626 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 Part 2 Book 53 - The Setting for James through Jude - 2

626: The Setting for James through Jude – Part 2 – Lesson 1 Part 2 Book 53

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 53

The Setting for James Through Jude – Part 2

James 1:1-2

Alright, now in the last lesson we started the little Book of James, after having finished Hebrews. But I want to take a little extra time to set up the background for not only the little letter of James, but also for the rest of the little epistles at the back of your New Testament – I & II Peter; I, II & III John; and Jude – and then comes the first three chapters of Revelation. They all fit in that same scenario that we’re dealing with; Jewish congregations who are still not under Paul’s Gospel of Grace, but rather the Gospel of the Kingdom that was taught by Christ in His earthly ministry and later by the Twelve.

Now, we finished up in our last program having started with Israel’s promise or prophecy of being a nation of priests out of the Abrahamic Covenant. And then we showed from Isaiah how that the Messiah would come, and that Israel would be the vehicle to take salvation to the Gentiles once they have their King. Now, once you see all of this, then everything begins to make sense. Why were Peter and the Eleven so reluctant to go out into the Jewish world? Well, they knew they couldn’t until they had the King. And until they had the King, they did not have a message for the Gentiles.

Alright, so back up with me now, and we’ll go ahead from where we were in Isaiah 42 as we closed the last lesson, and let’s jump up now to Isaiah 59 and keep building our case that the Nation of Israel is being prepared, at some day in the future, to have their King and His Kingdom, and they would evangelize the world – every Jew being a priest of Jehovah. Now don’t forget that. “And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests” as we saw in Exodus 19:6 in the first lesson.

Isaiah 59:20a

“And the (what?) Redeemer…” Well what does the Redeemer speak of? Salvation! Redemption! Being bought back from whatever lost state, whether it’s Jews or for us today. We all need a Redeemer.

Isaiah 59:20

“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.” Now again, I always have to stop and remind people – don’t go by the hymn writer. Zion isn’t up in Heaven. Where’s Zion? It’s in Jerusalem. It’s one of the mountains of Jerusalem, Mt. Zion from which David ruled. Alright, so “the Redeemer shall come to Mt. Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob.” In other words, what segment of Israel? The believers!

Isaiah 59:21a

“As for me, this is my covenant with them,…” And then he repeats the new covenant as we have it in Jeremiah 31:31. But I’m not going to go over all that again. Now drop down into chapter 60 and pick up again this whole concept of Israel being the vehicle to go to the Gentile world.

Isaiah 60:1

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” Now again, remembering what we taught at the beginning of the last half hour, when you read a portion of Scripture, what are the questions you ask? Who’s writing? Well, Isaiah, a Jewish prophet. Who’s he writing to? The Nation of Israel. What are the circumstances? Prophecy. Alright, so remember now, Isaiah is writing to the Nation of Israel. And he says, “for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” Upon whom? Israel, the nation. Now verse 2:

Isaiah 60:2

“For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, (spiritual darkness) and gross darkness the people: (even Israel was in spiritual darkness. But in spite of all that, God is Sovereign and He can overrule.) but the LORD shall arise upon thee, (now are you getting the language? The Lord’s going to come to whom? The Nation of Israel.) and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” Who? Israel.

Now, in Jesus’ earthly ministry, what did He tell the Twelve? “You are the light of the world.” He wasn’t talking to us Gentiles in this Age of Grace. He was talking to the Twelve. (Israel) And in the very next statement or maybe it was the statement before, they were also to be the what? The salt of the earth. He wasn’t talking about us. He was talking to the Jews. That was what their prospect was. Now verse 3. As a result of God dealing with His covenant people, we find:

Isaiah 60:3

“And the Gentiles shall come to thy (Israel’s) light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Now that’s Israel’s future. It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s going to. But so far as our timeline is concerned – and I see it’s been erased. We realize that people catch us on television by noticing little things that you would never dream of. They’ll see this old blackboard and since we’ve always used a blackboard, we don’t want to change to something else. So, I’ll put the timeline we had in the last lesson back up.

The second thing that people notice with this program is my short-sleeved shirt. It’s become my trademark. I wouldn’t dare come up here in a suit and tie. Our mailbox would be flooded. So we’ve got these little things that Iris and I have learned over twelve years – that this is our program, and the letters say, “Don’t change a thing.” So with God’s help, we’re not going to. We’re not going to give in to pressure to get highly technical and all that. We’re just going to keep it nuts and bolts.

So as I go back and re-draw my timeline, you be turning in your Bible to the Book of Zechariah. You’ll find Zechariah is the next to last book in your Old Testament and I’m going to have you look first at chapter 8 verse 20. We started back with Abraham 2000 BC and the covenant promises and out of that came, of course, the Nation of Israel.

Out of the Abrahamic Covenant – and all the Old Testament prophets are talking about Israel’s future, which of course, will lead up to Christ’s first coming and His three years of earthly ministry. And maybe that’s as far as I need to go for now. I may get it erased again before the next program. Okay, now if you’ve got Zechariah chapter 8, this is all in view of this very premise that Israel is to be a nation of priests. But they can’t operate as such until they have their King. Now, am I making that plain? They have to have the King and the Kingdom so that they would now be in that position to be priests of Jehovah.

Zechariah 8:20a

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; (that’s God speaking through the prophet) it shall yet come to pass,…” Now again what’s the word I’m using? Prophecy. It’s something out in the future. Do you see that? This is all prophecy.

Zechariah 8:20b-21

“…that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: 21. And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD,(before Jehovah) and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also.” In other words, that’s the mentality of their thinking. Let’s go and meet the Lord of hosts, Jehovah. Verse 22:

Zechariah 8:22a

“Yea, many people and strong nations, shall come (it hasn’t happened yet, it’s future, it’s prophecy) to seek the LORD of hosts (where?) in Jerusalem,…” Now it can’t get any plainer, can it? And when will He be in Jerusalem? When He sets up His Kingdom. That’s where His throne will be, on David’s Mt. Zion. Now verse 23.

Zechariah 8:23a

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days (when prophecy has been fulfilled and the King is on His throne and He’s ruling from Jerusalem. And Israel, remember, is going to be a nation of priests) it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations,…” So what kind of people are we talking about? Gentiles. Every kind of Gentile imaginable. And they’ll be coming to the Jew and they’ll take hold out of all languages of the nations. Reading on:

Zechariah 8:23b

“…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 remember, what is every Jew by now? A priest! Oh, not running around with long robes and all the regalia of Judaistic priests but, nevertheless, in their everyday life role, they’re going to be a go-between to take these unbelieving Gentiles to a knowledge of their King. That’s what’s been promised to them.

Alright, and so they will say to these Jews, “We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you.” He is their King. This is Israel’s prospect. That’s why they are yet going to be the most glorious nation on earth, when they have the King. Alright, now just turn the page a little bit in Zechariah and let’s see what’s going to have to happen before they get their King. We find that over in chapter 14. This is one of the terminologies for the tribulation in the Old Testament, the “Day of the Lord.” This day of wrath and vexation, as the Psalmist calls it. But in Zechariah 14 we can just start at verse 1. Now we’re going to take it slow. Like I said earlier, I may not even get any further into the Book of James today other than this verse 1, and an introduction of why he says what he says. But we’re going to take it slow so you can catch it all.

Zechariah 14:1

“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, (what is that? Prophecy. See, you’re catching on. It’s talking about something out in the future. This is prophecy) and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.” In other words, they’re going to be overrun. Verse 2:

Zechariah 14:2a

“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; (now you see that hasn’t happened yet, so it’s still prophecy.) and the city shall…”

In fact let’s just stop a moment. I’ve been talking about the Lord’s coming for as long as I’ve been on television, 12 years. But if I thought the Lord was coming twelve years ago, what do you think I think today? Well it’s twelve years closer. Now, stop and think. Why is every little rogue nation on the planet concerned about making weapons, not of just war, but of what? Mass destruction. That’s what they’re calling them now. Weapons of mass destruction. WMD’s – that’s going to be an acronym here before long – Weapons of Mass Destruction. What in the world are they all getting ready for? Who wants to kill everybody? Well, everybody wants to kill everybody. Why? Because, you see, by the time we get to this scenario right here, that we’re reading about in Zechariah, there will only be a few people left. The vast majority of the world’s population is going to be destroyed and we can see the world getting ready for it. It’s not going to stop. But I’ve always said that the Lord will not permit it until it’s tribulation time and it will be time for the Day of the Lord. But, the whole world tonight is getting ready to destroy itself. Now verse 2.

Zechariah 14:2-3

“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; (or raped) and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, (in other words, we’re going to be literally overrun by these Gentile armies) and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” (In other words, it’s just going to almost be total mayhem) 3. Then (just before it’s too late) shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.” And of course, as we know from the Book of Revelation this is that last great final battle when the Lord will return and smite those millions of troops that have come in to the Middle East. Alright, now look at verse 4 – after the horrors of the Day of the Lord have come to an end (the tribulation), with the Second Coming.

Zechariah 14:4a

“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east…” (and so on and so forth). Now let’s skip on down to verse 9.

Zechariah 14:9a

“And the LORD shall be (what?) king…” See, this isn’t gobbledy gook. This is pure language. That after He’s destroyed the nations throughout the wrath and vexation of those seven years of tribulation which, like I said last program, is introduced in Daniel 9 – and He has destroyed the nations except for those who are going to be ready to go into the Kingdom. Now He sets up His Kingdom and He’s going to be King, not just over Jerusalem, not just of Israel, but over what?

Zechariah 14:9b

“…over all the earth:…”

Back up if you will to chapter 12 and verse 10. And again, this is prophecy, but this is telling us the various things that have to take place before the Lord can set up His 1000 year earthly Kingdom, after the seven years of Tribulation that is yet to come.

Zechariah 12:10

“And I will pour upon the house of David, (who is that? Well, that’s Israel) and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: (not wrath and vexation)and they (Israel) shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” Now that language is a little bit confusing but the best way to clear it up is to go back to when the brethren went down into Egypt to get grain from Joseph. Now you remember when they went down the first time, Joseph knew them, but did they know Joseph? No. But the second time they were made to know who Joseph was. Now if you know your Old Testament, what happened between Joseph and those brothers? What did they do? They wept! They wept on each others necks. Not like we would think here of bitterness, but it was tears of reunion and love and joy to think that all the past had now culminated in that which was all for their own good. Alright the same thing is going to happen when Israel suddenly realizes that this One Who has now returned at His Second Coming is the One Who died for them, who suffered for them and they’re going to recognize Him Whom their forefathers of course had pierced.

Alright, now come back to chapter 13 verse 6. And this all happens pretty much at the same time – at Christ’s Second Coming.

Zechariah 13:6

“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” Now there it is. The nail prints in His hands are going to be the evidence that He is the One that they had crucified. Now, here is where I’m coming to my point. We always have to realize that the whole Old Testament program was prophetically set up to all take place within a matter of a few years. In other words, after His crucifixion, then, we know that forty days later He ascended as we see in Psalms 110 verse 1. The Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. And then there was an undetermined period of time, that I still say is probably around seven or eight years, and then was to come the seven years of what? Tribulation! The Tribulation was supposed to come in and last for seven years, and then Christ would return and set up His Kingdom.

Alright, now, in that time frame then we have the Lord Jesus coming by His birth at Bethlehem, begins His three years of earthly ministry, up and down the Nation of Israel, for three years. Alright, in this three years of His earthly ministry, then, He introduces what I’m going to show you next, what He called Himself the Gospel of the Kingdom. So turn to Matthew chapter 9, and let’s take a look at the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Because you see, prophetically, even if you add up the three years of His earthly ministry and if you want to use six or seven years in here before the actual Tribulation would break loose, and then seven years of Tribulation, we’re still talking in terms of 20 years between the beginning of His ministry and His Second Coming according to prophecy. Do you see that?

Alright now, why can the Old Testament call this approximately 20 years the last days? Oh, isn’t indeed 20 years just a drop in the bucket compared to 4,000? It’s almost nothing. So all the Scripture is speaking of, is these period of times of prophecy as the last days. Even the Apostle Paul, refers to that period of time in which he’s ministering as what? The last days.

Now you’re looking puzzled. I’ll have to show you from Scripture won’t I? Turn quickly to Hebrews chapter 1. Oh my our time is going to get away from us again. And as I pointed out to one of my classes here in Oklahoma the other night, I’m sure you all realize that whenever Paul spoke about the Rapture of the church, who did he include? Himself. He didn’t say, “..and when that day comes YOU.” But what does he say? “But when that day comes, WE shall be caught up and WE shall be changed.” Paul thought the Rapture was going to be in his lifetime. And it wasn’t until his letter to II Timothy that he realized that he would be martyred. Paul never had a concept that everything wouldn’t be consummated within this little period of time after Christ’s first coming.

Hebrews 1:1-2a

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2. Hath in these (what?) last days…” See, “…hath in these last days….” Well, now stop and think. You know I have to do this once in awhile. I’ve just got to stop and think. Let’s do the number aspect to keep everything in the right perspective. Pentecost – 29 AD. Saul’s conversion – 37 AD. After Paul’s three years in the desert, he begins his ministry among the Gentiles – 40 AD. The Jerusalem counsel, when they meet with the Twelve (or at least with Peter, James and John, that’s when Paul and Barnabas go down from Antioch to Jerusalem) – 51 or 52 AD. He starts his epistles around 55-56 AD. The last ones are written from prison in Rome in 64 or 65 AD, and then he’s martyred. Then in 70 AD everything is destroyed by Titus. All of that is in what Paul refers to here then as the last days. Okay, let’s read it again.

Hebrews 1-2a

“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,…” Now this is the Apostle Paul writing in his lifetime, so when did it have to be? Somewhere between 55 and 65 AD. I think probably around 60 AD when he wrote this Book. Anyway, he was still calling it the last days because, in Paul’s mind, all of this was going to be consummated with the Second Coming of Christ and the setting up of the Kingdom within that 20-year time span. He had no idea that there would be 2,000 years of the Church Age, nor did anybody else.

But all of prophecy, is resting on the Covenant made to Abraham concerning Israel – that out of Israel would come the Messiah. He ministered to the Nation for three years and He opened up to them the Gospel of the Kingdom and they rejected it and they crucified Him. Now come back to Matthew chapter 9 again so we make our point before we close this program. And let’s just drop in at verse 35.

Matthew 9, verse 35

“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”

Since all of this was promised to Israel, Jesus could not be anything to anybody but the Nation of Israel, because that’s who He had made the promises to. Otherwise, God’s Word wouldn’t be worth anything. Alright, so now then you come across to chapter 10 and here’s where our time is going to run out. Jesus has chosen the Twelve and now in verse 5:

Matthew 10:5

“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, or into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:” Do you see how clear that is? Don’t you have anything to do with Gentiles or the half-Gentiles, Samaritans.

Matthew 10:6

“But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

625 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 Part 1 Book 53 - The Setting for James through Jude

625: The Setting for James through Jude – Lesson 1 Part 1 Book 53

YouTube video

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 53

The Setting for James Through Jude

James 1:1-2

We’ve just finished the book of Hebrews, and now we’re starting book number 53 – and this will be as they’re normally called, the little Jewish epistles of James; I & II Peter; I, II, & III John and Jude. And whether we’ll get all of them into the next twelve programs, I’m not guaranteeing – but we’re going to start in this particular series with the little letter to James.Now, at least this first half hour is going to be exclusively introduction, because I don’t think any portion of Scripture has raised so many questions for us regarding the Grace Age, as this little book of James has (because of its legalism). And, consequently, many people get confused. People will say, “James says you can’t have faith unless you’ve got works. And Paul says you have faith without works. Well, what’s the deal?” We know that Scripture never contradicts for the sake of contradiction, so there has to be a logical, as well as a spiritual, answer for that dilemma.

So the first thing you want to realize is (as I’ve said over and over on the program), with every portion of Scripture that you read, before you even begin to pick it apart, you should ask yourself just two or three simple questions. Who’s writing? To whom is he writing? What are the circumstances around this writing? And this is exactly what we’re going to do before we even start any further introduction. Turn to James chapter 1, verse 1. The very first word, of course, tells you who is writing.

James 1:1a

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,…” So it’s James who is writing. Now, we have to qualify again. Most are agreed that this is not the James of the original twelve who was beheaded quite early after Pentecost. But this is no doubt the James who was the half-brother of Jesus. He was the son of Joseph and Mary. He was also the James who became the head man of the Jerusalem church and, consequently, was the moderator of that great Jerusalem Counsel that we delve into over and over as Paul covers it in Galatians chapter 2, and as Luke records it in Acts 15. And those are both the same counsel in Jerusalem, which took place about 51 or 52 AD – over which this James was the moderator and also referred to by the Apostle Paul as a pillar in the Jerusalem church. And so we feel that this James is a legalist, par excellence. When we go back after a while and look at some of the things he emphasized (even after he realized that Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles), it will come through that he indeed was a legalist. In verse 1 we also see to whom he is writing.

James 1:1b

“…to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” Now when you read something like that, the first thing you have to stop and analyze is: Who’s writing it? James. The James who was so intense on the legal aspect of Judaism. James who was the head honcho, instead of Peter, of the Jerusalem Jewish church. The church that you have starting there in Christ’s earthly ministry and so forth. But now, you see, as a result of Saul of Tarsus’ persecution, those believing Jews have been scared out of Jerusalem and scattered throughout the then-known world, especially in the eastern end of the Mediterranean.

And so, consequently, they were established in the Kingdom economy. Many of them had probably become believers during Christ’s earthly ministry – others in Peter’s ministry in the early Acts. But then, because of Saul’s persecution. they had to flee Jerusalem, and now they are scattered throughout the Roman Empire. Well, James is concerned about them, as well he should be, because he had, at one time, been the leader of that church. And so he is addressing this little epistle to those Jewish believers.

Now I can’t emphasize that enough. They are Jewish believers who as yet have not heard or understood Paul’s Gospel of Grace that you and I believe for our salvation and, consequently, it can be the legalistic treatise that it is without causing any flack amongst his followers because it was right in line with what they’d been hearing. Alright, in the same way, I’m going to have you turn to I Peter so that you will see that all these epistles now are written in the same flavor. They’re all coming out of the same bolt of cloth. Now, look at what Peter writes in verse 1 of chapter 1 of I Peter. And again, who is the writer? Peter. One of the Twelve. One of the main leaders of the Jerusalem church.

I Peter 1:1

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” Well, who were these scattered strangers? Again, Jewish believers who had been scattered out from that Jerusalem church because of Saul’s persecution. Well, when you continue on then, John doesn’t make it quite that distinct, but still, when you study the content, it’s all in that same area of thinking. It’s Jews who had embraced Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah but they were still practicing Judaism. The Temple is still operating. That won’t be destroyed until many years later. And so always get the connection that these little Jewish epistles are indeed written to Jewish believers.

I don’t call them Christians because the Bible doesn’t, but many people do. Remember believers were first called Christians at Antioch, and not Jerusalem. So they’re not Christians per se, they are Jewish believers in the Kingdom Gospel, and they believed for salvation that Jesus was the Messiah of Israel, but they’re still under the Law. They’re still practicing Temple worship. Nobody has told them not to so they’re not being disobedient. That fact had not been revealed to them yet.

So, James, Peter and John are writing to Jewish believers who have been scattered away from their home area of Jerusalem (and they are also facing hard times). Tribulation is right out in front of them. Now, amongst a lot of people who recognize that these letters are written to Jews, there are still two areas of thought. Some say that these were written to the Jews contemporary with their own day. In other words, Jewish congregations that had been established after they had scattered away from Jerusalem, but before the horrors of the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Titus.

You’ve got to keep your time frame in mind. Now, I’m going to have to go slow or I’ll get myself all fouled up. You see, Pentecost was about 29 AD. Then, from Pentecost until Saul’s conversion, is about 7 or 8 years. Which makes Saul being converted around 37 AD – and he begins his ministry in 40 AD. And then you see from 40 until 64 or 65 AD, when he’s martyred, there’s another 24 years, where Paul is out doing his thing amongst the Gentiles; and during which time he writes his epistles.

But, James is writing probably (as most commentaries that I’ve looked at, they all agree that it’s probably the first bit of New Testament that was ever written. And so he’s probably writing) in the early 50’s, maybe the late 50’s. At least there is no indication that he has any knowledge whatsoever, as yet, of Paul’s ministry amongst the Gentiles.Nothing that alludes to it at all. Peter, on the other hand, will now let us know that he definitely is writing after Paul’s ministry has been completed. And as Paul finishes up, while in prison in Rome no doubt, Peter is martyred shortly after he writes. And we can show that from II Peter then, because I want you to see that we’ve got two tremendous time frames here. We’ve got Jews of the dispersion right after Pentecost, up until the 70 AD destruction of the Temple. But then you leap 2,000 years, up in our own time and, once again, we’re going to have the same kind of Jews facing even worse tribulation, which is the seven years that are still in front of them.

And so these little epistles are written to Jews at both ends of the spectrum. They are written to Jewish believers who are facing the persecution of that day, leading up to the destruction of Rome, of Jerusalem, but also when we leap 2,000 years, it will be Jews who are facing the horrors of the seven-year Tribulation period. And so these little epistles will be appropriate at both ends of the spectrum. Now, as I was driving up here, I was just thinking – this group over here thinks that all this was written to the Jews of Peter’s, James’ and Paul’s day. You’ve got your other group who will say this was written to Jews facing the seven-year tribulation. Well, I’m going to step in where angels fear to tread and say, “Look fellows. You’re both right! They’re writing to Jews of the contemporary time, and also they’re writing to Jews at the end of time.”

Alright, here is the only indication that Peter has an awareness now of Paul’s revelations. And I believe that we’ve used these verses a hundred times. II Peter chapter 3 verse 15. And remember, Peter is now writing shortly before he’s martyred, and I think he and Paul were probably put to death at nearly the same time, within maybe a month. Now this is what Peter said:

II Peter 3:15

“And account (or understand) that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;And of course, when we taught Hebrews, I specified that it’s the Book of Hebrews, I think, that Peter is alluding to that Paul had written to the Jews.

II Peter 3:16a

“As also in all his epistles, (Romans through Philemon) speaking in them of these things; (that is pertaining to salvation) in which (that is Romans through Philemon) are some things hard to be understood,…” Why? Peter was a legalist!! And just like legalists today, they have a hard time comprehending my message of grace. It just flies in their face. They say, “It can’t be that easy. It can’t be that simple. I’ve got to do something!” Well, that’s legalism and Peter was steeped in that. Peter was steeped in the Law. And so I can see why he writes that in Paul’s epistles of grace were things hard for a good Jew to understand. And then Peter goes on saying that he’s not alone. There are others that are going to be far more guilty.

II Peter 3:16b

“…which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest,…” (twist). If they use Paul’s epistles at all, that’s what they’ll do with them. They’ll twist them all out of shape to make them fit their own legalistic doctrine. Alright, Peter gives a warning, then, that they who do that in their unlearned state are in trouble.

II Peter 3:16c

“…as they do also the other scriptures, (which, of course, identifies Paul in with all the rest of our Bible) unto their own destruction.”

Now, I’m going to put our prophetic timeline on the board – and when I say prophetic, I mean the timeline that comes out of all of Scripture except Paul’s epistles.

Now, as we begin the timeline, we come all the way from Adam – and at 2,000 BC, it really starts getting interesting. And that’s the call of Abraham, or Abram, as we first know him. And out of that river of humanity, we have the appearance of the Nation of Israel, or the Jewish people. Now, find Genesis chapter 12 because we’re going to go back there for a moment – and there we find that Abraham is given the Covenant promises. And the whole idea now, as we come on up through the Old Testament prophets, is that, after Christ is crucified, buried and resurrected, He ascends back to glory forty days afterwards (according to Psalms 110 verse 1), where the Lord says, “Come sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”

His enemies, then, were to be made His footstool during the seven years of Daniel’s prophecy. Daniel, chapter 9, where he delineates seven years of a treaty made between Israel and the nations of the world. Then in the middle of that treaty Israel is finally turned-on and is persecuted these last three and one half years like never before in all their history. That of course, would bring about, then, the Battle of Armageddon, and then the Second Coming, and Christ finally setting up the Kingdom. Now, many people don’t understand the concept of the earthly Kingdom. But I think those of you who have been listening to me now over the years are beginning to see how the Scriptures proclaim it.

So, coming out of that Old Testament prophecies, Christ came and had a ministry of three years. And I don’t know whether to put it on the board first or show it from the Scripture first. Maybe I should use the Scripture first. That’s more authoritative anyway. So I guess we’ll go ahead and read over in Genesis chapter 12, where it says:

Genesis 12:1-2a

“Now the LORD had said 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: 2. And I will make of thee a great nation,…” Now you see here’s already prophecy beginning. In fact I always say that true prophecy began here with the Nation of Israel, even though the Lord did give reference to His coming in Genesis 3:15. But true prophecy really starts right here. Here is where God is promising things that will come to pass in the future. That’s what prophecy is and that’s why I’m always holding this Book up above every other book on earth. There is not another book of religion or philosophy or anything you can name that can tell things hundreds and thousands of years into the future and be letter perfect; but this one does.

For example, King Cyrus, the king of Medes and Persia who finally gave the decree to Israel to go back after their 70 years of captivity and rebuild the Temple. Cyrus was named 150 years beforehand in the Word of God. And history substantiates it, so there’s no room for argument. And that’s just one little instance.

Christ’s first coming, all the prophecies in the Old Testament concerning His birth at Bethlehem and His suffering, His resurrection – it was all back there. It was all prophesied and all fulfilled to the jot and tittle. Now, of course, there’s still a lot left to be fulfilled but we can trust that if this much has been, the rest will be. And that’s where we have to place our faith. Now continuing on.

Genesis 12:2a

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

Now I always have to stop on some of these things. We’re so programmed today to think in terms of America and Russia and some of the other great highly populated nations; and then we look at the little Nation of Israel and how could God called them a great nation. Well, you’ve got to remember that back in antiquity, Israel, by the time they came out of Egypt with 5-7 million people, were the largest single group on the planet. And so in the language of antiquity they were a great nation.

Genesis 12:2b-3

“…and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, (Israel) and curse him that curseth thee: (Israel) and in thee (Abraham! And here’s the part where you and I become intrinsically involved) shall all families of the earth be blessed.” What do I mean? Well the Book that you’ve got in front of you, every word of it was written by a Jew, out of the offspring of Abraham. Jesus of Nazareth, our Redeemer, our Savior, our Coming Lord, a Jew, born out of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Alright, so when the Old Testament said that in this man all the earth would be blessed, it was through Israel.

Now, we’re going to leap up several hundred years and come all the way up to Exodus chapter 19. Remember this is all just an introduction to these little Jewish epistles. That’s a long way around but I think it’s necessary because so many people just can’t comprehend why we would have these little Jewish epistles back here at the end of our New Testament that are still directed to the Jew and are still legalistic and have nothing to do with Paul’s Gospel of Grace. That’s what I’m attempting to do. I’m hoping I can make it understandable.

Exodus 19:6

“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” Now Israel had just come out of Egypt and they’re gathered around Mt. Sinai. It’s been a miraculous exodus and now God is making promises again, that they were to be a kingdom of priests. Now what’s a kingdom? Well, it’s a governmental jurisdiction. It’s an area over which there is a given authority. Now, Israel then, is going to be a kingdom, not of just rank-and-file people, but priests. Every Jew would be a priest of Jehovah. Oh, not a high priest that would go in behind the veil, but a go-between. And all the religions of the world have their priesthood, who are just simply go-betweens between the ordinary man out there, as we say in the street, and his god, whether it be Buddha, or Shinto or whatever, they all have their priesthood.

Our Catholic people have their priest. Well, what’s his roll? He’s the go-between, between his parishioner and God. That’s their teaching. Well, every Jew was to have someday become, then, a priest of Jehovah. That’s the promise. Now don’t lose sight of that as we come up through the Old Testament promises; and the whole idea of setting apart the Nation of Israel was to prepare them for this priesthood.

Now, come with me to Isaiah. My, I won’t even get half-way through this all afternoon. I was wondering this morning how in the world I would stretch the Book of James through 4 programs, but I don’t think we’re going to have any trouble. Isaiah 42, and the whole idea of what I’m doing here is to show you that on the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant, the Nation of Israel appears; they are to be the vehicle through whom God would deal with the whole human race by giving us the Word of God. But also by preparing the Nation for the coming of the King and His Kingdom in which time they could evangelize the non-Jewish world.

Now, I’d better stop a moment. You see, most of us can’t quite get it out of our craw, when we look at it in this light, that Jesus told Nicodemus, in John chapter 3, that you must be born again, that unless you are born again, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. Well, you see, we’ve just naturally gotten the idea then, that what Jesus was talking about is that no one could come into this earthly kingdom short of the new birth. Well, that is true. No one is going to go into the kingdom except believers. But in the Old Testament economy that does not become evident. It’s quite the opposite, that Israel would go in and become the subjects of their King of kings and Lord of lords and they, in turn, would bring the masses of the Gentiles to a knowledge of their King and their Redeemer.

That was the Old Testament concept. And that of course, changes when we see that Israel is going to reject it. But if you can, just put that aside for the time being, that nobody but believers can go into this coming earthly Kingdom. We’re going to see here in the Old Testament that Israel would go in and evangelize those around them.

Isaiah 42:1

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: (now we’re talking about an individual. Who is it? The Messiah. Jesus of Nazareth. Alright) he shall bring forth judgment (or rule or authority) to the Gentiles.”

God hadn’t forgotten about the Gentiles even back then. Oh, granted they’re going down the river to their doom by the millions, but God hasn’t forgotten about them. The day is coming, even in the Old Testament program, that Israel would be able to bring the salvation message to all these Gentiles by bringing them to a knowledge of their Messiah.

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