Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 1
Genesis 2:8 – 3:8
Before we go back to Genesis, a question that keeps coming up in almost every class every week since August (1990) is, “What’s the deal in the Middle East?”
So I think I will make just a few comments on that before we go back to Genesis, if I may. The answer to that question, when I made it last August is still the same today. That is, always remember, that everything prophetically, everything biblically, everything so far as world politics is concerned, is centered on the little nation of Israel.
That’s why in almost every news report, every newspaper and every weekly news magazine, seemingly, Israel is front page news. And that’s as it should be. Because, all prophecy is centered on Israel. Especially the Middle East. So, the only way that we can look at the whole Middle East dilemma is; where does Israel come in? If you have been watching the news, Hussein has been making it clear that he cannot negotiate unless he can settle the Palestinian and the Israeli problem.
Now, what a lot of people do not understand and what a lot of Americans do not understand is that Israel is surrounded by enemies on every side. She is out numbered by about 40 to 1 and every last Arab Nation has within their governmental archives a statement to the effect that, they will not rest until Israel is obliterated.
When you stop to think who all that entails, it starts all across North Africa. It means Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt then you come into the Middle East itself and you have, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Iran . Everyone of those nations have already established that they will not rest until Israel is totally destroyed or driven into the sea.
How do you suppose that makes Israel feel? Well, she is threatened and consequently she sits there adamant. She has one of the best armies in the world and one of the best air forces in the world for a reason.
Even the world in general, when you watch the United Nations, whenever they come to any kind of a debate, it’s the whole world against Israel. Except on the occasions where the United States votes with her. So the consensus is very easily arrived at; why stick up for a losing cause? They are out numbered. They don’t stand a chance.
Well, we have to always go back to the Scripture. And let’s just real quickly look at a few primary verses with regard to Israel’s future. Is she there to stay? Or is this just a temporary phenomena that a few people have made a big ado over nothing? Or is this really the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
Now I’ve made comments in my classes over the years, that probably 85-90% of Christendom (when I use the word Christendom, remember, I’m talking about any organization or denomination or whatever you want to call it, that ascribes a least a part of their belief to the Bible.) So, 90% of Christendom, and I am including all of Protestantism, the Catholic Church and any others that are in this ballpark of Christendom, are of the opinion that since Israel killed her Messiah, that God literally put Israel out of His mind and transferred all of the promises given to Israel to “the Church”.
But, you see the Bible flies in the face of that thinking. So if you will, turn with me back to II Samuel chapter 7. The only reason I am taking time to jump ahead is because it is going to be a long time before we get this far in our study coming out of Genesis and since the Middle East is in such a turmoil, I thought it might be appropriate to at least spend a few moments. I am just taking a few of the clearest references to the fact that Israel is not there by accident. Israel is there under the directive of a Sovereign God. Never forget, as I have mentioned already several times since we have begun this study on television, that God is Sovereign.
He can do whatever He wants to do! And, it is not for the human mind to question. Because the Scripture tells us that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His ways are higher than our ways. Consequently, we are in no position to question. Now II Samuel chapter 7, the Lord is talking to old King David, remember this is about 1000 BC. He’s talking to King David through the prophet Nathan. Drop down to verse 14.
II Samuel 7:14
“I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, (The word He, the pronoun is directly associated with Solomon, but it also includes the whole nation of Israel. Iniquity, we know that Israel has been guilty of that) I will chasten him with the rod of men, (in other words, God will use other nations to punish the nation of Israel) and with the stripes of the children of men:”
Then verse 15. One of the important words in Scripture. That little three letter word “but”! B-u-t. Even though God will have to chasten the nation of Israel betimes, and even though Israel is going to be rebellious and anything but what God would like them to be. “But” God says:
II Samuel 7:15
“But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.”
Then verse 16 shows that we are not just talking about King Solomon per se or King Saul but we are talking about the nation of Israel.
II Samuel 7:16
“And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee; thy throne shall be established for ever.”
Now, that is a promise that God has made and regardless of what Israel does God’s promises to stand. They will never be broken.
Let’s turn to another verse that might help us to understand. I’d like to take you to Jeremiah, because we are seeing this right before our very eyes, even as I speak.
Someone has been kind enough to give me a gift subscription to the Jerusalem Post. And if you really want to know what is going on the in Middle East, that’s the paper you have to read. Last week the Jerusalem Post reported that in the month of November, the past November, more Jewish immigrants came into the land of Israel out of Russia alone than came from all the rest of the world over the last several years.
In our class last night, someone had just read a week or two ago that in one day, 9,000 Jews from Russia came to Israel. Nine thousand in one day! Alright, what are we seeing? Turn to Jeremiah chapter 16.
Here’s another good example of what I mentioned a few weeks ago that when you see two or three times in short order God repeating Himself, it’s just like when we repeat something, – emphasis! You’d better take note. Jeremiah chapter 16 verse 14.
“Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt: 15. But, the LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.”
Now in order to emphasize, who is the land of the north? If you could take a horizontal type map of the globe and find the longitudinal lines in which Jerusalem is located and you can draw a perfectly straight line north to the North Pole and you will practically bisect Red Square! From Jerusalem to Moscow is absolutely due north! So when the Scripture speaks of bringing the Jewish people from out of the north country there is no doubt that it is talking about the land of Russia.
Turn over a few pages to chapter 23 verse 7. Again it is almost identical language.
“Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8. But, the LORD liveth which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country. And from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.”
Now, that is plain English! Just plain English. We just can’t do anything with it! Now turn to chapter 31.
“Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together; a great company shall return thither”
Plain English, isn’t it? And we are seeing it. Right in our own time.
Alright, another portion of Scripture, turn to Ezekiel chapter 37. We won’t take time to take this verse by verse, we will hopefully, do that sometime down the road, but in chapter 37 you have the vision that was given to Ezekiel of the dry bones. The dry bones, from which the old Negro Spiritual derived those dry bones.
As Ezekiel is shown in a vision this whole valley filled with dry bones, and he says behold they were very dry. And all that means is that they have been there for a long time. They are bleached. Now remember this is just a vision, and as he looks out over this valley of dry bones, the LORD says that he should prophecy upon them. Then you drop down to verse 7.
“So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.”
I think you know the rest of the text. How he saw all of these various bones, the knee bone and the hip bone and the thigh bone and the shoulder bone. They all came together and they formed that skeleton. But, there was no muscle on them so you come on down to verse 10.
“So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”
Just get the picture of Ezekiel’s vision. He looks out over this valley just covered with bones. Very dry! They have been there for centuries and all of a sudden he sees these bones come together and skeletons appear. Flesh comes upon them. The skin comes upon them and then all of a sudden they are living.
I have heard many a sermon on these first few verses and they can apply it and make all kinds of good sermon material out of it. But, unfortunately, they don’t go on. Because you see the Bible always interprets these things for us. When you go down to verse 11:
“Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel:…”
See? There it is, just as plain as day! These bones that Ezekiel saw in this vision were just simply a picture of the house of Israel.
“…behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.”
What is the indication? Israel has been out there in the Gentile Nations, dispersed, out of her homeland for thousands of years. And it just seemed that there was no hope of them becoming a viable nation once again. But oh, listen, God hasn’t forgotten about the children of Israel. Now read on, verse 12.
“Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; (whenever God speaks, we had better listen!) Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, (what were the graves? Their dwelling places in Gentiles nations. Russia, Europe, Poland, France, America. This is where the Jew is literally out of his homeland and he is in a grave so far as God is concerned, because Israel is not what God wants them to be unless they are in their promised land.) and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.”
That is something that you cannot twist. You can’t spiritualize that and say well, “This isn’t what it means.” No, it means what it says! God says, I will bring you to the land of Israel.Verse 13.
“And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves. 14. And shall put my spirit in you and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.”
Alright, let’s go to a New Testament verse, Matthew chapter 24. Because someone may be prone to say “that’s Old Testament, that’s all done. That doesn’t have anything to do with us today.” Well, just to show that indeed, it does have something to do with us today, you go to Matthew chapter 24 verse 32. And if you have a red letter edition, it is in red. Jesus is doing the speaking. As I have emphasized so often in my teaching, if anyone has any doubt about some of the things in the Old Testament and Jesus comes back and quotes it, then you better rest assured you are on pretty solid ground that it is the Word of God.
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:”
I think you are all aware that the fig tree in Scripture is always symbolic of the nation of Israel, but now look at verse 33.
” So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, (in other words, when you see all these things we are seeing happening in the Middle East. Even as a good Jew was aware that when a fig tree began to sprout its leaves summer was nigh. So, we are to understand that when we see all these things coming to pass, God’s summer is nigh. His return is at hand!)know that it (His return) is near, even at the doors.”
Now this next verse is the one that I wanted to point out in particular. Verse 34.
“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, (or be destroyed or disappear) till all these things be fulfilled.”
Now, the word generation there, comes from the Greek word “genea” from which we get generation but more apt genealogy. So what He is really saying is that this “stock”, this generation, or this breed or this nation of people, Israel, shall never pass off the scene until everything is fulfilled.
What does that tell you? God can never fulfill His overall program until He can come back and deal once again with the nation of Israel. So, whenever you hear a statement that God’s all through with Israel, don’t you believe it!
In fact, I read a comment again the other night by one of the main line denominational leaders, that the present day Jew in Israel has nothing to do with the Jew of Scripture. Oh, I don’t see how they can say something like that, but that is their privilege, of course. But, we know that the Bible is constantly pointing to the time when God will come back and will deal with His people Israel.
So, everything that is happening in the Middle East is centered on the nation of Israel. I am going to probably again, as I have said before, stick my neck out a little. But, I have said since August, that I do not expect an all out shooting war in the Middle East. They may start tomorrow, but I am not expecting it because, if indeed, a war breaks out I’m sure it’s going to be explosive over the whole Middle East. Israel will be drawn in to it and it will be awful.
But, you see that would just completely upset the end times as the Bible depicts it. Because Israel is going to be intact for the great invasion that the Bible talks about and that is when Russia with her satellite nations are still going to have to invade Israel and the Middle East. And, they can’t invade a land that has been completely blown to sunder.
So, I just don’t look for a great conflagration. I don’t look for a great holocaust in the Middle East, unless, and we don’t know, America is capable of moving in swiftly and just simply cleaning up the Iraqi mess by itself. That might be, but I don’t look for that. I think the Middle East is just going to continue to be a simmering boiling pot until these end time events that the Bible tells about will be coming on the scene.
So, watch Israel. That’s the key to not only the Middle East but to the whole world situation, because all of God’s Word rests on what happens to that little nation of Israel.Remember too that, there are three million Jews still in Russia. They are going to have to come back to Israel. There are about six million Jews still in America. They too are going to be going back to Israel.
Again, going back to an article in the Jerusalem Post last summer, a member of their parliament, what they call their Knesset, made the statement, that every time an American Jew comes visiting, he has the chance to show them around. He says I show them the West Bank and I tell them that some day you are going to be living there.
Of course, the Palestinians are of quite the opposite mind. But, remember, the Jews are going to have to come back to Palestine. There is no doubt about it. That little country is only about 40 miles wide and about 180 miles long, and for another eight or nine million Jews to come in, they are going to have to have every square mile they can get. So I don’t see much hope for the Palestinians being able to hang on to what they have in the present land of Israel.
And, I feel for them. Don’t think for a minute, I don’t. But, on the other hand, God is Sovereign and He is going to accomplish His designed program. As I have mentioned in my classes before, I can see a parallel, a beautiful parallel, between the Palestinians tonight and the American Indians in the 1800’s.
When the American Indians saw these thousands upon thousands of covered wagons coming out across the land. What did they know deep down inside? They are pushing us out. We are losing our land. And, we look at it, with mixed emotions. Had it not happened, we would not have the great land that we’ve got. American would have not been an influential power in prophetic happenings.
For example, if it hadn’t been for America, who would have ever stopped Hitler? He would have just literally usurped the globe. But, God had America ready. Alright, now the same way over there. As the Jews come in, I’m sure the Palestinians are gradually going to have to be pushed out. And, bad as that may seem, let’s remember that all the other nations of the Middle East are their brothers. Do they want them? No. They don’t want them, but they are going to have to take them as I see it.
Again, we can’t be dogmatic on these things, but I do know what the Bible says and that God is going to have to bring Israel back. He is going to be dealing with them on His terms even though Israel is there tonight in unbelief. She is no different spiritually than an other secular government on earth. Just because they are God’s covenant people, don’t expect them to be righteous in all of their dealings. They are there in unbelief even though there is a resurgence now in Old Testament religion, if I may use that word.
And there is definitely a push to rebuild their Temple. Again, as I have shared with some of you, since last summer the Jerusalem Post has reported, that they have everything ready for the new Temple. They have the Priesthood trained. They have the clothes all sewn and hanging on mannequins for the Priests to use. They have the red heifer, bred up and raised and they showed a picture of it out in the countryside some place in Israel. The red heifer has to be used as a cleansing and a purifying when their new Temple is built. So you see, everything is coming so fast and Israel is just sitting there. I just kind of picture them like a bunch of red wasps on their cone, and as long as no one “bugs” them, they are going to sit tight. But, oh, if anybody tries to attack them, they are going to be furious. They have to be. Wouldn’t you be if you were out numbered 40 to 1. If you knew that every nation for miles around has it within their decree that they’ll not rest until you are destroyed?
So we have to look at this from both sides, that everything that Israel does is not always in line with what we think is morally right. But, again, they are no different than any other government. They are no different than the Chinese or the Iraqis or anybody else. They are only there to attain their own end. But above it all is the Sovereign God and His Word is going to be fulfilled to the last jot and tittle.
Again, all I can say is study the Word. Be aware of things that have to come to pass and that Israel is in the center of all of it. There is no prophecy associated with the Church. All prophecy is associated with that little nation of Israel.
Study these promises on your own. I have said so often, that this is why I teach, is to get people to study the Bible. I am not trying to build a following. I’m not building an empire. I have never asked for a dime in return for my teaching time, but all I want folk to do is to learn how to study.
Read the Book. Not just to read a few verses for a devotion. But, learn to study it and compare Scripture with Scripture and the Lord will give you wisdom. As you study you have to be involved in prayer, because as we commune with God, He has promised to commune with us through His Word.