Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 14
Now let’s get back into our introduction, and that is all we have been doing the past two lessons. But I’m trying to get everyone ready for our study of the Book of Matthew and the rest of the four Gospels. We will be taking an overview of the four Gospels and that will then prepare us for the Book of Acts. Because there is no use to study Acts unless you understand the four Gospels and what they pertain to. And there is no use to study the four Gospels unless you understand the Old Testament, or you will take a lot of Scripture out of context. As I said in our last lesson, this is all a progressive revealing. It’s just like building blocks.
So we will be turning to the Book of Exodus Chapter 19. This is also an introduction of the account of Christ’s first coming. And His dealing with the Nation of Israel. Now here the Children of Israel have just recently come out of Egypt under Moses. They are now a Nation of People. And as they are gathered around Mount Sinai they are about to receive the Law (The Ten Commandants), and then all the other ramifications of the Law will follow. But as of this writing, the Law hasn’t been given. And now God is telling Moses what to tell the children of Israel.
“Now therefore (God says), if (He always leaves it up to the will) ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”
Now that is God setting the Nation of Israel above all the other nations of the earth. That is why we call them the “Chosen People” “The Covenant People” and many other terms. But it is God Sovereignly designating this little nation for a unique role in His overall program for the whole human race. Just because He is going to deal with the Jew only (with few exceptions for a time), doesn’t mean that he has blanked out the Gentiles, as we will see in just a moment. But the whole scope of this is that He can prepare His chosen people, the Nation of Israel, for the express purpose of bringing all the other nations of the world to a knowledge of Israel’s God.
I have an article I cut out of the Jerusalem Post. It was written by one of Israel’s best-known rabbis, and has to do with this subject. He said in his article the following: Abraham had been promised that a nation emerging from his own loins would against all odds survive and declare the name of the one God to the world. And that is exactly what I always teach. This is the whole scope for bringing the Nation of Israel on the scene. Giving them the Abrahamic Covenant that God would make them a nation of people. He would put them in a geographic area of land, and then one day He Himself would come in the person of the Messiah to be their King. Now this is what the Abrahamic Covenant and the Old Testament state. As you read the Old Testament, always be aware that most of the time everything is written in the future tense. For example, “I will make of you a great nation.” When God spoke of King Cyrus the King of Persia, God named Him 150 years before he was born. When you see the text in future tense then that is prophecy.
Last lesson we showed how God can keep things secret and then reveal them in His own time. A lot of times in the Old Testament, He reveals things prophetically before they happen. So you have both of them to cope with. So, in Exodus 19, then, this is more or less prophetic. He’s telling the Nation of Israel again in verse 7:
“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. (verse 6 is one of the benchmarks of Scripture) And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priest, and an holy nation (set apart), These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”
What does that verse say? That the day would come out there in the future when every Jew would be a priest of God. Lock that in your brain! Because when we start teaching the Book of Matthew I will be referring back to this. I know you are thinking that is just for the Levites. As far a tabernacle worship was concerned, that’s right. But we are not talking about that. We are talking about reaching out to Gentiles. What is a priest? He’s a go-between. So every Jew was to get to the place that he could have been a go-between; between this pagan Gentile and this Jewish priest’s Jehovah God. That was the promise, but it was conditional; they had to be obedient to God’s voice, and keep God’s Covenant. Now let’s head toward Matthew, but first let’s stop at Isaiah Chapter 42.
“BEHOLD my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom (the Messiah) my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: (He is a member of Deity) he shall (future tense) bring forth judgment (or rule) to the Gentiles.”
God hasn’t forgotten about Gentiles. But He will reach those Gentiles after He has prepared this Covenant people. Now let’s go all the way to the Book of Zechariah Chapter 8.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; `It shall (future) yet come to pass, that there shall come people (Gentiles), and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city (Gentiles)shall go to another, saying `Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts:’ (and this one Gentile will say to another) I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations (plural. These are the Gentile Nations) shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.”
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; `In those days (these prophetic days that are out there) it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations (Gentiles), even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew (remember what Exodus 19:6 says, they shall be a Kingdom of priests), saying, `We will go with you: (why?) for we have heard that God is with you.'”
Isn’t that plain? This is the role that God is preparing the Nation of Israel for. So that when the appropriate time comes, every Jew would have been a priest of God, to bring Gentiles to a knowledge of God. Now that is the Old Testament format. And that is all God is revealing so far. This is the way that God is going to reach the Gentiles, and that is through Israel. Let’s back up to the Book of Psalms Chapter 2. I’m trying to throw all of this introduction together in such a way, that when we get in the four Gospels you will have a clear understanding of what it’s all about. Now let’s look at Psalms 2.
“Why do the heathen (or Gentile) rage, and the people (the Jew) imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth (Gentiles) set themselves, and the rulers (of Israel) take counsel together(Romans and Jews), against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, `Let us break their bands (of the Godhead) asunder, and cast away their cords from us.'” We won’t have You rule over us. Just as sure as Rome and the Jews conspired together, rejected and crucified The Christ. We see that God called Him back to Heaven in Psalms 110:1, “The LORD said unto my Lord, `Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool,'”
“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.”
That is where we are tonight. The nations think they are in control, but we know they’re not. The world is falling apart completely, and I see no hope of the world returning to a stable condition. I’m not a pessimist, but rather an optimist; but on the other hand I see things that are going on in our beloved nation that we are no longer able to turn around. We are past that point of no return. So that tells me we are that much closer to the end and the calling out of the Body of Christ at the Rapture. I have have a Jewish gentleman that lives in Hollywood, California, that watches the program, and we share with each other quite often. He’s not a Christian Jew. He’s an Orthodox Judaistic Jew. Anyway, he called so excited the other morning, and reported that He had just returned from a seminar of rabbis. He said the rabbis are all excited because they are convinced that we are right at the coming of the Messiah. He said they realized that they had some tough times ahead during the Tribulation. I always remind him that everything they are looking for in their Messiah coming the first time, is really the Anti-christ. And it is. The Jew is blind to that and they will accept Anti-christ. Remember Jesus said in John 5:43, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”
Now getting back to verse 4 where we found that the Lord has the nations in derision. Now verse 5:
“Then (when they have reached that point of perplexity) shall he speak unto them in his wrath (that’s not love, mercy, and Grace), and vex them in his sore displeasure.” This is the Tribulation. Notice what follows the Tribulation in verse 6.
“Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”
This is that glorious thousand-year Kingdom rule. Do you see the order of these 6 verses? That order of the Old Testament program. After Israel had the King and the Kingdom they could carry out all of these promises of taking the knowledge of salvation to the Gentiles. Now of course that flies in the face of what we understand, that there would be no unbelievers going into the Kingdom. But this was the program offered to Israel. That was all changed when Israel rejected the King and the Kingdom, and Jesus was crucified. He went back to Heaven and has waited 1900 + years until The Body of Christ will be completed. This Body of Christ was kept hidden in Scripture until the Apostle Paul came on the scene. God hadn’t revealed that yet. Here is that ability that God has to hide things until it is time to reveal them. During this time the Nation of Israel has been set aside waiting for this Church Age to be completed. But none of this was in the Old Testament. There is nothing in here that indicated there would be 1900 + years that God would not be dealing with Israel.
Let’s go on into the Book of Matthew. Remember, the first eleven Chapters of Genesis covers 2000 years. Then in Genesis 12 we have the Abrahamic Covenant with the call of Abraham. Then out of the main stream of humanity, God calls this one little nation, the Nation of Israel. And to them He makes these promises that they would be a Kingdom of Priests. In order to prepare them for that Kingdom of Priests, He puts them under Law. He gave them the temple worship, the priesthood, the Old Testament and He is going to let the Gentiles go as we saw in Ephesians Chapter 2. They’re outside the Covenant promises. They are not citizens of the Nation of Israel. They are without hope, without God, and so they continue on their way until such time as Israel can be funneled back into the Gentile nations, with the idea of bringing them to a knowledge of their God. So this is the whole scope of the Old Testament.
Everything in the Old Testament is telling future events. The coming of the Crucifixion, the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ, is all back there. But it’s in such subdued language and latent terms that nobody understood it. They didn’t comprehend, as also the twelve disciples didn’t, even when Jesus told them in Luke 18, that He’d be crucified and would rise from the dead. They didn’t comprehend it. But here is God dealing with this Nation of Israel, preparing them for the time when they can be used to bring Gentiles to a knowledge of their God. Now, after Israel has rejected all of that and you get into the Book of Acts, it’s still the same premise. A lot of people don’t see this, but all you have to do is look at the language. Peter is strictly appealing to the Jew. And his whole idea is just an extension (and let’s put the three years of ministry here), for three years. As we now study the four Gospels, Jesus is going to be presenting himself as the fulfillment of all these prophecies, as He comes to the Nation of Israel.
Peter picks up the torch and continues on in the Book of Acts with that same program. And that’s what we’re going to be showing in the next several weeks, how that all of this is primarily, but not exclusively, Jew only. Israel continues to reject Jesus and then, here comes a body of truth that has never before been mentioned. It’s all in fulfillment, but it is a body of truth that Paul refers to as the “mystery.“
Now when that is complete, then as we’ve seen over the last several months, we’re going to go into that final seven years, which once again is prophecy. The Second Coming. And this is going to end with the out-calling of the Church. This is the whole format coming out of the Old Testament and the Jew is going to continue to reject it. Then God reveals the mystery. Now, let me show you a little bit of what I’m talking about. Go with me, if you will, to Matthew 4 and verse 17.
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, `Repent (why?): for the kingdom of heaven is (what?) at hand.'” Now what did that mean? Well, the King was there, ready to set up His Kingdom.