Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 76
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF SCRIPTURE – PART 26
Genesis – Revelation (Dispensational View)
For those of you joining us on television, in case this is your first time catching us, we’re an informal Bible study. And hopefully, I don’t preach at anybody. We just simply let them see what the Book says. To me that is paramount to everything—just understanding what the Word of God itself says.
Well, we’ve only offered one book over the years, and we’ve still got it. It’s a series of 88 questions and answers from our previous programs. If anyone out there is interested, you just give us a call, and the girls will get it out to you. We send it out with an invoice, so you don’t have to pay for it until you get it. It’s the best $11 you will ever spend.
We’re going to pick right up where we left off in our last program. Now remember, we’re connecting the dots of Scripture by going from Genesis, and hopefully we’ll go all the way through to Revelation if the Lord tarries. But in the last half hour, we merely showed our proof that there would be an opening up of the timeline. Because those three references we used make it so plain that for a period of time Israel will be set aside and be dispersed while God goes to the Gentiles.
Now naturally, when you have two such totally different groups of people as Jews and Gentiles, you can’t go with the same thing. It just wouldn’t ring true. So when God saves Paul, He doesn’t just have him go back and check with the twelve disciples, as we saw in previous programs. Instead, He separated him purposely, kept him from the twelve, so that he would not get mixed up with the Kingdom economy. Because He’s going to begin something totally different with Paul, which we call the Dispensation of the Grace of God as seen in Ephesians 3:2.
Now, I’m well aware that there are a lot of people out there that detest the term dispensation. In fact, I had one fellow in my class one time who just suggested to his pastor, why don’t you ever preach a sermon on the Rapture? He looked at him in shock, and he said, “I wouldn’t dare do that.” He said, “Why not?” He said, “Well, then they’d call me a dispensationalist.” As if that’s the worst thing that can happen. I am aware of that.
And those of you who have been with me over the years—I never used the word for the first eight or nine years, because I knew it would turn a good number of people off. So I would just speak of it in general terms. Don’t you realize that when Adam and Eve came out of the garden, everything was different? When Noah and the family came off the ark, everything was different? After God called Abraham, everything was different? After God brought Israel out of Egypt and gave them the Law, again, everything was different? Well, what makes it different? A different dispensation, a different administration, a different set of rules and regulations.
So, after realizing that God was going to open the timeline and make a parenthetical period of time, we don’t know how long, we call it the Dispensation of the Grace of God. And it came about through God’s appointed Apostle of the Gentiles, Saul of Tarsus. I’m going to bring you now, just as an introduction to the dispensational view, to Ephesians chapter 3. We’ll start at verse 1. Now remember, Saul of Tarsus—the rabid, orthodox, rabbi, Jew—whatever you want to call him, remember that God saved him on the road to Damascus and then immediately instructed him that He was going to go to the Gentiles, which God had never before done.
“For this cause (Because of what he’s written in the first two chapters.) I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.” Now you’ve got to remember. Where is Paul when he’s writing? Well, he’s in prison in Rome. These are one of the prison epistles. And whether he had a short release or not, it ends up with his martyrdom at the hands of the Romans. So when he speaks of being a prisoner, it was literal. He was in prison there at Rome. And for what cause? For the cause of the Gospel.
“If ye have heard (And no doubt they had, because after all, Paul’s been out there now for 20 something years.) of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.” See, that’s where we get the title for this period of time. It’s the Dispensation of the Grace of God. Now again, I’ve got to qualify. A dispensation is simply a period of time. It can be short or long or whatever. That doesn’t matter.
But a dispensation is a period of time during which God lays on a segment of people that He’s dealing with a set of rules and directions. Now for the simplest one, of course, I always go back to the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve were in the garden, God gave them instructions. He said that every tree in the garden is for your enjoyment except those two over there. The one was the Tree of Life, and the other one was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Of that tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, thou shalt not eat. Just simple directions! Everything else is yours to enjoy. And that’s all there was to it. And that’s why we call it the simplest dispensation.
Now, we don’t know how long they were in the garden. There are all kinds of guesses and so forth. Well, for however long they were in the garden, that was all they had to do. Just simply refrain from eating of that one tree. It was that simple. But they just couldn’t cut it, and so they ate. Well, when they disobeyed, they ended that Dispensation of Innocence. God came in with a judgment, a punishment, which required them to get out of the garden.
Then a new dispensation began. So now, when Paul speaks of the Dispensation of the Grace of God, he’s speaking of this period of time following the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ when He is turning away from Israel and their whole system of Law and temple worship, and He’s going to give to this apostle what we call the Gospel of the Grace of God, which is I Corinthians 15:1-4. Now let’s go back and look at it, even though you all know it from memory. We keep using it, and I’m finally getting some response. I had several write that their pastors are actually using these verses in their preaching. Well, praise the Lord, because here is the Gospel of the Grace of God.
Now, again, it’s not total. But there’s enough of it here that you can branch out and find the rest of it without any trouble. I Corinthians chapter 15 verses 1 through 4. So if somebody comes to you and says, well, what’s this Gospel that Les Feldick is talking about? You just tell them, well, it’s as simple as A, B, C. It’s just simply believing in your heart for your salvation that Jesus Christ, the Creator, God of the universe, went to that cross and died and shed his blood, was buried three days and three nights and arose from the dead.
That’s it. Believe it in your heart and God moves in and then everything else falls into place. But here’s where we have to begin. I Corinthians chapter 15. We might as well read the whole four verses. We’ve got time today.
I Corinthians 15:1a
“Moreover, brethren, (So Paul is talking to Gentile believers over there at Corinth, a few miles west of Athens.) I declare unto you the gospel…” I asked my class the other night—does anybody have a Bible that says “a” gospel? Sure there were. Well see, that’s what these new translations do. You see what a difference one little article can do to the thought? If you say that Paul is “a” or “an” apostle, what does that mean? He’s one of many. But see, Paul never includes himself with others. It’s always the singular—I or me. And the same way here—it is “the” gospel. It’s not “a” gospel. It’s singular.
And when he speaks of himself, it is I am “the” apostle of the Gentiles, not “an” apostle. That makes all the difference in the world. And that’s what we have to recognize. Because to this man and this man alone were these directions for this Dispensation of Grace given. Let’s continue on and get back to our dispensational thought.
I Corinthians 15:1-2a
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (the one and only) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (As a believer you are positioned.) 2. By which also ye are saved,…” It’s by this gospel you are saved. Now, isn’t that plain? It doesn’t say this gospel plus something else. No. It’s by believing this gospel that we’re saved. And that’s the all-inclusive word of Scripture. Salvation—to be saved, to be born from above—and all these things are tied up with our faith in this gospel.
I Corinthians 15:2
“By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” In other words, you have to know what you believe. You have to understand it, otherwise it’s for nothing. Now here it is. This is the gospel!
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (Well, where did he get it? From the Twelve? No. But rather from the ascended Lord. The Twelve never fully understood it.) how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4. And that he was buried and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
Now, there it is. Christ died for my sins and that, of course, includes His shed blood. He was buried three days and three nights, and then He arose from the dead in power and victory and glory, and that settled it. That makes our debt paid in full when we believe it for salvation and trust it plus nothing.
I don’t know if I should take time this afternoon or not. Maybe this is as good a time as any. I’ve been doing research, just in between when I can, to find the history of the 1611 King James Version and how it came about. But not just the King James Version, along with that I was studying in my spare time — now, I’m not one of these guys who just sits there by the hour and the hour and the hour. I don’t have patience for that. But I can get a couple, three hours in an evening once in a while and maybe a little time on a rainy day and so forth. But I’m not a nut at this.
But in between times, now, for the last several weeks, I’ve been looking at the history of the King James as over these other translations, and also the history of Christendom. Now, you’ll hear me use that word quite often—Christendom with a D-O-M—speaking of all aspects of so-called Christianity. And, you know, it was a shocking revelation—because we’ve all heard of the early church fathers: Justin Martyr and Chrysostom and Origen, and then we jump up to Augustine and so forth.
Well, you know, those church fathers didn’t have it all right either, especially Origen. He was a rascal. And he had a lot of corrupt ideas. In fact, Origen — now I don’t know if I’m pronouncing it right. I’ve looked and looked and tried to find a dictionary that gives me the pronunciation and I can’t find it. So if somebody will let me know. But it’s O-R-I-G-E-N. I can give you the spelling of it. But anyhow, he’s in the first century. He’s within a hundred years of the Apostle Paul. And he was the first of the church fathers to come up with the idea that God was all through with the nation of Israelbecause they had killed the Christ, so all the Jewish promises and covenants and everything were transferred to the church. That started with Origen.
Now, you’ve got to realize that between the loss of Paul and Peter, probably around A.D. 68, just before the Temple is destroyed in A.D. 70, these little groups of believers keep expanding. They’re out there, not in any great numbers, but they’re out there. They’re maintaining their faith and so forth. And you’ve got to remember, there weren’t Bibles for those people. Some of them may have had a scroll of the Old Testament, but there wasn’t all that much. So they had to depend on gifted men to kind of hold things together.
But anyway, if you go back and look at it, these little groups of people, like humans are prone to do, would say, well, let’s just get together once a month and we can fellowship in a larger group. Well, that’s all well and good. But as time went by, there were too many of them to all go, so what would they do? Oh, they’d form a committee. And boy, you know what a horrible thing a committee is. Then these committees would meet, and after a time they said, well, now you know, there’s a group of our committees over there in North Africa, and we’re over here in Greece. Maybe we should meet someplace.
And that’s the way the thing started growing. And so it was. It was growing rather slowly. But then you get to A.D. 315, one of the high marks in human history, and what happened? Constantine, the Roman emperor, became a quote, unquote Christian. And what did Constantine do? He opened the doors of Christianity to the masses. It was no longer going to be persecuted. It was no longer going to be suppressed. It was a status symbol to be called a Christian. So what did that do? That just brought in the numbers, but how little faith—almost none.
But outside of this big conglomeration, there were always these little, small groups of true believers; and they were always hated, persecuted, and driven from one valley to the next. Okay. Now you come on up to A.D. 400, about 75 or 80 years after Constantine opened the church to the masses, and we come to a guy by the name of Augustine. Now, over all my growing up years, I always heard almost nothing but good things about Augustine. Well, he did say some good things, but he had a lot of other stuff. And he, too, embraced Origen’s teaching of replacement theology.
Just look at how long we’ve had this idea that we teach suppressed. The masses embraced the replacement theology, and replacement theology rests primarily—not exclusively, of course—but primarily on the four gospels. And as one writer of history put it—and I’d never seen it in that way before—they rested only on the Sermon on the Mount. Well, now, you just watch even today your news reports. How they’ll refer to the fact that Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount is what transformed the world. Did it? Not really. Now, it’s got high, lofty premises, no doubt about it. But see, that’s not what transformed lives.
So anyway, Augustine picked up on Origen’s replacement theology and, with the mass increase of the organized church, it led up to? Roman Catholicism, of course, is going to come out of that. So replacement theology became the number one tenet for Christendom. What did that do with the Jew? Hated them. Persecuted them. And they were just running from one place to the other. Okay. So Augustine was really the father of Roman Catholicism. And out of that came, of course, the appearance of the popes and the hierarchy and all the rest.
And now, if you know anything from secular history, A.D. 500 to A.D. 1500 is called what in history? The dark ages. Well, what did that mean? The sun never shone? No. Where was it dark? Spiritually. Because you see, the organized church now had proclaimed that the average believer could not read the Scriptures himself. So they confiscated the Scriptures, really, and kept them locked up in the monasteries. The average man didn’t have the Scriptures of any sort—except, again, these little fringe groups maintained it.
Now you’ve come all the way up through the dark ages. In A.D. 1500, or a little after, who was the great awakener? Martin Luther. So Martin Luther comes out with what we call The Reformation—the idea that all this religion was totally wrong—the just will live by faith; they’re saved by faith. Which on the surface sounds so good, doesn’t it? But is that where Martin Luther stopped? No. Martin Luther came right on and embraced all the other stuff that he had been so-called hating. He brought it out with him and made it part of basic Lutheran theology, and that incorporated, of course, infant baptism and the hierarchy and replacement theology.
Now then, you just keep rolling. Out of Luther’s reformation, here came the next big reformer—John Calvin. Now John Calvin sets up his headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. But after time goes by, John Calvin isn’t one whit different than Martin Luther, and he’s no different than Augustine. They are all still on this same premise of the Sermon on the Mount, replacement theology, and a works religion. Amazing! And it just comes all the way up through the last 2,000 years.
Now then, it jumps across the pond and we come over here to the early colonies and especially the likes of the Puritans and so forth. Oh, they were so thrilled to escape that heavy hand of persecution in Europe. They were now free. But what did they do with their freedom? They became just as legalistic as their European forefathers. I told one of my classes the other night—if a young lady of 17 would show a bare ankle, what would the Puritans do to her? Whip her almost to death. Well, what was that? Legalism!
Well, anyway, you bring it all the way up to our present time. The vast majority of Christian preaching and teaching is the four gospels, the Sermon on the Mount, with a little bit of Old Testament thrown in, and that’s where it’s been. I mean, you can’t argue it. It’s in secular history just as plain as day. So now then, these fringe groups believed like I do. So what am I? Yes, we’re out on the fringes. The vast majority of people aren’t going to listen to my message. They don’t like it. They hate Paul, as I’ve already emphasized. But, you see, if you’re going to ignore Paul, you’re ignoring the basic message for this Dispensation of Grace, because it was given to him to give to us in the Body of Christ.
Okay. Now there it is, all in a nutshell. And don’t take my word for it. I’ve got to give you another one. I’m free. Here awhile back I had a gentleman call. I think from South Carolina, if I remember correctly. He called me about midday, either just before noon or just after. And he said, “Les, I’m in a such and such denominational church.” I don’t remember what it was. But he said, “Why do we practice Lent?” And I said, “Well, I’ll tell you what. I’m not going to answer it for you except to tell you to go to your library, and you find the Encyclopedia Britannica, and you just look up the word Lent, and you’ll get your answer.” “Really?” I said, “Yeah. At least it was there the last time I looked at one. Now, when you see what Britannica says about Lent, it’s going to blow you out of the saddle.”
Well, you see, I forget about the internet. Before the afternoon was over, he called back—about 4 in the afternoon, and he said, “Les, you did.” I said, “I did what?” He said, “You blew me out of the saddle.” I said, “Oh, are you the guy that called about Lent?” And he said, “Yeah.” I said, “What did you find out?” He said, “Just that I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were several pages.” I said, “Do you mean you’ve already been down at the library?” He said, “No, I got it off the internet.” Well, dumb me, you know, I don’t think of that. So anyhow, I said, “What are you going to do with it?” He said, “I’m downloading it. I’m going to lay it on my pastor’s desk and let him read it.”
Well now, I know many of you know what Britannica says about Lent. But I’m not going to tell you. I might get thrown off the air. You go and find it yourself. You just look up the word Lent—L-E-N-T—in a good encyclopedia and it’ll tell you exactly what it’s all about. But, you see, it’s not in Paul’s epistles. It’s not in Scripture.
Now come back to Ephesians chapter 3. I didn’t intend to give you that history.
“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given to me to you-ward:” Now, I’ve done this before. This is all review. So, how did we get all of these doctrines of this dispensation? From Paul.
Now, if that shakes people up, then just go back to Exodus. How did Israel receive the Law? God gave it to Moses. And what did Moses do with it? Took it down the mountain and gave it to Israel. So this isn’t something all that out of the way. This is the way God operates. This is what he’s claiming. Like Moses received the law, Paul received these dispensational truths for the Body of Christ. Now verse 3:
“How that by revelation,…” A revealing—a supernatural outpouring from God in Heaven of these new directions for mankind—mostly for Gentiles, but it’s also applicable to Israel.
Now, in this period of time, just like the period of time in the Garden, however long it was, that doesn’t matter. But in this period of time that covers the Dispensation of the Grace of God, we have our own set of directions; just like Adam and Eve had—you can have everything but that tree. Okay. Our set of directions is just about that simple. And what are they? Recognize that you’re a sinner and you’re lost. And when you do, recognize that Jesus Christ, the Creator, the Son of God, went to that Roman cross and shed His blood and died, was buried three days and three nights, and God miraculously raised Him from the dead.
And that finished our plan of salvation. That’s our directions. Now, is that so hard to follow? Now then, after you get the basic directions, then naturally when we’re a believer and the Holy Spirit comes in, we begin to see all these other aspects of Scripture. Then everything starts falling into place. In fact, let me show you what the Scripture says about that very thing. Come back with me to I Corinthians. I think we touched on this recently. I Corinthians chapter 2 verses 13 and 14. Now, this is all part of our instructions after we’ve become a believer.
I Corinthians 2:13-14
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (We compare Scripture with Scripture, not Scripture with some secular book.) 14. But the natural man (the unsaved person) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: (The Holy Spirit can’t deal with the unbeliever so far as his daily experience is concerned.) for they (these things of the Spirit) are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” He can’t understand these spiritual things. Now, isn’t that obvious? But we have to start with the basics, and that is we have to believe the Gospel. And once we believe the Gospel for salvation, then everything else falls into place.