Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 72
THE BIG PICTURE OF WHY WE BELIEVE IN THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE – 1
I Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; Eph. 3:2; Col. 1:25
All right, glad to see all of you here in the studio. For those of you out in television again, we would like to invite you to sit down with your Bible and your pen and notepad and just study with us. I’m not a preacher. I’m not going to be lecturing you. We’re going to be teaching just like any other teacher would out of a textbook, which means that we’re going to use as many Scriptures as possible to not prove the point of Les Feldick, but to prove the point of God’s Word.
Now, I just announced to our studio audience that we just got back from three weeks down in Florida and had a great time. The very first church where we started down at Fort Myers, the pastor had asked before I even left Oklahoma, “I never tell a visiting speaker what to speak on, but if you feel so led, I would really appreciate it if you would address why we stand on a pre-tribulation Rapture. Because I understand that we’re under attack for that like never before.” Of course, I’m hearing it from every quarter that people are almost getting aggressively hateful about our stand on a pre-trib. Rapture.
So, I agreed wholeheartedly. We were there for the Sunday morning Sunday school hour, the morning service hour, the evening service; and then Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night, for an hour to an hour and a half each night. And as people were leaving, that’s what gave me the idea, they would say,”Les, why don’t you make a series of programs on this?” And I said, “Well, we’ll consider it.” The more I thought about it and prayed about it, it just seems as though this was the way we’re going to go. I don’t know how many programs it’s going to take. I don’t know where we’ll end any one particular program. We’re just going to be flying free on this, and when we run out of time, we’ll stop and just start up the next time where we left off.
We’re going to start on the premise that you cannot understand the concept of the Rapture and the Tribulation and the Second Coming and the Kingdom without being a dispensationalist. Now, it’s a hated word in a lot of quarters. It’s as if it isn’t even Scriptural. But, I have put four verses on the board. We’ll look at them briefly. They all make reference to that very term — a dispensation.
We’ll look at them as we’ve got them up here. The first one is I Corinthians chapter 9 verse 17. While you’re looking that up, I’ll just share an experience with one of my listeners. Several years ago he approached his pastor and he said, “Pastor, why don’t you ever preach a sermon on the Rapture?” “Oh,” he said, “I wouldn’t dare do that, then I’d be a dispensationalist.” Well, what’s so bad with that? But they’re almost afraid of the term as if it’s an unbiblical concept, but I’m going to show you that it is a Scriptural term. I Corinthians chapter 9 verse 17, where Paul writes:
I Corinthians 9:17
“For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.” Dispensation—we’re going to explain that in more detail after we’ve looked at these four verses.
All right, the next one is Ephesians 1:10. Just keep on going to the right through Galatians to Ephesians chapter 1 verse 10, and again Paul, by Holy Spirit inspiration. Remember, Paul doesn’t write one word that isn’t inspired by the Holy Spirit, and he uses the term. Isn’t it amazing that much of Christendom detests it. A biblical term, a Scriptural term, but they detest it. And if we get a letter at all that’s less than kind, that’s what it’s over. “How can you teach this false theory of a Rapture?” Well, this is why – because it’s biblical!
“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in him:” That’s a different dispensation, but never the less the same term.
Now, the next one, I think, is chapter 3 verse 2, and this is actually the verse that we used in every service under those circumstances. I was actually asking my audience to memorize this verse. And it’s easy to memorize. And it’s a good foundation for our approach to Scripture.
“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God (That’s the one in which we are.) which is given to me (But it doesn’t stay there, where does it go?) to you:” And who are the you that Paul is writing to? Gentiles.
So, the dispensation of grace is a set of instructions that God has given to us as Gentiles in particular. I’m going to go into that in a little bit. All right, now the next one is on much the same program or line of thinking—Colossians chapter 1 verse 25, same word. It means the same thing in every case. Colossians chapter 1 verse 25. In fact, let’s read verse 24.
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for his body’s sake, which is the church:” Which again, is a term only used in Paul’s epistles. You never see the Body of Christ mentioned anywhere else. All right, so he was afflicted bodily, with all of his imprisonments, his beatings, and what have you, “for the sake of the church, which is his body.”
“Whereof (The Body of Christ is connected to this apostle.) I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God, which is given to me for you, (For what purpose?) to fulfill (or to complete or bring to total fruition) the word of God;”
So, dispensationally speaking, everything that God has done from Adam in the Garden down through the very end of the Kingdom Age and on into eternity is based on a dispensational approach to Scripture. Now, we usually define a dispensation as simply as possible. If you haven’t already put it in a flyleaf of your Bible, you might want to. A dispensation is a period of time during which God deals with the human race in a particular way.
Now, I think a few tapings back I more or less explained it like this: if you went to the doctor a few years ago or maybe a short time ago for whatever trouble you had. We’ll just say you went in for a bad cough. He gives you a prescription for your cough. You take it to the pharmacist. He fills the prescription not only with your cough medicine, but what does he put on the outside of the bottle? The directions on how often and how much to take.
All right, some months later you’ve come up with maybe an arthritis attack and your joints are hurting. So you go to the doctor and he prescribes something for your arthritis. For sake of illustration, we’ll again hope that we can use a liquid medicine rather than pills. He puts your liquid medicine for your arthritis in a bottle and you get home. Now you’ve got medicine bottles in your chest and you think, well, maybe it would work better if I mix them. So, you take the caps off of your two different kinds of medication, and you mix them. Now, you don’t know how much of which one to take. Why? Because you’re all confused.
All right, isn’t that exactly what they’ve done with Scripture? They’ve mixed all the dispensations together and claim that we only use one Bible. That’s true. And I just use the whole Bible. What you’re doing is just mixing all the dispensations and you end up with nothing that’s going to do you any good but cause confusion.
Now, you know as a rule, I’ve always pictured it over the years as putting it in a blender—blenderizing the Scriptures. But see, this is why there are so many different denominations. There are so many groups. They just put it all together and then they pick and choose. Whereas if they would just separate these various times during which God dealt with the human race in a particular way, it clears up everything.
All right, now I always go back to the Garden of Eden as the most simple dispensation in all of human history because of the time element as well as the directions for it. Now, we don’t know how long Adam and Eve were in the Garden. I don’t even make a guess. But I do know that while they were in the Garden, God only gave them one set of directions. And it was simple—of that one tree you shall not eat. Everything else is for you, but leave that tree alone. Now, that was their directions for that dispensation. Simple, wasn’t it? That’s all they had to do—just leave that tree alone, and God would be satisfied, and He would bless them. But after a period of time, and like I said, I don’t know how long – they ate from the forbidden tree.
Well, then the wrath of God fell because they were disobedient. Judgment came in and they were cast out of the Garden. Well, that ended that period of time during which they lived day by day under that one direction – you shall not eat of it. That ended the first dispensation.
You come on up through history and we have a couple of other periods of time where God put out some distinct instructions. I haven’t got time to go into them, but I’m going to jump all the way up to the time when Israel comes out of Egypt, and they go under the dispensation of what we call “Law.” As they were gathered around Mt. Sinai, Moses goes up into the mountain and God gives to Moses the set of directions for the Nation of Israel under the Law, which included, of course, the Ten Commandments. But that wasn’t all. They were also given instructions on how to deal with sin, how to approach God through the priesthood with sacrifices. That was all part of their directions. And as long as they maintained a semblance of obedience to that, God’s wrath didn’t really fall.
But after 1,500 years, the whole reason the Law was given, their Messiah appeared in fruition of all the promises of God. Now, that brings me to the other verse I was going to have the studio audience look at first. That brings you back to Romans 15 verse 8. After 1,500 years of just more or less practicing the religion of Law, or Judaism, now God comes in with a little extra responsibility for Israel, and that was to recognize that Jesus of Nazareth was the Promised Messiah. All right, now I used that word Promised specifically for this reason.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was (Now, this is Paul writing years after the fact, past tense.) a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, (Always stop and read carefully. So, who was He a minister to? Israel. The Jew. See, don’t lose that. He was a minister to Israel, for what purpose?) to confirm (or to fulfill, to bring to fruition) the promises made unto the fathers:” Well, who were the Fathers? Old Testament Israel – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and then on up to David and Solomon and the Prophets, Isaiah.
Every one of them was looking forward to the time when God would send a Redeemer, a Messiah and a King to the Nation of Israel to fulfill all the promises. Well, the promises were primarily this glorious earthly Kingdom that Israel was looking for. Solomon’s Kingdom was just a little fore view, just a little tip of the iceberg of the glory that was waiting for Israel. But they would have to become obedient and believe who their Messiah was when He came. Now, that brings me up to current events.
When Christ came should Israel have known who He was? Absolutely! The Old Testament was full of it. But did they? For the most part – no. Now, I think I can have you come back there with me to Matthew 16. This will probably appeal to the interest of present day current events for a few moments. Matthew 16, because I may just ramble kind of free today. I’m not on a set format to go verse by verse through a particular chapter. So, bear with me. I hope I don’t lose you.
In Matthew 16, now let’s refresh your memory so in 15 seconds you haven’t lost where I’ve come from. Jesus came to fulfill the promises made to the Fathers. Right? All right, I asked the question, should they have known who He was? Sure they should have. But did they? No. All right, now here’s Jesus approaching the Pharisees, and He’s really dressing them down.
“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven. (Now the Jews were always looking for signs, you know. Now look at His answer.) 2. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3. And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. (Now, look what He’s telling them.) O ye hypocrites, (you false, whited sepulchers) ye can discern the face of the sky; (You can foretell tomorrow’s weather.) but can ye not discern the (What?) signs of the times?”
He was talking in regard to His own presence. They should have understood that they were now in the fourth of Daniel’s empires: the Babylonian, the Mede and the Persian, the Greek, and now the Roman. They were in it. The Romans were over Jerusalem. That was the number one sign. That should have told them that this was the time that we can look for the Messiah. But did they? They didn’t have a clue.
Well, various other aspects of His appearance – they should have been able to foretell who He was and what He was doing on the basis of the Scriptures. But they couldn’t. It’s the same way today. We are living under the exact same kind of circumstances. The signs of the times, beloved, and you out in television, they’re everywhere. A few people are waking up and realizing it.
In fact, I just had a young man call the other day. He was so excited. His pastor, who had been a mainline pastor for years, never touched prophecy (and I’ll explain why a little later this afternoon). He suddenly realized that with the signs of the time maybe he’d better get into prophecy. So he’s starting to change his mind by it.
All right, I’m always asking, wherever I go if I approach this subject the signs of the times, what is the number one sign that we are in the end time and Christ’s coming is not that far off? Israel back in the land! That should just scream at everybody whether they know anything of Scripture or not. How miraculously the Jews have come back from every nation under heaven, and they’re in their own land against all odds. They should have never succeeded. But they did!
But they didn’t do it. God did it! Because the Word says, “after you’ve been scattered to every nation under heaven, you will return.” That’s in Deuteronomy written by Moses 3,500 years ago, beloved. But here it is. The number one sign of the times – Israel back in the land.
In fact, I had a young man a while ago come back, 22 years old. He said, “Les, how can I approach my own aged kids (we call them peers) without them thinking I’m just getting on a religious tangent.” I said, “Well, start with current events.” Sometime when you’re just having a…whatever the kids call it today; we used to call it a “bull session” when I was in service. But anyway, you just sort of start chewing all this stuff over and I said, “Just remind them. Why is a little nation of only around five million, now I guess they’re approaching six million people, in the news every day?” The United Nations is constantly meeting concerning that one little Nation in the world. Why? I said, “Just ask your fellow young people, do you ever think about that?” A little country sitting on a piece of real estate smaller than half of New Jersey and in the news every day, that’s not common ordinary carryings on of the world. It’s a supernatural thing.
All right, from that, hopefully, you can show them that our Bible is true. No matter how much Israel is opposed and how much they’re hated, yet they’re there. And they’re there by God’s design. And then all the other things. My, do you ever stop to think, what is rolling over Christendom today like never before, but it has all started since about 1900? I don’t have to remind you of many of them, but number one is an understanding of end time Scriptures. That was almost unknown until after 1900. The other thing is the coming in like a tsunami of the New Age Religions. My, they’re appealing to our young people, and they’re falling for it by the millions—New Age.
And, oh, there’s another I thought of—our secular technology. Imagine the technology. Like I reminded one of my groups in Florida last week, do you ever stop to think that back in the 70’s the powers that be in the world were just wringing their hands because with population exploding we would never be able to keep up with food production? Have we? Why, more food is thrown out in garbage than what the world ever imagined producing. There’s no reason for anybody to go hungry. The only reason there are people starving is not production, it is distribution. There it sits in warehouses.
I read the other day that all the aid that poured into Indonesia over the tsunami, most of it is still setting in warehouses. They don’t know how to distribute. But nevertheless, God has provided that no matter how far humanity comes, everything comes along with it, and that’s God’s design. Otherwise, we would never have gotten this far.
That’s why I’m not at all shook up about this so-called global warming. God’s in control. He’s not going to let it destroy itself, not until He’s ready to do it Himself. So, always remember, they get all shook up about these things, but they leave God out of the picture.
Well, on and on we could go. Oil. Can you imagine how production and distribution keeps up with all these billions of automobiles and planes and everything, and yet the world keeps going. Well, that’s not an accident. That’s our God who is in control of everything. Well anyway, when Jesus said to know the signs of the times. It was just as much a warning for us today as it was for the despicable Pharisees of His day.
I could even go a little further yet, but I think that’s sufficient that we are to understand we are at the close of the age. The signs of the times are all around us. All you have to do is watch your daily news, the breakdown of morality, the apostasy of the church. My goodness, you can’t believe what people are hearing coming over their pulpits. We hear it in our phone calls. Well, that’s all part of the end time scenario. It’s a sign of the time.
All right, I’ve only got five minutes left. And we just started back with Christ being the minister of the circumcision for the truth of God. In the five minutes we have left, we’ve got to look at the big picture before we can begin to even make sense about an end time scenario, which includes the out-calling of the Body of Christ.
Let’s go all the way back to Genesis chapter 12 for just a little bit, because unless you understand Israel’s role, you’ll never understand the Bible. Israel is the key player. They have been from day one, and they will be on into eternity. Never forget that. Now the first eleven chapters of Genesis were God dealing with one race of people. And it was a sorry scenario. There’s hardly a good point in the first eleven chapters. Because after Adam and Eve were created, the first thing they did was rebel. They’re disobedient, and they’re cast out of the Garden.
Well, then the kids come along and one kills the other. It’s just one awful thing after another. Then it just kept getting worse and worse and worse until He finally destroyed them in the flood. Then after the flood, God starts over with Noah and his three sons and their wives. It still doesn’t get any better, because 200 years later they’re gathered at the Tower of Babel. It was nothing but a great rebellion again against God, and the establishing of their own human gods and goddesses, which we call mythology.
Then after another 200 years, when it seems as though everything has just continued to go moving down, down, down, God steps in once more and brings out one man. Just one man Abram. And here is the big change then in Scripture. Because from chapter 12 of Genesis, like I said, until we go into eternity, Israel becomes the focal point of all of God’s dealing with the human race. They’re at the core of everything. And of course, Satan knew that. He knows it. So he’s been attacking them ever since, trying to destroy them. Because Satan knows if he can knock Israel out of the loop, then God’s program for the human race falls apart. All right, Genesis chapter 12.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: 2. And I will make of thee a great nation, (which of course is a reference to Israel) and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: (And then here’s the promise that brings us into the picture, that in Abram–) and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Not just Israel, but the whole human race would be blessed through the promises that God would make to this one man, Abraham, the father of the Jewish Nation.
All right, for sake of time, in the minute or two that we have left, jump over to chapter 15 verse 7. This is the first place that shows the humanity of this man, Abram. He was just as human as we are. God has just promised him all these things and in verse 7 He said:
“And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.” Now remember, they are already standing on the mountains of Israel or in the land of Canaan, and God says, I will give you this land to inherit it.
“And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” How do I know that you’re going to do it? How can I know that you mean business? Well, God says, I’ll deed it to you. So, you come on over to the end of the chapter after going through the process of transferring the title deed as the ancients did it, under the laws of Hammurabi, now verse 18.
“In the same day (That God deeded the whole Middle East, from the Nile River to the Euphrates and back, to Israel) the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed I have given this land,(That’s the word of God. It’s His promise.) from the river of Egypt (That’s probably the Nile, but if not, it’s right close to it.) unto the great river, the river Euphrates:” And then all the tribes that were involved in that Middle Eastern area, God says, “I will give it to you and your children after you.”
We know, of course, that that’s exactly what all the Old Testament promises rest on. That this whole Middle East was deeded to the man Abram, and that it was to be the homeland of the Jew for all the period of time that this planet will function. And that has never been rescinded. We’ll look at some of the opposition to that as we go on through the afternoon.