Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 76
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF SCRIPTURE
Genesis – Revelation (The Mysteries)
Okay, here we go. Let’s just jump right in where we left off. That would be in Colossians chapter 1. We’re looking at the second one up there. The Mystery of Christ—the very secret of who He really is.
Now again, as I said in the last program, you go back to Genesis chapter 1 verse 1 and it is God who in the beginning created Heaven and earth. But how much of God do you get out of that? And Christ in His earthly ministry, I guess that’s where I closed wasn’t it? How that the God-Man, the Incarnate, could speak the Word and the winds would obey His voice. He could raise the dead and all those other things, and yet it wasn’t the complete picture of who He really is. And that’s what I want to unveil under this secret, or the Mystery of Christ as Paul reveals it.
All right, so we almost have to go back like we did last time and start over, at least over in verse 13, because I’ve got to establish who we’re talking about. So, God the Father, up in verse 13:
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (Now we know definitely who we’re talking about.) 14. In whom (That is in the Son.) we have redemption through his blood, (So there’s no doubt that we’re talking about Jesus of Nazareth—the crucified, resurrected, ascended Lord—who also gave us then–) even the forgiveness of sin:”
Now here’s the part I want to reveal. A revelation of Christ like you’ve never seen anywhere else in Scripture. This Jesus of Nazareth, who has finished the work of the cross, has ascended back to Glory and revealed these things to this Apostle.
“Who is the image of the invisible God,…” Now think about that for a minute. The invisible God? Well, of course, God was Spirit. When the Scripture says “no man has looked on God at any time and lived,” what was it talking about? Not Jesus in His body of flesh. It was talking about that invisible Godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But they were invisible. They were Spirit. No man has ever looked in on that invisible Godhead and lived. They wouldn’t have.
All right, so now we’re bringing it down to the fact that this Jesus, God the Son, the One who suffered and died, is the visible manifestation of that invisible God. Do you see that? Now, it’s never been this plain anywhere else in Scripture.
In fact, you know I’ve said it before. People to whom I have taught these things to for the first time would look at me aghast. You mean Jesus of Nazareth was the Creator God of Genesis 1? Well, of course He was! People just can’t fathom that, but He was! He spoke the Word and the universe came about. Jesus of Nazareth? Jesus of Nazareth. That’s what we’re talking about. Now with that in mind, let’s read on.
“Who (the Son) is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature: (In other words, He was before anything that was ever created, and here’s why.) 16. For by him (As the Creator of everything, as God the Son, as Jesus of Nazareth—I’ve got to keep coming back, so we don’t lose what we’re talking about.) were all things created, (Everything!) that are in heaven,…”
What’s in Heaven? The angelic hosts and all the beauty of it. The Sea of Glass as it’s pictured in one place and all the other ramifications. He’s the Creator of it all. He was before anything.
“…and things that are in the earth, (Everything! Every living creature, every bug, every fish, everything was created by Jesus of Nazareth.) visible (Well, that’s a little easier to understand, but the next part?) and invisible,…” Even things that we can’t see. Yet we know from scientific experiments and other ways, we know they are there. If no other way, we know it from Scripture. And we take it by faith.
“…whether they be thrones, (Wow! Now what are we talking about? Governments. Empires. Kings. How do they get there? By God the Son. Oh, listen, this is something exciting.) or dominions, or principalities, (Now some Bible scholars will bring that into the satanic realm of the demons and Satan himself, which of course is true. Satan is a created being.) principalities, and powers: (And now it’s repeated, so there’s no doubt.) all things (Everything that you can imagine was created by God the Son.) were created by him, and for him:”
Now granted, the other two persons were there. We’re not going to leave God the Father and God the Spirit out of creation. But it’s by virtue of the spoken word from God the Son that everything appeared, whatever it is.
“…all things were created by him, and for him: (Now look at the next verse.) 17. And he is before all things,…” See, that goes back to His pre-eternal existence. He’s always been.
I think I mentioned at the last taping. Have you ever tried to lay awake a few moments at night and look at the ceiling and stop and figure out where God came from? Have you? Yes, I think we all have. How in the world—how did God ever come to be? We don’t know, but we know He’s always been. And that’s beyond us. Eternity is beyond us. We cannot comprehend eternity. It’s utterly impossible, so we take it by faith.
Now read on. The last half is what I really want to hit home on.
“…and by him (by Jesus the Christ) all things consist.” What does that mean? Are held together! The universe and all its orbits and all the stars.
The sun never burns out. That always gets to me. How does that sun keep generating without ever losing its energy? Mind-boggling. How did it get there? By the spoken word of this person of the Godhead, God the Son. And not only would He create it, but He’s keeping it all running smoothly. And if He should ever give the word to destroy it, puff, it’ll go. But He is the controlling element of everything.
“And he is the head of the body, the church:…” Now there again, you hardly ever hear that. Christendom in general never refers to the Body of Christ. They like to talk about the Kingdom. “Oh, we’ve got to work for the Kingdom,” is their cry. Well, that’s okay as far as it goes, but that’s not what we’re involved in. We’re involved in the Body of Christ! And that’s why there’s so much confusion. Christendom cannot get it through its corporate head that the Body of Christ is something intrinsically revealed from, again, this Apostle. It is nowhere else.
I’ve put it out there for 30 years. If you can find any direct reference to the Body of Christ any place but Paul’s epistles, show me. Nobody has done it yet. It’s not in there. It is a Pauline revelation of things kept secret—that this compilation of born from above believers becomes a part of an intrinsic living organism that we call the Body of Christ, of which Christ is the Head. And just like the human body, everything starts with the thinking mechanism up here. That’s why Christ is the Head. All right, so let the Scripture say it for itself.
“And he (This same Jesus the Christ, the Son of God—the Jesus of Nazareth who walked the dusty roads of Israel.) is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, (He comes from eternity past.) the firstborn from the dead; (There again, He’s the first to have ever been dead and resurrected back to life never to die again.) that in all things (in everything) he might have the preeminence. 19. For it pleased the Father (See, now we bring Him in.) that in him (God the Son) should all fullness dwell;”
Now that’s the Christ that has never been revealed anywhere else in Scripture like Paul does. But just to make sure that Paul isn’t out in left field, let’s go back to John’s Gospel a moment. John says just enough to confirm what we’re doing here in Colossians, yet he doesn’t give the details. You can’t construct that much out of what John writes. Chapter 1 verse 1. Most of you know the verse. Then we’ll drop down to verse 14 for further consummation.
“In the beginning was the Word, (Whenever that was. The Word is capitalized which means a member of the Deity.) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. The same was in the beginning with God. 3. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” Now that’s just confirmation. Now, just to make sure that we understand who we’re talking about, you take verse 14.
“And the Word (God the Son again) was made flesh, (Is incarnate, became the God-Man.) and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of the grace and truth.” So we know definitely who we’re talking about.
All right, now I’ve got one more that I usually like to add. This is Hebrews chapter 1 and verse 1.
“God, (That’s the Triune God—God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit.) who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2. (The same God) Hath in these last days (In other words, Christ’s First Advent is the last days of Scripture. This same God–) spoken unto us by his Son,…” Plain as English can make it.
“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, (Like we just saw back up here in Colossians.) by whom also he (God’s Son) (What?) made the worlds;” That’s creation.
Here we have a revelation of Christ in a way that we’ve never seen before until Paul reveals Him as the Creator of everything. Of course, with the other two Persons of the Godhead in consort with Him. But you see, to God the Son is given the credit for all of Creation. Never lose that.
Now, why do I make such a big deal of that? If Christ was anything less than what I have just pictured Him, could He have taken the sin of the whole world? No. This is what we have to realize—that when He became sin, and all the wrath and chastisement of God was laid upon Him, had He been one iota less than what we have just shown Him to be, He couldn’t have handled it. He couldn’t have done it. But He did. So we can rest assured that our salvation is not by virtue of some myth or some story, but that the Creator, God Himself, took upon Himself my sin and yours. And we take it by faith. And we’re going to spend all eternity in His presence.
You know, I used the illustration, I think, quite a few years ago now. It was probably after the Pope had been to several places. Not the present one, but the one before. He traveled a lot. And he had been some place in the Middle East, if I remember right. I think it was Syria. They estimated that a million people were out there in the perimeter just to get a glimpse of the Pope.
Well, goodness sakes, if that man is worthy of that much adoration, how much more should this One have? And we’re going to be in His presence for all eternity. The One who could speak the Word and a universe would come into play. And He’s going to know you and me by name. We’re going to be like we’ve been in His presence all our lives, and don’t lose that. This is what the Scripture is trying to show us – who He really is.
And then, of course, not only did God’s wrath fall there at the cross of Calvary, but the other side of God, His mercy. All the mercy of Heaven was poured out there for us to appropriate. Well, I could go on and on, on just this one mystery alone, but we’ve got several others. I’m not going to get them done today. I’m not even going to try. Let’s drop down to number three on the board—the Mystery of the Body of Christ.
I think you can stay right here in Colossians chapter 1 verse 25. Let’s start at verse 24. This, again, is something that has never ever been hinted at in all of Scripture except in Paul’s epistles. This is why people are so mixed up today.
I mentioned it in our last taping and in the last program or so that was produced before this one. Most of Christendom totally ignores all of this. They put all their attention on Christ’s earthly ministry and His Sermon on the Mount. Well, that’s all well and good. We’re not taking anything from His Deity and all of His Holiness and everything in His earthly ministry. But listen, beloved, that’s not where God really showed His mercy and Grace and provision. But rather, it was the cross! It was that shed blood that paid the price of our redemption. It was the power of His resurrection that made God able to impute eternal life. And most of Christendom totally ignores that.
The Sermon on the Mount may be a high, moral standard, but you know what? How many of us can keep it? It’s impossible. It’s utterly impossible. And it won’t become a reality until Christ returns and sets up His Kingdom. Yes, then the Sermon on the Mount will become an everyday experience. But see, Christendom is missing the point. And here it is. These revelations of this Body of Truth that Paul calls the Revelation of the Mystery, but it’s mysteries—seven or eight of them.
All right, my time is on double time today, isn’t it? I no more than get started than that clock is run down. Colossians, once again, chapter 1 verse 24, speaking of himself up in verse 23.
“…I Paul am made a minister; 24. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh…” Now he’s not talking about Christ’s suffering here. He’s talking about his own. Now again, for a quick review for the benefit of new listeners, turn back to II Corinthians chapter 11. Again, how could anybody shun this man’s service for God? How could anybody take anything away from his apostolic authority when he has suffered as an ordinary human?
Not as the God-Man Jesus did, and we know He suffered. But this man suffers in the flesh just like you and me. He was not in some super-human body. All right, II Corinthians chapter 11, many of you have seen me do this before, verse 22. The whole purpose was the Corinthians had a hard time giving him his due. Oh, they would look up to Apollos, or they would look up to Peter. They could look up to others, but this man? Who are you? Now he defends it with this Holy Spirit inspired—I’ve got to keep repeating.
Now I read again last night. Some great theologian made the—I’ve got to be careful how I use this, don’t I? Iris says I use too strong a language once in a while. But here this guy with all of his degrees and education was wondering how Luke kept track of all of these details in his Gospel and in the Book of Acts. And he made some statement like this, “He must have been a great record keeper or diarist—,” I think is the word he used. “He must have been a great diarist to keep track of all these statements that people had made in order to write his Gospel.” Wait a minute, how could he do it? He didn’t have to take notes. He didn’t have to go back and say, well, now wait a minute, what happened here, and then write. What does the Scripture say? How? “By the Holy Spirit.”
Oh, I know what the other one was. It came to mind. He couldn’t figure out how in the world Moses could talk about his own death in Genesis. You got a problem with that? Where’s your inspiration? Did God know the details of Moses’ death before he died? Well, I reckon. He knew it from eternity past. Again, Moses didn’t have to stop and say, “Well, I wonder how I’m going to die? I wonder who I can delegate to write about this after I’m gone.” No. Moses wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and out came the record of his death and his burial, everything, by inspiration. Don’t ever forget that. Every word of this Book is Holy Spirit inspired.
And when Paul writes something like this—that’s why I’m doing it. Paul writes not to elevate his own ego, he is writing as the Holy Spirit moved him to write. All right, now look what he says in verse 22.
II Corinthians 11:22-23a
“Are they (comparing the Twelve in Jerusalem with Paul) Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23. Are they ministers of Christ? (Now see, he even realizes that this is a strong statement. So he puts in an apology, still Holy Spirit inspired, but yet from the human.) (I speak as a fool) I am more;…”
Yes, but now look at the reason. He’s more the minister of Christ than James and Peter and John and the rest of them, and here’s why.
II Corinthians 12:23b
“…in labors more abundant, (He labored day and night for about twenty five or six years.) in stripes (beatings) above measure, in prisons (Plural. In more than one place he was cast into prison for one length of time or another.) more frequent, in deaths often.” Plural. What does that mean? He was next door to leaving planet earth more than once. But God always kept on bringing him back.
II Corinthians 12:24
“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes less one.” Or the thirty-nine—so they’d make sure they didn’t go over forty. Can you imagine what that man’s torso looked like? It must have been solid scar tissue. Five times over that period of 20-some years receiving 39 lashes.
II Corinthians 12:25a
“Thrice was I beaten with rods, (Now, you know what the rods were like—a bamboo cane.) once was I stoned,…” And of course that was up there in central Turkey, in Derby and Lystra. They dragged him out of the city like a dead horse literally. Dragged him out by the feet thinking he was dead.
II Corinthians 11:25b-26a
“…Thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day (24 hours) I have been in the deep; 26. In journeyings often, (He never spent any time at home. He didn’t have a home that I know of.) in perils of waters, in perils of robbers,…” As he would be walking those dusty roads, especially across central Turkey and down the Aegean Sea coast of Greece.
II Corinthians 11:26b
“…in perils by mine own countrymen, (The Jews) in perils by the heathen, (That’d be the Romans.) in perils in the city, (Antioch, Athens, some of the other cities of the Middle-East) in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren.” That’s almost the worst, you know. When those that claimed to be followers, but they would stab him in the back.
II Corinthians 11:27-28
“In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” Okay, back to our text. Oh my goodness, we’ve only got 40 seconds left. We’ll start here the next program. Okay, back to Colossians for just a few seconds. Verse 24 again, that’s why we were looking at his sufferings. This is what he’s talking about.
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you,…” And Colossi was what? Gentile. And so this Apostle of the Gentiles suffered for 20-some years so that you and I could sit here and be the recipients of this glorious Gospel of Grace. So that you and I have everything we need for our daily walk.