Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 8
MANNA: GOD’S SAME GRACE SAVES US AND KEEPS US
Picking up from our last lesson, we were discussing in Exodus 19:6 that God had promised the Nation of Israel that they were to be a Nation of priests. Now, what is a priest? A go-between. Between man and God. For Israel to become that kingdom of priests (go- between) naturally they are not going to be a go-between themselves and God, for they have God. So who are they going to have to be the go-between for? The Gentiles. A lot of people can’t understand this coming out of the Old Testament, that the whole purpose of setting aside the Nation of Israel was to be the vehicle to bring these pagan Gentiles to a knowledge of Israel’s Messiah. Now keep that concept in your mind as you come all the way through the Old Testament. God is preparing the Nation of Israel to funnel back into the main river of humanity, and bring the Gentiles to a knowledge of their King and God.
Turn to Acts 2, and here Peter is preaching that Pentecost sermon, but to whom is he preaching? Jews only. Remember he is still on Covenant grounds. He is still referring, in Chapter 3, to the fact that you are the children of the Covenant, which God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now, we as Gentiles are not under those Covenant promises. That was strictly Jew only. Here, Peter, preaching on Covenant grounds says:
“Ye men of Israel,….”
Now, I don’t claim to be an English major, but I can read English, and I don’t see any mention of Gentiles here. He only says “Ye men of Israel,….“ and that’s all. And then from verse 25-30 he goes back to the Old Testament and quotes David. David meant everything to a Jew. Did he mean anything to the Romans or Greeks? No. So you see this was all Jewish oriented. Now come down to verse 36:
“Therefore let all the house of Israel,….” (plus all of you Gentiles? No, it doesn’t say that.)
“Then Peter said unto them (the House of Israel), Repent, and be baptized every one of you….”
And that wasn’t anything different than what John the Baptist preached way back in Matthew. Jesus and the Twelve preached it, and Peter is still preaching, “Repent and be baptized.”How many? “…every one of you….”
Do you know what that means? Every person in Israel, would have to repent and be baptized, and then they would have become a nation of Priests. In Chapter 3, Peter is still preaching to the same kind of a crowd, his language is identical, and here Peter and John go up to the Temple in verse 1. And as soon as you see the word Temple that should tell you they are still under the Jewish Law, as the Temple is still operating. God hasn’t told them to shut it down. Titus hasn’t come and destroyed it. And so Peter and John go up to the Temple.
“Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.”
And of course they heal the lame man. When they healed the lame man it was an extension of the healing powers of Jesus that the Twelve practice. Jesus told them they would have this power.
“And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.” What are they wondering? How was this man healed. Now Peter says to that Jewish crowd:
“And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, `Ye men of Israel….'” (I don’t twist the Scripture, I just leave them where they are. That is just plain English, “Ye men of Israel.”
“The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers,….”
None of this would mean a thing to Gentiles. But it does to God’s Covenant people. So Peter is applying all of this to his fellow people, the Israelites. Now come all the way to verse 26.
“Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you (so far Jew only), in turning away (how many?) every one of you from his iniquities.”
Now how many is every one? It means what it says. Every single Jew that was on the planet when Peter was preaching, had to come to that recognition that Jesus was their Messiah. Now had they done so, and the last Jew had said we believe that Jesus the One we crucified is raised from the dead and is our Messiah and King, what would have God done? He would have sent the King, and they could have had the Kingdom on earth, that they were promised, and then every Jew could become a priest. They would have gone out into all the Gentile nations. But they didn’t, and as a result we don’t see Jews winning Gentiles in the Book of Acts. Except on one occasion (Peter and Cornelius) and that was for the purpose of the events that would take place several years later in Acts Chapter 15.
Now, turn to Zechariah Chapter 8, and I know we have looked at these verses before but sometimes it takes awhile for these things to soak in. Here in Chapter 8, this is all in the prophetic program of God’s dealing with Israel. Preparing them after they have come under the Law, which we will see, if not in this lesson, then the next one, where Paul says in Galatians that the Law was given to the Nation of Israel to be a tutor, or schoolmaster. Why do we tutor kids? To prepare them for a future role in society. Why do we sit up schoolmasters? To prepare kids for future roles.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; `It shall yet come to pass (remember this is before Israel rejected it all, and then God turned to the Gentiles with the Apostle Paul), that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities.'”
“And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, `Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also.'”
“Yea, many people and strong nations (oh, God intended for the Jew to circumvent the globe, and bring the nations of the world to a knowledge of the God of Israel.) shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem (on the earth), and to pray before the LORD.”
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts (remember, this is the LORD speaking); `In those days (what days? – when Israel could have had every Jew a priest. Back in the Book of Acts, with Peter preaching to the Jews, and this went on for several years. Israel would have had her King in her midst in Jerusalem after the earthly kingdom was set up. Although Israel rejected it. It was still a valid offer and promise.) it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages (that means out of every dialect, and there are many. All would understand.)of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew (why? Because he is a priest, a go-between, the one who can take them to a knowledge of their God. Remember this is what God offered the Nation of Israel, back here in Exodus 19, that they would be a Kingdom of Priests. And you can’t have a Kingdom without a King.), saying, `We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you.'” Now, reading the verse in it’s entirety:
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; `In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, `We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.'”
Now, isn’t that plain? This was the prospect for the Nation of Israel. They could have had the King and the Kingdom, and every Jew would have been a priest. And the nations of the world would have just literally clung to a Jew in order to get to Jerusalem and have a knowledge of Israel’s God. I said that was their prospect, but they simply blew it. They rejected all of that, when they just couldn’t believe who Jesus really was. So God permitted the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. And Israel was sent into a dispersion, spiritual blindness. The Nation of Israel lost all of these promises from the Old Testament, and God, without Israel, turned to the Gentiles with the apostle Paul. Another verse just came to mind, let’s go to Romans 11. This Chapter says it all. Paul is now writing again to us Gentiles and explaining how it all came about.
“I say then, `Have they (the Nation of Israel) stumbled that they should fall? (in other words, a lot of people like to teach that God is all through with the Jews, and the Nation of Israel, and He has given everything over to the Church. That’s not what the Bible teaches at all. That is something that man and the devil made up. It has no basis in fact whatsoever. God is not through with the Nation of Israel, she is back in the land. She hasn’t got it all yet, but one day she will have. God has not forgotten His Covenant promises. But until then, she is in a spiritual blindness, and a dispersion.) God forbid (or banish the thought) but rather through their fall (through their rejecting these prospects we have been studying) salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.'” Now, reading the verse in its entirety.
“I say then, `Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.'”
And, of course, the Church has failed in that as well. Because rather than provoking them to jealousy, she made enemies of them. And it has only been in the past 20-30 years, that the religious Jews are recognizing that the true believer in the finished work of Christ is still the best friend that Israel ever had. Even the Israeli government is beginning to recognize that so many of these true Christians groups, especially out of America, are the Nation of Israel’s best friend.
“Now if the fall of them (in other words, when they rejected all of this during that 40 years of the Book of Acts, and they ended up losing their temple and going into dispersion) be the riches of the world (by Paul’s Gospel coming to us), and the diminishing of them the riches of the gentiles; how much more their fullness?”
Oh, Israel’s glory is still in the future, they are still going to be the apple of God’s eye. But they have some terrible times ahead of them before that happens. Now back to the Book of Exodus Chapter 19. Never lose sight of the verse (6) we have been teaching. It is a benchmark verse.
“And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.” Now verse 8, and look what it says:
“And all the people answered together, and said, `All that the LORD hath spoken we will do.'” (what are they asking for? Law. They don’t even realize that this is what they are asking for. We will do, is legalism) And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”
I think we have time to take one little look at Exodus 20, where we have the giving of the Ten Commandants as we understand them. And before we even look at the Ten Commandments, I want to take what minutes we have left in this lesson, to show why the Law was really given. Look in Chapter 20, verse 1:
Not the LORD, not Jehovah, which is usually associated with God dealing with Israel. But here we come back to the Triune God. Do you think that this is an accident? No. No word of Scripture is. And when you come down to verse 2 we see the normal approach to the Nation of Israel from God and it is LORD God or Jehovah. Now, back to the God of verse 1. Why do you suppose it is God, rather than LORD God or Jehovah? Well, we must go to Romans Chapter 3. Keep in mind what is just said, that Jehovah was the name that was particularly associated God with His people Israel.
The term God, transcends Israel and goes over to everyone. The Triune God is that which every nation of the world must deal with.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Now, we need to stop and break this one down.
“Now we know (there is no doubt) that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: (let me ask you a question. Who was under the law? The Jew – but go on) that (what are the next words?) every mouth may be stopped, (Now, we go beyond the Nation of Israel, and to the whole human race So then, does the law condemn you and I as Gentiles, or just the Jews? Everyone. So all comes under the condemnation of the law) and all the world (might be made fit for heaven? That’s not what it says, although most think that way. How many people of your own friends and neighbors have some way gotten the idea in their head, that if they can just keep the Ten Commandments to the best of their ability, it will take them to heaven? Many, many people think this way even right here in the Bible belt. But that is not what this verse says. It says) and all the world may become guilty before God.” So the law was given for one purpose and what was it? To make them guilty. In verse 20b Paul writes:
” …for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
The other thing you must remember about the law it was Holy, it was perfect, it was righteous, from God’s point of view. But to mankind it was, weak, fleshly, it was beggarly. Why? Because law had no inside power to help the person doing it to keep it. All the law could do was condemn, it could never take the person and say, “I say do not steal, and I will help you from stealing.” The law can’t do that. The law has no power to help a person keep the law. And for some people it is quite the opposite, you tell a little kid, don’t go through that door. But when you turn your back he is going to try to see what is on the other side of that door. Now are we any different? No. Just as sure as the law says do not commit adultery, what does the average human mentally say? “There must be something about it that I might like.” That is reverse psychology. But the law has absolutely no way of helping a person keep the law. But when you come under Grace, and I always say that Grace isn’t a license. But can you see the difference? Under Grace, just as soon as you believe in what God has done for us, the Holy Spirit indwells us, and now we have power.
Now there is something working from within that will help us keep these very laws of God. Always remember, we don’t keep the law for salvation. We become law keepers as a result of our salvation. The Old Testament believer did not have that. All he had was the demands of the law, with no power whatsoever to help him keep it.