Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 20
GOD PROVES HIS CASE – MORAL MAN – ROMANS 2
Now back to our study in Romans Chapter 1. Remember, God has never poured out His wrath on mankind. The world doesn’t know what that is. In fact, let’s go back to Psalms Chapter 2 and look at God’s wrath. I think that is about the first time that word is used with regard to God dealing with mankind. We always use Psalms Chapter 2 in prophecy, because it’s basically the outline of all the things that would happen concerning Israel. But here in Psalm 2 the early verses speak of Jew and Gentile rejecting the Anointed One.
“The kings of the earth (Gentiles) set themselves, and the rulers (Jews) take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed,…” This speaks of crucifying Him. And then verse 4:
“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh (that man should be so foolish) the LORD shall have them (the nations) in derision.”
Total confusion, and you can see it coming. After they have rejected Him, and continue to reject Him, and finally reached a point of complete confusion; they still think they have all the answers:
“Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath (not in Grace or in love, but in wrath), and vex them in his sore displeasure.”
On your way back to the New Testament stop in Matthew Chapter 24 for a moment, and this Scripture is well-known. This is Jesus in His earthly ministry just speaking to the Twelve there on the Mount of Olives. And here He says it so graphically, this is speaking of that final seven years of human history. Now verse 21:
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world…”
Why did He say that when the flood was so catastrophic and so complete in destroying the human race? Because the flood wasn’t considered His wrath. It was actually an act of mercy. They were instantaneously wiped off the face of the earth, and they were gone. But when His wrath is going to be poured out it’s going to be 3 1/2 years of things beyond human comprehension. That’s what is going to be His wrath, and that’s what’s coming. The world is setting itself up for it. Now reading the verse again.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
Now let’s see how the Book of Revelation speaks of this same period of time. Let’s turn to Revelation Chapter 6, and this is only the beginning. I read an article the other day that some of our wealthiest people in America are beginning to see the handwriting on the wall, and like rats leaving the sinking ship, do you know what they’re doing? They’re buying up property down in the Caribbean Islands. Some of them are buying a whole island, and building what they hope will be a safe escape from that which is to come. But you know what? They can’t hide, just look what it says:
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondsman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks; `Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?'”
I know Christendom has just been lulled to sleep with everything but any mention of the wrath of God. You just don’t hear it, because people are afraid to talk about it, they don’t want to hear it, but The Book says it. The wrath of God is coming. Let’s look at Revelation Chapter 9 and verse 20. This is going to set us up for the next verse in Romans Chapter 1 that we’re coming to. I didn’t plan any of this, it just sort of unfolds by itself. Look what it says here.
“And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of the sorceries (drugs), nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”
In spite of all the wrath that has been poured out they still won’t change their attitude. Let’s look at another verse in Revelation Chapter 14. And here we are at the end of the Tribulation. We’ve had all these horrible, horrible events take place, things that man has never yet experienced. And now we come to those that are surviving that are in the armies of the world all gathered around Jerusalem, for that last great battle called Armageddon. Verse 16:
“And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped (in other words, humanity). And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying. `Thrust in thy sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.'”
Now this is symbolic language, of course, of God gathering the residue of humanity that is still living. He’s gathering them there in the Middle East under the military, and the gathering of the grapes into the wine vat is the gathering of these 200,000,000 military people into that valley of Esdraelon down the Jordan valley and all the low laying areas of Israel especially. And these people are going to be packed in like sardines in a can. We know this is contrary to good military operations, but they will be forced by a Sovereign God to just pack their men into these valleys. That’s the wine vat! That’s like putting grapes into the vat, and now the very presence of God is going to come and crush them as grapes in the vat.
“And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth (in other words, they’re going to bring all their armies to the Middle East), and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.”
So you see God’s wrath isn’t being poured out tonight. We have no idea of what the the wrath of God is going to do. Even though we can experience flood, earthquakes, volcanoes, that’s nothing compared to what it will be when the wrath of God will finally be released on mankind that are rejecting Christ and God. Now let’s come back to Romans Chapter 1, verse 22, where men and women were without faith:
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”
I showed you what a fool was according to Scripture in the last lesson. He’s the man or woman who says, “No” to what God says for us. And that is so typical. When I look at this verse 22, I’m always reminded of the Warren Supreme Court. You may recall when the ex-governor of California became the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It was the biggest catastrophe that ever hit the United States of America. Because out of that Warren Supreme Court came many decisions that just wrecked our Christian fabric. The most notorious one gave criminals more rights than their victims. Roe vs Wade opened the door to abortion, and I think that was part of that Supreme Court. Taking prayer and God out of the schools was precipitated by the Warren Court. I always have to think so-called brilliant, intellectual, robed men thinking themselves to be wise, probably with more power than any other group of men in the world, and yet they will come out with decisions that are as idiotic as can be. Why? This verse 22 says it all. ” They have rejected what God has said!” And consequently, they act and respond as a fool. Now verse 23. Becoming fools, saying no to God:
“And changed the glory of the incorruptible God (The God who cannot be touched with anything that is less than perfect) into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”
I don’t know all that the Scripture is implying here, but do you see the chronology here is reverse from what it was in creation? Here in the order of making their images they start with man and went down to the creeping things, the lowest of creatures. Now if you doubt that, all you have to do is think back to when Israel was in Egypt under the Pharaohs. Everything in Egypt had become a god. All the plagues that God pushed on Egypt were to show Egypt that their gods were nothing. In fact, they became a plague. Now as we see here in verse 23 they are changing the glory of the uncorruptible God into these kinds of items to be worshiped. We can’t comprehend it, and yet here we are today with intellectual man and all his technology, coming back to the same place. You say, “What are you talking about? How do you know what the New Age movement is all about?” It’s coming under the Oriental idol worship, that’s all it is, and of course in subtle terms. Their goal is to bring the world right back under the same idolatry that begin at the Tower of Babel. This is when these series of verses really began.
Man first rejected God and His authority with Nimrod, who was not just a great hunter of animals, but also of men. And he was the first world totalitarian despot. He brought them to the Tower of Babel not with just the idea of building a building of clay and pitch, but he was setting up a religion. That’s what it meant by reaching to Heaven. They knew they couldn’t build a tower into Heaven, but it was going to be a religious system that they thought would usurp the very throne room of Heaven. And that was the beginning of all pagan idolatry lies… The Tower of Babel.
Before the flood, there is never an instance of idolatry. There was no religion of sorts before the flood, no Temple worship, or organized worship. But what happened? Man went completely down the tube, and he became corrupt and violent, because there was nothing to control his thinking. So after the flood we have eight people that have a knowledge of God. Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives. I think God was in the Ark with them, and yet within two hundred years (which was only a generation or two into that expanding population coming from those eight people) they are now gathered around the Tower of Babel and ready to embrace pagan worship. Isn’t that amazing! What are they doing? They are refusing to listen to what God says, and so here is where I think these series of verses had their beginning.
Look at verse 24. Notice the verse starts with the word `wherefore.’ The word `wherefore’ points you right back to where you just came from. So as a result of everything we’ve said about these last three or four verses concerning the fact that they had a knowledge of God, and all they had to do was look up into the heavens and they could see the proof of it, yet now they are ready to follow a humanist who is now setting up pagan worship, and they fall for it, Why? Because the old human nature is bent on rebelling. Don’t look down your nose at these people, because except for the Grace of God, you and I would be no different. We would be right in the middle of what is described in these few verses, and that’s sobering. I know if it wasn’t for God’s Grace I could be where they are. But on the other hand, by the Grace of God they can be where the believers are today, and that’s the beauty of it.
“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness…”
He gave them up to a lower life style than what they began with. We are going to start here with the Tower of Babel, and we are going to see the decline of the human race from the Tower of Babel until finally God had to say, “Well, I’m going to do something different. I’m going to call out one man.” That would be the call of Abram. We are going to see the Nation of Israel as well start on that high plain with a knowledge of God. But even that nation under God’s leadership went down, down, down, until finally God would have to say, “There’s no remedy.” I think you see the same thing happen periodically in various empires or nations where they may begin with a high level of spirituality and knowledge of God, but they degenerate. I think after the Reformation we could find Europe aflame with the Word of God. Those great men of the Reformation who literally fill our history books (at least before political correctness took them out). Great men of God covered all of Europe. What happened? Europe went the same way, down down down until they became destitute of Christianity, and that was by the time World War II rolled around.
Then I like to refer to the British Empire. It was so great that the sun never set on it. Do you know what that meant? From Great Britain you cross the Atlantic, and they had Canada in their domain. From Canada before the sun set, Australia was in it, and by the time you came away from Australia you had Singapore, and Burma. All of that was part and parcel of the British Empire. They had the whole Middle East under their control, and by that time you’re back home in England, so the sun never set on the British Empire. Great Britain was the author and the beginner of foreign missions. The very first foreign missionary that went to the Orient was William Cary coming out of England.
England was the very hotbed of Biblical scholars, but what happened? Down, down, down, and I usually like to give this illustration: they gave birth to the Beetles. Isn’t that right? I think that was the trigger to the destruction of our social fabric. Oh, they created beautiful music, I won’t ever take that away from them. But I always have to be reminded of one of the first times the Beetles came to America, and some reporters were interviewing John Lennon, and they asked him, “How do you write such beautiful music?” What do you suppose his response was? He answered, “I’m inspired by Satan.” And that was in a news magazine. I read that with my own eyes. In fact just shortly before he was assassinated, he was being interviewed and he repeated that statement. So Great Britain went from that immense empire all the way down to where today she is a nobody in the family of nations. Their empire is gone, they have been struggling economically and in every way, and spiritually they are practically dead. But this has been the track of the human race ever since the Tower of Babel.
“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:”
When I teach this verse I always maintain this is essentially sexual immorality between the sexes. Sexual immorality between men and women. They dishonour their own bodies between themselves. Now what was the first step? Idolatry. And just as soon as mankind replaces the true God with a man-made god, their moral fabric begins to rot. All you have to do is go back into the Orient over the times of the years gone by. Steeped in idolatry with their religion, but what is their moral status? They have none. I can remember reading about the opium dens and so forth years ago, and we are just now catching up. This has been the downward track now for ever so long, beginning especially at the Tower of Babel. Empires will go that way, and so will individuals, and never lose sight of that. But for the Grace of God you and I as believers could very well have taken that same track, we could have succumbed to idols, ending up in immorality.