Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 53
The Setting for James Through Jude – Part 2
Alright, now in the last lesson we started the little Book of James, after having finished Hebrews. But I want to take a little extra time to set up the background for not only the little letter of James, but also for the rest of the little epistles at the back of your New Testament – I & II Peter; I, II & III John; and Jude – and then comes the first three chapters of Revelation. They all fit in that same scenario that we’re dealing with; Jewish congregations who are still not under Paul’s Gospel of Grace, but rather the Gospel of the Kingdom that was taught by Christ in His earthly ministry and later by the Twelve.
Now, we finished up in our last program having started with Israel’s promise or prophecy of being a nation of priests out of the Abrahamic Covenant. And then we showed from Isaiah how that the Messiah would come, and that Israel would be the vehicle to take salvation to the Gentiles once they have their King. Now, once you see all of this, then everything begins to make sense. Why were Peter and the Eleven so reluctant to go out into the Jewish world? Well, they knew they couldn’t until they had the King. And until they had the King, they did not have a message for the Gentiles.
Alright, so back up with me now, and we’ll go ahead from where we were in Isaiah 42 as we closed the last lesson, and let’s jump up now to Isaiah 59 and keep building our case that the Nation of Israel is being prepared, at some day in the future, to have their King and His Kingdom, and they would evangelize the world – every Jew being a priest of Jehovah. Now don’t forget that. “And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests” as we saw in Exodus 19:6 in the first lesson.
“And the (what?) Redeemer…” Well what does the Redeemer speak of? Salvation! Redemption! Being bought back from whatever lost state, whether it’s Jews or for us today. We all need a Redeemer.
“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.” Now again, I always have to stop and remind people – don’t go by the hymn writer. Zion isn’t up in Heaven. Where’s Zion? It’s in Jerusalem. It’s one of the mountains of Jerusalem, Mt. Zion from which David ruled. Alright, so “the Redeemer shall come to Mt. Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob.” In other words, what segment of Israel? The believers!
“As for me, this is my covenant with them,…” And then he repeats the new covenant as we have it in Jeremiah 31:31. But I’m not going to go over all that again. Now drop down into chapter 60 and pick up again this whole concept of Israel being the vehicle to go to the Gentile world.
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” Now again, remembering what we taught at the beginning of the last half hour, when you read a portion of Scripture, what are the questions you ask? Who’s writing? Well, Isaiah, a Jewish prophet. Who’s he writing to? The Nation of Israel. What are the circumstances? Prophecy. Alright, so remember now, Isaiah is writing to the Nation of Israel. And he says, “for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” Upon whom? Israel, the nation. Now verse 2:
“For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, (spiritual darkness) and gross darkness the people: (even Israel was in spiritual darkness. But in spite of all that, God is Sovereign and He can overrule.) but the LORD shall arise upon thee, (now are you getting the language? The Lord’s going to come to whom? The Nation of Israel.) and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” Who? Israel.
Now, in Jesus’ earthly ministry, what did He tell the Twelve? “You are the light of the world.” He wasn’t talking to us Gentiles in this Age of Grace. He was talking to the Twelve. (Israel) And in the very next statement or maybe it was the statement before, they were also to be the what? The salt of the earth. He wasn’t talking about us. He was talking to the Jews. That was what their prospect was. Now verse 3. As a result of God dealing with His covenant people, we find:
“And the Gentiles shall come to thy (Israel’s) light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Now that’s Israel’s future. It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s going to. But so far as our timeline is concerned – and I see it’s been erased. We realize that people catch us on television by noticing little things that you would never dream of. They’ll see this old blackboard and since we’ve always used a blackboard, we don’t want to change to something else. So, I’ll put the timeline we had in the last lesson back up.
The second thing that people notice with this program is my short-sleeved shirt. It’s become my trademark. I wouldn’t dare come up here in a suit and tie. Our mailbox would be flooded. So we’ve got these little things that Iris and I have learned over twelve years – that this is our program, and the letters say, “Don’t change a thing.” So with God’s help, we’re not going to. We’re not going to give in to pressure to get highly technical and all that. We’re just going to keep it nuts and bolts.
So as I go back and re-draw my timeline, you be turning in your Bible to the Book of Zechariah. You’ll find Zechariah is the next to last book in your Old Testament and I’m going to have you look first at chapter 8 verse 20. We started back with Abraham 2000 BC and the covenant promises and out of that came, of course, the Nation of Israel.
Out of the Abrahamic Covenant – and all the Old Testament prophets are talking about Israel’s future, which of course, will lead up to Christ’s first coming and His three years of earthly ministry. And maybe that’s as far as I need to go for now. I may get it erased again before the next program. Okay, now if you’ve got Zechariah chapter 8, this is all in view of this very premise that Israel is to be a nation of priests. But they can’t operate as such until they have their King. Now, am I making that plain? They have to have the King and the Kingdom so that they would now be in that position to be priests of Jehovah.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; (that’s God speaking through the prophet) it shall yet come to pass,…” Now again what’s the word I’m using? Prophecy. It’s something out in the future. Do you see that? This is all prophecy.
“…that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: 21. And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD,(before Jehovah) and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also.” In other words, that’s the mentality of their thinking. Let’s go and meet the Lord of hosts, Jehovah. Verse 22:
“Yea, many people and strong nations, shall come (it hasn’t happened yet, it’s future, it’s prophecy) to seek the LORD of hosts (where?) in Jerusalem,…” Now it can’t get any plainer, can it? And when will He be in Jerusalem? When He sets up His Kingdom. That’s where His throne will be, on David’s Mt. Zion. Now verse 23.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days (when prophecy has been fulfilled and the King is on His throne and He’s ruling from Jerusalem. And Israel, remember, is going to be a nation of priests) it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations,…” So what kind of people are we talking about? Gentiles. Every kind of Gentile imaginable. And they’ll be coming to the Jew and they’ll take hold out of all languages of the nations. Reading on:
“…even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” Now remember, what is every Jew by now? A priest! Oh, not running around with long robes and all the regalia of Judaistic priests but, nevertheless, in their everyday life role, they’re going to be a go-between to take these unbelieving Gentiles to a knowledge of their King. That’s what’s been promised to them.
Alright, and so they will say to these Jews, “We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you.” He is their King. This is Israel’s prospect. That’s why they are yet going to be the most glorious nation on earth, when they have the King. Alright, now just turn the page a little bit in Zechariah and let’s see what’s going to have to happen before they get their King. We find that over in chapter 14. This is one of the terminologies for the tribulation in the Old Testament, the “Day of the Lord.” This day of wrath and vexation, as the Psalmist calls it. But in Zechariah 14 we can just start at verse 1. Now we’re going to take it slow. Like I said earlier, I may not even get any further into the Book of James today other than this verse 1, and an introduction of why he says what he says. But we’re going to take it slow so you can catch it all.
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, (what is that? Prophecy. See, you’re catching on. It’s talking about something out in the future. This is prophecy) and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.” In other words, they’re going to be overrun. Verse 2:
“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; (now you see that hasn’t happened yet, so it’s still prophecy.) and the city shall…”
In fact let’s just stop a moment. I’ve been talking about the Lord’s coming for as long as I’ve been on television, 12 years. But if I thought the Lord was coming twelve years ago, what do you think I think today? Well it’s twelve years closer. Now, stop and think. Why is every little rogue nation on the planet concerned about making weapons, not of just war, but of what? Mass destruction. That’s what they’re calling them now. Weapons of mass destruction. WMD’s – that’s going to be an acronym here before long – Weapons of Mass Destruction. What in the world are they all getting ready for? Who wants to kill everybody? Well, everybody wants to kill everybody. Why? Because, you see, by the time we get to this scenario right here, that we’re reading about in Zechariah, there will only be a few people left. The vast majority of the world’s population is going to be destroyed and we can see the world getting ready for it. It’s not going to stop. But I’ve always said that the Lord will not permit it until it’s tribulation time and it will be time for the Day of the Lord. But, the whole world tonight is getting ready to destroy itself. Now verse 2.
“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; (or raped) and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, (in other words, we’re going to be literally overrun by these Gentile armies) and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” (In other words, it’s just going to almost be total mayhem) 3. Then (just before it’s too late) shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.” And of course, as we know from the Book of Revelation this is that last great final battle when the Lord will return and smite those millions of troops that have come in to the Middle East. Alright, now look at verse 4 – after the horrors of the Day of the Lord have come to an end (the tribulation), with the Second Coming.
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east…” (and so on and so forth). Now let’s skip on down to verse 9.
“And the LORD shall be (what?) king…” See, this isn’t gobbledy gook. This is pure language. That after He’s destroyed the nations throughout the wrath and vexation of those seven years of tribulation which, like I said last program, is introduced in Daniel 9 – and He has destroyed the nations except for those who are going to be ready to go into the Kingdom. Now He sets up His Kingdom and He’s going to be King, not just over Jerusalem, not just of Israel, but over what?
“…over all the earth:…”
Back up if you will to chapter 12 and verse 10. And again, this is prophecy, but this is telling us the various things that have to take place before the Lord can set up His 1000 year earthly Kingdom, after the seven years of Tribulation that is yet to come.
“And I will pour upon the house of David, (who is that? Well, that’s Israel) and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: (not wrath and vexation)and they (Israel) shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” Now that language is a little bit confusing but the best way to clear it up is to go back to when the brethren went down into Egypt to get grain from Joseph. Now you remember when they went down the first time, Joseph knew them, but did they know Joseph? No. But the second time they were made to know who Joseph was. Now if you know your Old Testament, what happened between Joseph and those brothers? What did they do? They wept! They wept on each others necks. Not like we would think here of bitterness, but it was tears of reunion and love and joy to think that all the past had now culminated in that which was all for their own good. Alright the same thing is going to happen when Israel suddenly realizes that this One Who has now returned at His Second Coming is the One Who died for them, who suffered for them and they’re going to recognize Him Whom their forefathers of course had pierced.
Alright, now come back to chapter 13 verse 6. And this all happens pretty much at the same time – at Christ’s Second Coming.
“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” Now there it is. The nail prints in His hands are going to be the evidence that He is the One that they had crucified. Now, here is where I’m coming to my point. We always have to realize that the whole Old Testament program was prophetically set up to all take place within a matter of a few years. In other words, after His crucifixion, then, we know that forty days later He ascended as we see in Psalms 110 verse 1. The Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. And then there was an undetermined period of time, that I still say is probably around seven or eight years, and then was to come the seven years of what? Tribulation! The Tribulation was supposed to come in and last for seven years, and then Christ would return and set up His Kingdom.
Alright, now, in that time frame then we have the Lord Jesus coming by His birth at Bethlehem, begins His three years of earthly ministry, up and down the Nation of Israel, for three years. Alright, in this three years of His earthly ministry, then, He introduces what I’m going to show you next, what He called Himself the Gospel of the Kingdom. So turn to Matthew chapter 9, and let’s take a look at the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Because you see, prophetically, even if you add up the three years of His earthly ministry and if you want to use six or seven years in here before the actual Tribulation would break loose, and then seven years of Tribulation, we’re still talking in terms of 20 years between the beginning of His ministry and His Second Coming according to prophecy. Do you see that?
Alright now, why can the Old Testament call this approximately 20 years the last days? Oh, isn’t indeed 20 years just a drop in the bucket compared to 4,000? It’s almost nothing. So all the Scripture is speaking of, is these period of times of prophecy as the last days. Even the Apostle Paul, refers to that period of time in which he’s ministering as what? The last days.
Now you’re looking puzzled. I’ll have to show you from Scripture won’t I? Turn quickly to Hebrews chapter 1. Oh my our time is going to get away from us again. And as I pointed out to one of my classes here in Oklahoma the other night, I’m sure you all realize that whenever Paul spoke about the Rapture of the church, who did he include? Himself. He didn’t say, “..and when that day comes YOU.” But what does he say? “But when that day comes, WE shall be caught up and WE shall be changed.” Paul thought the Rapture was going to be in his lifetime. And it wasn’t until his letter to II Timothy that he realized that he would be martyred. Paul never had a concept that everything wouldn’t be consummated within this little period of time after Christ’s first coming.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2. Hath in these (what?) last days…” See, “…hath in these last days….” Well, now stop and think. You know I have to do this once in awhile. I’ve just got to stop and think. Let’s do the number aspect to keep everything in the right perspective. Pentecost – 29 AD. Saul’s conversion – 37 AD. After Paul’s three years in the desert, he begins his ministry among the Gentiles – 40 AD. The Jerusalem counsel, when they meet with the Twelve (or at least with Peter, James and John, that’s when Paul and Barnabas go down from Antioch to Jerusalem) – 51 or 52 AD. He starts his epistles around 55-56 AD. The last ones are written from prison in Rome in 64 or 65 AD, and then he’s martyred. Then in 70 AD everything is destroyed by Titus. All of that is in what Paul refers to here then as the last days. Okay, let’s read it again.
“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,…” Now this is the Apostle Paul writing in his lifetime, so when did it have to be? Somewhere between 55 and 65 AD. I think probably around 60 AD when he wrote this Book. Anyway, he was still calling it the last days because, in Paul’s mind, all of this was going to be consummated with the Second Coming of Christ and the setting up of the Kingdom within that 20-year time span. He had no idea that there would be 2,000 years of the Church Age, nor did anybody else.
But all of prophecy, is resting on the Covenant made to Abraham concerning Israel – that out of Israel would come the Messiah. He ministered to the Nation for three years and He opened up to them the Gospel of the Kingdom and they rejected it and they crucified Him. Now come back to Matthew chapter 9 again so we make our point before we close this program. And let’s just drop in at verse 35.
Matthew 9, verse 35
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”
Since all of this was promised to Israel, Jesus could not be anything to anybody but the Nation of Israel, because that’s who He had made the promises to. Otherwise, God’s Word wouldn’t be worth anything. Alright, so now then you come across to chapter 10 and here’s where our time is going to run out. Jesus has chosen the Twelve and now in verse 5:
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, or into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:” Do you see how clear that is? Don’t you have anything to do with Gentiles or the half-Gentiles, Samaritans.
“But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”