Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 81
THE SON GIVEN DOMINION AND A KINGDOM – 4
Okay, good to have everybody back again. We’ve lost a few people, but I can’t say that I blame them this afternoon. It’s been a long session. But anyway, we again want to let our T.V. people know that we’re just an informal Bible study. I don’t want it to be anything but that. I don’t want to start preaching at people. We just want to teach the Book. Although I do get a little wound up, I know I do.
But I still don’t want to get away from the teaching concept, so that people can see for themselves what the Book says. It doesn’t matter what some denomination says, or what I say, but what does the Word of God say. And we have to be able to rightly divide it—to separate Israel from the Body of Christ—and then it all falls in place.
All right, program number four for the afternoon, and we’re in book 81. My, I just asked Iris coming up—that means how many trips have we made to Tulsa? It’s been a bunch of them. Anyway, it’s gone fast.
Now let’s continue on that Kingdom concept before we go back and do a verse-by-verse with Daniel again. Let’s come back to Matthew chapter 3 and the onset of Christ’s earthly ministry, which is going to begin with John the Baptist. After all, John the Baptist was sent to be the herald of, or to announce, the King and His Kingdom to the Nation of Israel. Because all these covenant promises were made only to Israel. The Gentiles had no part of those covenants. But as we saw in the last part of the last program, Israel was to understand that even though all the covenant promises were theirs, they would still be instrumental in bringing the Gentiles to a knowledge of Israel’s God.
And, of course, we’ve been seeing a little preview of that in our study of Daniel with Nebuchadnezzar. That process where he was a total pagan with no concept of the God of Gods, but as you come up through his life, he sees a little more and a little more. Until finally, I think, before he left planet Earth he was a believer in the God of Israel, or the Most High. All right, so now remember that, that all these promises of this coming King were limited to the Nation of Israel because He was to be their King.
Well, what prompted the Romans to put on the cross above Christ the sign—“Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”? What prompted it? Well, He had that much understanding, even as a pagan ruler, that that’s what Jesus had claimed to be. That He had claimed to be the King of Israel. All right, now we come into Matthew chapter 3 and we start with John the Baptist. Verse 1:
“In those days (That is after Jesus had grown up in Nazareth as the carpenter’s son.) came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, (down there by the Jordan River) 2. And saying, Repent ye:…”
Now, it’s interesting. You know, I get chewed up one side and down the other because I maintain that repentance is not a prerequisite for salvation today. We don’t repent and then get saved. We get saved, and then we repent or change directions.
I’ve got a fellow out in Indiana. He will hear this just as well as you will, and it won’t bother him a bit. He said, “Les, when they asked me if I’ve accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, I said, No, I never accepted Him as my personal Savior. I believed The Gospel of I Corinthians 15:1-4. The moment I believed The Gospel, He became my personal Savior.” Hey, I like that. Or the other one that they always use. Take Jesus into your heart. No, that’s not The Gospel. It’s not in this Book. What’s in this Book is that if you believe that Jesus died, shed His blood, was buried and rose from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
You believe that and what’s the first thing you do? You change your mind about things. You repent. And what does God do? He comes into your life. The Holy Spirit comes in. So don’t get that cart out there in front of the horse like most of Christendom does. Leave it where it belongs. Salvation comes first. But for Israel—yes, repentance was a prerequisite. And that’s what we’ve got to understand – the change in program, All right, so that’s what made me think of it.
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2. And saying, Repent…” Now for Israel, you see, that was a logical word—because did Israel know right from wrong? Of course they did. They had the Book. They had the Old Testament ever since day one. They knew. And if they didn’t, it was their own fault.
They had to look at their own situation as a Nation as well as individuals and change their mind about these things in order for God to bless them with the King and the Kingdom. So, yes, for Israel a prerequisite was to repent. For us, it’s a result. What a difference.
“And saying, Repent ye: for (What reason?) the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Why? Because the King is in their midst. The King is already walking the dusty roads. And then he goes on to say:
“…The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Here is the first inkling that the King is on the planet. He’s in the midst of Israel. He’s ready to prepare Israel for the Kingdom.
Well, now I guess the next place I should stop would be at Peter’s confession of faith in Matthew 16. Now a lot of this I know we’ve covered over and over, but repetition is still the key. In Matthew 16 we’re at the end of Christ’s three years of His earthly ministry. He’s been performing miracle after miracle after miracle. He did all those miracles. Did they convert the Nation of Israel? No. No. Just a few.
So, you see, that’s not the key. Miracles do not bring people to salvation, even the miracles of Christ Himself. After three years of miracle after miracle after miracle, the supernatural was just an everyday occurrence. He has the Twelve and they’re up clear at the headwaters of the Jordan River in what we call Caesarea Philippi. The Roman word is Banias. In fact, we were just there last October. It’s beautiful. They’ve made a national park out of it.
“When Jesus came into the borders of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, (the Twelve) saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they said, (Now watch this. We’ve gone over it before, but look at it again. They responded by saying–) Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?”
Fellows, you’ve been with me now for three years. Who am I? That’s all He’s asking. Who am I? And Peter responds in verse 16. It’s what I call Peter’s confession of saving faith.
“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, (the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of God) Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Any reference to the Cross? Any reference to His death? Not a word. And he was right on. That’s all God expected him to say, because that was the crux of the matter. Who am I? Well, you’re the promised Messiah.
Well, you see, if every Jew would have answered that way, as we saw back there in Acts chapter 3 earlier this afternoon, Christ would have come. They would have fulfilled that requirement by believing. In fact, I had a question in the mail yesterday, and it’s a good question. And I hope you’ve all been aware of that. If (and it’s a big IF) a human being could keep the Ten Commandments without ever breaking a one of them, could he get to Heaven on it? Well, yes, because he hasn’t broken them.
But what’s the problem? It’s not possible! Only Christ did. No human being can go through life without breaking the Law. It’s impossible. But if they could, then there would be nothing to keep them out of God’s Heaven. They’re sinless. They’re pure. But we’re not. We’re hell-bound sinners. All right, here was Peter’s confession of faith, “Thou art the Christ…,” the Messiah of Israel.
All right, you come on through the crucifixion and all that, and we’re not going to pick that up here, because we want to look first at Israel’s relationship to this Kingdom. Now come over with me to Luke chapter 1, because I want you to see what Israel was to have believed as a Nation of people. They were to believe it to the last Jew. Luke chapter 1 and let’s drop in at verse 67. Here we have Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, approached as to what the young lad’s name should be. And he said that his name is John. All right, now verse 67:
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit,…” Now that’s the key. Don’t miss that word “filled.” He had all of the Holy Spirit that a man could have, so that he could thoroughly understand all that is facing the Nation of Israel. Don’t miss that.
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied (He spoke forth being moved by the Holy Spirit, and look what he says.) saying, 68. Blessed be the Lord God of (Whom?) Israel;…” Not a word about the Gentile world. Israel. See, this is what we have to understand, and what most of Christendom still doesn’t understand—that everything Jesus said and did up until the Cross was on behalf of these Old Testament covenants made with Israel. Not a thing about the Gentiles.
“…for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69. And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;” How many Gentiles in the House of David? Not a one. Not a one. This is all strictly Jewish ground.
“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, (As we’ve been looking at all afternoon: Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Moses.) which have been since the ages began: 71. That we (the Nation of Israel) should be saved (From our sins? Come on, it doesn’t say that. It doesn’t say that. Saved from their what?) our enemies,…”
Well, now stop and think. Who were Israel’s enemies, you might say from the very onset of Abraham, but especially by the time of Christ. Well, the Arab world around them. No different than today. It’s always been the same, being circumvented by the Arab world. All right, but when this promised King and Kingdom would come in, they wouldn’t have a thing to do with them.
“That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;” Now I hope you realize that anti-Semitism is coming up day-by-day again. We’re just about back like it was when Hitler showed up.
To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David and all the rest) and to remember his holy covenant; 73. The oath which he swear to our father Abraham, 74. That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him (That is the King.) without fear, 75. In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.”
In other words, it’s going to be Heaven on earth. A Kingdom of righteousness, absent of wickedness. Then verse 76, he now comes with regard to the announcement of the King, the Messiah.
“And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 77. To give knowledge of salvation unto his people….” All Jewish promises.
All right, let’s jump over to the Book of Acts and come over to the scenario after His 40 days of being with the Twelve after His resurrection. Now, Easter Sunday’s coming up. Uh, oh, I’m dating the program, aren’t I? But on Easter, for just a few hours at least, a portion of the world’s population will be made aware of Resurrection morning. But, like we were talking on the phone yesterday, and he agreed with me 100%. I said, you know, there are multitudes of people that believe that Jesus died, was crucified, that He was buried, and that He arose miraculously from the dead. But they only know it historically.
Now, what do I mean by that? They don’t have it in the heart. It’s just a historical fact. Now, do any of you doubt that Washington crossed the Delaware on that cold, miserable winter day? No, you don’t doubt that. Why? Because history has reported it over and over, so we can all talk about it.
Well, it’s the same way with the rank and file of the world. Yeah, they know that there was this Jesus who was crucified and the Romans and all this, and He arose from the dead. But it’s just a historical bit of information. It doesn’t mean anything to them spiritually. Always remember that. That even though we have all the services of Christmas and all the services of Easter, for the rank and file of even most church members, that’s all it is. It’s just a mental assent to an historical record. But to bring it into a means of salvation, I’m afraid it’s for the precious few. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.
All right, now come back to Acts chapter 1. He’s been resurrected, and He’s been with the Eleven for forty days. Drop down to chapter 1 verse 3.
“To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion (That is His death, burial, and resurrection.) by many infallible proofs,…” And, you know, it has happened over and over—where a skeptic or an atheist will actually rant and rave that there was never such a thing as the Resurrection. And they go to the Middle East to prove that they’re right, and what happens? They become a believer! It happens over and over. There is so much evidence that indeed He arose from the dead.
“…being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:” Now that throws a curve at people, because Matthew speaks all the time of the Kingdom of Heaven and now here we have the Kingdom of God. Now what’s the difference? Paul even speaks of promoting the Kingdom of God.
Well, I put it on the board. I suppose, what was it, two or three years ago now? I’ve had Sharon, she’s not here today. But I had Sharon put a big circle, then in the circle I had her draw two smaller ones. Remember that? All right, the big circle is the Kingdom of God. That includes everything that pertains to God’s holiness and righteousness: Heaven, the Angels, the Old Testament believers, the New Testament Jewish believers of early Acts. Everything that pertains to His holiness and His righteousness is in the big circle—the Kingdom of God.
So when Paul speaks of the Kingdom of God, yes, we, too, are part of the Kingdom of God. But those two circles that I had her put inside the big circle—one was the Kingdom of Heaven. Well, since Israel rejected it, that’s pretty much empty. But now what’s the other circle? The Body of Christ.
The Body of Christ—and that’s all Paul talks about, with one or two exceptions, he calls it the Kingdom. But the Body of Christ is that compilation of believers in this Age of Grace who have come into the Body by virtue of believing Paul’s Gospel. We become members of the Body, but we’re also in the Kingdom of God. See that?
Now, when the Body of Christ is taken out in the Rapture, it’ll still be part of the Kingdom of God, because Heaven is. But now the Kingdom of Heaven becomes the major component, because now Israel comes back into God’s economy. Israel will once again be in the limelight, and they will fill the Kingdom of Heaven, which is in the Kingdom of God. Now, does that make sense? I hope it does. Don’t get confused. The Kingdom of God is that overall—everything that belongs to God. But in it you have the Kingdom of Heaven, which will become a reality when the 1,000 years begins; and you’ve got the Body of Christ, which we trust is nearly full. It’ll be taken out and taken up into the heavens, but we’re still part of the Kingdom of God.
So when Acts speaks here of pertaining to the Kingdom of God, yes, because the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus has been proclaiming to be the King of is in the large circle. All right, now verse 4:
“And being assembled together with the Eleven, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father,…” Going back to John 17. What was the promise? That God would send the Holy Spirit. He said He would send a Paraklete—someone to come alongside and be your help. All right, that’s what He’s referring to here. That Jesus promised that when He would leave, the Holy Spirit would come. All right, so He says:
“…wait for the promise of the Father, which ye have heard of me. 5. For John truly baptized with water; but ye (speaking through the Eleven, but to the Nation of Israel as a whole) shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” How many? Ten days. And what day will that be? Pentecost. And what happened? The Holy Spirit came down. All right, but we’ll look at that at another time. Now verse 6:
“When they therefore were come together, (Jesus and these Eleven Apostles) they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the (What?) kingdom to Israel?” It’s all on their minds. It’s all they’ve been hearing for three years. Well, now, Lord, are you ready to bring in the Kingdom and give it to Israel? What was His answer? Oh, you foolish Galileans? No. He just says:
“…It is not for you to know the times or the seasons,…” Yes, the Kingdom is coming, but it’s not for you to know when.
All right, now lest you wonder why are they are at this late date now—after the Messiah has been crucified, He’s been buried, He’s risen from the dead, He’s been with them now for forty days showing His hands and in a physical body, He ate fish, walked with them, talked with them—why are they so expectant of the Kingdom? Well, come back with me to Matthew chapter 19. I haven’t looked at this in a long time. This is toward the end of His earthly ministry. Now don’t forget why I brought you back here. Why are Peter and the rest of the fellows so anxious about this Kingdom? Well, look what they got promised. See, everything fits. That’s why I love to teach, to show how it all fits.
“Then answered Peter and said unto him, (That is unto Jesus.) Behold, we have forsaken all, (What’s he talking about? His family. His fishing. Galilee. It’s beautiful up there. I can see why they would hate to leave Galilee.) Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?”
What’s Peter asking? What’s going to be our reward? He knew he was saved. That wasn’t the point. What are we going to have for reward? Lord, look what we left. Look what we did to follow You these last three years. What are You going to give us? Well, you know what that shows me? Those men were just as human as we are. That’s all it is. It’s our humanity. Hey, if I’m going to do all this, what do I get in return? Now look at the Lord’s answer. He doesn’t rebuke Peter, not one bit.
“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye who have followed me, (these last three years) in the regeneration (In other words, when the 1,000 year Kingdom comes in.) when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory,…” Now aren’t you glad we’ve been looking at it all afternoon? Where’s it going to be? Mount Zion in Jerusalem! The same place that David’s throne sat. Now, Jesus said, when I set up this Kingdom in my throne room there in Jerusalem–
“…ye also (You twelve men—now it won’t be Judas, it will be Mathias, but it’ll be the Twelve Apostles.) ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, ruling the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Now, do you have to be a Ph.D. to understand that? No. When the King sets up His Kingdom, He’s going to rule the whole planet. And who is primarily going to be in control of Israel? Well, the Twelve Apostles.
Now, I don’t know if I’ve got room on the board, or if I’ve got time. I haven’t got time. But I drew a map in one of my classes the other night. Do you realize how huge the Nation of Israel will be in the Kingdom? It’s not going to be that little slip of land along the Mediterranean. It’s going to be the whole Middle East!
Have I got time? Turn real quick to Genesis chapter 15. Because when these men are going to be ruling the Twelve Tribes of Israel, they’re going to be ruling a big portion of real estate. Genesis 15 and this is when God first deeded it to the Nation of Israel. It’s a real estate transaction.
“In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed (That is the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the Nation of Israel.) have I given (past tense) this land, (Now look where it goes.) from the river of Egypt (Whether it’s the Nile or another one that might have been there, but figuratively-speaking from the Nile.) from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:” Now goodness, you all know the Middle East well enough now—from the Nile to the Euphrates, and then in Joshua it includes Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran—it’s going to be the whole Middle East. That is going to be Israel’s homeland.