218 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 2 - Book 19 - Ethiopian Eunuch

218: Ethiopian Eunuch – Lesson 1 Part 2 Book 19

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 19

ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH

Acts Chapter 9 is one of the most important chapters in the whole Bible. This is the big turning point in the Book of Acts. Up until now it’s been all Peter and the eleven. It’s been all Jewish. They are worshiping at the synagogue and Temple. These Jews that have become believers are assembled (the word in the Greek is “Ecclesia”), but all ecclesia really means is a “called-out assembly.” The word is used in various ways of terminology. Stephen referred to that church which was in the wilderness. It was not a church as we understand the word `church,’ but it was a “called-out assembly.” It was Israel called out of Egypt and so was an ecclesia. But up in Ephesus when the mob got out of control because of Paul’s preaching the Gospel and it was affecting so many of the pagans that they were beginning to throw away their idols, the silversmiths precipitated a riot and they ended up in the amphitheater and it, too, was called an ecclesia. It certainly wasn’t a church or anything godly. But it was still called an ecclesia – a called-out assembly.

The same way with these believing Jews at Jerusalem. Sure they were an ecclesia. They are a called out assembly. They are called out of Judaism and they are meeting apart, but they are still under the total umbrella of Judaism. They haven’t separated themselves from the Law and Temple worship, but they are assembling as believing Jews. Now it’s against these believing Jews that Saul of Tarsus began his rampage when Stephen was martyred in Chapter 7. And now we find Saul not satisfied with what he had accomplished in Jerusalem and Judea. He wants to go after the believing Jews at Damascus. Now remember, Saul is doing all of this in the name of religion. He thinks he is doing his God a service by stamping out any believing in Jesus of Nazareth. That’s the background.

Acts 9:1

“And Saul, yet (in other words he hadn’t even stopped since Chapter 7) breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest.”

The word `disciples’ is simply used of believers of whatever format. These are not such as the Twelve apostles that we normally call the disciples. These were simply Jews that had embraced the Gospel of the Kingdom: that indeed Jesus was The Christ. Now let’s look at verse 2:

Acts 9:2

“And he desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues (he wants official orders to go to Damascus to arrest and bring back to Jerusalem Jews who’ve embraced this Gospel that Jesus was The Christ), that if he found any of this way (if he’s going to go to the synagogue, what kind of people is he after? Jews!) whether they were men or women, that he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”

Damascus isn’t all that far from Jerusalem. You go through the land of Palestine and along the Jordan River Valley and around the shores of the sea of Galilee. Then just a little way north and about 25 or 30 miles to the east of this imaginary border, there is the city of Damascus. So Saul has left Jerusalem and is impatiently making his way down to Damascus, probably on horseback.

Acts 9:3,4

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

Now I can’t impress enough on people that this man is totally religious. He is an absolute believer in the Old Testament. He believes in Judaism, in the Mosaic Law; he’s a Pharisee of the Pharisees, and of the tribe of Benjamin. He is a Jew through and through. But he hated with a passion Jesus of Nazareth, because he felt He was an impostor Who was trying to destroy that which, to him, was his whole life. People are no different today. If they love their particular religion, they love their hierarchy and maybe they have a personal interest in someone at the top. Is someone going to come in and make snide remarks without raising their ire. No way! That’s just human nature. And so Saul of Tarsus felt that Jesus was destroying the very bulwarks of Judaism and the only way he could do God a favor was to stamp it out with persecution. He’s doing it in the name of religion. And he is fervent, sincere and devout.

Now, the Lord from Heaven has to look at this man who is like a raging bull. That’s the best way I can explain the energy that he exerts to stamp out these believing Jews who have trusted Christ as their Messiah. I know that maybe I shouldn’t even make the analogy, and forgive me, but if we would have been in God’s place, as the Sovereign Almighty God, what would you and I have done with a man like Saul? We’d have rubbed him out and put him away. Now keep that in mind as we look at this whole situation: that the Sovereign God could have removed Saul of Tarsus and he would have been nothing but a grease spot or a memory. But God’s Grace rises to the occasion. Here is the epitome, the very high point of the pouring out of God’s Grace on a sinful man. Who was fostering his rebellion and energizing this man? The devil was. Because he was not working in the will of God in thwarting everything Jesus had tried to do. It was under the Satanic power of opposition, and yet God in Grace does not wait for this man to have second thoughts, or to stop and say, “Wait a minute. Am I being overzealous?” No, Saul never thought like that. He was still intent on getting those believing Jews from Damascus. It didn’t make any difference whether they were men or women or children. He would take them back to Jerusalem and commit them to prison or death.

But now, God in His Grace, stops the man in his tracks with this penetrating light from Heaven. I think it knocked him from his horse. Probably from his prostrate position on the ground he looks up, knowing that the shining light is coming from Heaven. Where does any religious person normally think of as the abode of his god? Heaven! So as Saul saw this penetrating light coming from above, I think second nature told him that his God was dealing with him (The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph).

Acts 9:5a

“And he said, `Who art thou Lord?'”

When we were teaching back in the Old Testament, what was the synonymous name for Lord? Jehovah! But a good Jew wouldn’t even breath that word out loud. They had too much reverence for it, and so he uses the term `Lord.’ But Jehovah is on his mind. That’s Who his God is. Jehovah was the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And so at least mentally, Saul of Tarsus is saying, `Who are you Jehovah? Who are you Lord?” Now look how the man must have felt when he heard the answer. Read on:

Acts 9:5b

“And the Lord said, `I am Jesus who thou persecutest (I’m the One that you are fighting against): it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks (or against the goads).'”

It’s just like kicking your feet into a bunch of spikes. Every time he tried to exercise some persecution, he was the one who wound up hurting. God is showing him now, that he was fighting a losing battle. Can you put yourself in Saul’s shoes? When the very One he thought he was hating; the very One he thought he had to stamp out any memory of His name; of His miracles; of His ministry; was the same Person as his Jehovah from the Old Testament! This is why I always like to teach people from Genesis on. Beginning back in Genesis Chapter 2 verse 4, all of a sudden after reading, “God did this, and God did that, and God said this,” in Chapter 2 we have the Lord God. And that was the beginning of the reference to Jehovah. God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity. And so all the way up through the Old Testament we understand that God the Son and Jehovah are One and the same Person. He became flesh by way of the virgin birth and now Jehovah’s name is Jesus. They are both the same. And now this man suddenly realizes that the One he was trying to stamp out was the same One that he worshipped. What a revelation! No wonder the man was able to go through everything he went through for the rest of his life, just flashing back to this tremendous experience. God’s Grace saved him there on the spot. But he’s going to suffer for it because he’s caused so many of God’s choice servants to suffer during the persecution. So the first thing God does is what? Strike him blind.

Acts 9:6

“And he trembling and astonished said, `Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’ And the Lord said unto him, `Arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.'”

See where God has Saul now? All the way up through Biblical times, through human history, what kind of men did God choose to use? The lowly. And if they began in a high position, where would He take them? To the low spot. Look at Moses. The second man in Egypt was totally educated, learned the wisdom of the Egyptians, the second man in power. God couldn’t use him that way, and so providentially again, the Sovereign God had Moses end up on the back side of the desert herding sheep, of all things, where he actually became an abomination in the eyes of an Egyptian. And then after 40 years of herding those smelly sheep and no contact with big population centers, God can approach the man and say, “I’m going to send you back to Pharaoh.” What was Moses’ response? He said, “Lord, I can’t because I’m a nobody. I can’t talk.” But that’s where God wanted him.

King Saul was a proud individual. He was the best looking young man around. He had military talent and so forth but didn’t amount to a hill of beans. But who did God finally use? A little shepherd boy, David. Now, the same way with Saul of Tarsus. He was the big man in Judaism. You read in Galatians that he profited in the Jews’ religion, he was in the upper echelons. God couldn’t use him there. So where does He put him? On the dust on the road of Damascus, where he is now a nobody. And he has nothing to claim that he is worthy. So trembling, shaking in his boots he said, “Lord, what would You have me to do?” And the Lord told him to get up and go into the city. There he would be told what to do. Could the Lord have told him directly? Yes! But what does God intend to do? Use another person, Ananias, as the go-between.

Acts 9:7-9

“And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days (that crucial time again. See how that keeps popping up in Scripture?) without sight and neither did eat nor drink.”

What’s happening? Saul is going through a death, burial and Resurrection even in his own life. He’s going from the big man in Judaism to that lowly servant, which he says in Ephesians Chapter 3 “is a prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.” How long was Jonah in the whale’s belly? Three days and nights, then he was a changed man and could go to Nineveh. Saul is now going to become Paul and he, too, is going primarily to the Gentiles. Now as Saul makes his way up to Damascus, just a little north of the Sea of Galilee, the amazing thing is that all Twelve of the original disciples were chosen within the borders of the then-known Palestine. Not one was chosen from Gentile territory. They were all commissioned while was Jesus was in His earthly ministry within the borders of Israel.

Saul is unique in more than one way. Saul, by birth was a Jew, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee of the Pharisees. But as we find out later in the Book of Acts, Paul was also a Roman, by birth, by citizenship, because his father was. I’d like to point out here that Saul, or Paul as we will now know him as the Apostle, had absolutely no connection with the Twelve. Many theologians over the years have thought that Peter was remiss and got in a hurry and shouldn’t have let Matthias take the place that Judas left, but should have waited for Paul. That would never have worked. Paul would never have fit in. I have read good men, highly educated theologians, who have thought that Peter was totally out in left field by not waiting for Paul to fill Judas’ place. Let’s go back to Acts Chapter 1. Paul had nothing to do with the Twelve. He separates himself from them. He has no connection with the Twelve, they were apostles of Israel. They were chosen within the borders of Israel. This man is going to be the apostle of the Gentiles. And so God chooses and commissions him on Gentile ground. He takes a man who is not just a Jew, but is also a Gentile by citizenship (he’s a Roman). Acts 1 is where Peter lays out the qualifications for the man that is going to take Judas’ place. And all I ask is would Saul of Tarsus ever fill the requirement? No way! Here it is.

Acts 1:21,22

“Wherefore of these men (the 120 gathered in the upper room) which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us (40 days after the Crucifixion), must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.”

So, who had to be the one to take Judas’ place? Well, it had to be someone who had been converted from John’s baptism; been a follower of Jesus throughout His whole three years of ministry; had witnessed His Resurrection; had heard Him speak in those forty days before His ascension; or otherwise he wasn’t qualified. Saul of Tarsus doesn’t come close to any of this. He hasn’t become a believer until just now. He’s been an enemy of it. So he is totally separated from the Twelve. We’ll probably come to this at a later time, but turn to Galatians for a moment. I’ve had one or two letters over the last few months that are wondering why I am not going by what Peter says. When Peter says be baptized in this particular way, or in another particular way, and Peter this and Peter that. Well, because Peter was the apostle of the Jew and Paul is the apostle of the Gentile. Paul separates himself by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Galatians Chapter 1 beginning in verse 11.

Galatians 1:11,12

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.” What’s he intimating? He didn’t go back to Jerusalem and check with the Twelve. That would have been the logical thing to do. They had spent three years with the Lord and so that’s the place to go and get instruction. “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

`Revelation’ in Scripture means just what it says. God revealed directly to this man these doctrines of Grace. He wasn’t taught it from the Twelve, nor from the chief priests or Rabbis. He got it from supernatural revelation from the ascended Lord in glory.

Galatians 1:13,14

“For ye have heard of my conversation (or manner of living) in times past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church (the ecclesia) of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion (he was in the hierarchy and probably on a big salary) above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”

You know the Scripture hates that word `tradition.’ It’s going to doom more people than any one thing you can think of except maybe the word `pride.’ And this is what God had to break Saul away from. The traditions of the fathers. Now verse 17:

Galatians 1:17

“Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me, but I went into Arabia,….”

I want you to see how Paul, as he writes his letters, disassociates himself from the Twelve, so far as their doctrines and their Gospel were concerned. Because God has revealed something to this man that no one else has heard before. I’ve been stressing the fact that God keeps things secret until He is ready to reveal them. That’s the way to look at the things given to Paul. God saw fit to keep them secret. The Twelve couldn’t comprehend it. But Paul does, and consequently, God is going to designate him as being the apostle of the Gentiles. Whereas the Twelve were apostles of Israel. Now come back to Acts Chapter 9. Let’s look at verse 6 again.

Acts 9:6-11

…”Arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And so the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias (keep that name up in mind); and to him said the Lord in a vision, `Ananias,’ And he said, `Behold, I am here, Lord.’ And the Lord said unto him, `Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth.'”

Acts 9:15

“But the Lord said unto him, `Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me to bear my name before the Gentiles; and kings, and the children of Israel.'”

217 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 1 - Book 19 - Acts 8

217: Acts 8 – Lesson 1 Part 1 Book 19

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 19

ACTS 8

It is always so good to hear words of encouragement from our television audience, and the comments that you are learning. And as you know, the only reason I teach is to help you to enjoy your Bible. So let’s pick up again in Acts Chapter 8. In the last lesson we found Philip in Samaria preaching the Gospel. This is not the Gospel of Grace that you and I enjoy today, it had not been revealed. We have so many people who are now beginning to realize that these two Gospel’s are not one and the same as many people teach. The Gospel of the Kingdom, believing that Jesus was The Christ, repentance and baptism was going to the Nation of Israel by way of Jesus and the Twelve. And now Philip was continuing it. The reason I stand on that premise is we can find no mention of Salvation by the finished work of the Cross. There is no mention of believing in His death, burial and Resurrection for Salvation as proclaimed by the Apostle Paul in this Age of Grace. But they are still emphasizing that the One they crucified was indeed The Christ, and always watch for that. Always pay attention to what is said, not what you think they might have said.

In the last lesson we covered old Simon who made a non-real profession of faith. It was a counterfeit and fake. But for those who had truly believed Philip’s message that Jesus was The Christ, it took the laying on of hands of Peter and John before these believers received the Holy Spirit. This was a slight departure from what had taken place before, but as we emphasized that was to show the Samaritans that the authority rested in Jerusalem in the Twelve and nowhere else. In verse 25 after Peter and John have seen these Samaritans respond, you would think they would have said, “Now it’s time for us to spread out and go across the Roman Empire.” But do they? If they were carrying out what we call the great commission, at least after this experience, you would think they would have taken off for Egypt, and Greece and all points outside of Israel. But this is not the case. They go back to Jerusalem.

Acts 8:25

“And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.” That is as they returned to Jerusalem. Now we arrive where Philip will be supernaturally transported from the area of Samaria and Jerusalem down into the area of Gaza.

Acts 8:26

“And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, `Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.'” Gaza is about fifty miles southwest of Jerusalem, near the Mediterranean Sea. It was the normal trade route into Egypt. Philip’s instructed by the Lord to go there.

Acts 8:27

“And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia (I have always taught that this man was an Ethiopian proselyte, however these nations would use gifted and talented men especially from Israel, so he could very well have been a Jew. For example, Daniel was the second man in Babylon, and Joseph was the second man in Egypt. Even today in America Jews are in key positions of government. And where could a better qualified person be found to keep the treasury of a nation than a Jew? They have a natural knack for business, money and investment, so he very likely was a Jew. If he wasn’t a Jew then he had to be a proselyte because we see), an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship.” The Temple is still in operation. The Law had not been set aside. We are only about seven years after the Cross, about 36 A.D. The Temple is not destroyed until about 70 A.D. So this gentleman has been to worship and is on his way back home.

Acts 8:28-31a

“Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.” We know from the verses that he is reading Isaiah Chapter 53, which is still an appropriate portion of Scripture for approaching Jews about the finished work of Christ and His First Advent and so forth.

“Then the Spirit said unto Philip, `Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.'” As I reflect on everyday events in our own day and time, as well as the events in Scripture. I’m always made aware of the Sovereignty of God. God is Sovereign and He is in control of every detail that He wants to control. Now you see God has an intrinsic interest in this situation, and so the Holy Spirit directs Philip to this particular person. Now verse 30:

“And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, `Understandest thou what thou readest?'”

“And he said, `How can I,…'”

That hasn’t changed. I’ve maintained over the years that God did not leave His Word under the control or in the hands of angels. He did not leave it in the control of highly educated seminarians, but rather God has placed his Word with the leading of the Holy Spirit into the hands of every person that wants to handle it. And for those who are going to be made aware of the plan of Salvation, God uses common ordinary people. Over the years I’ve been watching and listening, and I only know one or two people who have claimed to come to a knowledge of the plan of Salvation by themselves, by simply reading The Bible. But usually without exception, it normally takes a human instrument to lead someone to a knowledge of Salvation. That is the case here in this verse. Philip is that human instrument. Now here the Holy Spirit is evident, but the Holy Spirit did not choose to show this Ethiopian the plan of Salvation without using the human instrument. Always remember that, but also remember that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. And here we have it. The eunuch is reading Isaiah, but he can’t understand it. But Philip is now being used to explain Scriptures. That is where you and I are to come in even today, we must always be ready to explain the Scriptures to someone who is interested and is seeking. Verse 31:

Acts 8:31-34

“And he said, `How can I, except some man should guide me?’ And he desired Philip that he would come and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, `He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:'” Now that is Isaiah 53 plain and simple. Read on.

“In his humiliation his judgment was taken away (His authority, and of course it’s in reference to Him being crucified); and who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth. (He was put to death). And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, `I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?'”

They ask the same question today. I remember a gentlemen I led to the Lord several years ago, and that was the first question he asked as we opened our conversation, “Who in the world is Jesus Christ?” Now we think that’s a terrible question. No, it isn’t. I wish more people would ask, “Who is He?” Why do we in the 1990’s still maintain that the Person Who died 2,000 years ago has everything to do with us? A lot of people don’t know. But they have to be brought to the place of understanding that He wasn’t just a prophet, or just another individual, or just a martyr. He was the Creator God. He was the One Who alone could purchase man’s Salvation and people have to be made aware of that.

Acts 8:35

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

Remember the New Testament isn’t written yet. Philip couldn’t read to him out of Romans like we would have done. Philip couldn’t even take him to Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. These books haven’t been written yet and so the only thing that Philip could use was the Old Testament. And so from the Old Testament he preached unto him Jesus. I’m a stickler for what The Book says and what it doesn’t say. And he does not preach unto him Jesus crucified and resurrected from the dead. It doesn’t say that.

Acts 8:36

“And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, `See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?'”

Now from that you can gather what Philip had been telling him? That Isaiah 53 was speaking of Jesus, Who had just a few years ago, walked those three years in Palestine; had been put to death; had been raised from the dead and God was still ready to let Him be the King of Israel. But Israel’s responsibility now, under the Law, was to repent, especially of that sin of Crucifixion, that was the biggest one. And they were to prove that repentance with water baptism. This is why after Philip has explained all of this to the eunuch, that the eunuch says,“Look, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized?” Now, look what Philip says in verse 37:

Acts 8:37

“And Philip said, `If thou believest (how?) with all thine heart, thou mayest.'”

Remember the situation up in Samaria with Simon. He believed but not with his heart. He was just believing with the head because he could see the material gain. But here again the Scripture makes it so plain, and as Paul does in Romans 10 that we have to believe with our whole being. Our innermost being – the heart. And it’s always been that way. I can always take people back to Cain and Abel. They were both, I suppose of the same stock, and they probably had, more or less, the same values. And they had both come to realize they had both sinned and God had told them what to do when sin came. And so here they come – Abel with the required sacrifice, as God has instructed it, because he had faith to do what God said to do. But nevertheless, Cain came with something. He didn’t just turn his back and say, “I’m not going to do anything about it.” But you see, Cain’s big problem was that he didn’t do what God told him and so that made him without faith. And without faith it is impossible to please God and there the balls starts rolling. Now, the same way here. The Ethiopian eunuch has not heard what God has required for Salvation. He has believed it with all of his heart and is not just doing like Simon and trying to make some material gain. But he is believing it. Now, let’s go on:

Acts 8:37

“And Philip said, `If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.’ (that is be baptized) And he answered and said (now here is the crucial part of this whole account. What did the eunuch believe? Now watch carefully because I’m going to throw you a curve. “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Who died for me, was buried and rose from the dead.” Does your Bible say that? Everybody likes to think it does. But he didn’t mention death, burial and Resurrection. What did he believe?) `I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'”

Now let’s compare Scripture with Scripture. I’ve done all of this before but when you have new listeners coming in every week you have to do some of this again for their benefit. Let’s go back to John Chapter 11. This is in Christ’s earthly ministry when Lazarus died. You all know the story. Martha is weeping and is almost distraught that Jesus could have come a little sooner and spared him, but He didn’t. So here is the conversation. Verse 23 of John 11:

John 11:23-27

“Jesus saith unto her, `Thy brother shall rise again.’ Martha saith unto him, `I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said unto her, `I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?'” (now look at her response and compare it with what the eunuch said in Acts Chapter 8) She said unto him, `Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art The Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.'”

Does she mention anything about his death, his Resurrection? Not a word! Of course that hadn’t even happened yet so how could she? But nevertheless, her profession of faith was, Who Jesus was. Turn to Luke 18 for just a minute, to show why these people back here at this point in time do not attribute Salvation to death, burial and Resurrection. God has not revealed it yet! And we cannot expect anyone to believe something that God hasn’t said. Faith is taking God at His Word! Faith can’t operate until God speaks it. To illustrate, did Noah start building the ark about six months before God told him to? Did Noah assume that he was going to need an ark and start working on it? No! When did he start hewing the lumber? After God said to build the ark. Did Moses presuppose, as he led the children of Israel out of Egypt, that they were going to have to have a system of Law and the Ten Commandments? Did Moses start laying the groundwork? No! What did he wait for? For God to give him the instructions. And so it’s always been throughout human history that God has to speak something before that generation, or whatever, can believe it. Now let’s look at Luke 18. This is shortly before Jesus’ Crucifixion. They are on their way from Galilee, northern Israel, down to Jerusalem.

Luke 18:31-34

“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, `Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Song of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.'” You can’t make it any plainer than that. But now look at the next verse:

“And they (the Twelve) understood none of these things… (they never comprehended a word of that. Why? Because they didn’t want to listen? No, because God had not yet seen fit to reveal it)…and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” Plain enough?

In other words, a Sovereign God does not reveal a truth until He’s ready to reveal it. Look at another confession during Christ’s earthly ministry. This time from Peter in Matthew 16. We’ve done this many time over the past few years, but for the benefit of new listeners who are probably jumping and thinking that I’m way out in left field, I have to qualify what I’m saying from the Scriptures. And again, Jesus and the Twelve are up in northern Galilee, in Caesarea Philippi, the head waters of the Jordan River. Verse 13:

Matthew 16:13-16

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, `Whom do men say that I the Son of man am (now, there are three accounts of this in the Gospels so this isn’t a little quirk of Matthew. This is repeated in Luke and Mark and to a certain extent, even in John)?’ And they said, `Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias: and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’ He saith unto them, `But whom say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, `Thou art The Christ, the Son of the living God.'”

Who died for me, was buried and rose from the dead? No! It doesn’t say that. So what’s the confession here? Thou art The Christ, the Son of the living God. This is all the way through Christ’s earthly ministry as far as Acts Chapter 8. We’re even going to see it in Chapter 9. Because God has not revealed the tremendous plan of Salvation based upon Grace, that Christ died for the sins of the world and that He was buried and that He rose from the dead. (Reference I Corinthians 15:1-4) Up till now they were to believe Who He was and that’s the Gospel of the Kingdom. Now let’s go back to Acts Chapter 8. Now verse 38:

Acts 8:38,39

“And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him (there’s no room for argument. He baptized him just as John the Baptist baptized his converts). And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he (the eunuch) went on his way rejoicing.”

Of course he did. He was coming back from Jerusalem steeped in religion and still wrapped in his sin. But after believing that Christ was indeed The Messiah, The King and everything associated with that First Advent, he experienced Salvation. And so he too could go on his way rejoicing, even as we saw they did up in Samaria. Verse 40 gives us a little hint of what’s going to happen when the 144,000 begin their ministry during the Tribulation. They won’t have to get airline tickets. I think they’ll have to depend on earthly transportation, yet we know they’re going to get into every tongue and tribe around the globe in less that seven years. How are they going to do it? I think by the same glorious means of transportation that Philip experienced right here. But Philip was found at Azotus. Gaza is down there at the southwest curve of the Mediterranean Sea and then about half to two thirds of the way between Gaza and Jerusalem was the city of Azotus which today we call Ashdod. Suddenly, not by walking or camel riding or any other way, Philip is transported from one place to another. And I think this is how the 144,000 men are going to cover the world in less than 7 years during the Tribulation.