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858: The Big Picture: Pre-Tribulation Rapture (continued …) – 2 – Lesson 2 Part 2 Book 72

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 72

THE BIG PICTURE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE (CONTINUED …) – 2

I Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; Eph. 3:2; Col. 1:25

Okay, it’s good to have everybody back. We can get on with our second program this afternoon.  For those of you joining us on television, again we just ask you to take your Bible and follow with us verse by verse and take notes.  Because all we try to do is encourage people to study on their own.  And my, the rewarding phone calls we get that once they get started, they have to admit it is down right fun to learn how to study your Bible.  I think a lot of people are afraid of their Bible, because they’re afraid it is judgmental and it’s going to condemn them and all these other things.  Well, once you get into a right relationship with the Lord, why that’s the last thing that you’ll find. Instead, it’s just a thrilling, unfolding of God’s plan of the ages.  And they can scoff all they want, but the more we study, the more we see how supernaturally this Book is put together.

Okay, we’re still on the same theme, and will be for several more programs, of why we feel that the Body of Christ out of this Age of Grace will have to be taken off the planet before God can resume His finishing up the time frame with Israel.  We’re going to show how this is a unique dispensation.  This is a unique period of time in World History where God has turned from His covenant people, Israel, and has set them aside for a season.  He has put them in a dispersion which we have sort of seen come to an end.  Now there are still a lot of Jews out there, but a lot of them have already come back to the homeland.

Like I mentioned, I think a week or two ago, why in the world do you suppose that little nation of five or six million people is in the news every day.  The first page I turn to in the Daily Oklahoman is the World News and there it is—something pertaining to Israel or the Palestinians.  Well, there are other places in the world that have got problems.  My, look at Darfur down there in Africa and the little island of what we used to call Ceylon, it is Sri Lanka now.  They’ve had civil war for forty years.  It’s never in the news.  And there are other areas, but the little land of Israel is in the news every day.  They are hated!  There is more anti-Semitism coming up every day, which has been, of course, the satanic ploy to try to keep God’s program from moving forward.

This reminds me of something I just shared with one of the guys at break time.  I read something yesterday that not only disturbed me, it almost made me angry.  And no wonder they say we’re no longer a Christian nation.  A poll has just been taken.  Now this was just in the last few weeks.  Now I don’t know which party to mention first, because I don’t want this to be partisan, because one was just as bad as the other.  But anyhow, I think it was the Democrats, only 30% agreed there is a literal, physical Satan. The Republican’s weren’t that much better—33%.  Almost one third of both parties do not recognize Satan as anything to be dealt with.  No wonder we’re in trouble.  Because this Book is full of his activities.  II Corinthians 4, what does it say?  “The god of this world has blinded the eyes of them that believe not.” 

Well, who’s the god of this world?  Satan.  I’m just flabbergasted to think that 66% of our politicians, Republican and Democrat alike, do not believe in anything pertaining to Satan.  Well, I’ll tell you what; they’re going to get a rude awakening one day, aren’t they?

So anyway, let’s go back and pick up where we left off.  We’re going to move ahead and we’re going to spend our time on a review, which we covered 8 or 9 years ago when we went through all this verse-by-verse.  So, it’s about time we get some fresh production on this – how that during this dispensation of the Grace of God, not only is the plan of salvation made more simple, but the whole idea of the Christian life.  What it means to be in Christ and Christ in us.  We’re going to be looking at all these things over these next several programs. That will lead us up to the fact that we have to be taken off the planet in the Rapture so that God can pick up where He left off with His covenant people.    All right, in Ephesians chapter 3 and we were down about in verse 4.

Ephesians 3:4-5

“Whereby, when ye read, (That is this letter of the Ephesians especially, but all of Paul’s epistles.) ye may understand my knowledge (Or, as I showed at the closing moments of the last half-hour, Peter called it what?  His wisdom) in the mystery of Christ) 5. Which in other ages (or other dispensations, or other generations) was not made known (Now look at that closely.  And I hope we’ve got it on the screen—how that in other ages these things were not made known.) unto the sons of men, (That is to the human race.) as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;” 

Now of course, when Paul refers to apostles, he’s not referring to the Twelve.  He’s referring to the men who were part and parcel of his ministry—Barnabas and Silas and Timothy and Titus and others of the early churches who worked with him in the ministry.

All right, now let’s look at a companion passage.  Drop back to Romans chapter 16.  Keep your hand in Ephesians. We’re not through here yet, but come back with me to Romans chapter 16, where he says almost the same thing, and see, this is what most of Christendom totally ignores.  They don’t want a thing to do with it.  They don’t know what you’re talking about when you talk about the mysteries revealed to the Apostle Paul.  But over and over this is the thrust that Paul has of why his apostleship is different than anything else in Scripture.

And yet, as Peter said in that same portion, where we didn’t have time to read, all of Paul’s epistles are Scripture.  Now, that’s what Peter was inspired to write, that Paul’s epistles are Scripture just as much as the rest of the Bible.  So, don’t ever think, well, he probably shouldn’t even be in our Bible.  Don’t you kid yourselves.  He is in here by the virtue of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 16:25a

“Now to him that is of power…”  Now there again, that is something that Israel never understood, the power of the Holy Spirit.  That’s why they couldn’t keep those Ten Commandments.  They were always being defeated because they had no power to overcome the flesh.  But see, that’s a dispensational truth for us in the Church Age—that the moment we become a believer, the Holy Spirit comes in and He empowers us to be obedient to the commands of God.  They didn’t have that before.

Romans 16:25a

Now to him that is of power to establish you (That is spiritually, biblically, theologically.  However else you want to put it.) according to my gospel….”  Do you see that?  Paul’s gospel of salvation, not Jesus’ gospel of salvation or Peter’s or John’s.

Not the words of Jesus or Peter or John, which again Peter could just as well have said “Well, go back to John.  Go back to Peter.  Go back to what Jesus said.”   But he didn’t!  He says you go to Paul.  Well, that’s the way God would have it.

Romans 16:25b

“…to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, (And of course, Paul only knows Jesus Christ and Him crucified, buried, and risen from the dead.  So, that’s the Christ he’s talking about.) according to the revelation (or a revealing) of (What again?) the mystery, (Over and over we see that word in Paul’s writings.) which was kept secret since the world (or the ages) began,” And the sad part is that Paul’s salvation message and all the other truths he writes about are still a mystery to most of Christendom.

Now this is what we have to understand, otherwise I’m wasting my time.  I might just as well close the Book and go home.  We have to understand that the things that were revealed to this apostle were truths, biblical statements from the ascended Lord, which you can’t find anywhere else in Scripture.  It’s not back there.  Don’t even try to find it.  It’s a waste of time.  Why?  Because God revealed it only to this apostle, because it’s such a uniquely insulated period of time from all the rest of Scripture.   Okay, now what we’ve normally done is if you were to take this timeline all the way through and ignore Paul’s epistles, this Book would be completely different than it is now.

In other words – I had a guy in Florida, and I don’t know whether the Lord was pleased with it or not, but it sure appealed to me.  He said, “Les, look what I’ve done to my Bible.”  From Romans 1 through Philemon, which is just ahead of Hebrews, what do you suppose he did with it?  He cut it out and stapled them all together.  And he had a separate little book.  Then he said, what I’ll do with people, I approach them with my Bible.  I say, now look, if I take Paul out, and he says, I just pull it out.  I hand them my Bible.  Now you find me the plan of salvation for today.  He says they can’t do it.  They can’t do it.  So then he says, I take my little Paul’s epistles and I slip it back and now you can.

Well, he makes a point.  I won’t totally disagree with it.  Because that’s exactly the way it is.  If you take Paul out, or if, as most preachers do, they ignore that section of the New Testament, they’ve got nothing for today. They have just empty words.  Because what God said to Israel has no dealing with us today.  We’re not under that economy.  We don’t have a Temple.  We don’t have a flock of sheep.  We don’t have a priesthood.    But, oh, that’s what they’re trying to put us under—everything that Jesus said and all that. But that was all under the Law.  Just remember that this portion of Scripture is strictly for us in this dispensation of the Age of Grace.

All right, so now then, if I can go back to my board, my timeline.  If we could take out this portion of this time line, I’m not going to goof it up, because whoever did this, I’m not going to goof it up with my chicken tracks.  But drop Paul out and you’ll see everything moves right straight on though to the final seven years of the Tribulation and the outpouring of God’s wrath on the whole human race, but it’s particularly God dealing with Israel.  That will trigger the Second Coming and the earthly Kingdom.

All right now, if all of Scripture is looking forward to that timeline, leaving Paul out of the picture, consequently, was there any reason for God to reveal these things?  No.  It was moot.  It didn’t have anything to do with Israel.  They were under their own set of circumstances.  But you see, when Israel rejected everything and God set them aside for the dispersion, we had to have a new set of directions.  It was imperative.  You can’t go through a dispensation with no directions any more than you’d have a prescription filled with not knowing how much to take and when.

I had a computer nut, and that’s what she called herself.  She said, “We computer nuts have another word.  You call it blenderizing. We call it cut and paste.”  That’s what you do. You take what you want over there and you paste it over here.  Well, that’s what they’re doing with this precious Book.  They’re just cutting and pasting.  They’re blenderizing.  And I won’t have a part of that.  We’re going to keep segregating all of this and keep Paul’s mysteries completely separate from all the rest of Scripture.

All right, now maybe I’ve made my point.  Hopefully.  Let’s read Romans 16 verse 25 once more.  Because some of these verses you just can’t exhaust them.  It takes a long time for this to sink in.  Look what he’s saying.

Romans 16:25a

“Now to him that is of power to establish you (spiritually, doctrinally) according to my gospel,…” And don’t ever forget, what’s Paul’s gospel?  Believing in your heart that Christ the Creator, and God of the Universe, took on flesh, died the death of the cross, was in the tomb three days and three nights, and arose from the dead victorious over everything.  That’s Paul’s gospel.  That’s what we believe for our salvation.  Why do they hate it?  I can’t understand it.

Now, if I had a bunch of goo that was hard for anybody to understand, then I’d say, well, no wonder.  But no, it’s so simple.  That’s the problem.  It’s too simple.  Now it’s all been done.  We don’t have to practice a “do good” religion.  It’s all by Grace.

Somebody gave me the latest Roman Catholic Catechism published in 1994.  I read the first chapter and I was flabbergasted.  I could have written it.  No kidding, I could have written it.  It was all by God’s Grace through faith in what God had done.  If they’d have just stopped there, but then you go on into chapter 2 and there comes a little more, a little more, a little more and pretty soon, it’s what it is.  But the same way with Martin Luther.  What was Martin Luther’s number one tenet when he opposed the Pope?  It’s by faith and faith alone.  Then what happened?  Well, then they bring in all this other stuff.  But it is amazing how they just cannot rest on the simple Pauline truth that the Gospel alone will save to the uttermost and all you do is believe it.

I think in one of my early programs I already used the illustration: aren’t you glad you don’t have to swim some wild mountain river in order to get to the place of salvation?  Aren’t you glad you don’t have to climb some sheer cliff to get up there and have an approach to God?  Aren’t you glad you don’t have to drum up a million dollars before you can approach God?  But that’s almost what the world is making us do.  You’ve got to do, do, do before God will have anything to do with you.  No, that’s not it.  It’s by faith and faith alone in what Christ has already done.   All right, let’s read the verse on to the end of it now.

Romans 16:25

“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, (which is faith in the death, burial, and resurrection) and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” Nobody had any idea when He came on the scene and John the Baptist announced Him as the Lamb of God that would take away the sin of the world.

Did everybody say, oh, He’s going to be hung on a Roman cross.  Did they know that?  Well, of course not.  They didn’t know what John was talking about.  So, He went on through His earthly ministry.  I think we looked at it the last taping in Luke chapter 18 when Jesus said we go up to Jerusalem, and everything written by the prophets will be accomplished.  He will be beaten, and he will be put to death and on the third day rise from the dead.   Did the Twelve understand?  No. “They understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them.” God hid it from them, because it wasn’t time.

All right, let’s go quickly back to Ephesians chapter 3, again. This is all part of this revelation, a revealing placed right out in front of the human race of things that had never been mooted before.  Not a word.  All right, verse 6.

Ephesians 3:6

“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ (Not by works, but by the what?) by the gospel:”  The finished work of the cross is what does it, Beloved.  Nothing else.

Ephesians 3:7a

“Whereof (Now here again, remember it’s the Holy Spirit who prompts him to say every individual word.  Even the pronoun “I” is Holy Spirit inspired.) Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God…”  Now, what does that mean?  Saul of Tarsus didn’t deserve to get this role.  Paul the Apostle didn’t deserve being in this role.  Do you realize what he is?

I mentioned, I think again in the last taping.  I’m going to repeat myself and recognize that I’m repeating myself, because I’m doing it on purpose.  But a gentleman that we heard preach several, oh, many years ago—we were in a church where this gentleman was a guest speaker, and he was going to preach from Ephesians chapter 2.  I’ll never forget it.  “And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.”

He said, “While you’re looking that up, I’m going to make a statement.  Not counting the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, there has never lived a greater man than the Apostle Paul.”  Hallelujah, I agree 100%.  He is by far the greatest human being in all of human history including Moses.  Now remember, we’re not including Christ.  But this apostle…just stop and think…for the last 1,900 and some years his gospel has been saving people across all racial lines and across all economic levels.  That’s never happened before.

Do you realize how many true believers came through the Old Testament economy?  Not many.  Because in the first place it was limited to the Nation of Israel, and even in Israel it was only as Isaiah says, “a very small remnant” who were righteous. Where were the rest of them?  Down the tube and gone.  So, yes, this man has had a greater impact on more people than everything else in all of biblical history.  And then he is ignored, chastised, and ridiculed.

I told someone the other day.  They wrote and asked me about a good book about the Apostle Paul and I said, “It’s hard to find.”  You know why?  I don’t think they do it intentionally, but anytime you read a book that’s more or less biographical of the Apostle Paul, they tend to show all of his frailties and all of his weaknesses.  Evidently he was bowlegged and they make a big point of that—over and over how this bowlegged little Jew—well, isn’t it sad?  Man, I shouldn’t have even mentioned it, should I?  But the guy is just completely downtrodden when he should be elevated above any other man that has ever lived.

Well, anyway, this is what he’s saying here in verse 7, “…I was made a minister.…”  Now that means he was a sent one from God Himself.

Ephesians 3:7a

“Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God….”  He had persecuted the Jewish believers so hard and so heavily that he should have never had this opportunity.  But God’s Grace was greater than the man’s sin, and he came in to be this great apostle of the Gentile world.

Ephesians 3:7-8a

“Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, (See how he looked at himself.  Paul wasn’t proud.  Paul wasn’t puffed up or arrogant, not at all.) is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles…”  Not Israel, but the Gentiles.

Now stop and think.  Who were the Gentiles?  They are everybody and anybody that isn’t a Jew.  Not just Rome.  Not just Greece.  It was the whole human race who comes under this man’s apostleship, from the Orient, the islands of the sea, the north people, the Russians, and the Europeans.  This is all part of the Gentile world to whom this man’s Gospel is presented.

Ephesians3:8b

“…that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;” And I would like to use the term unfathomable, which means what?  Can you plumb the depths of Christ’s riches?  No!  Could you go out into space and ever reach the top of Christ’s goodness and righteousness?  Never!  This is what he’s proclaiming.  “The unsearchable riches of Christ.”  It’s just beyond human understanding.

Ephesians 3:9

“And to make all men (Not just a privileged few.  Not just the rich and intellectual.  Not just Israel, but the whole human race comes under the invitation of this glorious Gospel of Grace.) see what is the fellowship of the mystery, (That God would turn to the whole human race with a Gospel so simple.) to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery (or the secret.  Now here it comes again.) which from the beginning of the world (From Adam nothing has ever been revealed like this before.) hath been hid in God, (the Triune God) who created all things by (Whom?) Jesus Christ.”

Now, here’s another point.  Do you realize that except for one or two verses in John’s Gospel, if I’m not mistaken, there is no other portion of Scripture that gives the creation act of everything to God the Son?  You all know Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God…,” and all the way up through Scripture – God.  But you see, as soon as we get to this apostle—now I haven’t got time.  But when we get to this apostle in Colossians chapter 1, he makes it so plain who spoke the word of creation—Jesus Christ.  And only the Apostle Paul makes it so plain.

John, of course, in his gospel, John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God” and so forth.  But nevertheless, this apostle makes it so plain that we have no shadow of doubt that the One who went to that cross and died the sin death that you and I deserved was the One who created everything in the first place.

Now that’s beyond human comprehension, but that’s the truth of the matter.  I’ve said it as long as I’ve been teaching.  He could have named the men who drove the spikes in His hands hundreds and hundreds of years before it ever happened.  I’ve got someone who always stamps his envelope with—He died on a cross of wood and created the hill on which it stood.  Well, that’s exactly right.  He was totally and completely the Creator of everything, and yet He was the One who paid the sin debt of the whole human race.

I’ve only got a matter of seconds left.  But the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make us see the fellowship of these things that have been kept secret since the ages began.  Beloved, that means what it says and it says what it means.  These things had never been revealed until it came to the pen of this one man.