Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 35
THE COUNSEL OF THE GODHEAD – PART 2
Now let’s just pick right up where we left off in the last lesson. We’re still in verse 10, but we’re getting ready to move on soon. Remember, Ephesians 1:10 is where Paul writes –
“That is the dispensation of the fulness of times (referring to the 1000 year reign of Christ) he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, (the heavenly things,) and which are on earth; (the earthly) even in him:”
Now you can be turning to Galatians chapter 1, and while you do that I want to remind you that all the way up through the Old Testament dealing with the Nation of Israel under the Abrahamic Covenant, including Christ’s earthly ministry, including the early chapters of Acts, all of that is God dealing with His earthly people, Israel. Remember, Israel had nothing but earthly promises. The Jew knew nothing of dying and going to Heaven, all the Jew understood, as Job puts it so beautifully back there in chapter 19-
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (Job didn’t say, “I’ll see Him in Heaven) 26. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God;”
So all the promises given to Israel were earthly, and never lose sight of that. Their Temple was in Jerusalem, it was earthly. And when you get to the Book of Hebrews which I think Paul wrote, and we find him constantly comparing there that which was good back in the past when God resided in the Temple, in the Shekinah glory, it’s all earthly. Today in the Church Age you and I aren’t connected to a Temple on the earth, but rather we’re connected to the Jerusalem, which is in Heaven.
So I think the heavenly aspect started from the time of Paul’s commissioning to go to the Gentiles, and the Body of Christ, the Church. That is heavenly, whereas Israel is earthly, and hopefully we can tie this whole period of human history coming together. After that time we can go into the Kingdom Age, the 1000 year reign which Ephesians 1:10 is referring to. At that time He will be King of Kings, and Lord of Lords when everything of the heavenly and earthly will come under His reign, and rule. Well that’s just sort of a preview of what’s to come. Now if you will come back to Galatians chapter 1 and let’s pursue a little more of the heavenly concept of all of this. I think we pretty much gave you an overview of the earthly promises made to Israel. We know Israel rejected it, they crucified their Messiah, and God immediately turned to the apostle Paul to go to the Gentiles. Now in Galatians 1:11 is where we have the real basis of that, after you’ve left off with Acts chapter 9. Now Paul has been out among the Gentile world, and at this time we are some 28 or 29 years after Pentecost.
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me (now be careful how you read this. When Paul says “The Gospel which was preached of me,” he’s referring to the Pauline message of I Corinthians 15:1-4, and that message ) is not after man. 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, (by other men) but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Well what’s Paul saying? At his conversion on the road to Damascus when the Lord spoke to him and said, “I’m going to send you far hence to the Gentiles” Paul didn’t immediately head back to Jerusalem and check in with Peter and the eleven. But instead the Lord sends him in the opposite direction down to Mount Sinai in Arabia, and evidently for three years the Lord just laid on this man the whole revelation of all of these things that were never hinted at in Scripture before. And this is what I try to emphasize to people, do you realize that all the way up through the Old Testament, all the way up through the Four Gospels, and the early chapter of Acts, that you never once see the term “The Body of Christ?” You don’t see that term until you get to Paul.
Now once Paul begins his ministry never does he use the term, “The Gospel of the Kingdom as Jesus and the Twelve did.” Why? Because that gospel was associated with the Twelve. Just as they couldn’t use the term the Body of Christ, Paul can’t use the term the Gospel of the Kingdom. Do you see that? As I showed you before there is this fork in the road in the Bible, and that fork starts with the apostle Paul at his conversion on the road to Damascus. God comes up to the point where Israel rejected everything of the Covenant promises, and when that happened God says, “I’ll do something totally different.” So with the apostle Paul, He went to the Gentile. Now Paul lays this out so beautifully here in these verses. We’ve covered them lots of times on the program, and I know this is repetition to a lot of you.
“For ye have heard of my conversation (my manner of living) in time past in the Jews’ religion,…”
Now here I always have to stop. What’s a religion? Oh I’ve defined it so often as I teach. Religion is always a compilation of the effort of man to somehow appease a Holy God. Now that’s religion. I don’t care if it’s the Oriental, Protestant, Catholicism, Judaism, or what ever. Religion is always man’s attempt to somehow merit favor with God. Now you want to remember that the Jews religion at the time that Paul was practicing it here in Christ’s earthly ministry, and shortly after, that’s all it was. There was nothing of the power of God in it, and you want to realize that the Law given back here to Moses was about 1500 BC.
But from that time, the religion of Judaism was in a constant state of degeneration. Usually things are in that constant state. Very seldom does something reach a peak of more or less perfection and stay there, it always degenerates down. Remember every thing is always going into a less usable state. So you’ve got to realize that from the beginning of Judaism, if we want to call it that, and the giving of Law to Moses, and then coming through the prophets and so forth, by the time you get to the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, it was nothing but a dead man-made religion. There was nothing left of the power of God in it. Oh they went through the Temple worship, and all that was involved there. I just had a verse come to mind in Isaiah. I’ve been sharing with my Oklahoma classes the last few weeks that even Israel’s religion came up into God nostrils as a stench. I shook a few people up the other night, I know I did when I said I wonder how many Church services around the world on Sunday morning make God feel the same way about them as He does here in Isaiah. I’m in Isaiah chapter 1, and let’s just begin with verse 11. Now this is the Word of God, this isn’t my idea, in fact it just sort of turns my stomach to read something like this. Now this is frightening, but this is where mankind can get to when they follow their own devices.
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: (well didn’t God instruct them to bring sacrifice? Well sure He did. Now read on) I am full (today we’d say, `I’ve had it.’) of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? (I’m sure God is speaking of the Temple complex. Now look at verse 13.) 13. Bring no more vain oblations; (that was part of their sacrificial worship. God says, `Don’t bring any more, because I’ve had it with them.’ Now do you have the picture?) incense is an abomination unto me; (now listen weren’t they instructed to burn incense as a sweet smell to God? Sure they were, and they were still doing all of this exactly according to the Book. Now let’s read on and I’ll tell you what the problem was.) the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity even the solemn meeting.”
Now remember all that we’ve read was what God had instructed for worship, but now He’s saying, “I’m fed up with this and can’t stand to look at it.”
“Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.” (now this is God speaking to the Nation of Israel.) 15. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.”
Now what was the major point of controversy God has here with the Nation of Israel? They were doing everything right, oh they wouldn’t dream of approaching Temple worship and not do it exactly right. I mean to the last jot and tittle they did it right, but what were they lacking? Faith! There was no faith associated with all this, and it had become nothing but a dead religion. And isn’t that exactly where Christendom is tonight? Oh look all the things we do in Church, but how many people have faith to appropriate the real truth of it? And this is what God is looking for – just simple faith.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him:…”
Now coming back to Galatians chapter 1 if you will. So this is just exactly what Paul is talking about. Paul says that he was such a religious Jew. He was like all the rest of the Israelites doing everything according to the Book, but he was destitute of real faith, and consequently he too was blind with regard to Who Jesus really was. You’ve heard me say so many times that Israel should have known Who Jesus was. Israel could have known Who Jesus was, but why didn’t they? They didn’t really believe the Word of God! Now we’re in the same situation in America tonight. We know the Lord is coming, but we don’t know when. Now I’m one that thinks it’s not very far away, and yet most people have no concept where we are in God’s timetable. On top of that, most wouldn’t believe it if you told them. Why? They have no faith. Now continuing in Galatians chapter 1.
“For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church (church here is the Jewish assemblies.) of God, and wasted it:” 14. And profited in the Jews religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15. But (now here’s the flip-side again. Oh he was a religious Jew, he was doing everything that the Book instructed, but) when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, (and in the next verse we have the purpose) 16. To reveal his Son (the Lord Jesus) in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; (Gentiles, the non-Jew world)immediately (again Paul puts the emphasis on that he did not go to Jerusalem and check in with the Twelve, but) I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, …”
Now if you want to know where he went in Arabia, just turn the page in Galatians and go over to chapter 4. This is to show you what was in Arabia where he went.
“For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia,…”
So I have to feel that just as surely as God gave the Law to Moses up there on Mt. Sinai back in the Book of Exodus, and Moses took it down to the children of Israel, so this man Paul went to the same Mt. Sinai, and received all the revelations of our doctrines of Grace, and he came down and took it to the Gentile world, and what a difference that has made. Then Paul goes on through the rest of the chapter, and says in verse 18 –
“Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter,…”
Paul had 3 years alone with the Lord. While I was teaching II Corinthians I had made the point that one of the main points of controversy that the Corinthians had with Paul was that he didn’t have that 3 years with Jesus that Peter had. Now it’s obvious that the disciples had walked those dusty trails of the Nation of Israel for 3 years, we all know that. But after thinking about it those Corinthians were wrong, because Paul also had 3 years with Christ. In fact Paul even had it better as he had 3 years down there at Mt. Sinai with no one around but the Lord Himself. So Paul could come back and say, “Oh yes, Peter had his 3 years, and I had my 3 years.
I always have said, that God evens everything up. Here we’ve got 2000 years, where God dealt primarily with the Nation of Israel. It was Jew only with a few Gentile exceptions. Now since Paul and the beginning of the Body of Christ again it’s been nearly 2000 years that God has been filling the Body of Christ with Gentiles, with a few Jewish exceptions. It always balances out. God is never out of balance. I had a gentlemen call the other day wanting to put our program on his station. He said what I really like about your program is that you have balance. Well thank you, because that’s what we try to maintain. We’re not going to go clear off on the right or left till we get off balance. You just have to keep your eyes on the Word of God and not get too far off in either direction. So everything that God is in is always balanced. So yes, Peter had three years with the Lord here while dealing only with the Jew. Paul had three years here at the onset of his Gentile ministry. Now verse 19.
“But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. (this James was not one of the Twelve) 20. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. 21. Afterwards (his stop at Jerusalem for 15 days) I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;”
Now of course that’s the area of Antioch, and his hometown of Tarsus, so this was the beginning now of Paul’s ministry, and a calling out of a people for the Lord’s name, but from what people? From among the Gentiles. What’s happening to those people? Come back with me for a moment to I Corinthians chapter 12. And now you will notice that this is all fresh language. This is something that you’ve never heard before in Scripture, and this is all a result of that 3 years of revelation, and the outpouring of the Grace of God on this apostle of the Gentiles. In verse 12 Paul uses the human body as a comparison.
I Corinthians 12:12
“For as the body (human body) is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ….”
Or the Body of Christ. All believers have been brought into that Body, we never lose our individuality, but we’re all part of the composite. Now how do we get into this Body of Christ? Next verse –
I Corinthians 12:13a
“For by one Spirit (Holy Spirit.) are we all baptized into one body,…”
Now here is the only true baptism for us today. This is the true baptism that everybody better have or they’re not going to be in glory. Now that’s it! If you have this baptism then your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and we’re going to see each other in glory there’s no doubt about it.
Paul says that by the one Holy Spirit we’re all baptized into one body. Not just some, but all believers are baptized into the Body of Christ. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, that at the moment of salvation He places us into the Body of Christ. You know I’m always using the analogy of the baby in the mother’s womb. For 9 months what does that mother’s body do? Adding cells to that little body in her womb. Starting from invisible, and for every day for 9 months cells are being added until the last cells are in place, and what happens? Delivery! A full term baby delivered, now it’s like that for the Body of Christ. For the last 1900 + years now God has been adding believers into that Body. He does that one at a time, and He knows every one of them from around the world. Now reading the rest of verse 13.
I Corinthians 12:13b
“…whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink (or partake) into one Spirit.”
Now that’s the Body of Christ that has been forming ever since it began back here in Acts chapter 9 with the conversion of the apostle Paul. At least that’s what I gather from the Scriptures. When is this Body going to be complete and Raptured out? Let’s go back to Romans chapter 11. And while we’re in Romans I might as well show you another verse that is so appropriate, and very few people know it’s in their Bible, and that’s verse 13. That’s the one Jerry reminded me of years and years ago. He said, “I never knew this was in my Bible, so repeat it every chance you get.”
“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
In other words Paul takes a back seat to no one. Now that was free for nothing, but now come on over to verse 25. This is why I had you turn here, as we wanted to see when the Body of Christ was going to be Raptured out. Now this doesn’t show a day or hour, or a month or year, but when that last cell, or person, is brought into the Body of Christ.
“For I would not brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (or secret) lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; (and here’s what we’re supposed to know) that blindness in part (or a certain period of time, not forever, ) is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
Now we’re getting close to that time, and it will happen when the fullness or completion of the Gentiles is brought in. Now what does that tell you? Israel is out in the world tonight in a spiritual blindness, and has been for almost 2000 years. But the day is coming when once again their spiritual eyes will be flipped open and they’re going to see and recognize their Messiah. Israel, as I’ve said so often, will be born in a day, but before that happens the Church, the Body of Christ, has to be brought to the full when that last person is brought in, and then the Church is taken out of the way for the seven years of Tribulation. Well in the few moments we have left let me show you our heavenly connection in the Book of Colossians. These are heavenly promises, we know Israel was never told something like this.
“Who hath delivered us (speaking of God the Father) from the power of darkness, and hath (already) translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”
Well where is the kingdom of His Son tonight? Well it’s in Heaven, and so we have that heavenly connection, with heavenly promises.