Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 19
Now let’s pick up again in Acts Chapter 10. We will skip a verse or two and pick up at verse 33, It’s always such a joy to see people that are interested in The Book. In our teachings we always try to compare Scripture with Scripture, and it’s so refreshing to see people study the Word of God. As a Christian society, I’m afraid we may have gotten to spending too much time in reading a lot of books, rather than spending quality time in The Book. There are a lot of people who think I’m wrong in some of my teachings, and I have yet to have one person prove me wrong, but I’m always ready to listen to all points of view as long as it’s Biblical. But our main purpose for teaching is to get people into The Book, to see what The Book really says as well as what it doesn’t say.
In our last lesson, Peter and six other believing Jews have by Sovereign intervention made their way up to Caesarea to a house of a Roman army officer, and all of his relatives and friends. This is new ground for Peter to be going into the house of a Gentile, but remember, God has pushed the issue and Peter has no choice. I’m sure he was almost shaking in his boots at the thought of having to go into this Gentile house. It was unlawful for a Jew to do this. But nevertheless he went in and Cornelius tells Peter all that had happened to him, and then Peter has confidence that indeed God is going to evidently deal with this Gentile. Let’s start in verse 33 – Cornelius has finished his part of the conversation.
“Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.”
Remember I mentioned previously that God has seen fit to leave His Word not in the hands of angels, but rather in the hands of fellow men. He has chosen to let the Word be promoted by you and I. So it’s available to any human being that will pick it up. It’s not limited to theologians, seminaries, or the monasteries, or anything else. Now when Peter realizes that God is in this situation he speaks.
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:”
Did he think that a week ago? Why heavens no! And rightfully. Let’s go all the way back to the Book of Exodus. Here the plagues are unfolding on the Egyptians, and we come down to the end of the third plague and that would be in Chapter 8. Now the first three plagues fell also on the children of Israel, but now God is going to do something different.
“And I will sever (or separate) in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth (and then He repeats it in verse 23). And I will put a division between my people and thy people:…”
Do you see those words?. That was the beginning of God totally mandating that the Nation of Israel would remain separated from the other nations of the world. And that never left them. All the way up through the Old Testament, with the exception of when they went so far down into idolatry that they lost their belief in God. But anytime they had a knowledge of God and His Word, Israel was kept a separated people, and as soon as they lost that separation then God’s judgment fell. You remember the account of Balaam the false prophet, when he was supposed to curse the children of Israel for Balak, the King of Moab. God forbade Balaam from doing that, but old Balaam had another Satanic inspired thought and he told the Moabites to put their prettiest girls out there where those Jewish young men could be seduced by them. And it worked, and remember God’s judgment killed 23.000 of these Jews for committing those acts. They had lost their separated character. And so all the way up through here you have to understand that it wasn’t that the Jew had become bigoted or proud, but God had mandated that they remain a separated people.
Now I also have another verse concerning this. You will find this one in the Book of Acts Chapter 22, where Paul has now been out among the Gentiles and he is more or less being called on the carpet for it there in Jerusalem. As he makes his appeal to the whole multitude of Jews, he goes through the whole scope of his own conversion, and how God had saved him on the road to Damascus. Then how God had told him in verse 21 the following.
“And he (The Lord Jesus from Heaven above) said unto me, `Depart; for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles (look at the next verse).’ And they gave him audience unto this word (what word? `Gentiles’ in verse 21), and then lifted up their voices, and said, `Away with such a fellow from the earth; for it is not fit that he should live.'” This word caused a riot there, because Paul dared to mention the word Gentile. Now that’s how separated they understood they were to be as a nation of people. And that was what God had instructed. So now let’s return to Acts Chapter 10. When Peter comes to Cornelius with this trepidation you can understand why. And as we saw in verse 34, Peter says that God is no respecter of persons.
“But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel (it still came to Israel first), preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached: How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good (with all His miracles), and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him (that is Jesus The Messiah).”
“And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem (what did Peter leave out? Gentiles. Jesus didn’t go outside of Israel, because He came to fulfill all of the Abrahamic Covenants and promises); whom (Israel) slew and hanged on a tree:”
“Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
Now what I want to point out is that it’s just as important to understand what This Book does not say, as what it does say. Now it does not say one word here that Christ died for them, that He shed His Blood for them, and that He arose from the dead as a means of Salvation. Not a word. If you can find it please show me. All Peter is rehearsing again is Who Jesus was. And at this point and time in Scripture what was He? The Messiah of Israel. The Son of God, the One Who was to be The Redeemer and The King of the chosen people in fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. And Peter knew nothing more than that. That is all that has been revealed to him. Why? Because everything concerning what we call the Gospel of Grace is still hidden at this time in the mind of God. And I’ve said it over and over and will say until the day I die or am Raptured, that you can’t believe something that someone has never said. And how can you believe something that God hasn’t said? Well you can’t. No one ever took God ahead of time and said, “Well I know that’s what He’s going to say.”They believed it after He said it, and the same way here. God has not yet said that He’s going to save the whole human race based on Jesus’ shed blood, and His death, burial, and Resurrection. So Peter couldn’t say it. Now let me show you what I’m talking about. Turn ahead to Romans the last chapter. I know that it takes a while for a lot of this to soak in, but once people see it their eyes are opened and they wonder why they had never seen it before. But here it is plain as day, and I won’t twist the Scriptures. but rather just let them sit where they are. I won’t try to interpret it, but I’m going to let you read it in your Bible. Here Paul is writing to this Gentile congregation in Rome.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” Do you see how plain that is? Paul is preaching something that God had kept secret. Peter didn’t know it. Now let’s look at Ephesians Chapter 3. This took me a long time, I’ll admit it. I was as jumbled up as everybody else. But all of a sudden everything just starts to separate out, and you wonder why you haven’t seen it before.
“FOR this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
How did God give the Law to Israel? To Moses at Mount Sinai. Moses came down and gave it to Israel. Here it’s the same procedure. He has given the doctrines of Grace to the Apostle Paul and Paul is taking it to the Gentiles. It’s just as plain as day.
“How that by revelation (not by the teaching of some theologian or anyone else but from the risen Lord) he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ); Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;”
There were others that followed right behind Paul. We know that Barnabas was his right hand man as well as Silas. Verse 9:
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery (Secret), which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:”
And one of the names of Deity back in the Book of Genesis is that God is a God Who is everlasting to everlasting, but He is also capable of hiding things. And that’s God’s progression. And so God kept this also hidden until He revealed it to the Apostle Paul. There is another one in the Book of Colossians.
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church (remember Paul almost always uses the term “The Body” which is His Church or The Church which is His Body): Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:”
Now let’s come back to Acts Chapter 10. Peter hasn’t had any revelation of the mysteries. This is even before Paul has received it all. He’s out there in Arabia with the risen Lord. Paul was converted in the last chapter and he’s already down in the desert for his three years of revelations. But while God is dealing with Paul in the desert, He is starting the ball rolling with the Gentiles up here in Caesarea, and he is also setting Peter up for a crucial situation about twelve years down the road. Now verse 44:
“While Peter yet spake (he hadn’t even finished, he probably thought that he was just getting wound up) these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” Now who was that? Cornelius and all these other Gentiles. Now verse 45, if you will analyze this carefully you can’t help but see it.
“And they of the circumcision which believed (these six Jews had believed for their Salvation that Jesus was The Christ, their Messiah. They had traveled with Peter from Joppa and)were astonished (this was something that had never happened before: Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit), as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Continuing on:
“For they heard them speak with tongues (or languages), and magnify God. Then answered Peter. `Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?’ And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord….”
What’s happened? Well the procedures have been changed. They have totally flip-flopped. What am I talking about? Let’s look at Acts Chapter 2 verse 38, with Peter preaching to the Jews. Let’s just compare. Now as we read this verse watch the order.
“Then Peter said unto them, `Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.'”
Now what was the order? They had to repent, be baptized, and then they received the Holy Spirit. What happened in Chapter 10 with Peter preaching to Gentiles? There was a total reversal. Peter hadn’t even finished preaching yet, and the Holy Spirit is evident. Let alone baptized them, or hearing their repentance.
And then after the fact Peter says, “Wait a minute, we’ve got to do everything right, let’s baptize them.” Do you see the difference? Why? Because Acts is a transitional Book. We are moving out of that Jewish program and Law. We are moving more and more with God dealing with the Age of Grace. Now Chapter 11 verse 1:
“AND the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem,…”
I’m going to stop right there. After this glorious experience among Gentiles, why in the world did Peter go back to Jerusalem? Why didn’t he head out to the regions beyond? Or maybe head up into Syria, or Asia Minor, and Greece? Why didn’t Peter call for the other disciple and say, “Hey, fellows, things are happening among the Gentiles, let’s get down into Egypt.” Does he? No! Where does he go? Back to Jerusalem. And that is where he is going to stay for ever so long. Do you see what I’m driving at? Peter was not commissioned by our Lord to go to the Gentiles in general. Only to the house of Cornelius for the purpose that I’ll show you in the next lesson. Now verse 2 again:
“And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision (believing Jews in this case) contended with him (what does that mean? They argued with him. They put up a fuss, and said) Saying, `Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.'”
Now just think. What’s the mentality of these believing Jews at Jerusalem? It’s still Law! You can’t get around it. You can’t sit down and eat Gentile food, it’s not kosher. You can’t go in and visit with Gentiles, they’re uncircumcised dogs. So that was still the mentality of the believers in Jerusalem, and this is eight years after the Cross. Why? God hasn’t revealed the secret of Grace going to the Gentiles. He’s been dealing with the Nation of Israel under the Law. Remember Ananias in Chapter 22?
“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law,…” So even Ananias is a good Law-keeper, even though he was up there in Damascus. So these are things you have to sort out to become a good student of the Word.