Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 75
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF SCRIPTURE – PART 18
Genesis – Revelation
It’s good to have you all back. I see you’ve had your coffee. For those of you out in television, I trust you know by now that we take a break every half hour. We keep it informal, and that’s why you can see coffee cups on the table. We’re just here to study the Word. I trust and hope I’m not saying something out of place, but I trust that everybody has their own Bible. If I can brag on anything, that’s what I like to brag on, that I can get people to study their own Bible. So when you all come in with your separate Bible, you don’t know how I appreciate that. The same for those of you out in television, get your Bible and don’t just listen, study.
That’s why we like to put the Word on the screen. In fact, I think I shared it with the whole national audience. One time I had a fellow call from Florida. He had caught my program for the first time and at the end of thirty minutes he was saved. But he said, “Don’t get the big head.” Well, no, I’m not prone in that direction, but why? He said, “You didn’t do it.” I said, “Well, I know that, but what did?” He said, “It was the Scripture that you showed on the screen.” That’s why I just told Mike a little while ago, I’d rather have Scripture on the screen as me. And the man said, “That was the first time in my life I had ever read a word from the Bible and what verse it was.” I don’t know what Scripture was up there, but it did it in thirty minutes. That’s why it’s more important to see for yourself what the Book says, as to hear me say it.
All right, we’re going to go right on back where we left off in the last thirty minutes, and that was in Acts chapter 6. We’re dealing with this multitude of Jews in the area of Jerusalem who are evidently part and parcel of all these who would come to celebrate the feast of Pentecost. And when they saw that they had the free lunch and the hope of this coming earthly Kingdom, why go back home and grub out a living. That’s the way I look at it. They just stay in Jerusalem. They are getting a free lunch. Now we’re going to see all this, if you study the Scripture, it’s there. All right, let’s start at verse 1, even though we covered it in the last lesson.
“And in those days (That is while Peter and the eleven are holding forth in Jerusalem. They’re gathering all this wealth that people are turning in, and they’re administering it out as people have need. But it’s getting more than they can handle. It’s just going beyond them. All right, here we go.) when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.” We explained that in the last half hour. Jews who had grown up outside of the land of Israel were murmuring against the Hebrews, the homeland people, because their widows were being neglected in the daily ministration, the handout.
“Then the twelve (Peter, James, John, and the rest of them) called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve (What?) tables.” Now you remember the last program, I made mention of my old battalion mess hall? That thing was humongous.
What was it filled with? Tables that would seat thousands at a time—that’s what they have here. They had tables for who knows how many people. I don’t know where they’re meeting, but, nevertheless, you’ve got to put two and two together. They’re coming together for their meals, and they’re being served. But the Twelve said we got more important things to do than to handle all of this. Now, what is the word at the end of verse 3? What is it? “business.” Well, it was big business. My, when you’re going to dispense food, clothing, and needs of thousands of people, that’s a big business in any man’s language. That’s what we’ve got here. That’s what I want you to see. All right, then verse 4.
“But (Peter says) we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Because after all, what’s the end hope? Christ will return and bring in the Kingdom. That’s why these people are so willing to not go back home.
Now, I’m interjecting that. I can’t prove that. I’m telling you that that’s the way I look at it. That they just don’t see any need to go clear back to Babylon or over to Spain, or wherever, because the King is coming. The Kingdom will be coming in, and who needs houses and lands and wealth? That’s the idea. Okay, so verse 5.
“And the saying pleased the whole (And again, what’s the word?) multitude: and they chose Stephen,…” Now, I’m stopping right there, because that’s the next person we’re going to study for a little bit. Stephen is not of the Twelve, but he is of the seven men who are set apart to take care of these material things such as keeping the groceries, keeping these people supplied, and maintaining a semblance of order and good business. All right, so they picked the seven, now verse 6.
“Whom (these seven men) they set them before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples (Now, that’s not associated with the Twelve disciples. This is just another word for the believers.) multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of (What people?) the priests (a great number of even the priests) were obedient to (not the law, but to) the faith.”
They placed their faith in who Jesus was. They are now recognizing that, yes indeed, He was that promised Messiah. If the rest of Israel will just recognize it, in will come that promised Kingdom. Now, I’m going to make reference to it. Like I said in the first program, I’m going to use a quote from a well-known scholar in years gone by, but I’m not ready for it yet in this half hour. We’ll use it in the next one, or the last one today.
How these Jews are all coming in under what I call the Kingdom economy. That is that the law hasn’t changed. Chapel worship hasn’t changed. They still practice all the food laws. They practice the Saturday Sabbath, and they still go to the temple. Nothing has changed except now the Messiah has come and gone back to glory; and they’re expecting Him to come back any time, although they did know they’d have to go through some tribulation. But nevertheless, they’re all looking forward to the coming now of the King and the Kingdom. Okay, reading on in verse 8.
“And Stephen, (One of these seven picked out especially by the Holy Spirit, as He caused Luke to write. This Stephen was) full of faith and (What?) power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.” Where’d he get his power? The Holy Spirit, the power from on high.
All right, now we see all the way through the text that this man Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. Everything that referred to him was that he was working and operating under the power of the Holy Spirit. For example, come down to verse 10, some of his opposition.
“And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit (A reference to the Holy Spirit) by which he spoke. (He’s a man full of the Holy Spirit.) 11. Then they (Stephen’s opposition. Those that were still frantically trying to stop this movement of accepting Jesus as their Messiah.) they suborned (Or they drafted, or they conscripted.) men, who said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.”
Well, it’s just like I’m accused in my teaching when I point out Paul’s epistles. Then you are telling us that Jesus didn’t mean anything? No, I didn’t say that. I’m just saying that everything Jesus said was to Israel under the law, and everything He says to us comes through His designated apostle, the Apostle Paul.
That’s all Stephen had ever said about Moses. Listen, Moses’ day has come and gone. Now we’re ready to accept this Jesus of Nazareth as the primary individual. Then they thought that was downgrading Moses. Well, that’s just the way people think. So anyway, that’s their accusation. Verse 12.
“And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, 13. And set up false witnesses, (Things haven’t changed, have they? They set up false witnesses.) which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, (The temple) and the law: 14. For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place,…”
Well, was that so bad? Once Christ would return and set up His Kingdom, He’s not going to use this same old temple that Herod built. He’s going to build His own millennial temple. Stephen was being falsely accused and his words twisted. Well, I have it happen every once in awhile even in my own ministry.
In fact, one of these fellows here just came to me a little bit ago. This is typical right here. He said, “Les, this verse says in this translation just opposite of what you say.” And I said, “No, it doesn’t, read it again.” Well, before he left visiting with me, he saw it. He said, “Oh, I read that wrong.”
Well, that’s human, and I have it happen every once in awhile. Somebody will call and say, Les, you said such and such. I said, no, I didn’t. I didn’t say anything like that. Yes, you did. Well, let’s go see what the Book says. Well, then they admit, oh, I heard you wrong. But until they confront me with it, how many people have they told: don’t listen to Les Feldick. He hasn’t got it right.
Well, it’s not my fault. They aren’t reading it right. Anyway, it is the same way with poor old Stephen. He’s being falsely accused. Actually, he’s telling it like it is. That when this Messiah, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, returns and sets up His Kingdom, then all of this earthly stuff is going to disappear. The whole millennial environment will be totally different. Okay, so they bring Stephen on the carpet—chapter 7 verse 1.
Now, we aren’t going to take this verse-by-verse. I would like to, but I already did it when we took the Book of Acts verse-by-verse. We’re going to hit the highlights of it before we move on. They take Stephen up before all the big wheels of Israel.
“And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” So, God was with him as he spoke.
“Then said the high priest, Are these things so?” Now, as I was rehearsing this again in the last week getting ready for today, you know what struck me? It never has before, but it did this time. How many times have you read articles and some of these newfangled, so-called books of so and so, and they come to the conclusion that our Old Testament really isn’t that believable.
Especially archaeologists—my, they’ll come up and they’ll just over and over say that much of what we have taken for granted in the Old Testament never happened. It’s not true. But you know what? Stephen here, after the fact of hundreds and hundreds of years for a lot of it, is rehearsing everything in a compact way beginning with Abraham all the way up to that present time. And he fills in a lot of details that the Old Testament doesn’t give us.
You know, I thought of it in that light. I don’t care what these scholars say. Our Old Testament is believable. It’s just as true as anything can be. Stephen’s address here confirms it. Now, like I say, I haven’t got time to go verse-by-verse. So, when you get home this evening, if you’ve got time, you just sit down and read this chapter 7. You will see all of Old Testament history encapsulated. And it’s as true as anything can be. Let’s start up there at verse 2.
“And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, (He’s addressing Jews, no Gentiles.) hearken; (or listen to me) The God of glory appeared (visibly) unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,” Now, the question comes in every so often: was Abraham a Jew? No, he couldn’t have been a Jew, because the Jewish race hadn’t even started yet. The Jewish race was by covenant promise beginning with Abraham, but what was he genetically? He was a Syrian. His whole family was Syrian. Now, let me show that. That’ll give me a good chance to answer a lot of questions out there in T.V. land as well. Come back with me to Genesis 28 and verse 1.
“And Isaac (Abraham and Sarah’s son) called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. 2. Arise, and go to Padan-aram, (That’s up there in Syria where Abraham and Lot and all of them had stopped on their way down to Canaan.) to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; (Now before we go any further, what was the relationship between Abraham and Sarah? Half brother and half sister, so they’re out of the same stock.) and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother. 3. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people.” Now, let’s come all the way down to verse 5.
“And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan-aram (up there in Syria) unto Laban, son of Bethuel the (What?) Syrian,…” Well, the whole family was Syrian until God separated Abraham and gave him the covenant promises. And then, yes, from Abraham on, all those offspring are Jews, Israelites of the twelve tribes.
Anyway, that answers that question: that we were dealing with Abraham, the Syrian, until God fulfilled His covenant promises. Okay, now we can come back to Acts chapter 7 verse 2.
“…The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, and before he dwelt in Charran, (He was a Syrian.) 3. And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee. 4. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Charran: (Which was still up in Syria.) and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, (the land of Canaan) wherein ye now dwell.” We’re going to come on down until we get to verse 6. God is dealing with Abraham.
“And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; (In other words, he didn’t actually set roots down. He migrated up and down the length of what is present day Israel, amongst the Canaanites.) and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years.” Now, of course, that’s a reference to the nation of Egypt.
“And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage (Egypt) will I judge, said God:…” And we know He did. Now there again, the archaeologists in particular, if you ever read any of their articles, maintain that there is no visible evidence of the Israelites ever being in Egypt.
There is almost no archaeological proof according to their shards and so forth. But do you know what I always maintain? God has purposely hidden a lot of things in human history, like, for example, Noah’s Ark, for what purpose? To force us to take it by faith. As soon as the archaeologists come up and say that out of all the digging that we’ve done in Egypt and all of the Egyptian history, there’s not an inkling of the Jews ever being in Egypt. Well, if I’m going to believe that Israel was in Egypt, how am I going to have to take it? By faith!
I don’t care whether they can’t find proof. It doesn’t make a bit of difference to me. My Bible says they were there hundreds of years. Someday maybe the archaeologists—like David. There was another one. Do you know the archaeologists were just on a binge. There was never a record of a guy by the name of David, so they threw all kinds of doubt on the Word of God. Well, here in the last couple or three years, they found a dagger-like stone. Whose name do you suppose they found on it? David’s—and it just blew their minds. That’s the one and only time that, so far at least, that they’ve found something that I’m aware of, that has an indication of David. But you see, I think God keeps it that way.
It is the same with the Ark. Why in the world does God keep that Ark from human view? Because if it was out there where people could examine it, what would people do? They’d go and worship it. They’d make a shrine of it. So the world still doesn’t believe in a flood or in the fact that Noah ever existed. So again, how do we know it? By faith. I think that’s why God does it—to force us to take these things by faith in His Word. All right, back to our text. I shouldn’t have digressed, but I can’t help it once in awhile. Acts chapter 7 verse 8.
“And he gave him (Abraham) the covenant of circumcision: (And after the covenant of circumcision, in comes the Jewish line now.) and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.” Not out of Ishmael or Esau, but out of Jacob. Now verse 9:
“And the patriarchs, moved with envy, (the eleven brothers) sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,” It was all part of His divine purposes that Joseph should be sold into slavery and taken down into Egypt. Let’s come a little further, verse 10.
“And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.” In other words, Joseph is, again, a good illustration of how Jews many times come clear to the very top of Gentile governments.
Joseph is the first one. Moses did. Daniel did. All right, now Stephen continues. Now don’t forget the setting here. What is Stephen showing these religious leaders? He is showing that all these prophecies that had been building up through the Old Testament are about to be fulfilled. He’s showing them historically from Scripture that all of this was in God’s divine purposes for His covenant people. All right, come on down to verse 11.
“Now there came a dearth (a famine) over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance (no food). 12. But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. (That is, the remaining sons of Jacob.) 13. And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren;…”
All right, “And at the second time,” now you’ve heard me teach this. We’ll repeat it again. Why do you suppose the Holy Spirit inspired Stephen to make a point of the second time? Well, you’ve got the same thing up here in verses 23, 24, and 25 with Moses. Let’s jump up there a minute. Verse 22.
“And Moses was learned (or educated) in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. 23. And when he was a full forty years old, (You don’t get that in the Old Testament. This is a little tidbit that we get here. When he was forty years old,) it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. 24. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote (or killed) the Egyptian:” Now verse 25.
“For he (Moses) supposed (or he thought) his brethren (the Jews) would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.” What did he want to do? He wanted to lead the nation out with his own power and pomp and circumstance, because he was a great man in Egypt. So, he thought that God was laying it on his heart to lead the children out, but it wasn’t God’s time. So what happened? Read on.
“…but they understood not. 26. And the next day he showed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? 27. But he that did his neighbor wrong thrust him away, (or threw him aside) saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?” Now, what’s all this a picture of? Christ’s first coming and Joseph down in Egypt.
When the brothers went down into Egypt to get grain, and Joseph was in control, Joseph knew them. Did they know Joseph? No, and they never did get it. All right, but when they came, like he says back there in verse 13, when they came the second time, now what happens? There is a great reunion between Joseph and his brethren. All right, what’s the picture?
The first time Jesus knew His covenant people. Did they know him? No, for the most part and they rejected Him, but He’s coming the second time. Now, when He comes the second time, they’re going to recognize Him. They’re going to see Him, I think, coming in the clouds of glory and every last Israelite, or Jew, whatever you want to call them, that will be in that one-third remnant will become believers.
All right, now it’s the same way with Moses. The first time he couldn’t get to first base, because they wouldn’t trust him. They wouldn’t believe who he was. Then come on down to verse 28 where we left off. These Jews who were rejecting Moses said:
“Wilt thou kill me, as ye did the Egyptian yesterday? 29. Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. 30. And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.” You all know that back in Exodus chapter 3. That precipitated then verse 32.
“Saying, (out of the bush) I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold. 33. Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground. 34. I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people who is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, (God is speaking.) I will send thee into Egypt.” Now for what purpose? To be the deliverer the second time.
What you have to learn from Acts chapter 7, if nothing else, is that it is brought home so clearly that at the first advent Israel could not buy into it. They could not believe who He was. But when He comes the second time, they will recognize Him, and, as Zechariah says, they will say “what are these wounds in thy hands?” And how will He answer? “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” And Israel will suddenly realize who He is, and why He has come, and they will enter into the glory of that Kingdom as believers. So, always remember the first advent and the second.