343 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 3 - Book 29 - 1 Corinthians 15:24-54

343: 1 Corinthians 15:24-54 – Lesson 2 Part 3 Book 29

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 29

I CORINTHIANS 15:24-54

As we start this lesson we are still talking about the resurrection in the greatest resurrection chapter of Scripture, and that’s Chapter 15. We’ve been spending a lot of time now on the 23rd verse. Not the verse per se, but what’s building up to it. In other words, where does this particular company of people come from. They certainly are not Israel. They are not out of the Old Testament economy. They certainly are not in reference to that which is still ahead – the Tribulation. So, who are these that are going to be coming when Christ comes? We’ve been pulling out the fact that Paul has now been raised up to go to the Gentile world with a whole different concept of salvation. It’s going to be based on that finished work of the Cross. How that Christ died for our sins, His blood was shed, He was buried and He rose from the dead for our justification. You won’t find that in Scripture until we get to the revelations given to the Apostle Paul. We are studying I Corinthians 15, but right now we’re building this whole concept of the Body of Christ. It’s this Body of Christ that is called out from the Gentile world that will one day be resurrected in total. And for those that are alive and remain, we will be changed.

Now, let’s look at Romans Chapter 12 and verse 4 and see what it says. What I’m going to do now is to look up all these verses that have a reference to this Body of Christ. Always remember that back in Christ’s earthly ministry and Peter’s and so forth, they were proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom. And that was the Good News that Christ was as the King in their midst and He was ready to fulfill all the Old Testament promises concerning Israel and His Messiah-ship, and so it was the good news of the Kingdom. It was for Jew only. There was nothing in there for the Gentile.

Now when Israel rejected the Gospel of the Kingdom and the King, and they crucified Him, God turned to this other Jew, Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul as we now know him, and he begins to proclaim the Gospel of Grace. The Gospel of Grace means that nothing of law or legalism can be associated with it. It is primarily, but not exclusively, to the Gentiles. But to the Jew, it was the Gospel of the Kingdom. And when it was rejected, God turned with the Gospel of Grace. Now through the preaching of the Gospel of Grace, instead of calling out a Covenant people such as Israel was, we are calling out what Paul refers to as the Body of Christ. Never does Jesus or the Twelve ever use the term “the Body of Christ.” Never! I’ve challenged people for years – “If you find it, you show it to me.” No one ever has. They did not know about it and they did not use the term. Jesus knew about it, but He never revealed it. Then, on the other hand, you will never see Paul refer to the Gospel of the Kingdom! Why? Because he’s not concerned with the Gospel of the Kingdom. That was Jewish. He is concerned with the Body of Christ, the Gospel of Grace and it goes to Gentiles. There’s that big fork in the road, if I may put it that way. Now we’re going to look at all these verses that make a reference to the Body of Christ. That is a Pauline term exclusively. Never is it used anywhere else in Scripture.

Romans 12:4

“For as we have many members in one body, (using the human body as an illustration) and all members have not the same office:”

Well, all he’s saying is that fingers don’t do the same thing as a toe does. The eyes don’t do the same thing as the ears. Every member of our body has an intrinsic purpose. Now let’s look what the next verse says.

Romans 12:5

“So we (as believers of the Gospel of Grace) being many, are one body (where?) in Christ, and every one members one of another.”

Now we’ve had missionaries in our home the last couple of days and we were sharing this. That here they have believers down in the jungles of Bolivia and yet they’re in the same Body as we have right here in Oklahoma and the rest of America. We are all members of that same Organism, that spiritual make-up of the believers from wherever they are, from whatever station in life, we are all members of this one Body. That’s crucial to understand. Now let’s go on to the next scripture, I Corinthians 12.

I Corinthians 12:12,13

“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: (he’s referring to our human make-up. The hands, toes, ears, eyes, etc., but we’re under one central nervous system. The head controls the body) so also is Christ. For by one Spirit (the Holy Spirit) are we all (and I always emphasize that word. It isn’t just the spiritual who get baptized into the Body. Every believer of whatever station in life, when he becomes a believer, a child of God, then the Holy Spirit baptizes that person into the Body of Christ) baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink (or partake) into one Spirit.”

Now this is something that I don’t think Peter ever got the whole story. And most people today do not comprehend the position that you and I as believers of the Gospel have in Christ. We are already seated in the heavenlies, Paul teaches, and we are waiting for the day when we will be taken up into the heavenlies and to be in union with Christ Himself. Now let’s look at verse 27 of Chapter 12.

I Corinthians 12:27

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

Do we lose our identity? No! This is the beauty of it. You and I can go to The Lord in prayer and does Peter come and say, “Hey Lord, number 55678 is calling”. God knows every one of us by name. Not by a number or a group, but by individual name. And so he says we are members in particular of the Body of Christ. Now let’s turn over to Ephesians. And here again, Christ is being presented as the Head of the Body.

Ephesians 1:20

“Which he wrought in Christ, (the mighty power of verse 19) when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,” That’s our position. When He’s in Heaven, we’re in Heaven. Now verse 21.

Ephesians 1:21-23

“Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, (that’s where Christ is. He is above everything that is named) not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And (God) hath put all things under his feet (whose feet? Christ’s) and gave him to be the head over all things to the (what people?) the church, (the ecclesia, which is now the Body of Christ) Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

We looked at this several weeks ago and remember what the word fullness meant? Complement, which means that Christ will finally have the Body in His presence then He Himself considers Himself complete. Remember, we went back to Genesis and when poor old Adam was alone and was naming all the animals and they all had their mates, what did God say? “I will make a helpmeet for him.” And what was the other word for helpmeet? Complement. And so as Eve was the completion of Adam, so also will the Body of Christ be the completion of Christ Himself. Now, let’s look at Ephesians Chapter 3 and verse 6. Let’s start at verse 5 so we can pick up the thought.

Ephesians 3:5,6

“Which in other ages (generations) was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ (how?) by the gospel”.

Not by works, or baptism, or some other phenomena. Just by the Gospel. That’s the only way. The Gospel, how that Christ died, was buried and rose again as we find in I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10. Now let’s come across to Chapter 4, still in Ephesians. Now this is an interesting series of verses.

Ephesians 4:4a

“There is one body, …” There it is again. You don’t see that in Peter’s preaching. You don’t see that in Christ’s earthly ministry. But all through Paul’s writing you find this term, “the Body”. Let’s read on.

Ephesians 4:4b,5

“… and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, (absolutely, there’s only one Name given among men whereby we must be saved) one faith, one baptism,”

I always smile when people say, “Well, I’m of the Catholic faith,” “I’m of the Methodist faith,” “I’m of the Baptist faith,” “I’m of this faith.” What do they do with a verse like this? There aren’t all that many faiths. There’s one faith and only one. That’s what The Book says.

Ephesians 4:6

“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

Let’s look on down into verse 12 of Ephesians 4. Why do you suppose we’re seeing all these references to the Body all of a sudden, in the book of Ephesians? More than we did in Romans or Corinthians. Paul’s writings are a progressive revelation just like the Bible as a whole. Now when Paul first begins his letters he does not make that big a deal over the Body of Christ. In Romans just that one mention. In I Corinthians, one or two mentions. But now as you come into the book of Ephesians and Paul has had further revelations, this is one of the prison epistles. And he has now been sitting in prison in Caesarea for a year and a half and all of these deeper things come and now that’s why you see more about the Body in Ephesians than you did in Romans and Corinthians. It’s part of this greater revelation of our position in the Body, which is in Christ.

Ephesians 4:12

“For the perfecting (maturing) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the (what?) body of Christ.”

Do you see that? Now, let me make a point. Not every church member across the world is a member of the Body of Christ. In fact, I’m going to stick my neck out and say a small percentage of them. I don’t care what church you belong to. Mine included. Yes, I’m a member of a local church. Some people call and ask. I love my pastor and I think it’s mutual. But there are members of my church that are as lost as lost can be and they are not in the Body of Christ. I don’t know who they are because I’m not judging. I’m not looking at somebody and saying, “Well, you’re not in the Body.” In fact I told somebody the other day, and I’ll tell my whole television audience, don’t ever look at anybody, I don’t care how far down the tube they are, don’t look at them and say, “Well, you’re going to Hell”, because you don’t know that.

Salvation may come to that person at some future date and you don’t know that. And so, please, don’t ever tell someone that. That’s God’s prerogative, not ours. And the same with judging whether someone is a believer. I can’t and neither can you. Only God can see the heart. But I do know from the Scripture and from everything else that bombards us, there are a lot of bonafide church members who are not members of the Body of Christ. Only The Lord himself places a person into the Body of Christ. Denominations can’t, your preacher can’t do it, a priest can’t do it. This is something that only the Spirit of God can do. So, what is the purpose of all the things that God has been doing on behalf of the Church? To edify the Body of Christ, the true believer! Now let’s go on down to pick up the whole thought. All this that’s been going on in the earthly sojourn as he points out in verse 11, “apostles; prophets; and some evangelists, teachers, pastors. All of this is to edify the Body of Christ. Now let’s look at verse 13.

Ephesians 4:13

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, (in the body) and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (or mature) man, (not sinless perfection. We never reach that in this life)unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

Let’s look now at verse 14 and if this isn’t apropos. I have to feel that the people I teach can look at this verse and say, “Yep, I know what it means.” Because if we’re taught then we will not be tossed to and fro.

Ephesians 4:14

“That we henceforth (have grown in our faith and stature) be no more children, tossed to and fro; and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight (or cunningness) of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”

There’s more deceptions today than the world has ever seen. How are we going to confront it? With a knowledge of the Word and a realization of what our position is in the Body. Now let’s look at verse 15

Ephesians 4:15

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him (in that position in Christ) in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”

Now Paul is always using the human body as an illustration. Where does everything originate in the operation of our fingers, legs, toes and everything else? The brain! The mind! The head! That’s what Christ is. He is the Head of the Body and as the Body functions, even in this world, where does its marching orders come from? The Head! Not some denominational hierarchy. I’ve got nothing against denominations, if they’re into the Word. So be it. All I’m saying is, that’s not where you get your marching orders. You get your orders from the Head and He is going to speak through the Word. Now if your pastor is preaching the Word, then great. But if he isn’t, then you’d better come back to The Book because here is where you’re going to be held accountable. Now let’s go on into Colossians and let’s begin at Chapter 1, verse 15. And again, this is just simply showing the preeminence of the position of Christ Who is the Head of the Body.

Colossians 1:15

“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:”

I had a letter from a lady the other day who said, “I’ve enjoyed your programs, your teaching, but when I heard you say that Jesus was God, I had to shut you off and I don’t want to ever listen to you again.” Well, that’s her privilege. But what is the poor girl doing? She is closing her eyes to all the truth of Scripture that Jesus Christ is very much God! You can see it all the way through the Scripture. Not just an off-spring of God, or something created by God, but he is God! Verse 16.

Colossians 1:16-18a

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him:” And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the (what?) body, …”

Now are you beginning to see it? That He, in His position in the heavenlies, is the Head and we are functioning as the Body and we move, like Paul said to the Athenians in the book of Acts, everything we do – we breathe, we eat, we move, all because of Him. And so He is the Head of the Body.

Colossians 1:18,19

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;” Yes he’s preeminent. Now, let’s come over to Chapter 2 verse 14:

Colossians 2:14-17

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, (the Law) which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over then in it. (In His work of the Cross) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; (what does that flash back to? Judaism! The Law! That’s all behind us. It’s all been nailed to His Cross.) Which are a shadow of things to come but the body is of Christ.”

Now I don’t think the Body of Christ even had the preview of the types in the Old Testament, but the Cross did. His resurrection did. But I don’t think the Body did. Now, there’s one more scripture I want to get here in Colossians. Colossians Chapter 3 and verse 15.

Colossians 3:15,16a

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly in all wisdom; …”

God doesn’t want a bunch of ignorant believers in the Body. He wants every child of His to be well-taught, to be well instructed, to be grounded and to enjoy our faith. There’s no room for a miserable Christian. If they’re miserable, they’re out of fellowship with The Lord. They are out there in the world where they shouldn’t be. But it’s a joyous life and God wants it to be that way. Now reading on.

Colossians 3:17

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

342 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 2 - Book 29 - The Main Harvest - Part 2

342: The Main Harvest – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 2 Book 29

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 29

THE MAIN HARVEST – PART 2

Now we’ll pick up again where we left off, and what we’re trying to show is how this next order of the resurrection comes about and of course that would be the main harvest: the Body of Christ. Before we begin though I would like to share that last evening we got a phone call from a gentlemen who had a friend who was an alcoholic and in a treatment center. He had been to visit her, and told her that this was probably her last chance and it was time that she got interested in the things of the spiritual. So he left this lady a couple of my tapes, and the reason he called was to tell me that from those tapes she had gotten saved, she was right with The Lord, and he was just so thrilled he couldn’t get over it. So this is our whole purpose, whether you’re watching by way of television or by a tape or through the printed page. The reason we teach is to help folk understand what the Bible is really all about. Remember, this is God’s Word and He has left it with us to prepare us for eternity. That’s the only reason we’re here. This life of 70, 80, or 90 years is not even a split second compared with eternity.

We’re in I Corinthians Chapter 15, and we’ve been talking about the doctrine of the resurrection, which is basic to our Christian faith, and at verse 20 we saw Paul sort of shift gears and now he breaks down how the resurrections are going to take place. They are not going to be all at one event, but rather first we had the firstfruits when Christ rose from the dead and those Jewish believers who came out of the graves after He did in Matthew Chapter 27.

Matthew 27:52,53a

“And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose. And came out of the graves after his resurrection,…” Then Paul said in I Corinthians Chapter 15:23:

I Corinthians 15:23

“But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; (and) afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”

Which of course would have to be the believers of the Church Age. That’s us believers. So in our last lesson that was the purpose of taking you all the way back to the Book of Acts and bringing us through those early chapters when Peter was still dealing with the Nation of Israel and how then God raised up Saul of Tarsus. He made it plain as day that now this man was going to be sent to the Gentiles. And of course we saw all that in Acts Chapter 9, and we left him as they had lowered him in a basket over the wall because of the threats on his life. Now I want you to turn to Galatians Chapter 1, and in this little chapter Paul again brings us up to date as to what took place after he fled from Damascus. Now remember God is going to use this one man to take the message of salvation primarily to, but not exclusively, the Gentile world, although Jews are certainly going to be available for this same salvation. Let’s start with verse 11.

Galatians 1:11

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.”

Now you know I’m a stickler for words, and the Holy Spirit never puts in excess words or never cuts it short, but rather He puts in everything that we need. Now look at that verse. If Paul is going to be preaching the same Gospel that Jesus and the Twelve preached then why in the world does He identify that the Gospel he preached as not being after man? Why those extra little words in there? Why didn’t he just say, “I certify you, brethren, that when I preach the Gospel?.” But he doesn’t put it that way. He says rather, “the Gospel which was preached of me.” Now that identifies him, and if you’ll come across into Chapter 2 he does it even more clearly. Now years later in Chapter 2 when he meets with Peter, James, and John, and the other leaders at the Church there in Jerusalem he’s going to have to give an account of what he’s been preaching to these Gentiles. Now look at verse 2 of Chapter 2.

Galatians 2:2

“And I went up (to Jerusalem) by revelation, and communicated (he made it crystal clear) unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles,…”

And again why didn’t he just say, “the Gospel?” Well, that would have left a gap, so he clarifies it by saying, “I communicated unto them that Gospel which I preached among the Gentiles.” Do you see how that clarifies everything? All right, now let’s come back to Chapter 1 and see how all this came about because Paul is reviewing this. Remember when he writes Galatians this is about twenty years after his conversion in Acts Chapter 9. I think a lot of people lose sight of the chronology of some of these events in the New Testament. Saul of Tarsus was probably saved on the road to Damascus around 37 A.D. and then after his three years of desert training in Arabia it’s 40 A.D. before he goes out into the Gentile world. Then he has that counsel at Jerusalem, which is in Acts 15 and Galatians 2 in A.D. 52 and so that’s about 12 years after he began his ministry. Then the first letter that he writes, according to my time-table, is the Thessalonian letters and they’re written some 12 or 14 years after he began his ministry. So you see, time keeps rolling on. This isn’t all just mashed together. It’s all spread out over a period of 20 or 30 years. In Galatians Chapter 1 he is writing about 58 or 59 A.D. Remember, if he began his ministry in 40 A.D. then this is 18 years later when he starts writing these Epistles.

Galatians 1:11,12

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, (by men) but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Now that tells you something. If Paul received everything that he is preaching and writing from The Lord Jesus Christ, where is Christ at the time of all this revelation? Well, He’s in Heaven! He’s in glory! After His resurrection! I’m always pointing this out. We hear so much of our preaching and our Sunday School material from the four Gospels. And there is nothing wrong with it to a degree. But that all took place before the work of the Cross. But this man is going to have the Lord Jesus telling him these things after the work of the Cross is accomplished, after He is ascended back to glory and now He’s going to tell this man, Paul, what to tell the whole world. Not just the Jew. Not just the Gentile, but all the world. Now let’s read on.

Galatians 1:13

“For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, (remember that’s what he was when he was a persecutor. He was a religious Jew) how that beyond measure I persecuted the church (or assembly) of God and wasted it:” He absolutely persecuted them. He tore them up. He killed and imprisoned them. Anything he could do to stop anything concerning Jesus of Nazareth.

Galatians 1:14a

“And profited…”

He was a religious big-wig, and he probably gained a tremendous amount of wealth. And from that period of time I think Saul of Tarsus was married and had children. I think as a result of being sold out now to Christ, he had to put all that behind him. He lost it all. And I think that was all included when he said that everything he ever owned he counted but dung. Why? Because now he had a far higher commission in life than gaining wealth or taking care of a family.

Galatians 1:14

“And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceeding zealous of the tradition of my fathers.” That would be Judaism and religion Now verse 15 and what’s the first word? “But.” Here he came out of all this religion and all of the benefits of it, but the flip side of it is that God had something else for the man.

Galatians 1:15

“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,” He didn’t deserve God’s grace. If anybody didn’t deserve it, Saul of Tarsus didn’t. But God called him by his grace for what purpose?

Galatians 1:16

“To reveal his Son in me, (for what purpose?) that I might preach him among the heathen, (Gentiles) immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:”

Here is his whole purpose, that God has brought this man on the scene for the distinct purpose of taking the Gospel of Grace to the Gentiles. (Faith in His death, burial, and resurrection for salvation, and nothing else.) Now, granted, it’s going also to spill over to some Jews, but not many. You know, it’s almost a total reverse of the Old Testament. There, God was dealing only with the Jew but a few Gentiles picked up some of the gleanings. And the same thing here. Saul of Tarsus, now Paul, is going to go primarily to the Gentiles. But there are a few Jews that come into the Body of Christ. Now in the last part of verse 16, just put yourself in Saul’s shoes, running outside the walls of Damascus, not really knowing where he was going, pitch dark, no explicit instructions yet of where to go. All God had said was that he was going to suffer for His Name. Now if you had been in Saul’s shoes, just outside the wall of Damascus and you put your old mind in gear, where would you have headed?

I know where I would have gone. Where would you have gone? Back to Jerusalem and look up Peter, James and John! He knew that those were the fellows who had been with Jesus for three years. He knew that they headed up the group that he had been trying to destroy. And now when he suddenly realized that the One that he thought he was trying to obliterate, was the very God that he thought he was serving, common sense tells me that the man should have headed right straight back to Jerusalem and poured out his heart to those Twelve men and shared with them everything that had happened, and confessed the fact that he had been dead wrong about Jesus, and now he was ready to serve Him. But he doesn’t do that. Why? There’s a purpose in all of this. A divine purpose. A sovereign purpose. And look what he says in the last part of verse 16:

Galatians 1:16b

” …immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:” Now who do you suppose he was referring to? The Twelve! He didn’t go back to Jerusalem. He didn’t confer with them. Now let’s read on.

Galatians 1:17

“Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; (now that sets it clear doesn’t it?) but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.”

We know from another chapter in Galatians, what was in Arabia? Mount Sinai! And so that’s where The Lord took him. Now we have to feel that from the account in the book of Acts, he must have been down there three years. And then from that, three years of experience at Mount Sinai in the desert, and now he’s ready to take the message of grace to the Gentile world. Let’s read on.

Galatians 1:18

“Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, (not until. And by this time he has all these revelations. The mysteries are beginning to unfold and now he can go see Peter. Not to learn everything thing Peter knew but to share with Peter some of these new revelations. I’ve said it so often, Peter never did get them all. He never could comprehend all these revelations that the apostle Paul had received.) and abode with him fifteen days.”

Now let’s come back to Romans Chapter 16 and verse 25. And now at the end of this tremendous book of doctrine, the Book of Romans, (and it’s doctrinal from verse 1 to at least Chapter 16) here in Chapter 16 and verse 25 comes a subtle statement, and it should blow our minds, but too many people don’t even know it’s in here. Look what he says:

Romans 16:25

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you (believers) according to (the Gospel? No. What?) my gospel (see how he identifies it) and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation (or revealing) of the mystery, (the secret that’s been kept in the mind of God) which was kept secret since the world began,”

Now isn’t that plain? Why can’t people see that? That here this mystery which is the whole circle of Paul’s doctrines were kept secret until God revealed them to this man. Most of which came out in that three years at Sinai and the deeper revelations that come out in Ephesians. In his prison epistles, The Lord may have poured out of these deeper doctrines while he was sitting in prison in Caesarea waiting to go to Rome. Because, you see, after he’d spent that year and a half in Caesarea, he gets to Rome under house arrest and that’s when he writes what we call his prison epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. So those 18 months in prison probably were not wasted at all, because that’s when The Lord revealed these tremendous, deeper things to him. Now let’s go to Ephesians Chapter 3 and we’ll start at verse 1. And remember this is just sort of an overview of Paul getting to the place where the Lord can use him to start calling out that next great body of resurrection: the Body of Christ, the Church.

Ephesians 3:1,2

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for (whom?) you Gentiles. If you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God (now watch how it came. He doesn’t say “which came to you by Jesus Christ”. It doesn’t say, “which came to you by Peter, James and John.” It doesn’t say, “by way of Abraham”. What does it say?) which is given me (and then where did it go?) to you-ward:”

Do you see how plain that is? I I had a gentleman sitting at my kitchen table one night and I had him read that verse and he said, “I know what you’re driving at.” So I said, “Read it again.” I think he read it three or four times before he finally just almost batted his eyes and he said, “I never saw that before.” I said, “Well, you’re typical. That’s the way people read their Bibles.” They read it but they don’t read it. But when he saw that the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to say that this Grace of God was given to him to give to us, there was the process. But how many people understand that? That’s why I’m always telling people when they call or write and tell me that they are relatively new believers, and they want to know what part of the Bible should they be reading. Paul!!! Because this is where it’s at for the Church Age. Now you don’t throw the rest of the Bible away, you know that. But it’s Paul that reveals all these various doctrines. So now verse 3 of Ephesians 3.

Ephesians 3:3

“How that by revelation (the same word he used in Galatians) he (The Lord Jesus Himself) made known unto me the (what?) mystery; …”

Now we covered all the mysteries in earlier lessons. And they are that whole composite of truth that makes for the Church Age. And they all come from the pen of the apostle Paul. I was talking to someone they other day, and they said, ” Why do you make this much of Paul?” And I said, “Let me ask you something. I don’t care what denomination handle you have. Do you have a pastor and deacons and Church elders?” He said, “Well, yes.” I said, “Where did you get the instructions for them?” Well, he didn’t know. I said, “Well, I’ll tell you. You got it from Timothy. And who wrote Timothy? Paul! Does your Church practice The Lord’s table?” He said, “Oh, yeah.” I said, “Where did you get it?” He thought maybe when Jesus said it. I said, “No, Jesus didn’t put anything on it. All He said was, “This is My body and this is My blood, but He didn’t give any instructions for the communion service. So where did we get it? From I Corinthians 11.” And down the line you can go with every facet of what 99% of Christendom practices doctrinally. They get it from Paul. And yet they’ll never give him the time of day. It’s amazing isn’t it? Let’s go on.

Ephesians 3:4,5

“…Whereby, when ye read, [Paul’s epistles] ye may understand my knowledge (of what?) in the mystery of Christ). [this will blow your mind if you read it carefully] Which in other ages[generations. It doesn’t say which was made known. It was] not made known (see what a difference one word can make) to the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;”

What does that bring up again? This whole concept of the secrets that God keeps until He’s ready to reveal them. But when He reveals them He expects mankind to believe them. Now let’s go down to verse 8.

Ephesians 3:8

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;”

How many believers understand the unsearchable riches of Christ? I could stand here for the next hour on just the unsearchable riches of Christ. It is beyond human comprehension. But we’re not going to do that, we’re going to move on. Let’s look at verse 9.

Ephesians 3:9

“And to make all men see (understand) what is the fellowship of the mystery, (this body of truth that’s been revealed to this apostle) which from the beginning of the world (the age – Adam) hath been (what?) hid (where?) in (the mind of) God, who created all things by Jesus Christ;”

In other words, we’re talking about the same God in Ephesians that we’re talking about in Genesis 1. And He has seen fit to keep all of these things secret until it has been revealed to this apostle. Now let’s go to the next verse. Why has God revealed this secret of the mystery?

Ephesians 3:10

“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church (ecclesia or called-out believers) the manifold wisdom of God.”

Now, who is the Church? The seminaries? The preachers? Who? Everybody!!! The common ordinary person in the pew who comprises the Church. Are they supposed to know the manifold wisdom of God? Absolutely! I think it was Tyndale, when he was trying to get Bibles across Europe to England, he wanted to get the Word of God into the hands of every plowboy in England. What did that mean? There wasn’t anybody too uneducated to have the Word of God in his hands. And that’s what God intends. He wants every single believer to study the Scriptures and to understand them. Nothing thrills me more than when someone says, “I disagree with you. You even make me a little mad. But I have determined that I’m going to start studying my Bible.” Hey! I’m the winner. I had a lady come out of one of my classes one night, and I mean she was hot under the collar. She said, “Les, I will never agree with you.” I said, “Well that’s fine.” But she said, “I’ll have to admit something. Back there the madder I got, the more I determined I was going to start studying my Bible.” I said, “You made this trip over here all worth while.” When you get a response like that, it’s worth it. Because if people would just get into The Book and study it. Not just read it – study it. Then all of a sudden these things start falling into place.

Ephesians 3:11

“According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:”

Now when you see that word “eternal” what does it take you back to? All the way back to eternity past, before there was ever anything created. Even before there was a Heaven, or first angel, or first star, or a celestial body. That’s eternity. And in that eternity past, God had His purpose for you and I, for the human race. Now verse 12.

Ephesians 3:12

“In whom (when you’re a believer, you’re a part and parcel of Christ Himself) we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”

341 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 1 - Book 29 - The Main Harvest

341: The Main Harvest – Lesson 2 Part 1 Book 29

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 29

THE MAIN HARVEST

Now to continue with our lessons about the resurrection, and we’ll be turning back to I Corinthians Chapter 15. And as we study the Scriptures always remember it just as important to see what the Scriptures don’t say as well as what they do say. Paul is now in this great resurrection chapter, and is making the point that not everyone, as seemingly implied back in John’s Gospel, is going to be resurrected at the same moment.

I Corinthians 15:20-22

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,”

In fact John Chapter 5 tells us that all are going to one day be resurrected and that includes the lost. The unsaved will have to face the Judge Who is Christ Himself at the Great White Throne Judgment. Now in verse 23 we have the separations of the resurrections, and that of course was where we were in the last series of lessons.

I Corinthians 15:23a

“But every man (every human being that has ever lived is going to be resurrected) in his own order:…”

Or own company, like we find in the military which is an organizational set-up and easy to keep track of everybody. But remember God is a God of order, He has everything so organized. God never does things in a mumble-jumble way. So even the resurrections are going to be brought about in an orderly way. And as we saw in the past few lessons, first Christ and His resurrection, and Who was the very first. Then those who came out of the graves in Matthew 27 after His resurrection, which we taught, comprise the firstfruits as it was in Israel’s harvest days. And now you see in verse 23 we have the next order in the resurrection and they are:

I Corinthians 15:23b

“…Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”

Now we know that every believer of every age naturally belongs to Christ. He is the Creator and everything is His, but when it comes to the positional term, especially as we see it in the Book of Ephesians, to be in Christ, in Him, then that is speaking uniquely of

the Body of Christ. Now we never see the Jew in the economy of Law spoken of as being in Christ, because that is strictly a Pauline term. So I have to feel that verse 23 then is speaking of those who are in Christ will be the next main group to be resurrected. after the firstfruits which took place at Christ’s resurrection. Now in all of my years of teaching I think the one thing that has come through for people is that you have to separate God’s dealing with the Old Testament economy and His dealing with the Church. Remember you can not mix them; you must keep them sorted, and here again in order to understand this 23d verse you have to realize that Israel and the Church are two separate economies.

An economy is something that makes something go. In other words, when we speak of the economy of the nation we’re speaking about the whole system of business, politics, you name it, and that comprises an economy, a system. Now in the economies of God you cannot take that which He was doing with Israel and bring it in to the Church which is His Body. Nor can you jump ahead and put the Tribulation saints back into the Body of Christ, so we’re going to try and sort all this out in these next few lessons. Now we’re going to go all the way back, if you will, to the Book of Acts. In the last lesson we pretty much covered the first fruits and how it was associated with the feast days of Israel, and also in the last lesson we covered the whole scope of God dealing with the Nation of Israel preparing them for the coming of their Messiah, their King, and their Redeemer, Jesus of Nazareth. And I think my closing remarks were, “That even though things look hopeless for the little Nation of Israel today, and it just seems like the whole world is trying to push them into the Mediterranean sea, yet take heart because the Scripture has promised that the little Nation of Israel will never disappear because it has to be there for Biblical prophecy to be fulfilled. Remember, God has to have the Nation of Israel in the land, in Jerusalem, in order to fulfill all things, and if that did not happen this whole Book becomes a fallacy.”

But now we’re going to come on this side of the Cross, and as Christ presented Himself to the Nation of Israel as their King and Redeemer and for the most part the Nation of Israel rejected it. Now some believed, but it was a relativity small percentage, and so for the most part the Nation of Israel said, “We’ll not have this man to rule over us.” And they finally demanded He be crucified. And one of the chief proponents of all that would have been Saul of Tarsus, who we will see in a few moments. Now as you come into the Book of Acts we find God so benevolent, and gracious that in spite of all that the Nation of Israel has done with regard to their Messiah, God still comes back in the early chapters of Acts through Peter and the other eleven disciples, and is still going to give Israel the opportunity to repent of the horrible sin of having crucified their King. And He’s still giving them the opportunity of having the King and the Kingdom if they would only believe it. Now we pick that up primarily in the great chapter on Pentecost in Chapter 2. This is just an overview now as we see everything building for God turning from the Nation of Israel to the Gentile world for the purpose then of calling out a people for His name, “The Body of Christ” Here in Acts Chapter 2 Peter is standing up on the day of Pentecost there at the great Temple complex, with thousands upon thousands of Jews having come into Jerusalem from all over the then-known world. And verse 22 says so plainly:

Acts 2:22a

“Ye men of Israel,…”

Now you remember what I said in my opening remarks? It’s just as important to see what the Bible does not say as what it does say. Now most of us have been programmed to think that the Bible here should say, “Ye men of Israel and all you Gentiles” But it doesn’t say that, it doesn’t include a single Gentile. Here Peter is only addressing the Nation of Israel, and he’s still on the same ground that he was before the crucifixion, and that was the Abrahamic, and the various other Old Testament Covenants.

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 being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”

Now that’s plain language isn’t it? What is Peter accusing the Nation of Israel of? Having killed their Messiah, they murdered Him. Even though they didn’t do it with their own hands, they demanded it, and this caused Rome to carry it out, and so Peter is bringing this message to them that they had openly rejected their Messiah. Now you come on down to verse 36, and here again it’s just as important to see what it does not say as what it says, and again Peter doesn’t say anything about a Gentile, but rather:

Acts 2:36

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Well just because they killed Him that didn’t stop God’s program, because God raised Him from the dead. He’s still alive and Peter is making that known. So the message to Israel now was to “REPENT.” Of what? Of having rejected their Messiah. My that was something to repent of, and they were to repent of it, and naturally they were to prove their repentance with, as Peter says here in verse 38, baptism.

Acts 2:38

“Then Peter said unto them, (the Nation of Israel in response to them having crucified their Messiah) `Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,…'”

And as you come on over to Chapter 3 we find Peter again preaching to this massive crowd of Jews who have gathered because of the miracle that has happened to the lame man as a result of Peter and John. And in verse 12 of Chapter 3 we find:

Acts 3:12,13a

“And when Peter saw it, (The amazement of all these Jews) he answered unto the people, `Ye men of Israel, (Again no mention of us Gentiles) why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? (But Who did?) The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers,…'”

Now did that mean anything to Gentiles? No! The Romans could have cared less Who came from Abraham, but to the Jew it meant everything. And again as we continue the verse, Peter reminds the Nation of Israel that they killed Him.

Acts 3:13b

“…hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.” And we see also in verse 15:

Acts 3:15

“And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”

Now when we were studying the Book of Acts more or less verse by verse, I made the point that if you study and pick it apart you’ll notice that never does Peter associate salvation with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection like the Apostle Paul does. All Peter is claiming in verse 15 is that Jesus was the Christ, and they had crucified Him, but God raised Him from the dead, and He could still fulfill all those Old Testament promises because He was alive. The secret of all of God’s purposes in His going to the Cross had not been revealed yet, that’s going to come a little later when the Apostle Paul comes on the scene. And always remember that God is Sovereign, and He has the prerogative of keeping things secret until He wants them revealed. And Deuteronomy 29:29 says so.

Deuteronomy 29:29

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever,…”

So God keeps things secret until He reveals them, but when He does reveal them He expects mankind to believe it. And so this is the whole scope of Scripture that God will keep things secret until a particular point in time. And here in Acts Chapter 3 God hasn’t revealed yet that in that death, burial, and resurrection was wrapped up the salvation of the whole human race, but only that He’s still dealing with Israel on the grounds of those Covenants promises. Well, as a rule, when we come through the Book of Acts I like to bring my classes all the way over to Chapter 7, and remember this is just an overview to bring us up to Saul of Tarsus and the out-calling of the Church which is the next part of resurrection. So in Chapter 7 we find Stephen has gone through the whole sphere of Jewish history from the call of Abram, through the Law, through the coming of Christ proclaiming Himself as their Messiah. And now the Jews (Israel) are ready to jump on Stephen and put him to death when he lifted up the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And then you remember in verse 57.

Acts 7:57,58

“Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: (And don’t forget who the they are, the Jews, and this was their way of capital punishment) and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. “

Now this is the first time that we have someone other than the Twelve and the elders of Israel introduced into the Acts account. Never heard of him before have we? Now all of a sudden he’s going to fill the pages of the biggest part of our New Testament. So as they were stoning Stephen in verse 59:

Acts 7:59,60

“And they stoned Stephen , calling upon God, and saying, `Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, `Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Now Chapter 8, and verse 1.

Acts 8:1a

“And Saul was consenting (promoting) unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church (Those believing Jews) which was at Jerusalem; …”

Come on over to Chapter 9, and everything up to this point in time has been God dealing with His Covenant people. Everything up through the Old Testament with just a few exceptions was directed exclusively to the Nation of Israel. But beginning with Chapter 9 there is a parting of the ways in God’s program for the human race. For the first time now He’s going to deviate from that whole concept of Jew only, Jew only, Jew only. And now He’s going to make this tremendous statement to Saul of Tarsus, that he is a chosen vessel to proclaim the name of Christ to the Gentiles. We won’t take time here for his salvation experience on the road to Damascus because I think most of you are acquainted with that. Come all the way down in Chapter 9 and we deal with Ananias, a believing Jew there in Damascus, and The Lord is speaking though Ananias concerning Saul who will shortly be coming into his acquaintanceship. So let’s begin with verse 13:

Acts 9:13,14

“Then Ananias answered, `Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here (In Damascus) he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.'”

Remember Saul was the chief persecutor and he was going to stamp out anybody who has embraced Jesus of Nazareth as Israel’s Messiah. Now you want to remember the major mentality of most Jews even today is the same as Saul of Tarsus. They still think that Jesus was an impostor and He was a blasphemer, and they think to do away with the name of Jesus from amongst Israel is doing their God a favor. I was reading in one of the Jewish magazines where an evangelist and an old Jewish rabbi were arguing the point of Jesus’s Messiah-ship. And when this evangelist had claimed that Jesus had already been here, and had been crucified, and gone back to glory and we’re waiting for him to come the second time, the old rabbi said, “No way, He’s never been here.” Well they argued that back and forth, and finally the old rabbi said, “Tell you what, we’ll just wait till He gets here and then I’m going to ask Him, `Have you been here before.'” Well that pretty much says it, and that’s the Jewish thinking that He has not yet come. Even when we were in Israel a few weeks ago our guide was a dyed-in-the-wool Orthodox Jew, and he made no bones about it. Now he could talk about Jesus, he knew the Four Gospel accounts of Christ’s earthly ministry better than most of us, but when you would ask him, “Well then are you a believer, are you a Christian?” He would answer, “Oh no, I’m an Orthodox Jew.” But they have to know all these things if they’re going to guide people like us, but nevertheless it comes through real clear and plain that Christ has not yet come. They are still looking for Him. Oh, they think His coming is getting close. You talk to a Jew who knows his Old Testament and he’ll be quick to tell you that, “The Messiah is coming soon.”

And of course most of you have been reading in all of your papers about the Red Heifer in Israel. Well it’s just another indication that these Orthodox Jews are excited about the prospect of their Messiah’s soon coming. And when He comes He will set things so that they can have their Temple and something will happen to the Muslims on the Temple mount peaceably or other wise, but they’re sure when Messiah comes they’re going to have their Temple worship. And they will! However, it’s not going to be the true Messiah. It’s going to be the counterfeit Messiah, the Anti-christ. If you have Jewish friends and you have a chance to visit with them, as I have, and I have a lot of Jewish listeners out there in television, I’ll ask them what they are looking for in a Messiah? And they always reply, “Well, He’s not God like you claim. He’s just a man, but he’s going to be like a superman.” Well that’s just exactly like I teach the Anti-christ will be. He’s going to have tremendous charisma, and ability to lead militarily, and economically, and every which way. But he’s the counterfeit, he’s the Anti-christ.

So this whole mentality was wrapped up in this one man, Saul of Tarsus, that Jesus was an impostor, He was a blasphemer. Now back to Ananias in verse 15. And if you haven’t caught it before, mark this verse down, where Ananias now in Damascus is being spoken to by the Lord Jesus from Heaven and He says:

Acts 9:15

“But the Lord said unto him (Ananias) `Go thy way: for he (Saul of Tarsus) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles,…'”

Now you’ve never seen this language in the Bible before this. I know people get shook up when I tell them that Jesus never ministered to Gentiles with only a couple of exceptions. Most can’t swallow that, and they try to find all kind of excuses that He must have gone to Gentiles. I always say, “Well, show me in the Scripture? Show me where He had any concert with Gentiles?” Well, He didn’t, except the Roman centurion, and the woman of Canaan. And other than that He confined His ministry in that little neck of land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. Only to the Jew did He go, and He made it so plain to the Twelve.

Matthew 10:5

“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, `Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:'”

Now that’s clear-cut language. Now for a moment go to Acts Chapter 11, this is the one verse I guess that did more to open my eyes on this thinking than any other verse in Scripture. It brought me to the place that I could see that God had been dealing only with the Jew, with exceptions (I’ll always have to put that in there). But He was dealing with the Nation of Israel from the Old Testament promises, and now look what verse 19 says, and it’s so plain.

Acts 11:19

“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen (That which we read about back there in Chapter 7. Those Jews that came under that persecution ) travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word (Old Testament) to none but unto the Jews only.”

If you can squeeze a Gentile into that verse then you’re a bigger miracle worker than I could ever hope to be. It just doesn’t happen because they didn’t have Gentiles in their listening audience. They are appealing only to the Jew on the basis of all those Old Testament promises. Now coming back to Chapter 9 for just a moment we find God sovereignly putting a fork in the road, and now He’s going to send this man, Saul of Tarsus, far hence to the Gentiles. And in verse 16 we know it was fulfilled to the last jot and tittle. God said to Ananias:

Acts 9:16

“For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

And if you don’t think that came true just take a look at II Corinthians Chapter 11 where Paul rehearses all the horrible things that happened to him in his getting the Gospel out to the Gentile world. And then going on in Chapter 9, we find Paul had gotten some food and his sight was restored and then in verse 20:

Acts 9:20

“And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, …”

See he didn’t go up town in the market place at the beginning. He was still confining his preaching to the Jew. No one has told him anything different yet. Now Ananias knew it but I don’t think Saul understood it yet . But now he goes immediately from his sight restoration, after having recovered from that trauma on the road to Damascus, and he goes to the Synagogue of the Jew. Does he preach Christ crucified? Buried? Risen from the dead? NO!!! He hadn’t heard any of that either, any more than Peter had. But what does he preach? That Jesus was the Christ and was the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel. That’s all he knew. So now what does God have to do? God can’t let him go on with that. He’s got greater things for the man. You know God does things in mysterious ways, doesn’t He? He could have just appeared to him in a vision and said, “Paul, it’s going to get pretty tacky here in Damascus. You’d better be leaving. Go on out the front gate and head down south.” But God doesn’t do that with this man. He waits until the death threats get so heavy and he’s hearing it from more than one direction. And so what do his friends do? They have to let him down the wall in a basket in the middle of the night. And not on the side where the main road ran either. It was on the back side of Damascus. I always have to remind my classes, “How would you have like to have been in Saul’s shoes, without benefit of all the street lights and lights everywhere. It was pitch dark and they let him down on the back side of the wall and he has to find his way, knowing that there are people out there trying to kill him. And that was the way God did it. From Damascus He took him, as He tells us later in the book of Galatians, Chapter 1, that He took him down to Mt. Sinai in Arabia. That was the very same place where God gave the Law to Moses and God was now going to give to this man these whole doctrines of grace. And in this doctrine of Grace Paul usually referred to it as the revelation of the mysteries.

340 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 4 - Book 29 - 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 - Part 2

340: 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 – Part 2 – Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 29

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 29

I CORINTHIANS 15:20-23 – PART 2

Now as you know we’re in I Corinthians Chapter 15, and we’re talking about the various aspect of resurrection. Now the resurrection of the Just as we’ve been showing is seemingly in three parts or categories. (1) Those that were resurrected at Christ’s time, after He came out of the tomb, those were the firstfruits, which was the first part of the Jewish harvest when they would go in and take the sampling out of their grain field. Then we have the general harvest. (2) That’s the main harvest and that’s what we call the rapture of the Church, and then there will be that final aspect of (3) the corners and gleanings which I feel will be the Old Testament saints, and the Tribulation believers. And these Old Testament & Tribulation believers, as we saw in Daniel, will come back in resurrection bodies 75 days after the Second coming, or after the 1000 years Kingdom has been set up. They will then be part and parcel of the Kingdom and that will complete the resurrection of the Just of all the ages. In our timeline in the last lesson we got as far as Exodus Chapter 19, and before we go back to the Old Testament let’s look at verse 23 again.

I Corinthians 15:23

“But every man (will come out in resurrection) in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”

Now let’s continue our thoughts from the last lesson. God gave Abraham the Abrahamic Covenant, called him out of idolatry and promised him a separated nation which would be Holy, and would come under the Covenant promises. That’s why we call Israel the favored nation, or God’s chosen people, because in His sovereignty that’s the way He ordained it. So He calls Abram and saves him by faith plus nothing. Abraham wasn’t saved by offering sacrifices. He was saved by being obedient to what God said. And then later the sacrifices come in, but he was that man of faith who was saved by faith, even as we are, plus nothing. And then in the closing moments of the last program we were in Exodus Chapter 19, where God had promised that Israel was to be a kingdom of priests or go-betweens. Now, we’ll see that come into play as you come into the book of Isaiah. Let’s look at Chapter 49. I’m not going to take a lot of time and look up all of these references because there are so many. I’m just going to take the ones that are more clearly understood. Here in Isaiah 49 is where this whole concept of Israel becoming a nation of priests is what God had on His mind. And remember, these things are all valid offers, even though God knows the nation is going to fall far short of all of this. Isaiah 49 and let’s go to verse 6. Remember what we read in Exodus – that “if” they are obedient with the Law or Covenant that God is now giving them at Mt. Sinai, then they would be a nation of priests, a holy nation, and they would be used of God sometime down the road to funnel salvation into the Gentile world.

Isaiah 49:6

“And he said, `It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee (the Nation of Israel) for a light to the (what?) Gentiles,….'”

Now by the time we get to Christ’s earthly ministry and on to the book of Acts, even the Jews had lost sight of all this. And even in Jonah’s day, when God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, what did he do? He took a ship and went west! He should have taken a camel and gone east. But he didn’t. Well, why not? Those Gentiles had nothing to do with his God. But it was his God Who told him to go. And so he takes a ship west. And you know the story of Jonah. And so finally God had to deal with him and bring him back to shore and send him to Nineveh. Yes, God can save Gentiles when He wants to. But the mind-set of the Jew was that God had no time for those pagan dogs. And even in Christ’s earthly ministry, that was implied with the Canaanite woman.

Mark 7:27,28

“But Jesus said unto her, `Let the children (Israel, the Jews) first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.’ And she answered and said unto him, `Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.'”

What was she implying? The Jews were in the place of privilege. They had the Word of God. But couldn’t she have a couple of crumbs? Now the Jews took that to the extreme, so that when Paul comes back after his missionary journeys among the Gentiles and he tells them in Acts, the minute he spoke the word Gentile, what happened? A riot! Who would even dare to say such a word? Now, as you see in Isaiah, God’s whole intent and purpose was that Israel as a kingdom of priests, would at one time go and evangelize those Gentiles. Now come back in Isaiah to Chapter 2 and you’ll see this in a little bit different language, but it’s the same thought. Now I think this will make sense. If I’d have read this first you wouldn’t have gotten it, but now I think you will.

Isaiah 2:1,2

“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass (it’s going to happen) in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house(what is a mountain in Old Testament symbolism? Kingdom! You can just put that word in there and you won’t violate the Scripture; that is that royal line coming from David) shall be established in the top of the mountains, (or it’s going to be the top Kingdom of the kingdoms) and it shall be exalted above the hills; (smaller kingdoms. And here’s the part I wanted you to see. Underline it if you don’t mind marking in your Bible) and all nations shall (what?) flow into it.”

Now isn’t that beautiful? Once Israel’s Messiah would come and set up His throne, His kingdom, there in the city of Jerusalem, all the nations of the world would just navigate and would be brought just about like a magnet drawing steel, to Jerusalem. Now let me show you another verse. Let’s go all the way up to Zechariah, Chapter 8, the next to the last book in the Old Testament.

Zechariah 8:20-23

“Thus saith the Lord of hosts; `It shall yet come to pass, (sound familiar? That’s exactly the way Isaiah put it) that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities. And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, (Jehovah) and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations (plural) shall come to seek the Lord of hosts (where?) in Jerusalem, (where He has set up His throne and His kingdom) and to pray before the Lord.’ Thus saith the Lord of hosts; `In those days (when Israel would be evangelizing those pagan Gentiles) that ten men shall take hold out of all the languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.'”

Now isn’t that plain? This was Israel’s prospect. But we know now, looking back in history, Israel dropped it. Israel blew it, as we say. But that doesn’t take away the fact that God is still intending to use the Nation of Israel to yet bring salvation to the Gentiles. (144,000 in the Tribulation)

Now out of all these verses that we’ve been reading back here in the Old Testament, there is still not one hint of the Church Age. All we’re talking about is God dealing with Israel and at one point in time God wanted to funnel them back into this pagan, polluted stream of humanity and thereby purify it. Remember Christ went up and down the land of Israel, all that territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan Valley for three years. I always sort of test people. Can you find one place in Scripture where He ever went outside the land of Israel? Not one! He never went to Babylon, or Syria, or Greece, or Egypt. He spent His whole three years only with the Nation of Israel. Now let me show you where I’m proving this from Scripture. Let’s go over to Matthew Chapter 10. We kind of shook a few people up. We were having our Bible studies after dinner each night in the hotels in Israel and we had other tourists come in. And when they heard me emphasizing this a couple of them got all shook up and they said, “Whoever heard such a thing? Jesus came to the whole world. Where do you get that He just came to the Nation of Israel?” Let’s see how plain this is. Matthew 10 and He had just chosen the Twelve up there around Galilee and let’s look what He said in verse 5. A lot of people don’t know this is in their Bible, but it is.

Matthew 10:5,6

“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, `Go not (don’t miss that word) into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'”

Matthew 15:24

“But he (Jesus) answered and said, `I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'”

Romans 15:8

“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (Jews) for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:”

Why did he say that? Because all the way up since Abraham’s Covenant, God is dealing only with the His Covenant people, Israel, in the promise of making them a nation of people; in the promise of putting them in their geographical promised land and then one day coming to be their King and their Messiah. You may think you can’t swallow that, so let’s turn over to what Paul writes to the Ephesians in Chapter 2. And if this isn’t plain then I can’t do it any plainer. How plainly the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write it. Paul has been going to the Gentiles and he’s seeing them saved by grace. But he’s reminding them it wasn’t always that way.

Ephesians 2:11,12

“Wherefore (remember who he’s writing to. He is writing to predominately Gentile believers in the city of Ephesus) remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, (we’re not talking about spiritual things. We’re talking about in the flesh. Ordinary human beings) who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; (In plain language, who called the Gentiles uncircumcised? The Jews did. And that’s all he’s saying – that while the Jews were referring to you as uncircumcised and “dogs” )That at that time (what time is he referring to? This whole period of time during the Old Testament when Israel is under the Covenant promises and God is dealing only with His Covenant people, with exceptions. I’ve already referred to Jonah going to Nineveh and there was Rahab, the harlot, and Naaman the Syrian and so forth. But by and large he’s going only to His Covenant people) ye were without Christ, (without a Messiah) being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”

What’s an alien? Someone who has no right or access to that government. It should be that no one but a citizen and taxpayer should get anything from the government coffers. And this is what he is talking about. Gentiles had no rights from Israel. They were Gentiles or aliens. Israel had the Covenants, but could the Gentiles say, “Hey, that’s for me”? No, that wasn’t for a Gentile. It was only for the Jew. And so he says, you were strangers from those covenants of promise and this was the lot of the Gentiles. They had no hope and without God in the world. That’s what the book says. I didn’t put this in there. Yours says it too. This was the lot of the Gentiles. Why? Because God was dealing with Covenant promises and it was only for the Nation of Israel until she should be such a prepared spiritual, obedient people and then what would God do? He would send them into the Gentile world and they could then bring the Gentiles to a knowledge of their God. But what did Israel do? By now they had 2,000 years of having it pounded into them that they were special and then they couldn’t get it out of their head that anybody else was worth a nickel.

Turn back to Acts Chapter 22 where Paul has now been ministering to Gentiles for some 20 years or more. And he’s been having a tremendous response establishing churches throughout Asia Minor, and Greece and Rome. And now he comes back to Jerusalem and he just about gets killed by the mob. He’s coming up here before the religious leaders in Jerusalem and he recounts his whole conversion experience on the road to Damascus. He recounts his experiences out among the Gentiles and how they were coming to a knowledge of Israel’s God through the Gospel, through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Now come down to verse 17 of Chapter 22. He’s rehearsing what happened years back.

Acts 22:17-22

“And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; And saw him (we don’t know if it was in vision or whatever, he saw Jesus) saying unto me, `Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; for they (the Jews) will not receive thy testimony concerning me.’ And I said, `Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept (or held) the raiment of them that slew him.’ And he said unto me, `Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.’ (Now look at the reaction of these Jews) And they gave him audience (they listened to him quite intently) unto this word, (what word? Gentile! And then looked what happened – a riot!) and then lifted up their voices, and said, `Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.'”

Why would they say that? Because he so much as thought, “Gentile.” Well, what had happened? Israel had completely been blinded to her true role that Jehovah had intended and that was to be His vehicle to go out and reach these Gentiles. But they had completely rejected it in unbelief. And they won’t even permit this apostle to go to the Gentiles. They fought him every inch of the way. I’m not doing this to put the Jew down as a nation of people. But it was a result of all those years of being told and taught, “You are God’s Covenant people. You are special”. But it had gotten such control of their thinking that they never did see the truth of why God called them out in the first place. Now in the last statement in the Abrahamic Covenant we find:

Genesis 12:3b

“…and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

How was that going to come about? By their Messiah being crucified, and becoming the object of faith then not just for Israel, but for the whole world. And so today, yes, we proclaim the Gospel of God’s saving Grace (I Corinthians 15:1-4): how that Christ died according to the predeterminate counsel of God as we saw in the first lesson. And He came and fulfilled the purposes of God in bringing about the plan of redemption, not just for Israel, but for the whole human race. Now I’ve pointed out so often to my classes that just as soon as God announced to Abraham that through this man He was going to bring out a separated people, and He was going to deal with them, and that through these people would come a Redeemer of the whole human race, who immediately puts everything in high gear to thwart the program of God? Satan does, and all you have to do is look back at history and how Satan has constantly fought God’s dealings with the Nation of Israel. Every thing that comes about in the Nation of Israel in their unbelief, in their attacks from the Gentile world, just anything, who prompts it? Satan does.

Even today where we are right now, why is the whole world voting against the little Nation of Israel, and trying to push them tighter and tighter into a smaller area of Jerusalem? Well it is the satanic ploy still trying to get rid of the Nation of Israel, because if Satan can succeed in getting rid of the Jew then God can’t perform his prophecies. Because all the prophecies rest on that little nation, now can you see the ploy of Satan? Oh he’s working overtime not just because he hates Israel, but rather because he hates God, and he’s doing everything in his power to thwart the eternal purposes of God. Just watch your news and even when the Israeli government has scandal come in that almost upsets their political system, who’s behind it all? Satan is, because he’s behind everything that is happening to that little nation. But always remember God is not going to permit anything to remove them from the scene, they’re going to survive. Now we know it’s getting tougher and tougher for them, we know the whole world is coming more and more to the whole idea, “Well why do they have to have the land of Palestine? Let the Palestinians have it they were there first.” What does the world do with all these promise God made to that little nation? They ignore them or they don’t even know they are here. But God told Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 31:35-37

“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel…”

So the sun and moon will have fall out of their orbit before Israel will disappear from view.

339 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 3 - Book 29 - 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

339: 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 – Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 29

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 29

I CORINTHIANS 15:20-23

Now let’s begin where we left off in our last lesson and that will be in verse 23 of I Corinthians Chapter 15.

I Corinthians 15:23

“But every man in his own order:…” (or company)

That means that Christ and the firstfruits were the first little group of resurrected people, and then following is the main harvest, which I feel is the Body of Christ, those who have been saved during this age of Grace. And then after the Tribulation has run its course, and we go into the earthly kingdom for an extra 75 days, then the Old Testament saints which includes Daniel and all the rest, plus the Tribulation saints will be resurrected in their company. But before we go any further let’s look at my timeline for few minutes. This timeline has opened a lot of eyes over the years to see how historically God’s plan of the ages just keeps unfolding. So to start let’s go back to Psalms Chapter 2 for a moment. And this chapter is the outline of the Old Testament prophetic program, and remember all true prophecy is directed only to the Nation of Israel. And usually, maybe not always, that prophecy will be within a time frame. In other words, the first real prophecy given in the Old Testament was when God told Abraham that the children of Israel would end up in a land that wasn’t theirs, and they would be in slavery.

Genesis 15:13

“And he (God) said unto Abram, `Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;'”God was speaking of Egypt and how afterwards they would come back to the land of Canaan.

Genesis 15:16a

“But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again:…”

Now that was distinctive prophecy of what would happen years down the road, but He put it in a time frame of 430 years. And then you get to Daniel Chapter 9, and Daniel writes that 490 years are determined upon your people, Israel.

Daniel 9:24

“Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” And then you have the prophecy leading up to the crucifixion.

Daniel 9:26

“And after three score and two weeks (483 years) shall Messiah be cut off,..” (that was at the Cross)

Now we’re able to see 7 years are left of that 490 years determined for the Nation of Israel, and that’s where we get the idea that there will still be 7 years of Tribulation to fulfill the full 490 years. Now there is nothing in the Old Testament prophecy or otherwise that connects Israel to the Church, which is His Body. There is not a word in the Old Testament of some 1900 + years where God is calling out predominately Gentiles. And if people could get that through their head, they would have the battle half won on understanding the Bible. Now in Psalms Chapter 2 we see a brief outline of this Old Testament prophetic program given to the Jew.

Psalms 2:1-6

“Why do the heathen (the Gentile, the non Jews) rage, and the people (the Jews) imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers (of Israel) take counsel together, (remember Peter only blames the Jew in Acts Chapter 2, yet we can’t just blame Israel for the crucifixion, because the Romans carried it out. Israel demanded it, so they were in it together.) against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, `Let us break their bands (that is, God’s desire to rule) asunder, and cast away their cords from us.'” (In other words they rejected His offer of being the King, and that was the whole scope of His earthly ministry. He had come in fulfillment of all these prophecies that Israel would have the Divine Son of God as their King, Messiah, and Redeemer, but they rejected Him, and crucified Him.) He that sitteth in the heavens (The Triune God Who is still watching over all of this) shall laugh: (At the foolishness and stupidity of mankind) the LORD shall have them (these nations) in derision.” Then (After having rejected the Messiah) shall he (God) speak unto them(that is the nations of the world as well as Israel) in his wrath, (Here’s the prophecy concerning the final 7 years of Tribulation) and vex them in his sore displeasure. (And then what’s the next event?) Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”

And where’s that? Jerusalem. And it’s from Zion that Christ is going to rule in His thousand year reign. Now there is your timeline in a nutshell for Old Testament prophecy. We have Adam back here at 4000 B.C. and as we go forward in time we find the human race has run along for about 1600 years and then we come to the next big event in God’s time-table and that was Noah’s flood. And from the reverse side, of course, that will be about 2400 years before Christ. The three sons of Noah come out of the ark and under a whole new creation of sort that came about as a result of the flood, they stayed there in the Middle East for the next 200 years. Then in total rebellion of what God had said to scatter and to re-populate the planet, they gather at the Tower of Babel under a man called Nimrod. Now there at Babel they were under total rebellion against God’s authority, and remember the tower was never intended to take brick and stone all the way to Heaven, but rather it was a place of religion whereby they could literally usurp the throne of God religiously.

And we know that has always been Satan’s goal, and so this was the whole idea at the Tower of Babel. They were going to replace the things that God had instructed with the things that Satan now is going to promote himself. And there at the Tower of Babel is where every pagan, mythological, cultic, false religion even on the planet today, has its roots. You’ve heard me teach it over and over again, that every false religion has its roots at the Tower of Babel. I was just reading in the Reader’s Digest Book of the Month about this cult in Japan where they put the poison gas in the subways some time ago. Where did the old boy who became guru of that cult go for his “so called” enlightenment? To the Himalayas. And so who did he find in the Himalayas? Some Buddhist guru who supposedly gave him the enlightenment, supposedly, and he goes back to Japan and begins this cult. Well, already you can see that you go right through Buddhism and through these other Eastern religions and where are their roots? The Tower of Babel. And so every cult that’s on the planet tonight, and I don’t care who they are or what they are, every pagan religion, every mythological religion that has ever existed, have all run their roots right back to the Tower of Babel.

One of the big highlights in the Old Testament economy was the Tower of Babel and how God scattered them. You all know the account of Babel – it means confusion. Then another 200 years went by and once again God does something totally different. He pulls out of this mainstream of humanity, this man Abraham, and He brings about the Nation of Israel. By an act of a sovereign God, this didn’t happen accidentally. But God sovereignly pulls out of the mainstream of humanity, the man Abram, as he was first called, and He promises him the Nation of Israel. Now this will answer the question that I get so often in one form or another. Some will write and say, “Where did the Nation of Israel begin?” Others will write and say,“When did the Gentiles begin?” The Gentile line, as we understand Gentiles, is this mainstream of humanity, coming from Adam, coming from the three sons of Noah, coming through the nations scattered at the Tower of Babel, and they just keep on going. This is the Gentile stream of humanity. And out of the mainstream of humanity, God pulled the little Nation of Israel by virtue of separating the man, Abraham. Now Abraham was not a Jew. He was born of Syrian parents. His brothers were Syrians. And when Abraham’s servant went up to Haran to get a wife for Isaac from his uncle, what was Rebecca? She was a Syrian. And later on Jacob goes up and he gets his wife from his uncle Laban and what was Laban? He was still a Syrian. But, by virtue of God’s decree and God’s work of sovereignty, He declares that this man Abram is the father of the Jewish race.

And so if you’ve ever wondered where does the Jew begin, he began when God separated Abram out of his family in Ur of the Chaldeans, and by way of his wife, which he took from Ur, a half-sister, he has the first son, Isaac. I always tell people, “if you want to be real technical, the first real Jew then, would be Isaac.” But nevertheless, God refers to Abraham as the father of the Jewish people, even though he came from one of the other nationalities. And so now we have the Nation of Israel who has made her appearance and from Genesis 12 (and this is what’s so amazing), all the first 11 chapters of Genesis cover the first 2,000 years of human history. And then in Chapter 12 of Genesis we have the giving of the Abrahamic Covenant, and there is nothing more important in all the Old Testament than this Covenant that God made with Abram, as he’s called early on, at 2,000 B.C., to bring about the Nation of Israel. Now, Israel, according to the promises of God, was to be a nation that God would prepare and use. Now come back with me if you will to Genesis and we’ll just take a brief look at what I’ve already rehearsed in Genesis 12.

Genesis 12:1

“Now the Lord (Jehovah) had said (back in Chapter 11) unto Abram, `Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:'”

Now I’ve got to stop there and go over to Joshua a minute. Let’s go to Chapter 24, and I want you to see where Abram really came from.

Joshua 24:1,2

“And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said unto all the people, `Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor; and they (all of them. Abraham, Terah, Nachor) served (what?) other gods (small `g’).'”

And so what were they? Idolaters! Abram was raised in idolatry. Now when God spoke to him (and Stephen in Acts Chapter 7, gives us the impression that God visibly, appeared unto Abraham, that Abraham saw God in physical form, and God, or The Lord as we refer to Him now, told Abraham what you see back in Genesis 12), He told him to get away from his country, his kinfolk, and from his father’s house. Why? Separate yourself from these false religions. You cannot serve Me when you’re under the roof with idolaters. Let’s look at verse 2 and here comes the Abrahamic Covenant.

Genesis 12:2a

“And I will make of thee a great nation,….”

You want to remember back in the antiquities, when Israel comes out of Egypt, I’ve always taught that it was a number of people anywhere between 3 and 7 million. There wasn’t another tribe or nation anywhere in the Middle East that would come close to that. They just did not get that large in number. And so in the numbers of antiquities, Israel was the largest nation in that area of the world. And this was God’s promise:

Genesis 12:2b,3

“….and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Now turn the page a little bit if you will and let’s look at verse 14 of Chapter 13. Now we see the next part of the Abrahamic Covenant. Not only would they be a nation of people but now God’s going to have to put them in a geographical area of land. They can’t just continue on in slavery in Egypt. If they’re going to be a nation of people that God is going to work through, they have to be in their own borders.

Genesis 13:14

“And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, `Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:'”

You want to remember, if you’ve never been to Israel before, but right up through the spine of that little narrow neck of land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, are mountains. And so here Abraham is on high ground and God says, “Abram, you look as far south, north, east and west as you can see”, and now verse 15:

Genesis 13:15

“For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever.”

Now let’s come all the way up to Genesis 46. Now time has gone by but it’s still within that time-frame of the prophecy that was 430 years. And within that time-frame Israel has become a nation, they’re in slavery in Egypt, Joseph has come to the top of the government, and Jacob is over there in the Negev desert and is about to starve to death. So now, let’s look at verse 1 of Chapter 46.

Genesis 46:1,2

“And Israel (Jacob) took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba (just south of Jerusalem about 70 or 80 miles), and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. And God spake unto Israel (Jacob) in the visions of the night, and said, `Jacob, Jacob’. And he said, `Here am I.'”

Now just look at this command. Almost a total opposite of what he’s been told up until now. He was told not to leave the land of promise and God would bless him. But now look what God says.

Genesis 46:3

“And he said, `I am God, the God of thy father; fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:'”

Did He? Yes! And so Jacob ends up in Egypt with all his sons and they come out 215 years later, with about 5 millions souls. Now let’s look at Exodus Chapter 19. Time has gone by, another 215 years and now Moses has led the children of Israel out of Egypt. The 430 years are now completed and we see the nation gathered around Mt. Sinai and God is getting ready to do something totally different than He’s ever done before. And I’ll bet most people don’t even think about it. Do you know that from Genesis 1 until Exodus 20, there were never any written do’s and do not’s from God so far as what men could and could not do? Do you know there has not been one single item of God-instituted worship until we get here? I know, they probably brought sacrifices, but so far as having an organized system of worship, there has been none. And so here we have something that’s never happened before, that God tells the Nation of Israel that He’s going to give them the Law, the priesthood, the whole system of sacrificial worship. And for what purpose? To make them aware of God’s holiness, of His sovereignty, that He is preparing them for a future roll in the midst of all the pagan idolatry that was now all the way around them. Now you want to remember the whole world was steeped in idolatry except for the offspring of Abraham. Now let’s look at Exodus 19 and beginning at verse 5:

Exodus 19:5

“Now therefore, if (there’s the condition) you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, (the one that He’s about to give – the Covenant of Law) then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”

Now what does that do with the Nation of Israel? It lifts them out of that mainstream of humanity and puts them into that place of covenant relationship as God’s favored, chosen people. Now we know that by the time we get to the book of Acts, when Paul so much as mentions the word Gentiles to that Jewish audience, what happened? He had an uproar – a riot! Well, it all began with good intentions. That God intended this little nation of people to be a particular people of value that he could use to reach all those pagans. That was the whole concept. Now look at it again in Exodus 19 where he tells them they are a “treasure unto me above all people”. And why could God do that? Because He’s Sovereign!!! I can’t drive that home enough. God is sovereign. He created this ball of wax and He can do with it whatever He wants. And mankind can shake their fists in His face all they want and they’ll never diminish God’s sovereignty. And so in sovereignty, He says to the Nation of Israel, “I have made you of intrinsic value to Me because the world is Mine.” Now here comes the promise that if they would be obedient:

Exodus 19:6

“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of (what?) priests, (and anybody that knows anything about religion the roll of the priest is what? A go-between. So every Jew was to be a prepared person to be a go-between some day down the road between the pagan world around them and Israel’s God.) and an holy (or set apart) nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”

Now most people can’t understand that this is the purpose of Israel. They were to be a kingdom of go-betweens.