Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 73
INCARNATE CHRIST: GOD BECOMES MAN – 2
Genesis 3:15 and Galatians 4:4
Okay, good to see everybody in again this evening. As you know, we’re just a Bible study, much like a home Bible study. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do claim I can get people to study and dig these things out, and you’ll be surprised how thrilling it can get.
Again, we always want to thank our television audience, as well as you folks here, for all of your prayers and your financial support. You know, people can’t believe that we never ask for money. They just can’t get over that. We’ll thank you for it, but we never ask you for it. And that’s a big difference.
All right, now before I go any further, I’ve got to let the television audience know that it’s been a long time since Greg and Janette were here. The last time they were here Jesse was just a little fellow. There they are. They’re on the screen. Now you’ve got to get Jesse in there somehow or other. Move him over. Get Jesse. There he is. Jesse is now 19. He’s 6 foot something, and I’m just real proud of him. He’s one of our several grandchildren, and they’re all part of the ministry. Like I told the class in the first half-hour, they’re all involved in one way or another. And we just praise the Lord for that.
All right, let’s continue on where we left off in our first half hour this afternoon—on the incarnate Christ. In other words, the God who became Man, and consequently then Christ beginning with His earthly ministry, is a God-Man. We’re going to look some more at the early forecasts or prophecies concerning this virgin birth of the seed of the woman.
For openers, to continue where we left off in Matthew in the last program, turn with me to Galatians chapter 3. It’s also a reference to Genesis chapter 3, but I want Galatians chapter 3 verse 16. This is Paul writing, the Apostle to the Gentiles. Here we have one of the basic facts of Scripture concerning Jesus Christ.
“Now to Abraham and his seed (or his offspring) were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, (plural) as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, who is Christ.” There’s the scriptural answer for Genesis 3:15. The seed of the woman who would come through the man Abraham, the progenitor of the Jewish race, and here we have the appearance then of the Jewish Messiah.
All right, while you’re in Galatians turn over to chapter 4. If I’m not mistaken, this is the only reference that the Apostle Paul makes to the birth of Christ at Bethlehem but in a uniquely different way. And I like this. I usually use it for the Christmas time classes just to be different from the main stream of Christendom when they use Luke and Matthew. Here’s how Paul puts it.
“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,”
Now, do you see what all is in that verse? “When the fullness of time was come…”—my, I’m glad we looked at those verses at the end of the last program. When the Sadducees and the Pharisees said, show us a sign, what did the Lord say? Why, can’t you read the signs of the times? Well, what was He referring to? All the things that were happening associated with His first advent.
As I said in the last program, they should have recognized that they were under the Roman Empire. They should have recognized that prophecy was being fulfilled. They should have recognized that the promised Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. It was written back in the little book of Micah that He’d be born in Bethlehem of Euphrates. You think these Jews didn’t know about that supernatural event in Bethlehem some years back? Of course they did. But they couldn’t put it together.
Unbelievable and yet, no, because like I said last program, we’re no different today. The world around us should see the signs of the times, but do they? No. They’re as blind as a bat to it. And they just talk in terms of the world going on for another 150-200,000 years. No, it isn’t. It’s winding down and the signs of the times are telling it.
All right, so here again everything was foretold that Christ would come, born in Bethlehem, at the exact right day and hour. He was not one hour late. He was not one hour early. It was when the decreed “fullness of the time was come” that Christ was born. And Israel couldn’t figure it out. But they should have. It was a sign of the time.
Then it goes on to tell us that He was “made of a woman.” That makes Him the God-Man. That’s what makes Him incarnate. He did not just come as an angelic appearance. He did not just come as some miraculous manifestation. But in order to make Him the God-Man, God ordained that He should be born of a woman without the benefit of a fleshly, earthly father.
All right, now let’s come back a minute to John’s Gospel. I want to look at as many of these early-on mentions of this incarnate Christ as we possibly can. To show that all of Scripture is not contradictory, but rather intricately put together. John’s Gospel chapter 1 and let’s begin at verse 1.
“In the beginning (We don’t know when that was.) was the Word, (Capitalized—we’ve taught this verse over and over.) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (So, it’s a designated personality.) 2. The same was in the beginning with God.”
“All things (Everything in the whole universe and in the planet and in the seas and in the heavens–) were made by him; (this person of the Godhead called The Word) and without Him was not anything made that was made. 4. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” All right, now drop down to verse 14, and here we have absolute proof of who we’re talking about.
“And the Word was made flesh, (The Spirit-being, the invisible God in the person of the Son, was made flesh. Born of a woman as Paul puts it and promised as the seed of the woman back in Genesis) and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Now, in that particular verse I think John is making a direct reference to an event toward the end of Christ’s ministry. What was it? The Mount of Transfiguration. Only three of the Twelve could have said something like this, because it was only Peter, James, and John that were up there at the Mount of Transfiguration and saw Jesus transformed right before their eyes with all the glory brighter than the mid-day sun.
So, this is what I think he’s making reference to. That this person of the Godhead who was the creator of everything, and we’ll be looking at that later, was also human as well as God. So, he says, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (Walked with us. Talked with us. Slept. Ate. All the normal functions of humanity.) (and we beheld his glory, (up there on the Mount of Transfiguration) the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
All right, now let’s see. Let’s go back a minute to Matthew’s Gospel. Matthew chapter 1, this is a little closer to what we’ve been coming out of the Old Testament. Then we’ll move on up into His more adult part of His life. But this is still staying back at the announcement of His birth—that He would be born of a woman. It would be a virgin birth without benefit of a human father; because, after all, He had to remain Deity. But He also has to take on humanity.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, (In other words, before the marriage was consummated.) she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” Now you see how plain that is. Joseph and Mary had not consummated the physical marriage, and yet she was already pregnant, not by a human being, but by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit.
Now, I suppose the secular world has a hard time comprehending that, huh? But for us believers, man I don’t have a nickel’s worth of problem with it. With God is anything impossible? Is it impossible for God to impregnate a woman without the benefit of a human male? No problem. He made the woman’s body. He made everything in creation. That’s no problem and then they make such a big deal. I say it’s so simple because of whom our God really is.
Isaiah prophesied that a virgin would conceive. Well, that meant what it said, and it said what it meant. And how would a virgin conceive? Not with any help of a human being, but by the work of the Holy Spirit. Matthew makes it just as plain as English can make it that before they consummated the physical marriage, Mary was found with child of the Holy Spirit, or that person of the Godhead.
“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately.” In other words, to hold secret the fact that she was pregnant without the benefit of a public marriage. All right, verse 20:
“But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David,…” Now, that’s in there to show us again that this all goes back to the promises made to the patriarchs. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were given all the promises of a Nation of people coming. Then sooner or later here comes King David, and what is David promised? That through his bloodline would come the Messiah, the King of Israel. All right, that’s why we’ve got it in here. So he says to Joseph–
“…Joseph, thou son of David, (It’s all in the royal family.) fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Or the Holy Spirit. It’s not of another man. It’s perfectly godly and legitimate. Now verse 21:
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: (or in the Hebrew—Jehoshua. Why?) for he shall save his people from their sins.” Now you see how uniquely Jewish all this is? We’re not talking about the sins of the world, yet. We’re talking about the sins of Israel. I hope you catch that. “And he shall save his people….” Well, who are God’s people? Israel. The Jew. We’ll see this in a minute when we go to Luke chapter 1. Now verse 22:
“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, (That’s why I used it in the first program, quoting Isaiah.) 23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call him name Emmanuel, which being interrupted is, God with us.” But in a human body, and then becomes the God-Man.
“Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25. And knew her not (had no relationship with her) until she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”
All right, now let’s jump across to Luke a minute, to chapter 1, just to show again that all of this was fulfilling the promises first and foremost made to the Nation of Israel. It isn’t until He finishes the work of the cross and the Apostle Paul is sent to the Gentiles that He becomes the Savior of all mankind. Here we’re still dealing with the covenant people, the chosen people, the Jew, the Nation of Israel.
All right, now we’re going to jump in at Luke chapter 1 and start at verse 57. As a rule I jump down a little further. But here we have God dealing with the parents of John the Baptist. Zacharias who was a priest and the mother’s name was Elizabeth. All right, now if you go back into biblical history, we know that Zacharias and Elizabeth were past childbearing age much as Abraham and Sarah were. But miraculously, providentially, she became with child and brought along the little baby John the Baptist.
“Now Elizabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58. And her neighbors and her cousins heard how the Lord had shown great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.” In other words, much like Sarah.
“And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. 60. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. 61. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. 62. And they made signs to his father, (Now remember, he was stricken dumb at the very time of her conception, and he’s been without ability to speak for the last nine months.) And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. (or named) 63. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. (Same as what Elizabeth had said.) And they marveled all.”
In other words, these Jews knew custom and how unusual this was that this father who was up there at the temple serving as a priest had the same name as what Elizabeth had mentioned. His name would be John.
“And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, (He got his speech back.) and he spake, and praised God. 65. And fear came on all that dwelt around about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea. 66. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.” Now remember, we’re talking about John the Baptist.
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, (Now a lot of people think that couldn’t happen until Pentecost. But see, they don’t know their Bible. Here we have a priest in Israel filled with the Holy Spirit even before Christ’s earthly ministry began.) and he prophesied, saying,” He spoke forth. Now, the word prophesied doesn’t always mean tell the future. He merely spoke forth.
“Blessed be the Lord God of (The human race—doesn’t say that, does it?) Blessed be the Lord God of (Whom?) Israel; (See, we’re still all tied up with the Nation of Israel.) for he hath visited and redeemed his people,” His chosen people. His covenant people. Not a word here yet about Gentiles.
“And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;” Now, how many Gentiles in the house of David? Not a one. Keep all this in mind. How Jewish all this is because all the promises of this coming incarnate Christ were first and foremost to the covenant people. All right, verse 70:
“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, who have been since the ages began: (Going all the way back to the Old Testament patriarchs and beyond. And this is what they wrote) 71. That we (the Nation of Israel) should be saved from our (Sins? No. What?) enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;” Now, in view of the Middle East today, do you see what they were talking about?
It was no different then than it is now. The Arab world was all around them—hated them. Would have done anything they could to obliterate them then already. So here was the whole idea that when this Messiah would come, he would suddenly bring safety and peace from all of these morbid enemies. And, oh, that’s what Israel is looking for even today, you know that.
“To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, (the Old Testament promises) and to remember his holy covenant; (God’s covenant—the one that we taught several months back, verse 73, what covenant?) 73. The oath which he swear to our father Abraham,”
That’s why I’m always stressing that unless you understand those covenants coming up through the Old Testament, you’re going to have a hard time buying a lot of this. I know you do. That’s what people’s problem is. They are so ignorant of the basics, that they can’t comprehend this rightly dividing the Scriptures. They keep it all muddled up, and most of the world is in utter confusion and what a travesty. Because all you have to do is separate.
Now, this is all Jewish. And yet Christendom tries to push it on our plate. Hey, it won’t fit. No wonder it doesn’t taste good. But you leave everything where it belongs.
You know, I’ve got a grandson, is it you Jesse? Or one of my others? They eat everything one at a time. First a vegetable and then the potatoes and then the meat and then the dessert. Well, I wish people would do that with Scripture, because it would be a lot easier to understand. But they don’t, they muddle it all up.
I gave the illustration Saturday at Albuquerque. My description of dispensation changes from time to time. And it came from an experience in one of my seminars in Florida. I was speaking after a pot luck supper for one of the big Sunday school classes down there I was the after dinner speaker.
Well, off to my right was the pie table. And the pie that was clear on this end and to my right in plain view was a beautiful pumpkin pie. I mean it was a beautiful pie. And only one piece was out of it. And I said, “Now there is a beautiful description of dispensational teaching.” When the Scripture says, “rightly divide the Word of God,” it means cut it straight. Now, you see, you can’t do that with apple pie. Why? Because all the goo comes in when you take out the piece. Isn’t that right? But a pumpkin pie sits there just as straight as can be. What a beautiful example.”
All right, now that’s what we do with the Scriptures. We cut it straight. You don’t let it all run together. So I said, “Now what would happen if a hostess would take that beautiful pumpkin pie, set it in the middle of the table full of guests with a spatula and say, ‘Okay, help yourself like a blackberry cobbler?’ Would that taste like pumpkin pie? No. It wouldn’t taste like pumpkin pie, because that’s not the way you are used to eating it. You want it with a nice straight slice of pie. That’s the Scriptures, beloved.”
When you put what God dealt with Adam and Eve in the Garden as a separate nicely cut piece, it’s easy to understand. And you take Israel and put it in its own slice and all the law and everything right there. That’s easy to understand. Now you come over and you take the piece of pie that we can identify with the Grace Age, and it’s all straight. There’s no goo running out the edges. It’s all perfect. It’s so simple. But everybody wants to run the whole Bible together. And like I said, they blenderize it and then pass it out and then wonder why people get sick to their stomach. But, oh, goodness, I’m making my point, and I’m running out of time doing it—back to Luke chapter 1 verse 73, again.
“The oath which he swear to our father Abraham,” That’s Jewish language. We Gentiles don’t have any part of that until after the work of the cross. All right, now verse 74.
“That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75. In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 76. And thou, (Here it comes. This is why I came here.) child, shalt be called the prophet (or the announcer, the forth teller) of the (What?) Highest:…”
Well, who’s the Highest, especially in the Old Testament? God is. God is the Highest. He’s the High One. All right, John the Baptist is going to announce, then, the coming of the God of Abraham. And who’s the God of Abraham? The Son. Jehovah. Now we’re going to see Him come incarnate, in the flesh. Read on.
“And thou, child, (John) shalt be called the prophet (or the forth teller) of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord (God the Son, the God-Man that’s coming.) to prepare his ways; 77. To give knowledge of salvation unto his people (Israel) by the remission of their sins,”
“Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high (speaking of the incarnate Son, now) hath visited us. 79. To give light (spiritual light) to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. 80. And the child grew, (That is John the Baptist.) and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts until the day of his showing unto Israel.”
All right, now after that introduction of the announcer of the Messiah, you go into chapter 2. I guess we’ll have to wait until the next half hour to do that. But all of this is laying the ground work for the appearance of the God-Man. I’m going to start out the next half hour with an illustration of why He had to become human in order to do the work of the cross. It wouldn’t have done for a spirit-being to somehow go up there on the cross. It had to be a human who could suffer and bleed and die and be raised again from the dead.