Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 61
ISAIAH 54:1 – 57:1 – Part 2
All right, let’s go back into chapter 55 where we left off in the last lesson and begin with verse 8, where God says:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” That’s why we can’t outguess God. Why does he permit the things that He permits? We don’t always know. But He does. He has the foreknowledge. He’s going to see what happens. You know, we were so thrilled with our daughter when in the height of her injury that just recently happened (Sept. 2004) she just sort of whispered to her Mom, “If one soul is saved through all this, then it’s worth it.”
Well, that’s the way we have to look at it. God has a reason for everything that He permits. Now He permits it. In fact, after all this happened to us, somebody called and they had been reading the book of Job. I hadn’t even thought about Job, but it’s a good reminder that when you’re going through trials and testing God permitted it, but who carried it out? Well, Satan did. But after it was all over what did God do? Restored ten-fold. So, that’s the way we have to look at some of these things, because I know we’re all human and the first thing we are prone to ask is, “Why?” Well, God has His reasons. He has His purposes. That’s the only way we can look at it, “His thoughts and ways are higher than ours.”Now, verse 9:
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Now, this is all dealing, of course, with the nation of Israel. You all know without my telling you how the Jews have suffered at the hands of their enemies for thousands of years. In fact, I’ve given this little anecdote on a previous program. One old Rabbi was praying one day, and he says, “God, I know we’re your chosen people. But choose somebody else for a little while.” Well, that says it all, because, my, how they have suffered and suffered and suffered.
But the day is coming when the blessings are going to more than compensate for all the suffering they’ve gone through. So, even Israel has to understand although they can’t give a reason for all their suffering. Why are they so downtrodden? Why are they so hated? And it’s going to get worse. What did the Lord tell them in Matthew 24?
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Again, this is the reason – Satan knows they are God’s people. Satan knows that nothing can finalize prophecy if Israel is gone. So what’s he trying to do? Destroy them. If Satan can destroy the Jewish people, then God is defeated and He cannot fulfill the prophecies.
So, he will never give up. The anti-Christ is going to be Satan’s tool, and he’s going to bring in the worst persecution that Israel has ever known. But, the finality of it is the return of Christ and the blessings of the Kingdom. So, even for Israel there was no way they could comprehend why God dealt with them the way He did. Now then, in verse 10 He gives an analogy.
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither,…” It has to go out to the oceans and then it’ll evaporate and come back, of course, but we’re not looking at that part. We’re just looking at its original fall. When the rain falls it stays where it’s at for its own purposes. The snow doesn’t return back to the clouds, but…
“…but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: (This is all part of God’s Divine purposes.) 11. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void,…”
That’s God’s promise. His Word is always going to accomplish His purpose. Now, when it comes to purpose, I can’t help but jump up to Paul and to Ephesians where he uses the same words, “the Divine purpose.”
“In whom (speaking of Christ) also we (as believers of this age of Grace – you and I today. This is Paul writing to Gentile believers.) have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” In other words, God is the blueprint. He has mandated all these things, and yet I never feel that He takes away our free will.
“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” Oh, He wants every believer to respond to these things for His glory, not ours, but for His.
” In whom ye also trusted, (or believed or placed our faith) after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: (which we looked at in the last program, how that Christ died for ours sins, was buried, and rose from the dead) in whom (speaking still of Christ) also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” All right, now just come on over to II Timothy a minute and we’ll pursue this “purpose” part (Ephesians 1:11), because I think it’s well for us to understand that we’re not believers by accident.
You know, Iris and I both get a kick out of people when they write and say that, “They just happened to find our program.” Well, then a little later, they’ll say, “No, it wasn’t happenstance, it was by Divine guidance.” Well, I have to agree to that. Everything that happens, God has a purpose. But for those of us that believe, here it is in II Timothy chapter 1 verse 9.
II Timothy 1:9a
Who (God in verse 8) hath (already) saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace,…” You’re a believer tonight because this is part of God’s purpose for this day and time. You have a role to fulfill. We’re all members of the Body of Christ, if we’ve believed Paul’s Gospel for salvation, and we are now on the same team. Now, this is what I think is unique about football. Whether you’re a football fan or not, football is a team sport. In basketball, a lot of times, one man can take the ball and go and score. But football is a team sport. Let any one of those eleven men miss his assignment and the whole thing crashes. Well, that’s what we are as believers, we are a team. We are to enhance one another. We are to encourage and exhort one another. It’s a team effort and this is what he’s saying, that it’s all part of “his purpose and grace.” And where did the grace come from?
II Timothy 1:9b
“…which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” God knew about us millions of years ago, whenever it was. He knew you and I would be here today. He knew you would be a believer. He knew what your role would be in this Body of Christ. Is it mind-boggling? Yes! But there again, what did Isaiah say? “His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.” We have to take these things by faith. All right, let’s come back to Isaiah chapter 55 and verse 11.
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Why? Because it’s God’s purpose. He’s the One that has ordained it. He’s the One who has purposed it. All right, verse 12, for the believer then, even in Israel. Never lose sight of the fact that this is God dealing with Israel. We have to jump up to Paul to find His dealing with us Gentiles, but for Israel it was still the same God. It’s still the same grace of God. All right, verse 12.
“For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the fields shall clap their hands.” Now this, of course, is symbolism to show how all of God’s creation rejoices over spiritual things. Now, verse 13 portrays the opposite of the life of the unbeliever in Israel.
“Instead of the thorn shall come up a fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign (How long? Everlasting) that shall not be cut off.” So, Israel, too, has the prospect of going into eternity of eternity.
Now, let’s just jump down to chapter 57, I’m going to skip chapter 56 today and go into chapter 57, because I saw something here while preparing for all of this that I had never seen before. That’s why I like to teach, see, I learn. Every time I teach, I learn. I hope you do as well, and I saw something here I never saw before. I wonder if you’ll catch it as I read it?
“The righteous (the believers) perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: (They don’t care if a believer dies because the world would just as soon be rid of us.) and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”
What’s he talking about? Yeah! I think so. The Rapture. Now, look at it again. “Merciful men are (what?) taken away, and none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil (what?) to come.” Now, what’s our whole hope of the Rapture? That before the Tribulation breaks out, we’re going to be taken out, because Paul says:
I Thessalonians 5:9
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”
“…we shall be saved from wrath through him.” What’s the wrath to come? The Tribulation. So, there will be a segment of humanity that will be alive and will be suddenly translated before the Tribulation can begin.
Now, I had a letter just yesterday refuting that. It was very thick. Well, I haven’t got time to read all that. I didn’t have to. You know why? I could skim through page after page and in a matter of thirty seconds I could see that 99.9% of everything she said is Old Testament, the Four Gospels, and Revelation. So, where’s she coming from? She’s using everything pertaining to Israel and prophecy. She was trying to tell me that the Church couldn’t be raptured before the Tribulation. It’s got to go into the Tribulation and suffer all the things with Israel. No way!
I’m going to write a short note back. I’m not going to make a big, long argument, but here we have it. “The righteous are going to be taken away before the wrath falls.” Now, I’ll be careful to also make this point. We may see some tough times before we’re taken out. We may suffer yet as believers. I don’t say that we don’t. But we are not going to go into that seven years of Tribulation. Now, let me show you again, from Paul, what most people miss completely. Let me take you back to Romans chapter 11. With someone like this, this is going to be my number one reason for responding. She does not understand that to Paul, and Paul alone, were given all the things that have to do with the Gentile age of Grace.
Only Paul knows anything of the Body of Christ. You’ve heard me say it on the program. You cannot find the term the “Body of Christ” anywhere in Scripture, except Paul.He is the only one that had the revelation of this outcalling of believers in this Age of Grace that would come into what we call, the Body of Christ, totally insulated from that prophetic program for Israel. The Body has nothing to do with prophecy. That’s why we’re not involved with the Book of Revelation.
Oh, we can study it to see what’s coming, but we’re not going to be there because the Body of Christ will not fit with Israel. It’s like gasoline and water, they won’t mix. So, you have to keep the Church separated. Consequently, it has to be removed before God can finish that prophetic program. All right, let’s start with Romans chapter 16 and verse 25. This is something that no other portion of Scripture knows anything about.
“Now to him that is of power (that resurrection power and because of His resurrection power) to establish you according to my gospel, (What’s the ‘my’ Gospel that we must believe for salvation? That Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead.) and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.” Now see, most people don’t know this verse is in their Bible. Most people, if they just casually read it, don’t get what it says. But what does it say? That Paul’s Gospel is part of a revelation of things that no other portion of Scripture knows anything about. It has been kept secret in the mind of God all through the Old Testament prophecies.
Now, He gave us a little tidbit back there in Isaiah 57:1 in what we just saw. He knew there’d be an element of righteous people who would be removed before the wrath to come. But it wasn’t enough of a tidbit to release the secret. It didn’t betray the secret, because nobody knew what He was talking about. But here it is – this whole revelation concerning the Body of Christ. The preaching of Jesus Christ was salvation based on His death, burial, and resurrection and had been kept secret since the ages began until it was revealed to this Apostle.
All right, how in the world, then, can anybody try to put the Church up into the book of Revelation when God never did? How can you put the Church in the four Gospels? God never did. If you leave it back here with Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, then it’s perfectly legitimate all by itself. Insulated from all the prophecies of Israel.
All right, let’s go to another one. I Corinthians chapter 15, but now let’s go to the last part of the chapter instead of the first, chapter 15 verse 51. I Corinthians 15:51 and this says what it means and means what it says. There’s no way you can twist it. Now, this is all based on Isaiah, where he says, “there’s going to be righteous people removed before the wrath should come.”
I Corinthians 15:51a
“Behold, I show you a mystery; (a secret, that’s what the word mystery means in the Greek) We shall not all sleep [die], but we shall all be changed,” You can’t go to heaven in this body! So, how’s it going to happen?
I Corinthians 15:52
“In a moment, (the shortest period of time) in the twinkling (or the blink) of an eye, at the last trump: (That’s not the trumpets of Revelation. This is a separate trumpet. It’s singular. It’s not an angel. It’s God.) for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, (The first resurrection and then Paul tells those who are living when he writes:) and we shall be (what?) changed.” In that moment, in that split second, because this old body of corruption must put on incorruption.
All right, now in the few moments we have left we’ll go to the companion passage in I Thessalonians chapter 4. Most of you have gone through this with me a hundred times, but there are people out there in the television audience that are going to hear it today for the first time. Here we have it, I Thessalonians chapter 4 comparing with I Corinthians 15, and remember why we’re here? Isaiah said, “that the righteous would be removed before the wrath to follow.” That was all that was said about it, and nobody understood what he meant. No Jew figured it out. Peter didn’t know anything about it. Paul had never heard of it before, but it becomes part of his revelation of these things kept secret.
I Thessalonians 4:13-14
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, (That’s most of Christendom. They’re ignorant of these things) concerning them which are asleep [died], that ye (as believers) sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (He means the lost world. Why?) 14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, (we have salvation, we’ve been brought into the Body of Christ) even so them also which sleep [have died] in Jesus will God bring with him.” They’re in Glory with Him, in the realm of the invisible, the soul and the spirit. All right, but they’ve got to have a body. It’s going to be a resurrected body for the dead and new body for those who are alive.
I Thessalonians 4:15-16a
“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 (Those of us who are alive when this great event happens.) shall not precede them which are asleep [have died]. (In other words, we’re going to have to wait a half-a-second.) 16. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:…” Not an angel’s trumpet. Now catch this, in Revelation there are trumpets of angels, seven of them. This is one trumpet and it’s God’s trumpet. Big, big difference.
I Thessalonians 4:16b
“…and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” Those believers who have died since Saul’s conversion and who are now going into the Body of Christ, one by one. They are going to be resurrected out of their place, wherever they are in the deepest ocean, or if they’ve been burned in fire, it makes no difference. God knows where they are and He will resurrect them. He will give them a new body fit for eternity into which that soul and spirit from heaven will immediately enter.
I Thessalonians 4:17a
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (raptura – raptured – in the Latin Vulgate) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:…” In the atmosphere. Now, you remember in an earlier program when we showed the Second Coming, where do His feet stand? On the Mount of Olives. Not this time. He doesn’t stand on the earth anywhere in here, He comes to the atmosphere.
I Thessalonians 4:17b
“…and so shall we ever (for all eternity) be with the Lord.” Now, I’ve got one more verse that we’ve got to look at quickly because the time is gone. Turn to II Thessalonians chapter 2 and we might as well start at verse 1.
II Thessalonians 2:1
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (that is for the Body, not the Second Coming for prophecy, for Israel, but for the Body) and by our gathering together unto him.” When the trumpet sounds and we’re going to be caught up to meet Him in the air.
II Thessalonians 2:2-3
“That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of the Lord (the Tribulation) is at hand. (Paul says you are not in the Tribulation, it hasn’t come yet. Now, here it is) 3. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (the day of wrath, the Tribulation) shall not come, except there come a departure first, (Whether from the truth, or from earth to heaven, whatever, it’s going to be a great departure.) and (once that departure is completed) that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” Who’s that? The anti-Christ. So, the anti-Christ cannot be revealed. Now, we may have some ideas, but no one will be able to ever name him or who he is until the Church is gone. Then, of course, God will cause his hand to be played, and he will make his appearance and usher in the wrath to come.