Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 63
THE PALESTINIAN COVENANT
Again, for those of you joining us on television, and we trust that every day there are new listeners, we have to make a short explanation that we’re not denominational. We’re not underwritten by anybody. We’re just a simple Bible teaching class. We’re independent, and we answer only to the Lord Himself. But, on the other hand, we need the prayers and support of everybody involved. So, we do thank you for your letters, your prayers, and your financial support. It’s so thrilling and encouraging, as we read our mail, to hear of the impact – in fact we had a gentleman stop by yesterday who was just traveling through this part of the world, and he’d been listening for seven or eight years. He had never made contact with us, but he said, “Les, your program has changed my life!” Well, that is so typical of so many men that we realize the Lord is reaching out to.
So, we’re going to jump right in where we left off after our last program taping. We’re going to continue this afternoon with the covenants that God has made, predominately between Himself and the Nation of Israel, and that’s why we refer to Israel over and over as His covenant people.
Now you know, the vast majority of the world doesn’t have a clue. In fact, in yesterday’s paper or one of the news magazines I read, one of the Arab leaders of the Middle East said, “Where in the world do these Jews get the idea that they’re the chosen people?” Well, this Book is full of it. We can stand on the authority of this Book, because it’s the only proven Word of God on the planet.
There may be tons and tons of religious writings and books, but they are not the inspired Word of God, which has proven itself by fulfilled prophecy. Any time someone asks you, “Well, why are you so adamant that you can trust the Bible as the only true Word of God?” It is because of fulfilled prophecy! I’ve said that on the program over and over. There is no other book on earth that could foretell things a hundred years in advance or a thousand years in advance, yet now, what do we see happening today? Prophecies, literally several thousand years in advance are all falling into place. In fact, I had a phone caller just yesterday who asked, “What are some of the signs of the time that we’re near the end?” Well, that’s not hard for those of us who know our Bible. The number one sign of the times is Israel back in the land.
Those of us that have just come back from over there, it is unbelievable what they have done, even in just the last five years! It’s just mind-boggling. Why? Because God is in it! They don’t think so. You ask the average Israeli, “Is God doing all this?” You get the answer, “No. No, we’re doing it ourselves.” But we know better, and this Book that has proven itself by fulfilled prophecy is full of the Covenant Promises that God has made with His Chosen People, the Nation of Israel.
All right, now the last taping we went through some of the earlier Covenants, even before Israel became a nation, and that goes back to Creation. The Edenic Covenant that God made with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, when everything was still perfect. The curse hadn’t fallen. Sin hadn’t shown up. It was a covenant promise.
Then, of course, the next one was a covenant that God made with Adam, the Adamic Covenant. This was how God would deal with Adam outside the Garden under the ‘curse.’ Then we kept moving on to the Noahic Covenant, where God made a promise to Noah and the families that never again would He destroy the planet with water. So, He set the rainbow in the clouds as an indication of that covenant.
Then, we came to the next one, if I remember correctly, and it was the Mosaic Covenant. Oh, the Abrahamic Covenant is in there between the Noahic, and Mosaic. I’m going to leave the Abrahamic Covenant to later, as we just scratched the surface in the last taping. We’ll cover it in more detail later. So you see, your Covenants are another way of a timeline. They just keep coming up through Old Testament time. All right, we’re going to come back and spend more time on the Abrahamic Covenant. Nevertheless, that was the onset then of the Nation of Israel and all the covenant promises that would follow in the steps of the Abrahamic Covenant.
Now, after Abraham has established the Nation of Israel, and Israel is going to become a special set aside vehicle through which God can work amongst all the nations of the world, we come to the Mosaic Covenant, which was Law. We covered the three aspects of Israel’s Law: the Moral Law or the Ten Commandments, the Ecclesiastical or ritual or the Temple Worship part of the Law, and the Civil Law – how to get along with your neighbor and how to settle problems between individuals or between communities. Those three parts comprise what we refer to in Scripture as the Mosaic Law.
All right, now that brings us up to the next great Covenant promise, and that has to do with the Promised Land. We’ve referred to the title of it as the Palestinian Covenant. Now, I know in the last taping I explained it, but I’m going to repeat it again, that whenever we use the term “Palestine,” it does not refer to the Promised Land per se. Palestine is just a geographical area off to the east of the Mediterranean Sea. It can go all the way out to the Persian Gulf, really. But, it is always referred to in Scripture as Palestine, coming from the term Philistines. Within the geographical area of Palestine, we have the Promised Land, the Nation of Israel.
For most of us who know our Old Testament, Israel only went a little ways east of the Jordan River. This was for the three tribes that Moses gave permission to stay on the east side of the Jordan River, providing they sent their young men in with the rest of the tribes to fight for the independence of the land of the Canaanites. All right, now we’re going to take a look at all the promises that are associated with this land. These promises were given to the offspring of Abraham.
They now have the Law in place. They have the Tabernacle, and they’re ready to move on up into the Promised Land. Now, in order to verify that Israel’s taking over of the land of Canaan was by God’s design, let us turn to Deuteronomy 29. It wasn’t greed on the Israeli’s part, it wasn’t greed on Moses’ part, but God had mandated that that strip of real estate, between the Mediterranean and especially the Jordan River, was the Promised Land. Later, when Christ sets up the Kingdom, this will, of course, go all the way out to the Euphrates River.
All right, now if you’ll come with me to Deuteronomy 29, we have the first mention of this covenant promise of a piece of real estate, or what we call the Palestinian Covenant.
“These are the words of the covenant,…” See, there’s the word. Now, maybe I should stop and define a covenant again. A covenant in Scripture is that which originated in God, even though it’s on behalf, in this case, of the Nation of Israel, yet it stops with God.
In other words, even though Israel may break these covenant promises, God does not break the covenant Himself. We’re going to see that, especially when we get to the New Covenant where they refer to the Old Covenant, “which Israel broke,” but God didn’t. So, always remember that these covenant promises are unbreakable, until God decides to end it of His own volition.
“These are the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, (this covenant is) beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.” Now, what’s he talking about in Horeb? Well, that’s the covenant of Law that was given back at Mount Sinai. So, this is a second covenant involving the Children of Israel. In the first, He gave them the Law as we’ve already explained – the Moral Law, the Ecclesiastical Law, and the Civil Law.
Now, God is giving them yet another covenant, because, after all, you cannot have a group of people unless they have a homeland. Otherwise, it’s just anarchy, and they’re just nomads. So, they’re going to have to have a homeland, and God, by design, has now set the stage for Israel to go in and take over the land of Canaan. They’ve been working and promoting it and getting it ready for Israel for 430 years, remember, and now this becomes the covenant of the land that God is going to promise to Israel.
“And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3. The great temptations (or testings) which thine eyes have seen, the signs and those great miracles:” All right, now come down to verse 7.
“And when ye came unto this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them: (They defeated them.) 8. And we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half tribe of Manasseh.” Now, those are the three tribes that stayed on the east side of the Jordan River. Now, you know I always like to use geography and history to make these things plain.
Remember that when Moses left Sinai, he took them up to the south side of the land of Canaan, Kadesh-barnea, and told them to go in and take the land. Well, I trust you all know by now what happened. In unbelief they rejected it. They said, “We can’t do it.” So, they came back out into the wilderness for forty years, until that generation died off. Now, Moses brings them around on the east side of the Dead Sea, which is on the east side of the Jordan River, and they’re going to come from the east into the land of Canaan. All right, now as they’re approaching the Jordan River from the east, they see the land of Canaan out in front of them. In fact, on a clear day you can be up on Mount Nebo where Moses died and, on a clear day, you can see clear across to the Mediterranean Sea.
Now, those of you that were just with us in Israel know it’s amazing how much of the land you can see from a high spot. We were on one of the promenades above the city of Nazareth the other day and it was a beautiful day. Wasn’t it? My, the pictures of that up there are just unbelievable! But you can stand up there, just in front of Nazareth, and you can look almost to the Sea of Galilee, because the Nation of Israel is so small. All right, here again these three tribes are going to stay on the east side of the Jordan.
Now, I’ve got to make a point. I’m constantly referring to the fact that Jesus never had anything to do in ministering to Gentiles in His earthly ministry. The one question that people like to throw up to me is: “Well, what about the Gadarenes, where he sent the demons out of the swine and into the sea?” Well, the Gadarenes, you see, were generations removed from what tribe? Gad! So, He wasn’t dealing with Gentiles, he was still dealing with the offspring of these three tribes who had stayed on the east side of the Jordan River. Easy to understand if you know what the Book says. Okay, now then, after giving permission for those three tribes to stay east of the Jordan, we have verse 9.
“Keep therefore the words of this (What?) covenant,…” This agreement that God is going to give the Nation of Israel the homeland for them to enjoy as their own land. All right, now verse 12.
“That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day: 13. That he may establish thee today for a people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, (that is, to the fathers) to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” All right, now right there again I’ve got to remind you of that verse that we use over and over in Romans 15 verse 8. Many of you should be able to start quoting it from memory. What does it say? “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (the Nation of Israel) for the truth of God, (But for what purpose?) to confirm (or to fulfill) the promises made unto the fathers:” That’s what Paul writes.
All right, who were the “fathers?” They were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. What were the promises? That God Himself would take the nation into their own Promised Land and after a period of time, they didn’t know how long, but after a period of time He would come in the person of God the Son, the Messiah of Israel, and rule and reign from Jerusalem. Now, this is all part and parcel of getting Israel ready for the coming of their Messiah.
All right, now I think we can come all the way down to chapter 30. Now we’re going to leap the centuries, almost the millennia, and we’re going to see a prophetic promise concerning the Children of Israel. They’re going to be uprooted out of this Promised Land at least twice. The first time was when Nebuchadnezzar came from Babylon and overran the city of Jerusalem and destroyed the city and the Temple. He burned it to the ground and took the nation of Israel captive. Well, seventy years later a small remnant came back.
The second time it happened, it was almost déjà vu, only now it’s the Romans. In 70 AD Rome besieged the city of Jerusalem. Rome crashed the gates and destroyed the Temple and uprooted the Jews out of the city and out of the land, by God’s decree.
All right, now here we pick it up in Deuteronomy chapter 30. Now remember, this is Moses writing 1500 years before Christ. Or 3500 years before where we are today, and we’re seeing the fulfillment of this promise and prophecy right now, today.
“And it shall come to pass, (Now, when God says it’s going to happen – you can just bank on it!) when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou (that is, the Nation of Israel) shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,” Now, watch what that says. That means every nation on the planet will have Jews within it, because they’ve been uprooted out of the land, and God has providentially scattered them into every nation under heaven. Now of course, when Moses writes, it’s prophecy. But now, here you and I are, sitting in the daytime, looking at these fulfilled promises. After being scattered, they are now brought back into their Promised Land, verse 2:
“And shalt return (that is, to their homeland) unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;” All right, now verse 3, when they would come back from this final dispersion:
“That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hathscattered thee.” Now, isn’t it hard to comprehend why the world in general can’t understand that? They won’t read it. Don’t just blame the unbelieving world, most church people won’t. They refuse to believe these things. They don’t even want to read it.
But there it is in plain English. I can’t put it any other way, that after they’ve been dispersed into every nation under heaven, God is going to providentially bring them back into their homeland, as we see even today. All right, verse 4, I think this is even interesting. In case a Jew is even out in outer space, with a rocket or whatever, or if he’s on a space station:
“If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence he will fetch thee:” Now, I want you to be constantly aware of this one word ‘land.’ Over and over and over, God is talking about this covenant by which Israel will have her homeland.
“And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, (That is, back under the time of Joshua, especially, and then going on through the times of the judges.) and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.” Now verse 6, we’re going to come back to this when we deal with the New Covenant. I don’t know if we’ll get that far today or not. I hope to. But when He deals with Israel under the New Covenant, then verse 6 kicks in – not until. In other words, even tonight, if you ask the average Jew anywhere in the world anything pertaining to these promises, he’s totally ignorant of them. They just do not have a comprehension that God is providentially taking care of them. He’s helping them overcome all the obstacles, because it’s prophecy, it has to happen. All right, so “the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land.”
Well, we’re not going to finish everything I wanted on this one, but I’m going to jump up, for sake of time, all the way to Ezekiel. Ezekiel talks more about some of these promises than any other major book of prophecy. I’m going to bring you into Ezekiel. I think I’m going to go to chapter 34, and let’s start with verse 11 – Ezekiel 34 verse 11. Now, don’t forget what we’ve just covered. God, by covenant design, has set aside that piece of real estate between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River and a little beyond for His chosen people. It’s by His Sovereign design. No United Nations can overrule it. No White House decree can overrule it. Congress can’t overrule it. This is the Sovereign God.
“For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.” Now, I’ve made the statement, and I’ve been surprised that I didn’t get flak. Who are the “sheep” of Scripture? Israel! The Jew.
The Jew is the sheep of Scripture and their Messiah, God the Son, is their Shepherd. Now you see, Paul never refers to you and I as Gentile members of the Body of Christ as sheep. He doesn’t refer to Christ as our Shepherd. Now, he does use it in one place in one of his letters, but not as He’s the Shepherd of the Body of Christ, but He’s the chief Shepherd of all Creation. So, always make that distinction – the sheep of Scripture are the Nation of Israel.
“As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; (as Israel was in the dispersions) so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. (Now verse 13, and listen, these are the promises of God.) 13. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land,…” Now, do you see why some of us get upset when the Israeli government, probably under the pressure of our American government, wants to give back land to the Arabs. That flies into the face of God’s promises. They have no right to give one square foot to anybody but the Nation of Israel. It’s covenanted. It’s theirs by God’s design.
“…and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel…” Now, it’s interesting. You know we promoted a little paperback several months or maybe a couple of years ago, with the title of The Mountains of Israel. Now, all the mountains of Israel, as we see them delineated in the Old Testament, are presently under Arab control. They are in the West Bank. Do you think God’s going to rest until that’s been corrected? No way! So, as we sometimes wonder what in the world is the future? We can rest assured that one day God’s going to set everything straight according to His promises.
“…mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be:…” Now, he’s talking about the people not the sheep. Even in these mountainous areas of Israel, it’s going to be lush and green and productive. Now, you know, this is the one thing I think we all noticed. Israel has had an abundance of rain and snow all winter. The Sea of Galilee was full once again. The last time Iris and I were over there, it was almost pitiful. The shoreline was way, way out, and they had reached what they called the “red” line, where they could not longer take water from it. This time, it was full to the brim, and the countryside was just beautiful. Everything was green and the flowering trees were in bloom. We could genuinely see how it is definitely like a rose blooming in the desert today.
All right, now you can get a good picture of this. They aren’t even close yet. This is all going to take place after Christ returns and sets up the Kingdom. But we’re already seeing the beginnings of it. All right, verse 14 again, “I will feed them in a good pasture and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.” Now, that’s symbolic language, of course, but how the nation is going to enjoy all the blessings of Jehovah.
“I will seek that which was (What?) lost,…” Oh, the Nation of Israel tonight, for the most part, is lost in unbelief. They don’t even have a comprehension that everything that they’re able to do is by God’s design. It’s really sad. Yet, we who know Scripture know better. We know that God is in Sovereign control of everything that’s taking place over there. All right, read verse 16, and then our time’s going to be gone.
“…and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; (That is, their enemies.) I will feed them with judgment.” I’ve always defined that word “judgment” in Scripture as a benevolent government. Whenever we speak of judgment, like here, it speaks of a benevolent government that indeed is operating for only one purpose, and that is for the good of the people that are under it. Then verse 17, and I guess it will be time to close,
“And as for you, O my flock, (my Nation of Israel) thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. 18. Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? 19. And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet. 20. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.” Now, all He’s saying there is that when Israel comes into the place of blessing, all of those who have opposed her will come under the wrath and the judgment of a Sovereign God.