make-shift. It wasn’t anything like the Temple that had been destroyed because they lacked the resources and manpower to make it beautiful like the first one. Then Herod the Great came along about 50 B.C. He was a rather pompous individual and he loved to build beautiful things. Being embarrassed at Israel’s Temple, he started remodeling and extending the size of it, so it also became a beautiful Temple – the one destroyed in 70 A.D.

The Tribulation Temple, which is still future, will become the third Temple, and as most of you are aware, if you watch current events at all, the Jews are more than ready to rebuild their next Temple. Now this verse we just looked at is one of the proofs that there will be the Temple rebuilt in Jerusalem at some point before the middle of the Tribulation. That is all we know. We don’t know if it will be built before or after the Anti-christ signs the peace treaty with Israel, but we do know the Temple will stand once again and be in operation at the mid-point of the Tribulation. Go back to Daniel Chapter 9 for a moment and tie this event together with Matthew 24. In Daniel Chapter 9 we have the 490 years that Daniel prophesies concerning the Nation of Israel. It begins in verse 24:

Daniel 9:24

“Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined upon thy people (Israel) and upon thy holy city (Jerusalem), to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity (the work of the Cross), and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Daniel goes on to explain the breakdown of these time elements.

Daniel 9:26

“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off (now that completed 483 years of the prophecy that was determined in verse 24, which would still leave 7 years still to be fulfilled), but not for himself (He didn’t die because He deserved it, but rather for the sins of the world. Now here comes the prophecy), and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;…”

That means that the prince that shall come, the Anti-christ, would come out of the empire that destroyed the Temple and city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and we know that was Rome. And that is why the Bible has been looking forward to the end-time when the Revived Roman Empire would once again come to power, and we see that even tonight with the E. C. They already have currency printed for the E. C. with the logo of a woman riding upon a beast as described in Revelation. Isn’t it amazing how an ungodly world, (and Europe certainly is) is falling right into the very format of the Book of Revelation. Now verse 27:

Daniel 9:27

“And he (the Anti-christ) shall confirm the covenant (peace treaty) with many (Israel. Although Israel has signed some peace treaties of late they are not the ones described here. I think they are a forerunner to the main peace treaty, however) for one week:”

Seven years. God’s time-clock has been stopped since the day The Messiah was cut off, or died on the Cross. And for the past 1900 + years the Church Age is being completed. But when the last person is saved during this Church Age, then the Rapture occurs. And then the Anti-christ will be revealed and he signs that seven-year treaty with Israel. The day he signs that treaty the time clock of God kicks into gear again, and the final seven years will start ticking off. Remember a year in Scripture is twelve thirty-day months or 360 days for the year.

Daniel 9:27

“…and in the midst of the week (seven years) he (Anti-christ) shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease (the Jews can offer sacrifices and oblation only at the Temple), and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it (the Temple) desolate (I think Antiochus, the little Syrian dictator who was just a little pip squeak in history, was a type of “anti-christ.” He offered a hog on the altar and defiled it at one time. I think this Anti-christ will do the very same thing. The hog’s blood was the abomination. And then Daniel goes on to say), even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Or the desolator, the man Anti-christ.

So this is what Jesus was referring to in Matthew 24:15 That the man Anti-christ will come into the Temple and will defile it. Then He tells the Jew, and this prophecy would be 2000 years ahead.

Matthew 24:16,17

“Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:”

Time will be very important here, and also remember this is an analogy to the escape out of Egypt. Much of it is a parallel. And just as God protected and provided for Israel then, He’s going to do the same thing for this escaping remnant of Jews at this time in the middle of the Tribulation. This is not the 144,000 we read about in Revelation that will be preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. This is a cross-section of the society of Israel in the Jerusalem area. Here we are going to have men, women, young women, children, the working class, the retired class and they will be all fleeing from Jerusalem. Looking at verse 17 again we find:

Matthew 24:17

“Let him which is on the house top not come down to take any thing out of his house:”

As I’ve taught this before, these represent the retired people who are well-to-do, who spend a lot of time on the housetop which is common in that part of the world. They probably have a lot of things they’ve collected over the years and would like to take with them, but they’re not going to have time for that.

Matthew 24:18-20

“Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” This is the working class, and here Jesus speaks specifically about agricultural workers. He’ll be lucky to get out with the clothes on his back.

“And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!” Here we have the young women that are pregnant and the young mothers with children. There is a complete cross-section of people involved with this prophecy.

“But pray ye that you flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:”

Winters can be tough in Israel, and the Jews, as we have pointed out, will be back under the Law with their Temple worship. And remember on the sabbath day the Jew could only walk so far. Now verse 21:

Matthew 24:21

“For then (at the mid-point) shall be great tribulation (it will be far greater then the first 3 1/2 years), such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

And all you have to do is reflect back over the history of Israel; they have gone through some very tough times. But none of that can even come close to what will take place during that last 3 1/2 years. And then verse 22:

Matthew 24:22

“And except those days should be shortened (now as I understand the Greek word “shortened,” it means it will end right on schedule otherwise), there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” However, we know from Scripture there will be survivors of the Tribulation, and we will try to pick that up in our next lesson. But here in verse 23 when things get tough, people get religious, and Jesus says be careful.

Matthew 24:23,24

“Then if any man shall say unto you, `Lo, here is Christ,’ or there; believe it not.”

“For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders (where are they going to get their power? From Satan!); insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Those who are believers and are still surviving.

Matthew 24:25,26

“Behold, I have told you before,” And here He reminds them again. This is all for emphasis.

“Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he (The Messiah) is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.”

He won’t be coming from those areas. He will be coming from Heaven at the end of the Tribulation in power and glory. And He will destroy all the nations that have been gathered there around Jerusalem under the power of the Anti-christ, and Christ will stand on the Mount of Olives.

178 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 2 - Book 15 - Matthew 24 - 2

178: Matthew 24 – 2 – Lesson 3 Part 2 Book 15

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 15

MATTHEW 24 

Let’s pick right up where we left off in Matthew 24. We had shown that Jesus had left the Temple area and had gone across to the Mount of Olives, explaining that the Temple would be destroyed.

Matthew 24:3

“And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples cam unto him privately (Jesus and the Twelve), saying, `Tell us, when shall these things be (that’s the question that opens up prophecy)? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world.'” (Age)

What we have to understand is that throughout the Old Testament the Rabbis, and those who were involved in the study of the prophets, understood the two aspects of a coming Messiah. I read recently there were some Rabbis who actually thought there would be two different Messiahs. One who would fulfill the promise of being the King, and set up the Kingdom. And the parallel thought all the way through the Old Testament is the idea of a suffering Savior. The word “Savior” is “Jeshua.” From that name we get the name “Jesus” – because He shall save His people from their sins. So some thought there would be a Messiah for the King and a Messiah for the Savior. But we know they would be one and the same.

One reason some Rabbis thought there would be two Messiahs, was, by looking at the prophecies, they couldn’t see any time frame between them. It’s the same way when you approach two mountain ranges. It’s hard to tell the distance between the two ranges (especially if you were far away) because they look like only one range. That’s the problem they were having. They could see both prophecies but couldn’t see the 1900 + years of Church Age that we have had between them. They couldn’t because God kept the Church Age secret until He revealed it to the Apostle Paul. And we know from His appearance as first and foremost to be their King with the offer of the Kingdom, we know, too, that He also finally becomes the suffering Savior. Look at I Peter Chapter 1 verse 10:

I Peter 1:10

“Of which salvation the prophets (Old Testament writers) have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you (what was to be in the future).”

Remember these Old Testament prophets wrote by inspiration, and Daniel, at the last of his prophecy, said in Daniel 12:8,9 “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, `Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.'” Daniel didn’t know, but people would at the end-time. And it’s the same way with these prophets as they wrote Isaiah, Jeremiah and the rest. Now verse 11:

I Peter 1:11

“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them (they wrote by inspiration) did signify, when it (The Spirit) testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow (King and Kingdom).” We also understand by the New Testament accounts that He was glorified when He defeated Satan there at the Cross. The Old Testament writers couldn’t put it all together. Now verse 12:

I Peter 1:12

“Unto whom it was revealed (to these prophets), that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”

The angelic host didn’t comprehend all these things. So what this portion of Scripture is really saying is that all these Old Testament prophets had an idea of these events that would be tied to both aspects (the coming of the King and Kingdom and the suffering Savior to pay the penalty of sin), but they just couldn’t put it all together. And God didn’t expect them to. So the disciples are asking these same questions, “What shall be the sign of your coming, and the end of the age?” Verse 4:

Matthew 24:4-6

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, `Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ (Messiah); and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.'”

As we study prophecy, I like to tie the four horsemen of the apocalypse of Revelation Chapter 6, almost one-by-one with events that Jesus lays out here. In other words, the first horse appears with a rider with a bow and no arrows and comes to take peace from the earth. I like to associate that with the wars and rumors of wars that Jesus is talking about here. The next horsemen that comes of the scene in Revelation Chapter 6 is the Red horse, and there we do have war, and that is in correlation with verse 7 here:

Matthew 24:7a

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:…”

The third horseman of Revelation 6 was the Pale horse which represented famine. As a results of all these wars in verse 7, we do indeed find famine, as food supplies will dry up and the world will have tremendous inflation, and food rationing, because of the massive destruction.

Matthew 24:7b

“…and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers place.”

I think everyone that follows Biblical and secular events knows the tremendous increase in earthquakes since 1970. They have been increasing each year, and now there is no telling how many we have each year. They are so common that our news doesn’t even report one unless there are deaths and lots of destruction. And these earthquakes happen all over the world. And this is what Jesus is talking about. Now verse 8:

Matthew 24:8

“All these (events) are the (what?) beginning (they are not the end) of sorrows (travail or birth pangs).”

It’s in the same language of a child being delivered of its mother. All of this is now showing that the earth is approaching the day of her delivery from the curse. We looked at that while we were studying Revelation. It seems almost everybody loves the Books of Genesis and Revelation. It’s easy to fill the rooms for those two Books, but as soon as we teach Romans, Ephesians, or Philippians the interest always drops. It shouldn’t be that way. But I also know that people love to review what happened five or six thousand years ago, or something out in the future that they can’t put their hand on. But the dealings with the here-and-now is getting too close to home, and they don’t want to live in that. That’s what makes the movie business what it is: most people want to remove themselves from reality, and go into a world of make-believe. It’s not quite that extreme with Bible teaching, but I can sense some don’t want to get down to the nitty gritty of what we need today, and tomorrow and next week. But personally, I can’t wait to get to the Book of Romans, but that will be a while yet, because we must still go through the Book of Acts. But we must have the Book of Acts before the Book of Romans makes sense. But Romans is the here-and-now, and I love to teach it. The Scriptures we were going to look at were in Revelation 5. This is where John sees a scene in Heaven that is almost disturbing.

Revelation 5:1

“AND I saw in the right hand of him (The Father) sat on the throne a book (scroll) written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.”

And in my teaching I always bring out that this scroll is the mortgage. It’s the mortgage that Satan has on planet earth, even tonight. Satan picked up the mortgage when Adam fell. When Adam lost his dominion, Satan picked it up and has been the god of this world ever since. Remember, the world lieth in the lap of the Wicked one. And there are other verses that tell us that Satan is indeed the god of this world. Anyway, God is holding this mortgage ready to be paid off, but Satan is the real holder of it and has the mortgage. And John wept because evidently there was no one in Heaven who was able to pay off this mortgage.

Revelation 5:4-7

“And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beast (creatures) and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb (God the Son)…”God the Son qualified to take the mortgage because of what He had accomplished at Calvary.

“And he (Son) came and took the book (scroll) out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.”

Revelation 5:9

“And they (the heavenly host) sang a new song, saying, `Thou (The Son) art worthy to take the book (scroll), and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;'”

God the Son takes this mortgage and He agrees to pay it off in order to lift the curse from the planet. To make that clear, we would need to go back into Israel’s history of how they would redeem and gain back titles for land that they had almost lost by default. It had to be a next of kin, and someone who was both capable of paying and willing to pay. A good example is the story of Ruth and Boaz. Read it in your spare time. Jesus was the only One in all of eternity who could fulfill the requirements for this mortgage! You see, He was the next of kin; He’s the Son of God. He certainly had the power and all the attributes to carry it out, and He is willing to do it. So He becomes the great Payer of this mortgage that Satan is holding. Back to Matthew 24. This beginning of sorrows we looked at in verse 8 is really just the beginning of the birth pangs that are coming on the earth as a prelude to the delivery from the curse. That’s the language that the Scripture uses. The earth is going to be delivered from the power of Satan and the curse. These Tribulation events are part of the things in trade God will use to pay Satan off in full.

Matthew 24:9-11

“Then (once the Tribulation begins. This last seven years of Daniel Chapter 9) shall they deliver you (the Jew) up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for name’s sake.” If we think anti-Semitism is bad now, it’s nothing like it’s going to be.

“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” Even within the Jewish family children will report on their parents, and vice versa to escape the wrath that is falling upon them as a nation of people.

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many,”

The Scripture is constantly warning of the false prophets, not just in the Tribulation, but even during the Church Age. Paul’s message and Christianity had just begun. There had been a few churches established by him when false teaching started to pop up. This is why Paul had to write the Book of Galatians. He had no more brought these Gentiles out of paganism, and under the Gospel of Grace, than in comes Jewish false teachers. They would tell these Gentiles that they couldn’t be saved by Grace, but, rather you must keep the Law. So false teaching has been against Christianity from day one. And here in these Tribulation days, as all the calamities are falling, and people will be grasping for something, the false teacher are going to have a hay day. Now verse 12:

Matthew 24:12

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

Now think about it for a moment, the only deterrent to wickedness in the world today is the Church. We are the only deterrent. The Holy Spirit Who is within us is restraining wickedness. Because (let’s face it) I’ve heard sociologists and some of the powers that be are beginning to recognize that a society without religion is a society that is doomed. Religion is the only thing that puts any kind of common sense into regulating behavior of the human being. But we also have to realize that most of the pagan religions of the world are grossly immoral, even in their religious practices.

What we think is horrendous, taking place here in our beloved America, with the break down of our morality and the casualness of gross immorality, has been commonplace in the Orient for centuries. It’s still part of their society. It has become so frightening to us because we’re coming out of a basic Christian structure. And now when we see the falling apart of all this we’re shocked, and we should be. But for the rest of the world it’s been pretty much that way down through the centuries. But, nevertheless, for the biggest part of the western world if I may use that expression, Christianity has been the breakwater of the falling away of moral principles. It’s the Christian that has to stand in the gap and say, “Now wait a minute, this is wrong.”

Take away every believer, and the Holy Spirit and His role as He works today, then what is left to hold back iniquity? Absolutely nothing! I live close to the dam that holds back Lake Eufaula, and I’ve often wondered (especially when you look at the map and see the many miles that Lake Eufaula covers) If that dam could suddenly be removed what would happen all the way from Whitefield, Oklahoma to the Mississippi River? It would be a flood of tremendous impact. It would destroy everything in its path. On the higher plane of behavior and morality what if you took away the Christian influence, and had nothing to hold back the forces of iniquity. What’s going to happen? Just what Jesus said in verses 12 and 13:

Matthew 24:12,13

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold,” They will completely lose perspective of spiritual things.

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Be careful right here. Does enduring save anybody? No. Jesus isn’t talking about salvation here by virtue of enduring the Tribulation, He is simply saying that if someone has the wherewithal, physically and mentally, to get to the end of that seven-year Tribulation, then he will be spared the death of it. I don’t believe that He is talking about salvation as you and I know it tonight. It’s just that some will survive these horrible events. Now verse 14. In our next lesson we will cover from verse 15 on and cover the last part of the Tribulation in those verses. But here in verse 14, Jesus is speaking toward the end of His earthly ministry, and, as I have been pointing out, what Gospel have they been preaching? The Gospel of the Kingdom.

Matthew 24:14

“And this gospel of the kingdom (He uses the word `this’ because it’s contemporary with Him at that time) shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nation; and then shall the end come.”

Who is going to fulfill all this preaching in the Tribulation? As we saw in the Book of Revelation it is the 144,000 Jews, as they will circumvent the globe during that seven-year period. Not preaching the Gospel of Grace, by believing that Christ died, was buried, and rose again as was given to the Apostle Paul by Christ Himself, but rather preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom that Christ and His disciples preached during His earthly ministry. The King is coming, and indeed He will be coming in a little less than seven years when this takes place.

So many well-meaning folks have totally twisted this verse, as if we have to get the Gospel to every nation on earth, and after that has been accomplished, Christ will come. That’s not what that verse means at all. And that doesn’t mean that we are not to get the Gospel out. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t be here. But it isn’t the Gospel of the Kingdom that we are proclaiming, but the Gospel of Grace. And what a difference! Just compare them and see which one belongs to you here in the Church Age. Jesus said that in this future day that He’s talking about, this seven-year period, that the Gospel of the Kingdom would be preached, and these 144,000 will succeed in touching every nation, tribe, and language before Christ returns. We find in Revelation that millions will be martyred after believing this Gospel during the Tribulation. So this is exactly what this verse is talking about. Just leave the verse where it is, and don’t try to put us of the Church Age in it, and it will fit so nicely. Look at the verse one more time:

Matthew 24:14

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

177 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 1 - Book 15 - Matthew 24

177: Matthew 24 – Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 15

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 15

MATTHEW 24 

Now to continue our studies in the Four Gospels. People have shared with us that they just happened to run across our informal television class setting and stopped. We know the reason they stopped is because of the Holy Spirit. This is the way a lot of our audience has started watching and has become part of this ministry. They have finally gotten the opportunity to really read and study their Bibles for the very first time. And for the first time many of them can see what The Book really says and doesn’t say. Too many times we sit and let someone else tell us what it says, without checking it out, or having these people reference what they are saying. We need to see if what they are saying is directed to you and I, the Body of Christ (the Church), in this Age of Grace.

Turn to Matthew Chapter 23. We have more or less been taking an overview, and pointing out that in Christ’s earthly ministry there is nothing of the Body of Christ the Church in the Four Gospels. There is no Church language in here. This is all Christ dealing under the Law, with the Jew under the Law. I like to point out that Christ constantly is making us aware that they are under the Law. There is not a word said that the Nation of Israel and the Jew don’t have to keep the Law any longer. That they no longer must do Temple worship, or keep the Ten Commandments, or be separate from the Gentiles. In fact, the Law is never taken away from them, even to the end of Acts when they go into the dispersion in 70 A.D. And when the Nation of Israel comes back on the scene in the Book of Revelation, she will still be under the Law as we saw in our study on prophecy. A good example is when Jesus healed the lepers. What did He tell them to do? “Go present yourselves to the priest.” Because that’s what the Law demanded. And then the priest could give them permission to come back into society.

When the young rich ruler approached Jesus, and said, “What must I do to inherit eternal life.” What was Jesus’ answer? “Keep the commandments.” See, it was all under Law. Even in the early chapters of Acts, where were all the Twelve apostles still meeting for prayer, etc.? – at the Temple. No one has told them they are not under the Law. Why didn’t Peter want to go to Cornelius’ house in Acts Chapter 10? It was forbidden under the Law for a Jew to go to the home of a Gentile (in this case the Holy Spirit gave permission, so that fifteen years later Peter could defend Paul in Acts Chapter 15). You don’t find them going to any other Gentile, and it states that in Acts 11:19. They went to Jew only. The Law was never taken from them. But in our Age of Grace, Paul tells us, you and I, that we are under Grace and not Law.

A gentleman called this morning and told me that he had never really gotten much out of his Bible, because he never saw that what was written and spoken to the Jew was primarily for the Jew, and what has been written to us Gentiles is primarily for us. And I couldn’t have said it better. What a difference that makes. Here again in Matthew 23, the language is so explicit there can be no argument. And in verse 37, Jesus is speaking in the area of the Temple, where Gentiles couldn’t go. In the previous two chapters He’s addressing the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the Herodians, and He’s pointing out their gross misgivings and their wrongdoings (although they thought they were so religious). Passover is approaching and a great crowd has gathered, so Jews are coming in from all over the then-known world. The Temple is beginning to feel the effects of it. In that atmosphere verse 37 says:

Matthew 23:37

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem (in reality Jesus is speaking to the Jews here), thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together , even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

America has been in a culture where we no longer see these hens sneak off and put together a clutch of eggs and hatch them, and someday come out with their little brood. I can still remember that as a kid on the farm. Once in awhile an old hen would get away with that, and mom wouldn’t find her eggs, and then one day here she came with about 15 little chicks. And just by the old hens clucking she could keep pretty good control over all those chicks.

An incident like this happened when I was about 6 years old. A big storm came up suddenly and dad and I ran to house. As this storm began to blow and the rain came down, this old mother hen got on the leeward side of a big tree and gathered all her chicks, except one, under her wings. As we watched out the window that one little chick got rolled over in the wind and rain and drowned. But the rest were safe under that old hen. Every time I see this verse, I can’t help but picture that incident. That when the storm blew, those little chicks were safe and secure. And Jesus uses that analog; that this is what He wanted to do with Israel.

All through their 2000 years of history up until this time He had more or less been clucking over them. He had been watching and protecting them, supplying all their needs in miraculous ways. But like the one little chick I was referring to, Israel wouldn’t listen. And they came under all of their judgments and adversity simply because they wouldn’t heed His voice and be obedient. Here again, God had sent the Son in fulfillment of all these Old Testament promises. They could have the King and the Kingdom, and Salvation, redemption, and forgiveness if they would just recognize who Jesus was and believe. But instead, what was their response? Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? I have pointed out often, instead of coming into Jerusalem on a big prancing white Arabian steed, which is the way most emperors in that day road, He came on a lowly colt of a donkey. And it confounded them. Nevertheless, the offer was there that He was their King and was ready to give them the Kingdom if they would just believe. But He said in verse 37 “ye would not!”

There is one aspect in all of this that I know is hard to comprehend. That is that God in His sovereignty is in control of everything, and yet He never takes away the free will of men and nations. Now those two concepts are hard to bring together. But they are so true. The best way I can explain it in my own mind is that, before He ever created anything, the Godhead could look down through the ages of time and know exactly what every person and nation would do. We call that foreknowledge. Now with foreknowledge, He could also plan for any alternative. Because He knew what would happen. And yet He never took away that free will of mankind. But remember, His offers were valid. And the same way with the Nation of Israel. Israel had absolute freedom to accept Him and have the King and Kingdom and all those Old Testament promises, but they also had the free will to reject Him. This is what they are doing. It doesn’t throw God a curve, because He knows what they are going to do.

Let’s look at an amazing verse in Acts 2. I didn’t get the impact of it until a couple of years ago. I’m sure that’s the way a lot of Scripture is to many of us. We read it but we really don’t get the impact of it. In this verse we have Peter on the day of Pentecost. He is addressing this great crowd of Jews in the Temple complex in Jerusalem.

Acts 2:22,23

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know, “Him (This Jesus), being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”

Now what does the determinate counsel of God mean? The only way I can look at it is that the Trinity, the Triune God, Three Persons yet One, consulted within this Godhead before anything was ever created. They agreed within the Trinity, knowing everything that would take place: that fallen man would need a Redeemer, and salvation would be that Second Person of the Trinity Who would step down from the invisible Godhead, take on flesh, and go the way of the finished work of the Cross for man’s redemption. Now all of that was foreknown and consummated in the thought-process of the Trinity. When I teach this, I don’t imply that the Three sat down around a table and talked about which One would do what, as men would do. But within the Trinity of the Godhead, whether it was a split second or whatever, all three Persons of the Godhead had agreed that this is the way it would be done. And that’s exactly what this verse means, “…by the determinate counsel.” Now let’s return to Matthew Chapter 23.

Matthew 23:37,38

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Then the next verse says:

“Behold, your house (the Temple) is left unto you desolate.”

Notice He says “your house.” When the Nation first started out, God would call them “My people.” But after they became stiff necked, disobedient, and rebellious, He calls them “thy people” to Moses. And He does the same thing here at the Temple. As Jesus is now approaching the end of His ministry, and it’s obvious that Israel is not accepting Him, He refers to the Temple as “your house.” For a quick reference let’s look at John Chapter 2 on how Christ’s attitude toward the Nation of Israel is showing their response to Him.

John 2:16

“And said unto them that sold doves. `Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house (the Temple of God) an house of merchandise.'”

See the difference? Here it was still the Temple of God. In Matthew 23:38 the nation had sunk so low that He called it “your temple.”

Matthew 23:39

“For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say (watch the language for this is a future event), `Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.'” Were they saying that now? They said, “away with Him.” But He is saying that the day is coming when they will say, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” And that will be at His Second Coming.

Now there are three distinct “until’s” and this is the first one. He would be disappearing from view shortly but they would see Him at some future day. The second one is in Luke where again He uses that same term “until.” He is foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Roman armies in 70 A.D. He knows everything before it ever happens. Jesus is speaking:

Luke 21:24

“And they (the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the Jews) shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations (that’s the main clue because there they will not be led away captive during the Tribulation and Armageddon. They were for the last time in 70 A.D.): and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until (that word “until” means there will be a time factor, and at a certain time in the future, the next event will come on the scene) the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

Then there is coming a time when Jerusalem will be delivered from that overlordship of the Gentiles, and we are getting close tonight. Now the third one I like to refer to is in Romans Chapter 11. This is the chapter where Paul deals with Israel’s future – how that one day she will be grafted in again.

Romans 11:25

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery (the word “mystery” is unique to Paul’s writings, and refers to the secret that has been kept in the mind of God since the foundation of the world. These secrets of the Church were revealed only to Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. And so here is another one of these mysteries. While God has been calling out the Gentile Body of Christ, the Church, for the past 1900 + years, Israel has been in a spiritual blindness), lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part (not forever, but a segment of time) is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”

What is the fullness of the Gentiles? The Body of Christ, the Church. So when the Body is finally filled, and the last person has been saved, and the Church is removed in the Rapture just before the Tribulation is to begin, then God will again pick up with the Nation of Israel and their spiritual blindness will be removed. Those are the three until’s that Jesus referred to, and these prophecies are still valid, Two of them will be fulfilled when Christ returns at His Second Coming and the one we saw in Romans will end when the Church is removed. Let’s look at Chapter 24. We will be covering this Chapter for a lesson or two. We covered these verses when we taught the Book of Revelation. Remember though, that repetition is the mother of learning. This chapter is prophecy, it’s all future, and deals with the seven years of Tribulation that will come on the earth. Jesus is speaking of the future. Prophecy is always connected to the Nation of Israel, from Abraham all the way through the Old Testament, and it is telling what will happen. Here again in Chapter 24 is exactly what Jesus is going to talk about, things that will happen to the Nation of Israel at some future point.

Matthew 24:1,2

“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.” This was probably across from the Mount of Olives, which is not very far from the Temple complex.

“And Jesus said unto them, `See ye not all these things (of the Temple complex)? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.'”

When King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple he used fire, because it was built primarily of beautiful cedar wood. But the Romans, when this prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A. D., almost completely dismantled the whole thing stone by stone. There are legends on why these soldiers did this, and one of them is that they had heard there were tons of gold hidden between the building blocks. So in order to go after that gold they took it down block by block. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it made a good story and got the job done. Anyway, Jesus said that this building they were looking at would be laid low stone by stone, and it surely was. We will pick up with this chapter in the next lesson.

176 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 4 - Book 15 - The Secrets of the Body Not Revealed

176: The Secrets of the Body Not Revealed – Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 15

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 15

THE SECRETS OF THE BODY NOT REVEALED

Turn to Matthew Chapter 25. I’m going to stay on this theme for a little longer. Everything here in the Four Gospels is still predominantly directed to the Nation of Israel. Because the Church as we know it, the Body of Christ, is kept secret in the mind of God. And that is the word you have to get used to. It was a secret. It was part of the mysteries. Now in order for it to be a secret, it stands to reason you can’t let any part of it slip out or it’s no longer a secret. Isn’t that right? I want you to check me out; don’t take my word for anything. But go back through the Four Gospels and see if Jesus ever gives any hint of turning to the Gentiles and calling out a Gentile Body for Himself. You won’t find it.

I know the closest you will find is when Jesus said, “I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Even in that statement, I don’t think Jesus was specifically referring to the Church as we know it. Because the word “ekklesia,” from which the word “church” is always translated, is used in different manners and ways than the Body of Christ – the Church. For example, Stephen in Acts Chapter 7, refers to the children of Israel out there in the Sinai as the church in the wilderness. But remember the Church wasn’t back there. So what was Stephen really saying? That “called out assembly” in the wilderness. That makes sense. Because that’s what Israel was, they were called out of Egypt, God assembled them around Mt. Sinai, and so they were an ekklesia, and that’s not the Body of Christ, the Church. Believe it or not, when we get to the Book of Acts I’ll show you where a riotous mob in the city of Ephesus was also called an ekklesia. But the translators didn’t call it a church there, fortunately. They just called it an assembly. It was an unlawful assembly, it was a riotous assembly. It was mob rule, but still called an ekklesia in the Greek.

So always be careful that just because it’s the word “church” it doesn’t automatically follow that it’s the Body of Christ. Paul almost always qualifies our present day Church as the Body of Christ (which is the true Church), or he will say the Church which is His Body. That makes a big difference. So what I’m going to show you is that Jesus never, never gave a hint, nor did He disclose a part of that secret that He was going to reveal to the Apostle Paul at a later time. And here is the perfect illustration of that in Matthew 25, and verse 31:

Matthew 25:31

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory (Jesus is speaking about His Second Coming), and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:”

Now this is a good example of what I’m always saying. Ask questions. Who is coming with Him? Angels. My next question is, “Where am I?” He’s not including me, He’s just talking about angels. Why? Because He couldn’t mention the Church yet, or He would give away the secret He was going to reveal to Paul. And to show you that the Church indeed is going to come with Him, turn to Revelation Chapter 19, and we get the clue. Indeed, we are going to be with Him.

Revelation 19:8

“And to her (the Bride) was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of (the believers. You and I) saints.” Now let’s look at verse 11. Now here comes the Second Coming in all of its glory, and power as Christ is descending now from Heaven.

Revelation 19:11

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. And indeed He will. He will destroy the armies of this world.

Revelation 19:12,13

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” So we know this is Christ coming back.

Revelation 19:14

“And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”

Comparing that with verse 8, you have the saints coming back with Christ. Certainly, we’ll be coming with Him, but in Matthew 25:31 He couldn’t reveal that in His earthly ministry. That was part of the secret. So you will find this throughout all the Four Gospels: there is never a reference to the Body of Christ, the saved of the Gentiles. It’s still basically all Jew and based on the covenants and promises. I’ve said so often that if people would just read and study these things, then they would see what they think is in the Bible, isn’t there. The Four Gospels don’t contain it. I think that is why the Church is in such a dilemma tonight (when I say the Church I’m not talking about any one denomination). I’ve had my class people tell me over and over, that 95% of church teaching and preaching is coming from the Four Gospels. And they are missing the boat. Not that you ignore the Four Gospels. Heaven forbid! I love to teach the Four Gospels, but our basic doctrine for salvation is found in Paul’s writings, with what Paul calls his Gospel. We have looked at it many times. Reference: I Corinthians 15:1-4. That reminds me of a verse in the Book of II Peter. Peter is writing shortly before he is martyred. Again, let’s get the chronological time-frame here. Christ was crucified about 29 A.D. Stephen was martyred 7 years later in 36 A.D. The very next year Saul is converted, which would be 37 A.D. Then in 38 A.D. we find Peter going to the house of Cornelius. Then about 51 A.D. Paul writes his first epistle, the Book of I Thessalonians. The Books of Romans and I and II Corinthians follow in 56-57 A.D. And his last letter, just before he’s martyred, was probably II Timothy about 67 A.D. Peter writes his little epistle just before he’s martyred, probably about 66 A.D. And they both lost their lives shortly before the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.

Let’s go ahead and look at that verse in II Peter concerning the doctrine of salvation that Paul is preaching. Peter writes to the believing Jews, just like James did, primarily to the Nation of Israel that are saved under the Kingdom Gospel. Not Paul’s Gospel. The last meeting of Peter and Paul was a confrontation in Galatians Chapter 2, where Paul withstood him. Peter just couldn’t recognize that he wasn’t under the Law anymore, and he was free now to eat with Gentiles and to converse with Gentiles. In Galatians Chapter 2 it was such a bother to him, that even though he was visiting the Gentile Church at Antioch, and had been eating with the Gentiles, as soon as some Jews came up from Jerusalem he withdrew, because he was afraid of what the Jews might say. Peter was not yet convinced that Paul was on the right track. He knew Paul hadn’t received the Gospel that he was preaching from him or the other eleven. Look what he says by inspiration:

II Peter 3:15,16

“And account (latch on to it) that the longsuffering (or patience) of our Lord is salvation (that’s the whole purpose of this Book from cover to cover); even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

“As also in all his epistles (Romans through Hebrews), speaking in them of these things (salvation); in which (Paul’s epistles) are some things hard to be understood,…”

If people have problems with the things that I teach I can understand that, because they are not used to it. Peter was in the same boat. He said, “Look, I can’t comprehend this. That God is going to save this multitude of Gentiles without us Jews.” We are talking about nearly 40 years after the Cross. And Peter still cannot comprehend what this Gospel of Grace is all about. Then Peter finishes the verse:

II Peter 3:16

“…which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (or twist), as they do also the other scriptures (people become masters at twisting. That’s where the cults come in. But what’s going to be their end?), unto their own destruction.” Now that’s hard language, but Peter said it, I didn’t.

There, I think is perfect understanding that you can’t mix all of these things together and make sense out of them. Jesus never put the Gentiles into the Four Gospels. In fact, as you have seen in other lessons, it’s quite the opposite, but we have a lot of people who try to put us in there constantly. Some want the Church to fit in there so badly they even try to proclaim we are now the, “New Israel.” The Scripture has to be left exactly where it is. Jesus dealing with the Jew, and Peter and the eleven are the apostles of the Jews. Galatians 2:7, “But contrariwise, when they (Peter and John) saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (Gentiles) was committed unto me (Paul), as the gospel of the circumcision (Jews) was unto Peter;”

Go to II Corinthians Chapter 5 starting at verse 14. Paul writes to believers only, and these believers are at Corinth; they are Gentiles:

II Corinthians 5:14

“For the love of Christ constraineth us (or drives us), because we thus judge (or conclude), that if one died for all, then were all dead:”

That’s Paul’s doctrine. We were dead in our trespasses and sins. And that’s where the whole human race is. They are dead, until Christ moves in with His life-giving power which is triggered by faith in the Gospel. Paul now appears as the Apostle of the Gentiles. Now verse 15:

II Corinthians 5:15

“And that he died for all, that they which live (believe) should not henceforth (from that time forward) live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

See how Paul is constantly placing the Gospel out in front of you? It’s not based on the Law, covenants and promises; or based on believing who Jesus was (as Israel had to believe He was) as we see in the Four Gospels. But for us Gentiles it’s based upon His death, His shed blood, His burial, His Resurrection, His power. Do you see that? And remember, just because we are under His Grace, doesn’t mean that we now have a license to sin, because what does Paul say in this verse? “If we have entered into eternal life, we should live for the one who died for us.” I would never want anyone to accuse me of teaching a loose Christian walk just because we are under Grace. Absolutely not! Now for the verse I really want to look at. Again, the Holy Spirit is speaking through Paul here.

II Corinthians 5:16

“Wherefore (because of what Paul had just said) henceforth (from that point on as he’s writing) know we no man after the flesh: ye though we have known Christ after the flesh (Paul is speaking of Jesus. He says I’m no longer attached to His earthly ministry, or concerned about what He did in the flesh), yet now (since He died for us) henceforth know we him no more.”

That’s hard language isn’t it? This is exactly opposite of what most people in Christendom are doing tonight. I know this shakes people up, because they like to spend all their time talking about his earthly ministry, the miracles and so forth. But now we should spend our time on the finished work of the Cross. But Satan doesn’t want us to teach in that area, because that’s where our salvation comes from. He doesn’t care if you go to church as long as you don’t hear about the finished work of the Cross. Christ died the death that had to be died. He shed the Blood that had to be shed. He rose in power over sin and Satan, and everything that was against us. And now He is ready to impart His life to us if we will just simply believe it. People will say, “I’ve got to do this or that.” But God says, “No you don’t.” Verse 5 in Romans Chapter 4 says it so plainly. Who only can He save? The ungodly! So keep verse 16 in mind. That from the time of Christ’s death, burial and Resurrection we are not to focus as much on His earthly ministry as much as we are on His death, burial, and Resurrection.

II Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore if any man be in Christ,…”

Do you see our position? That brings to mind another verse about our position in the Book of Colossians Chapter 3. And if you have anything less than this, then I feel sorry for you. I really do, because here is where we have the joy of our salvation.

Colossians 3:1

“If ye then be risen with Christ (you have identified with His death, burial, and Resurrection. If that’s the case then), seek those things which are above (let them be your priority; that doesn’t mean that we get so heavenly-minded we are no earthly good), where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”

Colossians 3:2

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

See how practical that is? That’s practical Christianity. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy anything. That doesn’t mean you have to live a Spartan experience, and go through life with just a very meager existence. It just simply means, don’t let things take priority. Now verse 3. This is the verse I wanted. Why should we set our affection on things above? Why should we put material things secondary?

Colossians 2:3

“For ye are dead (to the old Adam, and things of this world), and your life is hid with Christ in God.” We are hid in Christ in God.

Now to make a simple illustration, by using the old black walnut. That old black walnut has a big outer covering; inside of that covering is the hard shell; inside of that in the little crevices is the meat. Do you see that? That’s where we are. God is all around us. And then to make it even better, the hard shell that is hard to break is Christ. And we are in Him. You can’t get it any better than that. We are hid with Christ in God. Nothing can touch you or I, but that God has to permit it. And He can permit it. I’ve always told believers not to think that this Book promises a rose petal pathway. We are not promised riches, or everything of this world’s goods. We may have some but don’t expect it. Look, we have it better today than believers have ever had it. But that could be the worst thing that ever happened to the Church. When the Church was growing so much in the early centuries, they were under pressure. And it may be that way again. I’m reading things lately that make me think that pressure time is coming again, and soon. Pray that it doesn’t happen.

Let’s finish the verses in II Corinthians Chapter 5. Remember, we are citizens of Heaven, living here upon the earth.

II Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (as a result of our salvation experience): old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”

II Corinthians 5:18

“And all things are of God (nothing can touch you unless God permits it), who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and (He didn’t stop there but rather) hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;” What are we to tell a lost world? Everything has been done for you to be reconciled to God. It’s all been accomplished, and we are to let the world know that.

II Corinthians 5:19

“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” Now here is our position as citizens of Heaven living in a foreign land.

II Corinthians 5:20,21

“Now then we are ambassadors (a representative of a home government to a foreign country) for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

We are Christ’s ambassadors; we are the extension of Heaven here on earth. And listen, if we don’t do it, who will? Paul makes it so clear in Thessalonians that the Church is like a dam in the world’s river of iniquity. One day He is going to lift us out, and that river is going to flood this planet like it has never been before. But until that happens, we are to be that dam in the river.