Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 75
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF SCRIPTURE – PART 2
Genesis – Revelation
For those of you in television, in case this is your first time, and you’re just clicking through the channels, and you wonder what in the world—we’re just an informal Bible study. That blackboard is what gets people’s attention, not me thankfully. It’s the blackboard, and then they come back and have to see what it’s all about. We’re glad you’re with us. Again, we always like to thank you for your letters. My, how we enjoy our mail time!
All right, Iris wants me to keep plugging our one and only book, because we don’t want them to sit out there in the warehouse. The book is eighty-eight questions and the answers from past programs. Everybody seems to enjoy it, especially the younger people. We want to keep reminding you of that. They make wonderful gifts. And it will be the best $11 dollars you will spend. Many people have found salvation by reading this little book.
All right, we’re going to keep right on going where we left off with what we’ve been calling connecting the dots of Scripture. We didn’t mention it in the last program, but we just sort of decided to start at Genesis and just as they like to say lately, you just connect the dots and see how everything in Scripture fits from cover to cover. Sometimes there are changes in the program. We’re covering that now as we come to the Apostle Paul, but it all fits so beautifully.
After Paul’s conversion and after he spent the three years in the desert, as we saw in our last moments of the last half hour, he came back to Jerusalem, and he only spent a couple weeks with Peter and a few of the others. Then his life was threatened again, as usual, so he fled up to his home town of Tarsus, up there in what is presently southwestern Turkey.
But now we’re going to pick up back in Jerusalem once again, or at least Joppa, with Peter. The whole thing is so providential, but most people miss it. Because, you see, Peter is still the Jews’ Jew. He has no time for Gentiles, which was appropriate at that time. How shall I put it? Yet God had to let Peter know that something different was taking place. God was going to go to the Gentiles, Peter or no Peter. This is what we’re going to pick up now in chapter 10. God has to show Peter that He is now going to offer salvation to the Gentile world.
Now you’ve got to know your Old Testament to realize that Israel was never instructed to
proselytize or evangelize the Gentile world. They were to keep it to themselves. They alone were under the covenants. They would have their opportunity at some time in the future to bring Gentiles in but certainly not yet.
So this whole idea of Acts chapter 10 with Cornelius, now, is primarily not just to save those few Gentile Romans, which is appropriate, but more importantly to show Peter that now God was going to do something totally different. And I maintain had Peter not had this experience, when they came together in the Jerusalem counsel in A.D. 51, which would probably be about twelve years later, I’m afraid Peter would have never agreed to let Paul and Barnabas go back to their Gentile ministry. They would have squashed it right there in Jerusalem.
So, as we look at this event now with Peter and Cornelius, keep that uppermost in your mind—that this is God’s way of showing Peter that He was now going to do something totally different. All right, Acts chapter 10, we’ll start reading in verse 1.
“There was a certain man in Caesarea (just up the coast from Jerusalem) called Cornelius, a centurion (or an officer) of the band called the Italian band. 2. A devout man, (In other words, he was religious, contrary to most Romans who were pagan, but he was a devout man.) and one who feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, (He was certainly, what’s the word I’m looking for? A philanthropist, he gave to those that need it.) and prayed to God always.”
Now most people think that makes him a believer. No, that’s most of the human race. And still he’s as lost as a goose, is the way I usually put it. And, consequently, he was in need of salvation. This is where God is going to start now so far as the Gentile world is concerned. Now verse 3.
“He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day (Which would be 3 o’clock in the afternoon.) an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? (Not recognizing that it was an angel, but whatever.) And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. 5. And now send men to Joppa,…” Now you’ve got to know your Mideast geography. We’re down at that southern end of the eastern shore, the Mediterranean, a little further south of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem today, to Joppa.
“…send men to Joppa, and call for one called Simon, whose surname is Peter: 6. He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seaside: (That is of the Mediterranean.) he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.”
Now, we’re not going to take all this verse-by-verse. We’ve done this before when we taught the Book of Acts, and, especially for those of you out in television watching the daily program, we’re back there. We just finished Acts and Romans, so this is all just a real recent review for you. But anyway, when Cornelius is ready to send someone down to find Peter, the Lord, again in His own way of doing things, also deals with Peter down there at Joppa in verse 9.
“On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, (That is the emissaries from Cornelius up at Caesarea.) Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: (which is noon) 10. And he became very hungry, (That’s lunch time as we call it today.) and would have eaten: but while they (probably the women folks) were making ready, he fell into a trance,” Up there on the housetop.
“And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12. Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.” Which means it was mostly unclean stuff to a Jew.
“And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.” Now I always stop right here. Why does Peter say what he says? Because he’s a law-keeping Jew. He’s not about to eat any of this stuff that was not part of the clean animals.
“But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” Now all I want us to see here is that we are dealing with Peter, the law-keeping Jew. But you know what happens? Finally the Lord got through to him. And Peter, of course, gives into the Lord’s leading. About the time he’s agreeable, here come the people from Cornelius, and they meet him at the front door. Now we’ll jump down to verse 23.
“Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.” Now we know from chapter 11 that he also took six fellow-believing Jews with him for a total of seven. Boy, I was just reading an interesting book last night on numbers. You know, it’s just amazing how this Bible is put together with numbers. It’s just unbelievable, and of course, that’s what makes it so supernatural. But anyway, Peter leaves with them—verse 24.
“And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.” So, we have a houseful of people. How many? The Bible doesn’t tell us. You can use your own good sense. Remember, it’s a Middle Eastern home, so it certainly wasn’t commodious enough for dozens and dozens. But there could have been twelve, fourteen, fifteen, maybe twenty people. All right, now we come down to verse 25.
“And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. (See, now there comes that pagan background.) 26. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. 27. And as he talked with him, he went in (through the front door), and found many that were come together.” And now Peter gets kind of shaky. Peter is getting a little bit worried. I can understand why. Because you know, when religion has a hold on you, it just controls your life. Judaism was a religion. All right, now look what happened when he sees all these Gentiles, probably a lot of them military people.
“And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful (See how clearly this shows Peter’s legalism. Peter says, you know that it’s an unlawful–) thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation;…” Now you see how plain that is? That was the mentality of the nation of Israel. Rightly, because that’s what God had instructed from the very beginning—have nothing to do with these pagan, idolatrous Gentiles.
They were a separated people. All right, but now God has to show Peter that He’s going to make a break with that kind of mentality. He is going to go to the Gentile world. All right, so he says:
“…it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Because every human being is now going to be a candidate for this glorious gospel of salvation that will be coming from this other apostle (Paul).
“Therefore I came unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?” Then Cornelius rehearses his experience with the angel, and how the Lord had told him to send for him and so forth. And now verse 33, winding up Cornelius’ little speech, he says:
“Immediately therefore I sent to thee; (That is to Peter.) and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.”In other words, Cornelius’ group was hanging on every word that Peter was going to be telling them. All right, so Peter now begins to unfold who Jesus of Nazareth really was. All right, verse 36:
“The word which God sent unto the children of Israel,…” Now never lose sight of that. Up until this time God’s word had never gone to anybody but the nation of Israel. Oh, there may have been an occasional proselyte, but I always remind people—what did Jesus say about proselytes? Why, the Jews were more the children of hell than the proselytes that they had won. But anyway, verse 36:
“The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37. That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38. How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 39. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40. Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly;”
All right, now the point I’m going to make here, and this is what so many people cannot understand, Peter is not proclaiming faith in the death, burial, and resurrection as the means of salvation as we do in the Body of Christ. It just isn’t in here. He is establishing a fact that even though Israel had crucified their Messiah and shed His blood, He had risen from the dead and He had gone back to glory.
But as we show here on our timeline all the time, so far as Peter is still concerned, this was all simply a matter of something or other that he couldn’t comprehend, but I think they understood that the atoning blood had now been shed. So consequently, the ascended Lord in short order, after the seven years of tribulation (they understood that)—He would be coming back and still bringing in the 1,000 year Kingdom rule. They thought it would all happen in their lifetime.
They had no idea that this was going to be opened up into a two thousand year period of history. This was all supposed to happen in their lifetime. All right, now let’s read on. Don’t want you to lose the thought—verse 39.
“…whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40. Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; 41. Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.” Now, watch. As I’m saying, not a word of salvation attached to this. It’s just a statement of fact. Verse 43:
“To him (to this resurrected Christ) give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” A word about the blood? A word about His death? A word about His resurrection? Nothing. Now do you see that? The world can’t see that.
Like I said in the last program, they tried to tell me that Paul preached the same thing Peter did, and Peter preached what Paul did. But Peter has no conception of what we call salvation through the work of the cross. All Peter still understands is who He was. He was that promised Messiah. Peter says, I don’t care what happened to Him, He’s alive. He’s in glory, and He’s ready to come back and fulfill the promises. That’s what I want folks to see. If they would believe who He was, even these Gentiles would receive the remission of sins. All right, that’s the Gospel of the Kingdom, not the Gospel of Grace!
Now that’s the same message that Saul of Tarsus was saved by. Saul didn’t have an understanding of the work of the cross when he was saved on the road to Damascus. All he recognized was who this Jesus of Nazareth really was. That’s the Kingdom gospel. All right, now when these Gentiles, these Romans, when they heard that, they were so open to it. After all, this is God doing something beyond the normal. He’s got to open the door to the Gentile world. He’s got to show Peter that these Gentiles are going to be saved without going through all the ramifications of temple worship and law keeping and repentance and water baptism and the whole bit. They’re going to be saved by faith even though it’s not yet Paul’s Gospel.
“While Peter yet spake these words, (He hasn’t even finished and here comes the evidence of the believing of these Gentiles. Do you see that?) the Holy Spirit fell on all them who heard the word.” Why? Because they were believing it. With childlike faith they were believing what Peter was saying, and God responded by showing the proof of their faith—which was common for especially that day and time. He gave them the gift of speaking in other languages.
“And they of the circumcision who believed (In other words, Peter and the six men that came with him.) were (What’s the word?) astonished,…” Now what does that mean? They couldn’t believe their ears. What in the world? What’s happening? These pagan Gentiles are receiving the same kind of a response that we got at Pentecost. But they had to believe it. God had saved them and that was the confirmation of their saving faith.
“…on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Why?) 46. For they heard them speak with tongues, (I think a better word is languages.) and magnify God….” They were praising Him.
You know, this is what thrills us in the ministry. The other day I had a phone call. I can sometimes not remember whether it was a phone call or a letter. But a lady had been raised in a home absolutely destitute of anything spiritual or biblical. She said they didn’t have a Bible in the house. Her parents never believed in God. They never went to church, consequently the kids didn’t either.
She said she went on into her teen years with that same mentality. She never had an interest in the things of God, never questioned about Him. She said she married somebody pretty much of the same thinking, and she went into the work-a-day world. And for years, she said, that was her life—no concept of God, or eternity, or anything. And then she said one week she was home with an injury of some kind. She couldn’t go to work. She said she was just flipping through the channels and accidentally caught our program. She said it struck an interest, so she watched every day for about two weeks.
She had taped it after she went back to work so she could watch it when she got home. And she said that after two weeks I just happened to put the plan of salvation on the program, and she was saved instantly. She said from that time on her whole life changed. Her husband became a believer and their home life changed, all because of believing the Gospel. Now that’s the whole idea of Scripture.
As soon as these Romans believed what Peter preached, even though it wasn’t yet our Gospel of Grace, it was still the Word of God. God responded by giving them an open heart to believe and showed the evidence of it. Now of course I can never teach chapter 10 without going back to chapter 2. Those of you who are with me all the time, you probably get tired of me doing this. But I like to compare Scripture with Scripture so that we see what a drastic difference there is between what happened here in this Gentile house from what happened on the day of Pentecost back there in Jerusalem.
All right, that’s back at Acts chapter 2 verse 38. All I ask people to do is just use common sense and compare words with words, English with English. You’re not comparing oranges and apples. We’re comparing what took place over here at Pentecost with the Jew to what took place in the house of Cornelius the Gentile. And look at the complete inversion in the way God dealt with them. All right, in Acts chapter 2 verse 38, here is Peter and his appeal to the nation of Israel on the day of Pentecost.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and (next step) ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Now look what happens in the house of Cornelius. Just compare the process. Verse 44 again:
“While Peter was yet speaking,…” He hadn’t even stopped to make any kind of an invitation or an explanation. He is still in his message of who Jesus Christ really was, and the Holy Spirit fell on these Romans as an indication of their believing.
Then these Jews couldn’t possibly comprehend what was taking place, but they understood that it was something real because these Gentiles, too, spoke in languages and tongues just like they did back on Pentecost. But what hadn’t they done yet? They hadn’t repented. They hadn’t gotten baptized, but they were believers. Do you see the difference? Plain as day.
Now of course, Peter in an afterthought said, well, now wait a minute. We missed it somehow or other. We should have baptized them first, but we didn’t have a chance. God is way ahead of him. These Gentiles became believers by just simply believing—no repentance, no water baptism, nothing. Isn’t that amazing?
All right, so this is the whole concept now of Peter going to the house of Cornelius. If you’ll go ahead to chapter 11, because I get so many questions on things in the Book of Acts, and my stock answer is “you cannot use Acts for doctrine.” Acts is an historical record of moving from Israel to the Gentile world. And there are so many things in here that get confusing when people try to use Acts for doctrine. They get all fouled up. They get all this other stuff that has no business being in our faith system today.
And so I repeat it over and over. Don’t use these things in Acts as doctrine and say, well, this is what you have to do, because this is what Peter said. This is what you have to do, because this is what happened here. It just doesn’t smooth out.
For example, Paul is going to take a Jewish vow. Paul is going to baptize. As I’m going to show you in these succeeding programs, as soon as we get out of all this transitional stuff in the Book of Acts and get into Paul’s Epistles, then everything starts leveling out.
But all right, back to our period of time with Peter yet in chapter 11. Remember, the basis of all of his operation is the Jewish church in Jerusalem, which is still all Kingdom ground. All they’ve understood was who Jesus Christ was.
And the apostles (the other eleven) and brethren that were in Judaea (that is Jerusalem) heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they who were of the circumcision, (That is this Jewish church including the other eleven apostles.) contended with him.” My, they just called him on the carpet. Peter, what in the world were you doing in a house full of Romans? We have nothing to do with those people.
All right, verse 3, and they don’t quit with the fact that he went up there. He went in, and on top of everything else he sat down and ate unclean food with them! Peter, how could you?
“Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, (That was bad enough. But then you sat down and ate with them?) and didst eat with them.” Now, do you get the picture? They couldn’t comprehend something like this. Now when Peter comes back and rehearses all that happened, you see what God is doing? He is opening up the thinking of these Jews to the fact that God is going to go and save Gentiles. Not by bringing them into Judaism as proselytes, but He’s going to save them by faith and faith alone now.
Not in just who Jesus was, but what Jesus has done—and that is the work of the cross. And that’s where all the difference of the world comes in. That’s what sets Paul’s ministry apart from Peter. It’s as different as daylight is from dark, even though they’re dealing with the same Christ. Yet Peter is dealing with the Christ of the earthly ministry, proclaiming Him to be the Messiah of Israel. Paul knows nothing—as we’re going to see in the next program—nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, buried, and risen from the dead.
All right, now let’s just come down a little bit more in chapter 11 verse 4.
“But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying, 5. I was in the city of Joppa praying:…” And then he rehearses the whole story, and that kind of settles them down.
But that doesn’t really change their overall thinking, because, as we’re going to see later, if not today, in another taping. We’re going to see that when these Jerusalem Jews hear about Gentiles coming into salvation by way of Israel’s God up there in Antioch, they’re going to get all bent out of shape just like they are here. They are going to, again, take steps to root out any of these false teachers who could possibly think about bringing Gentiles into a relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
So, as you see this in the Book of Acts, just constantly remember the Jewish mentality—that it was still all Jewish. That Israel alone was the recipient of God’s covenant promises. On the other hand, we’re getting ready to accept the fact that God is now going to go to the Gentile world without bringing them into Judaism.