Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 49
Leaving Milk for Meat
Let’s pickup where we left off in the last lesson in Hebrews chapter 6. Here in verse 1 we are faced with that word Paul uses over and over:
You know, I can almost stop and teach thirty-minutes on just the word ‘therefore,’ because you see, he’s reminding us of what he had just covered in those previous verses in the last part of chapter 5. You remember in our last program, we were talking about Paul lamenting the fact that these people were not skilled in the Word of God. They were not able to go out and teach others. But rather they were like babes on the milk-bottle, and they still had to be fed.
What a dilemma. The average believer has not made enough effort to search the Scriptures to get skilled with them, to be comfortable in sharing it with someone else. Now we hope that this is what we’re accomplishing in our kind of teaching. That we are getting people to have enough understanding of the Scripture to be able to sit down with someone who is totally ignorant and just show them.
I shared in our last taping that I had just had a couple of phone calls from men who worked in corporate situations and someone came in and asked the appropriate question of both of them! Both of them said that they just got out a sheet of paper and drew the timeline – what a glorious way to share the Scriptures. And, oh, that everyone could be able to do that when someone asked a question. And so this is what Paul was lamenting in those previous verses, that you’ve got to get off the milk-bottle. You’ve got to get into the strong meat, and be able to teach others also. “Therefore” since that’s what he has covered, look what the verse says:
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrines (or the teachings) of Christ, let us go unto perfection….”
Now I’m going to stop right there. And I’m thinking, I’ll cover the whole next thirty-minutes on just these few words. Maybe the next sixty-minutes, I don’t know. But there is so much right there, that the casual reader just reads over it. You know, that’s the other response we’re getting in so many of our letters. “You’ve taught me how to read!” Well, not that they couldn’t read as reading goes. But, people don’t stop to analyze what it really says, see? And this is what we have to do. So, “Therefore,” since we have to come away from that milk-bottle environment and get into the deep things that we can share with other people, we have to start someplace and what’s the next word? “Leaving.” Now what do you suppose leavingmeans? Well, it means what it says!
Come back with me to Ephesians chapter 5 and here we have the whole marriage situation for us in this Age of Grace. The husband and wife relationship, so I want you to drop in at verse 31. And all I’m doing this for is so that you get the meaning of the word leaving.
“For this case shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”
Now, look at that a little more than just seeing a beautiful wedding ceremony. What really happens when a young couple gets married and sets up their own home? What happens between them and their parents? Well, they don’t forsake them. They don’t say, “Bye, Dad! I’ll see you in Glory!” That isn’t what marriage does. Marriage is still connected with both generations.
But, what does that young couple suddenly realize? The rent is due, car payments have to be made. Groceries have to be bought. The electric bill, and the phone bill are staring them in the face. Hey, they’ve never had this before, for the most part. And so what is it? It’s a whole progressive step from living in the home nest, to all of a sudden establishing a home of their own. But they don’t forsake that which has gone before, they merely move on away from it, still keeping the ties to the home folks. Now isn’t that understandable?
Now that started back in Genesis. You have the same word; “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and cleave to his wife.” And so that’s the whole concept. But the point I’m trying to make, it’s not a matter of totally forsaking the parent, it’s simply moving on. In fact, the more I study Hebrews getting ready for these programs, the more I’ve come to the conclusion under the heading of the letter to the Hebrews, they could have added a letter promoting progression, because that’s what Hebrews is all about. To keep moving and moving. And as I was studying a little bit last night, I couldn’t help but think, that in the world around us, isn’t that exactly true? There is no status quo, at least not until you retire. And Iris and I were talking on the way up. I wonder what it’d be like to be retired? We have no idea! But for the average person going through life, there is no status quo if you’re going to succeed in life.
What am I saying? Whether it’s a sports team, a pro-football team, a college program, a business, a marriage, or an education, you have to either keep moving forward, be it ever so infinitesimal, you’ve got to keep moving forward or else what? Back you go!
You know I’m always using the analogy of paddling a canoe up stream. Oh, you may not be making much headway but I’ll tell you what, the minute you pull that paddle out of the water you’re going to make some movement! But it’s going to be back down stream.
Alright, now that’s exactly the way we have to look at Scripture. There is no such thing in this progressive unfolding of the Word of God as a status quo. We have to either keep moving on and learning and getting deeper into the Word or we going to get careless and lose interest. And so it always holds that we have to leave that which has gone before for the purpose of moving on. And that’s exactly what it’s talking about. Now, let’s look at the verse again.
“Therefore leaving…” In other words, don’t forsake it. You don’t turn your back on it saying, “I don’t want anything more to do with that.” You move from that one place into a progressive unfolding of that which lies ahead. But what is the Apostle admonishing these people to leave?
“…the principles of the doctrine of Christ….”
All the Greek that I can find and the various dictionaries and commentators, all use the same thing. And if you have a good marginal help in your Bible, it would be in your margin. This word principles is better translated “the words of the beginning of Christ.”
Think about that for a minute. I’m know I’m taking this slow, because I just reminded myself all night long last night, “Now Les, don’t get in a hurry. Take this chapter slow!’ I don’t care if we have two or three books on chapter 6. We’re going to take it slow. Because this is so important that people understand that here we have to see these Hebrews, to whom of course, the letter is primarily written understand now that they cannot rest on the status quo. They certainly don’t want to be left slipping back. But rather they’ve got to move on ahead in their experience and their knowledge of the Word of God. And the only way they could do that would be to “leave the words of the beginning of Christ.” Now that just flies in the face of most of Christendom. Doesn’t it? What were the “words of the beginning of Christ?” What are the ‘principles of Christ?’ Well it’s the Four Gospels! His earthly ministry!
Alright, now let’s look what Paul says concerning that in Romans chapter 15 verse 8. And again I imagine the vast majority of people who read their Bibles skim over this verse and never really understand what it says. But oh, it’s loaded! This says it all – of what we’re looking at now today, that we’re going to have to move away from the first words of Christ, and His earthly ministry. Because, here’s the purpose.
“Now I say, that Jesus Christ was (past tense) a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers.”
Just look at that! You know, I read the Jerusalem Post from cover to cover. And, quite often, there’s an article in there with regard to these young Jewish men who are in Yeshiva. And of course, that’s part and parcel of Israel’s history. Now what do these young Jewish men do in a Yeshiva? Well, they’ll sit there day in and day out and contemplate maybe one verse of the Torah. And they’ve been doing it for centuries. And what do they still hope to do? Pull something out of there that some previous Rabbi had never seen.
Alright, now I don’t expect anybody to do that. We’re not in Yeshivas but goodness sakes let’s take a verse like this now again, and pick it apart. What does it really say? Well it says that Jesus Christ was the ministry of the circumcision. Who is the circumcision? Israel! So Paul that great Apostle of the Gentiles, is reminding us, that Jesus Christ in the “beginning of His words” here on earth was to what people? Israel.
You know I’m always stressing every word that Jesus said in His earthly ministry with two exceptions was always to the Jew under the Law. Oh goodness, that rankles people. I get a kick out of how it does, because it just sort of makes me smile that people can get so shook up with truth. That reminds me on our last cruise, we had a couple from out east someplace. I’m not going to identify them. But anyway one of the clergy of their particular denomination was on the ship with us and they had gotten acquainted with him and they had gotten him to come to one of our Bible studies.
Well, it didn’t take me two minutes to see that the guy was just enraptured with what he was seeing. Oh, he was just eating it up for the whole two-three hours that we were together that evening. So this couple said, “We’re going to make sure that he’s back tomorrow night.” But tomorrow night came, and he wasn’t there. And I said, “Well, goodness sakes, what happened?” “Ah,” she says, “he didn’t want to be confused with the truth!”
Isn’t that right? People say, “Don’t bother me with facts. I’m satisfied with whatever flies.” But listen, we’re going to look at this in truth. Not what Les Feldick says, but rather what does the Book say? “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision.” And then what’s the next statement? “For the truth of God.” Now that just nails it down. This wasn’t something that flippantly came of the lips of the Apostle Paul. This was in accord with the whole Sovereign working of the Creator God, that Christ should come to the Nation of Israel. And then what does the rest of the verse say? “To confirm the promises made to the fathers.” Who were the fathers? Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the rest of the Old Testament patriarchs. David, see? Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah you name them.
They were all talking about the coming of this Messiah King. And that’s what Jesus came to proclaim. That He was the fulfillment of those promises made to the fathers of Israel, see? And that’s so hard for people to comprehend. They think that Jesus came – like I had one guy explode in one of our classes in Israel, “Ah,” he said, “What do you do with John 3:16, throw it away?” No, John 3:16 was the fulfillment of Christ coming to His earthly people. And then when He was rejected, yes, then He went to the whole world.
But for three years, He was the minister of the circumcision, for the truth of God to confirm the promises made to the fathers. Now see when you pick it apart and take it slow, doesn’t it make sense. Sure it does. Just as sensible as it can be that He came to fulfill those Old Testament promises. He never once told those twelve disciples, “I’m going to be going to the Cross and be crucified and raise up another Apostle and send him to the Gentiles,” – at least not in a way that they could understand it.
Now then, let’s go back and see some of those “words of the beginning of Christ.” And let’s just jump all the way back to the Book of Matthew. We’re going to jump in first at Matthew chapter 5 and verse 17. And this of course, is the beginning of His earthly ministry. And Jesus said:
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but (what?) to fulfill.” Well, isn’t that exactly what Paul just said in Romans? Why did He come? To fulfill the promises made to the fathers. Now, back in Exodus, what did God promise that the Jewish people could be individually? Priests of God. Every Jew was to become a ‘go-between.’ Well, between God and who? The Gentiles. Those pagans out there around them. Now it wasn’t going to be tomorrow or next month. But some way, after the hundreds of years, Israel was going to have that opportunity and responsibility to announce their Messiah and King and also the Redeemer of the Gentile world.
Alright then you come all the way up, based of course, on that Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 12. Isaiah writes so plainly that the Nation of Israel is to be a light to the Gentilesand then Daniel introduces us to the whole concept of an earthly kingdom over which the stone, cut out without hands, which of course, is always a reference to Christ, would take over and rule the whole planet.
Zechariah tells us as plain as day, that when He would return and stand on the Mt. of Olives, He would set up a kingdom. He would rule from Jerusalem and He would be King over all the earth.
See, those were all promises that the spiritual Jew at least, probably not all of them, but the spiritual part of Israel understood, that this was what was in their future. That God Himself in the person of the Messiah, the Son of God, would be coming and establishing an earthly kingdom with His capital in Jerusalem and Israel would enjoy all those promises of Deuteronomy 27 and 28. And what are those promises? Oh, you’ll not be the tail; you’ll be the head! You’ll be blessed when you go out; you’ll be blessed when you come in.
Those are the promises that Israel was longing for. And oh, they’re looking for them even today. Maybe not in the right quarters, but in their heart. Now those of you who read anything at all of the Jewish people. In the heart of every Jew, for centuries, has been that longing statement ‘next year’ what? Yeah, you got it. ‘Next year Jerusalem.’ Sounds like farmers. You know farmers are always waiting for next year. But, that was the heart of the Jew. ‘Next year Jerusalem.’ Next year peace! Jerusalem. The Prince of Peace ruling and reigning.
Alright, those were the promises that Christ came to the Nation of Israel to fulfill. And that’s what he’s talking about. He’s not talking about the Cross here. He’s talking about fulfilling those Old Testament promises. But He wasn’t coming to destroy the Law. He wasn’t coming to destroy the prophets. He came to fulfill everything that they’d been writing about. See? ‘To confirm the promises.’
Now, turn with me ahead a couple of pages to chapter 9, still here in Matthew and just drop in at verse 35. Now don’t lose sight of what I’m trying to show here. We’re looking at the“words of the beginning of Christ.” His earthly ministry. What was He telling these Jewish people, and that these people that Paul is addressing now in the book of Hebrews had evidently embraced, they had become followers and believers of Jesus of Nazareth. Also don’t forget your time setting. The Book of Hebrews is being written at a time when most of these people to whom Paul is writing were certainly adults during Christ’s earthly ministry, even as Paul himself was. So he’s talking about people who had probably become believers during Christ’s earthly ministry. And now the whole idea of the Book of Hebrews is ‘move on.’
You know when I first started the book way back in chapter 1, remember I reminded you that throughout the Book of Hebrews it says “that was good, but this is better.” Sure. And what is that? That’s a progression. Moving out of that which is good and going to something better. But now we’re still back here at the beginnings of the words of Christ.
Matthew chapter 9:35a
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching (now if you haven’t underlined it before, underline it today) the gospel of the kingdom,…” Now what does that word Gospel always mean? Good news! He was announcing the good news of the kingdom.
What did that mean? Hey, He’s the King! He’s here! On the earth! Ready to fulfill the promises. So He’s preaching the good news of the kingdom of heaven. Now along with that Gospel of the Kingdom of course, we have, read on.
“…and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”
None excepted! That’s the difference. When Jesus healed the multitudes, He healed them all, but they weren’t all believers. Don’t ever get that idea. The press, as we sometimes refer to it, those multitudes in upon Him, hey, they weren’t following Him because of His spiritual offer. They were following Him for what I said before, the free lunch! Nothing they liked better as when He came out with that loaves and fishes.
And I’m going to be making reference to it sometime as I go into the book of Hebrews, but remember back in John’s Gospel, when the disciples had been fishing all night and caught nothing? And they came to shore and there the Lord was. And He asked them, you remember, “Have you any food, any meat?” “No,” they replied, “Haven’t caught a thing all night.” But, in the next verse it tells us that while He was standing there on the shore. What was also beside Him on the shore? “Bread and fish on the fire.”
You know, when I rehearsed that again the other night, a thought struck me, that never had before. Since He’s the Creator, He’s the perfect operator of everything. Have you ever stopped to think, He must be the best chef the world has ever seen? I’ll bet that was the best tasting fish and bread that those disciples had ever tasted! And that gave rise then to the Lord’s question. “Peter do you love me more than – those?”
And I bet it was kind of tough to say, why yes Lord, because that must have been mighty good tasting food. Well, that’s beside the point. But He came to fulfill all these promises given to the Nation of Israel. And when He did He healed every sickness. Every disease. See? Because after all what was He proving? That He was the Christ! That’s what these “words of the beginning of Christ” were to do. To prove to Israel Who He was. Now you’ve heard me say that a hundred times, haven’t you?
Now then, let’s skip over into chapter 10. And you have no idea how mad people can get when you show them these verses. You wouldn’t think people would get angry at the Word of God, would you? Oh but they do. If it flies in the face of what they’ve always thought and known. Oh, they get angry. I’ve got heads nodding all over the place. Sunday School teachers you know what it’s like. Oh they can get angry. But look what it says, I probably haven’t got time to do it justice. I don’t think I do, but anyway. Chapter 10 verse 1,
“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. 2. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these;…”
See that? He’s imparting to them the same power that He had. Now we’re not going to go through and rehearse them because you all certainly know who the Twelve disciples were but alright we’ll come all the way down to verse 5, and we’ll be ready to pick right up there in the next lesson.