Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 66
BUT GOD! (Confirming the Promises) – Part 3
MATTHEW 16:15 – But whom say ye that I am?
My, we just have a good time at these tapings. Again, in case we have new listeners, we’d like to you to know that we’re totally independent. We’re not beholden to any denomination or organization, we just simply want to teach the Word, and we’re not concerned about where it falls or who it approaches, but to get you into the Book, that’s the name of the game.
Okay, let’s go back to the concept we have been talking about for the last two programs. That when Peter said in Matthew 16, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God,” he had no concept yet of a crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection. Nor of going to the Gentile world, unless it could be through the King and the earthly Kingdom when every Jew would become a priest of Jehovah and would therein turn to the Gentile world. But that is completely out of their thinking. Everything is still Jewish. It’s still connected to the “promises made to the fathers.” Now, we’re going to jump on up past His crucifixion and His resurrection and we’re going to come in at Acts.
He has now just spent 40 days with the Eleven. We always tell people that if you want to get a glimpse of our resurrection existence, go and read the account of His forty days after resurrection. You’ll get a pretty good picture of what kind of a body we’ll have. Paul confirms it in Philippians when he says what? “And we’ll have a body fashioned after His glorious body.”
But all right, Acts chapter 1 and let’s start at verse 3. We’re going to continue on this premise that Peter had an understanding, now, that Jesus was the fulfillment of all of these Old Testament promises concerning Israel. All right, in Acts chapter 1 verse 3, it’s at the end of His forty days after His resurrection.
“To whom also he showed himself (That is to the eleven apostles.) alive after his passion (That is His death, burial, and resurrection.) by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:” Well, it’s like we’ve got it on the board, the Kingdom of God is the overall influence of God’s righteous rule and control of the universe and of the heavenlies, the angelic hosts, the Old Testament believers, and believers in the Body of Christ. You and I know who are in the Kingdom by virtue of being in the Body of Christ, but the Body of Christ is still unknown here. So, all they could talk about was the Kingdom of God in generalities and this coming Kingdom of Heaven on the earth as we see in the left-hand circle. All right, that’s what they talked about for forty days. They didn’t talk about the Body of Christ or going to the Gentiles, that’s still an unknown factor. All right now let’s get to verse 6. If you don’t think these men were human and mortal and just as ordinary in their ambitions, then you’d better read verse 6.
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him (The Lord Jesus in His resurrected body, remember.) saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” I think they had an understanding that Christ had to die. He had to be the atoning blood. He had to be the sacrifice for sin so far as Israel was concerned, but to understand that it was for the whole world, no, I don’t think they had that yet. Everything in their thinking concerns their own Nation of Israel. So they ask Him, “Are you ready now to bring in this promised Earthly Kingdom?” The same kingdom that we’ve been talking about for the last two or three programs. Look at the Lord’s answer. He doesn’t ridicule them.
“And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” It’s not for you to know when. That’s in the power of the Father.
All right, but just to get an inkling of why these men were so anxious to get an affirmative answer that the Kingdom was about to come in, go back with me to Matthew chapter 19. I know we’ve done this way, way back, and some of this is repetition, but you’ve got to realize that’s the way we learn. Over and over and over again. Matthew 19, drop in at verse 27. Now this, of course, is back before the crucifixion, back in His earthy ministry.
“Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” Now see, he’s not talking about salvation. He’s got that. That was confirmed already back in the first half hour that we looked at, when Jesus said, “Blessed art thou Simon Bar-jona, flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but the Father, which is in heaven.” So Peter, and we trust the other ten, had that salvation, because they believed without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was the Messiah. That was the crux of this Kingdom Gospel. All right, so what are we going to get for reward? We know we’re saved. We know we’re going to have eternal life, but what else are we going to get? The Lord doesn’t rebuke him. He doesn’t ridicule him. But he tells him what it’s going to be. Next verse.
“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye who have followed me, (You eleven men, the twelfth one is going to come in a little bit in the book of Acts.) in the regeneration…” In other words, when this old earth is made back as it was in the beginning. Beautiful. Without the curse. Without sin. Without death. It’s going to be as it was in the Garden of Eden, and it’s going to be the whole planet regenerated.
“…when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory,…” That’s all we’ve been talking about for the last two half-hour programs – on Mount Zion in Jerusalem when He’s going to be the Messiah, the King of Israel, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and He’s going to sit upon His own throne.
Now you know, there is a move afoot amongst some of our great theologians to proclaim that Christ is now ruling from His throne in heaven. What a lie. That’s not according to the Book. He’s at the Father’s right hand. Don’t you believe it when you read that He’s sitting on the throne and ruling from heaven. No, He’s not. He’s at the Father’s right hand interceding for us. It is not until He returns and sets up this Kingdom that He assumes a throne and a kingship. That’s what it says right here.
Let’s see, is there another one? Keep your hand in chapter 19, I’m not through here. Go ahead a few pages to chapter 25, and we’ll jump in at verse 31. Because it’s so obvious that Scripture does not put Christ on a throne until He returns and sets up this Kingdom with a capital in Jerusalem. Now this is just for comparison’s sake.
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, (at His Second Coming) and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:” He doesn’t leave His throne in heaven to sit on His throne in Jerusalem. He’s not on the throne today or tonight. He’s at the Father’s right hand. But He will be when He returns. All right, now then, for sake of time, drop down to verse 34.
“Then shall the (What?) the King…” Now here at His Second Coming, He’s the King. Much of Christianity has got it all upside down. He’s not the King of the Church. No way, shape, or form is He the King of the Church. He won’t be the King until He returns and sets up His Kingdom. Today, He’s the Head of the Body. He’s not the King of the Church. But here He will be. All right, back to chapter 19 verse 28 again.
“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That you who have followed me, in the regeneration…” In other words, when the world has been made fit for the Kingdom economy. It’s going to be glorious. It’s going to beautiful. It’s going to be without the curse. No sin. No death. No thorns. No thistles. The wild animals will become what we would call domesticated. They will no longer be carnivorous. They’re all going to eat what grows naturally. It’s going to be glorious, and yet there’s going to be people on earth enjoying it. Of course. All right, so the Nation of Israel is going to be under Christ’s immediate domain. Now read on.
“…That ye who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, (That’s a future verb here. Here’s what Peter was waiting for!) ye also (you twelve apostles) shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging (Or ruling, now you remember the term judging in this scenario is a benevolent government.) the twelve tribes of Israel.” Peter and the eleven aren’t going to be chastising the Twelve Tribes of Israel. They’re going to be giving a benevolent government. A benevolent rule. Everything that they do and decree will be for the blessings of their people. All right, “And you’ll sit upon the twelve thrones judging (or ruling) the twelve tribes of Israel.” Not the whole world. Israel. That will be their domain.
All right, now let’s flip back to Acts chapter 1, again. Since there’s going to be twelve thrones and there’s only eleven apostles, Peter’s all shook up. So, what’s the first thing, on what they call today, the agenda? What’s number 1? Fill the shoes of Judas because the Lord’s going to be coming back in short order, and we have to be ready. So, what does he do? Let’s go back to Acts chapter 1 verse 15. Now, this is all in view of this coming Kingdom in Matthew 19.
“And in those days (Right after Christ ascended back there in verse 9-10. They’re on their own. The Lord is gone. The Holy Spirit isn’t come yet.) Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, (That is the Jewish believers who were small in number, remember, out of the whole Nation of Israel.) and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) 16. Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, who was guide to them that took Jesus. 17. For he (Judas) was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.” He was one of the Twelve. Now verse 18, Peter is telling what happened.
“Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; (his sin caught up with him) and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. (In other words, that’s when he fell on his own sword.) 19. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.” All right, now here comes Peter’s big hurry to fill the slot.
“For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick (or his place of authority in the Twelve) let another take.” So, there’s Peter’s permission to get with it and fill the slot left empty by Judas’ act of rejection and rebellion and betrayal and what have you.
“Wherefore of these men (Out of the 120 total men and women, we don’t know how many men there were.) who have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,” Now here was the requirement for this candidate that they’re going to vote on to fill Judas’ place. This man has to be from:
“Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he (Jesus) was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” Now remember I pointed out several programs back that there are good men, and one especially that I regard too highly. He’s long gone. Yet he adamantly held to the fact that Peter was remiss by not waiting for Paul who should have been the twelfth apostle. How in the world could anybody think such a thing?
In the first place, Paul isn’t going to be converted until another 7 to 10 years later. And he was not a follower from the baptism of John unto the resurrection. Far from it. He was the biggest rejecter of Christ in Israel. But yet, that’s how they can twist the Scriptures that Peter should have waited for Saul of Tarsus. No, it would never work, because Paul did not qualify in this way. Then you know what happened. They ended up with two men, and out of the two Matthias was the one that was chosen.
All right, as we go into chapter 2 we’re going to continue in this concept that Peter had a good understanding of this coming earthly Kingdom over which the Messiah would rule and reign. That’s why his confession of faith emphasized “Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God.” He doesn’t say a word about His cross. He doesn’t say a word about resurrection or shed blood. All Peter said is that He is the promised Messiah of Israel. All right, now let’s pick this up in chapter 2, the day of Pentecost. The Pentecostal Sermon as we call it and look how Peter approaches it.
Now remember, he’s got Jews in his audience from every nation under heaven. They’ve been scattered as a result of the Babylonian captivity 600 years before. Jews are now congregating in every nation in the then known world, but they come back to Jerusalem for the feast days. I think it was almost a requirement that they make two of them out of the, how many are there? Seven. But, anyway, every feast day there would be multitudes of Jews from every nation out there in the then known world. You know the account on the day of Pentecost, how they all were hearing the Twelve speak in their native tongue, whether they were from Babylon or Syria or Africa or Rome or wherever. They heard those men in their own language.
All right, let’s move on to verse 22 and watch the language. This is all I implore people. Don’t go by what I say. Don’t go by what any preacher says. You go by what the Book says, and then you’ll be on pretty solid ground. Here Peter does not include a single Gentile. He says:
“Ye men of Israel, (That’s who he’s talking to. He’s talking to his fellow Jews.) hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by (Here it comes now.) miracles and wonders and signs,” Remember I told you in the first half-hour, what was the purpose of all that? To prove who He was! And Peter is appealing on the same basis. Remember all the miracles that He performed for three years? He was the Messiah. Now he’s going to say that He still is the Messiah because God raised Him from the dead. That’s the whole purpose of it. All right, here we go, verse 23.
“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,…” What does that tell you? Way back in eternity past God laid the blueprint for everything concerning creation, for everything concerning the human race. Knowing that they would fall into sin. Knowing that they would need a Redeemer. And the only way that God could redeem the human race was to take on flesh by one of the members of the Godhead, God the Son, and He would have to go the way of a Roman crucifixion. It was all in the blueprint. That’s why everything happened according to His timetable. Nothing was by accident.
Well, it’s the same way today. You know, as horrible as things are getting in the world, I’m getting less and less excited by it, because these things have to happen. Nothing is going to stop them. The Democrats won’t stop it. The Republicans won’t stop it. The United Nations won’t stop it. The European Community won’t stop it. It’s going to keep moving on God’s timetable. Nothing is going to change it. Everything has to come according to this Book, and the world can’t see it. They don’t want to see it, but we can.
All right, it was the same way with the crucifixion. It was all in God’s timetable. It was preordained before the world was ever created. That’s what’s Peter is reminding Israel.
“Him, (the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God) being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: (For the sins of the world? No. That’s not what Peter says. He doesn’t mention that. All he says now is, in verse 24:) 24. Whom God hath raised up,…”And like I said in the last program, could a dead Messiah become a King? Well, of course not. But if He’s been raised from the dead, He could! So, here’s the whole idea. The resurrection was when God raised Him from the dead, called Him back to glory with the promise that He would now return and yet bring in the Kingdom.
All right, now I skipped over that and I probably shouldn’t have. I think we’ve got time. Let’s stop here for a minute, and let’s just back up. That’s the way I teach, and people are getting used to it, so I don’t apologize for this. Let’s back up to Acts chapter 1 and jump in at verse 8. It’s in red, so the Lord is speaking it. This is just before He makes His ascension. But He tells the Eleven:
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: (It’s a reference to the day of Pentecost.) and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Now, of course, we know from reality that it stopped at Samaria. They never get to the “uttermost part of the earth.” Never. That was going to be left for the next apostle. But now verse 9.
“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10. And while they (the Eleven) looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; (They’re angels.) 11. Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Again, we always like to tie this in to the Old Testament. Come back to Zechariah 14 verse 4, and you have the perfect picture that is given here in Acts. It’s almost identical language, and Zechariah is written 400 and some years before Christ. That’s the beauty of prophecy. That’s the proof that this is the Word of God. No other book on earth can do this.
No other book! I don’t care which one they want to talk about. There is no other book on earth that can give you prophecy like this. So, 400 and some years before it happened; His death, burial, and resurrection, and the angels announcing that He’s going to come again, here it is in the Old Testament.
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave (or separate) in the midst thereof…” All right, what does Acts say? They’re on the Mount of Olives when He ascends, “and this same Jesus in like manner will come again.” To the same Mount of Olives, according to prophecy.
All right, coming back to chapter 2 of Acts, with this full understanding now by Peter and the Eleven that the One who was crucified has ascended back to the Father’s right hand, but He’s going to come again. But here’s the kicker! Did they have any idea He would be 2000 years? No. They thought it would be shortly after the seven years of Tribulation would come in, and then Christ would return – in their lifetime. I maintain that up until the end of their writings all these men had the inclination to believe that Christ would be returning in their lifetime.
It’s interesting that it isn’t until you get to II Peter that he, in so many words, directs his Jewish readers not to go to Christ’s earthly ministry. He doesn’t say “go read John” like most people say today. Peter tells his readers to read who? Paul! Peter says you go to Paul’s epistles, and you understand the wisdom that was given unto him. Well, it just struck me not too long ago, why did that wait until the end of Peter’s life, or the end of Paul’s life, which is about 68 or 69 AD? Because what’s going to happen in about the next year? The Temple is going to disappear! The Temple is going to be destroyed by the Roman forces. Now, you take the Temple out of Judaism and what have you got? A hollow shell. So now it’s appropriate for those Jewish believers to forget about Temple worship, forget about the whole legal system of the Mosaic Law. Now they come into Paul’s Gospel of Grace, because that’s where it’s all at! It’s good food for thought, isn’t it? Everything is in God’s Divine timing. It was never mentioned until it was just about time for the Temple to be removed from all of Israel’s day-to-day lifestyle, because they’re no longer under the Law if they’re going to become a believer now. They have to come under grace.
Now of course, they’re waiting for the day when they can get their Temple again, and they will. It’s going to be one of the tenants of that treaty made between the anti-Christ and the then known world. They’re going to have permission to rebuild their Temple, but until then – a Jew has to come into Paul’s doctrine of grace, and that’s why Peter made it so plain – you go to Paul’s epistles.