Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 4
ABRAHAM, LOT AND MELCHIZEDEK
In our last lesson we looked at the genealogy Christ in the New Testament. Chapter 1 of Matthew only went back as far as Abraham, as Matthew depicts Him as the King. As we have discussed, the Abrahamic Covenant has within it, in a latent form, the promise of a nation of people who would be located in the geographical area of land over which God would provide the government in the Person of the Messiah, the Son of God, Israel’s King. I want to carry this `king’ aspect of the government all the way into the New Testament so you can see God has been continuously, ever since Genesis Chapter 12, moving the Nation of Israel forward to the time when the King makes His appearance.
In Exodus, where Israel receives the Law, we’ll find the reason was to prepare the nation for the fruition of this Covenant. She had to be a prepared people. God chose the system of Law to teach them. That’s why Paul calls it a `schoolmaster’ in the Book of Galatians; a tutor to prepare Israel for a role some time in the future. In light of the third part of the Covenant, the government/king, our New Testament introduces Him genealogically to prove He is the rightful heir to the throne of David over which the King of Kings would rule the kingdom. To review, let’s read:
“THE book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
That’s as far as it goes because that is as much as this genealogy is going to concern itself. This one is going to prove that He is the rightful heir to the throne of David by being a son of David; that is, genealogically down through the family tree. Then we looked briefly at Luke, Chapter 3, which is the genealogy of Mary, and which takes us all the way back to Adam.
“Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.”
Even though Joseph was not the physical father of Christ, he was the legal father. Going all the way back to Abraham, coming up to David, and then Solomon, you’ll see that at Solomon there’s a fork in the family tree. One line will come down and form the genealogy of Mary; the other line forms the genealogy of Joseph. The reason Scripture records this is to prove that Christ was the rightful heir to David’s throne by virtue of the bloodline of Mary. Remember, the seed of the woman was spoken of back in Genesis, Chapter 3, and was kept insulated from the curse. There was no sin nature in the seed of the woman as it came all the way down through human history to Mary, so that Mary could conceive of God and still have a child whose blood was Divine; not sinful, not with an Adamic nature in it, because there was no earthly father. We pointed out that the circulatory or blood system of every fetus born of a woman comes from the man and not from the mother.
The virgin birth fits so beautifully physiologically and scientifically, in that the blood system of Christ originated with God, who was the Father, but He was human because He was born of the ovum, or the egg, or the seed of the woman. Consequently, these two genealogies follow all the way down from David to Christ, Joseph proving that he was in the line because he was the legal father of Christ even though he wasn’t the physical father. Mary, of course, was the physical mother. So the genealogies, which ended at Christ, both go back to King David. David, in turn, goes back to Abraham. In closing the last chapter, we looked at Chapter 2 of Matthew:
“NOW when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, `Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.'”
It doesn’t say three. We don’t know how many there were. We don’t really know who the wise men were or where they came from. But evidently God revealed to them that the promised King of Israel was now on the scene. This came from all the Old Testament prophecies that He would be born. Let’s stay in Matthew, going to Chapter 21, where we come to the Crucifixion.
“AND when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem (that is Jesus and the Twelve), and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass (or little donkey) tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, `The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them (in other words, He won’t give you an argument).'”
This is referred to twice in the Old Testament: that Christ would come into Jerusalem as Israel’s King; not riding upon the white steed of Roman emperors and generals, but upon a donkey – and not even a full grown donkey, but the unbroken colt of one. Now it’s time for it to be fulfilled, so Jesus tells the Twelve, “There’s the village. Go and get that little colt.”
“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled (because the Old Testament said it would happen, and it had to happen, and it did happen) which was spoken by the prophet, saying…”
So there’s that constant thought of the King – the King – the King. I imagine when I emphasize this, most people think I’m out in left field. Paul says in Timothy that this is a faithful saying, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. That is true, but The Bible is a progressive revelation. Everything is chronologically unfolding so there is no mention in the Old Testament of a statement like Paul’s (that He came into the world to save sinners). Instead, the whole emphasis is that He is going to come to fulfill this Abrahamic Covenant, and He is going to be the King. Now we’re going to add something to this Old Testament format. As parallel, I can possibly draw two lines. We have two thoughts coming through the Old Testament. The one, as we have been seeing for the last two or three lessons, would be the coming of a King and his kingdom. Running parallel with all of those verses is another theme of a suffering Savior. Most of you know Isaiah 53:
“…he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
Absolutely that was also promised. There had to be a suffering Savior because, as we mentioned in our last chapter, when Nicodemus began to ask questions concerning the kingdom, what did Jesus tell him? … `Except a man be born again he cannot enter the kingdom.’ There will be no unbelievers in that kingdom. So there had to be a Salvation. Turn with me to Luke’s Gospel Chapter 1. Every once in awhile, someone will say, “Les, are you telling me that this is going to be a political kingdom? I always though it was going to be a spiritual one.” I don’t like the word political as politics always smack of something less than honorable, and this kingdom is not going to be anything but honorable. However, if that’s the word that’s needed to emphasize that it’s going to be a literal kingdom with a literal king and a literal government, I’ll use the term, “It’s going to be a political kingdom.”
Now, Luke Chapter 1 verse 64. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was a priest working at the Temple serving. He had been stricken dumb, and at the birth of John when they asked his mother what they were going to name the baby, instead of using a family name she said, “His name will be John.” They were all amazed that they had never heard that before, so they asked Zacharias what the child’s name should be. He told them to get him a writing pad and he, too, wrote the name John. All the people were amazed because this was a miracle in the works. The Scripture then says:
“And his mouth was opened immediately (he got his speech back), and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, `What manner of child shall this be(remember, we are not talking about Christ, but about John the Baptist here)!’ And the hand of the Lord was with him. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,…” Watch verse 67 carefully:
Before you go any further, you must ask yourself a question. If someone is filled with the Holy Spirit as they were in those days, does he speak wishful thinking? No! What Zacharias is going to utter is prompted by the Holy Spirit Who has filled him. This is not just a bunch of wishful thinking from a nationalistic, patriotic, religious Jew. But now look what Zacharias is prompted to say.
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel;…” Of whom? See what the Book says. Many people just glance over that and figure God belongs to everybody. Well, He does, but in instances we have to remember it’s The Lord God dealing with Israel.) ,… “for He hath visited and redeemed His people.” What does redemption speak of? Salvation! So here is the salvation of Israel being offered.
“And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;”
See how Jewish all of this is? No Gentile belonged to the House of David. This was uniquely Jewish ground, and Zacharias is speaking on Jewish ground because he is speaking in fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. Israel is a nation, Israel is in the land, and what does Israel still need? That promised government – that King. Now Zacharias, by inspiration, is telling us it’s about to happen:
“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets (Old Testament), which have been since the world (“age” is a better word) began: That we should be saved from our enemies,…”
Who were Israel’s enemies? The Arabs, then, like they are now. The Egyptians were always enemies of Israel, along with the Syrians and other various Mediterranean nations. This is what he has reference to. “Oh that we can be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all that hate us (the Jew/Israel).”
“To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,”
Do you see what I’m talking about and why I started back in Genesis with the Abrahamic Covenant? It just keeps coming, coming and coming, and here it is in the New Testament. For this reason I have learned in my twenty years of teaching that we have to throw off the brainwashing we have all been under that the Bible is divided at the Old and the New Testaments. If you possibly can, throw that thinking off and realize that the first four Books, and even a part of the Book of Acts, are still really more Old Testament than New. These Books are extensions of all the Old Testament promises which looked forward to the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. In our next Scripture reference you’ll see what I’m talking about when I say, “even into the Book of Acts.” All of this again goes back to what I said in the last chapter. The main reason we have so much confusion in Christendom is because people refuse to see the difference between God dealing with Israel on the basis of the Covenants, and His dealing with us Gentiles on the basis of His Grace. All of this is going to come in, Zacharias can see, because God made that Covenant with Abraham. Verse 74 tells us what that Covenant guaranteed.
“That he would grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,”
Look at Israel today. Isn’t this what she wants? Every Middle East nation has a vowed statement within their government that they’ll not rest until Israel is driven into the sea. What were the words Saddam Hussein used at the height of the Gulf War? – “We’re going to incinerate them.” And the Palestinians whooped and hollered when they heard it. Why? Because they all want Israel destroyed. It’s never been any different. Zacharias knew this and said, “Now we’re finally going to be released from this fear; we’re going to have the tranquility and peace that the Covenant promised.”
“In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” Now what does that indicate? … That this government is not going to be part and parcel of the world system, but is going to be a heavenly government. It’s going to be ruled by the God of Heaven. The King of Kings, The Lord of Lords. And Zacharias could see that it was coming; that it was just around the corner.
“And thou, child (John the Baptist), shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;”
The word really implied here, not used here but in other places, is the word `herald.’ John the Baptist was a herald. In ancient history a herald would come in maybe a day or two before a great emperor or the leader of an empire, and he would simply begin at one end of the city and would, like a trumpet, announce the coming of his emperor. He would never go back and retrace his steps. He would announce it as he would go through the city, and that was it. It was a one-time heralding. Some have made an illusion that this is where we have really lost sight of propagating the Gospel. I know many foreign mission boards decry the fact that 90% of God’s servants are proclaiming the Word of God to only 6% of the world’s people. What do they say? Most Christian workers are laboring here in America. Ninety some percent of all the preachers and missionaries of the world labor right here in America, who is only 6% of the world’s population. Well, we’re not even heralding the Gospel to the nations of the world who have never heard. We know there are millions out there who have yet never heard, and we’re probably being remiss. Anyway, John the Baptist was going to be a herald, an announcer of the King. Read on:
“To give knowledge of salvation unto his people (His people at this point are still Jew only) by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Zacharias had it straight, and he should have. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. Let’s turn to one more Scripture in the New Testament portion that deals with this Abrahamic Covenant. Believe it or not, it goes all the way into the Book of Acts. Turn to Acts 2:22 to the great Pentecostal sermon by Peter. Again, most people just don’t stop to realize who Peter is talking to. I’m again giving you little shots at Acts. It’ll be a long time before we get down to a verse by verse study of the Book of Acts.
“Ye men of Israel,…” Does that include Gentiles? Not as I understand language.
“Therefore let all the house of Israel…” Who is that then? That’s Jew Only! It doesn’t include Gentile.
Now let’s go to Chapter 3. Peter is preaching his second sermon in the Book of Acts. Remember, this is just shortly after Pentecost – 50 days after the ascension. Come all the way down to verse 20 where Peter is announcing that if Israel would repent and believe Who Jesus really was, that He would come back and set up His kingdom.
“And he (God) shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” God is sending Jesus to be what? Their King! He has been crucified now, so He can now rightfully be their King. This isn’t an afterthought or an accidentally.
“Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” They told prophetically of what days? The appearance of the King, His Crucifixion, His Resurrection, His ascension, but His soon return. Remember, the Bible writers all thought it was going to happen right in order. Read on:
“Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto (what’s the next word?) Abraham…”
What is Peter claiming? Abrahamic Covenant! Peter is still claiming no more than the promises of this Covenant. They are already the nation, they are already in the land, but they want the King. They couldn’t have the King unless Israel repented to the last person. Everyone had to, and then Christ could have come and set up His kingdom and Israel could have been the missionary force; Israel could have been the evangelist. But what did Israel do with it? They continued to reject it so that God, not by accident or not as an afterthought, but in His foreknowledge said, `I’ll go another way.’ And He went to the Gentiles with the Gospel of grace. But you see that Peter is still on Covenant ground.