Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 65
BUT GOD! – (The Body of Christ) – PART 2
MATTHEW 6:33 and various other Scriptures
Okay, now we’re just a simple Bible study. We always let our new listeners realize that we’re not associated with any particular denomination. We’re going to get right back into the Book, again, this afternoon and start on the other part of the Kingdom of God, which is the Body of Christ. We always have to keep the Kingdom of Heaven and the Body of Christ totally separated. The Kingdom of Heaven, as Jesus and the Twelve preached it, was the promise, coming up from the Old Testament and beginning especially with King David, that there would be a royal king coming out of the line of David who would rule and reign from Jerusalem. Israel would be the top dog of the nations. All the other nations of the world would be subservient to the Nation of Israel and her King. This is why it’s going to be Heaven on earth. Satan has been taken off the scene. He is locked up for a thousand years, and the earth will revert back, as we saw in the last half-hour, as it was in the Garden of Eden. It’s going to be a glorious kingdom on earth with the rule of Heaven upon it.
All right, also in the Kingdom of God we have what has been revealed to the Apostle Paul, and that is the Body of Christ. Now, the first thing I’m going to prove from Scripture is contrary to what some of these people who pooh-pooh the whole idea of end-time prophecy. They ridicule the rapture because they claim that none of this is now apropos. They say that everything culminated with 70 AD, and that Israel ceased to be a nation, consequently, there is no end-time prophecy.
Now, the word for that kind of stuff is Preterism. It comes from a Greek word that I think just means “the end of everything.” Or something like that. But anyhow, they’re making big inroads lately, and I guess if I get opposition from anybody it’s from people who are listening to that kind of stuff. As I’m constantly making mention that if you’re going to believe that Israel has ceased to be a nation and that none of these end-time prophecies can be fulfilled, then you’ve got to throw half of this Book away. And the Bible is plain that if you take anything away from the words of this Book then you’re doomed. So, I trust that a lot of these people are going to wake up before it’s too late.
But anyway, one of them that I was reading one time, and I do read them because I want to know what the opposition is thinking. One of them made a statement one time, “There’s nothing to indicate that there will be a parenthetical period of time between God dealing this and then picking it up and dealing that.” Well, I’m just going to show you that there is. There are all kinds of evidence of a parenthetical period of time. We’re going to start in at Luke chapter 4. This is going to lead into a few lessons concerning the Body of Christ of which you and I as believers in this period of time are members. We are members of the Body of Christ and the Body of Christ is in the Kingdom of God. I hope I’ve made that point now. I think the circles help. Sharon, I thank you. It’s a good job. It really shows clearly that these two entities are all in the Kingdom of God.
All right, Luke chapter 4, and it’s at the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry. He’s in the synagogue at Nazareth where He grew up. Now, we’ve looked at all this before, it’s repetition. But repetition is the mother of learning. We hear that all the time. All right, Luke chapter 4 and dropping down to verse 16.
“And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, (Remember, He’s under the Law.) he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17. And there was delivered unto him the book (or the scroll) of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found (which indicates He knew what He wanted to read) the place where it was written.” He’s reading Isaiah 61:1, 2, and 3. We’ll go back and look at it in just a minute. But He’s going to continue reading in the synagogue.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;…” And we know from Matthew chapter 9, that the gospel He preached was the Gospel of the Kingdom, this coming Kingdom that we’ve been talking about. It was mentioned all the way up through the Old Testament, and Jesus proclaimed it. John the Baptist proclaimed it. Peter and the Eleven preached it – this glorious coming Kingdom promised to the Nation of Israel. This is the whole purpose of His earthly ministry – to prove to Israel who He was. But they rejected it in unbelief.
Okay, but here is evidence that as God, the Ruler and Sustainer and Creator of the Universe, Jesus Christ knew the end from the beginning. Here’s where He proves it. So, reading on.
“…he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, (That is, the Old Testament believers who were down in the Paradise side of Hades, remember?) and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Okay, now come all the way back to Isaiah, chapter 61. Here’s where He’s reading, but keep Luke 4 so you can flip back and forth. Keep Luke 4 so that you can see what He did. Well, we won’t read verse 1 of chapter 61, but let’s jump in at verse 2. Isaiah 61 verse 2.
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,…” Now from Luke 4 you’ll find that’s where He stopped, isn’t it? That’s where He stopped, and that’s why they were so amazed in the synagogue. Why did He stop in the middle of a verse? Well, He knew why, but nobody else ever figured it out, until now we get into the Church Age where we can look back. Sure He knew that that’s where everything was going to stop until this parenthetical period of time that we call the Church Age had been fulfilled. Then the rest of Isaiah 61 will be fulfilled. Now read on. After He stopped Isaiah says:
“…and the day of vengeance of our God;…” See, that’s the process. He has come in His first advent. He’s preaching the coming of the Kingdom and His Messiahship. He doesn’t mention His rejection here, but then the prophet goes on and foretells the Tribulation, “the day of vengeance of our God.” Then He goes on and introduces the Kingdom.
“…to comfort all that mourn;” Remember what we read in Isaiah 11 in the last program, that this would be part and parcel of His rule and reign? He would be benevolent to the downtrodden and He would comfort those that mourn. Well, the same thing here. So, here is Isaiah’s way of referring to this coming Kingdom. All right, but Jesus stopped at the end of His first advent and did not mention the last part of the prophecy, which meant He knew that prophecy was going to stop for a period of time and then it would pick up again.
Now, let’s look at another one in the New Testament. Come up with me, if you will, to Acts chapter 13. I hope I’m making sense. Now remember, what I’m trying to show is that there is ample Scriptural proof that the prophetic program that is laid out in the Old Testament would be interrupted to bring in a parenthetical period of time for this Age of Grace. And when it’s over the rest of the prophecy will be fulfilled. That’s why I’m always putting my timeline up on the board. After we get to that point in Acts where Paul starts preaching to the Gentiles, until the rapture occurs, God is dealing with the Body of Christ. After the rapture, God will pick up again where He left off with Israel back in the Book of Acts.
All right, Acts chapter 13 and Paul and Barnabas have just begun their missionary journeys out from Antioch. They are on their way and have stopped at Cyprus out there in the Mediterranean Sea. Drop in at chapter 13 verse 6. It’s been years since we taught all this, but it won’t hurt to do it again.
“And when they had gone through the isle (that is Cyprus) unto Paphos, (which is at the western end) they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, (But he was a what?) a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus: 7.Which was with the deputy of the country (or the governor of the islands of Cyprus) Sergius Paulus, (a Gentile) a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.” Here we have the first instance in Scripture where a Gentile is showing interest and a Jew is opposing him. All right, verse 8.
Acts 13:8 -11a
“But Elymas the sorcerer (for so was his name by interpretation) withstood them, (that is Paul and Barnabas) seeking to turn away the deputy (the Roman) from the faith. 9. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost (or the Holy Spirit) set his eyes on him, 10. And said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease, (or will you not stop) to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 11. And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, (physically) not seeing the sun (Forever? The rest of your life? But for what?) for a season. (A period of time.)“ In other words, Paul put the curse, if you want to call it, on this man that he would become physically blind, not for his whole lifetime, but for a period of time. A period of time known only to God. And that’s where we leave it. And then,
“And immediately there fell upon him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.” All right, now what’s the big picture? Well, that’s what Israel did. When Israel rejected the Messiah; they crucified Him, along with the Romans, of course. God raised Him from the dead. Called Him back to Glory. Peter and the Eleven in Acts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, continued to plead with the Nation of Israel to repent of having killed their Messiah – that He’s alive and He could still return and give them the promised Kingdom. But will they? No. They will not. They oppose Paul at every step of the way, so what did God do? Well, let me show you from Scripture what God did. Turn ahead to Romans, chapter 11, as we’re through here in Acts, for now. This is exactly like He did with the false prophet Jew on the island of Cyprus, which was just an example, a prophetic illustration, of what the Nation as a whole would be doing. Romans chapter 11 verse 5. Because verse 6 makes the statement that I want to refer to.
“Even so then (Paul says) at this present time (That is during his ministry.) there is a remnant (There were a few Jews responding to his preaching, of course.) according to the election of grace. 6. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, (See how we’re explaining that it’s by faith and faith alone, not with any works of righteousness which we have done?) then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. 7. What then? Israel (the Nation) hath not obtained that which he seeketh for;…” And what were they seeking? A Messiah to set up that Kingdom promised ever since almost King David; this glorious earthly Kingdom that we’ve been talking about for the last five or six programs. The Jews knew that was in their future. They still do. That’s why the Jew will constantly exclaim, what? “Next year Jerusalem.” Why? Hopefully the Messiah will be back, and they’re still looking for it. Okay, but now read on.
“…but the election (Those who did believe.) hath obtained it, and the rest (That is of the Nation of Israel.) were (What?) blinded.” Now isn’t it fitting? This Jew on the island of Cyprus was opposing the truth going to a Gentile and God put blindness on him for a season, not for the rest of his life, but for a time.
All right, now we’ve got the same thing here with the Apostle Paul being opposed by so many of the Jewish element, especially in Thessalonica and up in that area of Greece. So now he is inspired of the Spirit to write what’s happening. The Nation has been supernaturally blinded by an act of God because of their unbelief. And God doesn’t say how long they’ll be blind, and we’re going to see that in just a minute from a couple of other verses. But what I want you to see is that God intervened in the life of this false prophet on Cyprus, He intervened in the spiritual life of the whole Nation, with the same concept that they would be blind for a season.
All right, now let’s see where we can put it a little closer. Come back now to Acts chapter 15. Now, of course, the setting in Acts 15 is the Jerusalem council. We’ve spent a lot of time on this one over the years. The Jerusalem church people have been plaguing Paul and his ministry amongst the Gentiles by coming in behind him and telling Paul’s Gentile believers that they had to be circumcised and keep the Mosaic Law or they couldn’t be saved. And Paul was just about going frantic over it. He said you don’t have to become Judaistic. You are saved by faith plus nothing.
But the Judaisers said that no, you’ve got to be. All right, so they came to Jerusalem to settle the problem. In fact, I guess I’d better just go all the way back, because otherwise, you don’t know where I’m coming from. Chapter 15 verse 1 and we’ll do this quickly. Acts 15 verse 1. Now, I really shouldn’t apologize, because almost every place that I’ve been, from one end of this country to the other, if I happen to teach this, the people will come up and crowd around me and you know what they say, “Never knew this was in our Bible.” Most people don’t know that this chapter is in here. And it’s as plain as day! Here we have these Jews coming in behind Paul’s Gentile congregations telling them this.
“And certain men which came down from Judea (the Jerusalem church) taught the brethren, (Paul’s Gentile converts) and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. (Do you see how plain that is?) 2. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they (Paul and Barnabas and the churches where they’d been ministering. This one happens to be up in Antioch.) determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain others of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto (What people?) the apostles and elders about this question.” So, they’re intricately involved with all this. That’s why I’m saying that it was the Jerusalem church that is sending these people out to do this, and the apostles were in control. So, you’ve got to start at the top. So, that’s where Paul and Barnabas decide to go. They’ll go to Jerusalem to see the apostles about this problem and see if they can’t stop it. All right, let’s jump all the way down to verse 5 after Paul and Barnabas get to Jerusalem. They meet with the Twelve and the leaders of the Jerusalem Jewish church.
“But there rose up certain of the sect of Pharisees…” Now, I don’t think I have to tell my class people what a Pharisee was. They were the religious elite in Israel. They were the ones who thought they could commit no sin, and they were self-righteous. Okay, but some of those Pharisee’s became believers by believing that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, so they become members of the Jerusalem church.
“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” Now, does that need explanation? I wouldn’t think so. These Pharisaical Jewish believers in the church at Jerusalem were bent on the idea that those Gentiles couldn’t be saved unless they practiced circumcision and the Mosaic Law. All right, now read on down to verse 7.
“And when there had been much disputing,…” They disputed the pros and cons of all this. Do Paul’s Gentile converts have to become like a Judaising Jew and be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses? And there was a back and forth disputation, I imagine most of the day, before they finally come to a conclusion. All right, now verse 12.
“Then all the multitude (That is, of these church people at Jerusalem who are confronting Paul and Barnabas.) kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” This was their whole purpose. Their ministry is to Gentiles. These Jews are not yet ready to accept that.
“And after they had held their peace,…” In other words, the arguments settled down and they finally have come to the conclusion that, yes, Paul has been sent to the Gentile world with a message wholly and completely different than anything they had heard in Judaism. And that was the Gospel of the Grace of God.
“And after they had held their peace, James (Who was the moderator of this meeting. Now remember, this is not the original James. This is the half-brother of Jesus, because the original James has already been beheaded some time before.) answered, saying, Men and brethren, (Now, he’s addressing his fellows Jews.) hearken unto me: 14. Simeon (or Peter) hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, (Which of course goes to chapter 10, the house of Cornelius.) to take out of them (That is the Gentile world.) a people for his name.” Now, what’s this going to be? The Body of Christ. Not the Kingdom, but rather the Body of Christ. It’s a whole new ball game, now. It’s a whole different entity that we’re building. But look at the next verse; verse 15.
“And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, (We are quoting from the little, minor prophet Amos. We’re going to go back and look at it in a minute. Amos writes:) 16. After this…” Well, that’s where I always have to stop and emphasize. After what? After the calling out of a Gentile people for His name, after the Body of Christ is complete, now read on.
“After this (The prophet wrote, speaking on behalf of God, of course.) I will return, (That’s speaking of Christ’s Second Coming.) and will build again the tabernacle of (Whom?) David,…” So, God is going to keep His word with Israel after all. But we don’t know how long a parenthetical period is in here, but it’s so obvious there is one. It’s a parenthetical period of time when God is going to build the Body of Christ. After it’s finished, He will raise up Israel again to come back into the fullness of all their prophetic program. All right and God says:
“…and I will set it up:” All right, now we’ve got a couple of minutes left, so that should be long enough. Let’s go back to the Old Testament again, to the little Book of Amos. If you need help finding it, it’s Daniel, Hosea, Joel, and then Amos. I want to come in to chapter 9. Amos chapter 9 and it’s a good thing we just talked about the qualifications of the Kingdom, because here it is again in this series of verses. We’ll just hit it to confirm what we read earlier. Amos chapter 9 verse 11, this is what James is quoting after that council in Jerusalem had agreed that Paul and Barnabas could go to the Gentiles and the rest of them would stay with Israel. All right, here is what he quoted, verse 11.
“In that day (That is when Christ returns and sets up the Kingdom.) will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, (It has been now 1900 and some years.) and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.” (In other words, Israel is going to come back to her future glory.) 12. That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all of the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this. (Now verse 13, the same language that we talked about in the last program.) 13. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.” Well, what is that? That’s all language concerning the Kingdom. And when will the Kingdom come in? When the Body of Christ is complete and Christ returns and sets up His Kingdom once again. So, this is a whole part of Scripture.
Now, I had one more and I don’t think I have time to cover it. We’ll pick it up in the very first part of our next program. But there is still one more graphic example that God is going to open up the timeline, as I call it, and He’s going to let Israel go down into the dispersion, or as Amos said, the tabernacle will fall down. And God is going to call out a people for His name, the Body of Christ during this age of Grace we’re now in.