[ 181 ] Les Feldick [ Book 16 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Matthew 26 & 27 They Did Not Know
[ 182 ] Les Feldick [ Book 16 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] His Arrest & His Suffering
[ 183 ] Les Feldick [ Book 16 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Without The Blood, No Forgiveness or Redemption
[ 184 ] Les Feldick [ Book 16 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Christ, Our High Priest
[ 185 ] Les Feldick [ Book 16 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] Statements of Paul
[ 186 ] Les Feldick [ Book 16 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] Christ as King, Servant, Man, and God
[ 187 ] Les Feldick [ Book 16 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] The Eight Signs
[ 188 ] Les Feldick [ Book 16 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] The Seven I Ams of the Old Testament & John
[ 189 ] Les Feldick [ Book 16 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] Closing of John's Gospel
[ 190 ] Les Feldick [ Book 16 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] Closing of John's Gospel
[ 191 ] Les Feldick [ Book 16 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] Introduction to Acts
[ 192 ] Les Feldick [ Book 16 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Introduction to Acts
MATTHEW 26,27: THEY DID NOT KNOW: HIS ARREST, HIS SUFFERING: WITHOUT SHEDDING OF BLOOD, NO FORGIVENESS OR REDEMPTION: CHRIST, OUR HIGH PRIEST
Let’s continue through the Four Gospels – Christ’s earthly ministry. Remember this is still under the Law. The Temple is still operating and Jesus is not permitting Gentiles to participate in His ministry. All the Abrahamic Covenants and promises are still in effect. So it’s Jew only. Our basic doctrine is that salvation is by faith alone in the finished work of the Cross. But the finished work of the Cross hasn’t been accomplished here. So they couldn’t be preaching that, nor were they supposed to preach that. Luke Chapter 9 shows that even the Twelve, after being with Jesus for nearly three years, didn’t understand the Cross. Here Jesus is speaking:
“Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.” They couldn’t even get up the courage to ask Him, “What are you talking about?” Turn to Luke 18 for more:
“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, `Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again.'” Now Jesus is speaking of Himself. Verse 34:
“And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid (by a Sovereign God, it wasn’t time for them to understand) from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”
They had no idea that in a few days He would be crucified. Let’s look at John Chapter 20. After the Crucifixion they are now at the tomb on the Resurrection morning and the Scripture again makes it so plain that they didn’t know. The setting here, of course, is Peter and John running to the sepulchre after Mary had told them that it was empty. And they look in and are amazed.
“For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.”
If they had no idea that He was going to be crucified (and He was now raised from the dead), how in the world could they have been preaching our Gospel back there in His earthly ministry. Well, there was no way. Yet this is what’s been shoved down our throats; most have been taught that our Gospel came on the scene as soon as Jesus did. As you can see, that’s impossible. The Old Testament was full of it. Some people have counted about 360 different references of His first coming; His death, burial, and Resurrection; His ascension and His Second Coming. But always remember it was in such veiled language they didn’t know what it was. The prophets themselves couldn’t understand. We can now, since we have the whole Book. But they couldn’t. Now let’s look at Paul’s letter in I Corinthians Chapter 2. I think this put it so appropriately.
I had one gentleman call and he didn’t think that I should take the time to let people look up the references. He said, “My, that thirty minutes goes so fast.” But if he could only see how many people have written; one gentleman even showed me as he came to one of the classes, how that they sit and follow every one of those references with us. They write them down and make notes of them. So I purposefully slow down and give you time to look things up here in the studio. Hopefully our folk out there in their living rooms will do the same. I don’t want people to lean on what I say. All I want folks to know is what the Book says – that is what counts. Alright, Paul is writing to the Corinthians then in Chapter 2 verse 7:
I Corinthians 2:7
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery (now there’s that secret, there’s that hiding aspect that God has hidden some of these things), even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
I think Paul’s just being less than proud of his own efforts so he uses the plural pronoun, but I’m sure that he’s speaking of himself. He could have just as well said, `Unto my glory.’ But now verse 8: this wisdom has now has been revealed unto the Apostle Paul:
I Corinthians 2:8
“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” They didn’t know.
I’ve been stressing ever since we came into the New Testament that the whole reason for Christ performing all of these miracles and signs was to prove to the Nation of Israel Who He was.
“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, ye might have life through his name.”
That He was The Christ, the promised Messiah. And all they had to do was just believe that. That was their article of faith if I may put it that way. And we have shown that in previous programs. Let’s use Peter, Mary, and the Eunuch for examples. Jesus asked the Twelve again just shortly before His Crucifixion:
“…Whom do men say that I the son of man, am? And they said, `Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’ He saith unto them, `But whom say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, `Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.'”
And what do I always put behind that? Period. He doesn’t say, `The one that died for me, was buried, and rose from the dead,’ which, of course, is our Gospel here in the Church Age as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4. And then we have Martha at the death of Lazarus, weeping and in sorrow because The Lord didn’t come quick enough to spare him. And you know the story. Jesus told Martha that:
“…Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, `I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said unto her, `I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ She saith unto him, `Yea Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, …'”
Remember that’s all that was expected of them to believe. Nothing else had been revealed. Now to Acts Chapter 8. Here we have the proselyte Ethiopian Eunuch, and Philip shows him out of Isaiah 53 Who the prophet was talking about. He explains that it was this Jesus who had now gone up and down the highways and byways of Israel proving Who He was. And again Philip brings the Eunuch to the same place:
“And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, `See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?’ And Philip said, `If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest,’ And he (Eunuch) answered and said, `I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'”
That was their profession of faith. And it was all still under the Law. Alright, but now we are coming up to Jerusalem. And it’s the final days leading up to the Crucifixion. And everything is getting ready for the Jewish feast – the week of Passover.
“And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings (these were the ones that we talked about in the last lesson, which were prophecy, where He laid out all the things that would come to pass before He would come and set up His Kingdom), he said unto his disciples, `Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.’ Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. But they said, `Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.'”
Not during this whole week of feasts is what it amounted to. It wasn’t just one day, but the whole week of Unleavened Bread. The Sovereign God was in control. Go to Psalms Chapter 2. In God’s Sovereign plan there was only one way for Christ to be put to death and that was at the hands of not just the Jew, which it would have been had the High Priest let the people kill Him. It had to also involve the Gentile in order to fulfill, explicitly, Psalms Chapter 2.
“Why do the heathen rage (now who are the heathen in Scripture? Gentiles, the non Jew), and the people (and who are they? The Jews. So now you have the whole human race involved. You have the Gentile world as well as the Nation of Israel) imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves (we know that it was Rome. David didn’t know that when he wrote this. But now we know that at that time, the kings of the world were the Caesars and the rulers of Rome. They set themselves, not just the Gentile rulers, but who else?), and the rulers (who are they referring to? The religious rulers of Israel. So now you have the Gentile rulers which was Rome, and the religious rulers of Israel) they take counsel (now what’s the next word?) together,…”
That’s all important. It wasn’t just a Jewish phenomena. It wasn’t just a Roman thing. Prophesy had dictated that they would work hand in glove to reject the King. And so we have it as we come into the Four Gospel accounts. Back to Matthew Chapter 26 once again.
“But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
I hope you all realize that the Sabbath day, the Saturday, was not a day of sacrifice. Never in Israel’s history did they sacrifice animals on the Sabbath. I know that a lot of us have gotten the idea that the Sabbath was a day of worship, and sacrificing and ritual. No it wasn’t. There is no record of them ever sacrificing or killing an animal on the Sabbath day.
Transcriber’s note: Les made the statement above in 1996, and heard no more about it until 2004. At that time, a listener in Ohio was doing some research and found that there was sacrifice on the Sabbath, and called it to the attention of the ministry. (Numbers 28:9-10 and perhaps other places.) Les has always shared with the television audience that when he makes a statement as the program is being taped, he is stuck with that statement until the next taping. This is because unlike high dollar polished programs where they can edit out mistakes, this program is not edited. Les tries very hard to be very accurate, but occasionally, since he is human, mistakes can be made, usually in the area of the Law and Israel’s rituals. However, you will not find Les making a mistake on things that pertain to your eternal destiny. Les always shares straight from the risen Lord that one must believe Paul’s Gospel in one’s heart for salvation, as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4. Now back to the lesson.
And, consequently, as we’re going to be taking a look at it, the Passover could not have been a Saturday Passover, because it would have flown in the face of everything that took place before. This may shock a few of you, but I do these things to get people to dig in the Scriptures.. You go back into the Old Testament and you’ll never find that the Jews offered an animal sacrifice on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a day of rest, not a day of worship. That’s why they weren’t supposed to pick up sticks, let alone carry an animal up and have it sacrificed. We’ll be looking at that a little more in detail when we get further along.
“Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment,…”
I want to point something out in these final days leading up to the Crucifixion. I want you to, in your own study, use all of the Four Gospels and begin to pick out every time He goes back to Bethany to spend the night. Bethany is just outside the city of Jerusalem. He goes back into the Temple again the next day. And that’s His schedule throughout those days leading up to His Crucifixion. So here again, He is back in Bethany for the evening. And in comes this lady with the box of precious ointment:
“…and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat (or food).” And the disciples were rather distraught. Now verse 9:
“For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, `Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.'”
My, if the sociologists could just get that through their head, and just realize that this world will always have poor people and nothing they can do will stop it. Don’t think I don’t have a heart for the poor. I can be in the supermarket line and it just tears me up to see a young mother peel out that cash, and you can tell just by looking at her that she doesn’t have much. I’m not belittling the poor. But what I’m saying is that the Word of God says you will never get rid of that situation. They have been part of society from the beginning and will be until The Lord comes back again.
“For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.”
Remember after death, the body was anointed with ointments and perfumes. So Jesus says, “She’s doing this in view of my burial.” Did they know what Jesus was talking about? No. We’ve already looked at those verses. And I’m not convinced that this lady that anointed Jesus knew that she was putting on a burial ointment.
“Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel (that’s the Kingdom Gospel. That He was The Christ) shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.” And, of course, just about everyone in Christendom has heard of this woman.
As an overview now, we come through these events in Chapter 26 where Judas makes the deal with the High Priest to betray Jesus. We see Jesus foretells Peters denying Him three times. I don’t know how many of you know that in Matthew, Mark and Luke we have what we call the Synoptic Gospels, and they deal primarily with His humanity side of everything. But John’s Gospel deals with Deity. So you will find that a lot of the things that are covered in the Synoptic Gospels are not mentioned in John. For example the “Temptations” and “His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.” That was part of His human suffering. So you might want to study that aspect as you study your Bible. Now as we come to His arrest, everyone knows it all so well, the thing I want to point out first and foremost is the human race hasn’t changed a bit. Whenever totalitarian governments come on the scene and begin to arrest their people, what time of day do they most generally do it? Nighttime. Why? Because it’s a mental thing. It’s one thing to have someone knock on your door in the daytime. But it’s something else for them to knock on it at 2:00A.M. It’s traumatic. It’s the same way here. What time of the day do they choose to arrest Jesus? Nighttime. This was so typical.
You know the account of how Judas had betrayed Jesus, and had led the soldiers. And here is another amazing thing. Jesus was so meek and so compassionate, and yet how many soldiers did they bring to arrest Him? It must have been at least a hundred because the military term speaks of 600, but that doesn’t mean they all came for this arrest. Now let’s look at verse 48:
“Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, `Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.’ And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, `Hail, master; and kissed him.’ And Jesus said unto him, `Friend, wherefore art thou come?…'” I’ve commented over the years that Jesus many times responded with a question. Not because He didn’t know, because at the last supper that was settled.
If we get into the study of the “Last Supper,” I’ll probably bring out some of the things that took place there. For example, contrary again to what most people think, the last supper was not the Passover lamb. The Passover lamb wouldn’t have been killed until the next afternoon (Friday), and then eaten later that afternoon. It was simply the last supper that He had enjoyed with His disciples. It was not the Passover. I just wanted to make that point. Now back to verse 50. Remember Jesus calls Judas “friend.” I have always maintained that this term was such a term of endearment. The margins in some Bibles will even use the word “comrade.” What was Jesus still extending to this demonic man Judas? An opportunity to repent! Judas was not yet given up on, and He gives him that opportunity by addressing him with this term of endearment. And Judas at that moment still turned, he could have still not had to suffer the doom that he did.
LESSON ONE * PART II
MATTHEW 26,27: THEY DID NOT KNOW: HIS ARREST, HIS SUFFERING: WITHOUT SHEDDING OF BLOOD, NO FORGIVENESS OR REDEMPTION: CHRIST, OUR HIGH PRIEST
You will never feel sweeter fellowship than at one of these classes, just being with fellow believers. It’s extra special when folks come out on week nights to study together because that means they love The Book and are hungry for The Word, not because they want to hear me. Let’s pick up in the garden where Jesus is speaking.
“In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, `Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled,’ Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.”
They ran like scared rabbits. But these same men, after the Resurrection had no such fear. What made the difference? The power of Resurrection. We may look at that power in the next lesson where the apostle Paul writes in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection,…” That’s where it’s all at in this Age of Grace. Before that, the Resurrection hasn’t been mentioned and is not part of that Kingdom Gospel. But in the Age of Grace it become the very foundation. Some teachers and preachers have problems with His Resurrection. But if they have a problem with the Resurrection, they’ll have a problem getting into glory. Because unless you can believe the Resurrection you have no salvation and no hope. That’s what the Scripture says. I’m always quoting I Corinthians 15:1-4 (just look at it and it will bear me out). I want to move on now through Chapter 26, through His mock trial, and Peter’s denials and the cock crowing. Chapter 27. Now they bring Him before the Governor, the Roman authority.
“And Jesus stood before the governor:…”
Think about that. Who is He? The Creator! We have the Creator of these very men who are sitting in judgment over Him. And there He stands meek as a lamb, not saying a word. One word and He could have annihilated the whole city of Jerusalem. Remember, here Jesus stood before the Roman authority, but one day that same Roman authority will stand before Him. As will Presidents, and Kings. Go to Revelation Chapter 20. We are living in a day of such gross unbelief, where they scoff at this Book. They don’t realize how meticulously and supernaturally this whole Book is put together. Human intellect could never have done it. But here it is in Revelation 20:11. At the end of time for the human experience; eternity is about to begin.
“And I saw a great white throne, and him (Christ) that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;”
Do you see the reversal now? Back in Matthew, God was standing before the Roman Government. Never forget that Christ was God. Christ laid aside His glory but never His Deity. Unless that Governor was saved (and we don’t know about that), he will stand before Christ and Christ will be The Judge. So all men, great and small, who have not experienced salvation, will one day stand before Him to face their eternal doom. Back to Matthew Chapter 27 again. The Nation of Israel is on trial more than Jesus is:
“Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.” They now cry out they want to release Barabbas rather than Jesus. Pilate keeps trying to convince the crowd that he can find nothing wrong with Jesus.
“When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing (he couldn’t get anywhere with them), but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, `I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.'” Do you think he is? No way. Pilate, too, one day will stand before the righteous Judge. He will have to admit he could have done what he didn’t do. Verse 25 is crucial, especially as it pertains to the Nation of Israel. “Then answered all the people (Jewish crowd, remember Jerusalem is packed because of the feast day), and said, `His blood be on us, and on our children.'” Isn’t that amazing? What a horrible statement. They are ready to pass this on to generations to come. And was it passed on? Absolutely. The Jews have been suffering for almost 2000 years, and it’s not over.
Again, I had the young Jewish man that watches our programs in Hollywood call the other day. He’s a Judaistic Jew and not a believing Jew. He realizes that time is short and we’re close to the end. I asked him if he realizes the horrors that are facing his nation. He told me he did; however he doesn’t think that the Tribulation is going to be seven years long, but while it does last, he knows the nation is going to go through some very tough times. And all because they had rejected their Messiah when He was offered to them back here in the Four Gospels. Let’s look at verse 27:
“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldier. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.” This was done in mockery.
“And when they had platted a crown of thorns (these were big thorns, like found on the thorny locust tree. If you have ever been stuck by a thorn you know how it hurts and acts like a poison), they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, `Hail, King of the Jews (imagine, before the Creator God).'”
“And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull. They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall; and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled (in the Book of Psalms) which was spoken by the prophet, `They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there:'”
They watched Him like they were watching some kind of entertainment. Let’s go to Isaiah Chapter 52 for a moment. It wasn’t just the physical abuse that caused this but also the spiritual. Remember God is laying on Christ all the sin of mankind. That, coupled with the physical abuse at the hands of the Romans, left these results:
As many were astonied at thee; his visage (appearance) was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:”
Or more than anyone had ever experienced before. Keep in mind that this was the last picture His followers saw of Him as He hung on the Cross. He was so totally disfigured – almost to the point of not looking human. Remember that because when Mary sees Him standing, and thinks He’s the gardener, she couldn’t comprehend at her first glance Who It really was. Back to Matthew 27:
“And set up over his head his accusation written, `THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.'” You have to look at what each of the Four Gospels says about this verse. Put them all together and see how it reads. All four will give a few different words. These words when put together were, “THIS IS JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
“Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand and another on the left.” Everyone knows this account. How the one turned to Him and recognized Who He was.
“Now from the sixth hour (noon) there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour (3:00pm).” In those three hours there is no record of Jesus saying a single word.
“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say `My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'” I’m emphasizing this three hour period because I want to tie that in with one of the acts on the Day of Atonement. I feel that it was fulfilled during these three hours. We’ll come to that in a future lesson. I think there is a reason why this three hour period was silent and dark.
“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.”
He gave up His own life although Peter in Acts Chapter 2 will tell the Nation of Israel, “You killed the Messiah.” In other aspects of Scripture we feel the Romans put Him to death. But in reality neither one did. No one took His life. He gave it up of His own free will. They couldn’t have taken His life if they had wanted to.
“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake. and the rocks rent:”
Many people miss this part. The veil was that part in the Tabernacle, and later in the Temple, that separated the sanctuary, (in which the priest ministered daily from the Holy of Holies), wherein was the Ark of the Covenant. It was behind the veil that Aaron, the High Priest, would go once a year on the Day of Atonement. After Solomon’s Temple was built that veil was thick and heavy. I believe Josephus indicated that a team of Oxen couldn’t have ripped it apart. And yet the verse says it was ripped from the top to the bottom. The reason from the “Top to the Bottom” is to prove that this was something that men had nothing to do with. This was an act of a miracle-working God. Indicating now that the way into the presence of God had been made possible by His death. The veil in symbolism spoke of His body of flesh. It was the suffering of the body of flesh that made it possible for mankind to come into the very throne room of Heaven boldly anytime we want. Nevertheless the Jews didn’t understand this. They sewed it back up and went on their way with Temple worship as though nothing had happened, not realizing why the veil had rent.
“And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves (not while Christ was on the Cross but when?) after his resurrection.”
Christ had to be the first One. This is an absolute Scriptural mandate. No one had ever been resurrected from the dead before Christ was. He was the first! Those people in Scripture who had died and were brought back to life had each died again. But Christ’s Resurrection opened the door to life after death. It had to begin with the Creator Himself. These are just basic doctrines that you have to rest on. To show the power of His Resurrection, and in order to fulfill the Firstfruits, we also see others were resurrected after His Resurrection. They went into the holy city of Jerusalem and appeared unto many. I know the Scripture doesn’t tell us what happened to them, but they had to have gone on up into glory.
Remember the Jews are still frustrated and asked that extra guards be placed around the tomb of Jesus. They are going make sure that the tomb is going to be sealed because they remembered He had said, that after three days, He would rise again. So they sealed it and put those extra guards around the tomb. They did everything humanly possible so that the disciples couldn’t come in and steal His body and then claim He had risen from the dead. Oh the frustration of simple men. How they think that they can withstand a Holy and mighty God, and people haven’t changed. We’ve got world leaders tonight that think they can tell God what to do back there in the Middle East. And we that it will never work.
LESSON ONE * PART III
MATTHEW 26,27: THEY DID NOT KNOW: HIS ARREST, HIS SUFFERING: WITHOUT SHEDDING OF BLOOD, NO FORGIVENESS OR REDEMPTION: CHRIST, OUR HIGH PRIEST
Now we are going to continue our look at the Crucifixion and all that it pertains to us, even though it is almost 2000 years after. So we will now be turning to I Corinthians Chapter 5. We pray that each of you are studying with us or have begun to. We trust that you are not just reading but are studying, and as you study the Holy Spirit will just give you wisdom and knowledge. I think He rewards us with that knowledge if we will just apply ourselves. Now here as we begin with I Corinthians we find Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles, writing to a Gentile Church there at Corinth.
I Corinthians 5:7
“Purge out therefore the old leaven (leaven has always spoken of sin), that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened (in other words salvation takes away the stigma of sin). For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:”
Do you see the language? Of course when John the Baptist saw Jesus coming, he called Him the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. Let’s look at the passover lamb in Exodus Chapter 12 for a moment. Remember Paul says in Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,…” Notice it says for our learning, not necessarily for our doctrine. Now there is a big difference. As we learn all the pictures and types, everything that took place back in the Old Testament enhances what we have to understand of course in the New Testament. Here in Exodus 12, the Nation of Israel has been in bondage under the heavy hand of the Egyptians. God has been dealing with the Egyptians with the plagues. And the final plague that really struck home was the death of the firstborn. We all know the background on that, as the angel would fly over and every house in Egypt would lose the firstborn including the livestock. Israel could escape this death angel, but it depended on their faith. If they would put the blood of the passover lamb on the doorposts and then stay within the safety of their homes, then the death angel would pass over them. So this is the beginning of Passover, and the Jews still celebrate it even today in the spring of the year.
Now I always like to make the point that Passover and Atonement are two totally different feast days. Christ, of course, is our Passover, and we will be looking at Atonement in a future lesson. But for now let’s look at the Passover aspect. And that is the protection that was given by the blood of the lamb. So God says to Moses and Aaron:
“For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.”
“And the blood (of the Passover lamb) shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”
When we were studying in Exodus, I made this point; these Israelites who had placed the blood on the door, are now in their quarters, standing around that table ready to eat the passover lamb. Were they standing there in fear and trepidation? Or did they have that calm feeling of security. What do you think? Calm and secure, because you see by faith they had done what God had told them to do, and that was to apply the blood on the doorpost. Now their faith, of course, is what gave them their security. But God not only looked at their faith, He also looked at the door post. And when He saw the blood, that is when He saw their faith and gave them their safety. Now lock that in, that it was never without blood, and they knew that the God Who had said so would keep them.
I’ve tried to convince people that it’s the Grace of God that saves us. No one should have any trouble with that. You and I didn’t deserve salvation, that was God’s Grace. Many people can’t comprehend that same Grace is what keeps us. I don’t deserve to be saved for even six hours of the day. None of us do, because we just can’t live that perfectly. We would like to but it’s impossible, we’re human. So why does God continue to keep us? His Grace, His Grace, His Grace, I can’t emphasize that enough. The same goes for a lot of these Jews who were under the safety of this blood, did they deserve to be? Of course not. But they were there and the blood guaranteed their safety. This is what we must understand, that it was through their exercise of faith, but it was the blood applied to the door that guaranteed that the angel would pass over.
Now there are a lot of folk in our present time who don’t want to hear anything about the blood. But you can’t escape it in Scripture. You can’t go around, over, or under it; you have to face it head on, that from the very onset of the human experience, God has demanded a blood sacrifice before there can be remission of sin. That goes back to His Sovereign mind in creation. Where did God put the life of all living things? In the blood! Science didn’t catch on to that until World War II. It’s God’s prescription, and not any one else. Hebrews 9:22 “…without shedding of blood is no remission.”
Now let’s go to the Book of Romans Chapter 3, because it’s the Apostle Paul that has the revelations that pertain to us in the Body of Christ, the Church. Not that we exclusively read Paul, not at all. But so many of the things that were never covered in previous Scriptures are now revealed to the Apostle Paul. Let’s begin with verse 23. This is the first step for salvation. We have to recognize our need. We’ve got to see ourselves as God sees us.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Everyone! No one has ever been anything else. Now verse 24:
“Being justified freely (without a cause) by his grace (His unmerited favor) through the redemption (or the process of buying us back) that is in Christ Jesus.”
Now that is what redemption is. It’s losing control of a piece of property and then the only way you can regain that property is to buy it back. God lost the human race when Adam fell. And immediately He had to put in motion the whole process of redemption. Buying us back, with a price. And, of course, the price was with His own blood. Now verse 25.
“Whom (that is Christ Jesus) God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood (you can’t avoid that because there was power in that Divine Blood. The blood system of the baby comes from the father and, although Jesus was born of a human mother, He had no human blood. It was Divine. And just as sure as there is Resurrection power, there is also power in the Blood. I still love those old hymns. As we will see in a later lesson it was that same Blood that was presented in the throne room in Heaven), to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance (or the mercy and Grace) of God;”
“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness (not ours): that he (God) might be just (absolutely fair), and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
All based again upon His finished work of the Cross. Now turn to Ephesians Chapter 1. The Scriptures makes such a point of the Blood that we dare not ignore it. Verse 7:
“In whom (Christ in verse 5) we have redemption (we’ve experienced being bought back) through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
Grace cancels out anything we can do to merit. Grace says, “I’m doing it only because I love you, not because you deserve it.” Now Colossians Chapter 1. Again Paul writes to a Gentile congregation as he always does.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who (The Father) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom (The Son) we have redemption (how?) through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Paul continues in verse 15 to show Who’s Blood this really is.
“Who (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created….”
Look at I Peter Chapter 1. Peter writes this just shortly before he’s martyred, a long time after he first preached back in the early Acts.
I Peter 1:18,19
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from you fathers (but here is how we are redeemed); But with the precious blood of Christ (that is the only thing that can pay our sin debt), as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
We need to go back to Exodus to follow up on that verse. We have this whole concept of the Passover lamb and how Christ fulfilled it – how He has indeed shed His Blood to purchase our redemption. It all began in type or picture back here with the Nation of Israel.
“AND the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, `This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. (April) Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house (or family): And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.'” Now,the verse we came for:
“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:”
And what were they to do with it? They were to pen it up for three days and look at it. Why? To make sure there was no blemish. They would examine that lamb everyday, and if there was the slightest thing wrong with it they would have to reject it for being their Passover lamb. But, if after that 3 days of scrutinizing they were satisfied that it was perfect, then they were to offer it as their Passover lamb. What was the picture? The three days represented Christ’s three years of earthly ministry, when also He proved Himself without blemish. He proved Himself worthy to be the Passover Lamb.
Let’s look at the Book of Hebrews for a moment. Always remember, regardless of what the liberals may say (I don’t care if they take all the songs with reference to the blood out of the hymn books), the Bible is still the Word of God, and it will never change.
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. You cannot by-pass the Blood.
I have always taught that there are at least two absolutes in Scripture. We can never fool with them, change them, detour around them, or compromise them in anyway. 1). Hebrews 9:22 “…and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Or forgiveness of sin. 2). Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him (God):”
Now we will have to go back to Romans Chapter 3 again, with these two absolutes, and they are both mentioned in the same verse.
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”
You can’t separate them. Without the shedding of blood there can be no remission, and without faith there is no salvation. What is the definition of faith? Taking God at His Word. Unless we take God at His Word we can’t get to first base with Him. For example, He tells us in I Corinthians 15:1-4 that for us to be saved during this Age of Grace we must believe in the finished work of the Cross which is His death, burial, and Resurrection. But so many people will try to skirt around that and try to come some other way, and it’s the only way. It has always been by faith.
Remember what the difference was between Cain and Abel? Cain might have been a nicer guy than Abel, but Cain’s problem was that He didn’t believe God. God had told them to bring a blood sacrifice, and Cain tried to come some other way. And you can’t please God if you can’t believe Him. Cain rationalized (he deceived himself), and said surely God will accept me without the blood. But God didn’t. Abel, on the other hand, did exactly what God said to do. And then we find in Hebrews 11:4, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous,…” He was right with God. Cain on the other hand was rejected.
People are doing the same thing today. The human race hasn’t changed one bit. They say, “But if I do this or that surely God will accept me.” No He won’t, because God says, “Unless I see faith and the shed Blood, I can’t passover.” I can’t redeem you, My hands are tied.” So we need to recognize some of these basic truths, that when we place our faith in Christ’s shed Blood we have forgiveness.
LESSON ONE * PART IV
We are going to come right back to the discussion of what was completed when Christ died, shed His Blood, was buried and rose again. We will be looking at the atonement aspect during this lesson. So we will need to turn to the Book of Leviticus Chapter 16. We trust you will take your Bible and your pen and follow us in Scripture, because I never want you to hear what I say, but rather what The Book says. You may not agree with me, and I don’t expect everyone to do so, but hopefully what I teach will make you get into The Book and study and see if what I say is right. Then, if you’re convinced that I’m wrong and you’re comfortable with it, that’s fine. But I teach it as I see it and as I am led by the Holy Spirit, and trust that Lord will bless hearts by it. We know from our mail and phone calls that a lot of hearts are indeed blessed.
A gentleman told me to today that he has prayed for a long time for someone to come that could open The Word and that God was using me for that purpose. I also had a call from a gentleman in North Carolina who told me that he had prayed for three years for The Lord to send somebody to open this Book. This gentleman is sending the tapes all the way to the Philippines and Hong Kong. So The Word is getting out and a lot of folk are seeing things that they have never seen before.
The Day of Atonement began back in the days when the children of Israel came out of Egypt, the same as all the other feast days. Passover, Firstfruits, and Unleavened Bread and all the rest of them. But, as I mentioned in one of the other lessons, Passover was the feast that was in the Spring, but Atonement was in the Fall of the year. The present name most of you are familiar with is Yom Kippur. Now Yom Kippur is a far better definition or explanation of it than Atonement. Back here in Leviticus, the word “atonement” is really a misnomer because there was no atonement. Animal blood couldn’t take away sin, and that is what atonement speaks of. But there is no way man can become one with God until he has experienced the Resurrection power and the finished work of the Cross. All that the blood of animals could do back then was cover the sins. The Hebrew word for atonement was spelled kaphar in the English. The word “kaphar” means “to cover.” So the Day of Atonement wasn’t the day of removing the sin of Israel, but rather just a covering. Remember in Psalms David tells us, “Blessed is the man whose sins are covered.” That’s why the Old Testament believers couldn’t go into glory when they died. Their sins weren’t atoned for, but only covered. That’s why they had to go down into Paradise and wait until the Lamb of God shed His Blood and then The Lord Himself took them to glory, and moved Paradise up to Heaven. We had that study back in book number 14.
Let’s look at this Day of Atonement, and see how Christ fulfilled all these pictures back here, when He went to the Cross on our behalf.
“AND the LORD spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died; And the LORD said unto Moses, `Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.'”
Remember the Mercy Seat was on the top of the Ark of the Covenant, and it was there that the very presence of God shone. And they could only go behind the veil once a year on this Day of Atonement. And here is the preparation of what the priests had to go through. Now watch the analogy, even as the passover lamb had to be without spots and blemish, so also this High Priest had to go through the whole ritual of cleansing. So let’s look at it:
“Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place (behind the veil): with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering.” He didn’t take the animal of course, but rather their blood.
“He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen (speaks of righteousness) breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.”
Everything had to be impeccably clean. Now what does that speak of with our High Priest? He was clean and without spot or blemish.
“And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement (a covering) for himself, and for his house. And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.” Now watch verse 8:
“And Aaron shall cast lots (or draw straws) upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD (it would be sacrificed), and the other lot for the scapegoat.” It was to remain alive. We still use that term today. He’s the fellow that takes the blame.
“And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement (or covering) with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”
We can’t understand what a wilderness is here in beautiful Eastern Oklahoma. The barren wilderness of Judea and some of the Middle Eastern desert country is uninhabitable. This live goat then, over which the sins of Israel would be symbolically placed, was taken alive way out into the wilderness and set free. The other goat was immediately killed and the blood was used for a sprinkling on the Mercy Seat behind the veil. But only one man in Israel could do all of this; the High Priest. He alone could go in behind the veil and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat. He alone could lay his hands on that scapegoat and symbolically place all the sins of Israel on that scapegoat.
Let’s put this on hold for a moment and go to the Book of Genesis Chapter 14. This takes us back to Abraham, and he had just pursued the Kings that had overrun Lot’s home town of Sodom. He conquers them and brings Lot and his family back. But on his way back in the area of present day Jerusalem a strange thing happens.
“And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale.”
“And Melchizedek king of Salem (remember that’s the last five letters of Jerusalem) brought forth bread and wine (that’s unusual isn’t it? Bread and wine was never used in tabernacle worship, or even alluded to in the Old Testament economy. So where are we already leaping to? To the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ. The bread and wine spoke of His broken body, and shed blood. Now I’m sure Abraham had no concept of what Melchizedek was doing, but God knew): and he was the priest of the most high God.”
Not the priest of Judaism but a priest of the Most High God. Whenever the term “Most High God” is used, it is not just a reference to Israel but predominately to the non-Jewish world. You will see that in the Book of Daniel when Nebuchadnezzar referred to Daniel’s God as the Most High. So, all these things have their purpose in Scripture. Since Israel isn’t on the scene yet, Melchizedek is the High Priest of the whole human race. He is a picture then of that priesthood that Christ would fulfill. Now we need to go to the Book of Hebrews again and tie all of this together.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;” Christ’s Tabernacle and the place of sprinkling the Blood is in Heaven.
“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place (the very throne room and presence of God), having obtained (by His shed Blood) eternal redemption for us.” Now let’s back up to Hebrews Chapter 6.
“Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
“FOR this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;”
There had to be a High Priest not just for Israel and the Jew, but for the whole world as well. Christ, as “High Priest,” is not after the order of Aaron, but rather after the the High Priest of all.
“If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron (there had to be a reason)? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law, For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.”
“For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.” Only the Levi tribe could be Priests.
“And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec (the High Priest of all) there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment (Law of Moses), but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
How did Christ fulfill the role of the High Priest? We need to go to John’s Gospel for a moment and find out. It’s the Resurrection morning and Mary, at the tomb, was aghast that the tomb was empty. Mary quickly runs and tells Peter and John about it. So you know the account.
“But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, `Woman, why weepest thou?’ She saith unto them, `Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him (she, like the disciples doesn’t know),’ And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus (Mary remembers Jesus like He was described in Isaiah 52:14). Jesus saith unto her, `Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?’ She, supposing him to be the gardener (He looked very human), saith unto him, `Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus saith unto her, `Mary.’ She turned herself, and saith unto him, `Rabboni; which is to say, Master.’ Jesus saith unto her, `Touch me not: for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.'”
Now what is Jesus doing here? He ascends in that moment of time while Mary runs to tell the Twelve. And then when He meets with them He tells them to touch Him, and to check out His wounds and so forth. But remember, to Mary He tells her, “Touch me not for I have not yet ascended to my Father.” Well, He had to ascend to fulfill the order of that High Priest that we just read about in Hebrews. That High Priest had to be spotless, and Jesus couldn’t even let Mary touch Him. Let’s return to Hebrews once again. I can’t repeat this often enough.
Now picture Christ after the order of Melchisedec, and not like Aaron’s, whose priesthood was for the Jew only. But Christ’s order of Melchisedec can now cover the whole spectrum of humanity: you and I, black and white, red and yellow, rich and poor. That was the priesthood of Melchisedec.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building (it’s in Heaven, and Jesus has entered into it with what?); Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
Now, let’s cover those three hours between noon and 3:00 P.M. that Jesus spent on the Cross (that we discussed a couple of lessons ago). Remember there was darkness, and not a word from the Cross. Remember the scapegoat? It was left alive. Between noon and 3:00 P.M. Jesus is still alive. What do you think He becomes? I think the scapegoat. Now where was the scapegoat sent? Into the wilderness. What I like to think (and I may be wrong but it’s food for thought), is that in those three hours, Jesus stepped out of time as His body hung on the Cross. But in soul and Spirit He stepped into eternity where there is no time element, and suffered the punishment for all the sins of mankind. He became our scapegoat and took our sins far, far away, never to be remembered anymore. Then He comes back at 3:00 P.M. and finishes His statements from the Cross. And then He can say, “It is finished.”
LESSON TWO * PART I
STATEMENTS OF PAUL – CHRIST AS KING, SERVANT, MAN AND GOD: THE EIGHT SIGNS, THE SEVEN “I AM’S” OF THE OLD TESTAMENT & JOHN
I think we will digress a bit during this lesson from our study in the Four Gospels and go back to some of the letters of Paul, because I’ve probably shook a few people up with some of my teaching. But remember don’t get too excited until you check out The Book. Because with the Holy Spirit and this Book for our guide, we trust each of you will become dedicated to studying The Word, seeing what it really says, and not what someone tells you it says.
I want to take some points that Paul brings out in his epistles. I want you to keep them in your memory bank so that when we go back to the Four Gospels and the early Book of Acts, you will realize that none of this is back there. Is any of this from Paul’s writing back in the Old Testament or in Jesus earthly ministry? I can tell you now the answer is, “No.” But I want you to be able to see that yourself. So let’s start with I Corinthians Chapter 15. And we’ll look at the first four verses. Remember he is writing to Gentile believers (now there were some Jewish believers in all of these Gentile congregations, but for the most part were Gentiles).
I Corinthians 15:1,2
“MOREOVER, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 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 must know what you believed and not just have head-knowledge.
I Corinthians 15:3
“For I delivered unto you first of all (he was the first one to share this message with them) that which I also received (from the ascended Lord), how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures (Old Testament);”
I Corinthians 15:4
“And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
Now that’s the purest form of the Gospel that there is. Faith in His death, burial, and Resurrection. And Paul speaks of this constantly; whether he speaks of all three or just says that He arose from the dead, which then implies that He died and was buried. Now let’s stay in this book for a moment and look at a passage in Chapter 1. All I want you to see is that these statements (prompted by the Holy Spirit through this Apostle to the Gentiles) will not be found even in Christ’s own words during His earthly ministry. And this verse we have come to shocks many people.
I Corinthians 1:17
“For Christ sent me not to baptize (now why was John the Baptist sent? To prepare the way, and to baptize, and he preached the baptism of repentance. But Paul says I don’t preach that message, nor was I sent to baptize like John), but to preach the gospel (of His death, burial, and Resurrection): not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
I Corinthians 1:18
“For the preaching of the cross (death, burial, and Resurrection, His shed Blood) is to them that perish foolishness (I’ve even had people here in the “Bible Belt” ask me, “What does something that took place 2000 years ago have to do with me?”); but unto us which are saved it (this preaching of the Cross) is the power of God.”
Salvation has to be the exercise of the Sovereign power of Almighty God. That’s why man can’t work for his salvation. All man has is physical strength. But only God can bring about the salvation of the spiritual. Now verse 22, and remember this as we go back to the Four Gospels and the Book of Acts.
I Corinthians 1:22
“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks (the philosophers) seek after wisdom;” But Paul says we won’t bother ourselves with either one. But rather:
I Corinthians 1:23,24
“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”
Come on a little further to Chapter 12. Here Paul is using a simple analogy, an illustration of the human body. And all you have to do is think about yourself or look at your neighbor. How do we operate? Well, we have a central nervous system; we have a mind which is the very core of all our being. And everything originates up here in the head. And as a result the nerve endings will respond and the whole body will function, but it all has its headquarters up in the mind. And here Paul is using that as an illustration of the Body of Christ which is a brand new term, you won’t find except with Paul. Jesus never referred to the Body of Christ.
I Corinthians 12:12
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”
What is Paul saying? You have ten fingers and ten toes. You have eyes, ears, arms and legs; they are all members of the body. But do we have twenty bodies? No, only one. In the next verse he sets the Body of Christ. Every believer around the world, regardless of their color or denomination, if they are a believer then:
I Corinthians 12:13
“For by one Spirit (capitalized Holy Spirit) are we (how many?) all (not just the super spiritual) baptized (not with water, but by the power of the Holy Spirit) into (how many?) one body (there are thousands of denominations, cults and groups in America alone. But the Scripture only knows of one group, and that’s the composite of true born-again believers. They are members of the Body of Christ. And how do we get there? The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and here it is), whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” You will never see language like that in the Four Gospels. Let’s look in the Book of Romans.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified…”
Remember when the rich young ruler came to Jesus, and said “Master what must I do to inherent eternal life?” What was Jesus’ answer? “Keep the Commandments, keep the Law.” And Jesus wasn’t playing a trick on him, for indeed that was one of the requirements. And with the appearance of the Messiah they also had to believe that He was The Christ, and to show their faith they had to repent and be baptized. He was the fulfillment of all those Old Testament covenants and promises. That is what you see in the Four Gospels and at least Chapter 8 of the Book of Acts. Let’s see what Paul says again:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
The Law can do nothing but condemn us. There is no power in the Law to save anyone. And how many people even here in the Bible Belt say, “Well I’m doing the best I can, I’m keeping the Ten Commandments, I think I’ll make it.” No you won’t. If you think that, you are in trouble, because when you enter into Biblical salvation you know you are saved.
“But now (that indicates there has been a change. We are no longer under the Law, but rather under Grace) the righteousness of God without the law is manifested,…” Do you see how plain that is. How can people miss that?
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of the Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:…” That’s faith + nothing. It doesn’t say that they repent and are baptized. But rather upon all them that BELIEVE.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” But even though we have come short of God’s glory, He is able to justify us freely by what was accomplished on the Cross.
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” Now let’s go to Chapter 4:
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Many people will tell us, “If I could just clean up my act, I bet I’d get saved.” They are putting the cart before the horse. You can’t clean up your own act. We have to let God do it. Now Chapter 5:
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Stop and think. Even Christ in His earthly ministry, could He say something like that? He never revealed it. Even His disciples didn’t know that He would be raised from the dead as we have looked at in Luke 18:34 (let alone know that Christ was dying for the sins of the world). But now Paul can, after the fact, and after the revelations from the risen Lord, make statements like that of verse 8.
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
The finished work of the Cross. Now Romans Chapter 8. And remember we are showing statements Paul makes that are not even mentioned back in the Four Gospels and the early chapters of Acts. Here in Chapter 8, I could use about the whole Chapter, but let’s look at verse 11.
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Paul is telling us in this Age of Grace, that when we become a child of God, the very presence of the Godhead in the Person of the Holy Spirit, not only raises us up out of our deadness in sins, but that He also indwells us. That is why we no longer need the Law. When I say we’re not under Law, that doesn’t mean we have license, that doesn’t mean we are free to steal for example; not at all, but rather it’s quite the opposite. We are under the power now of a Person in the Godhead who keeps us from all that the Law demanded not to do. That power keeps us from wanting to steal, murder, speak falsely, covet or be immoral. Now verse 14; this is the secret of the Christian life which the world can’t understand. They think the reason we live like we do is to make points with the Almighty. We can’t do anything to merit the favor of God. Rather we are responding to what He has done for us and through us.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” And we are led because He indwells us.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are (already) the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Now come over to Chapter 10. I hope you are getting the idea that none of these things that I’m showing are back in the Four Gospels, at least through Chapter 8 of Acts.
“That if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead (here His Crucifixion is implied) thou shalt be saved.
That’s a promise and God can’t lie. Now let’s go to the Book of Galatians (probably one of Paul’s earliest letters).
“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins…” Now let’s look at Ephesians Chapter 1:
“In whom we have redemption through his blood (His death), the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (or unmerited favor); Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made know unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation (His death, burial and Resurrection for you): in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”
You won’t see that in the Four Gospels and Acts. All of this was held until revealed by the Apostle Paul.
“Which is the earnest (or down payment) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” And we could just go on and on with these writings and revelations that you won’t find anywhere else in Scripture.
“AND you hath he quickened (or made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins;”
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,”
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Maybe you have some idea of the difference in language between Paul’s writing (which is directed to the Body of Christ, the Church), and the Gospel writers which was directed mainly toward the Nation of Israel to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant and promises.
LESSON TWO * PART II
STATEMENTS OF PAUL: CHRIST AS KING, SERVANT, MAN AND GOD: THE EIGHT SIGNS: THE SEVEN “I AM’S” OF THE OLD TESTAMENT & JOHN
Let’s first look at I Timothy Chapter 1, followed by the Gospel of John (we won’t be taking it verse by verse). We will be looking at the eight signs that Jesus gave to the Nation of Israel, which most people have never gotten the full meaning and picture of. In John there are some points I would like to make before we begin. John is the fourth Gospel in order in the Bible and in the order that they are written. Matthew was written first, depicting Christ as the King. Mark depicts Christ as the Servant. Luke depicts Him as the Son of Man. Those three Gospels are normally called the Synoptic Gospels. Even though those roles are played out by the Messiah, the Son of God, it is predominately His humanity that is in force.
But when you get to the Gospel of John, which is set apart from the three, we are dealing with Christ as God. For example, in the three Synoptic Gospels, Christ prays to the Father, but in John’s Gospel the translators have used the phrase, “He prayed to to the Father,” and that’s not the Greek. As God, He didn’t have to pray to God, He simply spoke to Him. What a difference that makes. But in the three Synoptic gospels it is correct to say He prayed to the Father. Another example is that the three Synoptic Gospels all record His temptations, because that was dealing primarily with His humanity as the Son of God. John doesn’t deal with the temptations. Also, John is the only one who doesn’t record Christ’s agony in the garden; how He sweat drops of blood. Why? Because again these three are dealing with His human side, and John is looking from the fact that Christ is God. Remember that. I’m emphatic that Paul’s writing is the most appropriate and revealing for us, but you can’t separate Paul and say he doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of Scripture, because it all fits. Now let me show you for example:
I Timothy 1:17
“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
So Paul is talking about Christ as we see back up into verse 16. Christ is the theme of everything that Paul writes. But here He is referred to as The King. Here I would like to make a point. Always be careful that you never refer to Christ as your King. As a member of the Body of Christ He’s not our King, He is the Head of the Body. He is the King, like Paul says, eternal. He is going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but it’s not Scripturally correct to refer to Him as our King. He is our Saviour, He’s our Lord, but not the King of the Church. If He was King of the Church, then we would not be joint heirs with Christ. We would rather be His subjects. And, of course, one day the whole world will be just that. But we’re not subjects, we’re members of the Body. Study that and check me out, Paul never implies that Christ is King of the Church.
Let’s look at the servant aspect by Paul. In Philippians you’ll see that Paul doesn’t refute or contradict anything written, but rather brings it to fruition. As I was riding my tractor yesterday, mowing my hay, I was trying to think of a good illustration that comes forth in Paul’s letters. So I decided on the analogy of a flower; let’s use a tulip because of the simplicity. We put that bulb in the ground, and at the appropriate time, out of that bulb will come that new life in the form of the stem. It doesn’t have a flower yet, just the stem. And then pretty soon the leaves, and then one day you see the bud. Then all of a sudden it opens up into full bloom and all of its glory.
Let me make my analogy. Genesis is the bulb; that is where everything begins. Out of that bulb then came the stem, which represents the Old Testament. Every thing is leafing out and growing, it’s a progressive revelation. Then one day Christ came at His First Advent – the Bud. He was ready to come into full bloom. We covered this when we studied Matthew. When He said, “I come to fulfill.” And what was He fulfilling? All those Old Testament Covenant promises, but before the Bud had a chance to flower, what did Israel do? They cut it off. In fact Daniel speaks of The Messiah being cut off. So, for all practical purposes, Israel clipped the Bud, and all seemingly fell apart. But God, in His Sovereignty, puts the Bud back on and we come on into His post-Resurrection, on into the Book of Acts and still Israel will not let that Bud come into full flower. They keep rejecting It. But rather than clipping it off again, God does something completely different. He raises up this other apostle, and through the revelations given then by the Apostle Paul we now see that full flower. Now it isn’t Paul, but rather the revelation that was given him by the risen Lord. Christ is the beautiful flower, but nowhere else in Scripture can you pick it up. It’s all been building to it. And that is why you must go to Paul’s epistle to get the full picture. You don’t kick the rest of it out; we must have the bulb and the stem and leaves before we can enjoy the flower.
It’s sad to say, but many theologians, preachers and teachers are clipping off that beautiful bloom of Paul’s revelation. They say we don’t need Paul’s teaching. They spend all their time in the Four Gospels, and they have clipped off the very part that shows the beauty of God’s overall program for mankind’s Salvation. So if you want to see God’s plan in its fruition, aside, of course, in Revelation end-time events, you must study Paul’s writing for Salvation, and the power of Salvation and so many of our other doctrines. Now Philippians Chapter 2, and this is how Paul agrees with Mark, that Christ was indeed the Servant of man.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant (that fits so beautifully with Mark’s Gospel accounts. How He became flesh, and became a Servant), and was made in the likeness of men:” Now the last part of that verse fits so nicely with Luke, as he pictures Christ as the Son of Man. His humanity. But I’m not going to stop with this verse – I want to look at I Corinthians 15.
I Corinthians 15:45-47
“And so it is written, `The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual (always remember in Scripture you have first the natural, and then the spiritual).'” The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” Now there is His humanity. John of course speaks of His Deity. Let’s go to Colossians Chapter 2.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Because Christ was God, you can claim verse 13.
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened (made alive) together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” Only God can forgive sin; no one else. So Paul confirms His Deity by telling us He has forgiven us. Now, Chapter 3:
“IF then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead (to that old life), and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
We are hidden in Christ, and where is Christ? In God. You can’t get it any tighter than that, and that’s our position. Come back to Hebrews Chapter 2. Fortunately for the translators, the Spirit simplified things. Here we have all three of these Greek words. All three are translated throughout our New Testament most of the times as miracles which is unfortunate, because this word Semeion is always translated “a sign.” The next Greek word is Dunamis from which we get “dynamo” and it is in regard to supernatural power. The third Greek word is Teras and it meant “wonders.”
“God also bearing them witness, both with signs (Semeion) and wonders (Teras), and with divers miracles (Dunamis), and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
So they are all three in one verse, and all three separate Greek words. But the translators have mingled all of these now and called most of the wonders and signs simply “miracles” and that is unfortunate. For example, in John’s Gospel Chapter 2, we pick up the first of His miracles, and it’s not a miracle per se but rather a sign. I’ll explain that in just a moment, but before we do let’s look in Chapter 4 and then we will come back to Chapter 2. I want you to see where the translators have not been too accurate in some cases.
“This is again the second miracle (“Semeion” in Greek, so it should be a sign) that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.”
I won’t bog you down with a lot of Greek, but you must have a little to clarify. Look at verse 48 of this same chapter.
“Then said Jesus unto him, `Except ye see signs and wonders (Teras), ye will not believe.”
Remember not all miracles are signs, but all signs are miracles. Did that confuse you? What’s the difference? A sign was that which God used for the Nation of Israel – remember I Corinthians 1:22, “For the Jews required a sign…” So when God was really coming down on the Nation of Israel and was trying to show them things, He would use signs. It was a manifestation of His power; it was a miracle; but it was more than just a miracle, it was a sign. It had an intrinsic lesson for Israel. I’m afraid as most of us have heard the Gospel of John preached and taught, they have totally missed this. These eight signs in the Gospel of John – seven of them take place before His Crucifixion and Resurrection, and seven is indicative of completion (God’s number). But the eighth one takes place after the Resurrection, and the number eight in Scripture denotes “New Beginnings.” For example, how many people were on Noah’s Ark? Eight! What did that depict? New beginnings. So there are eight signs in the Gospel of John. Seven before the Crucifixion, to complete what He was trying to get across to the Nation; and the eighth one is going to signify that which is still in Israel’s future.
Now let’s look at the marriage at Canaan in Chapter 2, which will be the first sign. It’s a miracle, absolutely it is. You know the account of how Jesus changed the water into wine. But I would like to point out is that when it was time for the sign to be performed what was the situation at the wedding feast? No wine. And wine in Scripture speaks of joy or joyfulness. So the wedding feast had run out of joy. Everything was sort of falling apart. Jesus now comes in and performs a sign and here it is in verse 7.
“Jesus saith unto them, `Fill the waterpots with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim.'”
Now the sign was given to the Nation of Israel that they had no hope; they had lost their national joy; their religion had done nothing but just bogged them down and they were miserable and destitute of joy. So The Lord shows them that He, as their Messiah, is the only One that can bring true joy to the nation. And when He brings joy it’s not going to be half-hearted or just 75%, but “brim- full.” Even today this is still in Israel’s future. They never did obtain this joy, or that fullness of all His promises, they kept rejecting it. But the sign to the nation was that Jesus of Nazareth was the only One who could fill their pots with joy. Now verse 11.
“This beginning of miracles (Signs) did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” Remember, He came to prove Who He was to the Nation of Israel. And second, He comes to prove that Israel needs Him.
LESSON TWO * PART III
STATEMENTS OF PAUL: CHRIST AS KING, SERVANT, MAN AND GOD: THE EIGHT SIGNS: THE SEVEN “I AM’S” OF THE OLD TESTAMENT & JOHN
Let’s continue with the eight signs in the Gospel of John which were directed to the Nation of Israel. You are beginning to see that Jesus’ teachings were primarily directed to the Nation of Israel. When you can see that teaching, you are becoming a Bible student. Christ hadn’t died yet; they didn’t even have an idea that He would die, let alone be raised from the dead. So what was their Gospel? What were they to believe? That He was The Christ coming in fulfillment of those Old Testament promises and covenants. Every Jew that Jesus deals with is a Law-keeping Jew. The Temple is still going. Josephus tells us that up to a million animals a year were being sacrificed at the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry. When we get to the Book of Acts, I’ll show you that these believing Jews who believed that Jesus was the Messiah are still all Law-keepers. No one has told them to quit going to the Temple or stop keeping the Law. In Chapter 22 of Acts Paul tells about his experience at Damascus. He refers to Ananias as a devout man after the Law. That is seven years after Pentecost. Peter didn’t want to go into Cornelius’ house because Cornelius was a Gentile and Peter said so in Acts 10:28.
“And he said unto them, `Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation;'”
The same thing before that when the sheet came down and The Lord said, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat.” And what was Peter’s reaction? “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” And why hadn’t he? He was a Law-keeper. There are so many that don’t want to see these things because they would have to teach differently than what has been passed down to them. These are not my words, the Bible says them! We need to study what The Word really says, and not what someone tells us it says.
As we deal with these signs in John’s Gospel, yes, it’s the eternal, Creator God that is performing them, but He is pointing them to the Nation of Israel to show them their dire need before He could fulfill all those Covenant promises. We looked at one of the signs in the last lesson, when Jesus turned the water into wine and filled the water pots to the brim. This indicated when He brings joy to the Nation of Israel it’s going to be full. Let’s look at verse 11 again:
“This beginning of miracles (signs) did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” Even the disciples need signs and miracles to cement their faith. The next sign is Chapter 4, the nobleman’s son.
“So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum (he wasn’t dead, but he was sick). When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down and heal his son: for he was at the point of death (he didn’t have a lot of time left).”
Where was Israel at this time? Just exactly where this sick son was. They weren’t dead, but they were in dire straits spiritually. Their religion had been totally watered down, It had so far departed from the early Mosaic system, and yet they thought they were religious, but they were spiritually sick nigh unto death. Who alone can restore their national health? The Messiah! So here is the sign.
“Then said Jesus unto him, `Except ye see sings, and wonders, ye will not believe.’ The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, `Go thy way: thy son liveth.’ And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.” It wasn’t just that the son raised from his sick bed;it was a sign to the Nation of Israel that if they wanted to be restored to their national health, and receive all the promises given in the covenants, then the Messiah was the One that had to do it. Verse 54 is a clue how we are supposed to study the rest of the Book of John.
“This is again the second miracle (sign) that Jesus did,…” If the Bible is delineating that the miracle at Cana was the first sign and this is number two, what follows? Number three. Then look for number four, because Scripture has already given you the introduction to what we are to do. The third sign we find in Chapter 5.
“AFTER this there was a feast of the Jews: and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.” Remember He was up in Cana of Galilee for the first two signs but now we find Him in Jerusalem for the third.
“Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool,…”
The last one was the picture of Israel, that she was sick, as we saw in the nobleman’s son. Now we come to the impotent man and it’s one of the intricacies of Scripture. The impotent man is associated with sin, as is the blind man, and they both are associated with a pool. Those are just little tidbits of Scripture that I think make things very interesting. None of the rest of them mention sin. It shows their need, but it doesn’t necessarily reveal the fact of sin. That pool indicated a need for cleansing as pointed out previously, and that is why there was so much washing in their religious ritual.
“In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.”
What other period of time in Israel’s history was 38 years long? The wilderness. It’s close to the forty we like to think of, and forty in God’s dealing with Israel is a time of testing. So I think this impotent man has a correlation to the testing of the Nation of Israel.
“When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, `Wilt thou be made whole?'”
Who is He really asking? The Nation. Are you ready for Spiritual help? Are you ready for the King? Are you ready for the Kingdom? They aren’t. A few of them are as we see, but the Nation wasn’t, because they wouldn’t believe Who He was. It’s so interesting; they are so religious, and mindful of the Law that when Jesus raises the impotent man, and tells him to pick up his bed and go his way, what day of the week was this on? The Sabbath. These Jews were in an uproar, because Jesus had healed this man on the Sabbath day.
These religious leaders were so religious they were blind to common sense, they would rather have seen this poor guy stay in his infirmity than break the Sabbath – that’s what religion does. Religion today is still ridiculous. You will never find anything any more practical than Pauline Christianity. The letters of Paul have set people free, and put us under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It has given us an insight into The Word like no other people have ever had. All because of that finished work of the Cross.
I want you to see as we go through these eight signs, that we will be constantly advancing on a previous sign. For example, remember the first one at the marriage at Cana where there was no joy, and everything was empty and hopeless? By the time we get to the eighth sign we will have a net full of fishes. And although it was so full that under ordinary circumstances it would have broken, what happens here? It didn’t break, and not a fish was lost. We will explain that one when we get to it. But it’s an advance on this one. Here the pots are filled with wine to complete their national joy. When we get the net full of fish it will be a picture of the re-gathering of Israel. And we’ll see that in Ezekiel 37 – and when God gets ready to re-gather the children of Israel is the net going to break? No way. Is He going to lose one or two? No way.
In Luke 4, Jesus told the disciples to let their net down on the other side of the boat and they did, and the net was so full that it broke. And they lost their fish. But not this time. Now, back to the unfolding of the signs. In the second one, the nobleman’s son is sick and by the time we get to Lazarus, he’s dead. This is the direction that the Nation is going – from bad to worse. Then, when you come down to the impotent man next to the pool, sin is the problem. The advance on the impotent man is this one down here again next to a pool, again with sin in the reference. Now what is he? He’s blind. Which is even worse than being impotent. The two in the middle I’ve sort of paralleled them together, and these both just manifested His power as being the God of Creation: one by feeding the five thousand with the loaves and the fishes and the other by walking on the sea. And it wasn’t the walking on the sea that was such a manifestation as His being able to control the elements.
Now to Chapter 6 – the feeding of the five thousand. Just like there is a pool in the impotent man’s and the blind man’s account which we will be looking at, sin is in both accounts. But on these next two that I have locked together we find Jesus going up into a mountain. I think this is indicative of just how beautifully everything unfolds and yet ties together. That in these two signs Jesus departs into a mountain and in both of them He manifests His power.
“And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, `Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?’ And this he said to prove him (Philip): for he himself knew what he would do.”
In other words, Jesus knew the end from the beginning. And He knew He would feed these five thousand before the situation ever presented itself. You know the account of how He fed them and they gathered up the 12 baskets full that were left over. He could more than supply all of Israel’s physical needs. Because of Who He was. Now, the next miracle of Him walking on the sea in verse 15:
“When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.” Both signs begin with an experience in the mountains.
“And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea. And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship and they were afraid. But he saith unto them, `It is I; be not afraid.’ Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.”
What happened? The ship was miraculously transported from where they were on the sea to the shore, and we know there was no reason to fear. Both of these miracles are right in the middle of the eight signs, and both were showing that He was the powerful Creator-God over everything. Now let’s quickly move on to the next one, which would be the blind man in Chapter 9.
“AND as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.”
How long had he been blind? From day one. Hold that in your memory bank, because when we get to the account of Lazarus I want to make a point. Think back in Israel’s history, all the way back to the patriarchs. To the call of Abraham. Did they ever enjoy all the promises? Never. A little while seemingly under David and Solomon, but even then they were under heavy taxation. Their kids were drafted into the army, they were under the typical rule of a typical king, and they didn’t enjoy happiness they way they will when the Messiah rules. So we have this man that was blind from birth, and I think this is a picture of the Nation.
“And his disciples asked him, saying, `Master, who did sin (remember there are only two of these signs where sin is mentioned. The impotent man and now the blind man and they tie together), this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?'”
“Jesus answered, `Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me…, As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, `Go, wash in the pool of Siloam(which is by interpretation, Sent),’ He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”
Go back to Zechariah 13 for a moment. I think this will help you see what I’m trying to show you. All of this is directed to the Nation of Israel. Indicating her near-term rejection, and falling away from all of these prospects. Yet in the long term God is still going to fulfill all of these sign aspects of His dealing with Israel. Remember the blind man, he went to wash in the pool of Siloam. He had been blind since birth, until the Messiah came. And here is prophecy.
“IN that day (when The Lord sets up His Kingdom and Israel has all the promises fulfilled) there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” What will God do? He will cleanse and forgive them, and they will come into all the glory of the Kingdom. But as yet they are out there in their spiritual blindness. Now back to John’s Gospel, and proceeding through this chapter the Pharisees and the Jews are constantly accusing Jesus of being a demon.
“Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day (many people aren’t any better today. They want something that shows their spirituality, yet on Monday morning they are just as deep in the world as they can get. They think that hour in church is going to rectify everything. But you see that’s religion, not Christianity. The truly spiritual is that which flows from within, and we try to manifest it all week long, and not just on Sunday morning). Others said, `How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.'”
Move on to Chapter 11. We’ve come through the blind man which was healed of blindness which he had since birth; sin is mentioned as well as with the impotent man; they were next to the pool which indicated a need for cleansing. Now to Lazarus and he’s dead.
“Then when Jesus came, he found that he (Lazarus) had lain in the grave four days already.”
What does I Peter say in regard to a day in God’s mind? A thousand years is but a day, and a day is but a thousand years. So, picking up the analogy that we are dealing with the Nation of Israel just like the blind man who had been blind since birth, how long has the Nation of Israel literally been spiritually dead? 4000 years. That takes you back to Abraham at 2000 B.C. So, I think the four days of Lazarus’ death is an indication that Israel, nationally, is spending 4000 years spiritually dead. But what will happen at the end of the 4000 years? She will be brought back to life. I realize this is a little bit backwards, but come back to verse 6; hopefully you are getting the picture. But here in verse 6, word came to Jesus that Lazarus was sick, and they knew that if Jesus would come that He could heal him.
“When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he (purposely) abode two days still in the same place where he was.” And then what will He do? He will go to where Lazarus is and raise him from the dead. Look at the Book of Hosea for a moment:
“COME, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.” The pronouns here are the Nation of Israel.
“After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.”
What are the two days? Well the two days since the Cross is how long? 2000 years. What’s going to be the third thousand years? The Kingdom. See how beautifully this all fits. Now, back to Lazarus for a moment. He calls Lazarus forth. Does Lazarus contribute anything? Nothing. Remember he came out of the tomb. And that is the picture of Israel. One day they are going to be called back to life, nationally, and we will get to it in our next lesson.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
STATEMENTS OF PAUL: CHRIST AS KING, SERVANT, MAN AND GOD: THE EIGHT SIGNS: THE SEVEN “I AM’S” OF THE OLD TESTAMENT & JOHN
Let’s finish up the eighth sign in the Gospel of John. Be turning to John Chapter 21. I pointed out that the first seven signs all directed at the Nation of Israel were before His Crucifixion. I think in the early part of these signs, when Israel is without joy, and is sick and impotent, the nation still has a flicker of hope to recognize the Messiah. I believe that as Christ made His appearance to the Nation of Israel (at least based on the Old Testament promises and covenants), they could have had the King and the Kingdom had they just believed it. But God knew they weren’t going to accept it. He knew they would reject it, and so everything falls in place to fulfill the eternal purposes of God, which was the Cross. Remember, He made a valid offer to Israel; they could have had the King and Kingdom, but refused to believe Who He was.
So all through these first three or four signs the nation is still in a position where they could have repented, and recognized Who Christ really was, thus experiencing the fruition of all the promises. By the time we get to the account of Lazarus it’s evident that they are not going to accept Him and are in the position of rejecting Him in Crucifixion. They will call for His death. I think it is also amazing that after the Crucifixion and Resurrection, He again still spends 40 days appealing to the nation, primarily the Eleven. Then as you come into the early chapters of Acts, Peter and the Eleven continue to plead with the Nation of Israel to recognize the One they crucified was their Messiah.
That’s the whole theme in those early chapters. God at that time had not canceled the Nation of Israel, and the prospect that they could still have the King and Kingdom remained (though Christ knows what they will do). So as we come into Chapter 21 (after His death, burial, and Resurrection), pick up the mindset of these disciples:
“AFTER these things (all the signs that He has performed, and all of the things connected to the Cross) Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee); and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.”
“Simon Peter saith unto them, `I go a fishing (I think that is a classic statement. Do you realize what that is indicating? What does Peter now expect from the Messiah? Nothing. So what’s he going back to? His old life of fishing. I mean it’s all done. That was just three years of frustration, so now back to the boats).’ They say unto him (what?), `We also go with thee.’ They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.” It’s one thing to go fishing with a rod and reel, but with a boat and net and these men, that looks almost impossible not to catch a single fish.
“But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, `Children, have ye any meat?’ (food) They answered him, `No.'” Can’t you just hear them? Have you talked to a fisherman who’s fished all day and caught nothing? Fishermen haven’t changed. I’ll bet they were absolutely disgusted.
“And he said unto them, `Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.’ They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.” As soon as this happens their minds start clicking doesn’t it? So John’s mind went into motion first.
“Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, `It is the Lord.’ Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him (for he was naked), and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship’ (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.”
Now where did those fish come from? Not out of the net. Everything was ready for breakfast. Remember all the way up through the Old Testament, what is Israel being promised? The King and the Kingdom! This Kingdom is on earth, many people don’t understand that. This Kingdom will be on the earth (as many scriptures so state) and Jerusalem will be the capital. Israel will be the top Nation of the nations. That’s their promise. And by the time that Nation is brought into that Kingdom experience, everything is going to be ready. They won’t have to work by the sweat of their brow to get the Nation and earth restored after the Tribulation. Everything will be ready as breakfast was here.
“Jesus saith unto them, `Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.’ Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, and hundred and fifty and three (I’ve tried to figure why 153 is significant. I think The Lord here is showing that not a single fish was lost, meaning not one single Jew will miss the in-gathering into the Kingdom. We’ll look at an Old Testament verse in a moment): and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.”
Back in Luke Chapter 4, when they cast the net at The Lord’s command, the net broke and they lost their fish. That was indicative of Israel’s history, nothing really jelled for them. They never enjoyed all the promises that God had given them. But here the net doesn’t break. Not a single Jew that is intended to go into the Kingdom will be lost. Turn back to Ezekiel 37. We’ve often looked at this chapter as it pertains to the Nation of Israel. It’s the vision of the dry bones. You know the account of the dry bones in the opening verses, how they began to shake and finally came together and then skin came upon them, but as yet no breath. Well that’s a picture of the Nation of Israel coming back out of their dispersion as we have been seeing them do now for the past fifty years. But, as yet, the breath hasn’t been breathed into them, they are still spiritually dead.
“Then he said unto me, `Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel (all twelve tribes): behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.'”
They’ve been out in dispersion for so long that they had lost their national identity and language as a nation. They were just pictured as in graves, they were nationally dead. And that is all this vision is showing, that the day is coming when the whole house of Israel will be brought back to life nationally. Not that the Jews are going to be resurrected and then come back. But the nation, as they come out of the Dispersion among the Gentiles, will fill up the land.
“Therefore prophesy and say unto them, `Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,”
“And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land:…”
The United Nations can demand what they want. The Egyptians may tell everybody what has to be done, but in the final analysis God is going to do exactly what He has promised. We aren’t just taking about that little strip of land we call Israel, but rather all their land which extends all the way to the Euphrates River to the East. When The Lord says, “I’ve spoken” it, then that’s the way it is. When He gets ready to bring the saved of Israel, which will only be a remnant as we saw in the Book of Revelation, there will not be one of them lost, just like that net-full of fishes; not one flopped out. Let’s look at Amos Chapter 9. And I think this says it all:
“For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.”
Not a kernel of what God wants to keep will be lost. Not a single fish was lost from that net, and not a single Jew that God has ordained to go into that Kingdom is going to miss it. That is the Sovereign God. Come back to John. In John 21, after they had brought the fish up The Lord has breakfast ready; now it doesn’t say so here, but remember the account by Luke that The Lord ate with them in His resurrected body (and the reason I’m always emphasizing that is because in that new resurrected body it will be the kind of body we will have for the eternal state). Christ ate, drank and conversed, and they touched Him. And yet He could appear and disappear in that new body. And our body will be like His according to Paul.
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, `Simon, son of Jonas, Lovest thou me more than these?…'”
I’ve heard many sermons on this passage. Some preach that these were his fellow disciples. I don’t think so. What was Peter’s love? Fishing. The Lord knew that. Peter enjoyed fishing like I enjoy ranching. I know The Lord has a lot for me to do, but I’m glad The Lord lets me continue ranching because I love that kind of work. I hope He just lets me continue on with doing both ranching and teaching. Peter back in Chapter 19, had said, “Lord, we have left everything to follow you.” What was Peter talking about? His first love, fishing. So Peter wanted to know what they are going to get out of that. Peter wasn’t talking about his salvation, he already had that, but rather what reward was in store for them. And The Lord told them that they would get to sit on 12 thrones ruling over the 12 tribes in the Kingdom economy. But Peter loved his fishing. Then The Lord goes on here in the 21st Chapter of John and tells Peter how he was to feed His sheep. Which he does in the Book of Acts, as we find Peter preaching to the Jews, the Nation of Israel. No Gentiles are involved because at that time, Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles hadn’t been called out by God. This won’t happen for at least seven more years from the day of Pentecost in Acts Chapter 2. Peter never had a ministry to Gentiles except the one time in Acts Chapter 10; the house of Cornelius, and as you read Acts closely you will discover that The Lord had a purpose for that. Peter had to come to the defense of Paul in Acts Chapter 15. But Peter and the Eleven confined their ministry to the Jew as The Lord said here that Peter was to feed the sheep.
We need to tie this together so look at the seven “I AM’s” of Israel’s need in the Old Testament and compare them with the seven “I AM’s” Jesus claimed to be, in the Book of John. Start in Genesis 22. This is the account of the ram caught in the thicket when Abraham was about to offer Isaac. He didn’t have to kill Isaac after all when Abraham realized that God had provided the sacrifice in verse 14:
“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, `In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen (Jehovah-jireh – “I am your provider”).'”
“And said, `If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandment, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee (Jehovah-ropheka).'” “I AM the one that healeth thee.” Then in Exodus Chapter 17 we find where Aaron and Hur had to hold up Moses’ arms during battle.
“And Moses built and altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:” “I AM your banner.”
The next one is in the Book of Judges Chapter 6. This is where Gideon defeats the armies that were trying to destroy Israel.
“Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom:…” “I AM your peace.” The next one is Psalms 23:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” The Hebrew reads it: Jehovah-roi, “I AM your shepherd.” Now Jeremiah 23:6 for the next one. Here Jeremiah is looking forward to the Kingdom:
“In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, `THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.'” Jehovah-tsidkenu, “The LORD our righteousness.” The last one in the Old Testament is Ezekiel Chapter 48, this is also referring to the Kingdom.
“It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, `The LORD is there.'” Jehovah-shammah,”The Lord is present.” Now, there are also seven “I AM’s” in the Gospel of John. The first one is John 6:
“And Jesus said unto them, `I am the bread of life:…'”
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, `I am the light of the world:…'”
“Then said Jesus unto them again, `Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.'”
“I AM the good shepherd:…”
“Jesus said unto her, `I AM the resurrection, and the life:…'”
“Jesus saith unto him, `I AM the way, the truth, and the life:…'”
“I AM the true vine,…”
Those are the seven “I Am’s” in the Old Testament and in the Gospel of John. There is one more we find after the Tribulation is over and the Kingdom is beginning.
“…I AM… the bright and morning star.” Remember night is past and eternal day is coming. _______
LESSON THREE * PART I
CLOSING OF JOHN’S GOSPEL: INTRODUCTION TO ACTS
Now there are seven statements that Jesus made from the Cross. It isn’t that people don’t know what He said, but I fear that so few people are realizing that everything in this Book is in a distinct pattern. It’s for the purpose of proving to us that this is not something that man thought up, but rather it’s so intrinsically put together that only God have could of done it. Especially as He groups these things in sevens, which, of course, is God’s perfect number.
In the last lesson we listed the seven “I Am’s” in the Old Testament and the seven “I AM’s” in the Book of John. Remember that the term “Jehovah” in the Old Testament translated out of its contraction, stood for, or meant, what? The “I AM.” Jehovah is the “I AM” in all of Scripture. We pick that up in Exodus Chapter 3 at the burning bush, when Moses said, “When I go to the children of Israel and tell them God has sent me, what shall I tell them is your name?” God said, “You go tell the children of Israel that “I AM” has sent you.” Then in John’s Gospel that Jesus referred to Himself as the “I AM” from the Old Testament economy. Consequently, in John’s Gospel we have the seven “I AM’s.” 1. I AM the Bread of life. 2. I AM the Light of the world. 3. I AM the Door of the sheep. 4. I AM the Good Shepherd. 5. I AM the Resurrection and the life. 6. I AM the way, the truth and the life. 7. I AM the True Vine. So there are the seven “I AM’s” found in John’s Gospel. And we always like to tie the eighth with the seven and we find that in Revelation Chapter 22. Number eight is indicative of new beginnings, as we are here entering into the eternal state. 8. I AM the bright and morning Star. And remember the morning star shines the brightest just before the start of the new day. Christ is claiming that the darkness of the 6000 years of human history where man has been existing under the curse, is about to end. The dawning of the new day, the eternal day of which He is the bright and morning Star, is about to come on the scene.
Now let’s take a look at the seven statements that Jesus said while hanging on the Cross. Let’s turn to Luke Chapter 23. We will be taking these seven statements in their chronological order in time, not according to their order in Scripture. Hopefully you can see this unfold as we jump back and forth. This is what you must do with the Four Gospels. Many people have the idea that the feeding of the 5000 spoken of in one Gospel is the same feeding of 5000 spoken of in another. That is not necessarily true. Each one, if you will look at it closely, will normally have different circumstances. That doesn’t mean that the writers are in conflict with each other, but rather one is talking about one event and another writer is talking about another totally different event. Remember what John says:
“This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which… I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. A men.” So they only recorded a small portion of His miracles. Now here in Luke 23 we find Jesus’ first words from the Cross.
“Then said Jesus, `Father, forgive them (mainly the Jews); for they know not what they do….'”
We know that Romans and Jews were both involved in this Crucifixion, but Scripture primarily lays the blame on the Nation of Israel. Israel should of known Who He was. Israel could have known because the Old Testament was full of it. But Israel did not know, and so Jesus here is referring primarily to the Jew. And as we go into the Book of Acts you will see Peter put that responsibility of murder on the Jew. The second statement is made here in this same chapter. One of the thieves on the cross has recognized Who Jesus was.
“And Jesus said unto him, `Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.'”
And in the Old Testament economy people who died as believers did not go up to Heaven, but rather down into Paradise. Jesus made that so very plain. Now we know that as a result of the finish work of the Cross, that Jesus has emptied out Paradise that was in the heart of the earth. Now we find Paradise in Heaven for all believers from Adam to the present. Now for the third one we have to go back to John’s Gospel in Chapter 19:26-27. But let’s start with verse 25.
“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved (that was John), he saith unto his mother, `Woman, behold thy son!’ Then saith he to the disciple, `Behold thy mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”
Remember, “woman” in this economy in which Jesus is speaking, was a word of endearment. It wasn’t derogatory in the least. It was just the custom of the day. And we know that from that day forth John cared for Mary for the rest of her life. Joseph had died, evidently, and was not on the scene.
For the fourth statement we turn to Matthew 27:46, but I would like to start with verse 45. Remember, from one of our previous lessons, I feel that during that three hours of darkness and absolute silence from the Cross, that Christ in His Deity; in everything that was associated with His being God; in the soul and Spirit realm He went and suffered the punishment for every human being. Then He comes back after that three hours of silence. and we pick it up here:
“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour (that noon till 3:00 P.M.). And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, `Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is to say, `My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'”
Now that statement has caused consternation among believers for hundreds and hundreds of years. Martin Luther wrestled with it, and finally after many many years, he came out of his study one day and exclaimed to his wife, “I’ve found it.” He said, “I can finally see it, That when Jesus said, `My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ It was God speaking to God.'” Always remember that The Christ of the Cross was the same God Who created everything in Genesis Chapter 1. He’s One and the Same. And the New Testament constantly gives Him credit for being the Creator. I’m afraid too many believers are not even aware of Who Jesus really is. Many folk cannot comprehend that Jesus wasn’t just a prophet, and priest, but the eternal Creator God, and He never stopped being God. He was God in the womb. He was God in the manger. He was God in those growing up years, and God in His earthy ministry. And this is the concept of His earthy ministry, to prove to the Nation of Israel Who He really was. And that is why He performed all those miracles and signs, so they could understand that this was not just another great man, but rather the eternal God.
I hadn’t intended to do this but come back to Isaiah Chapter 9. I have quite a few Orthodox Jews who watch the program and they just can’t comprehend that Christ was the God of the Old Testament. They can’t comprehend the Trinity. They refuse the Trinity, and they use the verse in Deuteronomy where Moses writes, “Our God is one.” Well, absolutely He’s one, but we know from the rest of Scriptures that He is One in three Persons. Now I can’t understand that. You can’t understand it. They can’t understand it. So what do we do? We take it by faith. Because that’s what this Book says. And God is looking for our faith. He expects us to believe what He has said. And we are not to argue with it.
I like to use this illustration. If you know something, and you know you know it, and someone comes along and says, “I don’t believe it!” How do you feel? Well, they are calling you a liar. And no one likes to be called a liar. Especially when you know you’re not. Well, that’s what we do to God. Anytime a man says, “I can’t believe what this Book says.” Then that person is calling God a liar. So that is why God tells us in Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please him,…” We have to believe what He has said, or we cannot please God. It’s doesn’t matter if you give the Church a million dollars a week, or visit the sick every night, or go to the worst mission field in this world. It won’t do you a nickel’s worth of good if you do it outside the realm of faith. We have to take God at His Word, and I mean the whole Word. You can’t pick and choose. Let’s look at that passage in Isaiah Chapter 9 verse 6. This is Old Testament. The pronoun here is the Nation of Israel. The prophets never wrote to the Gentiles, they were not permitted to. Only the Jew.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given (flash ahead to John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…” How did God give His Son? When He was born in Bethlehem): and the government shall be upon his shoulder (that glorious Kingdom that is going to come upon the earth, that’s what all the Old Testament prophets were looking forward to. There will be a King of Kings and Lord of Lords Who will not only rule Israel but the whole world. It’s going to be perfect): and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” See how this verse ties them together.
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment (Rule)…”
I’ve presented in other lessons, how when you come into the Book of Matthew, Jesus is presented as the King. In the very first verse you have to go all the way back to Abraham, in Genesis Chapter 12, because out of the Abrahamic Covenant comes the promise of this King and Kingdom. When you get into the genealogy in Luke Chapter 3, that genealogy goes all the way back to Adam. Why? Because Luke presents Jesus as the Son of Man. So, consequently, He is tied to Adam the first man. And then Paul refers to Christ as the Second Adam. You can see how beautifully all of Scripture fits. So we see in Isaiah that Christ was indeed God. He’s God the Father, He’s God the Son, and we can see it in John’s Gospel:
“Philip saith unto him, `Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.’ Jesus saith unto him, `Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;…'” They are One and the Same. The only difference is Christ is God the Father in human flesh and appearance. Getting back to the seven statements Jesus made from the Cross.
“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, `I thirst.'” Now for the 6th one in verse 30:
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, `It is finished:’ and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” But we must go back to Luke 23 one more time and pick up His final statement.
“And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, `Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.'”
LESSON THREE * PART II
CLOSING OF JOHN’S GOSPEL: INTRODUCTION TO ACTS
We love to get calls and letters from people who tell us they are learning and seeing things that they have never seen before. That thrills our hearts, because the only reason I teach is to help people understand this Book while they do their own studying. In this lesson we are going to look at Christ in the forty days of post-Resurrection. From the time He was raised from the dead, until in Acts Chapter 1 He ascends back to glory. The only verse in Scripture I know of where we have the time element is in Acts Chapter l. Let’s just look at that one verse:
“To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs (proofs of His Resurrection), being seen of them forty days,…”
It was ten more days until the Day of Pentecost. Let’s talk about the infallible proofs. If there is one doctrine in Scripture that throws a curve at people (including preachers) it’s the Resurrection. Some may have problems with the virgin birth, but maybe they can swallow that a little easier than the Resurrection and that He arose from the dead bodily. The Book says these things and we must believe them! There have been men who have gone out and almost given a lifetime trying to prove the fallacy of the Resurrection of Christ. But after they dig into it, and the more they see and understand, most come away from that study as believers.
If I had to have proof, and I don’t, I would look at Peter and these other disciples. How did they react when Christ was first arrested? They scattered like a bunch of quail. They were scared to death. What did Peter do? He denied Christ three times. Why? He was fearful for his life, and that was typical. But after the Resurrection you don’t see that kind of an attitude in Peter and the other disciples. They are ready now to go to the very ends of persecution knowing that no matter what happens to them physically, the power of the Resurrection is still in their future.
Always remember that. Peter, especially as we will see in Acts, is a totally different person than he was leading up to the Crucifixion, because he saw the power of the Resurrection. It was real! And to show you how real, and that He arose from the dead bodily look at Luke Chapter 24:
“And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs (that would be 5 or 6 miles). And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.” Remember way back in Christ’s earthly ministry as they were up there in northern Israel at the head waters of the Jordan River:
“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, `Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.’ And they (the Twelve) understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”
God didn’t let them know He was about to be crucified. The same thing happened when Peter and John ran to the sepulchre; it was only after they saw the empty tomb that they believed. God can do this. For you and I that blindness has been removed, and we can believe it if we just want to. These two men from Emmaus didn’t comprehend who Jesus was as He started to walk with them.
“And he (Jesus) said unto them, `What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?’ And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, `Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?’ And he said unto them, `What things (now He knew, but Jesus always draws things out of people with a question)?’ And they said unto him, `Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre: And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.’ Then he (Jesus) said unto them, `O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
The Old Testament was full of prophecy concerning the coming Messiah. Israel should have known and could have known. But they didn’t study it, and to some degree I think God hid it from them.
“And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, `Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.’ And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat (food) with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.”
We are so programmed to physics and chemistry as we understand it. And that is in our natural areas. But when we get into eternity, God’s physics and chemistry are going to be so totally beyond anything we know about today. I can’t comprehend that everything material is comprised of atoms and these little atoms have space between their particles, just like a solar system. We just simply can’t comprehend that. And when God puts that into the eternal state, we won’t have any problem going through a wall or vanishing.
“And they said one to another, `Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?’ And they rose up that same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them. Saying, `The Lord is risen indeed,…'”
“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, `Peace be unto you.'” Did He come in through the door? No, here He was bodily, not in a spirit. Now read on down:
“And he said unto them, `Why are ye trouble? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have,'” Notice that blood is left out. In our new resurrected bodies we will have flesh and bone, but without a blood circulatory system.
“And while they yet believed not for joy (they were tickled to death to see Him but that strip of unbelief is still sitting between them, and they just couldn’t comprehend), and wonder, he said unto them, `Have ye here any meat (food)?'”
“And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.”
He ate in that resurrected body. What was He proving? That for eternity we will have a body that can still enjoy food. Those of you who love to eat, take heart. You won’t have to worry about those pounds or health problems. Now hold that in your memory bank for a moment and first go to the Book of Zechariah, because many people think there is a big wall between the Old and New Testament, and nothing could be farther from the truth. You must have a good understanding of the Old Testament to see how beautifully they both fit together. There is so much controversy over Salvation because man has put that wall up. God never intended it to be that way. Anyway, we were talking about Christ’s resurrected body. This passage is about Christ’s Second Coming when He comes back to the earth. And specifically to the Nation of Israel.
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” Now Chapter 13.
“And one shall say unto him, `What are these wounds in thine hands?’ Then he shall answer, `Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'” So here you have a visible, physical, manifestation of His Resurrection even in the Old Testament. Now let’s also look at the New Testament. Let’s see what the Apostle Paul has to say. Turn to II Corinthians, Chapter 4.
II Corinthians 4:3,4
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:”
“In whom (lost people) the god of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who (Christ) is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Have you ever wondered why there is so much idolatry in the world and always has been? Because they want a god they can see. They want a god who sits on the shelf, and they can say, “There is my god.” They touch him, worship him, and even lay food in front of him. But the whole thing is, they’ve got to have a god they can see. And this is the whole idea of Christ being manifested in the flesh. God knew that. So He permitted Himself to become visible, so man could no longer say, “I can’t worship an invisible god, I have to have a god I can see.” We have a God that men have seen! We haven’t, but we’ve been reading about Him this whole lesson. Paul says over 500 at one time saw Him in His Resurrection body.
So we have ample proof that He arose from the dead bodily. And that He is the very same God that created you and I in the first place, that went to the Cross and purchased our redemption. But He didn’t stay dead, He’s not dead tonight, He arose, He ascended, and He’s coming again. So Paul makes it so plain here that Christ is the very image of God. Look at Philippians for a moment. I know in my earlier years I had no concept of spending eternity in a body. I just thought we died and went to Heaven and after that I didn’t know whether we strummed a harp and somehow in soul and spirit heard good music or what. But I know now that when we get into the eternal state we’re going to be there bodily.
“For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven (already, if you are a believer); from whence (from Heaven) also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:”
Not the King, He’s the Saviour to the Church. Someday He’s going to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Remember we are going to be His co-heirs and that makes a big difference.
“Who shall change our vile body (corrupt, prone to disease, suffering), that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body (we will be made in the same likeness of His resurrected body), according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
Now I hadn’t planned on using this verse but it just came to mind, and when that happens I must use it. Come back to Romans Chapter 8. It’s a passage that I’m afraid few people understand.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature (creation) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God (that’s you and I). For the creature (creation) was made subject to vanity (because of the curse), not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.” When the curse was dropped on the planet, there was also the plan of redemption to bring back to Himself everything that was lost.
“Because the creature (creation) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit (say), the redemption of our (what?) body.”
Do you see that? Yes we’re saved and redeemed in the area of the soul. But what are we going to be when we get to glory? A complete person. And according to II Thessalonians Chapter 5, what is a complete person? Soul, Body, and Spirit, and we are going to have all three in the eternal state. Now back to Colossians:
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath (past tense) made us meet (prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who (The Father) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath (past tense) translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son (we are already citizens of that Kingdom): In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
If you have the newer translations such as the NIV, NASV, the Living, and all the rest, you’ll notice this isn’t in your Bible. Because you see those new translations have gutted the Scriptures whether you know it or not. They have changed or omitted over two thousand verses. In this case, “through his blood” is omitted. The Bible is God-breathed. But I think Satan is finding a way to try and destroy, and change the meaning of The Word. So don’t fall for his trick. I know why now The Lord has kept me in the King James all these years. I have never deviated from it, and don’t have another version in my house and never will have. I don’t have a library except this Bible and that’s all I need. Now verse 15:
“Who (speaking of the Son in verse 13) is the image of the invisible God,…” That’s what Christ is. He is the visible, manifestation, in the flesh, bodily of the invisible God.
LESSON THREE * PART III
CLOSING OF JOHN’S GOSPEL: INTRODUCTION TO ACTS
Turn to John’s Gospel Chapter 21. I’ll use this last chapter of John just exactly as it is in your Bible, and that is as an introduction to the Book of Acts. People are letting us know they are anxious for us to start in the Book of Acts, and here is the beginning of it. We have been talking about Jesus’ forty days of post-Resurrection.
“AFTER these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias (Galilee); and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.”
That’s five if I’m counting right. Now this next statement as I’ve said before is so classic. I think Peter was maybe older than the rest, maybe up in his forties, and the rest in their early thirties.
“Simon Peter saith unto them, `I go a fishing,…'”
Here Peter is reverting back to his old lifestyle, as a fisherman. I think old Peter just loved that Sea of Galilee, and those of you who have been there can understand why. It’s a beautiful setting, with plenty of fish. Even though Peter has seen the resurrected Lord, he still doesn’t understand the picture. I think what Peter says here is, “I’ll just go back to where I came from.”
“…They (the other four) say unto him, `We also go with thee.’ They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. The Jesus saith unto them, `Children, have ye any meat?’ They answered him, `No.'”
Remember the account of how Jesus had them cast on the other side of the ship and their net was full of fish. And yet the net didn’t break. We taught this as the eighth sign – and remember the number “eight” is always the sign of new beginnings. And what we have here is the picture of the Nation of Israel coming back into the Kingdom – every Jew that is supposed to be in the Kingdom is going to be there. God won’t lose one of them, as Peter lost none of these 153 fishes that were in the net. Come down to verse 12. And as they bring this great net full of fish to shore, Jesus already has fish cooked for breakfast.
“Jesus saith unto them, `Come and dine.’ And none of the disciples durst ask him, `Who art thou?’ knowing that it was the Lord.” I’m sure they would have really liked to have asked just to be sure. Have you ever been in that predicament? You’re sure you know somebody, but still you’re not sure. I think that is where they were.
“Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, `Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?'”
Who is Jesus referring to when He asked Peter, “…lovest thou me more than these?” I believe He is looking at that net full of fish knowing Peter’s old profession was a fisherman. The Lord is putting old Peter on the spot. “Peter do you love me more than your fishing?”
“…He saith unto him, `Yea Lord: thou knowest that I love thee.’ He saith unto him, `Feed my lambs.’ He saith to him again the second time, `Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?’ He saith unto him, `Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee, He saith unto him, `Feed my sheep.'”
All of my statements are not locked in concrete, but I like to make you think on these things, and search the scriptures. But it’s my impression that the “sheep” here are the Jews. Now the reason I say that is because when we get to Paul’s teaching about the Body of Christ which is the Church, he never refers to us as The Lord’s sheep. But you see all the way up through the Old Testament we have that analogy. The sheep and the shepherd. I think the same thing here. I think when Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my sheep” and, of course, He said it three times in a row to compensate for what other three? Peter’s denial. First he denied The Lord three times and now The Lord gives him the opportunity to come back and compensate for that by promising three times to feed his sheep.
Now why do I say that? I think Jesus is confining Peter to the Nation of Israel and we have the answer back in the Book of Galatians. This will also help you when we study the Book of Acts, which I look at quite differently than a lot of people do. And that doesn’t disturb me, because when it comes to the things of the spiritual the majority is almost always wrong. It has always been that way. The majority said there was no flood. The minority said yes there was. Remember Elijah thought it was down to a minority of one concerning the prophets of Baal. But God said, “No, Elijah, it’s not quite that bad, there are 7000 that have not bowed the knee to Baal.” But what was 7000 compared to the 5-6 million Jews at that time? Then The Lord Jesus made His own analogy in that classical verse in Matthew 7:13,14:
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Never lose sight of that. The majority is usually not right. Galatians Chapter 2. I think The Lord is confining Peter’s ministry to the sheep, the Jews, the Nation of Israel – and we are going to see The Lord do that in the Book of Acts. But in this passage, Paul is rehearsing an event that took place about 51 A.D. which would be about 22 years after the Cross. And look what they agree on. Let’s start at verse 6. We have Paul up at Antioch, the place where believers were first called Christians, and they have been preaching the Gospel of Grace to Gentiles. His message for salvation was to believe that Christ died for your sins, was buried and rose from the dead, I Corinthians 15 1-4, and to his Jewish converts not to keep the Mosaic Law since they were now under the Age of Grace.
The believing Jews down at Jerusalem were having a problem with this. They believed for salvation, John’s baptism of repentance and that Jesus was The Christ, and they kept the Law, and ministered to Jews only (All of this is in Acts 2 through Acts 15:1-29). So these Jerusalem believers call Paul and Barnabas on the carpet to set the record straight about their ministry to Gentiles.
“But of these who seemed to be somewhat [Paul’s making reference to the leaders of the Jewish believers at Jerusalem], (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepted no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:”
In other words, when they brought Paul down to Jerusalem and stood him on the carpet as to his ministry to these Gentiles, Paul was having to defend his actions. So the Holy Spirit is here instructing Paul to write about that incident.
“But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (Gentiles) was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision (Jew) was unto Peter;”
“(For he [God] that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision [The Jew or the Nation of Israel], the same [God] was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)”
“And when James, Cephas (Peter) and John, who seemed to be pillars (leaders at Jerusalem), perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship (they shook hands as an agreement); that we (Paul and Barnabas) should go unto the heathen (Gentiles), and they (Peter, James, and John) unto the circumcision (Jews).”
That’s plain as day. If your Bible doesn’t say that you had better get another one. This is the old King James and it makes it so very plain that there was that stark difference. Peter and the Eleven confined their ministry to the Jew. Paul, Barnabas, and later on Silas, went to the Gentiles. Come back to John Chapter 21, and this will all begin to make sense. How Jesus knows the beginning to the end. He knows when they come into the Acts account it’s only going to be to the Nation of Israel (See Acts 11:19). And I’ll show that so vividly when we get there. The language is so plain a sixth grader can read it and understand that there is no language in there addressed to Gentiles. It’s all to the Jew. And it all comes back to this setting right here where Jesus says to Peter, “Feed My Sheep” – the house of Israel.
Let’s look at a verse in Matthew Chapter 10 so you will know where I’m coming from. Jesus has just chosen the Twelve up in Galilee.
“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: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'”
So all through Jesus’ earthly ministry, He has that analogy that Israel is the “sheep.” And as I said before, we also see that in Psalms 23. Now that doesn’t mean we can’t use those verses for comfort, but in its original setting it was The Lord dealing with His Covenant people Israel. Now back to John Chapter 21:
“…Jesus saith unto him, `Feed my sheep. Verily, verily, I say unto thee (Peter), When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old (Peter’s probably in his forties), thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.'”
“This spake he (Jesus), signifying by what death he (Peter) should glorify God (which we know by legend at least, that Peter was crucified upside down. But nevertheless Jesus comes back now in the last part of the verse and says). And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, `Follow me.'”
Everyone is human, even in Scripture, and Peter is no different. He hears these words that don’t fit too comfortably and he looks at the younger man, John, and says to Jesus, “Now what about him?”
“Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, `Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?’ Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, `Lord, and what shall this man do (John)?’ Jesus saith unto him, `If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.'”
Now verse 23, and look how people misconstrue the language back then, just like we do today.
“Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, `He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?'”
In other words Jesus had said, “Peter, it’s none of your business whether John lives to be a hundred or lives until I return.” Well, we do know that John lived to be almost a hundred. And then verse 24, with John closing his Gospel account:
“This the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”
Now then we are going to go right on into an introduction of the next Book in your New Testament, the Book of Acts. We have seen the unfolding of the Gospel accounts, Christ’s earthly ministry, His Crucifixion, and Resurrection, the forty days after Resurrection and we are now about to see His ascension. The first thing I like to do is comment that you have to realize that the Book of Acts is transitional. I remember several years ago the table game “Trivial Pursuit” came out, and there was a segment of that game called “Bible Trivia.” One of my students came into class one night and said, “I’m glad I come to your class, I won Bible Trivia the other night because of this class.” I wanted to know what the trivia question was, and she told me, “What Book in the Bible was transitional?” And the answer was the Book of Acts, and indeed it is. Now what is a transitional? When you are going to move from one state to another. So we are going to be moving in this Book of Acts from God’s dealing with the Nation of Israel, which has been going on since Genesis Chapter 12, all the way up through the Four Gospels.
Everything has been predominantly Jew only, with very few exceptions. So we begin the Book of Acts all Jewish. No mention of Gentiles whatsoever. But all of a sudden we get to the point when Israel is continuing to reject everything, and then God does something that I have stressed so often had been kept secret in the mind of God that no one could comprehend, and that is that He would turn to the Gentile without the Nation of Israel. That is why it was so hard for Peter and the Twelve to comprehend this. They knew that all through the Old Testament the only way the Gentiles could come to their Messiah, was if the Nation of Israel (the Jew), brought them, and they couldn’t bring them until all the Jews became believers. Then as a nation of priests, Israel could give them the knowledge of their Jehovah God. But they couldn’t do that until all Israel believed. Which we know they never did. That was the whole purpose of calling the Jews out and setting them apart, and making them His Covenant people. Now some of you are looking at me with a question on your face. That means we need to look at some Scripture. Go back to Isaiah Chapter 42.
“BEHOLD my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he (Christ the Messiah) shall bring forth judgment (Rule) to the Gentiles.” Now verse 49:
“And he (The Lord in verse 5) said, `It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob (Israel), and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.'”
Now we have the Messiah in Chapter 42 Who is going to be the light, but we also have the Nation of Israel who is going to be the light. Now verse 7:
“Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, `Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.'” Now Isaiah 59:
“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion (Jerusalem), and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. `As for me (The Lord says), this is my covenant with them,’ saith the LORD; `My spirit that is upon thee, and my words… shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.'” Remember He’s speaking to the Jews the Nation of Israel.
“ARISE, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee (Israel), and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light (Israel), and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”
Do you see the connection? Once the light would come to the Nation of Israel, the two in concert would be the light of the world to the Gentiles. Peter knew the light had come to Israel, but Israel hadn’t fulfilled their part. And we are going to see Peter try to make the Nation of Israel realize this in the Book of Acts. Now let’s look at one more passage over in the Book of Zechariah.
“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.'”
LESSON THREE * PART IV
CLOSING OF JOHN’S GOSPEL: INTRODUCTION TO ACTS
Now we’re ready for the final chapter in this Book. Turn to Acts Chapter 1. As I said in the last program the Book of Acts is a transitional Book. The first eight chapters are predominately Peter preaching to the Nation of Israel about their condition. Remember they had sent their Messiah to the Cross, and Peter is not going to let them forget this. Then in Chapter 9 we have the conversion of the Apostle Paul, then in Chapter 10 we go back to Peter and the Jews in Jerusalem. And then after Chapter 15 Peter is no longer on the scene, and it’s all Paul.
As you know I always like to show a timeline and this goes for the Book of Acts also. How that chronologically, in time, all these things happen which fit this whole transition. Remember Christ was crucified in 29 A.D. and of course 50 days after His Resurrection you have Pentecost. Then seven years later you have the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts Chapter 7. So it was seven years from Pentecost till the death of Stephen. Then it’s only one year later when Saul of Tarsus is converted on the road to Damascus. Then a year after Saul’s conversion we find Peter in 38 A.D. going to the house of Cornelius in Acts Chapter 10. The Holy Spirit does this so Peter can come to Paul’s defense in Acts Chapter 15.
Then in 40 A.D., which is three years after Paul’s conversion, we find Paul has been to Arabia three years for seminary training with The Lord as his instructor. After that, for three years, from 37 A.D. to 40 A.D., he meets with Peter at Jerusalem, just for two weeks. Then Paul goes on up into his old Arabia of Tarsus. He ends up at Antioch and starts converting Gentiles to the Gospel of Grace. Then after he has been ministering up at Antioch and has been taking his Gospel to the Gentiles, the Jerusalem believers get all shook up and they call him and Barnabas down to Jerusalem for the counsel of Acts Chapter 15. And that Jerusalem counsel is also referred to in Galatians Chapter 2. This takes place in 51 A.D., which is about 22 years after the Cross. When we come to it verse by verse, we will see that at this point in time in Acts 15, Peter, remembering now what took place at the house of Cornelius, a Gentile, comes to Paul’s defense saying:
“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, `Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago (it had been 13 years) God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should here the word of the gospel, and believe.'”
Now in that 13 year interval has Peter been going to Gentiles? No. He went right back to Jerusalem. He is still dealing with the Jew only, as we see in Acts 11-19. But after Chapter 15, we find the Nation of Israel is falling away and the Gentiles are coming to the front, as Paul is starting the Gentile Church and the Age of Grace. Now Paul, of course, writes his letters within this time frame from approximately 46-49 A.D. to 67-68 A.D. when he is martyred. Then in 70 A.D. the Temple is destroyed. Now that’s the Book of Acts, and it is 40 years in length. But always remember the first 7-8 years it’s still God dealing with the Nation of Israel. But as we study just notice, they will slip completely off the scene, and the Apostle Paul will take the spotlight.
I think most of us have always had it hammered into us (I know I did), that the Book of Acts was the account of the birth of the Church. Well it is, but primarily I prefer to look at the Book of Acts as the fall of the Nation of Israel. Because here we will see that Israel finally rejects their Messiah completely. They’ll not have Him to be their King and God puts them into a dispersion, takes away their Temple and turns to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul. Now that’s not exclusively to the Gentiles, there will be some Jews that will believe Paul’s Gospel, but for the most part the last 1900 + years have been God calling out Gentiles comprising the Body of Christ. But as we come into the Book of Acts we are not to that point yet. Remember, the first eight chapters deal only with the Jew, the Nation of Israel.
So that’s enough introduction and for the next few minutes let’s take the first few verses. Acts is written by the same gentleman who wrote the Gospel of Luke.
“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus (his gospel account), of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,” Luke makes mention of the fact that his Gospel only dealt with Jesus’ earthly ministry.
“Until (from the time of Jesus earthly ministry until) the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:” Now who were the chosen apostles? The Eleven! Judas is out and so there are eleven left.
“To whom (these Eleven) also he shewed himself alive after his passion (His death, burial, and Resurrection) by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days (now look at what He has been speaking especially to the Eleven about), and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:”
And remember the Kingdom is the Kingdom is the Kingdom. Where the King is, is where the Kingdom is. And after the Tribulation comes, He is going to set this Kingdom upon this earth, and He’s going to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! And, yes, you and I are already citizens of that Kingdom tonight according to Philippians 3:20. Also Colossians 1:13 tells us that we have been translated into the Kingdom of His dear Son. And when He returns and sets up His Kingdom on the earth, you and I are going to be part and parcel of it.
Now as we go on into the Book of Acts you will see that Peter and the other disciples are so much in expectancy of the King setting up His Kingdom now, that this is going to fill every moment of their existence. Why? Because Jesus had promised that they would sit on the twelve thrones ruling and reigning over the twelve tribes in the Kingdom. Peter almost burns himself out in these early days after Pentecost, preaching to the Nation of Israel that the One they crucified was indeed their King. If they could just believe it, the King would yet return and they could have the Kingdom, and all these Old Testament promises of going to the Gentiles would have been theirs. But God in His foreknowledge knew they wouldn’t do it. They are going to reject it, but again it was offered to them. So after forty days of talking to the disciples about the Kingdom and their role in the Kingdom, we need to look at that and see why these men were excited.
“Then answered Peter and said unto him, `Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?'” See how human they are?
“And Jesus said unto them, `Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me (these last three years), in the regeneration (which is still future. That’s the Kingdom, of course) when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Now we have a dilemma. We need twelve men and we only have eleven. So what’s going to be the first order of business? Filling that vacant position. That’s only logical. However, I have read over the years good men who have castigated poor old Peter and have blamed him for getting in a hurry, running ahead of God. They say he should have waited for Paul. Listen, Paul wouldn’t have fit in that slot any more than a square peg in a round hole. Paul didn’t fill the qualifications. And so Peter was in perfect accord with the will of God when he immediately took steps to fill that twelfth slot. Because Peter is expecting The Lord’s return in short order. Peter doesn’t see 1900 + years down the road. Peter sees that Old Testament program that, after Christ was rejected, He would be raised from the dead. He would be ascending to the Father, and then after the Tribulation, the King would return and set up His Kingdom. So this is what drives these 12 men because of the promise made here. Now back to Acts Chapter 1 and continuing:
“And being assembled together with them (that’s Christ), commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, (The Father, Jesus is speaking) `ye have heard of me.'”
“For John truly baptized with water (this is Jesus speaking ); but (now you have the flip side. There is going to be a change) ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
Let’s go back to Matthew Chapter 3. Drop down to verse 11 where we are dealing with John the Baptist. Matthew is quoting what John the Baptist says.
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but (there’s that flip side again. There’s going to be a change) he (speaking of Christ) that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:”
Now, again, who is John the Baptist addressing? Jews, there are no Gentiles in his crowd. Jesus, The Christ, he says is going to baptize you with, or into, the Holy Spirit. Now let’s put this in legal terms. As you read this verse you will find Jesus is going to be the baptizer. And He’s going to baptize the Jews into the Holy Spirit. When did Jesus do that? Well, at Pentecost. That was a Jewish feast day. The Nation of Israel was gathered and down came the Holy Spirit with power. And it was the Jews valid offer again to experience that power of the Holy Spirit to do what? Miracles, signs and wonders, as Jesus had done. So this was the Nation’s prospect that they could just literally carry on as individual believing Jews what Christ had been doing for three years. And how would He manifest it? By placing them into the very power of the Holy Spirit. We will get into that in the next lesson when we get to verse 8, when He said, “You will receive power.”
So that was the whole concept that Jesus would be the baptizer, and Israel would be the one being baptized. Let me show you the flip side of that. We must turn to I Corinthians Chapter 12 and we will start with verse 12. Here Paul is writing to the Gentile Church at Corinth. And here he comes up with a term that is strictly Pauline. Jesus or the Twelve never spoke of the Body of Christ. So here in verse 12 Paul is using our human body as an illustration.
I Corinthians 12:12
“For as the body (our human body) is one, and hath many members (your hands, feet and so forth), and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”
He’s making the allusion to the Body of Christ, the Church. We’ve got all these different people who are making up the Body of Christ. We have rich and poor, black and white, whatever from all around the world, they have come into the Body of Christ. They all have their different cultures. But if they have all been saved by the same power and Gospel, then what are we? We are “one” in Christ.
I dare say that you and I could go to the Philippines tonight and we could go into a class of believers there and in five minutes feel right at home. We could have people from any country in the world, and if they are believers they could come right into this class and feel right at home. Why? Because we are one in Christ. How did we get there? Here is the crucial question. How did we get into this unique living organism that we call the Body of Christ? Now verse 13:
I Corinthians 12:13a
“For by one Spirit (The Holy Spirit) are we all baptized into (not the local Church, but) one body (the Body of Christ, the Church),”
Remember, no unbeliever can go into the Body of Christ. You can baptize many people and make them members of the local church, but they can be as lost as a dog. They’re baptized, but they’re not in the Body of Christ. But the true child of God, the moment he believes, is saved by the work of the Spirit, He is baptized by the Holy Spirit into that Body. And that is the one that counts for eternity. And it doesn’t matter what way you have been baptized, by Jordan River water, or a country pond, or a Church baptistry, it makes no difference. But when you have been baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit you are His. You are safe for eternity. Remember, Paul is the only one that uses that terminology. He will say the Church, which is His Body, or the Body of Christ which is the Church.
Now remember early on, as we come out of the Four Gospels and into the Book of Acts with God dealing with the Nation of Israel, Christ is the Baptizer. He is placing the Jews, as they believe, into the power of the Holy Spirit to perform the signs and miracles that would continue Christ’s earthly ministry. But when that fell apart, when Israel rejected it completely, God turned to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul – and now we find the Holy Spirit has become the Baptizer and He places us into Christ. This is not the only verse where you find this, there are many verses Paul uses. For example, in the Book of Colossians it says, “You are hid in Christ in God.” Well, how did you get in Christ? Not with water baptism, but when the Holy Spirit baptized you into Him.