355 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 3 - Book 30 - 2 Corinthians 1:1 - 3:18

355: 2 Corinthians 1:1 – 3:18 – Lesson 2 Part 3 Book 30

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 30

2 CORINTHIANS 1:1-3:18

Remember as we begin this lesson: to get the full meaning and understanding from Scripture, and to help you understand what you read, it is best to always determine to whom a portion of Scripture is written. What are the circumstances, and who is writing it. Remember things written to the Nation of Israel or their representatives were for the Jews only. Here in II Corinthians we are realizing that Paul is now following up his first letter which was a letter of reproof and correction. So in this letter we know that, first, Paul is defending his apostleship, because of all the snide remarks that are coming out of Corinth. Paul was like us, and was heartbroken about some of the things that were being spoken about him. Yet, on the other hand it was a recognition that the first letter had done it’s work. So we’ll continue on with that thought. Remember in our last lesson Paul is more or less commending the Church for having dealt with the man of gross immorality and having restored, and forgiven him, evidently, and that’s as it should be. Now verse 9:

II Corinthians 2:9

“For to this end also did I write, (to take care of this immoral situation, and to get the man straightened out.) that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.”

Are you going to respond to this immoral situation or are you going to ignore it. But the majority responded to it, and had evidently voted to deal with this individual, and get him into a place of forgiveness and restoration. Now verse 10:

II Corinthians 2:10

“To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: (Paul had that much confidence in them that if they had the mind of forgiveness he could go along with it.) for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ:”

Now Paul had absolutely no power of forgiving sin and we know that. Only Christ Himself can do that. But in the Name of Christ he could agree with them that when they had restored this individual and forgiven him then he could concur. What was the real purpose of bringing this individual, who had failed so miserably, to a place of restoration. To keep Satan from getting the upper hand! Now verse 11:

II Corinthians 2:11

“Lest Satan should get an advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

You all know the verse that says Satan can transform himself into an angel of light. And he can make it appear that he is promoting the Scriptures and as he does it he leads millions astray. Satan is a master at that, and so The Lord has given us the direction of the Holy Spirit. He’s given us the mind and intelligence that by searching the Scriptures we can sort these things out. It just thrills my heart when people tell us that they have suddenly realized that some of the things that they thought were part and parcel of the Christian experience are not, according to The Book. I had a lady call the other night who wanted me to give her Scriptures to tell her that this particular practice was wrong. I told her that I couldn’t do that, but I did tell her to see if she could find Scripture that instructs people to do it. I also told her that if it’s not in The Book then it must be wrong. Anything that is part and parcel of our practice of the Christian walk is in The Book. If it’s not in The Book then look out because you’re on thin ice. How many times have I made the statement, “It’s just as important to see what the Scriptures don’t say, as what they do say.” A lot of people go through life thinking something is in The Book because they heard it some place. But listen, you’ve got to search the Scriptures and if it’s not taught in Scripture run from it like a plague. So Paul says in verse 11:

II Corinthians 2:11b

“…for we are not ignorant of his (Satan’s) devices.” Now Paul is going to bring in his own past experience when seemingly Satan had almost beaten him down in despair.

If you can picture in your mind the Mediterranean Sea and Turkey as it winds out to the West. Also remember Paul’s early ministry was there in that western half of present day Turkey which was called Asia Minor. Then you have the Aegean Sea between Turkey and the mainland of Europe which is Macedonia or northern Greece, and Athens in southern Greece. And on this map in your mind you go around the peninsula into the Adriatic Sea and across from that is Rome. Now here Troas is located on the western shore of what is present day Turkey. Evidently Paul had made arrangement with Titus, his fellow worker there in Asia Minor, to meet him at Troas. Then they were going to go on around to the northern reaches of Turkey or along the Black sea which at that time was called Bithynia, and then head back to Asia. But remember back there they couldn’t just drop a note in the mail, they couldn’t send a telegraph message, they certainly couldn’t phone – how they communicated in the ancients I have a hard time understanding. But somehow or other Titus and Paul had made an agreement to meet here in the sea port town of Troas, which was actually the ancient city of Troy. Now look at what Paul says:

II Corinthians 2:12,13a

“Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, (and we’re going to look in the Book of Acts as to what that was) I had no rest in my spirit, (in his own being) because I found not Titus my brother:…”

When Paul couldn’t find Titus, his brother in The Lord, can you imagine what that must have felt like? Here they had no means of communication so he had no way of knowing what had happened to Titus. Why isn’t he at Troas at the appointed time? And then at the very same time when he’s so distressed about what may have happened to Titus, The Lord comes on him with something totally different; contrary to what he thought he was going to do, and the two were almost a clash in the man’s thinking. Now let’s look at that in the Book of Acts Chapter 16 and here Paul has been ministering in western Turkey which was then Asia Minor So we find him at Troas. Now verse 6:

Acts 16:6-12a

“Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, (in other words back to the East) After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: (after that Paul had probably planned on taking a route back to Antioch in Syria) but the Spirit (that’s the Holy Spirit) suffered (or permitted) them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. (where he was expecting to meet Titus.) And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, (northern Greece) and prayed (or begged) him, saying `Come over into Macedonia, and help us.’ And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; And from thence to Philippi,…” (which was up there in northern Greece.)

Now come back to II Corinthians Chapter 2, and get this whole scenario that is coming down on the apostle. On the one hand he is heartbroken and distressed because Titus for one reason or another, was unable to keep his appointment at Troas. But evidently it was at this same time that The Lord revealed, by way of a vision, that he was to go over into Macedonia or Greece and preach the Gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4) which we know he did. Now verse 13 again:

II Corinthians 2:13

“I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.”

So what does Paul do? In spite of the fact that he had lost track of Titus, he is obedient to The Lord’s call now to go across the Aegean Sea and begin his ministry in Macedonia. Now verse 14:

II Corinthians 2:14a

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph…”

Do you do the opposite? On the one hand he is depressed, down and distressed, and yet he’s always triumphant. These are tremendous lessons for each of us. Paul was just as human as we are, he had the same passions and appetites and feelings. He could get down, and he could rejoice. Now reading on:

II Corinthians 2:14,15

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, (they are the recipients of God’s Grace) and in them that perish: (a potential sweet savor to them that are perishing.)

So it isn’t to those who are already lost, but rather to those who still had opportunity to hear him preach the Gospel. Paul was the good news for them, just as well as he was to those who had already embraced the Gospel. Now verse 16:

II Corinthians 2:16

“To the one we are savour of death unto death; (in other words if they didn’t respond, then spiritual death was their end results) and to the other (the ones who did respond) the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”

Now I hope I have enough time to do with verse 17 what I did with it the other evening. Every once in a while a word will just catch my mind, and I’ll think, “I’ve got to chase this one down in the Greek.” And here in verse 17 was one of those times.

II Corinthians 2:17a

“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God:…’

What does Paul mean when he says corrupting the Word of God? So I went and found the Greek, and the Strong’s concordance and did some checking. Well the Greek word here is `kapeleuo.’ Now that Greek word is just Greek to us isn’t it? But you can look it up in the Septuagint or the Old Testament Hebrew translated into the Greek by 70 Jewish scholars back quite a few years before Christ (and the reason I put a lot of emphasis on the Septuagint is because that was the Greek that Jesus always referred to). Whenever Jesus would quote from the Old Testament, if He didn’t quote it from the Hebrew then He would quote it from the Septuagint Greek. That’s where a lot of our Greek scholars put the Greek language together for our benefit.

Now when you compared that Greek word `kapeleuo’ from the Septuagint it meant “One who was a huckster or one who would hock his wares, or from Isaiah Chapter 1:22 it meant someone who was selling or was hocking an adulterous product.” Now turn for a moment to the Book of Isaiah, and you will see when Bible study gets to be fun, or at least I think it is. How The Bible all so beautifully fits together. And the word “corrupt” in the English doesn’t really show you this. We just think of corruption as something that has begun to spoil, but maybe this will help you see it. Now here in Isaiah we find Isaiah coming down on the Nation of Israel because of all their sins and wickedness.

Isaiah 1:21

“How is the faithful city become as harlot! it was full of judgment: righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.

What’s Isaiah talking about? The city of Jerusalem. At one time it had been a righteous city and the Jewish people were obedient to the Mosaic Law, and the system. But what had happened? They had become so wicked, and that’s why Isaiah was castigating the nation. So this city that at one time had been full of righteousness was now full of murderers. Now verse 22:

Isaiah 1:22

“Thy silver is become dross, (it was no longer pure silver, but rather impure. Now here is a word translated corrupt in II Corinthians 2:17) thy wine mixed with water:”

What were they doing? They were adulterating it, they were making it a cheap product. And this is the very same word that Paul uses. Paul says, “I didn’t come unto you with wine watered down with water. I didn’t come to you as a huckster hocking his wares which were not worth half of what he claimed.” All of that is wrapped up in that one word “corrupt.” Now coming back to II Corinthians Chapter 2. For Paul says:

II Corinthians 2:17

“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: ( a lot of people do hock an adulterated product of the spiritual.) but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

Now I’m also thinking about another verse that corresponds. Let’s go back to the Book of Jude for a moment. I imagine that these were the kind of people that Paul had in mind when he said, “For we are not as many which bring you an adulterated product, but rather we are bringing you the real thing.” And remember Paul is defending his apostleship. He said, “I’m not like these false teachers. I’m bringing you the absolute truth.” Now look what The Bible says concerning false teachers. I think this is the best description that you can find anywhere in Scripture. In fact I think II Timothy Chapter 3 is almost word for word like Jude. Now verse 8. Here Jude has given the example of the fallen angels, and Sodom and Gomorrah and so forth.

Jude 1:8,10

“Likewise also these filthy dreamers (he’s talking about false teacher who are hocking an adulterated product. They) defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities,” Now verse 10: “But these speak evil of those things which they know not; (does that sound familiar? They will ridicule the truth of Scripture, but have they ever really studied it? No. So what are they ridiculing? Something that they know nothing about. They ridicule it because it’s the Word of God.) but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, (now that rings a bell doesn’t it? When much of society lives at the level of animals. That’s where these false teachers are coming from. They’re no higher in their thinking than the animal world so they are as brute beasts) in those things they corrupt themselves.”

They can live in the moral level of an animal and they think that they’re living it up. Now verse 11:

Jude 1:11a,12

“Woe unto them!…” These (false teachers) are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, (false teachers can bring a cloud on the horizon of hope but all of a sudden the adherents suddenly realize that it’s nothing) carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.”

Now these are all descriptions of what Paul says he was not. He said, “I did not come corrupting the Word of God, I did not come like we see in verse 13.”

Jude 1:13

(like a) Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”

And that is what the world is falling for tonight. They’re falling for this line of false teaching that is nothing but an adulterated product. It’s so sad to be sure. Now coming back to II Corinthians. And let’s look at verse 17 again in defense of his apostleship.

II Corinthians 2:17

“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

Paul didn’t come to these Corinthians with fickle language, or half truths, but everything that Paul spoke was prompted by the Holy Spirit, and he was here because of his love for Christ as we will see in Chapter 5. The love of Christ is what constrained Paul. So Paul was able to suffer all the privations that he will list a little later in this letter. He went through privation after privation, and there is no doubt he was being accused of not bringing the truth, because you see he wasn’t agreeing with the Judaisers in Jerusalem. He was not working hand in glove with Peter and the eleven. He was out here proclaiming something that they really knew nothing of. So, consequently, he was being bombarded with all of these false accusations that should have been reserved for false teachers. But isn’t it amazing how so often it’s the other way around. Instead of the false teacher being bombarded, it’s those with the truth who come under attack.

354 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 2 - Book 30 - Defending His Apostleship

354: Paul, Our Apostle Defending His Apostleship – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 2 Book 30

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 30

PAUL, OUR APOSTLE DEFENDING HIS APOSTLESHIP – PART 2

Now getting back into our study in II Corinthians, and remember that this letter is a follow up to the first letter where Paul had to deal with problems in the Corinthian Church. They had problems like no other congregation under Paul’s Apostleship, and in I Corinthians he had to get rather hard with them. But now in II Corinthians Paul is coming back to encourage these people who had seemingly corrected their problems. Now we’ll be seeing that more and more as we come through this second letter. That in itself must have been an encouragement to the apostle, that he did not have to come personally to them. Paul had intended to personally go down to Corinth, but evidently the message had come to him that his first letter had accomplished its work. The church had dealt with the person in gross immorality, and he was evidently back in the fellowship. So rather than come to them personally he writes this second letter.

I think we can all appreciate that. We have all found ourselves in a position where maybe we’ve had some hard feelings with perhaps a family member and it’s so much easier to just write our thoughts rather than try approach them face to face. And I think this is exactly how Paul felt. He felt he could do more by writing than if he would go and meet them personally and become possibly too stern. Now verse 15. Remember in our last lesson we were talking about how The Lord supplies all the needs of the believers.

II Corinthians 1:15

“And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit;” In other words he wanted to come to Corinth and deal with their problems personally. Verse 16:

II Corinthians 1:16

“And to pass by you into Macedonia, (in northern Greece) and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea.”

In other words Paul’s itinerary was to leave Philippi, and come to Corinth, and then go back up into Macedonia and visit the churches and then come back to Corinth and head to Jerusalem. But Paul didn’t make it. And because he didn’t make it a lot of his detractors and his accusers would say, “Well you didn’t come because you were afraid to.” And Paul had to deal with these accusations. Remember, always put yourself in Paul’s shoes. He was just as human as we are. Now verse 17. So he says, “Since I didn’t get that accomplished…

II Corinthians 1:17

“When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? (did I say I was coming just to be saying something? No.) or the things that I purposed, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?”

If you looked that up in the Greek what Paul is really saying is this: “Did I come to you and talk in fickle language? Did I just say something to tickle your ears? No way. Whatever the apostle said he said it with full meaning but other things of course intervened. Verse 18:

II Corinthians 1:18-20

“But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus,(Timothy) was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. (It was not fickle language, it was not something superfluous,) For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” In other words Paul is saying “Whatever I’ve said to you I can put it in concrete. I meant every word of it, it was from the depth of my heart and none of this was spoken with frivolity. Now verse 21.

II Corinthians 1:21,22

“Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest (or the down payment) of the Spirit in our hearts.”

Now there is another verse that is a perfect parallel with that and for that we have to go to the Book of Ephesians Chapter 1. Some of these days we’ll be teaching this tremendous letter verse by verse. It’s dealing with our position in the Body of Christ as believers.

Ephesians 1:13

“In whom (in Christ) ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, (and the word of truth is) the gospel of your salvation: (I Corinthians 15:11-4) in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” Now that is part and parcel again of our salvation experience. We have been sealed, we have been marked by the Person of the Holy Spirit Himself. Now verse 14.

Ephesians 1:14

“Which is the earnest (and that means just exactly like we use the term today. He is the down payment. A sufficient down payment to make sure that the transaction is completed.) of our inheritance (which we will have by being joint-heirs with Christ, and that’s going to hold it) until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Now if I’m not mistaken we dealt with this verse when we were back in I Corinthians Chapter 15 on the great resurrection theme. I pointed out at that time that, yes, soul and spirit are redeemed in full. We are saved, we are redeemed completely for all of eternity. But at this moment only in the soul and spirit, so what’s left? The body. The body is still in the flesh, it’s still corrupt, it’s still prone to sin and death. But the beauty and joy of resurrection is that we’re going to have a new body. So it’s this same concept that Paul is adhering to in II Corinthians 1:22 when he says again:

II Corinthians 1:22,23

“Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Sprit in our hearts. Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.”

What’s he saying? “I did not come to Corinth purposely so that I would not be more stringent in reproof, and a letter would be a kinder way in doing it.” So Paul just knew that the time was not right for him to make a personal appearance among this congregation. And as we teach II Corinthians don’t forget what we learned in I Corinthians about all the problems, and all the necessary reproofs that were brought upon that congregation. And remember Paul was broken hearted over what was taking place there. So all of this is in the back of his mind, and of course the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and we never want to take anything away from that. Now verse 24:

II Corinthians 1:24

“Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.”

Now look at that verse again. Paul is not overlording them like a totalitarian dictator. Oh he is their apostle, he’s their teacher, he’s the one who brought them out of pagan idolatry. But he is not standing over them with a heavy whip, or in a totalitarian way, but rather he is simply a helper of their joy and what makes it all possible? For it’s by faith. Now you see if Paul had been the progenitor of a religion, and he was the grand guru of that religion, then yes, Paul could have stood over them, and held the whip over them and made them adhere to everything that he said. But that’s not the case. You see Christian liberty – Oh listen, the average believer today still does not comprehend the liberty that we have in this age of Grace. Liberty, now that brings up another verse in the Book of Galatians in Chapter 5. My these verses just ring in my mind as I’m teaching that Paul is telling these Corinthians, carnal as they were, with all their problems “You’re not where you are because I have forced you there. You’re not what you are because I’m standing over you.” No, even the Corinthians in their carnality were still enjoying Christian liberty. And we have a lot of so called Christians today that have no concept of Christian liberty at all. They have no idea of what liberty in the Gospel of Grace amounts to. And here Paul has again been appealing to the Galatian believers much like he does to the Corinthians not to let the Judaisers destroy their faith.

Galatians 5:1

“Stand fast therefore (with your feet in concrete if I may use the example) in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

And that’s exactly where most people constantly put themselves. They want to put themselves under a legalistic situation where someone lays down the Law that they must do this and do that. Well that’s not Christianity! True Christianity is liberty! And remember I’ve always followed that with liberty is not license. Now let’s come back to II Corinthians, and move on into Chapter 2. Don’t lose sight of what I said in my introductory remarks that in these first 6 chapters we will find Paul constantly defending and reminding the Corinthians of his Apostleship as not tied to Jerusalem, not tied to Peter and the eleven, but tied only to the ascended Lord of glory.

II Corinthians 2:1

“But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.” (or in much sorrow). Here again his reasoning for not coming personally to the city of Corinth, and meeting with the church, but rather writing them a letter.

II Corinthians 2:2

“For if I make you sorry, (in other words if Paul would come down on them too hard) who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?” In other words the human response is if Paul would come to Corinth and just come down on these people would he experience a joy in that kind of response? Of course not.

II Corinthians 2:3

“And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow (or grief) from them of whom I ought to rejoice; (In other words he would hear about things taking place in the church that would make him sorry instead of being able to hear things that would make him joyful.) having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.”

Paul’s whole mental concept concerning this carnal church at Corinth was that they could grow and become real trophies of God’s Grace in spite of all the pressure. And don’t lose sight of the fact that these early Christians, the moment they professed faith in Christ, were under pressure. They were under pressure from the Jewish element, they were under pressure from the pagan element, and just a precious few of them were won for The Lord. Just a precious few would come into this liberty of Christianity. Now verse 4.

II Corinthians 2:4

“For out of much affliction and anguish of heart (now Paul’s not over emphasizing) I wrote unto you with many tears; (I was reading one commentary on this letter by an old Bible teacher. He said “Paul must have written this letter with a quill dipped in tears.” I think that’s just about true as his heart was broken, he was in tears because of what he was hearing from the congregation at Corinth.) not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.”

Are you seeing the heart of this man? In spite of all their failures contrary to his teaching and doctrine, did he ever lose his love for them? No. And it was a constant battle in that early church. These church members had come out of abject paganism with no moral foundations whatsoever; with no concept of the one Creator God, they were ignorant of all these things. They didn’t have the Old Testament like the Nation of Israel did. They had just recently heard the apostle preach them the Gospel of God’s saving Grace (how that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and rose again.) And how they were now set at liberty, and yet to see that they really hadn’t consummated all of the Grace of God that would give them victory over their past lifestyle. And there was no doubt about it. They were still dipping back into their old lifestyle, and this is what the apostle is so grieved about. And yet understanding the circumstances he could equate with all of this, that you couldn’t expect these people to all of a sudden live like Peter, James, and John did, because it would take time for them to grow. So catch this as you read these verses. Now verse 5:

II Corinthians 2:5

“But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part; (in part here usually means a percentage or fraction. In other words it wasn’t the whole congregation that was grieving him, but a percentage or fraction of them.) that I may not overcharge you all.”

Do you get that? So Paul wasn’t condemning the whole congregation because they weren’t all guilty, but there was that small percentage that was grief of mind. Now verse 6.

II Corinthians 2:6

“Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.” (or the majority)

Now when you have a majority then you also have a minority. So it was not a total consensus but it was enough of a majority that the Church could take the action. Well what do you think Paul is talking about when he says, “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment,” Now verse 7:

II Corinthians 2:7

“So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.”

Do you know who Paul is talking about? Well let’s turn back to I Corinthians Chapter 5 and look at it again, and it was a gross situation. When we came through I Corinthians I touched on it lightly, because I realize that I have a lot of kids that watch this program, and I don’t want to get overly explicit. But yet I guess more kids nowadays know more then we did when we were 20. But here we find one of the shortfalls of this congregation at Corinth. Now verse 1.

I Corinthians 5:1-3

“It is reported commonly (everybody in town knew about it) that there is fornication among you and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.” (Paul says, “even the Gentiles don’t do anything that low.” And the congregation wasn’t doing anything except maybe grinning or joking about it.) And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body , but present in spirit, have judged already (or made up my mind already how to deal with it) as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,” Now here is what Paul is admonishing the congregation to do.

I Corinthians 5:4,5

“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, (as a congregation) and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one (as this guilty man) unto Satan (not for the destruction of his soul, but) for the destruction of the flesh, (inflict him with a sickness, or maybe take him out with death) that the spirit (of this guilty person, this saved individual who was a member of the congregation) may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

So does Paul consider this guy lost again? No. But this guy is in dire straights, because he is living in gross immorality, but the church is just as guilty as he is because they’re not doing anything about it. Now after that I hope you can pick up again what he says in II Corinthians.

II Corinthians 2:6

“Sufficient to such a man (that we just read about) which was inflicted of many. (or the majority)

So the Church had evidently taken corporate action and the majority had voted to deal with this man to get him to straighten up his act (even though there was a minority that is probably like many liberals we have even today that would say, “Oh, leave them alone, because people are people.”). Now verse 7 again:

II Corinthians 2:7,8

So that contrariwise (or on the other hand) ye ought rather to forgive him, (even of a gross sin like that) and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.”

Isn’t that something? That’s not an attitude that most of us would take. But even today that’s what we’re supposed to do. When someone is overtaken in a gross failure, what does the average Christian do? Smile about it, joke about it. They never consider the fact that the person needs prayer and encouragement and forgiveness. Let’s look at one more verse in the Book of Galatians that will just put the frosting on the cake for this. I’m sure that this event in Corinth had a direct bearing on this verse in Galatians. It happens all the time and it still does. But we can’t just wink at it, but rather we must deal with these people and restore them.

Galatians 6:1

“Brethren, (believers) if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, (the leaders of the congregation) restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

Do you see what he’s saying? Anytime you come down on a situation in harsh judgment on a fellow believer, who are you setting up to be the next one to fall? Yourself. So instead, in that attitude that Paul had, we should forgive that man, and continue to love him. I think as we come to the end of the letter we’ll find out that the Church at Corinth did deal with it, and they did bring the man back into fellowship.

353 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 1 - Book 30 - Paul, Our Apostle

353 – Paul, Our Apostle Defending His Apostleship – Lesson 2 Part 1 Book 30

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 30

PAUL, OUR APOSTLE DEFENDING HIS APOSTLESHIP

In our last lesson we finished I Corinthians 15 and 16. So as we come into II Corinthians I’ll have to give a little bit of background. I think it will help you get a little better understanding of the Scriptures if you understand the circumstances under which it was written, as well as who wrote it, and one of the most important is to whom was it written. Of course most of you understand now that I stress that the Apostle Paul is the apostle of the Gentiles, and that’s what he was called specifically to be. We will look at verses pertaining to that.

Acts 9:15a

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

Romans 11:13

“For I (Paul) speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:”

And in that role as the apostle to the Gentiles when he writes he is writing primarily to Gentile believers. Remember most of the Old Testament and the Four Gospel accounts were directed to the Nation of Israel and the Jew. So this makes a vast difference in comprehending the Scriptures, and whenever you read The Bible ask yourself, “To whom is this being addressed? Here Paul is writing the second letter to the congregation at Corinth on the tip of Greece. And as we saw in the first letter to the Corinthians, they were a carnal church. They were one of the congregations that had just not begun to grow and develop the deeper things of Paul’s teachings.

Also remember that there were four distinct divisions. Some said “that they followed Christ and His teachings.” Another group of these believers said, “No, we followed Peter.”And another group said, “Well we follow Apollos, he’s the man that we look up to.” And then there was the fourth part of the congregation that said, “We follow the Apostle Paul, because it was through him we heard the Gospel of Salvation for the first time, it was through him we became believers so it’s Paul that we will follow.” So these four groups caused a lot dissension and a lot of grief to Paul. They just did not grow spiritually. Also remember in the first letter, these believers had sent Paul a long letter of questions of how they were to handle all these various problems, and we dealt with that as we came up through I Corinthians.

One of the problems he dealt with in Chapter 5 was gross immorality. That was a grief to the apostle to think that a believer would stoop to such a low level, and the church wasn’t addressing it. The reason I mention that is here in II Corinthians Paul is going to seemingly give us the idea that a lot of these things are now corrected. So evidently his first letter did not fall on deaf ears. Again you want to remember that the second letter was probably written in a matter of months, probably within a year from the first. So there’s been time enough elapsed that they could clean up their act.

Now in the first six chapters of this letter Paul is more or less dealing with the defense of his apostleship. I’m always referring to that. Every time that you get into Paul’s writing he has to defend his apostleship. Now if you can understand the background you can see why. You want to remember that all during Christ’s earthly ministry, Jesus had dealt only with Peter and the eleven, and after His death, burial, and resurrection and you come into the Book of Acts, it’s still Peter and the eleven. But here is that other Jew, Saul of Tarsus who in the meantime is doing everything that he can to destroy this element of Judaism that had believed that Jesus was the Messiah. So Saul the great persecutor, the one who reaped havoc among the early Jewish believers is now the one that God has commissioned, after saving him by Grace on the road to Damascus. This is the one that is being sent out into the pagan Gentile, Roman empire with the Gospel of Grace.

Now it stands to reason if you all understand religion. I’m running into it even from our television audience where people’s eyes are opened after being steeped in one religion or another. And it’s not easy; I’m the first one to empathize with that situation. When they’ve had something drilled into them ever since they’ve been old enough to listen, then all of a sudden have someone like myself perhaps come along and show from the Scriptures that they’ve been taught totally wrong for so long, then it’s not an easy situation. We’ve had people call and say, “Les this is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do, but I can see that you’re right on from the Scriptures.”

Well the Apostle Paul was in that same situation. Now as he goes out among the Gentile cities and he’s calling out, by virtue of preaching the Gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4), a people for the Name of Christ, these Jews, whether they were part of the believing element or whether they were totally still in Judaism, constantly came back to the fact that, “You never walked with Jesus like Peter did. You’re just an upstart, you’re just bringing all this on your own.” Well under those kinds of attacks what does Paul have to do? He has to defend his apostleship, and over and over he has to refer to the fact that he has suffered and suffered some more so that the Gentiles could get this message of Grace that had been revealed to him by the risen Lord. So this is basically the whole theme of these first six chapters, that he is again defending his apostleship, showing to the Corinthians all that he has to go through for the sake of the Gospel.

But this doesn’t shock us because we know – in fact I’m going to take you back to the Book of Acts for a moment to Chapter 9. I’m afraid that there are a lot of people today that are still treating Paul the same way that the early Churches did. They were prompted by the Judaisers, and I hope you all understand what I’m talking about when I say a Judaiser. A Judaiser was a believer that believed for salvation that Jesus was the Christ, he was saved under that Kingdom Gospel. But they still did not comprehend “The Grace Of God” and that the Law had now been satisfied and totally set aside. So the Judaisers were constantly following in Paul’s footsteps telling his converts, “Now wait a minute, you can’t be saved on just Paul’s Gospel alone, you still have to practice Judaism (Ref. Acts 15:1-5) You have to be circumcised, you must keep the Law, and so on. And that just about drove the Apostle Paul up the wall, and so he suffered because of that. But now back here in Acts Chapter 9 let’s start with verse 13. Now here we’re in Damascus, and Ananias, a believing Jew, is being approached supernaturally by The Lord from glory. And The Lord is warning Ananias that Saul of Tarsus is in town and that they would meet.

Acts 9:13-16

“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 he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.’ (that is Jesus of Nazareth The Messiah) But the Lord said unto him, (Ananias) `Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.'”

As I was again reviewing all this, getting ready for the program, I couldn’t help but think about a book that hit the best seller list several years ago, and I think it was written by a Jewish individual. The title of the book is “Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People? You may remember the book. Well that’s always the question. Even when some of our number is suddenly stricken, and the first thing that hits our mind is, “Why do these bad things happen to believers especially, and many times to unbelievers, but they’re good people?” I’m also sure that the apostle must have had those thoughts many, many times. “Here I am sold out to Christ, I am beating the bushes of the Gentile community for the sake of the Gospel,” and how he suffered. Not just physically at the hands of his enemies, but even in the area of sickness. Evidently as he left Ephesus and was in his second missionary journey under terrible persecution, and pressure because of the silversmiths, he gets deathly sick. We’re going to see this in Acts Chapter 1 where he actually thought that he was not going to live. Yet he had that burden of the millions of unreached in the Roman Empire that he thought he was going to have to minister to. And on top of that, we’ll see here in II Corinthians how was beaten with rods, how many times he was shipwrecked, how many times he was cold, naked, hungry, and in prison. This was all for the sake of the Gospel. I just have to remind folks of this because even today there are so many people that almost ridicule the writings of the Apostle Paul. So actually what it amounts to is, “People today are no different than they were in 60 AD. People don’t change, their attitudes stay the same.”

As another introduction to II Corinthians I can take you back to II Timothy, and just imagine how this must have grieved, and broken the heart of this apostle who had now spent twenty-some years through all of these hardships, through all of these sufferings. Probably, he had very little of the comforts of life, and then had to, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, make this kind of statement that we’ll see. It has boggled my mind as long as I’ve been teaching this Book. How the apostle must have been brokenhearted to have to write something like this in II Timothy. Paul is writing to a young man who had labored with him in the ministry and who is now a pastor.

II Timothy 1:13,14a

“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing…”

In the Greek the word `things’ as we see here means the deposit. And the deposit was the volume of truth that we refer to in Paul’s letters as the mysteries. So Paul is telling Timothy to hang onto this doctrine of the mysteries that was revealed to him by the ascended Lord which I have now left these mysteries with you. Now reading on.

II Timothy 1:14

“That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” Now look at verse 15. Imagine that poor man having to write a statement like this, and Paul was not lying.

II Timothy 1:15

“This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia (in Paul’s terminology Asia was the western half of Turkey in the area where he established so many churches.) be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. (the leaders)

What’s he saying? All these congregations that he had founded in his Gospel of Grace, and in the knowledge of the mysteries had now turned aside. It’s really heart wrenching to think that the poor fellow had gone all those years going though such privation and yet have to come to that conclusion. When I read things like this I’m always amazed but for the Grace of God Christianity would have never gotten off the ground. It was constantly under Satanic attack. You and I have to just thank The Lord that it survived and that we today at least have the Word of God. Even today the truth of the fundamentals of Christianity are under constant attack, from within Christendom and from without. So we get a little taste of what Paul is talking about. Maybe that’s enough introduction. II Corinthians was probably written about 60 AD and I Corinthians was probably written about a year earlier. Also remember II Corinthians was written two years after the letter to the Galatians. I’ll be going back to that to show you that what Paul dealt with in the Galatian letter had already taken place quite some time before he wrote this letter of II Corinthians.

II Corinthians 1:1-4

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, (Paul was set apart by God Himself) and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: (southern Greece) Grace be to you and peace from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth (encourages) us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

In other words even for us believers today as we go through trying and testing times we have that promise that God is going to be a constant encouragement. And here again this is the answer to the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Well I think it’s so that God can show us that He’s sufficient. You know when someone comes along and promises you a rose petal pathway if you become a Christian, then you just chalk it off as false teaching, because that has never been the theme of Scripture. In fact I’ve made the comment before, “The Christian life is like paddling a canoe up stream.” It’s one of the toughest jobs on earth. A sissy cannot be a Christian, because it’s a constant battle against all the forces of Satan and the world itself. But we have these promises that as we go through these times of testing and discouragement The Lord God Himself is going to encourage us. Now reading on.

II Corinthians 1:5-7

“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, (Paul is speaking of his own experience) so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. (The same Lord that permits persecution and testing to come into the life is the same Lord that will provide the strength we need to go through it.) And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or where we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.”

Now another thing we have to remember is that all of the early believers under the Roman yoke were immediately under persecution. They couldn’t walk up and down the street and glibly talk about their Christian faith. They were under constant surveillance, and the Roman Empire at one time actually tried to stamp out Christianity. So to become a believer under Paul’s preaching and teaching actually was an invitation to persecution. How many would buy that today? So remember, although these early believer were under constant pressure they also had that promise that The Lord Who was permitting the affliction and pressure was also The Lord Who had the strength to bring them through it. Now verse 8:

II Corinthians 1:8

“For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:”Can you imagine that? What was Paul talking about? He didn’t think that he would live to finish his ministry. Whether it was a physical sickness, or outside pressure from the various forces that I’ve already alluded to, whether it was the Romans, or the Judaisers, he would almost come to the place where he would despair even of life. Now verse 9:

II Corinthians 1:9-10

“But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us:”

The apostle Paul must have had much the same kind of mental attitude regarding his trials and tribulations as they pertained to the resurrection, as Peter and the other disciple must have had at the time of the crucifixion. Let’s reflect back for a moment. After Jesus’ arrest and as He was placed on the Cross, where were those eleven men? They had pretty much scattered like a flock of quail. They were practically running for their lives because they were seeing what was happening to their Master. But do you remember when their attitude totally changed? After His resurrection! Now they understood that there was nothing that could touch that eternal part of them because if The Lord had been resurrected they would be also. So Paul is going through that same kind of a mindset knowing that the crucified Christ had been raised from the dead. They could take his life, so what, but they can’t end his spirit life. So I think this is what he is constantly referring to that even the resurrection power of Christ would keep him even through the trials and tribulations of his physical life.

II Corinthians 1:11

“Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.” In other words Paul then, and like we do today, realized what really sustained him in his ministry. The prayers of the saints! Never fail to pray for one another. Pray for us, and others in the ministry that God is using to reach hearts. Remember prayer changes things. Now verse 12:

II Corinthians 1:12

“For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation (or manner of living) in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.” (who are in Corinth).

What’s Paul saying? What he has said over and over in his other letters. “He did not come to the city of Corinth with a bunch of flippant statements and silly ideas, or a lot of gimmicky, or fifth avenue advertising, but he came with all the sincerity and desires of his heart that he might see these pagan people come out of their pagan darkness and step into the light of the glorious Gospel.” So Paul is going to refer to that over and over, that he didn’t come selling his cheap wares, but rather he came with all the sincerity of heart that he might see them believe. Now for a moment let’s turn to I Thessalonians Chapter 1. And this is typical of every place that Paul ministered.

I Thessalonians 1:9

“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God:”

352 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 4 - Book 30 - 1 Corinthians 15:35 - 16:24 - Part

352: 1 Corinthians 15:35 – 16:24 – Part 2 – Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 30

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 30

I CORINTHIANS 15:35-16:24 – PART 2

Well hopefully we’ll finish I Corinthians in this lesson, I’m certainly going to try. So turn again to Chapter 15, and we’re going to take a look at this revelation of a secret which was part of that whole revealed body of truth which Paul refers to as the mystery. Before we look at I Corinthians let’s look for a moment at Romans Chapter 16. I want you to see that this is not just a flippant use of the word, for Paul uses it throughout his writings. And simply because the Holy Spirit has revealed to this man doctrines and truths that no one else ever dreamed would happen. They’re not in the Old Testament, or in Christ’s ministry, or in Peter’s activity in the Book of Acts, but rather it’s a whole new revelation which builds on everything that went before. And that’s why I teach the Old Testament and the Four Gospels just as much as I do the Pauline letters. Nevertheless this is something that has come out of every thing that has gone before, but it was never prophesied. Now let’s look at verse 25:

Romans 16:25

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, (the one by which you are saved in I Corinthians 15:1-4) and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.

Remember in our last lesson we looked at Deuteronomy 29:29:

Deuteronomy 29:29

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God:…”

He is a God who can keep things secret as long as He cares to, and this whole volume of revealed truths was one of those. God just did not reveal it, not even a hint of the Church age, and what we call the Rapture in any of the prophecies, or His earthly ministry. And that’s a good way that we can divide the Scriptures. The Old Testament was based on the prophetic word. Everything was based on what God said, “I Will, I Will, I Will,” That was prophecy! And all sitting on that Abrahamic Covenant. So Christ came in fulfillment of that Covenant. He came only to the Nation of Israel (Matthew 15:24) as their Messiah, and their King, and we’ve been teaching that over and over. But Israel rejected it, (Acts 28:27-28) they didn’t believe Who He said He was. Now God’s going to turn to the rest of the world by putting the Nation of Israel into a dispersion, and not using the Jew with the exception of this one man, the Apostle Paul who was a Jew, a Pharisee of the Pharisees of the tribe of Benjamin. So this Jew now has revealed to him and him only these mysteries, these secrets, and now He can take it to the Gentile world and reveal it.

Now in our time line, we always start back with Adam, and then 2000 years later we have the call of Abraham. That brought about the Nation of Israel which was pulled off the main river of humanity. But the Nation of Israel, instructed and taught, and nurtured through the Old Testament under the Law and prophecies, rejected Him, and they were dispersed then back into that main stream of humanity from which they were called in the first place. Remember God had intended for the Nation of Israel to evangelize the world, but when he sent them into dispersion, in the last chapter of Acts He put them into a place of spiritual blindness. Paul tells us now there is no difference between Jew and Gentiles. Now for salvation all must believe the Gospel that was given Paul by the crucified, risen Lord, the Gospel we find in I Corinthians 15:1-4. When this dispersion took place about 70 AD the Jews lost the Temple, and the city of Jerusalem, and their homeland. They were dispersed into every nation on earth.

But about 30 years before this dispersion took place, about 40 AD, the Apostle Paul was called by God, and he now is going to be progenitor of this Gospel of Grace and the calling out of the Gentile Body of Christ. Now when this Body of Christ, which is made up of Jews and Gentiles, is complete, and the last one has been saved, that’s when we have this meeting in the air (Rapture) that we talked about in the last lesson. This is when the soul and spirit of believers that have been in the presence of Christ after they died, are brought to the atmosphere by God Himself in the Person of Christ, and their bodies will be resurrected to be reunited with their soul and spirit in the air. And then in the next instance we believers who are alive and remain shall be caught up to meet The Lord in the air.

Then after that has taken place, the final seven years are ushered in and are associated only with the prophecies concerning the Nation of Israel, which in 1948 became a nation again. We call that period the final seven years or the Tribulation. Of course the ending of the Tribulation will bring about the Second Coming of Christ to the earth as we saw in the closing moments of the last lesson. This is when Christ will stand with His feet on the Mount of Olives. Now just to show the graphic difference again between the Rapture and the Second Coming let’s go back to Matthew Chapter 24. Now there are many other references to the Second Coming, but I’m going to use this passage as the prime example of how everything that the Old Testament, and Jesus and the Four Gospel accounts refer to in Christ’s coming is never this Rapture of the Church, this meeting in the air. That is something that the rest of The Bible knew nothing about. It was only a secret revealed by, and to the Apostle Paul.

Now all these other references to the end time events are directed to the Second Coming . When Christ will come and stand in that day on the Mount of Olives. All right now let’s just look at Matthew Chapter 24 for an example. At this time the Twelve disciples are still intact.

Matthew 24:1-3

“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, `See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’ And as he sat upon the mount of Olives the disciples came unto him privately, saying, `Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?'” (or age)

Jesus gives them the answer, and He comes down through these series of verses and none of this is associated with the Church one iota. This is all instructions for the Nation of Israel concerning the Second Coming of Christ. So when I teach Matthew Chapter 24 this is why I stress this over and over. Matthew 24 is Tribulation ground. This is not for you and I in the Church age. This is prophecy for those last 7 years. We’re seeing the stage set now leading up to the Tribulation when there will be false teachers and there’s going to wars and rumors of war, and granted we’re seeing all this, but thank goodness we are certainly not in the Tribulation.

Now I was reading a book the other night by a dear old Bible teacher who had gone on to be with The Lord several years ago. And he was writing shortly after he had been at a prophecy conference, and he had been conversing with another well-known prophecy expert. As they saw the falling apart of western civilization and the apostasy of the Church, they thought that we were so close to the Rapture because they were seeing all the signs that were introducing the Tribulation. Well I read some of those things to Iris, and said, “Well what would those fellows say if they were alive today?” Stop and think about it. Look how far we have come to Tribulation ground in the last 20 years. But we’re not there yet, we’re not in the Tribulation by any stretch of the imagination. But everything is bringing us closer.

I had a banker friend tell me recently that every new technology is just bringing the prophecies that much closer, because the whole Book of Revelation is based on our tremendous technology. So it stands to reason that the Anti-christ could never be able to put his thumb on every human being on earth without the computer. But with the computer he’ll be able to, but I’m not saying that he will. But if the Anti-christ wants to pull up some data on an individual anywhere then all he has to do is request it and there it will be. And he’ll have every thing on that individual that he will want to know. Why? Technology.

Even in our ministry we’re on the Internet, but the more I hear about it, it just scares the socks off me, because there’s no place to hide. They can find anybody, and if they someday want to find us it will be no problem for them. There will be no place to hide. So what I want you to see in this lesson is that everything that was spoken in the Old Testament prophets; which was spoken by Jesus, and Peter, were all directed to the Nation of Israel, and His Second Coming. Not to the Church or the Rapture of the Church! So keep that in mind as we study even in these closing moments of this Book of I Corinthians. So let’s come back to I Corinthians and we find Paul revealing one of the mysteries that was part of that whole volume of truth that he puts in one category. And that category is “The revelation of the mysteries.”

Now there were all kinds of mysteries revealed to Paul, and they were unknown to the rest of Scripture. For example, that Jews and Gentiles would be brought into the Body of Christ on equal ground. Now I pay all respect to Israel’s Covenant position, as the favorite nation of God. I know they are where they are only because of that. But we must never lose sight that for a Jew today to experience salvation, he’s on the same level playing field that we as Gentiles are on. The Jew today is not in a place of special privilege when it come to his personal salvation. He’s a sinner who needs salvation. just a much as a Gentile. But in the great scheme of things they have to be in the land of Israel for the culmination of the Prophetic Scripture.

I had a young Jewish listener out in California tell me once, “Now Les, stop and think. I know that you would just love for all of us Jews to get saved according to what you teach, but if all Jews would get saved then we would all leave with you at the Rapture, and there would be nobody here to fulfill prophecy.” I told him that I hadn’t thought of it that way. But you know what he said is so true. Israel has to be in the land at the end-time scenario for that final 7 years. She has no choice because all of prophecy is directed to that. Well you take them off the scene and God’s Word would fall apart, and we know God’s not going to let that happen. I was reading one of my little books the other day and had made the point that, yes, we love the Arabs, and Palestinians on God’s behalf just as much as anyone else. But it’s too bad that they can’t understand that Scripturally they are not in the line of the Covenant promises given to Abraham. That was only for the Jew. If they think they’re going to drive the Jew into the sea, then they’ll have to deal with God first. Remember God has said that they are not going to disappear. They’re going to be there for the end-time.

Now back to I Corinthians 15: 54. I think we’ve touched enough on the Rapture for now. All I want you to remember is that, “The Rapture is not prophetically announced. We don’t know when it will happen, there is nothing to indicate that it’s going to be today, tomorrow or next year. But as the world scene is being fulfilled for that final 7 years, and the Second Coming, we have to be ready at least 7 years ahead of His Second Coming. So as you see all the signs of the world getting ready for the Second Coming just remind yourself, “Hey, we’re going to leave 7 years ahead of that so we’d better be ready.” Now verse 54. Here Paul continues on dealing with putting in the grave this corruptible, and resurrecting the incorruptible.

I Corinthians 15:54-56

“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal (this old body we have now) shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, `Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? (I think I said it just a lesson or so back that we all hate death.) O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; (that’s why we hate it. Death and sin are almost synonymous.) and the strength of sin is the law.'” It was the Law that showed sin to be what it really is. Then verse 57:

I Corinthians 15:57

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

There is no other way to gain victory over sin and death. Religion won’t do it, good works won’t do it, joining a church won’t do it. It has to be by virtue of this resurrection power of the Gospel that does it. Now verse 58, and he begins this verse with the word “Therefore,” Now Paul is winding this letter down. So he can say “Therefore” in light of all that he has written in these previous 15 chapters, but especially with this hope of the believers. Before we read this verse I would like to show you a verse in Titus to tie it all together. This verse shows that the Rapture is a reality, and it will happen before the horrors of the Tribulation comes. Verse 13 says it all, but let’s start at verse 11.

Titus 2:11-13

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath (already) appeared to all men. (no one is ever going to say, `But Lord I never heard.’ For this Grace is) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world: (and we are to be) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:”

When someone asks that you to show them in The Bible that Jesus ever claimed to be God well here’s one reference right here, and there are many others. But look at this verse. If this isn’t giving Deity to Christ then I don’t know what is. That we are to be looking for that blessed hope, and what’s the blessed hope? The glorious appearing of the great God, the God of Creation, the God of this Book, and Who is He? Our Saviour Jesus Christ! Now back to I Corinthians 15:58:

I Corinthians 15:58

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

We may not reap the rewards of our labor in this life. We may go to the grave as poor as church mice, but don’t let that discourage you. God hasn’t promised that, “Just because we’re believers we’re going to drive cadillacs, and live in mansions.” No way, but God has promised that He is keeping a record of our earthly activities. Then one day we’re going to cash in on the rewards in glory, and remember that Paul is always teaching that. We are to run the race for rewards. Now go to Chapter 16 to wind up I Corinthians. Here Paul is going to deal with something totally different from resurrection. Here he is going to come down to the nitty gritty of, “How we’re to give.” Many people are hung up on the legal system of tithing. I’ve got nothing against giving. But you are not under the tithe. Now I know this is going to ruffle a few feathers, but remember the tithe was part of the Law. Tithing was given only to the tribe of Levi. I dare say if we could ask some of our Jewish friends whether they teach tithing today, I’d be very surprised if they would say yes. Because they, too, do not know who the Levites are so I just have to doubt that good Jewish people still tithe. Always remember that Paul never says tithe, because that was part of the Law, but that doesn’t say that God doesn’t expect you to give. Let’s look how Paul puts it.

I Corinthians 16:1a

“Now concerning the collection (of money) for the saints,…”

Paul was always instructed to remember the poor saints at Jerusalem. Why? They had cashed in land and everything they had and brought the money to the feet of the Twelve disciples. It all went into a common kitty back there in Acts Chapters 2 and 3 in light of the Kingdom. But the Kingdom didn’t come because the Jews had rejected it. So what happened to these poor Jewish saints? They had to live off the kitty and I imagine it was a pretty good existence for a while. But God took care of them through Paul’s Gentile converts, and the money was taken back to Jerusalem for them. Now continuing on:

I Corinthians 16:1,2

“Now concerning the collection for the saints, (Jewish saints at Jerusalem) as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye (at Corinth). Upon the first day of the week(not on the seventh day Sabbath. Why first day of the week? Resurrection day!) let every on of you lay by him in store, (as a tithe? No, but rather) as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

Now that’s one of the beauties of the Christian life, that’s the beauty of God’s Grace. He has left us with that free will. We can give as much as we want to, but God is not putting the thumb on our head, and saying, “You will give 10%! Now that’s a guideline, and I’ll always say that. God more or less lets it be known that 10% is a guideline for giving. But God’s not going to zap you if you don’t give 10%. Now you may lose some reward in glory, but you are under no mandate under Paul’s teaching to give a set amount. That’s up to you as a believer as God has prospered you. And God has enough respect for your free will as a believer that you’re going to give as much as you can.

Paul told these believers at Corinth to take this offering before he came so that they wouldn’t be under his influence. He wanted that all taken care of before he arrived. Paul doesn’t want them to dig down in their other pocket and say, “Paul is here, and he’d better see how much I’ve given.” But Paul wanted that all taken care of before he got there. The rest of this chapter is referring to the Corinthians how he still wants to come and see them. He wants to stop in there again physically, but until he gets there they’re going to have to be satisfied with hearing from him, only by way of his letters. Now look at verses 10-14:

I Corinthians 16:10-14

“Now if Timotheus (Timothy the young preacher) come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him:(Timothy) but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren, As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time. Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity. (love)

351 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 3 - Book 30 - 1 Corinthians 15:35 - 16:24

351: 1 Corinthians 15:35 – 16:24 – Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 30

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 30

I CORINTHIANS 15:35-16:24

There is probably more on resurrection in this 15th Chapter than the rest of The Bible put together. It’s interesting that Paul uses the word “mystery” that is so intrinsic to his writings. For example in verse 51:

I Corinthians 15:51

“Behold, I shew you a mystery;…”

This word `mystery’ comes from the Greek word `musterion’ which simply means `secret.’ Those two words can be interchanged throughout Paul’s letters when he says, “Behold, I shew you a mystery or secret.” And when we speak of secrets we have to look at the Book of Deuteronomy Chapter 29. I like to use this verse especially when there’s a reference to Paul’s use of the word `mystery.’ God in His Sovereignty has every right and reason to keep things secret as long as He wants to keep it secret. But once He reveals it then He expects mankind to believe it. Take it by faith! Another expression for faith is God said it and I believe it! or Taking God at His Word!

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, that we may do all the words of this law.”

Now this was written for the Nation of Israel, but it still shows in the attributes of God that He has the prerogative to keep things secret. For example, look at Ephesians 3:1-9 things only revealed to Paul, and then for the Gospel of Salvation, Romans 16:25, I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10 which He kept secret until He revealed it to the Apostle Paul for us, the Body of Christ. For the Rapture of the Church was given only to the Apostle Paul. Look at I Corinthians 15:51-58 and I Thessalonians 4:13-18. And there are many more examples given only to that great apostle for us. Remember God doesn’t have to reveal secrets until He’s ready. So this is one of the basic things it takes to understand the Word of God. He does not reveal everything all the way up, but rather at the right time. Now let’s look for a moment at Luke Chapter 18. And here that is so evident that God actually, with the Twelve disciples, kept things secret from them that they did not understand until He was ready to reveal it. Remember this was at the end of His earthly ministry, just before they went up to Jerusalem.

Luke 18:31-34

“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, `Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.’ And they understood none of these things: (Well was The Lord speaking in some foreign language? No. Well why didn’t they understand?) and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” That was one of God’s prerogatives to keep things hidden until it’s time to reveal it.

As you come back to I Corinthians 15, Paul now says he is going to reveal a secret, or a mystery, which means it has never been revealed before. I can not emphasize this enough. All of these things that were wrapped up in that ball of knowledge, in that whole sphere of doctrines and revelations that have now come to us through this apostle, were for the most part, kept secret in the mind of God until He revealed them to the Apostle Paul. Paul makes reference to the fact that it was to him first that God revealed these things. God had the right to keep it secret. So keep that in mind now, that what He’s now going to unveil to Paul had never been alluded to, or hinted at. It has certainly never been spoken, and that is that at a point toward the end of time there will be a group of believers who will not die physically.

I Corinthians 15:51

“Behold, I shew you a mystery: (secret) We shall not all sleep, (die physically) but we (remember Paul only writes to believers so he’s not including the lost world here) shall all be changed,.”

That is why I took so much time previously to show that our resurrected body is going to be fashioned after Christ’s resurrection body, it’s going to be a lot like our physical body, but it’s going to be different. It’s going to be a spiritual body without blood. It’s going to be flesh and bone and going to be activated by the spirit. So Paul says, “there’s coming a group of people who will not die physically, but they shall all be changed.” And of course Paul writes as though it would happen in his lifetime. And so those of us who adhere to this line of teaching, we speak of it as the imminent coming of Christ for the Church, which means it could be tonight; it may be tomorrow, it may be ten years from now, but we are to expectantly look for it at any time. There is no set prophetic program that must be fulfilled for this event to take place.

Now contrary to the Rapture of the Church you have a completely different event in the “Second Coming” when Christ actually comes to the Mount of Olives (we’ll be looking at this soon) in fulfillment of the second coming that will have prophetic events leading up to it, so by these events there will no doubt when He will be coming to the Mount of Olives. But for the Rapture of the Church there are no prophetic signs, there is nothing to indicate at what day or year that we can expect this to happen. Now let’s read on:

I Corinthians 15:52

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump for trumpet (singular) shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” We shall be changed from this body of corruption to a body of incorruption in that split second at the trumpet call.

I Corinthians 15:53

“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal (this body that is prone to death) must put on immortality.”

This body we have now must lose the flesh and blood concept, and become flesh and bone, and be activated by the Spirit. Let’s talk a little about the trumpet. Let’s go back to Revelation Chapter 8, and look at the trumpet. This is the one that people are always throwing up to me. For some reason or other the best of people want to tie the trump of God in Paul’s teaching concerning the Rapture, with these trumpets in Revelation which will occur about the mid-point of the Tribulation. But let me point out something.

Revelation 8:2

“And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given (not the trump of God singular, but rather were given) seven trumpets.” (plural)

Now that’s a big point I think. These are not the trump of God, these are angelic trumpets. The angels are going to blow these seven trumpets. Now comparing Scripture with Scripture look at Chapter 15 again of I Corinthians. The seven angelic trumpets can no way shape or form, as I understand language, be a part of the trump (singular) of God Himself. In other words God has a trumpet reserved for just this event and this alone “the calling out the Body of Christ.” Now the Roman army, I think, used the trumpet to put out commands much like our American calvary used to (when the soldier blew the trumpet the ones in the very far distance would know what the command was). I think it was the same way in the Roman army. When the battle was over and the Romans were victorious, and the generals wanted to let the legionnaires know “we’re going home to Italy” then that was the trumpet call that every legionnaire could be exulted by. And what a message from that trumpet. “The battle is over, we’ve won, and we’re going home.” Every soldier gets excited about going home.

Well you see that’s where we are. We are in a battle, and even the press and Congress are finally waking up to the fact that Christianity world-wide is coming under ferocious attacks. Persecution is rampant against Christians, it’s become warfare, and it’s going to get worse. My what a joy it will be to hear that trumpet call, “The battle is over, come on home, and we’re going to be out of here.” I believe that with all my heart. We’re getting closer and closer to the day when that trumpet call will take us out of this existence and we will suddenly, as Paul says, “be changed.” Now in order to get the full picture of all this we have to go over to the corresponding portion in I Thessalonians Chapter 4. This is just an extension of this revelation of this part of the mystery which he now refers to “as being caught up.” Now I’ve had a lot of people try to corner me by saying, “Well Les, the word `Rapture’ isn’t in my Bible.” Of course it isn’t in there, not in the English anyway, but we’re going to see in a little bit two words in the Greek that mean the same thing, so what’s the big deal.

I Thessalonians 4:13,14

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, (died physically) that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, (that’s the Gospel that saves you, and it was also given to Paul as a mystery. If we believe the Gospel to the place where God has now imparted salvation. If we believe the Gospel) even so them also which sleep (or have died) in Jesus will God bring with him.”

Now verse 14 is another one of those scriptures where Jesus and God are synonymous. It’s the same God, the same Jesus. Let’s look at that a little more in the Book of Ephesians. We’re not going to look at all of them but if I’m not mistaken there are 96 prepositional phases, “In Christ, In Whom, In Him” speaking of Christ Himself in the Book of Ephesians. But we will look at a few of them.

Ephesians 1:1

“Paul, and apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesians, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:”

Ephesians 1:4a

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,…” Do you see what I’m talking about? Over and over you have this prepositional phrase. Let’s look at a couple more.

Ephesians 1:12,13

“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted,…”

So all the way through these 6 chapters you have 96 times, if I’m not mistaken, this prepositional phrase which is our position in Christ or the Body of Christ. Now back to I Thessalonians, and let’s pick up again with the Rapture of the Church. So those of us who are in Christ, they have been baptized into the Body by the Holy Spirit, not with water but rather by the power of the Spirit. So we are in Christ. And if those kind of people are already dead they will be raised in resurrection power, but that body that’s raised in resurrection power is still void of the soul and spirit remember because they separated at physical death. So what does God have to do to get it back into one entity again? Well the soul and spirit of that believer is already in glory, and the body is in the grave. Although it just came to me to tie all this together in II Corinthians Chapter 5.

II Corinthians 5:6-8

“Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, (while we’re living in this tabernacle here on the earth) we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

Now I had someone ask me that not to long ago. “What happens to the believer’s soul and spirit at death?” It immediately goes into paradise in heaven right into the presence of The Lord. Now back again to I Thessalonians Chapter 4 and let’s look at verse 14 again.

I Thessalonians 4:14

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” Believers only, and He will bring them from heaven down to the atmosphere. Now verse 15.

I Thessalonians 4:15,16

“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain (that’s this one group of people He’s talking about in I Corinthians 15:51 who have not died, but will be changed in a twinkling of an eye) unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (or go ahead of) them which are asleep. (or have died) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: (not the trumpet of the angels) and the dead in Christ shall rise first:”

Those that must be resurrected are going to be brought out of the tomb wherever they’re buried, and reunited then with their soul and spirit which The Lord is bringing with Him. Now verse 17:

I Thessalonians 4:17a

“Then (after the resurrected saints have their new body) we which are alive and remain shall be caught up…”

Or another name for caught up is “Raptured.” It all means the same thing. So if you don’t like to use the word Rapture just say “caught up.” Any way you put it we’re going to be out of here. If The Lord comes in our lifetime then suddenly we’re going to be out of here; whether we’re driving down the highway or asleep in bed.

I Thessalonians 4:17

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (the resurrected who have died in Christ) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Now for a quick comparison of Scripture let’s go to the Book of Acts Chapter 1. Here we have The Lord and the eleven disciples on the Mount of Olives. It’s the same Mount of Olives that we visit every time we go to Jerusalem. The Lord’s 40 days of resurrection experience has now come to an end. Now verse 9:

Acts 1:9-11

“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel: Which also said, `Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.'”

Now to put it in a lighter vain, I always say, “He went head first, but He’s going to come back feet first.” Now let’s look at Zechariah Chapter 14 and compare the language. Paul says, “Christ is only going to come to the air, the atmosphere as we meet Him in the air.” But here in this chapter in verse 4 it’s just like Chapter 1 of Acts.

Zechariah 14:4

“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east,….”

And that’s the difference between the Rapture of the Church, and the Second coming of Christ. They are exactly 7 years apart.