Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 77
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF SCRIPTURES – PART 44
Genesis – Revelation (The Kingdom)
Okay, once again you’re all back from your break. This is our last program for this afternoon. After it’s over, we can go home. For those of you joining us on television, we’ll see you tomorrow morning. But anyway, we are so thankful for every one of you out there whether you contribute or not. As long as we know you are praying for us, then the Lord will do the rest. We know He’s touching a lot of hearts and lives through the teaching of His Word.
All right, we’re still on what we started on several months ago called “Connecting the Dots of Scripture.” We’re still heading toward the end of the Book of Revelation. Someday. We’ve just finished, pretty much, the Old Testament in review—just hitting the high points of all the promises concerning this coming glorious earthly Kingdom over which we feel Christ—God the Son, Israel’s Messiah—will rule and reign some day soon.
Now, before we go back to Matthew and pick up the New Testament account of this coming Kingdom, I’d like to take you back to Romans chapter 15 verse 8 where Paul makes another reference to this very same thing. But he clarifies what most of Christendom still doesn’t get. That is, that Christ’s whole earthly ministry was to prepare Israel for this glorious Kingdom. He came to present it—knowing, of course in His foreknowledge, that they would reject it and bring about the crucifixion which had to happen. But nevertheless, it was a valid offer of this glorious Kingdom promised ever since Exodus 19.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was (From Paul’s point in time, it’s past tense. We’re going to be looking at it in a minute from the very beginning.) a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers:” What’s he talking about? What we’ve been seeing for the last three half hours. Those were the promises that were made to the fathers—first through Moses at Mt. Sinai, and then through the prophets and King David. All these prophecies concerning this coming glorious Kingdom were promised to the Nation of Israel. That was their “Heaven” that they were looking for.
Now, a lot of people call and say, “Les, when did you catch on to all of this? And how?” Well, I just wrote a letter yesterday explaining it, so it’s fresh in my mind. You can be turning back to Matthew chapter 3. I had just started teaching home Bible classes outside of my regular denominational church. I had been a Sunday school teacher and a deacon for many, many years. About the third week, this lady came up after a class and she said, “Les, why isn’t Heaven taught in the Old Testament?” I said, “What?” I’d never heard of that. I said, “What are you talking about?” She said, “Well, those Jews had no idea of dying and going to Heaven. It’s not back there.” Well, that was a whole new concept to me. So I had to get into the Book and start digging to prove her wrong. But you know what? She was right!
The Jew had no idea of going to Heaven. They were going to go to Paradise. They were going to go down to Sheol. They had to wait for the atonement, and then Christ emptied Sheol, or Paradise, and took it up to Heaven. But see, she was so right that the Jew had no concept of going to Heaven.
Now, the verse I usually like to use, keep your hand in Matthew, because I’m going to come right back. Come back with me to Job. We’ve done this before for some of you. But for those of you who are just getting part of this, we’ve got to prove that this is what the Jew was looking for. Job puts it perfectly. Chapter 19 verses 25 and 26 and this is exactly the concept that the Jew had of death and life after death. It wasn’t the idea that we have of going up to Heaven. They were going to come to a heaven on earth.
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day (Where?) upon the earth: (at the latter day, not at the beginning, at the last) 26. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, (In other words, he dies and goes back to the dust, yet here was his future.) yet in my flesh (resurrected flesh) I shall see God:” And where’s God going to be? Standing on the earth!
So Job had the right idea. That after he had finished this life of the physical and he died, one day he would be resurrected back to the earth. But it wouldn’t be the earth under the curse, it would be an earth under the Kingdom authority of the Messiah. The whole Old Testament view of their eternal destiny was to come back to an earthly Kingdom.
Matthew chapter 3 is the first reference that we have to it in the New Testament. And don’t forget what Paul said—that Jesus Christ, when He came in His first Advent, was a minister of the circumcision (that’s Israel), not the whole human race. He was a minister for the Nation of Israel to fulfill, or bring to completion, all these Old Testament promises of a coming glorious earthly Kingdom.
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2. And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Not the Kingdom of God – the Kingdom of Heaven.
Now, remember a couple of years ago, Sharon put it on the board. I think I referred to it a little earlier this afternoon, that the Scripture uses those two terms almost interchangeably—“the Kingdom of God” and “the Kingdom of Heaven.” Well, they’re not one and the same. Yet they’re intertwined, because the Kingdom of God is that overall sphere of God’s righteous influence. To make it simple, imagine a large circle called the Kingdom of God. Now inside that large circle we have two smaller circles. One is called the Kingdom of Heaven, and one is called the Body of Christ.
There is nothing of the unrighteous here, but only that which is righteous—which includes Heaven and the angels, every believer from Adam, Abel and on up through the Old Testament, and then you come to the Body of Christ. We, too, are in the Kingdom of God, but we are singularly in a smaller sphere called the Body of Christ.
Maybe I should ask Sharon to draw it again. I don’t want to, but she could. But nevertheless, the other entity that’s in that big circle is the Kingdom of Heaven. So you’ve got the Kingdom of Heaven sitting over here inside the Kingdom of God waiting to be fulfilled. Over here we’ve got the Body of Christ in which you and I are a part; and it’s already, just about we think, full. It’s also in the Kingdom of God. So, when Paul speaks of the Kingdom of God, he’s talking about the big circle. But when he gets down into the nitty-gritty of where we are, he calls us the Body of Christ.
Now John the Baptist is introducing this other entity that’s in the Kingdom of God—the Kingdom of Heaven. And that’s this earthly 1,000 year reign of Christ on a planet earth that has been totally regenerated. It has been lifted from the curse. It’s going to be made beautiful just as it was in the beginning. That’s why we have been looking all afternoon at the Old Testament prophecies concerning this Kingdom of Heaven.
Now, what most of Christendom doesn’t understand is that this is strictly a Jewish phenomenon. It is only between God and Israel. It is to Israel that He’s going to promise this glorious earthly Kingdom. Albeit, we know that in the Tribulation, 144,000 Jews, with their preaching around the globe, will bring in multitudes of Gentiles who will become the Gentile part of the earthly Kingdom. But Israel will be the primary player. Israel will be by far the largest nation during the 1,000 year reign.
But all the other Gentile nations are going to come into the picture, because it’s going to be a population explosion. But for the most part, I want you to see that the Kingdom of Heaven is a God and Israel relationship. So when John the Baptist began preaching to the Jews of the day of Christ’s earthly ministry, the language was “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
But the verse that most of Christendom totally misconstrues is where Jesus said, “the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” But it was a rank error in translation, because that Greek word translated within is actually better translated in your midst. Now, think about that. The Kingdom of Heaven is in your midst. How? In the person of the Messiah. Just like John says here, “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Why? Because in a few days he’s going to introduce the King. Here comes Jesus now in His earthly ministry proclaiming to be Israel’s Messiah, Redeemer, and King.
Now, in order to set that a little straighter, I’m going to take you back to verses that we’ve used over and over through the past many, many years. That is Peter’s confession in Matthew chapter 16. Turn with me to that. Matthew 16 and we’ll drop in at verse 13. I’m going to come back to another verse that we use over and over and over, because most of Christendom rejects it. They’ll just actually say I don’t believe that. Well, they’re in trouble.
But let’s look at Matthew 16 first, at the end of His three years. They’re up in northern Israel. In short order they’re going to be heading back south and up to Jerusalem for the Passover and the crucifixion. But the Twelve don’t know that. Jesus does, but the Twelve don’t. But what Jesus is getting the Twelve ready for, is to make sure they understand who He is. All right, that’s the whole idea of these verses right here.
“When Jesus came into the borders of Caesarea Philippi,…” Now, that’s clear up on the very northern border of Israel. It’s at the headwaters of the Jordan River. For those of you that are going with us to Israel this fall, we’ve got plans made to go up there. We’re going to go up to Caesarea Philippi, the headwaters of the Jordan River.
“…he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” That’s a simple question, isn’t it? Fellows, whom do people up and down the highways and byways of Israel, the rank and file, or today they use the term “the street.” Who do they think I am? Now, look at the ridiculous answers.
“And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist:…” Well, my heavens, what happened to John the Baptist? Got imprisoned and then got his head cut off. So how could this be John the Baptist? But see how ridiculous people can get?
You know, I’m always making the point. Do you realize that people 2,000 years ago were not a nickel’s worth different than we are today? Not a nickel’s worth. Oh, we may have a little more modern conveniences and so forth, but our basic thoughts and actions – there’s no difference.
“…and some think you are Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. 15. But Jesus saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (They’d been with Him now for three years.) 16. And Simon Peter (the spokesman) answered, and said, Thou art the Christ,…”
Now, unless you understand Scriptural language, when he says, “Thou art the Christ,” what did he really say? Who was He? The Messiah! That’s what the word Christ means in the Greek. It comes from the Hebrew word, the Messiah, the Anointed One.
So, Peter is recognizing that He is the Promised King. Well, if He’s the King, what was Peter looking for? The Kingdom! They weren’t looking for a crucifixion, for heaven sakes. They were looking for the Kingdom to come in. All right, so he says:
“…Thou art the Christ, (You are the King, but he also qualifies that he was–) the Son of the living God.” Who alone could be the King of this heavenly Kingdom?
All right, now when I said that this was strictly a Jewish phenomenon, I’ll have to bring you back to Matthew chapter 10. Come back a few pages to Matthew chapter 10. Then you’ll see what I mean. And again, He has just chosen the Twelve. He’s ready to begin their earthly ministry with Him of three years. So in verse 5:
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:” Now, that’s plain English. Don’t have a thing to do with Gentiles, likewise the Samaritans down there who were half-breed Jews, remember. But, now here’s what they were to do in verse 6.
“But go rather (or instead) to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is (Out there in the future? No. What is it?) at hand.” Why? Because the King was here!
Now we know some theologians disagree with me on this basis—that Jesus could not have offered the Kingdom before the cross. I can see where they’re coming from. But on the other hand, I say, now wait a minute. There was another time that Jesus made an offer to the Nation of Israel, and it was just as valid as this one. That was when He offered them the Promised Land. You remember that? What did He tell them? Go in and take it. It’s yours.
It’s all been made ready for you. He used the labor of the Canaanites for 400 years preparing the land of Canaan for the Nation of Israel. Got all the wells dug. Got all the granaries built. All the housing was ready. The vineyards were producing. The grain fields were producing. The Canaanites must have been a tremendously technologically-oriented people.
Consequently, it was a land of what? Milk and honey. And the spies brought back grapes so big that it took two men to carry the clumps of grapes. Now listen, that’s quite a production feat! But it was waiting for the Children of Israel. They didn’t even have to draw a sword to drive the Canaanites out, because what did God promise? I’ll send hornets ahead of you, and they’ll drive the Canaanites out, and all you have to do is occupy.
Was it a valid offer? Well, I reckon it was. God doesn’t lie! But what did God know? That they wouldn’t do it. And they didn’t. And because of their unbelief, they went back into the desert and died off like flies over the next 40 years. But could they have had it? Yes, because God said they could.
Well, I look at this the same way. Yes, Jesus is in their midst, and He’s fulfilling all the Old Testament promises. He’s proven now for three years who He is. They could have had it, but what did they do? They rejected it. Now then, here’s where it becomes a little more valid. After He’s been crucified—now let’s just move up a minute to the Book of Acts after He’s been crucified. The atoning blood has been shed, which Israel had to have. Now Peter and the Eleven come back beginning with the Day of Pentecost, and again, what are they offering? The King and the Kingdom!
Oh, granted, He’s gone back to Glory, but that doesn’t stop Him. It’s only a split second for God to move from Heaven to earth. So the whole idea was that now it was definitely a valid offer, because the atoning blood has been shed. The price of redemption has been paid. Israel, it’s yours for the taking. All right, now come with me to Acts chapter 3. Then I’m going to back up to Acts chapter 1, if we’ve got time. But look at Acts chapter 3, when He made a valid offer of the Kingdom. Peter is speaking.
Acts chapter 3:18
“But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, (See, all the things we’ve been looking at all afternoon.) that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”
So, what’s Peter saying? There’s nothing left for God to do. So, in whose park is the ball? Israel’s. It’s in Israel’s park. And what were they to do with it? Believe it! Believe that He was the Christ. Believe that He has now paid the price of redemption. Believe that He’s the promised King and He will bring in this earthly Kingdom. Now verse 19:
“Repent ye therefore, (Well, what was the big thing Israel had to repent of? The crucifixion. The rejection. Repent of it!) and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing (Kingdom blessings) shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20. And he (God) shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you:” Now, you can’t get any plainer than that?
All Israel was expected to do was repent of the sin of rejection and unbelief, and God could have sent Jesus Christ to fulfill all these Old Testament promises. But of course, Peter now comes back and suddenly realizes that it couldn’t happen until the Tribulation unfolded—that’s verse 21.
“Whom the heaven must receive (in other words, at His ascension) until (time word) the times of restitution of all things,…” Well, what does restitution mean? Made like it was at the beginning. So Peter realizes that Christ has to stay in Glory at the Father’s right hand until the Tribulation has run its course and the curse is lifted, as we’ve been seeing for the last several months now. The earth will be made ready to be reconstructed like the Garden of Eden. The curse is gone, and it’ll be a glorious, beautiful Heaven-on-earth experience. But Israel rejected it. They continued to reject it and reject it and reject it.
Okay, now I’ve got to back up a moment. In Matthew we’ve got the preaching of Christ. They are to go into the Nation of Israel only and not have anything to do with anybody else but Israel. But in Israel’s unbelief, they rejected Him. Now we come into the Book of Acts chapter 1. With this we’ll probably have to wind up this half hour. Acts chapter 1 and Luke is writing.
“The former treatise (In other words, speaking of the Gospel of Luke, I think.) have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began to do and teach, (in His earthly ministry.) 2. Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Spirit had given commandments unto the Apostles whom He had chosen: (the Twelve) 3. To whom (to the Twelve) also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days,…” Now, that’s that forty days between His resurrection and His ascension.
“…and speaking of the things pertaining to (The what?) the kingdom of God:” All the things that involved God’s righteousness. But, you see, they couldn’t talk about the Church Age, because that wasn’t revealed yet. They couldn’t talk too much about the Kingdom on earth, because that hadn’t happened yet. But all the rest of God’s righteousness was certainly a topic for conversation.
“And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, he saith, ye have heard of me. (Which was, of course, the Holy Spirit coming on the Day of Pentecost.) 5. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” Now verse 6 and here’s where we’re going to wind up.
“When they therefore were come together, (The Eleven. Judas is gone, and Mathias is not in yet. It’s the Eleven and Jesus.) were come together, (the Eleven) they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the (What?) kingdom to Israel?” What’s on their mind? The Kingdom. The King.
Now, I don’t think as yet they realize that He’s suddenly going to be taken up from them. He’s now been dead, buried, and resurrected. Hey, what’s to stop the Kingdom from coming in? So that was the question. And what was Jesus’ answer? What’s the matter with you guys? No. He merely says:
“And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” What’s He saying? Well, Peter, the Kingdom is coming. I’m still going to be your King. But it’s not for you to know when.
And in the next few verses, what happens? He goes back up to Glory. Well, that was according to the Old Testament prophecies. What did Psalms 110 verse 1 say? “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” And that, of course, is what He did, and where He has remained up until now. But the day is getting closer and closer when He is going to arise from that seated position; and He’s yet going to return and set up that glorious 1,000 year Kingdom!