Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 32
Now always remember as we start our lesson today that we are just an informal Bible study. We don’t try to twist people’s arms or move them from one group to another. All we ask is that you get into the Book and learn to read and study it. If you really get a love for the Word, then reading the Bible is not enough, you are going to end up studying it. But if you really want to get what you need out of it you must study, and that’s what the Scripture says:
II Timothy 2:15
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Know what is Law and what is Grace, and don’t mix the two, and the only way you will ever be able to do that is study. So we like folks to know that all we’re trying to do is emphasize the study of God’s Word. We just have a heart for people to be taught from the Word and to be taught how the Word is divided, and we don’t mean the Old from the New Testament. Once you learn how to divide the Word the whole Bible will just open up to you.
Now instead of going right on into Galatians, I would like to review our timeline for a moment. We just get so many requests and comments about our timeline. I’ve had so many people tell me that, “If you’ve ever done anything to open up the Bible, it’s using the timeline.” So in response to those requests I just thought that we would digress for this lesson and review once again the timeline and how everything unfolds and how it all fits and how everything rests on that which has gone before. So, consequently, it is hard to understand the Church Age and why God is dealing with us the way He is unless we see where it all begin.
I’ll never forget years ago, and I’ve used this story over and over in our Oklahoma classes, but it’s so appropriate. It’s the story of the Gentlemen who came to our ranch one night. I had been bailing hay all day and I was tired, and it was about 10:30 at night, and he introduced himself, and said, “Tell me, Who in the world is Jesus Christ?” Now at the time it shook me up. I thought how in the world could anybody ask a question like that? But now some five or six years later all I ask is, “Why don’t more people ask that very question?”Because most people don’t know Who He is. Oh, they know He was born at Bethlehem, and they know He went through a crucifixion, but to really know Who Christ is and how He came on the scene – many people haven’t got a clue. Well, that night we went into our kitchen, to that old round oak table where we have led many people to the Lord. We put on a pot of coffee and that’s what I did with him, I drew the timeline.
And if you want to get someone interested in the Word of God, learn to use the timeline. It’s quite simple to use. Now I’m going to complicate it a little bit today by showing the difference between what the disciples and early Jewish believers understood compared to what you and I now understand as Church Age believers. Because God interrupted His original program for the Nation of Israel, and turned to the Gentiles instead.
So as far as the Scriptures are concerned, let’s begin with the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis Chapter 12. From the timeline you will see that, if Adam was created at 4004 BC (and most chronologers pretty much agree on that), then from Adam to the call of Abraham or Abram as he was first known in Genesis 12, covers 2000 years. Now I don’t put a lot of emphasis on that in this particular lesson because eleven chapters of Genesis covers that whole 2000 year span. So come over to Genesis 12, and here we will read for a moment. Here we have that Covenant that God made with Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees, so Abram was a Syrian, although God used him to begin the Jewish race. Anyway God made a special Covenant with him and here it is beginning with verse 1.
“Now the LORD had said (back in Chapter 11) unto Abram, `Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will (future) shew thee: 2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee (through a lineage of people that would come from this man) shall all families of the earth be blessed.'”
This Abrahamic Covenant is given to the man who would be the father of a race of people who had never been on the earth before. They came out of Adam, and Noah and the three sons, but God institutes now by His Sovereignty a new race or nation of people that we have come to know as Israel. So the Jews came as a result of this Covenant made with this one man. This Covenant promises a nation of people, and implied is that you can’t have a nation of people functioning and operating unless they are in their own geographical area, a homeland. And it’s also implied that if you have a nation of people and they are in a geographical area, you can not have law and order and an economy unless you have a government.
So those are the three main tenants of the Abrahamic. That God will make of this one man a nation of people, put them in their own geographical area of land, and then at some future day, He and the person of God in the flesh would be their King. And that is the promise of the Messiah, and the redeemer. Now with the 2000 BC call of Abraham we have God dealing for the next 2000 years up to Christ’s first advent with Jew only, and, of course, there are always a few exceptions. I have called this whole period of time from Abraham until we get out here to the Church Age, when the Jewish program is interrupted, the period of prophecy, the prophetic program, or the Old Testament program, and we’ll see how it was interrupted. But when I say that it is a program of prophecy, I want you to turn the page here in Genesis to Chapter 15. I always like to make these things as plain as I possibly can. True prophecy is telling the future, as we understand in the Old Testament, and is almost always when God made a promise, He put it in a time frame. Now that’s how explicit God is when He tells the future. God will name the day, and He will name the number of years that will be involved in that particular process. Now, here in Genesis 15, Abraham has now come along and he’s going to have children. The first one, Ishmael, was not according to God’s plan, but nevertheless in Genesis 15 here we have what I call a real example of true prophecy. Look at verse 13.
“And he (God) said unto Abram, `Know of a surety (it’s going to happen) that thy seed (your offspring through Isaac) shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, (they are going to be some place other than the promised land, and we know it was Egypt) and shall serve them; (they are going to go into bondage, and now here comes the time element) and they shall afflict them four hundred years:'”
Do you see that? Now God is making a prophecy that this nation coming out of this one man, Abraham, will end up in a nation that is not theirs which we know is Egypt, and it’s going to cover a period of 400 years. Now that’s the way prophecy always works. Now according to my timeline, once we come past the first 11 chapters which is Adam, and the flood, and the tower of Babel – now comes the call of Abraham and the appearance of the Nation of Israel. Then we come 500 years to Moses and the Exodus experience, and the Law. Then we have all the rest of the Old Testament writers in the prophets, the Psalms and everything else. So everything now is prophetically looking forward to, and promising what we call, the first advent of Christ. In other words, His birth at Bethlehem when He came to the Nation of Israel to fulfill those promises.
Now what I always refer to as the outline of this prophetic or Old Testament program is Psalms Chapter 2. Now a lot of this is repetition even for a lot of our television viewers, but on the other hand we have a lot of new people every week. So here in Psalms Chapter 2 I call this the outline of God’s prophetic program.
“Why do the heathen (in Old Testament language, and even in the New Testament anyone that was not a Jew born out of Isaac, and Jacob, and the Twelve sons was either called a Gentile, or heathen, or uncircumcised. So why does the heathen the non[-Jews) rage, and the people (the promised Covenant people Israel) imagine a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers (of Israel) take counsel together, (even though the Book of Acts lays the blame on the Nation of Israel for crucifying Christ, yet never forget Rome carried it out) against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3. `Let us break their bands asunder, (that is the Godhead. Let’s not let God rule in our affairs) and cast away their cords (God’s Sovereign rule) from us.’ (Now here was the response of God the Father in Heaven) 4. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them (the nations of the world and Israel) in derision. 5. Then (now that’s not a specific time of six months or years, but nevertheless there would be a definite time element between His crucifixion, and the next event in the timeline and that is not a pretty picture. And what is it? His wrath! The wrath of God, and) shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. (the nations of the world and Israel in particular. Now that’s the Tribulation) 6. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” Now in verse 6 that’s the 1000-year Kingdom age that is coming.
Now then coming back to the timeline, we have Abraham at 2000 BC all the way up to Christ’s first advent it was all Jew, with a few exceptions, and God dealing with only the Nation of Israel. Christ came and brought about His three years of earthly ministry, preaching and proclaiming Who He was only to the Nation of Israel, (Matthew 15:24) and they crucified Him. He ascended back to glory, and now, according to Psalms 2 that we just looked at, the next event would be the wrath and vexation which would be the seven years of Tribulation and then Christ would come and yet set up His Kingdom. Now that’s Psalms Chapter 2, verses 5, 6, and 7. That’s just as plain as you can get.
It’s obvious then, there’s something missing in those verses: what is it? The Church Age. There is not a word about the Church Age in the Old Testament. There’s not a word about the Church Age in the Four Gospels that God would turn to the non-Jew, the Gentiles, and call out of them the Body of Christ of Jews and Gentiles. The only thing that the Old Testament was looking for was the fulfillment of this line of promises. That Christ would come, He would suffer, He would die. He’d be raised from the dead and then the wrath of God would fall, and then the Kingdom would be set up. Now let me show you how obvious it really is that Peter had no concept of anything other than this Old Testament timeline – Acts Chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost. Remember these Jewish believers had been accused of starting their drinking a little too early in the morning. So by 9 a.m. they were drunk. Well I don’t know how in the world they could accuse someone who was speaking in languages that everybody could understand of being drunk. My experience with drunken people is you can’t understand one language let alone many. Now in verse 15, Peter’s response was:
“For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. (only 9 o’clock in the morning. But Peter in verse 16 is saying in effect that what you’re seeing is fulfillment of prophecy) 16. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; (now where’s Joel? Back in the Old Testament, it was part of prophecy, and now he quotes him. This is what Joel wrote) 17. And it shall come to pass in the last days saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:…”
Peter was seeing this happen on the day of Pentecost. Now if Peter had understood that there was going to be a Church Age and that Israel was going to go into a dispersion, he should have stopped right here, and not read the rest. Because the rest is Tribulation ground. But Peter didn’t stop, because he was still hanging on that Old Testament program that Israel had to come to a knowledge of their Messiah and then the Tribulation could unfold, and then they would have the King and the Kingdom. But since he didn’t understand this, look what he continues to quote in verse 19.
“And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke; 20. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: (that’s the Tribulation, and Peter knew that it had to come) 21. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Now that’s not Paul, as he writes in Romans 10:9-13, but rather this is Peter. Peter is still in the prophetic program and all he’s talking about here is that the One you crucified has been raised from the dead. He’s gone back to glory according to Psalms 110:1, and He’s sitting at the Fathers right hand; and yet would come the wrath and vexation, and then Christ would return at His second coming, and yet set up His Kingdom. But Israel rejected it so the King couldn’t pour out the Tribulation wrath, He had to wait in heaven until something else glorious would come to pass.
And now we must turn a little farther in Acts to Chapter 9. Now this is just a quick review. But here in Chapter 9 I want you to jump all the way to verse 15. And here we are at Saul’s tremendous conversion on the road to Damascus. This one who detested (hated with a passion) the name of Jesus of Nazareth because he could see it as just totally rotting away Judaism. It was defaming the Temple and the Law, and so he did everything humanly possible to stamp out the name of Jesus of Nazareth. So Saul thinks he’s got everything pretty much under control in his homeland of Jerusalem and Judea and so now he has gone to the high priest and has gotten permission to even go to Damascus.
Remember, the high priest and the leaders of Judaism had a fair amount of clout even with the Roman government; that they could actually demand extradition from certain cities from the Romans like we do today with certain countries. And so Saul rehearses in Acts Chapter 26 what they would do with these who had believed in Jesus of Nazareth. They would take them back to Jerusalem, throw them in prison, and put them to death. Now as Saul of Tarsus has met the Lord on the road to Damascus (and you all know the account here is where you have that tremendous change in the modus operandi of the Sovereign God), look at verse 15.
“But the Lord said unto him, (Ananias) `Go thy way: for he (Saul, later to be named Paul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16. For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.'”
Now that opens the door to the apostle Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles. Now, on the timeline, this is where we are concerned with. Prophecy had run its course with the exception of the seven years of Tribulation and the 1000 years reign of Christ in the Kingdom age. Christ had come according to prophecy. He was rejected, He was crucified; but now all of a sudden with Israel’s continued rejection, the prophetic program of Jew-only has come to a screeching halt, and God’s time clock stopped, and prophecy stopped. God then opened something completely new in Scripture. And what is it? The mysteries. Paul is always saying, “Behold I show you a mystery” Let’s look at it in Romans Chapter 16:25:
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, (as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4. Not the gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus and the Twelve preached, but Paul’s Gospel that was revealed only to him) and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world begin,”
So now for almost 2000 years, we haven’t been in the prophetic program. We are in the Age of Grace which is the revelation of the mysteries. Things that were kept secret back here in the Old Testament – there was no concept of Gentiles being brought into a relationship with the Almighty God. But when the Church is complete and it can be taken out of the way in what we call the Rapture then you see on our timeline the parentheses around the Church on the timeline is removed and the timeline is just like it was originally.
Then the prophetic program will go right on and yet be completed. Now all you have to do is look at the situation. Israel is back in the land like she was at the time of Christ’s first coming. They’ll soon have their Temple, and they will go back under Judaism, and the Law and Temple worship. The revived Roman empire is already on the scene. The European community is just about complete, and so everything is now falling into place. It will be just like it was at the time of Christ’s first advent. Oh, granted, technology has exploded, but yet it is all for the sole purpose of bringing about the end-time scenario for that second coming of Christ to the Nation of Israel.