Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 72
THE BIG PICTURE OF WHY WE BELIEVE IN THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE – 2
I Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; Eph. 3:2; Col. 1:25
Okay, good to have everybody back. You’ve had your break, and I guess you notice I don’t get one. I guess it’s the same way in my seminars, as everyone has questions and wants to talk. But anyway, we’re glad you’re here. For those of you joining us on television, again we just can never find words to thank you for your prayers and your letters. My, how we enjoy the letters and of course your financial gifts. We can’t stay on the air without them. But a lot of people can’t understand how we do it without begging for money.
Gary remembers it well. I said from day one, if I have to beg for money, I’m going home. And that’s the way we’ve always been. I will not beg. If we ever get to that place, well, then we’ll just start dropping stations, and if the Lord wants us off the air then we’ll quit. But until then, we expect the greatest fundraiser in the whole universe will take care of our every need. And He does. It’s just unbelievable. And we do—we thank you out there for your constant support and your love for us wherever we go.
All right, now we’re going to keep moving toward why we teach and admonish and absolutely firmly believe that as New Testament believers, members of the Body of Christ, we will not see the anti-Christ. We’ll have a lot of guesses, but we will never find out who he is because before he shows up, we’re gone! I guess what people can’t handle is, how’s God going to do it?
Well, I always come back to the Lord’s words Himself – with God what? “Nothing is impossible.” Don’t ever think that something is beyond Him. I don’t care what it is. Even though the Rapture does seem like an impossibility, with God it will happen.
All right, we’re going to continue on with what brings us up to the glorious dispensation of the Grace of God. But first we’re going to go back to a previous dispensation, the one just ahead of us, which was Israel under the Law. Let’s go back to Exodus chapter 19 for just a moment. They are fresh out of Egypt. They became a Nation down there according to Genesis. And now they’re gathered around the mount. Moses has gone up to meet with the Lord face to face. Here’s the account of it in Exodus 19, and I guess we’ll jump in at verse 3.
“Moses went up unto God, (that is up into Mount Sinai) and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;” In other words, the whole Nation of the Twelve Tribes. Now God says–
“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bear you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” In other words, brought them out of Egypt and through the Red Sea miraculously, and then brought them down around Mount Sinai.
“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed,…” Now, does that ring a bell—what I said about Adam and Eve? What were they to do with regard to that forbidden tree? Be obedient. But what were they? Disobedient. And so things happened. All right, now it is the same way with Israel. If they maintain a semblance of obedience, God doesn’t expect perfection, but He said–
“…if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, (The one He’s going to give in chapter 20, the Ten Commandments and everything associated with it.) then ye shall be a peculiar treasure (or a treasure of intrinsic value) unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”
I think I stressed this in tapings not too far back, that here’s where we see the Sovereignty of God declare Israel as the favored Nation, the Nation that is above all other nations in every category that you can imagine. The reason God can do it is because He’s Sovereign—for all the earth is Mine, I can do what I want. Now you know, once in a while man himself gets to that place where he thinks he owns so much, he’s got so much control, and he can do whatever he wants. Well, he may think he can, but he’s still limited. But God can. God is unlimited. All right, here we have it that “all the earth is mine.” Now verse 6 is the key verse.
“And ye (Israel) shall be unto me a kingdom of priests,…” Now, like I just asked somebody yesterday. What do you have to have in order to have a valid kingdom? A king! What’s the king without a kingdom? Well, he’s a nothing. Well, what’s a kingdom without a king? Nothing. So, you’ve got to bring the two together that here Israel is promised to be a kingdom, but latent in that promise is there will be king coming sooner or later.
All right, now then, just for sake of time—my listening audience is probably getting anxious that I jump up into the New Testament. Let’s go all the way up to Zechariah, the next to the last book in your Old Testament. There are a lot of intervening verses, but we pretty much covered them, I think, in fairly recent programs. But now in Zechariah chapter 14 it is in such plain language. How can anybody disagree with it, unless they are just flagrantly disobedient? But here we have Zechariah 14 verse 9. Now remember, Zechariah is getting up pretty close to the New Testament in Matthew already.
“And the LORD (Now remember, that’s all capitalized, so that’s Jehovah, or God the Son, Israel’s Messiah.) the LORD shall be (at some future day) king over all the earth:…” Now, can you get it any plainer than that? I don’t know how you can. He hasn’t yet, but He’s going to. He’s going to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords over planet earth.
It’ll be a totally renovated surface of the earth. Oh, it’s still going to be going in its orbit around the sun. It’s still going to be functioning as a planet, but the surface is going to be totally renovated. Now, all you have to do is just use a little 12-year-old’s imagination. With all the hundreds and hundreds of nuclear weapons that are in storehouses around the planet, once they start exploding them, how long will it take to incinerate the planet? Not long. And that’s what’s going to happen. They’re all going to be exploded one way or another in God’s own time and this old planet is literally going to be reduced to ashes. God will plow them all under and out will come that glorious 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ on a renovated, regenerated, reconstituted earth.
I can see it with no problem at all. My goodness, when you realize how nuclear energy can reduce steel to absolute nothing, and we’ve got all these hundreds upon thousands of nukes. I read in yesterday’s paper that we are going to start building a new generation of them that are even better yet. Well, it’s just all adding to the stockpile. God is smiling in His heaven, and He says, have at it, boys, you’re getting it all ready for Me. And they’re going to destroy themselves. So, that’s what’s coming whether they like to admit it or not. Now remember, the Book of Daniel gives us 75 days after the return of Christ and the end of the Tribulation until things begin to flow into everyday activity. And I think it’s in those 75 days that the earth will come back up and be like a renewed Garden of Eden. All right, so read the verse once more.
“And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day (that is starting with His Second Coming to the Mount of Olives) there shall be one LORD, and His name one.” Which of course fits perfectly with Revelation 19, “and his name shall be called King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
All right, now as you come into Matthew, we see that Christ makes His appearance at His first coming. But before He appears, we have John the Baptist, the herald. He’s going to announce to the Nation of Israel that their King is in their midst. So, jump up to Matthew chapter 3. Israel has now been under the Law, Temple worship, and Judaism as we understand it for 1,500 years. Now the Messiah makes His appearance according to prophecy.
“In those days, came John the Baptist, (Now remember, what goes ahead of it in chapter 1 is the birth of Christ down at Bethlehem.) preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2. And saying, Repent ye: (That’s what it says.) for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Well, there’s that word kingdom again. What’s it talking about? The earthly kingdom that Zechariah was just talking about a few pages back and over which the Son of God, Israel’s Messiah, will rule and reign. It’s finally ready to come about.
All right, now Israel here is at a crossroads. Are they going to believe it? Are they going to accept it? Or are they going to reject it? And I’m always making a parallel with Kadesh-barnea. You remember when they came to Kadesh? What did God tell them? The Promised Land, there it is. It’s all yours, with all its production and all of its farms and orchards and pastures, a land flowing with milk and honey. I always have to qualify, what does it mean, “flowing with milk and honey?”
It means everything that it would take to produce humongous amounts of dairy milk. Which would be what? Fresh water and grass and all the other things that it takes to produce milk, and what does it take to produce honey? Flowers and blooms and all the things that bees can use. Well, you put all that together and what kind of a landscape does it give you? Beautiful! Productive! So that’s what they were looking at. But, did they take it? No. In unbelief they said, thanks, but no thanks. And they went back into the desert and died like flies. What a pity.
But see, they’re confronted again. The King is in your midst, can you believe it? No, they can’t believe it, and so they turned it down again. The whole concept then of His earthly ministry was to prove to the Nation of Israel who He was. You’ve heard me sound that off now for 15 years. This is why He performed the miracles – to prove that He was the Promised Messiah. But Israel wouldn’t buy it and they rejected it and rejected and rejected.
All right, now let’s move all the way up into the Book of Acts. I guess I almost have to stop at Acts chapter 1 and look at verse 6 for just a moment. The Lord has just been resurrected and spent 40 days in His resurrected body with the Twelve, walking up and down the byways and the roadways of ancient Israel from Galilee to Jerusalem. He was again proving that He was alive. He was the Son of God with all of His power. And He was yet able to be the King promised to Israel.
All right, after those 40 days are over, they are assembled up there on the Mount of Olives. Of course, they don’t know that He’s going to suddenly take off from their midst and go back to glory. But nevertheless, they’re in conversation here on the Mount of Olives at the end of the 40 days and verse 6:
“When they therefore were come together, (Jesus and the Eleven. Now Judas is gone. Matthias hasn’t yet come in, so Jesus and the Eleven were there on the Mount of Olives.) they asked of him saying, Lord, wilt thou as this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”
See, that’s the key word, Lord, are you ready to bring in the Kingdom? Well, He couldn’t as long as Israel was in unbelief. Because the whole thing is tied to Israel’s recognizing who He is. Otherwise, He can’t bring it about. All right, so then verse 7, He doesn’t ridicule their question. It was a valid question. Look at His answer.
“…It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Today we say, it’s not for you to know the here and when. But here it is.
All right, so He says–
“…It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” All right, when you come a little further along in the Book of Acts, let’s go to chapter 2. The Lord is ascended back to Glory. He has established with the Eleven that He’s alive and well. He can still fulfill the promise of a Kingdom. Now in chapter 2, it was a Jewish feast day, the Feast of Pentecost; and Jews, of course, have gathered from every nation in the then known world to come to the Temple for the Feast of Pentecost, as they did for all the feasts throughout the year. All right, so we have a conglomeration of Jews from every nation under heaven. And we have the miracle of Pentecost. All right, now let’s drop down to verse 5 in Acts chapter 2.
“And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, (Now, they were devout according to the Law, remember. They’re keeping the Temple worship, the sacrifices, and the whole nine-yards.) out of (Now watch this carefully.) every nation under heaven.”
In other words, here they were probably from as far away as India and Persia, which is present day Iran, from what’s present day Arabia and over to present day Iraq, which were Babylon and Syria and Egypt and North Africa. They had gathered from every part of the then known world for this Feast of Pentecost. But they’re all Jews. All right, so they’re coming from every nation under heaven, now verse 6.
“Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man, (whether he was from North Africa or if he was from China or India or Timbuktu) heard them speak in his own language.” Now, do you have to be a seminary graduate to understand that?
In other words, if they were from Syria, they heard it in the local language of the Syrians. Because after all, Jews had been there now for generations, and the second, third, and fourth generation started speaking the local language and had forgotten their Hebrew or whatever. Or, if they came from Turkey, they were speaking the language of the Turks and so forth. Every Jew gathered there in that Pentecostal crowd was hearing the Twelve, especially Peter, James, and John, I think, speak in their own language.
“And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these Galileans?” Now of course the point I always make when I teach these things – are there any Gentiles involved? Not a one. There’s not a Gentile in here. This is a Jewish phenomenon, never forget that. All right, now when you come down to verse 22, it’s again obvious. Now Peter says–
“Ye men of Israel, (That’s Jews.) hear these words;…” And then he goes through who Jesus was and what had happened and how God had raised Him up, and that He could still bring in the glorious kingdom that has been promised all the way up through the Old Testament.
All right, so all through these early chapters, in fact, let’s stop at chapter 3. I’m just showing you how we are in the transitional part of Scripture. We’re moving from Israel under the Law and Judaism, and we’re going to move to the place where the Apostle Paul comes and is sent to the Gentile world because of Israel’s rejection of everything.
All right, Acts chapter 3 and Peter again is preaching to the Nation of Israel. Verse 12, and what precipitates this is that they have just healed a lame man up there at the Temple. And the Jews are all shook up. Where did these guys get the wherewithal to heal this guy who’s been lame for 40 years?
Well, I always have to remind my listeners. How long has it been since Jesus’ earthly ministry ended? About eight weeks. No, a little more than that—fifty days, plus 10, two months. That’s all. Two months after probably performing His last miracle, the Twelve performed and they can’t figure it out. How did you do this? Well, then Peter, verse 12, when he saw the consternation, I guess is the word I’ve used before, when he saw the confusion amongst the Jews over these men healing this lame man, verse 12.
“And when Peter saw it, he answered the people, Ye men of Israel, (How many Gentiles are in that statement? Well, not a one.) why marvel at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? 13. The God of Abraham,…” Did that mean anything to the average down on the road Gentile? Why no, nothing. But to a Jew? Everything.
“The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15. And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”
Now, watch this carefully. I’m reading it rather speedily for sake of time, but when you get home or when you’re in your own Bible study, read these verses slowly and deliberately and note that never does Peter associate the salvation of these Jews on that finished work of the cross. All Peter is showing here is the one that they demanded be put to death is alive and still can fulfill the promises. You can’t have a dead man ruling as a king. Can you? Why, of course not. But He’s not dead. The tomb is empty! He’s alive. And Peter is proving that. He can still be the King.
Now, what did Israel have to do? Well, nothing has changed so far as the Nation is concerned. Drop down to verse 19. And preachers and teachers today try to push all this into our Pauline economy and Grace. That’s why there’s so much confusion. What’s the first word?
“Repent ye (How did John the Baptist start? Repent. Nothing has changed. Nothing.) Repent ye therefore, and be converted,…” or have a change of mind concerning whom? Jesus of Nazareth. That’s the problem. That’s the what that they’re to repent of now that they have killed and rejected the Promised Messiah.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” What’s the times of refreshing? The King and His Kingdom! Heaven on earth.
My, wouldn’t it be something to look forward to that. Maybe next week, all of a sudden, all of our sin problem would disappear. All of the heartache of this world would stop and all of a sudden we’d have heaven on earth! Refreshing is almost a calm word, isn’t it? But that’s what he says. They could have it all if they would just confess and repent of the sin, primarily now of having rejected their Messiah. Now, if you think I’m kidding you, look at verse 20. What would God do if Israel would repent?
“And he (God) shall send Jesus Christ, (the same one of the earthly ministry) who was before preached unto you:” To be the king, but the Holy Spirit, I think, prompts Peter to not get too exuberant, because there’s a period of time that has to be fulfilled from the Old Testament prophecies before the King can come under any circumstances. And what time is that? Tribulation. The seven years of horror have to come. You can’t skip them. And this is what the next verse says, verse 21.
“Whom (the same Jesus Christ) the heaven must receive (Or hold, just like Psalms 110 said, come sit at my right hand until–. All right, so—heaven must hold him) until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Well, what’s the time of restitution? I just gave you a graphic example. When after the seven years of the horrors of the Tribulation and all the nukes have been exploded and all the volcanoes have done all their work and all the earthquakes, this old planet is going to be completely reduced to ashes and out of it will come a glorious new planet—like the Garden of Eden from one pole to the other. All right, then he goes on to say, now remember, this is all the Old Testament promises being rehearsed before the Nation of Israel, now verse 22.
“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, (He will be a fellow Jew, as Jesus was, of course.) like unto me; (In other words, as Moses was a deliverer, so Christ at His Second Coming will be a deliverer.) him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” Because He’s going to be your king.”
“And it shall come to pass, that every soul, who will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed (or removed) from among the people.” Because there are no unbelievers going into the Kingdom. None, they’ll be removed. And Jesus made that so plain in His earthly ministry that they will go to their perdition and the believers will go into the Kingdom. All right, now read on, our time is just about gone already.
“Yea, and all the prophets (all the Old Testament, practically, from) Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, (all the Old Testament prophets) have likewise foretold of these days.” That’s why, you remember, that when I start teaching the prophets, like the Minor Prophets, it’s repetition. You know that’s why I kind of have a hard time taking them down the row, because people are going to say, well, Les, you just said that last month. But that’s what it is. All the prophets are rehearsing to Israel the coming of this glorious Kingdom. But before the Kingdom can come, the wrath of God must precede it.
All right, so Peter’s reminding them of the same thing. All the prophets told of these things, see? Now then verse 25.
“Ye are the children of the prophets, (Now who was he talking to? Jews. Not a Gentile in the picture here.) and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto (Whom?) Abraham, (See, that’s why I started back there this afternoon with Genesis chapter 12. This all started with Abraham and the appearance of the Nation of Israel.) which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed (That is in the offspring of Abraham.) shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.”
Now just for one little glimpse, only a part of all that is this Book. This Book came from the offspring of Abraham. That’s part of what he’s talking about. And listen, where would this world be without this Book? It’s bad enough as it is, but oh, it would be so much worse. This is where we draw all our comfort, and it all came by the prophets and the coming of the Nation of Israel, whom God used to give us the printed Word.
All right, we’ve got a half a minute left. Then, verse 26, and we’ll have to wind it up.
“Unto you first (the Nation of Israel with all of their promises, with all of their written Scriptures) God, having raised up his Son Jesus, (Now remember what the raised up meant? He was raised from the dead. He’s no longer dead. He’s alive and well.) sent him to bless you, in turning away (How many?) every one of you from his iniquities.” But did Israel turn? No.