Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOk 29
I CORINTHIANS 15:24-54 – PART 2
I Corinthians 15:23, and we’re using that text as a jumping off place, because we previously asked, “Who are Christ’s at His coming that will be resurrected in the largest part of the resurrection harvest?” Remember from the Old Testament economy we had the firstfruits – the sampling – that’s Christ and those who came out of the graves after He came out in Matthew Chapter 27. Then we have the main harvest, which is the Church resurrection and includes the Rapture. Then we have the gleanings and the corners, and if we have time we’ll go back to Daniel Chapter 12 and we’ll see this is the resurrection of the Old Testament saints shortly after the Kingdom here on earth is established. So I teach the resurrection of the Just (the believers of all the ages) will be in three distinct separate stages.
I Corinthians 15:23
“But every man in his own order: (Or his own company) Christ the firstfruits; afterward (It’s now been almost 2000 years.) they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
That’s not a reference to His Second Coming but since Paul is writing about this he’s talking about Christ’s coming for the Body of Christ, “The Rapture of the Church,” two completely different events that are separated by 7 years. Remember, all the Old Testament promises and programs never considered the out-calling of the Church. It was never in there because God had kept it secret. So all the Old Testament prophecies spoke of the coming of Christ to be their King, and they would have to go through the Tribulation and then they could have the King and the Kingdom. You can find that in Psalm Chapter 2, Joel Chapter 2, and Zechariah Chapter 14. They all speak of this kind of a Biblical timeline. However, Israel rejected the King back at the Cross and the Tribulation did not come in, they did not get the Kingdom. So instead, after having crucified their Messiah, and Peter does not succeed in turning Israel into repentance (Acts 2:38).
God then brings forth the Apostle Paul and this is what we have been looking at for the past three lessons, and it’s the calling out the Body of Christ primarily from the Gentiles. And since it has nothing to do with the Old Testament program or Tribulation, which is also tied to the Old Testament and primarily for the Jew, then we maintain that the Body of Christ is insulated from God’s dealings with Israel either before or after the Cross, and so consequently this is why I teach the Rapture. The Body of Christ has to be off the scene before God can pick up dealing with Israel again. Always remember, if we could just take the Church out, which is in parentheses, then we can place the Tribulation back with the Old Testament economy of the Second Coming of the Messiah, the Tribulation, the King, and the Kingdom. However, when Israel rejected it, God went to Paul and the calling out of the Body of Christ, and it has to be raptured and then He will yet bring in the Tribulation to Israel. Now let’s go back to Romans again. Turn to Chapter 11 verse 25 (that I always I maintain will be the triggering mechanism for Christ coming for the Church). Now we know there is no time element, we can never say that in five years He’s coming. I certainly like to think He is, but we can’t say that. We don’t know if He’s coming in a hundred years, but we do know that He’s coming, and we do know that He’s coming the moment that the Body of Christ is complete. When the last person is saved, and the Body is complete then Christ will come for the Church.
“For I would not, brethren,…” (Remember Paul is writing to the common ordinary believer out there in the pew. Every believer should be aware of these things, and that’s why I teach. I don’t have to teach the preachers and the seminarians, but rather I want to teach the common people out here in the everyday walk of life. Because God wants every one of us to drop our ignorance, and pick up on the wisdom of His Word).
“…that ye should be ignorant of this mystery,…”
Now define the word `ignorant.’ When someone is ignorant it doesn’t mean that they don’t have the brain power. Someone who is ignorant isn’t someone who is incapacitated to a degree, but rather ignorance is simply a lack of being taught. I consider myself ignorant regarding electricity. I know the ramifications of it, but to get right into the details of three-phase electricity, I’m lost, Why? Because I’ve never been taught about it. I’m sure I could learn it if I had to, and it’s the same way with Scripture, most people are ignorant of the Scriptures not because they don’t have the capacity but because no one has taught them. So this is what Paul is constantly advocating; learn, learn, gain knowledge, get wisdom from The Book.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; (And here is the secret) that blindness (A spiritual blindness) in part is happened to Israel,…”
Well, what’s Paul talking about? When Israel rejected the Messiah, why did they reject Him? Ignorance! They didn’t know Who He was. I’ve been telling my classes for 25 years, over and over, Israel should have known Who Jesus was. Israel could have known Who Jesus was because it was in the Old Testament. Why didn’t they? They didn’t bother to study. The priests knew it, and they knew the stuff on the surface, but they didn’t get right down into the nitty gritty of the Old Testament prophecies. When the wise men came to Herod and asked about the King of Israel, Herod calls up the big-wigs of Judaism, and they had to go search the Scriptures to see where He was to be born. Did they find it? Sure they did. They said “He was to be born in Bethlehem,” so they could have known, but they didn’t. And do you know America is no better right now today? Every last person in these 50 states should know that we are in the end times, that we are approaching the very coming of Christ, and the Tribulation, the appearance of the Anti-christ and world government, but do they? No. Most of them don’t even know what you’re talking about. Why? Because they chose to remain ignorant. They don’t have to be, but they are. Paul is admonishing the believers at Rome, “Don’t be ignorant of this fact that God has literally dropped a spiritual blindness on the Nation of Israel.” Remember the individual Jew can still have his eyes opened and believe, but nationally they are blinded, in fact, here in this chapter look at verse 7.
“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; (What were they seeking? The King and the earthly Kingdom! How did they miss it? They were ignorant. How ignorant? Well, they were looking for a King Who would come in with pomp and power and circumstance, at least symbolically riding on a great white Arabian steed. Instead their King came riding in on a lowly donkey. And they missed it. Well, they were ignorant of Who He really was, and so Paul says, `that Israel did not obtain that which they were looking for,’) but the election (Those few Jews who did believe) hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” And that’s the Nation of Israel to this very day. They are still blind to Who Jesus really was. Now coming back to verse 25, Paul says, “That we Gentiles are to understand that this spiritual blindness has fallen on the Nation of Israel, and it will remain on their spiritual eyes”
“…until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
Well, what’s the fulness of the Gentiles? The Body of Christ, the Church. So when the Body of Christ is full then God will take us out of the way and He will start dealing again with the Nation of Israel. Now when I say that the Tribulation is primarily Jewish, here’s where I have to go back with you to Jeremiah Chapter 30, and of course this is just one verse. There are many, many others. However this one is so plain that I think anybody can comprehend it.
“Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?”(From what? Fear. The horrors of the Tribulation are not only going to be physical, but also mental. And it’s going to test men’s ability to keep their sanity, because of the horrors that are coming on the earth). Now verse 7:
“Alas! for that day is great, (What day? The Tribulation) so that none is like it:…”
Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 24:21? “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” And the world is getting ripe for that last seven years. When you read of the horrible wickedness, and sinfulness, and evil that men are practicing, not so much in America yet, but in other areas of the world, you wonder how God can put up with it. It’s hard to sleep at night to think that men can get that low in their sins, and so the wrath of God is coming on sinful men, He’s going to pour His wrath out. You might ask, “Well, why should this generation have to suffer so horribly when we’ve had 6000 years of human history?” Because there are more people living in the world right now than have lived almost all the way back to the beginning. And so the vast majority of the human race will come under the wrath and judgment of God, by virtue of our numbers. Now reading the verse again:
“Alas! for that day is great, (in it’s trauma and suffering) so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Israel is the primary one that God is dealing with. In all of God’s dealing with the human race, Israel is at the center of it all. I always like to share with you Deuteronomy Chapter 32:8. This verse can’t make it any plainer.
“When the most High (that term of Deity is mostly associated with the Gentiles) divided to the nations (all the nations of the world) their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds (national boundaries) of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.”
Do you see that? Everything God has done with the human race on this planet revolves around that little Nation of Israel. Now most of the world doesn’t want to believe that, and it is hard to believe. How can one little nation of just a few million people be so important in God’s overall picture of the billions of the rest of the world. Well, that’s what He said, “That at the core of everything is this little Nation of Israel.” Now the same way then with the Tribulation, it’s going to be primarily God pouring out His wrath on Christ-rejecting Jews. But the whole world is going to come under the effects of the Tribulation events. It’s going to be cataclysmic, it’s going to be meteorites, volcanoes, and earthquakes, and anything of a natural phenomena, and a disaster. The Tribulation will see it all in magnified portions.
But what we’re talking about is the Body of Christ and how it has to be taken out of the way before God can pick up again with the Nation of Israel. Now come to I Corinthians 15, and we’re going to jump ahead to verse 51, because this is still in the whole concept of resurrection. And this is the “Great Resurrection Day.” This is the “Main Harvest.” The Old Testament and Tribulation saints will be relatively few in number compared to the number in the Body of Christ. Now lest you think, “Well, there hasn’t been all that many people saved during the Church age.” Hold it, what about all the infants that have died in the third world countries for all these years, where are they? They’re going to be in the Body of Christ. Where are all the aborted babies? They’re also are going to be in the Body of Christ. So don’t think for a moment that the Body of Christ isn’t going to be humongous, but remember we’re not going to be just confined to the planet when we rule and reign, but rather we’re going to rule and reign in the heavenlies. I’m convinced the whole sphere of outer space is going to be our domain. We are going to have all kinds of room, and we’re going to serve Him with joy unspeakable, and how is all that going to begin?
I Corinthians 15:51,52
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; (Something that has been kept secret, something that is not in the Old Testament, it’s not in the Four Gospels, it’s not in the Book of Acts, but here it comes from the pen of this apostle. A secret that) We shall not all sleep, (die) but we shall all be changed,” Now that’s common sense isn’t it? If we’re not going to die and have a resurrection body then we’ve got to have a new body. And he explains that in verse 52.
“In a moment, (In the Greek that means the smallest division of time) in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; (Now this has nothing to do with the trumpets in the Book of Revelation. Don’t ever limit God. You know I get so disturbed that people always try to put God in a box. Just because there is a trumpet back in Revelation they think He’s only got one and He has to use it here also. No, God has all kinds of trumpets, and He’s going to use this one for the Church.) for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,(There’s the resurrection of the dead believers, called out of the graves wherever they are, whether in the ocean, or in a cave, cemetery or wherever.) and we (who are alive) shall be changed.” Now hold it right there and let’s go back to the Book of Philippians Chapter 3 and let’s qualify that from another portion of Scripture.
“For our conversation (citizenship, we are already citizens of Heaven) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, (Not the King) the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile (Corrupt, prone to death) body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, (the one He walked with those 40 days after His resurrection) according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
The Body He had during those 40 days was so supernatural, He didn’t have to go to the door to enter and leave. Christ wasn’t limited by time and space, and that’s not gobbledy-gook, but Scriptural fact, and that’s the kind of body that we’re going to have. We’re limited to the physical aspect of this old planet, but when we get into the eternal, it’s a whole new ball game. Now for a moment let’s come back to I Corinthians Chapter 15. And so we will be raised incorruptible, and changed into a glorious body like His resurrected body. Now verse 53:
I Corinthians 15:53,54
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on in corruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality,…” We need to go for comparison to I Thessalonians Chapter 4, and here is the “Blessed Hope” as Paul writes to Titus.
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Who gave himself for us,…” Now in Thessalonians 4, beginning with verse 13, and again Paul uses that word “ignorant.”
I Thessalonians 4:13,14
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, (don’t go through life and not understand these things. Even for believers. You know of believers who have no concept of this, but here it is.)brethren, concerning them which are asleep, (died in Christ) that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” And in this next verse is your qualification for being in the Rapture of the Church. If you are alive when it happens and you have believed with all your heart the Gospel of our Salvation as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4)
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, (do you see how plain that is?) even so them also which sleep (or have died) in Jesus will God bring with him.”
Now there is another instance where the Name Jesus and God are used interchangeably. The God that is coming for the saints is Jesus. Jesus is the God Who is coming with the saints. Do you see that. You can’t separate it, I mean they’re the same. Now verse 15:
I Thessalonians 4:15,16
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, (Remember as Paul wrote this The Lord Himself revealed this to him from His place in Heaven.) that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord (that is for the Body of Christ, the Church) shall not prevent (or go ahead of ) them which are asleep.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: (The same one He uses in I Corinthians 15) and the dead in Christ shall rise first:”
This will be in resurrection power when they hear the voice to come forth just like Lazarus did, only they’re going to come out in resurrection power never to die again, and they’re going to be drawn up to meet Him in the air. So the dead in Christ will go first, but in the next split second:
I Thessalonians 4:17
“Then (in the next split second) we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (they have already received their new bodies coming out of the grave and we’re going to join them) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: (And then Paul says) and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Now in verse 17 the two words “caught up” are the two words that comprise the word “Rapture.” Now I know the word Rapture isn’t in here but “caught up” is and it’s the same meaning. Then Paul says”
I Thessalonians 4:18
“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”