Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 75
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF SCRIPTURE – PART 16
Genesis – Revelation
Okay, it’s good to see everybody back for our fourth program this afternoon. We’re going to jump right in where we left off in the Book of Acts. Again, for those of you joining us on television, if you’re a new listener, and they happen everyday, I guess; we’re just an informal Bible study. We’re not associated with anyone. I’m just an independent layman. I’m going to keep it that way, because I don’t want anybody trying to put strings around my neck. I’m going to just keep teaching it the way I see it. If it gets to the place the Lord wants and we’re out of here, why that’s His doing. But anyway, we’re not going to apologize. We’re not going to compromise, nor will I attack.
You know, a lot of people tell me all the time, “Well, Les, why don’t you tell people what these guys are saying?” No, I’m not going to do that. I trust that if people will just see what the Book says, and with normal intelligence you should be able to see the difference. That’s been my premise. Okay, now Iris, again, wants me to let our television audience know we have one published book. It is so well received, especially by the college age. My, we get more comments from grandparents, how their granddaughter or their grandson saw the book on the table and were intrigued by it. It’s eleven bucks, no postage or anything, just a flat eleven. Maybe you can afford to hand a few of them out here and there.
All right, I think that’s all the announcements, so we’ll go right back where we left off in the Book of Acts. We’re going to go on into chapter 4. Now, you remember in our closing statement, Peter is addressing Jews. He’s telling them up there—I had to hurry because time was running out—up there in verse 24 (I want to repeat that for just a moment) where he says to these Jews:
“Yea, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold (or prophesied) of these days.” What days? Christ’s first
Advent – His death, burial, and resurrection. But it was in such vague language that they couldn’t understand what it was all about. All right, then he says:
“Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.”
All right, now I ran out of time on the last program. I wanted to go ahead to Ephesians. Let’s do that now, a minute, before going into chapter 4. Come on up to Ephesians chapter 2. Now this verse makes all the sense in the world that the Apostle Paul is writing to a group of Gentiles over there in Ephesus. Ephesians chapter 2 verses 11 and 12. We’ve used them quite often, but remember what Peter said? You, Israel, are the children of the prophets. You are the ones who are under the covenants.
Now, look what Paul says about Gentiles. This just throws the three hundred watt bulb on it. Verse 11:
“Wherefore remember, (Don’t forget now, he’s writing to Gentiles.) that ye being in time past Gentiles (your genetics, go back to the Old Testament economy, your genetics as Gentiles in times past) in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by those who are the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;” In other words, Jews referred to Gentiles as Uncircumcised. Now verse 12:
“That at that time (While God was still dealing, like He is in the Book of Acts, with Jew only.) ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise,…” See that? Gentiles had no part in those covenants.
That’s why Jesus had to begin His earthly ministry right up front in Matthew 10:5-6 telling the Twelve, “Go not to the Gentiles, (They’re not under these covenant promises.) but go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” If you’d just understand all that. It’s so plain that He couldn’t be anything to the Gentile world, because He had come to fulfill the covenants, and Gentiles had no part in them. Paul repeats it in Romans 15:8.
“…(you Gentiles were) strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: (He was dealing only with Israel. Well, what’s the next verse?) 13. But now (See, but on this side of the cross He now becomes the Savior of the whole world, not just Israel.) in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off (pagan Gentiles) are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
Today, salvation is open to the whole human race, not just Israel. But Christendom is just determined to muddy it all up. I get many calls that tell me, and I’ll use my own term, they’re blenderizing the Scriptures, and it does nothing but confuse. How can you understand something that’s all blenderized?
But rather than mixing it all up, just sort it out. Remember that all these promises made to Israel were to the nation of Israel and not to the Gentile world. It wasn’t until He went to the Gentile world with the Apostle Paul and his message of the work of cross—that is when the Gospel of Grace opened up for everyone.
Now, a verse is coming to mind. I sure didn’t plan to do this one. Come back with me to John’s gospel, chapter 12. We haven’t looked at this one for a long time, either, so maybe it’s appropriate. Here we have Jesus at the very end of his ministry. Again, the crowds are gathering for the third Passover at the end of His three years. The whole temple complex is just packed with Jews coming in from all the areas of the then-known world. But in this passage, we’re dealing with a small group of Gentiles. We don’t know how many. It’s just like the Wise Men. Everybody says three. The Bible doesn’t. We don’t know how many there were. Well, same way here, drop in at verse 20 of chapter 12 of John’s gospel.
“And there were certain Greeks among them (How many? Your guess is as good as mine. I don’t know—two, three, four, or five—couldn’t have been an awful lot of them. But there were certain Greeks, Gentiles, who were in the crowd.) that came up to worship at the feast:” Now, they were probably just curiosity seekers. What are these Jews all about and all this massive crowd? They had been around Israel long enough to have heard of the miracle worker, Jesus of Nazareth. We can pick that up from what they’re asking. All right, these Greeks in the midst of this crowd of Jews are waiting for Passover to begin.
“The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.” Now, this is one portion of Scripture I’d like to have people just sit back and use a little imagination.
Here you’ve got this crowd of Jews waiting for Passover to begin, and here are these, probably, pagan Gentiles who have been in the land long enough to have heard about all the miracles that this Jesus of Nazareth had been performing. So, their curiosity was aroused. As they move through the crowd, use a little imagination. If you were looking for someone and you were in a total, strange environment, what would you do? You ask questions.
Now, I know I’m probably unusual in this regard, but the minute Iris and I are in a strange place and I feel lost, I pull in to the first place that’s open and I ask questions. Where am I? Where do I go from here? That doesn’t bother me one bit. Rather than just keep going, and going and be on the wrong road. All right, now these men did the same thing. They started asking, where is this Jesus of Nazareth? Somebody said, there’s one of His followers, go ask him. Well, it happened to be Philip. So they go to Philip and ask him saying, “Sir, we would see Jesus.”
Now again, put yourself in Philip’s shoes. Remember, Jesus had commanded them to have nothing to do with Gentiles. Well, what are we going to do with these guys? They knew they were Gentiles. Do we take them to see Jesus? Is He going to put us down for breaking His commandment to have nothing to do with Gentiles? Philip is in a quandary. Now, there’s safety in what? Numbers. So, what does Philip do? He goes and finds Andrew.
“Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: (What are we going to do? These Gentiles want to see Jesus, and we know only too well He has nothing to do with Gentiles.) and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.” All right, now the next verse. Well, goodness sakes, the Scripture gives you enough intelligence to determine, what are they going to tell Him? There are Gentiles out here that want to see you. So, when they find Jesus and tell Him that there are Gentiles, is this His answer? Bring them to me.? That’s not what your Bible says.
“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” What’s He talking about? The cross. It’s just a matter of 72 hours at most and He knows. So He says, “The hour is upon us when the Son of man shall be glorified.” Which will happen at His resurrection.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, (Now watch this. Most of you know this, but there are probably some out there that are new listeners and have never heard this before.) Except (unless) a kernel of wheat fall into the ground and die,…” Now, if you’ve had eighth grade biology, what do we know? A seed cannot germinate and bring forth new life until it what? Dies. Death has to happen before new life can come. It’s a fact of creation.
Now, why do you suppose God created it that way? Because of the cross. That’s the whole doctrine of the cross, that you can’t have life until there’s death first. All right, so He brings it into the biological world that a seed of corn, of wheat, must die first.
“…unless a kernel of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth (What?) much fruit.” A hundred-fold, what’s He referring to? His own death, burial, and resurrection, and that He cannot be an object of faith to those Gentiles until He finishes the work of the cross.
Up until that time, it’s a Jewish thing. That’s why you find no reference to Gentiles throughout those early chapters of Acts. It’s still based on the Old Testament covenant promises. But once the work of the cross is revealed to the Apostle Paul, it becomes the life-giving salvation, not just for Israel, but for the whole human race. All right, back with me to Acts chapter 3 and verse 25.
“Ye are the children of the prophets, (Again, I’m repeating purposely. We’ve got to drive it home. To Israel this is what Peter says, you are the children of the prophets, the Old Testament. Let me repeat the subject.) ye are the children of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26. Unto you first…”
Now let’s go back, or go ahead, keep your hand in Acts. Go ahead to Romans chapter 1 verse 16. This is exactly why the Holy Spirit prompted Paul to write what he wrote. Romans 1:16, where Paul writes to us, not to the children of Israel. He’s writing to the whole human race, but Gentiles in particular.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:…” And remember, what’s Paul’s gospel of salvation for us? That Christ died for your sins and was buried, and three days later arose from the dead. Believe it with all of your heart for salvation.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (The Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew (What?) first, and also to the Greek.” What does Acts say? God came to Israel first. All of scripture fits.
“Unto you first (Israel, according to God’s divine purposes) God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, (the nation of Israel) in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” Now, had every Jew responded, what would have happened? Well, the tribulation could have come in and Christ could have returned and set up His kingdom, and Israel could have evangelized the world. That was the Old Testament format, but they didn’t do it.
Now, this is where I like to make comparison with Scriptures. For Israel, for things to happen, every last Jew had to respond. That’s what it says. Every one. Now, when Paul goes to the Gentile world, what’s the word? “That I might save some.”
Peter and James, at the Jerusalem counsel James says, yes, we now agree. In fact, just go ahead. It’s in Acts chapter 15. I’ll let the Scripture speak for itself. Drop down to verse 13. Keep your hand in chapter 4, we’ll be right back. Now, drop down to chapter 15 verse 13. After the end of the Jerusalem counsel, they now agree that Paul and Barnabas can indeed go to the Gentiles, not to win every last one like with Israel, but here it is now.
“And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14. Simeon (or Peter) hath declared, how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them (Everyone? What?) a people for his name.” Just a small percentage. Then Paul does indeed, I think in the Book of Romans, say that he wants “to save some.”
So, we don’t have to expect a great outpouring of Gentiles into salvation. It’s a relatively small percentage. But to Israel He expected every last Jew to respond, which, of course, they did not do. All right, back to Acts chapter 4. Here, we’re still dealing with Peter and the Twelve, and the nation of Israel, especially the religious leaders.
“And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, (See, this is all Jewish. There’s not a Gentile thing in here.) 2. Being grieved that they (the Twelve) taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead, 3. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold (or put them in prison) until the next day: for it was now eventide.”
“Howbeit many of them (That is of these Jews, now.) who heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.” So, the numbers are growing, but it’s still nothing compared to the whole. All right, now the in this next series of verses we have the religious leadership calling the Twelve on the carpet and trying to shut them down from speaking any more of this Jesus of Nazareth. All right, for sake of time, drop down to verse 7.
“And when they (the religious leadership) had set them (Peter and the others) in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” Now, isn’t it amazing? Here Jesus has just spent three years, and Peter and the Eleven have been, I think we’re probably already three, four years after Pentecost, and still this religious leadership cannot get it through their head who this Jesus really was. Isn’t it amazing? All right, verse 8, then Peter, he’s always the spokesman when we deal with the Twelve.
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, (No Gentiles, all Jews) 9. If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, (The raising of the layman back there in chapter 3.) by what means he is made whole; 10. Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name (Not the cross, not the shed blood, not the resurrection, but it was by the name.) of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.”
Now, do you see where the emphasis is? On His name. On who He was. Not a word yet of salvation based on trusting in the death, burial, and resurrection. Now granted, according to the eternal purposes, Christ had to shed the atoning blood, coming out of the Old Testament Day of Atonement. But it is not yet revealed that this is where salvation lies. It’s still only on believing who He was.
Now, the reason I’m emphasizing that is because, turn ahead so that you’ll see where I’m coming. In a little while, another two or three tapings anyway—to Romans chapter 16 verse 25—because Paul is not going to discontinue with the message that Peter and the Eleven have been preaching, that it’s the name of Jesus of Nazareth; but it’s that name of who He was plus what He’s done. All right, and that was kept secret. That’s what most of Christendom cannot understand, that these revelations given to the Apostle Paul were utterly secret.
Nobody understood that the death, burial, and resurrection was going to be a Gospel all its own. They had no idea of that. And I can prove that from Scripture over and over. They did not know that until this apostle.
“Now to him that is of power (See, that word power is always associated with the revelation of the Holy Spirit’s work in the human race.) to establish you according to my gospel, (not Peter’s, not John the Baptist’s, not Jesus’ gospel, but rather Paul’s gospel) and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, (Something that had never been revealed before.) which was kept (What?) secret since the world began.”
God had never revealed it before. That’s why Peter couldn’t preach death, burial, and resurrection. It was still kept secret. Now, I’ve got time, come on back. I’ve used it over and over, because a lot of people think I make too much of Paul. Well, Peter does a lot more than me. II Peter chapter 3, this is at the end of Peter’s life, as soon as he finishes Second Peter. I think it’s just a matter of days and he’s martyred, but, oh, the Holy Spirit still got it out. He’s writing to Jewish believers who as yet have not embraced Paul’s Gospel, and I don’t see how they could have.
Now, in II Peter chapter 3 verse 15, and don’t forget the setting, just shortly before he dies. It’s also shortly before the temple will be destroyed. Peter didn’t know that, but the Spirit does. So, with all that in view, Jerusalem and the temple and the priesthood will soon disappear. So, where does that leave these Jews? Here it is in verse 15.
II Peter 3:15
“And account (understand) that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;” What wisdom is he talking about? The revelation of the mysteries! These are things that Peter had never understood. So, he says to his readers, now you go to Paul because of the wisdom given unto him. He has already written unto you. I think that’s evidence that Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews, but now verse 16.
II Peter 3:16
“As also in all his epistles, (See, not just Hebrews, but in all his epistles.) speaking in them of these things; (What things? Salvation!) in which are some things hard to be understood,…” Because this is all beyond Peter. He couldn’t comprehend this, and God didn’t expect him to.
Because God didn’t reveal these truths to Peter like He did to Paul. So, here’s where you have to draw the line of demarcation. When the Jewish program falls through the cracks, Paul’s Gospel comes to the fore, and all the world of Christendom hates it. What a pity. They fight it tooth and toenail. They would rather stay with Peter’s message. They just refuse to see it. I’ve read article after article, and they all say the same thing. There’s never been any difference between what Peter preached and what Paul preached. That’s not what the Book says, and I beg to differ.