Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 52
Hebrews 11:9–23 – Part 2
We do appreciate so much those of you watching out on television, and we appreciate so much hearing from you and so many of you have written that you feel like you’re sitting on the back row. And that’s just exactly the way we want to come across, that you’re just part of a Bible class. I don’t claim to be a theologian or anything like that. I’ve compared it more than once to just a Sunday school class. We’re just simply studying the Word and comparing Scripture with Scripture.
Okay, let’s go back where we left off and for those of you that were watching our last program (for some of you it’s a week ago, for some of you it was the day before), I wanted to mention three crucial areas of the Middle East that were intrinsic to the book of Genesis. And so before we go back and pick up in Hebrews chapter 11, we’re going to look at those three a moment. The first one of course is in Genesis 23, where we have the death of Sarah, Abraham’s beloved wife, the one who was part and parcel of that Abrahamic Covenant and the birth of Isaac. But now she dies and I think starting right here we find that part and parcel of the whole Jewish mental makeup is a reverence for their burial sites. And even today if bulldozers are working in Israel and they turn up human bones, they have to stop. Now in America all it takes is a Snail Darter or some endangered species like that, but in Israel if they turn up human bones, then everything stops because they have such a respect for the human dead. And I think it began right back here with Abraham making such a big deal over a burial place for his beloved wife Sarah.
All right, Genesis chapter 23 and let’s start at verse 3. Now we’re not going to read all these, we’re just going to hit a couple of the highlights. But in Genesis 23, Abraham has been mourning over his wife Sarah.
“And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, (now remember it’s still the land of Canaan) 4. I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. 5. And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, 6. Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury the dead. 7. And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.” I’m always making mention of the fact that he must have had his eye on this place for quite a while that if, and when, somebody was going to die, that’s where he wanted them buried, or even himself. Now verse 8.
“And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, 9. That he may give me (not a cave, but) the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, (Abraham had his eye on one in particular) which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you.” Well now in the intervening verses, they haggle over the price and so on and so forth, but now come on down to verse 16.
“And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham (now watch this, underline it, pass it on to anybody that will listen) and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. 17. And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure. 18. Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city.” In other words, they deeded it to him and it was agreed in the presence of those Canaanites that it was a done deal.
“And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: The same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.”
All right, now Mamre, the cave of Machpelah is today’s Hebron. It’s in the news constantly because it is a controversial place now between the Palestinians and the Jews. Now when I say Palestinians, that brings another thought. How many people are confused by the term Palestine? Now it’s a Scriptural word, you’ll find it way back in Exodus. But I’m going to make a point. You want to remember that the word Palestine is merely a term of geographical area. Much like we refer to the Mid-West, here in the United States. Now there’s not a person here in this room that doesn’t know what we’re talking about when we talk about the Mid-West. But, does the Mid-West have a definitive border? No. Does the Mid-West have a capital? No. Does the Mid-West have a flag? No. Does the Mid-West have a government? No. It’s merely a geographical area.
Another area is the Sahara. Same thing. Does the Sahara have definitive borders? No. Is the Sahara a nation? No. Does the Sahara have a flag or a constitution? No. Does it have an intrinsic language? No. But again, there isn’t a person in this room that if I speak of the Sahara you know what I’m talking about – that huge area of the northern part of Africa.
I can give you another one. The South Pacific. The South Pacific is a huge geographic area. Everybody knows what you’re talking about. Does it have a government? No. Does it have a flag? No. See? All right, that’s Palestine. Palestine is just a generalized geographical area there in the Middle East from the Mediterranean out east. It has never, never been a definitive area. It has never had a government. It has never had a definitive language. It’s just simply like the Mid-West. The Sahara. The South Pacific. Palestine. It’s an area in which various people have lived.
Now when you go back into Biblical history then, who were the true Palestinians. Well, early on it was the Canaanites. They were living in the area of Palestine. Then it became the deeded land of Israel so the Jew was the true Palestinians. And then the Arabs started coming in for whatever reason. All right, now what it really should boil down to is that we should define the people as the Palestinian Jew, and a Palestinian Arab. But everybody’s got it all wrong. They have gotten to the place now because of the propaganda machine that the Palestinians are the occupiers of the land of Palestine. Well they’re not. They don’t occupy all of Palestine. In fact a good portion of Palestine is the present day Jordan. A good part of Palestine as the term implies is maybe even parts of Syria. Well so, it’s just become a complete mix-mash of definitions but Palestine is not a nation. It is not a definitive government; it’s merely people living in a generalized geographical area. Now maybe that’ll help.
So the Jews then, are inhabitants of Palestine ever since they became a nation, especially under Moses. And it’s been their homeland all right, but go back further than Moses, go to Abraham. He already bought a tract of land and paid silver for it in what is today the city of Hebron.
All right, let’s look at the second one. Jump up ten chapters and go to Genesis chapter 33. Jacob has just come back from his twenty years with his uncle Laban and you all know that account. And as he’s coming back he has just met with his brother Esau in the early part of this chapter but now drop in at verse 18. Now this is what I call Bible study. This just simply compares Scripture with Scripture. What does the Book say?
“And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city. (That is of Shechem.) 19. And he bought (now watch this all carefully) a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for an hundred pieces of money. 20. And he erected there an altar, and called it El-el-o-he – Israel.” In other words, a recognition of Jehovah. All right now, let’s jump over to the last verses of Joshua chapter 24. Now you can see why I left Hebrews when it spoke of Joseph’s bones because here it is.
“And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.” Now remember the history here. When Israel came into the land of Canaan, Moses had died and Joshua picked up the leadership. And Joshua, I think, ruled the Nation of Israel something like 26 years, if I’m not mistaken. Not a long, long time. But anyhow, at the end of Joshua’s life, then, he dies being 110 years old.
“And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim on the north side of the hill of Gaash. 31. And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel. (now here it comes) 32. And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.”
Now you see why I stopped in Genesis 33. Same piece of ground. It’s still recognized as belonging to the children of Israel and in that piece of ground they buried the bones of Joseph, see? And it became the inheritance, then, of the children of Joseph. And there’s nothing, nothing to abrogate that. It’s still valid. It’s still their deeded property. They bought it, they paid money for it. All right, so that’s the present day city in Israel of Nablus. Watch for Nablus in the News. Every once in a while there’s another bombing. There’s another shooting. Whatever. Because it’s a point of controversy. Now, who is the progenitor of every point of controversy? The Devil. That’s Satan’s work. All right so we’ve got two of them covered. Hebron, Abraham bought it. Nablus, Jacob bought it.
Now for Jerusalem. Let’s now jump all the way up to II Samuel chapter 24, and let’s start at verse 18. Now David is king. And of course, early in David’s reign, Hebron was his capital. And then he moved the capital from Hebron up to Jerusalem and this is the beginning of that.
II Samuel 24:18
“And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite.” Remember the Jebusites lived in the area of what is now Jerusalem.
II Samuel 24:19-21
“And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded. 20. And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground. 21. And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people.” Now of course, at this time there was a plague on Israel for a rebellious act. Now verse 22.
II Samuel 24:22-25
“And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood. 23. All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king, (David). And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee. 24. And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.”
All right, what spot is this threshingfloor? Well, it’s the Temple Mount. It’s where the Temple was built years later under Solomon. So here again, you’ve got a piece of property that was bought and paid for (by David in this case), which today is one of the disputed places in our everyday news – Jerusalem, the Temple Mount. And all these things just simply scream at us that if people would just simply know and believe the Word of God, we wouldn’t have any problems. But the world won’t do it. The Arabs won’t. The UN won’t. Western Europe won’t. And so, it’ll just continue to deteriorate of course, until the King of Kings comes and you know, I’ve instructed over the years, when you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, what are you praying for? For the Lord the come. Jerusalem will know no peace until Christ returns. It’s going to be a point of controversy right up until the Second Coming itself.
Well now, come back to where we left off in the last lesson to Hebrews chapter 11. Now we’ll pick up another one of our faith people in Moses. What a place of instruction again. Now, I’ve got to always remind you. Why do we study these Old Testament things? They’re for our learning. I can’t take you back here in Genesis and show you the plan of salvation, no more than I can do it in Hebrews. But oh, you can sure learn a lot. How that all of the workings of God have been coming down human history bringing us to the time of Christ and His finished work of the cross. The appearance of the Apostle Paul and the revelations that gave us the Gospel of the Grace of God.
You know, that reminds me – I’ve always said, I won’t attack people. I don’t attack names, or groups or anything like that. But once in a while I read things that just curl my hair. And one of them was early this morning – I was reading from a gentleman that is no longer alive, a well-known highly respected Bible scholar and he was pointing out that Jesus and the Twelve preached the same Gospel of salvation that Paul did. And oh, my toes just doubled up in my boots! How can they say something like that when Paul’s Gospel says, “Christ died for you and rose from the dead.” Could they preach that before it ever happened? See that’s my question. How could they preach death, burial and resurrection back here in His earthly ministry? Well they can’t, and they didn’t!
Well then, some people like to tell me, well, they must have known. No. They didn’t know. Luke 18 is just as plain as day that they didn’t know. The Lord says in those verses, “We go up to Jerusalem. Everything written by the prophets will be accomplished. He will be scourged. He will be beaten. He’ll be put to death and the third day He will rise again from the dead.” So far so good. But what does the next verse say? Most of you know. “And they knew none of these things, because it was hid from them.” So the Twelve didn’t know, and if they didn’t know what He was talking about in those verses, how could they have preached it?
See what I’m saying? How could they preach death, burial and resurrection when they had no idea that it was going to happen. And then they tell me that they preached the same salvation message that Paul preached. You see why I get a little up tight? Common sense tells me they couldn’t preach Paul’s Gospel of salvation, because all of Paul’s Gospel was resting on that death, burial and resurrection. How can you preach something that hasn’t happened? Well you can’t. And they didn’t! Now back to Hebrews chapter 11.
“By faith Moses, when he was born,…” The minute the little fellow hit fresh air, what did they know. Hey, he’s something special. He’s not just another little Jew. He’s not just another Israelite. This little fellow is something special.
“By faith Moses, when he was born, (because of their faith) was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper (or a special) child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.” Now I don’t think he was born with a halo around his head. I don’t think he was born with some kind of an intrinsic baby doll face. But there was something about that little infant that those parents knew right away; this isn’t an ordinary child. We can’t throw him into the Nile River.
And so they secretly built that little crib that would float on the river because they had to keep this little child alive. All right, and so he was, “…hid three months because they saw he was proper, and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.” Now stop and think a minute. We are now about 350 years after the call of Abraham, and the children of Israel have never had a printed book. Think about it. What held them together? Faith. But oh, how do you pass faith from one generation to the next? By word of mouth. And so the Patriarchs were faithful in passing on their faith.
That’s what’s happened to America. That’s what’s happened to the Western world. Christendom. Parents have been guilty of not passing on their faith. And I blame my generation the most of all. We were raised up in the Depression and we said, “My kids are not going to be deprived of everything like I was. And what have we done? We’ve ruined everything.”