Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 6
SECOND COMING: MILLENNIUM
Daniel 9 & Genesis 25-26
We’ll be turning to Matthew 24 again as the kickoff chapter. The only reason we teach, is to help people understand what this Book really says. I have always warned my people, and anyone I teach, to be aware of what’s said, as well as what is not said. You can completely adulterate good biblical teaching by simply ignoring portions of Scripture. This is what I’ve found to be the most flagrant of the things that I read, where they just simply ignore certain portions of Scripture that don’t fit their particular teaching. I trust I’m never guilty of doing that. So, let’s start back at Matthew 24 where we were last week. But this time we will come into the first half of the chapter. Here, the Twelve disciples have cornered Jesus, more or less, up there on the Mount of Olives. They start out by saying:
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, ‘Tell us when shall these thing be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (I think a better phrase is the “end of the age.”)?’ And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many.'”
I’m convinced that Matthew 24 is totally Tribulation ground. I’ve used this analogy so often in my classes. Most of you have participated in a high school drama or something similar. And you know the weeks of preparation that went in before the curtain ever rose. There was practicing to be done; there were props to be gathered; there was advertising that had to be done. Everything was building up for the night the curtain rose. We are witnessing many things today; an increase in earthquakes; an increase in perplexity; in governmental correction, ungodliness, and wickedness in all places. This is not the Tribulation by any stretch of the imagination. But, it is the preparation. Everything is getting set. The stage is being set for the Anti-christ to sign that treaty with Israel, as we pointed out last week. The curtain goes up and out comes the seven years of Tribulation. So Jesus is referring to those seven years:
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”
In other words, not just fault lines we know about, but all over the world. Now, I want to kick off from verse 8. These introductions of the Tribulation are the beginnings of sorrows. Now, if you have a newer translation, I would think someone’s Bible uses the word “travail.” All these things the opening stages of the Tribulation are simply the beginning of travail.Now, scripturally, the word travail is always associated with child birth. “A woman in travail.” The reason Jesus uses this analogy is because the earth, you see, has been under the curse since Genesis 3. For the last 6000 years we’ve been living under the awful stigma of the curse. But, we know from Scripture that, one day, the curse will be lifted. Jesus uses the analogy of the earth being delivered from the curse. And so the whole purpose of that seven years of Tribulation is to bring the earth to the place of delivery. That’s why he uses the travail.
Now, that helps you understand when you study the Book of Revelation, detail by detail, that as these seven years progress, it is just like a young mother approaching child birth.Her labor pains will start gently and rather far apart. But, the closer she comes to the hour of delivery the more intense the pain and the faster they come. And that’s exactly the way the Tribulation will unfold. As we get to the end of that last three and one-half years the plagues are going to get so awful; cosmic disturbance will be so awful; death is going to be just running rampant. It’s going to be one thing right after another, until Christ appears and that, of course, is the delivery. So, all of these things are the beginning of sorrows. Let’s go back to Revelation. Like I said, this is just a brief overview. I’m in a hurry to get back to Genesis as I’m sure most of you are. But, on the other hand, I don’t want to cut this short and leave anyone hanging by a thread. Now, Revelation Chapter 14.
We know as we approach the final days of this seven-year period, the Anti-christ, now ruling from the Temple in Jerusalem, will put out a call to all the nations of the world. He will tell them to send their armies to the Middle East. And I look at that, as primarily the final effort to get rid of the Jewish problem. And he is going to simply ask the world to come and obliterate the Nation of Israel. And, of course, it’s going to end up in a battle against Israel’s Christ. But I think they are going to primarily gather to get rid of the Jews. And then, just when it seems like the Nation of Israel is doomed, Christ returns from Heaven. Let’s pick it up now from Scripture in Revelation 14, and it’s the battle of Armageddon.
We even see the word Armageddon used quite often by the news media. Although they don’t really know what they are talking about. But, it is a Scriptural term. Armageddon simply comes from a village by the name of Megiddo. If you take a trip to Israel, more than likely the tour bus will take you right around the base of Mount Megiddo. It’s a place where city after city has been destroyed. And you know how they have done over there throughout history. When a city is destroyed, they just level the rubble, and build another one. Another enemy comes in and destroys it, burns it; they level off again and build another. So, all over the Middle East are these mounds, which are called ‘tels.’ They are cities that have been rebuilt many times in the same location without hauling away the debris. In fact, the city of Jerusalem is one. When you walk on the streets of Jerusalem today, if you’ve got a good guide, he will probably tell you that the streets of Jerusalem, on which Jesus walked, are several feet below where you are walking today.
Because Jerusalem has been destroyed, rebuilt, destroyed and rebuilt. Megiddo was one of those. It was just an ideal place to build a city in ancient times – it was a good defensible place. It had good food production, and water. So, naturally, it made a good place to build a city. So, Megiddo sits right on the edge of the plain of Esdraelon, which is just as flat as the floor of this building. It’s several square miles of open area. And the armies of the ancients fought battle after battle on that plain. And so, all these nations of the world will be sending their armies to that area and, I think, by a Sovereign act of God, they’re going to get packed in to that valley; into that very huge, flat plain.
“And I looked and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” Whenever you think of farming nomenclature, what does a sickle refer to? A harvest; it’s the clipping of the fruit or whatever.
“And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, `Trust in thy sickle and reap, for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the Earth is ripe.'” Now, the Greek actually is a little stronger word, it’s more than ripe, it’s almost past harvest time.
“So he that sat on the cloud, thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. “ In other words, the Sovereign God is now coming into the picture:
“And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also having a sharp sickle. And he came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, `Thrust in thy sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.’ And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God,”
Remember we’re talking in an analogy here. The people of the Earth that are still remaining (the armies, etc.), are being gathered just like a husbandman would gather his grapes. We have to keep this back in the setting in which Jesus is talking, or the setting in which the Scriptures were written, when they still gathered the grapes and put them into a huge wine vat. How did they press the juice? They walked on them. And, they would just simply walk and walk and walk, until the juice would just finally find it’s way out and be drained on the bottom. Then they would just catch it in a wine vat. Alright, now this is the analogy. God is harvesting the men, the people of the World, into His wine vat. Most of them are going to be congregating in the valley of Esdraelon or Megiddo.
“And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God,”
Oh, not a big rock winepress, hewn out. Not a cement one; not an oaken one; but which one? The wrath of God! Do you see?! We are so programmed, and rightly so, that God is a God of love, mercy, and Grace; and, indeed, He has been. But, the Scripture literally screams at us that this will not always be the case. There’s coming a day when God is going to say,“Enough!” – even as He did with Sodom and Gomorrah and the Noahic flood. And so, He says, “Enough!” and He gathers them into this great wine vat, and it’s the wrath of God. And then verse 20:
“And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”
“And the wine press was trodden without the city,…“ In other words, northeast of Jerusalem. “And blood came out of the wine press, even unto the horses’ bridles by the space of a thousand six hundred furlongs,…“ that’s about 180 miles. Now, a lot of people scoff at this. They say, “Well, how in the world can such a thing be?” Well, fortunately, since we’re not taking this detail by detail, we can jump in on another little aspect of all this and that would be back in Chapter 16 of Revelation, verse 21. The final plague that falls upon mankind, as we see it here. I think this plague will be associated with this battle of Armageddon.
Let us picture the city of Jerusalem, the Mediterranean Sea, the valley of Esdraelon, and all the way up to Mt. Carmel that comes in over by the port city of Hiffa. In this great flat valley, the armies of the world are seemingly going to be brought in from every direction, like I said a little while ago, by a Sovereign act of God. They’re going to pack them in. Almost senselessly. No great general would ever do that… but they will! As they are packed into that valley, the last of the plagues (the final bowl judgment), will begin. Now, read Chapter 16:21: “…and there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone, that is every hailstone, the weight of a talent (or if you’ve got a margin – that’s 100 pounds).“ Now, we talk about golf ball sized hail, and maybe softball sized, and you know what that can do. It can knock out car windows, or go through house roofs. And they are still only about two or three pounds. Can you imagine hailstones weighing 100 pounds? They will just crush everything they hit. But the Middle East is hot. How long will those hailstones remain as ice…? Not very long.
And so, I look at this river of blood as deep as horses’ bridles as very literal because, you see, with those millions of men packed into that valley, crushed under these hundred pound hailstones, which will immediately begin to melt, what have you got? You’ve got a veritable river of blood! Now, lest you tell me I’m stretching the point, I remember reading that after the battle of Wake Island, our marines had to go in on the beaches and I think we lost something like 7,000 men. The Pacific Ocean was red, as much as two or three miles out from shore. Just from 7,000 casualties. I know that’s a lot of precious people, but here we’re going to have millions. And then with the hundred pound hailstones, indeed, it will be a river of blood running for 180 lengths. Now, I always like to go back and tie in the Old Testament as well as the New. Let’s get this same picture from Isaiah. Let’s go to Isaiah Chapter 63. There’s a lot of people who don’t like to read the Book of Revelation – they say it’s of no account, and there’s no use bothering with it because you can’t understand it anyway. Well, we’ll just go back and see what the Old Testament says, cause it says basically the same thing:
“Who is this that cometh from Edom (Edom is southeast of Jerusalem), with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speaketh in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore (the prophet asked), are thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?” Use your imagination? You get somebody in there barefoot, and they trample that winefat. After a few hours, they’re going to be covered with grape juice from head to foot.
“I have trodden the winepress alone (this is the coming Christ) and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger,…” Now, remember he’s not talking about the blood of Calvary here. He’s talking about the blood of the wrath that is poured out on his victims. And he said, “I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled (or splattered is what the Hebrew word says) upon my garments and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.”
That’s the Second Coming of Christ. If you’ll go back to Revelation once again, we’ll get a different view of it. It is not so much in wrath and judgment upon the gathered armies of the Anti-christ. In Revelation Chapter 19, we see Him coming in His glory – His power. And never lose sight of the fact that after we have been taken out at the end of the Church Age, it will be before the Tribulation begins. And again, someone asked me during the last lesson, “Are you sure we don’t go into the Tribulation?” I’m sure!
I maintain there is no way that the Church can go into the Tribulation for, primarily , one reason. When God began to deal with the Gentiles, the first thing the Apostle Paul made clear was, you are not under Law, you are under Grace. And I’ve always maintained you cannot mix them. I have already pointed out that when the Tribulation begins, Israel will be back under the Law, and God’s premise still stands, you cannot mix Law and Grace. And so, in order for God to deal with Israel under the Law, the Church has to get out of the way. And I maintain that is probably my best argument, as to why will not go into the Tribulation. We have to be out! Several lessons ago, you remember we used the verse in Romans 11:25, that when the fullness of the Gentiles was brought in, then God turns again to the Nation of Israel. That says the same thing – that when the Body of Christ is complete, the last Gentile is saved – God takes it out and He picks up where He left off with Israel.
“And I saw heaven opened and behold a white horse;…” “…And his eyes were as a flame of fire and on his head were many crowns and he had a name written that no man knew but he himself” “And his eyes were as a flame of fire and on his head were many crowns and he had a name written that no man knew but he himself”
There was a White Horse back in Chapter 6, but that White Horse was the fake christ, the counterfeit christ, the Anti-christ. But, here we’ve got the real thing. “And I saw a white horse and he that sat upon him was called,…“ and here are the names of deity, capitalized, “Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war.” “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood”, This, I think, is the reference to His own blood, the shed blood of Calvary. “And His name is called the Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven, followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword.” You always have to be careful when you study Revelation, because it is always in symbolic language, but every symbolism has a literal truth. Go back with me to Hebrews Chapter 4 because I don’t want you to picture Christ coming with an old iron Roman sword between his teeth.
The sword is something else in Scripture. Hebrews Chapter 4, verse 12 and most of you know, at least partly, from memory, Verse 12: “For the Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword.” So what’s the sword? His Word! Oh, when He spoke at creation, what happened? The universe came into being. When He had everything all prepared, He brought that dust from the ground and He spoke to it, then what happened? Adam appeared. And so, it’s been all through Scripture; everything that God does, is done with the spoken Word.
We had an interesting discussion in our class last night. Faith cometh by, how? By hearing! But we cannot hear until God speaks the Word. And it’s kind of a hard concept for a lot of people to understand, but I try to make it as simple as I can. For example: When did Abram leave Ur of the Chaldees? When God spoke the Word and said to leave Ur. And Abraham left, and what did God call that? Faith! He told Noah to do what? Build an ark. What did Noah do? He built it. That was faith! Then along came Moses, and God gave to Moses the Law. Moses brought it down off the mountain and he said to Israel, “…thus saith the Lord.” And what did they do? They believed it. And so all the way up through Scripture, when God speaks, that’s when He expects us to believe it. In other words, did Noah jump the gun and start building his ark 6 months before God told him to? No, he waited until God said it.
And so it is, in the Age of Grace. God has now told us today, to believe that Christ died for our sins; that He was buried; and that He rose again from the dead. As soon as God spoke it, what did He expect man to do? Believe it! And that’s where faith comes in. But you can’t believe something until God speaks it. Always remember it’s the Word of God that makes things happen. Verse 12 again:
“The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner.”
“And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword,” At the Word that He speaks, and as he speaks, millions of troops gathered there in the Battle of Armageddon, will be zapped; they’ll be all done. Satan won’t have a particle of power left. It’s going to be all over. And then read on: “…that with it he should smite the nations:…” as they are represented there in Armageddon.
Are all the areas of the world going to come under these judgments? Absolutely. It is mainly the time of God dealing with Israel, but the whole planet will come under this. Everything. There again, you have to understand that Noah’s flood was universal, and Jesus says in His earthly ministry, that as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man. So we have that same application that it’s world-wide, and when He comes, even though it’s to the Middle East, yet the whole planet will come under this judgment. Alright, reading on: “and He shall rule them with a rod of iron:” That sounds like a cruel term, but it isn’t meant to be cruel, it means absolute. When He sets up His kingdom, He is going to rule with absolute power. There’ll be no monkey business, no corruption, no bribery, no disobedience. It’s going to be absolute righteous rule. So don’t let that term “rod of iron” scare you. “And he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” Now, verse 16. I love it. This is the God we serve. We don’t have to shrink from anybody, because look what He is:
“And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
You can’t add anything to that, can you? That is the epitome of His power, and it’s coming. And we’re going to be part of it if we have trusted the Gospel. And we’re going to rule, Paul says, and reign with Him. The Book of Revelation says the same thing. We’re going to reign with Him 1,000 years on this earth. Many people rebel at that. Again, going back to the little booklet I read last night: this author maintained that we were going to come to the Second Coming, then Christ comes, and He takes us to Heaven, and then it’s all over. Well, they have to throw away half The Bible to teach something like that. We know that when He comes, He’s going to be KING OF KINGS and Lord of Lords, and we’re going to rule and reign with Him!