Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 75
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF SCRIPTURE – PART 24
Genesis – Revelation
Okay, program number 4, and I’m still on two feet. So we’ll just see where the Lord takes us in this half hour. Again, we like to always thank our television audience for your prayer support and your financial help. You’ll never know what it all means. Now again, my little wife is the one that’s the promoter of these things. I’m going to put it on her shoulders. But she wants me to keep reminding you that this Q & A book is still available. We send it out without any charge for postage or handling for a flat $11, and that’s it.
All right, we’re going to keep right on going where we’ve been. We’re still connecting the dots of Scripture. We’ve been coming all the way through the Scriptures. In this taping we’ve gotten to Saul’s conversion, his time out in the desert with the Lord, and how God’s in control of everything.
We’re making the transition from God dealing with Israel and all the Israeli covenants. And we saw that Gentiles were getting interested up there at Antioch. Then from the Antioch church four or five years later, Paul and Barnabas begin their first of what we call missionary journeys. As a real result of those missionary journeys, of course, Paul established Gentile churches throughout the area of Turkey and Greece predominantly, which was the major part of the Roman Empire.
So, I’m going to take you up to the result of his ministry among the Gentiles in one of his letters, I Corinthians. Let’s start reading in chapter 1. Now, of course, this isn’t the earliest letter, but it’s earlier than some. Verse 17.
I Corinthians 1:17-18
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 18. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it (the preaching of the cross) is the power of God.”
Have you heard anything like that in the Old Testament? Have you heard anything like that in the four gospels? Not even in John, but the world can’t see that. They just refuse to see it. My goodness, I get a call every once in awhile that says, “Les, you make too much of Paul. I’m following Jesus.” Well, that’s all well and good. But listen, Jesus doesn’t give you the gospel of salvation for the Body of Christ! It wasn’t time for it. So we have to constantly be reminded that all of this is in God’s divine purposes that, yes, coming out of the Old Testament everything was Jewish. Romans15:8 tells us He came to fulfill the promises, but through divine purposes Israel rejected Him. They crucified Him which brought about everything that needed to be done for this gospel that we must now believe.
But now here we have a whole change in direction. God did not let Paul have the Twelve influence him at all. Paul had to be taught something totally different, and he’s going to be referring to it over and over as the “revelation of the mysteries” that was given to him and him only. We’re going to be looking at this for the next several programs, so get ready. The mysteries—and in the Greek its musterion, which is also translated secret. All these things that have been kept secret in the mind of God are now going to come from the pen of this apostle.
Now, that’s why I’m always reminding you people—don’t go back to the Book of Acts to get your doctrine, because Luke wrote Acts, and Luke is not the apostle of the Gentiles. It’s that simple. Luke was simply the instrument that God used to record that transition. He wrote the gospel, but, you see, Luke is not the apostle of the Gentiles, Paul is; as we saw in Romans 11:13. So we have to constantly come back to Paul’s apostleship.
Now, I’m going to run right ahead of any criticism and comment by showing you—now if you’re going to condemn me for making too much of Paul, then I’m going to say, then you don’t know your Bible. Go back with me to II Peter. And I’m reminded as you look for it of a lady from one of our Western states. She sent me a clipping out of her newspaper, and it was a letter to the editor.
Evidently, some pastor had written a letter to the editor where he had emphasized some of these things from Paul’s epistles. And this letter, oh, wow! You talk about a mouth full of venom from start to finish—just venom of hatred for the Apostle Paul. Saying what an idiot he really was. How he got kicked out of Greece—he got kicked out of Turkey—he got kicked out of Jerusalem. The lady that sent me the article wrote across the top of the page. She said, “Now I see what you mean when you say that people hate Paul.” Yeah, they do. They just can’t stand the man, because they don’t like his doctrine.
All right, but now look what II Peter tells us concerning this apostle—the apostle that lots of people think shouldn’t even be in our Bibles. I haven’t even found it myself yet. Second Peter chapter 3 and those of you that have been with me over the years, you know where I’m going—chapter 3 verse 15. I’m putting this up front, so that if you are tempted to call me or write me and say, hey, wait a minute, I can’t follow this Paul bit. Well, then you can’t believe what Peter says. Look what Peter wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit at the end of his life; a few weeks and he’ll be martyred. Look what he’s leaving with his Jewish listeners or readers.
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 (from the Lord) hath written unto you;” Now isn’t that plain? Peter is telling his Jewish listeners: now if you want salvation, (The Kingdom gospel has dropped away. It’s disappeared.) if you want salvation as a Jew, you’d better go to Paul’s epistles and get this Gospel for the Age of Grace (as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4). A Jew can’t be saved today by just saying “I believe that Jesus was the Christ.” That’s not enough. He has to believe exactly as we do. All right, now look at verse 16. This is where so many of our Christian leaders are.
II Peter 3:16a
“As also in all his epistles,…” Now, I think in verse 15 he’s referring to the letter of Hebrews. I don’t get adamant if people don’t agree, but that’s what seems obvious to me—that he had written the Book of Hebrews. But now Peter says not just the Book of Hebrews, but all his epistles—Romans through Philemon.
II Peter 3:16
“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, (See, there’s Peter’s legalism.) which they that are unlearned and unstable twist, as they do also the other scriptures,…” Now, what does that tell you? Paul’s epistles are Scripture. Don’t ever let anybody tell you Paul’s epistles don’t belong in our Bible. Peter says they’re Scripture, and that’s good enough for me. They are the Word of God, and they’re directed primarily to you and me as Gentiles.
And then, of course, Paul writes that all Scripture (Genesis through Revelation) is inspired of God. And is it profitable? Absolutely it is, but you will not find Body of Christ truth outside of Paul. It’s just not in there. It’s all good background. It’s all good foundation. But so far as understanding God’s program for us today, it has to come from this man’s epistles. All right, now then, back to the verses that I just read, because I want to go back to the time line on the board.
Now remember, everything of these Old Testament prophecies have stopped cold. The Tribulation didn’t come in. The Second Coming hasn’t happened. Instead, we’ve been now 1,900 and some years in this Dispensation of the Grace of God (Ephesians 3:2), which is all part of the Pauline writings.
Next program I’m going to put a circle down here. If Sharon’s able to be with us, I’m going to have her put a circle. We’re going to call it the Body of the church-age truth—this Body of Christ and all of Paul’s doctrine. In fact, I like to put it this way when people call on the phone. If by virtue of what may happen, if we were to lose our Bibles, if they were to be confiscated, if we could somehow, before they took our Bibles, slip out Romans through Philemon, would we have enough to get by?
Yes, we’d still have enough to get by, because, you see, within the Pauline writings we have the plan of salvation. We have the Christian walk. We have our hope for the end. Now what more do you need? That’s where all of the real meat for us today rests.
Now, all the rest of Scripture, as Paul said in Romans 15:4 “Is for our learning.” It’s for us to get a better understanding of how all of this has been going on since the creation of Adam. But to really get down to the nitty-gritty of being ready for eternity, we can find it if we just can keep Romans through Philemon, because it’s all in there.
But now on the other hand, if they took away Paul’s epistles, and we were left with what was left, we’d be in tough straights. There would be no real presentation of the Gospel of Salvation. There would be no real way to walk the Christian life. There would be no real hope to suddenly be translated in the Rapture, because it’s not back there.
All right, now if you’ll come back with me to I Corinthians chapter 1 again, here is exactly how Paul puts it.
I Corinthians 1:17a
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel:…” He wasn’t sent like John the Baptist with the instructions to baptize. All his commission was is preach the Gospel. All right, let’s move on. Verse 18.
I Corinthians 1:18
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it (the preaching of the cross) is the power of God.” It’s a supernatural thing. That’s why good people cannot be saved by their works. Good works cannot bring in the supernatural power. That takes a response to the Gospel. Then, yes, God moves in supernaturally. We become a new person, and we get new desires, new ambitions, and then everything is totally different.
Okay, now let’s take a little time here in these early verses in Corinthians, because it’s one of Paul’s earlier letters. It was written even before Romans. I think Galatians might have been written before, and we’ll come back to that in our later programs. But now, reading on here in I Corinthians verse 19.
I Corinthians 1:19-21a
“For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. (or the intellectual) 20. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer (or the argumentative individual) of this world? Hath God not made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21. For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God,…”
Now, whenever you read something like that, I hope you know your Bible well enough that you can, in your mind at least, just flip back to what could Paul refer to. Come back with me again to the Book of Acts chapter 17. This is exactly what he’s referring to, and it’s not that much different today.
My, somebody just shared with me at break time again, how the religious leaders of our beloved America are turning their back by the hundreds against the truth of the Word, God’s Word. They’re coming up with all these foreign ideas. It’s coming in like a tsunami. It’s just unbelievable, except that we know that it’s the end time. We know that the apostasy, the falling away, is upon us. But all right, look what Paul encountered up at Athens. Chapter 17, let’s go down to verse 15.
“And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timothy for to come to him with all speed, they departed. 16. Now while Paul waited for them at Athens,…” Now remember, they’ve been up to Philippi and they’ve been coming down the coast. They’ve stopped at Berea and Thessalonica and so forth. But now Paul has gone on ahead alone evidently, and he’s waiting at Athens.
“…his spirit was stirred in him, (He just got shook up we’d say today.) when he saw the city of Athens wholly (or completely) given to (What?) idolatry.” Idolatry. Can you imagine what that must have felt like? That every place you went there were pagan temples. There were pagan idols, and the pagan immorality was everywhere. Things that are so evident that I don’t even want to mention on this program. We see it when we’re on our tours and stuff. It was everywhere and it just, I suppose, broke his heart. It just stirred him. All right, now verse 17.
“Therefore (because of all this) he disputed in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.” I imagine the chief conversation was this very thing. Well, how can you as synagogue religious Jews—how can you function in the midst of all this idolatry and all this immorality? I imagine he called them on the carpet. I think that’s what he’s doing.
“Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, (Those were groups of intellectuals in his day.) encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? Other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods:…” My goodness, they had thousands of them, and yet they couldn’t quite comprehend what Paul could be talking about with the one God of creation.
“…he seemeth to be setter forth of strange god: because he preached unto them Jesus and the (What?) resurrection.” That threw them a curve. They had never heard of such a thing. To the Greek philosophy, to the pagans, you died like a dog and it was all over.
Now when they would talk about an eternal life or something like that, they weren’t talking about in the terms that we do. They felt that when you left offspring, they would just continue your lifeline; and so it would on into time immemorial. But they had no concept of actually dying in this body in death and then having a resurrection to come. It was beyond them. They’d never heard of such a thing. All right, verse 19.
“And they took him, (That is Paul.) and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof though speakest, is? 20. For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.” So, they’ve got an interest. They could have pursued it, but they didn’t. They didn’t want to. They’re no different than people today. They may take a temporary interest; but, no, I’m not interested in any of this stuff. All right, now verse 21.
“(For all the Athenians (the rank and file of the whole city) and strangers (The people that were there as tourists or as business.) which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)” They knew there was something out there that they didn’t know, and so they’re willing to listen to anybody and everybody. But now verse 22.
“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, (up there on the Areopagus) and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive (or I understand) that in all things ye are too superstitious.” What’s the core of religion? Superstition of one form or another.
Just stop and think about it. Why—was it Lenin who said that religion was the opiate of the masses? Yeah. Why? Because that’s what religion does. It puts them under the thumb of superstition, and religious leaders can control them. Lenin knew he had to get them out from under religion, then he could get them. One thing was as bad as the other. But that’s what religion does. This is exactly what Paul is confronting—all the superstition of their religion. Enough? Yeah. Okay, let’s go back to I Corinthians for the few moments we have left. Now verse 21.
I Corinthians 1:21-22
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom (Through their intellectualism) knew not God, (But on the other hand) it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.(Even though it’s so simple, instead of being complicated and intellectualized.) 22. For the Jews (Paul says, the religious Jews) require a sign, and the Greeks (The intellectuals like he had just confronted at Athens.) seek after wisdom:” How many degrees do you have? Where did you go to school? Have you been to Alexandria? See? All right, verse 23.
I Corinthians 1:23
“But we preach Christ crucified, (Not a ton of intellectualism there—the simple fact that Christ died on that Roman cross and rose again.) unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;” They couldn’t believe who He was.
They couldn’t recognize that He was the Creator of everything—and then nailed to that Roman cross? If He was the Creator, why didn’t He call down legions of angels? See, that was their thinking. If He was who He said He was, all He would have had to do was cry out and God would have saved Him. They couldn’t comprehend that this was something that had to be done in God’s economy. All right, reading on.
I Corinthians 1:23b-25
“…and unto the Greeks (With all of their education and all their intellectualism, it was a bunch of–) foolishness; 24. But unto them who are called, (That is the believer who has responded to God’s offer of saving grace. Unto those who are called–) both Jews and Greeks, it is Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25. Because the foolishness of God is wiser then men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Now, I’ve just got to keep going. I was going to break there, but I’ve got to keep going—verse 26.
I Corinthians 1:26a
“For ye see your calling,…” Now stop a minute. Paul is not writing to a class of seminary students is he? Who’s he writing to? The rank and file Corinthians. Probably some longshoremen, probably some farmers, probably some merchant men—common people. He’s not addressing a seminary situation. So that’s why he brings it all right down to our level.
I Corinthians 1:26
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:” Not from the upper crust, the elite as we call them today. No, not many of them have an inkling of what this is all about. They’re not called, but who does God call?
I Corinthians 1:27a
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world…” You know, I’m always referring to the plowboy in England. I think I’ve got a trademark there. I hear it over and over because it just hits home. The Word of God was intended to be understood by the average plowboy of England in 1500. They didn’t even have a high school education in those days, but was the Word of God understandable? Absolutely, and that’s what this is telling us. The Word of God isn’t just for the elite. It isn’t just for the highly educated. It’s for the least of us.
I Corinthians 1:27-28
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28. And base things of the world,(The things that the world in general looks down on.) and the things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are:” And why? So that nobody can ever brag in God’s presence.
I’m here because of who I am, won’t fly. It won’t fly. We have to enter in as nothing but Hell-bound, lost humanity. But God can save us and make us fit for His eternity. All right, now verse 30.
I Corinthians 1:30-31
“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, (as a result of your saving faith) who of God is made unto us (By virtue of our faith. It’s imparted to us now to understand His–) wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (That we’ve been bought with the price.) 31. That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
All right, now in the two minutes I have left, I think I’m going to take us back to Romans chapter 16. This is what we’re going to be hammering on now for at least the next four programs in our next taping, maybe even all eight of them. I don’t know yet how long it’ll take. But we’re going to be hammering away at the fact that everything that was revealed to the Apostle Paul had been kept secret in the mind of God until revealed to him. And that’s what Christendom will not accept.
They want to feel that Paul is just sort of an addendum. He’s just been added to that which really counts. They can’t get the concept that in this Body of Truth, what we call Paul’s revelations of things kept secret, is where everything rests for us today. All right, have you got Romans 16? With this we’ll be able to close. Verse 25. I have used it for the last thirty years. I have asked seminars from one end of this country to the other, have you ever heard a Sunday morning sermon on this verse? Have you ever seen it taught in Sunday school? Never! And here’s why. They don’t like what it says.
“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, (And remember, Paul’s Gospel of salvation was faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Lord.)according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since (Jesus’ ministry? No. Since Peter? No. Since when?) the world began. “
None of the Old Testament writers had any inkling that this was out there in the future. You know, I think the last time we were here in the taping I showed how Peter says the Old Testament prophets searched diligently. They knew there was something out there, and they couldn’t get it. It didn’t appear until God revealed it to this apostle and instructed him to take it out to the Gentile world.