Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 72
THE BIG PICTURE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE (CONTINUED …) – 3
I Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; Eph. 3:2; Col. 1:25
It is good to have everybody back. We can get started on our third program this afternoon. For those of you joining us on television, if this is the first time you’re catching us, why, we we’re just an informal Bible study. Our only goal is to get folks to study their own Bible on their own and get over the idea that you can’t understand it. Because if you know how to open it up, rightly divide it as we call it, and keep some of these areas separated one from the other, it’s really not that difficult. That’s really our approach in this series of programs. It is to show why this dispensation of the Grace of God is so uniquely different from all the rest of Scripture.
You know, I always use the word – it’s insulated. It is just literally insulated from all the rest of Scripture. No other part of the Bible has any reference to it. You can’t find it but only through the revelation given to the Apostle Paul. So, that’s what we’re honing in on for these series of programs.
Okay, my little wife is the one who always keeps things on track. She just reminded me to again remind our listening audience that the one and only book that we have produced is available for only $11. My, we’ve had a tremendous response about how people enjoy that little book. It answers 88 or so questions that most people have about the Bible. All the answers come from our previous television programs. It also makes a great gift for others.
We get so many phone calls asking if we have something that is particularly related to Paul. Well, I would have never thought of it, but she did. And that was our Aegean Cruise a couple of years ago. All of our Bible lessons were in answer to the question, “Why Paul?”
I’d like to remind even you today—Why the Apostle Paul? Jesus had Twelve. They had the Old Testament prophets, and John had already written Revelation. Why do we need the Apostle Paul? Well, we answer that in a series of eight hours on our Aegean Cruise, and it’s been well received. Otherwise, we wouldn’t even suggest to people to buy it. But it’s well worth the few bucks that we ask for that one.
All right, now we’re going to keep right on where we’ve been all afternoon on this dispensation of the Grace of God, and why it is so different from everything else in Scripture.
Come back with me to Colossians chapter 1 dropping in at verse 24. Remember that way back in the previous taping, we put on the board the four references in the New Testament that use this word dispensation, so that someone doesn’t come and say that’s not even a biblical word. Oh, yes it is. It’s Holy Spirit inspired and it means what it says and it says what it means.
A dispensation is a period of time during which God is dealing with the human race under its own set of directions. The dispensation of grace we’re in today is totally different from the directions under the dispensation of law. Totally different than the dispensation directions that God gave to Adam and Eve or even some of the other Old Testament economies.
But here in Colossians chapter 1 verse 24 the Apostle of the Gentiles is writing to Gentiles. I guess I should read the last part of verse 23.
“…whereof I, Paul am made a minister;” Now I just happened to think. Come back with me, keep your hand here. This is what I call Bible study. Romans chapter 15, this is a verse that we’ve used a lot of times in other circumstances, but the same word. It’s what I like people to learn to do, compare words with words. And if it means one thing in one place, it means the same thing in another place. It’s the same word. You’ll recognize it as soon as you see it. Paul says:
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was (What?) a minister (a sent one) of the circumcision (Israel) for the truth of God, to confirm (or to bring to fruition, or to fulfill) the promises made unto the fathers:” Now that was the purpose of Christ’s ministry in coming to the Nation of Israel at His first advent.
All right, now back here at Colossians, Paul, too, is a sent one—not to Israel, but to the Gentile world. That’s what I want folks to see. You don’t just jumble this all up together. Christ had His ministry to Israel. This man’s ministry is to the non-Jewish world. All right, so he says in verse 23.
“…whereof I, Paul am made a minister;” By whom? By the ascended Christ. He’s the one that designated him. He’s the one who spoke to Ananias back there in Acts chapter 9, and what did He tell him? Don’t be afraid of him, Ananias, I’m going to send this man far hence to the Gentiles. So, that’s been the name of the game since it started. All right, now verse 24.
“Who (This minister of the Grace of God, this Apostle Paul) now rejoice in my sufferings for you,…” What’s he talking about? Well, he’s about at the end of his ministry. He’s in prison in Rome, and even though he may have had a short respite where he came out of prison for a little bit, it wasn’t long. They arrested him a second time and that went on to his martyrdom.
When you realize that his suffering—again I’m going to use these verses, even though I’ve used them many times before, come back with me to II Corinthians chapter 11. Because I know I’ve got people out there in TV-land that have no idea of what he’s talking about. They don’t have a clue how this man suffered for the sake of the Gospel the whole 24 or 25 years of his ministry without a let up. Paul was constantly under all the pressures of the persecution from the Jews and from the pagans. The beggaries of weather, the tempests of sea, they were all part of his ministry. And he couldn’t just take a flight from Athens to Rome or from there; almost all of it was either on foot or by ship.
All right II Corinthians 11 and he does this by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to confront the Corinthian church for not recognizing his apostleship. They too, just like today, were putting him down. Well, who are you? Jesus we know. Peter we know. Apollos we know, but who are you? Well, he was the one that brought them out of paganism. They should have known him.
All right, so in chapter 11 he defends his apostleship. All right, verse 22, in reference to the Twelve, who, of course, were the kingpins of everything because of the three years they had spent with Jesus in His earthly ministry. Now you’ve got to remember the time factor here. That wasn’t all that long ago.
II Corinthians 11:22
“Are they (The Twelve) Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.” I think he could have just as well said, “Are they Jews? So am I.” So, I usually use this verse to prove that all these terms used throughout Scripture all meant the same people, the Nation of Israel, the Jewish people.
All right, but that’s not the point I wanted to make, verse 23.
II Corinthians 11:23
“Are they (The Twelve, Apollos) the ministers of Christ? (Now, here comes the man’s humility. Even though it was inspired, he hated to do this. I know he did.) (I speak as a fool) I am more; (More what? The minister of Christ) in labors more abundant,…”
Why, he did more in one year than the Twelve did in however many years they lived until they were martyred. There’s no record of how much the Twelve accomplished after Israel rejected everything. Not that much. But here Paul has labored amongst the Gentiles with fruit like we will never understand until we get to Glory. So, he says, “I am more.”
II Corinthians 11:23b
“…in labors more abundant, in stripes, (That is the stripes of the scourgings, the cat of nine tails as we call them.) in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often.” Now that’s plural, so it was near death, not that he died over and over, but that he was so close to death over and over.
II Corinthians 11:24-25a
“Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one. (That’s thirty nine. He went through that five times. Few men could survive one.) 25. Three times I was beaten with rods, (That was unmerciful. Again, we can’t comprehend what it was to be beaten with those rods.) once was I stoned,…” Up there in what is present day Turkey, in Asia Minor. Out of the town, I think it was Derbe and Lystra. They drug him out like a dead horse. They literally dragged him out of the city for dead.
II Corinthians 11:25b
“…thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep.” Now you’ve got to remember, they didn’t have helicopters and search planes. They were out there on the ocean with probably little hope of ever being found.
II Corinthians 11:26-27
“In journeyings (or traveling) often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, (the Jews) in perils by the heathen, (That is the Greeks and the Romans or anybody else.) in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27. In weariness and painfulness, in watchings (In other words, I suppose almost in fear of his life being taken.) in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” Not a very pretty lifestyle, was it? How many preachers today would do it? No, if they can’t jet someplace, they’re not going to go. But, oh, how this man suffered and suffered and suffered. And then on top of all of that–
II Corinthians 11:28
“Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” Or these little assemblies of his believers. Okay, come back to Colossians. Now I’ve reminded you of what he’s talking about when he speaks of the afflictions in his flesh,
“…for the sake of the body of Christ, which is the church. 25. Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you,…” Notice that that’s almost a carbon copy of Ephesians chapter 3 verse 2. And what was the dispensation? That set of directions that make the composite Body of Christ what it is.
We are all one in Christ. We have all been saved by the same Gospel, which is faith in the death, burial, and resurrection (that finished work of the cross) plus nothing else. We are all under the same set of directions for walking the Christian walk. We’re going to look at that in a little bit. This is all part of what Paul refers to as the directions for the dispensation of the Grace of God.
“Even the mystery (Or this secret, see how over and over this word pops up in his writings?) which hath been hid…” Now you remember, oh, we’ve got to do this again. That’s the only way you learn. I don’t care if I do it over and over and over. Go back to Luke 18. We looked at it the last time we were together at taping. But you’ve got to learn how to just almost memorize these things and be ready to use them, because this is what most of Christendom, your Sunday school classes, can’t get through their head. That all these things were supernaturally kept secret until God revealed it in His own time. That’s where His Sovereignty comes in.
That’s what He said back in Exodus 19. “All the earth is mine!” I can do whatever I want. It’s mine. All right, now look what happened in Luke 18. For those of you out in television, in case you missed this program, why here it is, verse 31. This is at the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry. They’re up in Northern Israel, and they’re about ready to go back south to Jerusalem to the Passover, the Crucifixion, and all that followed.
“Then he took unto him the twelve, (the original twelve disciples) 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.”
Now, do you see what He said? Everything that was written back there in the Old Testament concerning Him are about to be fulfilled. That’s what He’s telling them. But they don’t know what He’s talking about. Those things were so hidden in the Old Testament that the ordinary, everyday reader never caught it, but Jesus knew they were there. All right, so He said, “It shall be accomplished.” Now verse 32, He’s going to remind them of what the Old Testament prophesied:
“For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, (That’s the Romans.) and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33. And they shall scourge him,…” Well, who did all that? The Romans.
Now, when we take our tours to Israel we usually, not always, but we usually try to start where they began His taunting and His beating and playing games with Him. The Romans soldiers actually had a series of circles drawn in the stone. It was almost like tic-tac-toe, and they would make games with their prisoners. And Christ was no different. They would taunt them and torture them and everything, and that was even before He came out and made His way in what the Catholics like to practice through the stations of the cross. But nevertheless, it was up there at the beginning of His walk to Calvary that these Romans accomplished all of this. They mocked Him, they mistreated Him, they spit on Him, and they scourged Him. And then verse 33:
“And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: (Now, He doesn’t say they’ll crucify Him, He just says they’ll put Him to death.) and the third day he shall rise again.” Speaking of His resurrection. Now, it’s all plain English, isn’t it? But don’t stop there. Read the next verse.
“And they (The Twelve, these twelve men who’ve been with Him for three years. You’d almost think that they could interpret anything He said by now.) understood (What’s the next word?) none of these things: (Not a word of this did they understand. Why?) and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” How do I always follow that? Who hid it? Well, God did! God supernaturally hid it even though they just heard it in plain language. They weren’t supposed to know, so He hid it from them. I think I mentioned in the last taping, why did all this happen? For our benefit as Gentile believers. Now we can see that He knew exactly what was coming, but on the other hand the Twelve didn’t.
They didn’t know the Romans were going to crucify Him. And when He was hanging on the cross, they had no idea that He would be raised from the dead. We showed that in John’s Gospel chapter 20 when they saw the evidence at the tomb. Verse 9, I think it is, in chapter 20 says “for as yet they knew not the Scripture that He must rise from the dead.” They didn’t know. Why? God kept all these things secret. Totally secret until we get to the Apostle of the Gentiles.
All right, back to Colossians chapter 1, this is what he’s talking about. Even though these things may have been in veiled language, it still wasn’t understood by anyone because God didn’t expect them to. It wasn’t time to understand it. All right, verse 26 again, this mystery, this secret, “which hath been hid (by God) from ages and from generations, but now (through this apostle) these things are made manifest to his saints.” The unbelieving world still can’t get it. But we who believe have the Holy Spirit’s unction to understand. Now we can make sense out of the whole thing. All right, now then verse 27.
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery (This singular one. There are many, but now we’re talking about this one.) this (singular) mystery (What is it?) among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”
Now, if we just read that casually, we think, well, so what? But now wait a minute. Did the Gentiles have any idea of this kind of a relationship with the God of Abraham? Why they didn’t even know who He was. They didn’t know who Jehovah was. Oh, they knew who Zeus was and Apollos and all the gods and goddesses of paganism, but to know the God of Israel? No. He was totally unknown.
In fact, I knew I’d get to it sometime this afternoon. Come back with me to Ephesians chapter 2. I always have to wait for the opening, but here it comes—Ephesians chapter 2 verses 11 and 12. Now, I know people probably almost grin at me when I make some of these statements and think, well, that’s just your idea. No, it’s what the Book says. If it’s my idea I always say so. I say, this is what I think. But these things, no, this is what the Word of God says. These Gentiles have no idea of anything concerning the God of Israel. Nothing. All right, verse 11 and he’s writing to Gentiles up at Ephesus. So it’s a Gentile letter.
“Wherefore remember, (call to mind) that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, (That is by genealogy and by birth.) who are called Uncircumcision by those who are called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;” In other words, Jews referred to Gentiles as the uncircumcised. Now look at verse 12 and again this is plain language.
“That at that time (While Israel was still under God’s covenant relationships, they were the chosen Nation.) ye (uncircumcised Gentiles in verse 11) were without Christ, (or a Messiah) being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, (You had no part in Israel’s dealings with God.) and strangers from the covenants of promise, (You see what that means? They had no part in those covenant relationships, none.)having no hope, and without God in the world:”
That’s why they were all steeped in paganism. That’s all they knew. They’d offer those animals by the thousands and turn around with all their immoral activity and thought that they were somehow ready for whatever eternity they were looking for. And remember, even the pagans were looking for an eternal life one way or another. That was not a biblical concept alone. They all had the idea of the afterlife. All right, but they were without hope, because all they had was the gods and goddesses of mythology, “and they were without God in the world.”
Now, do you have to be a seminary graduate to understand that? That’s plain language. That was the lot of the non-Jewish world. They had no concept of the God of Scripture. They had no concept of the God of Israel. All right, now back to Colossians. And then all of a sudden to realize that the God of Israel is going to indwell you and I as a Gentile! Absolutely! That’s the promises now. Christ in us and us in Christ! That’s the relationship that we enjoy. And that’s why we don’t have to have a works religion. My goodness, we’ve got something ten thousand times better!
“…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (for all Eternity) 28. Whom we preach, (Paul says) warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom;…” He didn’t just pick and choose. He didn’t say, well now, I’d rather go to you wealthy people, because after all you’re a little easier to get along with than those poor people down there in the slums. No. Paul never differentiated—rich or poor, black or white, it made no difference.
“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; (What wisdom? The Holy Spirit’s wisdom) that we may present every man perfect (or spiritually mature) in Christ Jesus: (that relationship) 29. Whereunto I also labor,…”
How do we get into Christ Jesus? Now we’ve got three minutes left. Come back with me to I Corinthians chapter 12:12-13. This is a concept that is pretty hard to comprehend. Do I have to do something to become part of Christ? Like I said in the last program, are you going to have to swim a raging river? Are you going to have to collect a million bucks? No. It’s all free for the taking the moment we believe what Christ has done on our behalf.
I Corinthians 12:12a
“For as the body (the human body) is one, and hath many members,…” My goodness, in fact, I was just looking at something last night, and I told Iris, “How in the world can any medical professional person not be a believer? I can’t comprehend it when they see how wonderfully made this body is. How can they not believe?” But anyway, Paul is using it as an analogy. Even the miracle of our body: the fingers and the toes and the eyes and all the things that make us up,
I Corinthians 12:12
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” All right, now we’re talking about the Body of Christ. Every one of us who are true believers are in a composite Body of Christ, and He is the Head in the heavenlies. All right, now verse 13, here’s how we got there.
I Corinthians 12:13
“For by one Spirit (A work of the Holy Spirit) we are all (every believer has been) baptized into one body, (the Body of Christ) whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; (That’s the whole scope of the economic status. Whether you’re at the bottom or the top makes no difference.) and have been all made to drink (or partake) into one Spirit.” (the Holy Spirit.)
All right, I’ve only got a minute left, turn back quickly to Ephesians chapter 4. We come into this Body of Christ by believing Paul’s Gospel—Plus Nothing! And there is only one Body of Christ. Ephesians 4 starting at verse 4, my, this makes it so explicit. There is one body, not 1,500 like there are denominations.
“There is one body, and one Spirit, (only one Holy Spirit) even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;” Now look at verses 5 and 6.
“One Lord, (one and only Lord) one faith, one baptism, (The one we just read about when the Holy Spirit places us into this body of Christ.) 6. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and though all, and in you all.” That’s where we are. We’re positioned in the very Godhead of Heaven itself.