Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 58
CALLING GOD A LIAR
I John 5:8–18
Again, we just want to invite our television audience to study the Word with us, we’re just an informal Bible study. I don’t claim to have all the answers. I don’t mind if someone disagrees if they can do it scripturally and rightly divide the Word. But hopefully we can just open the understanding of folks to search the Scriptures and compare Scripture with Scripture. That’s the way I find is the best way to teach it.
So, we’re presently in I John chapter 5 but we’ve just gone on some new stations again and a new network, and by the time these programs get on the air I’m sure we’ll have quite a few new listeners. And so I’m going to take a moment for their benefit to remind even the rest of us that these little Jewish epistles of James and Peter and John are just that – they are written to Jewish believes. And James makes it so plain that he’s writing to the Twelve Tribes. Well, now that’s Israel.
And Peter comes back and begins his little epistle by saying that he’s writing to those that are scattered abroad, which of course, would be a reference to the Jews. And John follows in that same format. So as we study these little Jewish epistles, they are still all under the Jewish economy. There is almost nothing of the Gospel of Grace we’re living in today. There is nothing in here that pertains to the Body of Christ as such but it’s all a continuation of the four gospel accounts.
In fact, so much as we’re going to see here in just a minute, that John writes in this little epistle almost word for word from the gospel of John, which just shows that nothing has changed so far as these three men are concerned. And I’m going to use some Scripture to back that up. But just remember that we’re continuing on the prophetic Scriptures coming out of the Old Testament that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah promised ever since David, especially, but all the way the back to Abraham and that if Israel would have accepted Him as their Redeemer, Messiah, and King He could have set up the Kingdom.
But of course that has now been set aside and what these writers are now looking for is it’s still out in front. They proclaim that Christ has been resurrected and ascended back to Glory, but He’s ready to return and that’s what Peter said in Acts chapter 3. “That if Israel would yet repent of having crucified their promised Messiah, God would still send Jesus Christ to set up the Kingdom.” But all of that is fading now because of Israel’s unbelief. But nevertheless, the thrust of these little epistles is to prepare Jews who had embraced Jesus of Nazareth and to prepare them for the coming horrors of the Tribulation. And if they could go through that they would see the Kingdom become a reality. Now of course, in retrospect, we can look back that all of that was put on hold when Israel refused to believe, and instead God raised up the Apostle Paul, the Gentiles’ apostle we are to receive our Church Age instructions from with that whole new economy of the Grace of God.
Now I’m going to show that to you before we go very much further. And maybe this is as good a time as any. Let’s go all the way back to Acts chapter 9. And this is what I call, the fork in the road. Now for those of you here, I know you’ve heard this not too long ago, but again like I said, for the sake of our new listeners, I want them to see where we are coming from on some of the remarks that we will make even this afternoon.
But here in Acts chapter 9, we have what I call the “fork in the road.” Everything has been Jewish up until now concerning who Jesus of Nazareth really was, and that they’d crucified Him. But God raised Him from the dead. Called Him back to Glory, but He could still return and fulfill the promises. But Israel isn’t buying it. So now then God does something different in chapter 9 He saves another Jew, the Apostle Paul, outside of the land of Israel.
Now I always like to make the point that Jesus chose the Twelve inside the borders of the land of Israel, the shores of Galilee and so on and so forth, but this man is commissioned outside the borders of Israel. He’s on Gentile territory up at Damascus and he is consequently then the Apostle of the Gentiles. (Romans 11:13)
All right, now if you’ve got Acts chapter 9 we’re going to look at verse 15 where God is talking to Ananias, one of those devout law keeping, believing Jews. Now when I say believing Jews at this time I’m talking about Jews who have embraced Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah, the Son of God. That’s what they’ve believed for salvation.
The rank and file of Israel has said “No way, nothing good can come out of Nazareth.” But this little remnant, this small percentage of Israel that have embraced Jesus of Nazareth, I’m calling the Jewish believers. And that’s all they are. They know nothing yet of salvation as it’s been revealed to the Apostle Paul for this Age of Grace, and what we must believe today for salvation.
All right, so the Lord is speaking to this Jewish believer, Ananias. Verse 15 of chapter 9.
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he (this Saul of Tarsus, that rank persecutor) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles,…”
My! That was unheard of in Israel. And if it was, they didn’t like the idea. And I always go back to Jonah for an example. Why in the world did Jonah go out on the Mediterranean rather than go to Ninevah? Well, Ninevah was Gentile. And a good Jew wouldn’t have anything to do with Gentiles, (Matthew 10:5-6) so he took a ship to get as far away as he could. That was a typical reaction of the Jew. And I could show you verse after verse even here in the book of Acts. For example go on over to chapter 11.
Now I didn’t intend to do this but I guess the Spirit is leading in this direction. This is always good for all of us. You can’t repeat it enough. And this is one thing that just sticks in the craw of most of Christendom that the Gentiles were not involved until Paul. They just can’t buy that, but here’s the Scripture. Acts 11:19 and this is long after even Pentecost and this is after Peter has been up to the house of Cornelius and so we’re probably at about seven or eight years after Pentecost and these Jews are still being scattered out of Jerusalem because of the persecution.
“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen (Jews! Believing Jews) traveled as far as Phenice and Cyprus and Antioch, (now here it comes) preaching the word, to none but unto the Jews only.”
Well, now you’ve got to stop in places like this. And you just have to ask yourself, how much of the Word is out there at this time? Old Testament. There’s no New Testament written yet, eight years after Pentecost. So the only Word that these Jews had was the Old Testament, well that’s all they needed if they were preaching to Jews. But the last part of the word says what? “preaching the word, to none but Jews only.” Now that’s as plain as language can make it. They had no intention of going to Gentiles. So going to the Gentiles is left for the Apostle Paul, just exactly as God wanted, and you’ll never find Paul mixing Law and Grace in his epistles that he wrote.
All right now then, since we’re dealing with the Apostle Paul, I’ll take you to a statement that just shakes people up. Come on over to Romans a minute. Romans chapter 16 verse 25. Now this is what this Apostle of the Gentiles is going to be proclaiming to the whole world. Now of course, he was limited to a certain area of the Roman Empire, but nevertheless, it becomes a worldwide Gospel of salvation totally different than the prophetic program for Israel and now look what it says.
“Now to him that is of power to establish you (now remember he’s writing to Gentile believers in Rome) according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, (which was given to Paul. And this revelation of the mystery) which was kept secret since the ages began.”
Now I always have to slow down and help people to just soak that up. Where has this message been? Hidden in the mind of God. Nobody had the slightest hint that God would take this Gospel of salvation to the whole world and offer a salvation by faith plus nothing in what He had accomplished at the cross! That was unheard of.
All the Old Testament was speaking of was this coming Messiah and Redeemer of Israel. So if you wanted to put the Old Testament account into the same kind of language, you could say that Jesus and the Twelve preached Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Prophetic Program. And that was: Faith in the Redeemer, Messiah and King. They were never told to have faith in the finished work of the cross as we must do today.
But Paul doesn’t say a word about the Messiahship. He doesn’t say a word about Christ being the King, but that He is the Head of the Body. He’s the Savior of mankind, that’s Paul’s language. All right, let’s just flip over and pick up another verse along that same line. Come on over to Ephesians chapter 3. Now remember this is still review of our introduction of James and Peter and John. And what we have to understand is that all of the Jewish program preached by Jesus and the Twelve was based on the Old Testament promises. (Romans 15:8) And those Old Testament promises were concerning a King and a Kingdom. Paul doesn’t mention that. He’s under a whole different format, see?
“That the Gentiles (see? The non-Jewish world) should be fellowheirs. and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ (that’s the epitome of everything for us today) by the gospel: 7. Whereof (that is this Gospel of salvation, according to the revelation of the mystery) I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me…”
Paul didn’t earn it because of his education or his position as a priest, or anything like that. No. It was given because of the grace of God to this rank persecutor.
“… given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, (he never forgot the misery that he brought into the believing element of Israel) is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles (not Israel, although Israel is going to have an opportunity, but it’s primarily to the Gentiles) the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9. And to make all men see (not just Israel) what is the fellowship of the mystery, which (now watch this carefully, especially for those of you out in television watching me for the first time) from the beginning of the world (that is the beginning of the human experience, so we can go back to Adam) hath been hid in God, (the same God) who created all things by Jesus Christ.”
Where has this glorious message been? Hidden! No one in the Old Testament economy had any idea that God was going to do this. All they understood was that God was going to bring in this glorious earthly Kingdom promised to Abraham and David and the rest of the Patriarchs and then Israel in turn could be a magnet that would bring them to a knowledge of their God. But Israel dropped the ball. Israel didn’t recognize their King and they crucified Him and God in turn, now turns to the Gentile world through this Apostle with this whole magnificent message of the Grace of God.
Well, let’s go back to I John chapter 5 and again kicking back into to where we began, that this is all written to Jewish believers and they were believing for salvation only that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah. They know nothing of this revelation of the mystery as yet. Now maybe I should back my argument a little stronger. Let’s just continue on proving why I’m saying what I’m saying.
Come back with me now a minute remember now what we’ve just seen that God is going to send Paul to the Gentiles and Jesus and Peter and the other eleven men have been dealing only with Jews. Jews only, just like Acts 11:19 said. But now come back with me if you will to Galatians chapter 2. Galatians chapter 2 and remember now this is 51 or 52 AD. Twenty-one or twenty-two years after Pentecost. About twelve years after Paul has begun his ministry among the Gentiles and Peter has already gone to the house of Cornelius. And yet, the Jerusalem Jewish believers are not convinced that Paul’s Gospel is the real thing. They just can’t buy the fact that these pagan Gentiles could be saved without becoming proselytes of Judaism.
And so they go in behind Paul back, and tell these Gentile converts of his, you can’t be saved unless you practice circumcision and keep the Mosaic Law. You can find that in Acts 15, as it’s as plain as day. So finally they had to come to a conclusion and settle this thing, and it’s ‘either’ ‘or’. It’s either Paul’s Gospel is right, or he has been misleading the Gentiles. And so they meet up in Jerusalem according to the Divine leading and here we have it now in Galatians chapter 2. Now I’m not going to take time to come through all of it, but I merely want to show that from this Jerusalem counsel Peter, James and John agree not to interfere with Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles, but instead they will stay with Israel.And this is paramount to our understanding all these things.
And here it is. Galatians 2 verse 9, after the argument had been settled between Paul and Peter, James and John, here’s their conclusion.
“And when James, and Peter, and John, (all three of them) who seemed to be pillars, (that is of the Jerusalem church) perceived (or understood) the grace that was given unto me, they (Peter, James and John) gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; (And here’s what they shook hands on.) that we would go to the heathen, (Gentiles,) and they would go to the circumcision (Israel.)“
I call that the gentlemen’s agreement. And they never abrogated that. So consequently with that agreement in mind are these little Jewish epistles written.
Now it’s interesting that by the time we come to the end of all this and Paul and Peter are both about to be martyred and within a couple of years the Temple will be destroyed, burned to the ground and Israel uprooted out of Jerusalem and the Promised Land and scattered into the ends of the earth; it follows then that the Jewish program is going to disappear. The Temple is gone. The priesthood is gone. They’ve got nothing left to stand on, so what remains? The Gospel of Grace. Paul’s Gospel of Grace is all that’s left.
Now see how Peter by inspiration comes to that point. II Peter chapter 3 and this is an amazing statement. Of course, it’s Holy Spirit inspired. We never take that away from one word of Scripture. But nevertheless, as these men wrote, their own personality certainly comes through. II Peter 3 starting with verse 15 and this is so crucial to understanding this separating Paul from the rest of the Jewish economy until the Jewish program disappears completely. And the Holy Spirit prompting Peter to recognize that fact, this is what he says.
II Peter 3:15a
“And account (understand) that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;…”
Now you know whenever I teach this verse what am I always saying? This whole Book from Genesis to the end of Revelation is primarily concerned with bringing lost people to a point of salvation. That’s the whole heart of God in everything, is to bring lost people to a place of salvation. See? All right, so here Peter is saying the same thing. “the longsuffering, the patience, the Grace of our Lord is salvation.” Now watch it!
II Peter 3:15b
“…even as our beloved brother Paul…”
Now I’m going to stop a second. Do you know that most of Christendom and whenever some of our listeners go into their respective pastors and try to point out what I’ve been teaching, they get real upset, and say “There’s never been any difference between what Paul and Peter preached. They preached the same thing.” Well now let me beg to differ.
Do you ever up until right here see Peter make any kind of a condescension or a statement of compromise with the Apostle Paul. I don’t know of a single instance until here. There has never been an instance that Peter, James and John recommend the Jewish people listen to or read Paul. But at the end of it all, when there’s now no more hope for Israel – two years, the Temple is going to be gone. Jerusalem is going to be wiped off and the people are scattered. Now look what Peter says,
II Peter 3:15b
“…even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom (what’s the wisdom? The revelation of the mysteries. And according to those mysteries that have been revealed unto him) given unto him hath written unto you;”
Peter says, “That’s where you have to go now. Our ministry is coming to an end, but you go to Paul.” Now verse 16.
II Peter 3:16a
“As also in all his epistles,…”
Not just in Hebrews, which I think he’s referring to in 15. Not just Hebrews. But now you go to all his epistles, even though their written to Gentiles, you Jews have to go to Paul’s epistles to find salvation, because that’s where it’s at today.
II Peter 3:16
“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, (we’ve commented on that a hundred times, haven’t we? Poor old Peter just couldn’t catch it all) which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (or twist. My they’re doing it today like never before) as they do also the other scriptures unto their own destruction.”
And what does Galatians 1:6-9 tell us? “Even if it’s an angel from heaven, preach and twist Paul’s Gospel of salvation, to mean something else there’s only one future for them and that’s anathema. Condemnation.”
So here we have it from the pen of the Apostle Peter himself that the day would come when every Jew that wants to be saved is going to also have to go back to Paul’s Gospel, and that day is even as we speak.
All right, now in the few moments we have left, let’s go back, maybe we can make one verse of headway anyway in I John chapter 5, I didn’t intend to use this whole lesson just for review. See, now that’s why I have to tell Laura, my daughter, right off the bat, I never know where I’m going to end up after these four lessons are finished. All right, I John chapter 5, we covered verse 8 in our last program, but we’ll read it.
I John 5:8a
“And these three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, (the Holy Spirit,) and the water, (now remember we covered all that last week, that referred to His physical birth) and the blood:…”
His Divine aspect. He was the God-man. And I can’t emphasize that enough. He was totally human. He got hungry. He got tired. He suffered. But on the other hand, He was totally God. He could raise the dead. He could forgive sin. He could still the wind. And as God, He could just be God! From His human side, He would pray to the Father, as any other human. And so you always have to keep these things in perspective. So here they’re all reviewed. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All right, now then, verse 9.
I John 5:9a
“If we receive the witness of men, (we take them at their word,) the witness of God is greater:…”
Men can lie. But can God? No. God cannot lie. He cannot even tell a half-truth. It’s beyond His nature.
I John 5:9b-10
“…for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record (that is the written record) that God gave of his Son.”
Well, I shouldn’t have even started this verse without having a full thirty minutes, but nevertheless we’ll take just a little bit of comparison now. Remember the first part of verse 10 “he that believeth on the Son of God has witness in himself.”
Now let’s come back to John’s Gospel, like I said it’s so much, almost identically word for word. Come back with me now to John’s Gospel chapter 3, and if this isn’t almost the same thing that you saw in I John. Let’s start with verse 17. I was going to read 16, but you all know that so we’ll just take these few seconds to go to 17.
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but the world through him might be saved. 18. He that believeth on him (on the Son) is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
That’s the Gospel of salvation according to John, and we can’t use it by itself in this Age of Grace. Today we must also use the finished work of the cross as we see in Paul’s I Corinthians 15:1-4.