Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 53
The Word Complete – Part 2
I’m going to introduce some special people today. We get letters asking if that pretty lady on the front row with the reddish hair and glasses is our daughter? No. This is Sharon Martin. She’s not our daughter. We love her like one because she now works with Jerry and Lorna Pool as they do the little books for the ministry. Sharon is also doing all the closed captioning for television. So Sharon is intricately involved with the work of the ministry and her husband Andy Martin is sitting right over there next to her.
And then today, we’ve got four of my family with me. And number one we’re going to put the camera on my daughter, Laura, whom many of you talk to over the phone. She answers a good portion of them. We’ve got some help now, so she’s not all alone. So we have my daughter Laura. Next to her is her husband, Jerry, whom we love just like our own son. And then next to Jerry is his niece, or Tara’s cousin, and her name is Randi Thomas and then in the red we’ve got Tara, which is Jerry and Laura’s daughter and my precious granddaughter. I think everybody knows how much I love Tara. She’s our oldest. So anyway, those are the four over there. They’re family.
Now we’re going to continue with our line of teaching that we’ve got, more or less, on the blackboard – and that is that everything coming out of the Old Testament is looking forward to the wrath, the vexation, the Tribulation, the Second Coming and the Kingdom. And we just ended up in our last program where Peter is quoting from the prophet Joel and Peter had no idea of anything any different than that, but that after the period of time of what Psalms calls derision, confusion and so forth – and then would come the Tribulation and then the Second Coming, and then the King would set up His earthly 1,000 year Kingdom.
So James is getting these Jewish believers ready for this Tribulation that was to come, and we’ll look at that first, and then I’ll show how Paul alludes to it. So come all the way now to the little book of James, which we’re really supposed to be studying verse by verse but we haven’t gotten there yet, but we should start with that before the afternoon is over. So, if you’ll come back with me now to the book of James, chapter 5, you’ll see James says the same thing. Here he’s getting these Jewish believers ready for this coming of the wrath and vexation and the coming Kingdom. Let’s just start with verse 8.
“Be ye also patient; (now remember James is writing to Jews in that period of time right after Pentecost) stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” Notice James says, “…the coming of the Lord draws nigh” He doesn’t say it’s at least 2,000 years still ahead of us, like it has been. So he thought the Lord would be coming within a matter of a short period of time.
All right, let’s go over and see how Peter puts it in his first epistle and that’s in I Peter chapter 4 verse 7. And Peter, now, according to the times I’ve got here on the board, is writing I Peter probably in the late 50’s AD, or somewhere in that neck of the woods.
I Peter 4:7
“But the end of all things is (what?) at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” Do you see that? He’s not talking about something 2,000 years down the road. Peter says, “…the end of all things is at hand therefore be sober and watch.…” All right, now then, in II Peter he doesn’t make quite that strong a statement but he’s certainly looking all the way to the end of the Kingdom Age, and on into eternity, so we won’t stop with that one. But now in the little letter of I John, which according to my time-frame on the board, I’m putting it right along with the rest of the Jewish writings. The Gospels and James and Peter and now look what John said:
I John 2:18
“Little children, (and remember he, too, is writing to Jewish believers) it is the last time: and as ye have heard that anti-christ shall come, (now what’s he referring to? The Tribulation. It’s just over the horizon) even now are there many anti-christs; whereby we know that it is the last time.”
John also is not thinking in terms of another 2,000 years. The Tribulation and Kingdom age are just over the hill and you can pick it up in chapter 3, and just start at verse 1, because even though these things are appropriate for us, and you’ve heard me use these verses, yet, in their original intent they were looking at a near-term end of all things. All right, so John writes, like I said I think in the late 50’s AD, not 90 AD like most of your Bibles put it, although if that’s what you want to believe that’s fine, because it won’t effect your salvation or anything like that. But I feel that John writes at the same time as all the other writers, and look what he says:
I John 3:1
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not because it knew him not.” Now that’s appropriate – we’re in the same situation even today. All right, now verse 2:
I John 3:2
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
Well, what’s he talking about? The soon coming of Christ. He’s not talking in terms of 2,000 years out into the future. All right then, of course, it’s obvious that the book of Revelation is talking about the end of all things. But all right, now, like I said, I want you to see how Paul alludes to some of this. It’s certainly not a big thing with Paul. He only talks this prophetic program in a few verses in II Thessalonians.
It’s the only place in all of Paul’s writings that he makes any allusion to this end-time scenario of the Tribulation and the Second Coming and so forth. All right, II Thessalonians, chapter 2 verse 3. Here Paul says:
II Thessalonians 2:3
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (that is the day of the Lord spoken of in verse 2 which is the Tribulation) shall not come, except there come a falling away (or a departure) first, and that man of sin will be revealed, the son of perdition;” Which of course, we understand as the anti-christ. And then he describes the anti-christ in perfect accord with Daniel and Revelation,
II Thessalonians 2:4
“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
All right, the other point I wanted to make before we move on any more in all of this is how that even the Apostle Paul honestly thought that everything would be consummated in his lifetime. He thought the Lord would Rapture the believers out and that in would come the Tribulation and then in seven years, Christ would return and set up the Kingdom.
All right now, come back with me then to I Corinthians chapter 15. And all I want you to watch are the pronouns, how that the Apostle Paul is including himself in a near-term event. He’s not saying, “concerning them,” But it’s concerning us.
I Corinthians 15:51a
“Behold, I shew you a mystery;…” Now that’s a word that Paul uses over and over. Now we had a class the other night on just the mysteries. Two hours. And my, as the people filed out, they said, “That’s the best class we’ve had in years.” Well it’s just simply because, again, even though they’ve heard it over and over and over, it never gets old, how that these secrets were revealed to the Apostle Paul that had been kept in the mind of God and now they’re for our understanding. Now here’s one of them, and this is just one of many.
I Corinthians 15:51-52a
“Behold I shew you a mystery; (a secret,) We (now I’m emphasizing it for a reason, he’s including himself) shall not all sleep, (die physically) but we shall all be changed. 52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, …” The Rapture of the Church is what Paul is expecting in his lifetime. All right, now then, let’s come on over to the other portion where he speaks of this sudden departure of believers and that’s in I Thessalonians chapter 4. And again, all I want you to see in this series of verses is how he is including himself in this sudden departure of believers that still hasn’t happened.
I Thessalonians 4:13a
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren,…” How about the church today? That’s what they are. They are just totally in the dark about all this. And the Scripture pleads, don’t be ignorant of this. Understand it. All right, so he says:
I Thessalonians 4:13-14
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, (or who have died physically) that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (now look at the pronouns again) 14. For if we (including himself) believe that Jesus died and rose again, (which is Paul’s Gospel of salvation) even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” In other words from their place in His presence down to the atmosphere to be reunited with their new resurrected body. All right, verse 15:
I Thessalonians 4:15-17
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (or precede) them which are asleep. 16. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17. (watch how he includes himself) Then we which are alive and remain (are still living in the flesh) shall be caught up (and you remember I’ve told you in past programs the Latin Vulgate word here is ‘rap-tur-ed,’ and we shall be rap-tured or as we in the English call it, raptured, and so we shall be) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Isn’t that beautiful? But everything in Scripture is expecting these last days to all be fulfilled in a matter of ten or twenty years. Now remember, Paul is talking in this time frame (10 to 20 years) here on the chalkboard as Christ has ascended, but the Tribulation hasn’t begun yet. Peter and the Eleven are preaching in Jerusalem to the Nation of Israel and Paul has now begun a ministry to the Gentiles and we’ll put that timeline on the next program, and not this one. But all I want you to see for now, is that all of Scripture seemingly is telling us that all of this would happen within a matter of a few years after His crucifixion. No hint, with one or two exceptions (well I guess I could take the time to show you the exception). There’s just one real exception.
Incidentally, I’ve had a few of my listeners and one of them is just a miracle to me. She’s only come out of a dead religion within the last nine months – and the other day, she wrote and asked about these series of verses, so I’m going to take you back to them. And how she found it, I’ll never know. Maybe I alluded to it once someplace in the past. But, I don’t remember it. But go back to the little Book of Hosea. Hosea, which is right after the book of Daniel. And other than this, I don’t know a thing in the Old Testament or in the Four Gospels that refers whatsoever to what we call the Church Age. Hosea chapter 5, the last verse and the first two verses of chapter 6. But you know, it’s funny that almost no one in the biblical scenario in Israel or any place else ever alluded to these three verses. And yet I think it is a hint. I think this is the Lord is speaking:
“I will go and return to my place, (in other words, from Heaven to earth, which, of course, He did when He ascended back to the Father after the resurrection) till (there’s your time element) they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: (which was their rejecting their Messiah) in their (the Nation of Israel) affliction they will seek me early.” Now then drop down into chapter 6 and you have Israel responding.
“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, (in other words, He has chastised them) and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.” Which will happen at His Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation. Now chapter 6 verse 2:
“After two days…” Now here is one of those instances you can take a day in Scripture as how long? A thousand years! So after 2,000 years…
“…will he revive us:…” And we’re seeing the beginning of that in the Middle East right now. Israel is back in the land. They are once again a nation and one of these days the whole end-time scenario is going to kick back in gear – so here is an indication that it would be a 2,000 year interval; but other than that, you can’t find anything in Scripture. After two days, or I think, 2,000 years, he will revive us, He will bring them back to the land.
“…in the third day (which is the Kingdom, now remember, the next thousand years) he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.” Pretty plain isn’t it? It’s just pretty plain. But other than that I can’t find anything in all of Scripture that speaks of this end-time scenario as being 2,000 years out into the future. All right, back to I Thessalonians chapter 4, and verse 17, where Paul is using the pronoun “we:”
I Thessalonians 4:17-18
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Now drop into chapter 5 and if this doesn’t clearly depict a pre-Tribulation out-calling, I don’t know what does. This is as plain as you can get it that the Church will be gone before the wrath and vexation begins.
I Thessalonians 5:1-2
“But (Paul says) of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. (in other words, he’s not going to set dates) 2. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord (that’s the Tribulation remember) so cometh as a thief in the night. 3. For when they (not us) shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them,(not us) as travail upon a woman with child, and they (not us) shall not escape.”
Those who have been left behind. The unbelieving world, see? You see the difference in the pronouns, what that can do? All the others he’s including himself, he thinks it’s going to happen within his lifetime. But, he makes it so plain that only one group are going to be taken out and the rest are going to be left for the horrors of the Tribulation.
All right, I have to show you how that both Paul and Peter do not realize they’re going to go through the valley of the shadow of death, they’re not going to see the return of Christ in their lifetimes, but instead are going to have their lives taken. All right, I’m going to take II Peter first, chapter 1, and verse 14. Now you remember last program when I delineated these various writings, I don’t know if it comes out clear or not, but after the prison epistles of Paul (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, that took place between 64 and 66 AD, while he was in his first imprisonment), then he was out for a short period of time. And then he was brought back into prison the second time, during which he writes II Timothy (and I think within the same time-frame Peter also writes his second little epistle several years after I had him writing I Peter over here on the board, with this list of Jewish writings). All right, so after the prison epistles including I Timothy, now a couple of years later, Paul is back in prison and he’s going to be writing II Timothy, which I showed in the last program will finish the New Testament writings, but look what II Peter writes at about the same time.
II Peter 1:14
“Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, (in other words, the body of flesh) even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.” Now you remember when that was? You remember at the miracle of the fishes, when the Lord told him, “Peter feed my sheep,” three times? And then the Lord told him that he would suffer a martyr’s death in veiled language. I think Peter forgot all about it during his years of activity, but then as he gets to the year 68 AD, he realizes that his life is going to be taken. And so he writes, “I know that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle (this body of flesh) even as our Lord Jesus Christ shewed me.”
All right, now, at almost the same time, I think – and I’m going to say within a matter of a few days or months at the most, look what Paul writes now in the last book of our New Testament. And that would be II Timothy. II Timothy chapter 4 and what a difference in language. U`p until II Timothy, Paul wrote as if he was going to be here at the end. He was going to be here for the Rapture, and then after that, in would come the Tribulation. Christ would return at His Second Coming, and the Kingdom would be set up. And the last days would all be fulfilled in a matter of ten or twenty years. Now that’s the way it’s laid out in Scripture. But now, you see, by Holy Spirit inspiration, he lets us know that he realizes that he’s not going to see the Rapture.
II Timothy 4:6-8
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” Do you see how plain that is? Suddenly the Apostle Paul realized he is not going to get out of prison this time. That he’s going to be martyred. He’s going to suffer execution and, of course, we know that he did. Within a matter of days or weeks after writing II Timothy, then, he was, we think, according to most church tradition, executed by beheading. So now, II Timothy then, I think can rightfully be called, as I showed in the last program, the last Book that was written of our New Testament. That finished everything that God wanted the human race to know for the next 2,000 years. And all the rest of these books that were written earlier were with the idea that it would all be fulfilled in short order. That’s why they were all lumped together in this period of time between Pentecost and 58 AD. Because it was all looking forward to the culmination of everything before they got an idea that it wasn’t going to happen. God did not bring in the Tribulation at that time, but instead He opened it up for 2,000 years of Grace that we’re now enjoying, and I’m glad He did!