Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 59
THE ISLE OF PATMOS VISION – Part 2
All right, again, we always like to thank our television audience for your prayers. My, how we appreciate it that you tell us constantly either by letter or by phone or when we’re on our seminars, how that you pray for us everyday.
My, what a comfort that is to know we have so many believers praying for us. We also like to thank you for your financial help. We never beg for money, never have, and we never will, because I’m a firm believer in the system of giving that Paul teaches in II Corinthians chapter 9, “that believers give as the Lord lays it on the heart to give.” And I do not feel that we should ever have to pressure anybody to give to this ministry. Because if the Lord wants you to give, He’ll let you know it.
All right, we’re going to go right back where we had to end in the last lesson, and we didn’t quite finish verse 16, before we move on into the next verse.
“And he had in his right hand seven stars: (one for each one of these synagogues) and out of his mouth went the sharp two-edged sword: (the Word of God) and his countenance(His appearance) was as the sun shineth in its strength.”
In other words, at high noon. Now, there’s a beautiful example of that, of course, back in Matthew chapter 17 and you all know what it was. The Mount of Transfiguration, and again, I do these things just to exhilarate us. My, when we say we can’t wait to see Him face to face, it’s not going to be the lowly Jesus of Nazareth. It’s not going to be the Jesus of the earthly ministry.
It’s going to be the resurrected, glorified, exalted Son of God. And it’s beyond our human comprehension, but yet we know we’re going to see Him face to face. Even as Peter, James, and John did at the Mount of Transfiguration. All right, Matthew 17 starting at verse 1, and remember why I’m doing this. One day we’re going to experience this same thing.
“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John, his brother, and he bringeth them unto a high mountain apart. 2. And (He) was transfigured (he was changed) before them: and his face did shine as the sun, (just like John sees it in Revelation) and his raiment was white as the light.”
That is pure white light and that’s the way we’re going to see Him. And then, of course, the other comfort is we’re going to recognize our loved ones. Now, not as husband and wife, not as son and daughter and so forth, but we’re going to know who we are because I use this as a background, here we have the appearance now of Moses and Elijah talking with them. Did Peter, James, and John have to ask who they were? No! They knew who they were. Because Peter goes right on and says unto Jesus:
Matthew 17:4b “…Lord, it’s good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
How did he know they were Moses and Elijah? Well, they just knew. The same way when we get to glory and we behold Him as bright as the sun; we will know everybody else by name. We’ll know who they are and from whence they came. All right, now let’s move down into the next verse in Revelation chapter 1 verse 18:
“I am he (now this is the Lord Jesus again speaking to these seven synagogues of Jewish believers) that liveth and was dead; (so we know this is after the death, burial and resurrection) behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of hell and death.”
Well, there’s more than one place to look, but first I want to go back to Isaiah chapter 41 and I want to see how Isaiah says the same thing. Now, again, I do this to show that the Old and the New all fit together, especially as it pertains to Israel.
“Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, (or I Jehovah, Lord, God the Son) the first, and with the last; I am he.”
Now, on your way back to Revelation I’m going to have you stop, if you will, at I Corinthians 15. But now before you look at I Corinthians 15, maybe we’d better go back again and read our verse in Revelation so you’ll see why I’m going where I’m going; verse 18, again.
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold I liveth forevermore….”
The Alpha and the Omega, the one who was, is, and always will be. Remember? Now, come back to I Corinthians 15, the great resurrection chapter. Alright, let’s just jump in at verse 3, the very heart of what Paul calls “my Gospel” or what we call the Gospel of the Grace of God, which is all dependent on His very death, burial, and resurrection for our salvation.
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered (Paul says unto you) first of all that which I also received, (that is when the Lord revealed all this to him, probably down in the desert) how that Christ died for our sins according to the scripture; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
Isn’t it wonderful! That’s all we must believe in our heart to have eternal life? Absolutely no works involved. Verse 5.
I Corinthians 15:5-6a
“And that, he was seen of Cephas (that is Peter) and then of the Twelve: (the whole batch together) 6. After that, (after he was seen of Peter and the Eleven) he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom (Paul says) the greater part remain unto this present,…”
In other words, they were still living, because you want to remember, we’ve only got about a 30-year interval here, so if these people were in their late 20’s or early 30’s they wouldn’t be all that old. They were certainly still alive at the time Paul writes to the Corinthians.
I Corinthians 15-6b-8
“…but some are fallen asleep. (or died.)
7. After that, (after he was seen of the Twelve and of the five-hundred) he was seen of James (and again Paul repeats that he was seen) then of all the apostles.
8. And last of all he was seen of me also, (which means that Paul saw the resurrected Christ face to face, but he didn’t see him in his days of rebellion. He saw him, now, after his conversion experience. And, again, probably out at the desert experience.) as of one born out of due time.”
Now, since I’m here I might as well comment on that. What does Paul mean here? “as of one born out of due time” Well, you see he was a singular example of the whole nation. But he was born as a result of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as a single individual, as Israel will be someday in the future. Now we know the remnant of Israel will be totally saved when they see Christ re-appearing at His second coming. And so this is what Paul is referring to.
That he saw Him as one who was converted and became a believer hundreds of years before the nation as a whole which is still out in the future. Now, let’s jump to verse 12.
I Corinthians 15:12
“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you there is no resurrection of the dead?”
Remember the Sadducees didn’t believe in resurrection, and there were probably other groups that didn’t.
I Corinthians 15:13-14
“But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. 14. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”
Might as well throw the Book away and go home. But He did rise from the dead? Now, verse 15.
I Corinthians 15:15-19
“Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: (and Paul says, if He didn’t then I’m a liar) whom he raised not up, if be that the dead rise not.
16. For if the dead rise not, (in other words if we die like a dog, and that’s the end of it), then Christ is not raised.
17. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; (we’re spinning our wheels, we’re wasting our time) ye are yet in your sins.”
18. And they also which are fallen asleep (those who have died in Christ) are perished. (there would be no hope)
19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” But we do have that blessed hope, because He did arise from the dead. Now look at verse 25.
I Corinthians 15:25-27a
“For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. (He will reign, as King)
26. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (Death, it will finally be completely obsolete, it will be off the scene)
27. For he hath, put all things under his feet….”
He is Lord of all, He is the One who was alive, He is alive now, and will be for all eternity future. Alright, back to Revelation 1, the last part of verse 18:
“…. behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen: and have the keys of hell and of death.”
That’s why one day He will be victorious over it and He will obliterate it, never again to be part and parcel of our experience or even His. He’s going to end it once and for all as we go into eternity. Verse 19, Now, the Lord of glory says to John: Revelation 1:19″ Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter:”
Now, the reason why I didn’t teach it when we went into Revelation several years ago was that I was never comfortable with that approach. Now, I don’t go contrary to tradition just to be contrary.
In all my years of teaching, I can go clear back to when we first stepped out of a denominational umbrella and began to teach men and women from all these denominations and with all their questions. My, the Methodists would have a far different question than a Baptist ever dreamed of. The Lutherans would have different, the Catholics would have different, and from all of these summary questions I started searching the Scriptures. Then I suddenly realized, hey, I’m not comfortable with everything that I’ve always learned. I haven’t been told all there is to know. And, as I had to search the Scriptures to answer all these questions, then there would be areas that, I would have to say, “Now wait a minute, there’s something lacking.”
Well, the first place I had problems with was the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. There was just something that I wasn’t putting together, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. And, most of you know by now, we sent out hundreds of these little books by Paul Van Gorder, who used to be a guest teacher on the old Radio Bible Class. And I happened to pick up that little booklet and it just opened my eyes. And of course, many of you know which one I’m talking about. The title of the little book is “Which Gospel When?”
We sent out hundreds of them. I found Dr. Van Gorder, I think in Georgia, and I called him and asked him if he’d give me permission to distribute these little books, because if it opened my eyes, it’ll open anybody’s eyes. And so he gave me full permission, and I’ve told him we’ll never charge for them and we never have. And we’ve had others that have contributed to the reproduction of them. But anyway, it was just a great opening of my eyes concerning the four gospels that I had never seen before.
Well, then I went on with some of the other things – the Book of Acts – for the longest time. I knew there was something that I just didn’t have straight. And all of a sudden these things started opening up. Well, the same way with these early church letters in Revelation. When we started teaching Revelation many years ago, I think, ten years ago I just wasn’t comfortable with the traditional view that these are Church Age churches, because there’s not a word of church language in here. There’s not a word about salvation by faith alone. There’s not a word in here about the shed blood. There’s not a word in here about the death, burial, and resurrection. And so, I had to skip over them. I wasn’t going to teach something that I didn’t agree with.
But now in the last year or two, and I’ll have to give Matt McGee credit for some of this. He wrote an interesting little article. It’s up on his web page, which is I think right next to ours isn’t it? And you just click over to Matt’s and he’s got a good little article on the Book of Revelation and so forth, and that gave me courage to move on. Then, in various other sources, I began to see that this isn’t the way the traditional people always taught it. It is not a picture of Church Age history and the Body of Christ.
It is all Jewish. These are all Jewish congregations and all the language is directed to the Jewish believers.
Well, enough of that, looking at verse 19, again.
“Write the things which thou hast seen,…”
Well, what had John seen? Of course he had seen Christ’s earthly ministry – he was one of the Twelve. But now God is transporting him up into a vision experience of the horrors of the Tribulation, and that’s what the Book of Revelation is – it’s a road map of the seven years of Tribulation, like almost no other place in Scripture as you compare it of course with the Old Testament prophecies. But here he’s told now to write:
“…and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter:”
Well, what does John do? Just exactly that. Turn all the way to his last few chapters and this is what he was talking about – write about the things that are future. Because up and through the verses in chapter 20 it’s all still the seven years of wrath and vexation which are in time, as we know it. But then you jump into chapter 20 and we slip into what? Eternity! And what were the instructions? “Write the things that will be hereafter.” Well, after what? After time as we know it; which will end with the thousand year reign of Christ. This is what’s out in the future.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth:…”
Now, stop and think a minute. Where did you first see those two words? Genesis 1:1. Remember?
“In the beginning God created (what?) heaven and earth.” And we’ve had those two entities all the way through Scripture, and then we get to II Peter and they all disappear, and we’ll look at that in a minute. But, what’s going to happen? God’s going to replace it with something totally new.
“I saw a new heaven and a new earth: (why?) for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;…”
Now, I know a lot of people don’t believe that. A lot of good men do not agree that this whole system is going to disappear. They think it’s just going to be renovated. Well, for the Kingdom Age, yes. For the thousand years it’s going to be renovated. But for eternity, brand new. Why brand new? Well, who has spoiled everything that God has made so far? Satan! He’s put his filthy fingers on everything that God’s created. I think even in outer space. And so what’s God going to do? He’s going to re-do it, and make all things new.
Now, let me remind you, years ago I used to take a scientific journal, just for sake of interest, and one of the articles was written, if I’m not mistaken, by a physicist, at that time down at the University of Texas, on the origin of the universe. And I’ve shared it with some of you more than once. During the course of that article, he came to the conclusion that everything that had ever been created, came from one original source of light. Well, who is light? God is! So I read it to Iris and said, “Listen to this, honey. This guy doesn’t know what he’s saying. But he’s right on.” Everything came from God. But you know how he ended his article? He said, “I can foresee the day, billions and billions of years from now, where the whole thing will go back into that original source of light.” Well, isn’t that enough to give you goose bumps? Sure it will. That’s all God has to do is speak the Word and He can call it all back into that original source of light.
All right, now I said we’d show you the earth and heaven disappearing in Peter. Okay, let’s go back to II Peter, chapter 3, I think it is. Now, we’ve got to be careful how we read this.
II Peter 3:10a
“But” (Peter writes) the day of the Lord (remember the day of the Lord begins with that signing of the peace treaty, the seven year Tribulation, but it goes right on through the whole millennial thousand year reign of Christ. That’s all part and parcel of the day of the Lord.)
II Peter 3:10b
“…will come as a thief in the night; (now, you got a punctuation mark – a semi-colon – a break in the thought. At the end of that thousand and seven years, the end of the day of the Lord) in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, (can’t you hear it? My, when the whole universe is all of a sudden just going to be coming together, and I think it’s going to be coming back into that original source of light.) and the elements (that is all the minerals and so forth that make up matter) shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
All right now, when you put things under intense heat in the chemistry lab what do they do? They dissolve. That’s a chemistry word.
II Peter 3:11
“And seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, (melted down. Now Peter says) what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation (manner of living) and godliness.” Knowing that this is the God whom we serve. He’s beyond human comprehension. And all He has to do is speak the Word.
II Peter 3:12
“Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be (what?) dissolved (melted down) and the elements (all the things that make up matter) shall melt with fervent heat?” (It’s going to be dissolved. It’s going to be done away with. The Scripture calls it like folding up a garment and laying it aside. But don’t stop there, next verse.)
II Peter 3:13
“Nevertheless (even though it’s all going to be one day consummated) we (as believers) according to his promise, look for (see now how it fits with Revelation) new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth (what?) righteousness.”
Totally cleansed, nothing that defiles. It’s going to be glorious for all eternity. But now, my question again is, why new a heaven and a new earth? Well, I’ve taught it and I haven’t had any reason to back off. I think Israel is, and has been, God’s earthly people through time as we, The Body of Christ, have been God’s heavenly people.
But, I think it’s going to continue all the way into eternity. I don’t think we’ll ever mix with the nation of Israel. Now, I may be wrong, and I don’t get adamant if somebody disagrees, I’m not going to get all upset. But, I think the purpose for the new heaven and the new earth is that God can continue on that same format that Israel will be the earthly people and we’re always going to be the heavenly people.
Amazing, how God never, in one way or another, never changes.
“The mystery (now remember the other word for mystery, even in Paul’s writings, is the secret.) so the mystery (secret) of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks, (lamp stands) the seven stars are the angels (or the ministers, or the overseers) of these seven churches; (synagogues) the seven lamp stands which thou sawest are the seven churches.” (synagogues)
Now, let’s stop and think a minute. Remember that the temple was the center of all of God’s dealing with Israel wasn’t it? It was just the center of the nation’s activity. You see, way back in Old Testament times, Israel, because of their unbelief, had gotten so far from God, that who was it? Was it Hezekiah who found the Law? I think it was. I beg to be corrected, if I’m wrong.
But Israel was so far from God that they couldn’t even find the Law. And then, finally, somebody found it in some secret conclave in the temple and oh, there was great rejoicing that they found the Law.
All right, what had happened to God in the meantime? He left them. The Shekinah glory left them. They hadn’t had a temple for centuries. And so even at the time of Christ, the temple was still the center of their national activity, their social life. But spiritually what was it? It was a dead cause.
God had long since left it.
All right, so now, where is He picking it up for the last few years of His dealing with Israel? In the midst of these seven synagogues. Do you get the picture?
He has now left Jerusalem that’s going to soon be destroyed by the Romans, but God is going to continue dealing with His people here on earth, getting ready for the Tribulation, which is going to shortly come to pass, and so He stands in the midst of these seven lamp stands which are really congregations of Jewish believers. They are the last Jewish witness. Now, by the time we get to the end of the first century, 30 years after the temple is gone, what’s happened even to these seven congregations?
They disappear. They are just simply taken off the scene and any semblance of God dealing with His covenant people disappears and they go into the dispersion that has held even until our present time.