Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 72
THE BIG PICTURE OF WHY WE BELIEVE IN THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE – 4
I Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; Eph. 3:2; Col. 1:25
Again, for those of you in television, we’re just an informal Bible study. I never try to grind an axe with anyone. All I want people to do is just search the Scriptures. If you disagree with me on a Scriptural basis, fine. But you’d better know what you’re talking about scripturally, because I will not accept any manmade argument or denominational creed or anything like that. Search the Scriptures, because that’s the whole idea of comparing Scripture with Scripture. And as we put it on the screen here several programs back, always determine who is writing, who it is written to, what the circumstances were before and behind and whatever. That’s still the secret.
All right, we’re going to jump right back in where we cut off in our last program. I just about didn’t see the end to that program in time, but that doesn’t bother us any. We’re just going to keep going to where we left off. I can see I’m not going to get to the Rapture in this half hour, so we’ll just have to wait until our next taping.
All right, here in Acts chapter 11 the verse where we were when we ran out of time was verse 19. These Jews who had been scattered out of the Jerusalem church “went as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch preaching the word (the Old Testament) to none but unto the Jews only.”
Now, that’s what the Scripture says. That’s not what Les Feldick thinks or anybody else thinks, but that’s what the Book says. They were not attempting to go to anybody but Jews. But now remember, Acts is a transitional book. We’re coming out of Judaism and the dispensation of Law, and we’re going to be jumping over into the dispensation of Grace and the Pauline epistles. So, you’re going to have some flux, is what I call it.
You’re going to have an overlapping of Judaism with Grace. But as they go along, Judaism is going to fall through the cracks, and Peter and the eleven lose their authority with the church at Jerusalem, because now it’s moot as Israel is still rejecting everything.
Then Paul becomes the preeminent apostle until we get to the return of God dealing with Israel for the Tribulation. That, of course, is where we come in with our Rapture teaching that we can’t be here for the Tribulation, because we are not part of God dealing with Israel. But we’ll come to that in our next taping more than likely.
All right, so in Acts chapter 11 we have the visible unfolding of the transition from Jew to Gentile. And if I don’t take these verses, somebody is going to call and say, “Why did you skip them?” Well, I’m not going to, so go right on into verse 20.
“And some of them (Some of these Jerusalem church emissaries who have been preaching the word to none but Jews only.) And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, (Now, this Antioch is up north of present day Lebanon in Syria. Ancient Antioch, of course, I think the ruins are still there at the head of the river.) spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.”
Now, I know the King James has got Grecian, but I think that’s a gross error. It should be Greeks. Because it wouldn’t be anything unusual for them to be talking to Jews, which was what the word Grecian implies, as a Grecian was a non-Palestinian Jew. But a Greek is a Gentile. I think some of your newer translations may have Greeks. Now, to these Greeks these same Jews start preaching the Lord Jesus. Now again, just take a minute to contemplate, why did the Jerusalem church react the way it did?
Now it hasn’t completely been annihilated. The vast numbers of course have run for their lives, but it’s still under the control of the Twelve. Don’t think for a minute it isn’t. All right, so:
“And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned to the Lord.” That is these Gentiles are taking an interest now in the things of Israel’s God. Now verse 22:
“Then tidings of these things (Gentiles getting interested.) came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem:…” See, that’s why I’m always calling it the Jerusalem church. Now, when the tidings of this came to that Jerusalem church, again, did they, like I said after chapter 10, did they shout–praise the Lord, Hallelujah?! Heavens, no, we’ve got to go check this out. Look at it.
“Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go far as Antioch.” Well, now read between the lines. For what purpose? To see what in the world are these people doing? They’re not adhering to our Jewishness. They’re bringing in Gentiles.
I think I mentioned in one of my Florida Seminars, isn’t it amazing that God always has His own man for the right time and the right place? Had anybody but Barnabas gone up to Antioch, they would have blown the whole thing apart. But see, Barnabas was the man, now read on in verse 23.
“Who, (speaking of Barnabas) when he came, (to the Antioch situation) and had seen the (What?) grace of God, (Saving Gentiles! He–) was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave (or hang on) unto the Lord. 24. For he (Barnabas) was a good man,…” He wasn’t so bigoted like most Jews would have been naturally. He didn’t just have that one mindset. He had the wherewithal to see God is doing something different, and I’m not going to stand in the way. I’m not going to report this to the Jerusalem church, because they’ll just scream and say, shut them down. They don’t want anything to do with this.
“For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: (He was God’s man. See?) and much people were added unto the Lord.” Now, what did that prompt Barnabas to do? Go look for Saul.
Now, just put all this together. What in the world prompted Barnabas to understand Saul was the man that was needed? Gentiles. Gentiles. And what was the purpose of God sending Saul out into the desert? To be the Apostle of the Gentiles. And Barnabas had enough Spirit-driven understanding that, hey, with Gentiles coming in, we need the Apostle of the Gentiles. So, what does the verse say?
“Then departed Barnabas (that is from Antioch) to Tarsus, for to seek (or to look for) Saul:” With the purpose that he had to have God’s man for the Gentiles. All right, now the next verse.
“And when he had found him, (We don’t know how Barnabas looked, how long, but–) when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church,…” Now, the word church is always a called out assembly. But in this case it’s a called out assembly of predominately Gentiles, rather than a Jewish congregation. It’s now Gentile! All right, and Paul, now the Apostle of the Gentiles, is the absolute answer to their need.
“…that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples (These followers—that’s what the word disciples means. We’re not talking about the Twelve of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. These followers–) were called Christians first in Antioch.”
Now, you know what I have to do? Ask yourself a question. See, that’s how you learn. The little kid that asks a lot of questions is usually going to be the first person in his class when he goes to school. I love kids that ask questions. But I wish adults would do the same thing.
Ask yourself a question now. Why weren’t the Jerusalem church people called Christians? They were following the same Christ. The Bible never calls them Christians, but who were? The Gentiles believers, see? That’s a point to be taken. Here at this Gentile church up in Antioch, not the Jerusalem church, but the Gentile church up in Antioch, those believers were called Christians for the first time.
Okay, now we’ve got the establishment of Paul dealing with the Gentile church. Now, let’s jump ahead and get ready for our next taping. We’re going to lay out the necessity of a pre-Tribulation Rapture because of the uniqueness of Paul’s ministry to the Gentile world.
Turn to Ephesians chapter 3, and this is the dispensation that you and I find ourselves in. So this verse becomes totally pertinent for us. Now, we certainly make it plain that Jews can be saved in this dispensation. It’s going to be rare, but they can be, and we know we have a Jewish audience. We run into it every once in a while, but that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily believers. At least they’re having a chance at it. So, we never exclude the Jewish people, but it is predominately a Gentile thing. All right, Ephesians chapter 3 and I’m going to start with verse 1.
“For this cause (In other words, what he’s written especially in these first two chapters of Ephesians.) I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,” Well, now stop and think a minute. Where is Paul when he writes the letter to the Ephesians? He’s in prison in Rome. But what got him in prison? His preaching the Gospel of Grace to the Gentiles—all the opposition of the Jews as well as the opposition from the Romans, and it got him between the vise, and he ends up in prison in Rome. And the Spirit leads him to write as a prisoner of Jesus Christ on behalf of you and me as Gentiles.
All right, now verse 2. I had my Florida audience try to memorize this. I don’t know how many did, but I certainly tried every night. Memorize this verse. It’s not hard. And it says it all so far as we are concerned in our relationship with God.
“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given to me (Paul says. Not to us. Not to the Twelve. Not to the Prophets, not Israel, but–) given to me to you-ward: (us Gentiles)” See how plain that is? And yet people can’t see it. I’ve had people sit at my kitchen table and I said, now read it! They would say “I don’t get what you’re driving at.” I always say, you don’t read.
I’ve had quite a few people come up and tell me in these last seminars. Les, you’re right, I always read, but I didn’t read. Well, that’s most people’s trouble. They just read you know, and they don’t stop to think. Ask a question here and there and pick it apart. All right, look at it again.
“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God…” This time of specific directions that’s been placed on the prescription for this age of Grace. That’s what a dispensation is, remember? It is explicit directions for the period of time in which we live.
“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given to me to you-ward:” Well, who are the you-wards? The Gentiles up in verse 1. See that? So, this dispensation of Grace is the set of directions that are given primarily for the Gentile world to come into a relationship with God. It’s our hope for eternity, and it’s the only way you can find it.
Okay, the “dispensation of the grace of God which is given to me to you.” All right, now for emphasis turn ahead a few pages to Colossians chapter 1 and verse 25. This is the other verse I’ve got up here on the board. Let’s read verse 24 first.
“Who (speaking of himself, I Paul up in verse 23) now rejoice in my sufferings for you, (In other words, all the privations of his apostleship – hunger, thirst, imprisonment, beatings, stonings — you name it. This was all–) to rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh (Physically he’d suffered for 28 years, which, of course, he has clarified in his previous epistles.) for his body’s sake, which is the church:” The Body of Christ, which is that composite of Gentile believers, I think from Paul’s own conversion on. Now, here’s the parallel for Ephesians 3 verse 2.
“Whereof I am made a minister, (Now it’s a personal pronoun. It isn’t we. It isn’t a group of people; it’s the singular man, the Apostle Paul.) Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, (Gentiles. And the final purpose of course is–) to fulfill (or bring to completion) the word of God;” Now verse 26, this is a unique part of Paul’s revelation of this dispensation. And that is what he calls the mysteries.
“Even the mystery (Now, he’s just dealing with one here.) Even the mystery which hath been hid…” H-I-D—hid. And who hides it? God does! Oh, now I’ve got to turn back, don’t I? Keep your hand in Colossians. Go all the way back to Deuteronomy.
Most of you probably know it by memory. You should by now. I use it often enough—Deuteronomy 29:29. If you haven’t memorized it before, do it from now on, because this is the secret to understanding the secrets. Deuteronomy 29:29 and this again shows the Sovereignty of our God. He’s absolute. He can do whatever He wants. All got it?
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: (Do you see that? God has the prerogative of keeping things secret.) but those things which are revealed (are no longer secret) belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Now that, of course, is Moses under the Law. But nevertheless, the overall rendition of that is that God is secret and He can keep things secret as long as He likes.
Now, the other one I like to use as an example, a perfect example of how God will keep things secret, and we almost think it’s impossible under these circumstances. Look at Luke 18 during His earthly ministry. He’s now ready to go up to Jerusalem and the Passover and the Crucifixion. And I use these verses over and over when people try to tell me there’s never been more than one Gospel. The Salvation Gospel as we know it is faith in the truth that Christ died for all and was buried and rose from the dead. And they say that’s always been the only Gospel. Well, then how can you explain Luke 18 verses 31 through 34. You all got it? Luke 18, we’ll start at verse 31. And remember what I’m bringing here – how God keeps things secret. He can do it. Verse 31.
“Then (We’re at the end of His three years.) he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.” What’s He talking about? Well, the coming crucifixion. Everything pertaining to it as prophesied is going to happen. Now verse 32, He explains what they are.
“For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, (the Romans) and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33. And they shall scourge him, (or beat Him) and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” He knew what was coming. It wasn’t any secret to Him. Now He shared this openly with the Twelve. All right, but now look at the next verse, verse 34.
“And they (the Twelve) understood none (They didn’t have a clue what He was talking about.) of these things: and this saying was (What’s the next word?) hid from them…” But who hid it? God did. It wasn’t time for them to know. And all I ask people to do when I teach this is think—can you just imagine what would have taken place between now and the crucifixion if these twelve men would have known what was coming? Why, they’d have had a riot. They would have had civil war. They would have done everything to keep this from happening. So, God kept it secret even though He told them.
And I maintain that here’s another instance. Why do you suppose the Lord told the Twelve something that He wouldn’t let them understand? For our benefit. Now, we know that He was totally God. He knew exactly what was going to happen moment by moment. But on the other hand, He’s going to keep it from the Twelve. He hid it from them. Now, that’s His prerogative. See? All right, and so “he hid it from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”
Now, on your way back to where we were in Colossians, stop, if you will, at John’s Gospel chapter 20, which is again proof of this statement in Luke. Even though He told them what was going to happen, they didn’t have a clue that He was going to die. And when they saw Him dying on that Roman Cross, did they just say, hey, so what? Three days and He’s going to be back alive? No! They didn’t know He was going to rise from the dead. They thought it was all over.
All right, now here’s the proof of it in John’s Gospel on resurrection morning. You all know it. Mary comes to the tomb and it’s empty. She runs and tells Peter and John. Peter and John run, now verse 4:
“So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, (In other words, young John outran Peter.) did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher. 5. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet he went not in.” He was a little bit reluctant, you know. Little, young John I think was timid. All right, then verse 6, here comes big ol’ Peter.
“Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7. And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8. Then went in also that other disciple, (John) who came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, (the evidence and what?) and believed.” Believed what? That Christ had supernaturally risen from the dead because the grave clothes were undisturbed. But now look at the next verse.
“For as yet (to this time) they (Peter and John and Mary) knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” Now isn’t that plain? They didn’t know. They didn’t. As I’ve said a hundred times, they didn’t have a clue that after He was crucified He’d be raised from the dead. Yet Jesus told them, but He hid it from them.
All right, now to close out these last few moments, come back again with me to Colossians chapter 1. You want to remember that in this dispensation of Grace, Paul has a whole group of what he calls mysteries that were totally secret from everybody and everything until God revealed it to this Apostle. They come out one at a time, but they make a composite whole. All right, here we go. This dispensation of the grace of God includes:
“Even the mystery which hath been hid (by an act of God) from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: (That is to these Grace believing Gentiles who are saved now by Faith and Faith alone in that finished work of the Cross. To these believers now–) 27. To whom God would make known….”
See, you have to be a believer to understand these things. The unbeliever can’t get a handle on it whatsoever, because it’s way over their head. And it stays over their head until they become a believer, and then it becomes something that we can just feast on.
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; (Not among Jews. Among Gentiles. And what is this particular mystery?) which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Eternal glory, Beloved! And that’s why we can stand here without apology and say that when we trust this Gospel, when we believe the writings of this Apostle writing to us Gentiles, we don’t have to say I hope so or I think so. We know so, and not because of any pride on our part. It’s because we give all the credit to the One who loved us and gave Himself for us. That’s where it’s at.
All right, that is one of the secrets that are a part of Paul’s revelation which no other portion of Scripture ever even hints at—that God would come down and, in the form of the Holy Spirit, of course, indwell believing Gentiles and make us a child of God in complete relationship with the Creator, God Himself. He is in us and us in Him, and we take that by faith.
Now, I think I’ve got time. Let’s go back and see one verse that makes that so plain. I Corinthians chapter 12 verse 13. And with this we’ll probably have to close. But see, this is all unique to Paul’s revelations of this dispensation of Grace. You won’t find it in the four gospels. You won’t find it in the book of Revelation or in the Old Testament. It’s uniquely the letters of Paul.
All right, I Corinthians chapter 12 verse 13, this is how this relationship comes about that we are in Christ and Christ in us.
I Corinthians 12:13
“For by one Spirit (capitalized, the Holy Spirit) we are all (Not just a few. Not just the elite. Not just the best, but every believer from the bottom to the top of the totem pole, if you want to put it that way. For all believers are–) baptized (or placed) into one body,” We’re placed into the whole by a work of the Holy Spirit. That’s what we have to believe as we take it by faith. You don’t feel it. You don’t all of a sudden get up and say, oh, the sky is blue, but rather we take it by faith because the Book says so.