Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 18
In Acts Chapter 3, we have Peter and John healing the lame man by using the name of Jesus in verse 6. And immediately in verse 8, the lame man leaps to his feet and goes with them into the Temple. And in verse 9 all the people see him walking.
“And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.”
Now what amazes me, especially with the Nation of Israel, is that throughout their history they had seen manifestations of the power of their God and it seemed to have so little effect on them. Even coming out of Egypt with the tremendous miracles that were surrounding them… the pillar of fire by night… the pillar of cloud by day to give them shade… God holding back the Egyptian army… opening the Red Sea and many other miracles. Yet it seemingly didn’t sink in what a great God they were under. And that’s the way it was all the way through their history – miraculous event after miraculous event. And it just seemed to roll off like water off a duck. And then you come to Christ’s earthly ministry, miracle after miracle for three years. In fact John tells us there were so many that the world couldn’t hold all the books it would take to record them. And still they couldn’t comprehend Who He was. And now again, this event we are reading about is only days after His Crucifixion, probably 7-10 weeks. And they can’t comprehend a lame man being healed? This is amazing to me. Now verse 12:
“And when Peter saw it (the amazing reaction of these Jews) he answered unto the people (watch the language here, and don’t let anybody push in here what isn’t in here. There is no mention of Gentiles, there is no mention of anything except the Nation of Israel. And Peter says), Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” Now look at verse 13. Is that Gentile language? No.
“The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob (did those names mean anything to Romans? Or the Greek philosophers? But it meant everything to a Jew. They hung everything on Abraham! And this is what Peter is saying), the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up,…”
In our last lesson, when Jesus spoke to the Twelve up there in Northern Israel, I hope you caught it that when He was relaying to them the things that would take place, He said He would be beaten and scourged by what people? By the Gentiles. But here, Peter is laying the blame on Israel. So I always have to be careful that people don’t get the idea that only the Jews brought about His death. We all know better than that I trust. The Jew participated in it. They demanded it, but Rome carried it out. And that’s exactly what Psalms 2 foretold. Jew and Gentile together would reject Him and put Him to death. When I emphasize that Peter is pointing the finger at Israel, I’m not taking away the Gentiles part in it all.
Unfortunately, Martin Luther evidently rode on this. He hated the Jew with a passion in spite of all his great spiritual enlightening. For Martin Luther said it was doing God a favor to kill a Jew, or burn down his business. Some of you are aware of the Nuremberg trials after Hitler’s holocaust. Those Nazis used the writings of Martin Luther to substantiate what they had done to the Jew. And it wasn’t until the last year or two that officially some of the Lutheran bodies have been apologizing for that. The Roman Catholic Church for centuries referred to Jews as Christ killers and they were sincere in making that charge. They, too, have been apologizing and making amends just the last few months with the present day Nation of Israel for this attitude over the centuries. But, no doubt, Peter does point the finger. Verse 13 again:
“The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up. and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you (Barabbas); And (you) killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”
The language here is so totally opposite of what Paul speaks of in His letters. Paul never points the finger at Jew or Gentile and says you killed The Christ. But Paul tells us for example in the Book of Galatians Chapter 1. and in Ephesians Chapter 5, the following:
“Who gave himself for our sins,…”
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”
See the difference? Peter doesn’t say that. Why? These things were still hidden in the mind of God, and consequently, Peter couldn’t go any further than what God had revealed. Now I need to make a point. Let’s talk about faith for a moment. Biblical faith is taking God at His word. If faith is taking God at His word, what does God have to do before we can believe what He says? God has to say it. He has to reveal it. You can’t place your faith in something that He has never said. That’s why Peter is in perfect accord with Almighty God here. He is not out in left field by confining his remarks to Israel, or by accusing Israel of what they have done. Because God has not said a word yet, that they are not under Law, but Grace. Romans 10:17 backs me up. So many times (and I have found it in my teaching years) people come up and say, “Can’t we assume that the Twelve knew that Christ was going to die and be raised from the dead, and make it the Gospel they preached? Can’t we just assume that they knew that.” Absolutely not. You can’t assume what God is going to do or say. We have to wait until He’s spoken it, then believe it like Deuteronomy 29:29 said, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God:…” But the things He has revealed are for us.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
The Word of God isn’t some mish-mash floating around in the ethereal. The Word of God is something that The Almighty God has spoken. The Old Testament prophets were constantly saying that. The Word of The Lord came to me, Ezekiel will say for example. And what did Ezekiel do? He believed it and wrote it. And during our Lord’s earthly ministry, when He spoke these things, if the Twelve were supposed to understand it, He made it clear and they could believe it. God always does things for a purpose. In Acts Chapter 3 God hasn’t said a word yet about shutting down the Temple, that they are no longer under Law, but under a new manifestation of God’s Grace. He didn’t expect Peter and the eleven to believe something He hadn’t said. So never think they must have been negligent in their duty. They didn’t know that God was going to turn to the Gentiles and call out a people for His name and call it something totally different. “The Body of Christ” There’s not a word in here of Church structure or a word concerning the Gospel based on Christ’s death, burial, and Resurrection. It’s still all based on Who He was. Remember Peters confession in Matthew 16.
“…Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, `Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias, and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’ He saith unto them, `But whom say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, `Thou art The Christ, the Son of the living God.'”
And remember Martha speaking with Jesus, just before Lazarus is raised from the dead.
“Jesus said unto her, `I am the Resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die, Believest thou this?’ She saith unto him, `Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art The Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.'”
And how about the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts Chapter 8. Philip had explained about Jesus to this fellow.
“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, `See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?’ And Philip said, `If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.’ And he answered and said, `I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'”
The Ethiopian Eunuch doesn’t say, ” The one who died for me and rose again.” That hadn’t been revealed yet. Their statement of faith was believing that Jesus was The Christ, The Son of God, The King of Israel. Now back to Acts Chapter 3, verse 15. Peter says:
“And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong,”
What is Peter neglecting to mention here? We think His death, burial and Resurrection. Peter is only reminding these Israelites Who Jesus really was. And it was to be faith in that Name that made this man whole. Now verse 17:
“And now, brethren, I wot (know) that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.”
For this we must go back to Israel’s ancient history, back when they were under the Law, and the year of Jubilee, the cities of refuge, and so forth. If someone killed a person the penalty was death. But if someone killed a person by accident and he was being accused, he could run to a city of refuge and at that city, if the city fathers determined that he had killed that man in total ignorance, they would send him back home a free man. Now you see all through the Crucifixion account from Christ’s own words from the Cross, which were, “Father forgive them.” Why? “They know not what they do.” What was Christ pleading? Their ignorance.
Peter says, “You killed him but you were ignorant, you didn’t know what you were doing.” I call it “God’s loophole” for the Nation of Israel. Because, had they known Who they were killing, God would have had to destroy them. Another reference is I Corinthians Chapter 2. Here we have the Apostle Paul with the same basic truth. Not only concerning Israel but even Rome, the Gentiles.
I Corinthians 2:7,8
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery (see there’s that word again. It pops up throughout all his epistles. Which is a secret that has been revealed to him), even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:” I’m sure that he is speaking of himself.
“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they know it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” So where did God put them? Ignorance. They didn’t know. Otherwise God would have zapped the whole human race – Jew and Gentile alike. Now back once again to Acts Chapter 3. So Peter claims that same thing. And so does Stephen. Stephen, when he was being killed, said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Ignorance.
“And now, brethren, I wot (know) that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But (the flip side) those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”
Anytime something is written in prophecy it has to be fulfilled to the last jot and tittle, or it would make God a liar. Always remember that. Every written prophecy has to come to pass. So this is what Peter is saying. Christ had to die, because prophecy had foretold it.
“Repent ye therefore (the same format that he chose in Acts 2:38) and be converted (change your direction and thinking), that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Now if God is going to send Christ back to earth, then we now know from the Book of Revelation (and we didn’t get the time element for the Kingdom from the Old Testament or even in the early part of the New Testament), that here again is the ability of God to keep things secret until He revealed this to the Apostle John who wrote Revelation. When Christ returns and this Kingdom is set up and becomes viable and visible, it wouldn’t be immediately eternal, but would last 1000 years. But see nothing in Scripture indicates that thousand year time frame until we get to Revelation. The final revealing. But here Peter is speaking in terms of the Kingdom promised all the way back to Abraham. That when their Messiah would return, based on Israel’s repentance and believing Who Jesus is, then yes, God would have sent Christ right here in verse 21. But first there had to be that seven-year period of Tribulation spoken of by Daniel the prophet. Now that is the time of restitution that is spoken of here.
“Whom the heaven must receive until (a time word) the times of restitution (tribulation) of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
Now what’s the Old Testament full of? That before The King and Kingdom could come on the scene, Israel especially would have to go through those seven horrible years of restitution of all things. And what was it? The lifting of the curse, the Tribulation and the defeat of Satan, and the earth would be regenerated and made glorious and beautiful again for that Kingdom reign. So Peter is in full agreement with the Old Testament. That yes, Christ had gone back to the Father’s right hand. Psalms 110:1, “Come sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your foot stool.” That would be during the Tribulation. And Peter is expecting it. We are all capable of forgetting the bad things if we want to. But very seldom will we forget the good things. Now if you remember in the closing remarks of the Gospel of John, Jesus indicated that Peter would suffer a very ignominious death. But I’m sure at this point in time Peter has totally forgotten about that. He is totally enraptured with the idea, that if he could just see Israel repent and yet believe Who Jesus was, then their Messiah would return and they could yet have the Kingdom. The Twelve could then take their seat ruling the Twelve Tribes of Israel as Jesus had promised. Let’s look at it again in Matthew Chapter 19. I told you it’s hard to forget the good things, and Peter is remembering this. I’m sure he has forgotten what kind of death he would die. But this part was ever present in his mind, and you can’t blame him. He could see it just over the horizon. He knew there would be seven years of bad times, but the end would be worth it.
“Then answered Peter and said unto him, `Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?'”
Now Peter had his Salvation, that wasn’t what he was asking about. He’s wanting to know what he’s going to have for rewards. I left my home and fishing business to follow you. What am I going to have? And The Lord didn’t rebuke him. He answered him.
“And Jesus said unto them, `Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration (that’s when the earth will be regenerated and brought back to like it was in the Garden of Eden) when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory (King of Kings), ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'” Is that plain language? Why, you can’t get it any plainer than that. And you see this is what’s on Peter’s mind. Oh if Israel would just repent and be converted and recognize that the One they killed was their Messiah.
There is nothing in here about the power of the Resurrection. There is nothing in here about the shed blood Atonement, although in the mind of God that was all there. But God is still dealing with the Nation of Israel if they would repent of their nation’s sins, and just believe Who Jesus was, God would have brought in the Tribulation to run its course; Christ would have returned and Israel could have had their Kingdom. Then Peter and the eleven knew when that was fulfilled then they could take the Gospel of their God of Abraham to the Gentile world, but not until. And that is what you have to keep in mind. These twelve men do not leave Jerusalem. Not even under pressure. Why? Because it’s to Jerusalem, to the Mount of Olives, that their King was going to imminently return.
And then to see what was to happen after His return, let’s go back to a verse in Zechariah 8 (other examples are Isaiah 49:5,6 – Isaiah 59:20 through 60:3 and many others in the Old Testament). For now we’ll just study this one in Zechariah Chapter 8. After Isaiah has said that the Gentiles would be coming to the light of Israel, and that Israel’s light would be The Messiah, then in fulfilling of all of that we have the following.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; `It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities; And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts (where) in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.'” Now verse 23: You can’t kick this out of your Bible. Here it sits in concrete:
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; `In those days (when Israel will have her King) it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you (why?): for we have heard that God is with you.'”
The `you’ here is believing Israel. A redeemed Israel. A regenerated and repentant Israel. And remember Exodus 19:6 says every Jew was to become a priest. And what’s a priest? A go-between. And so every Jew had the prospect of being a priest of God to the Gentiles.