Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 14
INTRO TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
We finished the Book of Revelation in our last lesson so now back to the Book of Matthew to continue our Through the Bible journey. We never take every Book and every verse. Instead, I try to take the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation as it unfolds. I try to keep it simple and hit the highlights without just picking out singular verses. I don’t believe in that. The cults do that, they can pick out a verse and build their whole doctrine on it. But I hope I’m never guilty of lifting a verse out of context to make it say something that it doesn’t say. Let’s start in Matthew Chapter l and verse 1. We won’t stay there very long, because contrary to about 90% of Bible readers and church members, the New Testament doesn’t suddenly start something totally different as most people think. They think there is a great big wall between the New and Old Testament, and some feel you can cut the Old Testament out because it has nothing to do with us. Nothing is further from the truth. And Matthew 1:1 immediately tells us that you can’t do that.
“THE book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
It doesn’t go back to the beginning with Adam. Now the other genealogy in Luke Chapter 3, does go all the way back to Adam. Matthew depicts Christ as the King. And that is why the terminology “The Kingdom of Heaven” so often occurs in Matthew. It is unique to the Book of Matthew. Although the Kingdom goes all the way through the four Gospels, it is uniquely referred to as the Kingdom of Heaven here in this Book of Matthew.
Since Christ is presented in the Book of Matthew as the King, the opening verse of this Book will take us back to where that whole Kingship idea began. It all began with Abraham, and the Abrahamic Covenant. Verse one drives us back to Genesis Chapter 12. It will all tie in beautifully. Before we go very far in Matthew you will see how it will all dovetail together. We’ve covered all of this in Genesis 12 before. However, as we have many new viewers each week, We need to build some basics again before we take that run through the four Gospels, the Book of Acts, and Paul’s writings.
Genesis Chapter 12, verses 1, 2, and 3 reveals the Abrahamic Covenant. You might want to mark your Bible. A covenant, by definition, is an agreement that originates and ends in God. Even though it’s made with man, and in this case with the man Abraham, and later with the Nation of Israel. Even though it’s made with man, since it originates and ends with God, regardless of what man does, a covenant never becomes invalid. It is never broken nor rescinded. These covenants stand forever and ever, as we have seen in our study of Revelation. They go on into eternity.
Before we look at this Covenant let me review for a moment to bring us to the place of this Covenant. Beginning with the creation of Adam, we had one race of people. Everyone will come from Adam and Eve, and their offspring. We often get the question, “Where did Cain get his wife?” Well, there certainly were not other people, because only Adam and Eve were created. So it follows that brothers married sisters for the first generation or two. That was no problem because the human race was so pure genetically. In fact as far along as Abraham, which is 2000 years after Adam, we find Abraham, with God’s blessings, married his half sister. God did not limit marrying close relatives until sometime after Abraham.
Out of that one race of people of Adam, we have a great multitude of people who totally turned their backs on God. Then we had Noah’s flood which destroyed all except the eight people that were in the Ark. Noah and his wife, and their three sons, and their wives. Then out of those 3 sons and their wives we had the onset again of the whole human race out of the sons of Ham, Shem, and Japheth. Then out of the line of Shem comes this man Abraham.
In the approximate 400-year interval between Noah and Abraham, about midway we have the Tower of Babel. The race by now hadn’t multiplied into millions upon millions, but there were already, in this approximate 200 years, a large number. The whole human race was still one race with one language and one blood, basically. They all met down in the Plains of Shinar in Mesopotamia in the Euphrates River Valley. And there they built the tower. It was at the Tower of Babel, under the leadership of Nimrod, that Satan, the god of this world, instituted all pagan and mythological religions. Always remember that. I’ve stressed that all these years of teaching. By the time you get to Abraham, a couple of hundred of years after the Tower of Babel, at 2000 B.C., the whole then-known world was already steeped in pagan idolatry and mythological worship. Out of this race of people so saturated in this kind of worship, God finds one man that He knows still has a spark of faith, or the ability to believe. And I have to feel he was the only one. So God reaches down and puts His finger on that one man. And to this one man God says in Genesis 12, verse l. the following:
“NOW the LORD had said (back in Chapter 11) unto Abram, `Get thee out of thy country (in other word get out of Ur of the Chaldees, a little way from the Persian Gulf), and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:'”
He didn’t tell Abraham where he was going, but in so many words said, “I’ll lead you, and you follow” Now Abram, or Abraham, as we will know him later, is a man of faith. So he takes God at His Word. He doesn’t ask questions. He doesn’t ask for a map. And at this point Abraham doesn’t ask for a deed, although he will later. Abraham just simply follows. Now he’s not totally obedient. This is the beauty of Scripture, and I’ve said this before. If God would raise men up, and make them super-human sinless, obedient people, then you and I would feel that we were miserable failures. But these people failed. They people weren’t always right on the mark. God had instructed Abraham to leave his father and family and get out of Ur. Abraham was obedient, but only up to a point, because who did he take with him? His father, and his nephew Lot. God couldn’t let that happen for very long, so as they got up to the upper regions of the Euphrates near Haran which was north of present day Damascus, God stopped that little entourage. He keeps them there until Terah, Abraham’s father dies. God at this point does condescend and let Abraham keep Lot with him. So now God brings Abram down into the Promised Land. Now this didn’t all happen in a year or two. Years go by, probably as much as twenty five years. Now verse 2. Look at the pronoun, it’s God speaking all the way through. Abraham hasn’t said a word yet nor will he.
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:”
We know that archaeologists have found many things pertaining to Abraham and his great name. The name Abraham is known even in the secular world. And every Jew is just thrilled that he is a son of Abraham. Now verse 3, remember this is all part of this Covenant that God makes with this man Abraham.
“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee (Abraham) shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
There was an article by a rabbi in the last Jerusalem Post that I received, and like everyone else in Israel lately, they (rabbis) are looking for their Messiah. This rabbi makes reference to the Messiah almost every week. In this particular article, he says in so many words that, “Israel is looking for the one who will bring the Nation of Israel to the peak of peace and prosperity so that she can funnel it out to all the other nations of the world.” I told my wife, Iris, this is exactly what I had been teaching for over twenty years – the prospect given to Abraham, that out of Israel would come a King who wouldn’t just rule the Nation of Israel, but would spread that rule to the whole earth through Israel.
This becomes the whole concept of the Abrahamic Covenant beginning with Genesis Chapter 12. God put His finger on one man and told him that He would make of him a nation of people. God is going to take that nation of people and put them into a geographical area of land. At some point later, God Himself would come and set up the government, because you can’t have people in a geographical area without government, or you will have anarchy. You don’t have a functional society unless you have a government. God in so many words says that nation has become visible (and we know that they became a nation in Egypt in slavery. We know they came out of Egypt under Moses as a nation of people).
Forty years later, after their wilderness experience, Joshua takes the nation into the Promised Land. Then they were ruled by judges for over 400 years, and they didn’t like that idea, so they asked God for a king. The first king, Saul, was a total flop. He fell flat on his face and God couldn’t use him. Then David was the next king, and becomes the beginning of that“Royal Family,” that is not just going to lead through generations of this existence, but all the way into eternity. Because out of the Lion of Abraham and David would come this government. But this government will not be a democracy, but a monarchy. It’s going to be ruled by “THE KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS.” But remember He will be a benevolent King. His Kingdom will be righteous, fair, and glorious. But this is the prospect as it was laid out in the Abrahamic Covenant.
Now all the rest of the Old Testament from Genesis 12 right on into the New Testament is resting on this Abrahamic Covenant. All you have to do is watch the language as we go through the four Gospels and well into the Book of Acts. Watch for it! There will be other covenants. God makes the Covenant with Moses that we call the Law. He makes the Palestinian Covenant with Moses and the Nation of Israel, that even though they are uprooted out of the land, they will be brought back. It’s going to be their homeland. Along with that Covenant, God promises David there will be a Royal Family, leading up to the King and the Kingdom. We haven’t got time to look at all of the promises God makes to Israel, but we can look at a few. Let’s look at the first one in Isaiah Chapter 9. These verse are what makes Handles Messiah what it is.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:…”
I tie the part of this verse, where the son is given to John 3:16. What does John 3:16 say? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” And who was the Son given to? The Nation of Israel. What does it say in John 1:11? “He came unto His own (Israel) but His own received Him not…” From there, through the Apostle Paul, He went to the Gentiles. Please never lose sight of the fact that Christ at His first coming came to the Nation of Israel and Israel only. Let’s just look at two references about this:
“But he (Christ) answered and said, `I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'” And then Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles writes in Romans Chapter 15 the following:
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (Israel) for the truth of God (why?), to confirm the promises made unto the fathers (this Abrahamic Covenant):” Back to Isaiah 9.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be (future) upon his (This Son that would be given) shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” This is Old Testament! These are the names of the promised Messiah.
“Of the increase of his government and peace (isn’t that what the world is looking for tonight? `Peace’ in Scriptures means more than the absence of war. It means that whole sphere of good things that God is ready to pour out. But He can’t until Christ is King) there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom (I wish people would always be aware oftwo words; one is `kingdom’ and the other is `covenant.’ Be aware of those two words in Scripture. They constantly pop up), to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth (how long?) even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of host will perform this.” In other words, man and the United Nation can’t do it. But God Himself will bring it in. Let’s look at Luke Chapter 1.
We may have to do a little more of this review later, because I’m sure a lot of folk don’t realize where we are coming from, unless they can get a good basic understanding from the Old Testament. That’s why there is so much confusion among Christians today! One takes this, one takes that, and one takes something else, completely ignoring the foundation that was laid back here in the Old Testament, for all of this comes about in the New Testament.
Here in Luke 1 we have Zacharias the father of John the Baptist, the husband of Elizabeth, and he has been stricken dumb while Elizabeth has been carrying the baby. But here he has gotten his speech back. So now all these citizens of Judea, the Jews, are in amazement knowing that it’s quite a miracle first of all that as old as Zacharias and Elizabeth are that they are going to have a child. And also that now he has his speech back! So let’s come down to verse 67, and you will notice that Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit. That meant everything that he speaks in these next verses is going to be Holy Spirit inspired.
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people (the Nation of Israel), And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;”
“That we should be saved from our enemies (and remember their enemies then were the same as they are tonight), and from the hand of all that hate us;”
“To perform the mercy promised to our fathers (all the way back to Abraham), and to remember his holy (what?) covenant:” This is New Testament remember. Now what Covenant is verse 72 referring to? Look at verse 73 for the answer:
“The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,”