[ 757 ] Les Feldick [ Book 64 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] The New Covenant |a
[ 758 ] Les Feldick [ Book 64 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] The New Covenant |b
[ 759 ] Les Feldick [ Book 64 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] The Abrahamic Covenant |a
[ 760 ] Les Feldick [ Book 64 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] The Abrahamic Covenant |b
[ 761 ] Les Feldick [ Book 64 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] But God! |a
[ 762 ] Les Feldick [ Book 64 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] But God! |b
[ 763 ] Les Feldick [ Book 64 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] But God! |c
[ 764 ] Les Feldick [ Book 64 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] But God! |d
[ 765 ] Les Feldick [ Book 64 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] But God! (Kingdom of God) - Matthew 6:33 |a
[ 766 ] Les Feldick [ Book 64 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] But God! (Kingdom of God) - Matthew 6:33 |b
[ 767 ] Les Feldick [ Book 64 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] But God! (Kingdom of God) - Matthew 6:33 |c
[ 768 ] Les Feldick [ Book 64 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] But God! (Kingdom of God) - Matthew 6:33 |d
THE NEW COVENANT AND THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
Various Pertinent Scripture References
The ministry still maintains a good supply of our Question and Answer book containing about eighty-eight questions. The answers to these questions come from our previous television programs. That little book answers many questions on many topics in the Scriptures and has helped many people already. We sell it for about what they cost us, so just be aware that we do have this available, and like I say, we’ve never had anybody feel that it was $11.00 wasted.
All right, now we’re going to get right back in where we left off in our last several programs. That is on the covenants that God has made starting with the Garden of Eden and on up through the ‘fall’ when He made another covenant with Adam. Then on up to the flood where He made the covenant that He would never again destroy the earth with water. Then we came up to the Abrahamic Covenant, and I just sort of skipped the surface on it, because I wanted to reserve most of that until we’d finished the others. So, hopefully, our last two programs today are going to be devoted entirely to the Abrahamic Covenant.
Now, we’ve got the covenants up here on the board, and again I’m going to review them quickly, if I may. We started back here in Genesis with the covenant that God made in the Garden of Eden and the circumstances and what Adam and Eve were to do, and that’s called “The Edenic Covenant.” Then, of course, when Adam sinned, we had another whole new relationship between God and the human race, and we call that the “Adamic Covenant.” That was followed of course by the flood and the “Noahic Covenant” that God made with Noah, and these now carry all the way up even to our own time. The Adamic Covenant still holds. The Noahic Covenant still holds. Then, as we said, beginning with Abraham and Moses and the promise of the land and King David and the “New Covenant,” which we’re going to talk about in our next half-hour, all are under the umbrella of the “Abrahamic Covenant.”
The rest of the world is still under the Adamic and the Noahic covenants. But what we want to emphasize is that all these following covenants were based on the covenant that God made with Abraham, and consequently they are applicable primarily to the Nation of Israel. Israel, of course, is still the core of all of God’s dealing with the human race.
You take Israel out of the picture and this whole Book falls apart. Even though there are a lot of people who oppose that line of teaching, by claiming that Israel disappeared after 70 AD, I will never give in to that line of reasoning, because then three-fourths of this Book just falls through the cracks and becomes worthless. So, we’re going to be finishing in the first half-hour today what I did not finish in the previous half-hour on the Davidic Covenant.
Abraham was given the covenant that out of him would come the Nation of Israel, and of course, if you’re going to deal with a nation of people, you have to have certain requirements. We have to have a geographical area of land for their homeland. You can’t just pull people out and call them a nation if they’re scattered all over the world. So, we have the “Palestinian Covenant.” And in order to control the religious system, we had the “Mosaic Covenant” of law, temple worship, and how to deal with your neighbor. We covered all that a few programs back. Then, of course, we come to the one that we are in now. The covenant that God made with David, the King of Israel, who brings Israel, you might say, out of the doldrums of antiquity and brings them to the glory of the Kingdom and followed by his son, Solomon.
The promises about the King and the Nation of Israel are under this “Davidic Covenant,” and the reason being that Christ comes from the lineage of David. He’s constantly referred to in Scripture as the ‘Son of David.’ Oh, He’s also the Son of Abraham because David follows Abraham, but we have primarily throughout Scripture the reference to Jesus Christ, the Son of David. It’s the fulfillment of those promises made to David that will bring about the earthly Kingdom that all Scripture is looking forward to.
All right, so let’s go back and review the last part of our previous program, and we were in Psalms 89, and let’s drop in at verse 20, where the writer says, this isn’t written by David by the way, but the writer says:
“I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him:” Now, who is really speaking through the writer? Well, God is. This is God speaking through the writer of this Psalm. He has found David, the King, his servant, and God is the one that anointed him as the King of Israel. All right, verse 21:
“With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.” In other words, God’s going to be in total control of this young man’s rule and reign over Israel.
“The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 23. And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him.” For sake of time, let’s jump up to verse 25.
“I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers.” Now remember, in my last program I said that we’ve got to be careful, could David do that? No. Now we’re leaping the centuries, the millennia in fact, to the Son of David, Jesus the Christ, the Messiah of Israel. So, you’ve got to watch the language. Could David put one foot in the Mediterranean and another one in the River Jordan or something like that? No. But symbolically Christ does, and so you go back and forth. Now verse 27, and this couldn’t be David, so it has to be the Son of David.
“Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.” Well, there’s only one that’s higher than even David and Solomon, so who would it be? The Son of David, the Son of God, the Christ. All right, I think we made note of all that in our previous program. Now verse 28, now it is back to King David himself.
“My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant (this Davidic Covenant) shall stand fast with him. (Now, here comes the offspring of David) 29. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne (the Throne of David in Jerusalem) as the days of heaven.” Then He comes down and He gives the possibilities.
“If they break my statues, and keep not my commandments; 32. Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, (He will chastise, and chastisement usually came with invading armies.) and their iniquity with stripes.” All right, verse 33 – but in spite of Israel’s failure, in spite of the nation’s unbelief, will God give up on Israel? Never! Never! Never will God pull away from His covenant people. All right, so He says:
“Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. 34. (Now, this is God speaking again.) My covenant will I not break,…” Is that what a lot of these people are saying? No. They’re saying God broke it, that after 70 AD the Jews disappeared from the scene. The Jews that we call Jews today aren’t Jews at all, according to their line of thinking. They’re impostors. Well, then that throws this Book into nothing but a trash bin of lies, because God says He would not break it. And I prefer to believe the Word of God. Now verse 35:
“Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. (God cannot lie. He cannot go back on His word.) 36. His seed (David’s seed, the Nation of Israel) shall endure (How long?) for ever, (That’s eternity.) and his throne as the sun before me. 37. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.” Now, that’s just God reaffirming these promises made through what we call the Davidic Covenant.
All right, let’s move on, because I want to finish up on David in this half-hour, if at all possible, even though we can’t exhaust it. Come over with me for a moment to Isaiah chapter 9, where, again, we have David connected to the King who’ll be ruling during the millennium, that is God the Son, Jesus of Nazareth. Here we have it so explicitly expressed. Isaiah chapter 9, verses you’re all acquainted with; we use them quite often.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us (And again, I always emphasize, who are the ‘us’? Israel. We’re not talking to Gentiles back here. This is God dealing with Israel.) unto us a son is given: and the government (That is of this coming glorious earthly kingdom.) shall be upon his shoulder: (This One that is coming. This Son that was born in Israel.) and his name shall be called (here they come) Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, (the Creator of everything) The Everlasting Father,…” Now here, even though they are separate personalities, they act as one God.
All right, so here we even have God the Son referred to as the Father, like He did in John 14 to Philip, 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 (Who?) the Father;…” All right, here we’ve got them lumped together the same way. It’s God the Son and He’s the Counselor, but He’s also the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Now, here comes the part that connects us with King David.
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,…” Now, even though the thousand years ends, remember it ends time as we know it, yet it slips right up into the eternal, as we saw, I think, in our last program, because in Revelation 21 what have we got? New heavens and a new earth.
So, the whole program just simply slips up out of the thousand years in time into eternity. I think we’re going to have that same separation between Israel and the Church for all eternity. I can see nothing else in Scripture. But here we’re dealing with the Jewish end of it. That earthly kingdom is going to slip right up into the New Earth of eternity, and it’s going to be:
“…upon the throne of David, (see, there in Mount Zion in Jerusalem) and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” Not just for a thousand years but “forever.” Now remember that I’m always reminding you that the word judge or judgment in this light always means a benevolent government, a good government.
All right, now let’s jump all the way up, if I may, to Matthew chapter 1. We’re also going to be looking at it in another program this afternoon when we deal with Abraham, but we want to see that, again, David is still kept in contact with this coming Messiah and His rule and reign over this earthly Kingdom. Here you can see immediately why I’m going to come back to this when we deal with Abraham.
“The book of the generation of Jesus the Christ, the son of (Whom?) David, the son of Abraham.” But He’s also the Son of God. We can never take that away. But, all right, here is His connection, earthly kingdom-wise, with Abraham, the Father of the Jewish Nation, but also with King David, according to these covenants that He made with David. So, we have to understand that all of Scripture ties these concepts together.
Now for the few moments that we have left, time goes fast, let’s come all the way up to, well, I suppose I should stop at Luke chapter 1. Let’s stop there for a moment. I think we’ve got time for that. Luke chapter 1 and we’ve looked at these verses time and time again, where Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, is in the priesthood laboring in the Temple in Jerusalem. He had been stricken dumb, or unable to speak, at the onset of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist. All right, but now little John is born, and the Jews are all shook up, because they can recognize the miraculousness of it all. So, when they asked Elizabeth what his name would be, and she said John, that just didn’t swallow very well. So, they went and found Zacharias at the Temple complex and asked him. And on a writing tablet he said, “his name shall be John.” That’s all up there in verse 63. All right, he gets his voice back, and now let’s come down to verse 67.
“And his father (That is John the Baptist’s father.) was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,” Now, I’ve got to emphasize that verse, otherwise this just sounds like Jewish wishful thinking. That’s what people would put on it. But it isn’t. This is the Spirit of God speaking these truths through the lips of the priest Zacharias. All right, now look what he says, and watch it carefully.
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; (We’re not talking about the whole human race here. We’re talking about the covenant people, Israel.) for he hath visited and redeemed his people,” Israel! We’re not talking about the rest of the world, yet.
“And hath raised up a horn of salvation for us (not for the whole world) in the house of his servant David;” Well, why is this all limited to David and Abraham? Because it’s the Covenant Promises! I’ve been stressing that in all the years I’ve been teaching. Why did Jesus not have anything to do with the Gentiles in His earthly ministry? They weren’t in the Covenants. Only the Covenant People were in a relationship with Jesus in His earthly ministry, with the two exceptions. So, this is what we have to understand – that He came in response to the Covenant Promises.
Maybe this is as good a place as any. I was wondering where in the afternoon I could bring it in and I may again, but that’s as far as I need to go in these for now. I may come back to it later, but come all the way up with me to Romans chapter 15. This is a verse that I use over and over, because here it’s from the pen of the Apostle Paul. Romans chapter 15, and this just blows everything away that says that Jesus ministered to the whole world. No, He did not become an object of faith to the whole world until He finished the work of the cross. Up until that time, it’s fulfillment of the Covenants to the nation of Israel.
Here in Roman 15 verse 8, the Apostle Paul is writing merely to give us some understanding that most of Christendom doesn’t have yet! It’s unbelievable! And they refuse. They don’t want to see it. But look what it says in verse 8.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the Circumcision (Israel) for the truth of God, (It had to happen. It was in God’s eternal blueprint. And Jesus Christ, what was the purpose?) to confirm (or fulfill, bring to fruition) the promises made unto the fathers:” Well, where were the promises? In the Covenants!
All these Covenants, after we get past the Abrahamic Covenant, they’re all God dealing with Israel on promises and prophecy. There’s no way anybody can take them away or mix them up with the Gentile world. It flies in the face of this Book. So, Christ came to fulfill all these Covenant promises. But, now we know that Israel rejected them when they rejected Him. But God didn’t break the covenants, He didn’t cast the covenants aside, but He merely postponed them.
I’m again going to refer to that in a later program this afternoon. All right, now we’ve only got five minutes left, already. Come back with me quickly to Acts chapter 2, where we have almost the last, not totally, because Paul refers to him once or twice, but the best reference we have to David, now, is in Acts chapter 2, when Peter is preaching on the day of Pentecost. Of course, Peter is going to refer to Christ as the Son of David, but he’s going to use the Psalms to prove that this wasn’t David himself who had been reincarnated or anything like that, but that the Psalms was speaking of Jesus of Nazareth. See that? All right, Acts chapter 2, come down to verse 25, and this is Peter, remember, preaching on the day of Pentecost to that huge crowd of Jews. And he says:
“For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26. Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: (Why? Because Christ would not end in the tomb, He’s going to be raised from that.) 27. Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, (Now, this is again Christ speaking through the prophet. He would not be left in hell, or Hades, or Sheol, which was, of course, the Paradise side, not the torment.) neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” He never decayed and began to go back to the dust of the earth like a normal human would have, because He was Divine. All right, then I’m going to come down to verse 29.
“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day.” In fact, just a few weeks ago, some of you were with us, we were up to what is called the Tomb of David. I’m sure it’s not in the exact place that the ancient tomb was, but nevertheless it makes a good tourist attraction, and we all go there.
“Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, (Now, what are we talking about? The genealogy coming down through history that originated with Abraham first and then later with King David. That genealogy goes all the way up to the time of Christ Himself.) according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his (David’s) throne;”
“He (David) seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, (as a prophet) that his soul (That is Christ’s now, at His death, the three days and three nights he went down into Paradise, which was called Sheol or Hell or Hades, remember.) his soul was not left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption.” Why? Because He was of a Divine origin, even though born of the human mother.
“This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses. 33. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34. For David…” (The King David of a thousand years ago.) …is not ascended into the heavens: (But who is?) But he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, (The Lord Himself. Jesus the Christ. God the Father said, back in Psalms 110 verse 1) Come sit at my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstool.”
Now, to make sure that you understand. Who is all this directed to? Look at verse 36, and why in the world can’t people read it?
“Therefore let (The whole race of Adam – is that what your Bible says? No, it doesn’t say that? What does it say?) all the house of Israel….” And not just two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, like some would try to tell you. But how many? All of them. All the tribes are under God’s dealing for end-time scenario. So Peter says, even on the day of Pentecost:
“Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, (Who came through the lineage of Abraham and David.) whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
All right, now let’s just recap in the seconds that are left. Through these Covenant Promises beginning with Abraham, God has been dealing with the Nation of Israel, bringing them all the way up to the appearance of their Messiah. They rejected Him. But God is still going to come back and fulfill all these covenant promises, as we’re going to see in our next program, when He brings about the next covenant on the board, the “New” covenant.
LESSON ONE * PART II
THE NEW COVENANT AND THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
Various Pertinent Scripture References
As we begin our study, we just pray now that you would use your Bible, as most of you write constantly that you take your notes as you study with us, and that you have learned how to study on your own. That’s all we ask. We don’t want people to say, “Well, this is what Les Feldick says,” but study the Word so that you can say, “This is what the Book says,” because that’s the only thing that counts.
Okay, we’re going to pick up where we left off in the last lesson. For this lesson we’re going to go back to the next covenant on the board, which is the New Covenant. Now, if you remember, those of you who were with me from the very beginning, seven is always the number of completion, and eight is the number of new beginnings. We see that over and over in Scripture, and now we’ve come through the seven covenants, and we’re going to look, this afternoon, at the eighth covenant, which will jump all the way into the Kingdom.
The New Covenant will not become a reality for Israel until they have the King and the Kingdom. Then we’re going to show what our relationship is with this New Covenant. Because I maintain that we, as members of the Body of Christ, are not covenant people. We are not under the covenant, per se. We merely are enjoying all the ramifications of what God did to fulfill the New Covenant.
All right, now turn with me, if you will, to Jeremiah chapter 31. We’re going to jump in at verse 31. Again, this is a series of verses that we use a lot, and again I beg people just read what it says. Not what someone has told you they think it says, but what does it really say?
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, (Now this is the word of God.) that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel,…” Can you make that any plainer? I don’t see how you can. It doesn’t say with the whole race. It doesn’t say the whole world. It doesn’t say with the Body of Christ. He’s making a new covenant with Israel. And Israel means Israel.
“…that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: (That was at a time when the kingdom was split, remember.) 32. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD.” Now, what covenant did they break? Law. My, they broke it over and over and over and over. Yet, God never gave up on them.
So, the whole concept is now that under this new covenant; they won’t be breaking it. They won’t be tempted to rebel. They will not be disobedient, because they’re going to be in a heaven on earth environment. Satan is locked up, and there’ll be no temptations to disobey. But on top of that, the result of the New Covenant on the Jewish individual will be so domineering that they won’t have to worry about breaking anything. We’ll see that in just a minute.
“But this shall be the covenant that I will (That’s future. It hasn’t happened yet, but we think we’re getting close. That’s when Christ returns and sets up His Kingdom. Then this covenant will become an everyday reality.) make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law (Not on frontlets on their forehead – not on their doorposts, but where?) in their inward parts, and write it in their heart; (He will write it on their heart.) and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Now tonight, yes, Israel is still under God’s covenant promises.
He’s watching over them, but they’re not His people today. They’re anything but. They’re secular. They’re in unbelief for the most part, not all, but for the most part. And they are not His people. As He spoke to Moses, “they’re your people.” You remember? And Moses said, “No, God, I don’t want them, they’re your people.” Well you see, it was because of their rank disobedience, but that’s all going to end. All right, read on in verse 34.
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor,…” In other words, they’re not going to have to sit down and constantly be studying the Torah like Yeshiva students do today. They won’t have to study and try to figure out what is this verse? They’ll have full understanding, because it will be written in their hearts.
“…and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: (Why?) for they shall all know me,…” It isn’t like today where we have to be concerned about a lost loved one or a lost neighbor, and Israel is no different. My, the Jews for Jesus people are constantly handing out tracts and trying to win lost Jews. Well, that’ll no longer be necessary. Every Jew in the Kingdom will be a dyed-in-the-wool, heart-made believer. All right, verse 34 reading on:
“…for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” They are going to be in total relationship with their Jehovah God, who will then, of course, be also their King and their Messiah and the Redeemer.
Now, we’ve used these last three or four verses so often, I’m not going to take time today, but these verses are another guarantee that nothing, nothing will ever remove Israel from the scene. They are here and will be forever. My, when we were there a few weeks ago and we saw all those four lane highways, it was amazing. I mean, just like any other great city and bustling. My, you can’t imagine the activity in Israel, and it’s just all because God’s promises are coming to the fore.
All right, now let’s jump over to chapter 32 for just a second, where the prophet repeats it basically, so we won’t spend a lot of time on these verses, but drop over to verse 37. In verse 37 is what we’ve seen happening now these last 50 years, right in front of our eyes, we’ve seen it happen.
“Behold, (God says) I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger,…” Now, who can refute that? My, they’ve been coming from all over the world into their ancient homeland. In other words, it was a chastising act of God that took them out of the land after the crucifixion and 70 AD and scattered them into every nation under heaven. Remember we looked at the promises and the prophecies a while back in Deuteronomy? Way back at the time of Moses he wrote that they would be scattered into every nation under heaven and God would bring them back. All right, here Jeremiah’s prophesying the same thing.
“…and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:” Now, they’re not dwelling safely, yet, but a lot of them are already there. Now verse 38, this hasn’t happened yet, it’s all waiting for the return of Christ.
“And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: 39. And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear (or respect or reverence) me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: 40. And I will make (What?) an everlasting covenant with them,…” God will never let go of the Nation of Israel, and once this Kingdom economy comes in, it’s going to feed right up into eternity. They will forever be then, His covenant people.
All right, now I’m going to take you back to show you the difference between having these things written in their hearts and the way Moses left it in Deuteronomy chapter 6. Now, I just like to show the comparison that they, even as God’s covenant people in history, have never come close to the promises of the New Covenant. Deuteronomy chapter 6 and since we’re so close to it, I’m going to read verse 4. This is what the Jew even today, if he has any semblance of Biblical belief at all, will hang on this verse. And of course, this is where they have an argument with us about a Triune God. They said there’s only one God. Well, what they don’t comprehend is that it’s three persons in one, but they go back to this verse.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Now verse 6, and this was the every day condition of even the believing Jew in Moses’ day.) 6. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (Now watch it, this isn’t mentioned in the New covenant.) 7. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” Why? To be constantly reminded of what the Word of God is saying. But see, when they come under the New Covenant that won’t be necessary. It’ll be on their hearts. They won’t have to read it and remind themselves and talk to their neighbor about it. It’s going to be as automatic as daylight following dark.
Now, that’s the vast difference then between the New covenant and the Mosaic or the ‘old’ covenant. All right, now let’s jump all the way up to the New Testament, because that’s what we like to do, not just stay in the Old, but compare it also with things in the New. Come up with me to Hebrews chapter 8. I’ll have to look a minute to see what verse I want, and that will be verse 6. I’m convinced that Paul is the writer of this letter to the Hebrews, but on the other hand always remember whom is he writing to? He’s writing to Jews.
“But now…” The but NOW’s in Scripture is what I’m hoping we’ll cover in our next few tapings, and here is one of them.
“But now (That is after this work of the cross has been accomplished.) hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. (Now, that’s one of Paul’s favorite words throughout the letter of Hebrews – better.) 7. For if that first covenant (the covenant of Law, the Ten Commandments, the Temple worship, and the priesthood) had been faultless, (or if it’d been perfect) then should no place have been sought for the second.” Naturally. If something is okay you don’t fix it. What’s our little cliché? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Well, it’s the same context here. If the first covenant of Law had been perfect, there’d be no need for a new one. But it wasn’t. It was full of weaknesses, and we’ll see it in just a minute. All right, verse 8:
“For finding fault with them, (its imperfections) he saith, Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:” See, he’s quoting from Jeremiah 31, which we just read.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel (Now, it has nothing to say about the Gentile world. This is strictly God dealing with the house of David, the house of Israel.) after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” They won’t have to do like Moses said, “teach every man his neighbor” and so on and so forth. Now verse 13:
“In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first (What?) old. (Worn out) Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” Why? Because it’s no longer of any use. It’s worn out.
All right, now let’s back up a little bit and pick up a couple of contexts. Galatians chapter 4, because I think a lot of people think that the Law was perfect. Well, that’s fine if you think so. The Ten Commandments certainly are perfect. There’s nothing amiss in any of those, but still the whole function of the Law did not change anybody’s heart. They could be a law-keeper and still be as lost as lost can be. All right, Galatians chapter 4 verse 9:
“But now, (See, there’s another one. My, I’ve got all kinds of them.) after that ye have known God, (In other words, come into a real salvation experience based now on Paul’s Gospel of the work of the cross.) or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” Well, now what’s Paul saying? When you’ve got something so perfect as faith in the Gospel that was according to the death, burial, and resurrection, which brings in new life, why do you want to go back to something that’s less than perfect, which was the sacrificial system of the Law?
All right, let’s back up a little further. II Corinthians chapter 3 and we’ll almost have to read verse 5 in order to understand verse 6.
II Corinthians 3:5-6a
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; (Without Him we’re nothing. All right, now the next verse, this same God, the same God who has saved us through our faith in the Gospel.) 6. Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; (or covenant) not of the letter, (which is Paul’s term for the Law) but of the spirit: (Because now the very core of our life, the very core of our salvation has been brought about by the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and here’s the reason.) for the letter (The Law doesn’t give life, it what?) killeth,…” The Law could never give life to anybody. Never did. Doesn’t now and never will. All the Law could do was show a man his sin. And most of Christendom hasn’t got it yet today. That’s all the Law can do is show our sin. There’s no life in the Law. But, when we turn away from the Law after being convicted by it, what does give life? The Holy Spirit.
So now, in this Age of Grace, and Israel will experience it in the Kingdom, now when the Holy Spirit imparts eternal life, it’s not based on the Law, it’s based on the work of the cross, because the Law, now read the next verse, verse 7.
II Corinthians 3:7a
“But if the ministration of death,…” That’s the law, and oh, people don’t like that. That’s not what they’ve always heard. But that’s all the Law could do. The Law killed. Why? Because it condemned, and if a person was condemned what was the punishment? Eternal doom. It, consequently, became a ministration of death. Nobody could be saved by keeping the Law. Even in Israel’s history the Law didn’t save them. It was their faith in carrying out what God said to do as a law-breaker. But it never saved them. This is what we have to understand even today. You know, when they make all this commotion about the Ten Commandments, well and good, but the Ten Commandments never saved anybody. All they do is convict.
II Corinthians 3:7
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, (Paul says. But now it’s been done away with because of the cross. So, even though it was glorious,) so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; (That is when he’d been in the presence of God and received the tables of stone.) which glory was to be done away:” Why? Because, like Hebrews said, when something grows old and it’s worn out what do you do with it? You cast it away.
Okay, so in the following six minutes, we have to clarify that if we’re not under the New Covenant, then what is the basis for our salvation today under Grace? Well, to put it in a nutshell, the New Covenant itself could never become a reality until God the Son went the way of the cross. It had to be, even for Israel. Now, that’s one thing I want to clarify. In order for the New Covenant to become a reality written on the heart of a Jew during the Kingdom, it had to be based on that eternal sacrifice, the shed blood that was accomplished there on the cross of Calvary. But through His power of resurrection and imparting new life, in order to fulfill the covenant promises made to Israel, He now, as I call it, caused a splash over. We’re not under the direct covenant promise. But we are enjoying everything that was done on Israel’s behalf; it now becomes applicable for us.
So, consequently, how do we attain eternal life? By believing that this Messiah, Redeemer, this Son of God that presented Himself to Israel, who was rejected, crucified, and raised from the dead, that now becomes our salvation, by believing that plus nothing. And even though we’re not under the covenant, we’re enjoying all the excesses of it before Israel even comes into the picture.
All right, now let’s just pick up a few verses that will, I think, bring this to the fore. Come back with me again to Romans chapter 3. Now, this is where we come to that work of the cross that was accomplished according to the eternal promises and covenants with Israel, but now God extends it to us as Gentiles who are not members of the Nation of Israel. We are not under Israel’s covenant promises, but we are under God’s Grace. We are now partaking of that which was given to the Nation of Israel. All right, Romans chapter 3 verse 23. This is that all-encompassing statement that covers every human being regardless of station in life.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (There’s not a one of us that can claim not to have sinned. We are all condemned by God’s perfect Law. All right, but God doesn’t leave it there.) 24. Being justified freely (Not by His covenant promises, but by what?) by his grace (And how does that Grace flow from God to us?) through the redemption that is (that was paid for) in Christ Jesus: 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, (That is His shed blood, which is the cleansing factor. It’s the redemption price.) to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” Now, verse 26 – my what a promise! Again, most people evidently don’t read this verse, or they don’t know it’s here, but it’s plain as day.
“To declare, (Paul says) I say, at this time his righteousness: (Not ours. We don’t attain to anything. We don’t deserve anything.) that he (Christ, or God) might be just, (He’s never going to cut corners with anybody, He’s going to be just.) and the justifier of him (Or of that person who what?) which believeth in Jesus.” See? This is where so much of Christendom is ignoring the fact that according to the Apostle Paul salvation doesn’t come by walking an aisle. It doesn’t come by taking Jesus into your life and heart. It comes by believing!
I’m hoping that God is going to bend His thinking enough to save these people that think they’re being saved, but I’ll tell you what, it’s beginning to shake me up. If the Book says that we’re saved by faith, by believing, and they ignore that – I’ve got questions. I’m in no place to judge, naturally. But here is the whole emphasis in Paul’s epistles that salvation comes by believing.
Believe what? All right, I Corinthians 15. And then I sweat all night wondering how I’m going to fill thirty minutes, I never learn. I Corinthians 15 the first four verses, my, we should know them from memory now shouldn’t we?
I Corinthians 15:1a
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel…” Remember, there’s only one in this age of Grace. Verse 2:
I Corinthians 15:2a
“By which also ye are saved,…” It’s this Gospel that saves, nothing else. And here it is:
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (It was foretold) 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures:”
That’s the Gospel. You don’t receive the Gospel of salvation by just simply saying, “I want Jesus in my heart.” No, you believe THE GOSPEL with all your heart for your salvation!
LESSON ONE * PART III
THE NEW COVENANT AND THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
Various Pertinent Scripture References
Again, for those of you joining us on television, another welcome, and for any of you that may be catching us for the first time, we’re just an informal Bible study. We are not associated with any one group. We just try to teach it more or less like a Sunday School class. I’ve often wondered if we shouldn’t have called it a Sunday School of some sort. I don’t claim to be a theologian or anything like that, but we do like to open the Scriptures and help people to understand what it really says.
All right, now we’re on the Covenants, and we finished in our last program the New Covenant. It will become a reality after this Age of Grace has come to an end, and Christ has returned and set up His Kingdom. Then Israel will come under the promises of the New Covenant when all of the things of God will be written on their hearts. They won’t have to work at it. They won’t have to memorize and so forth, but it will be an automatic result of the covenant promises.
All right, like we said at the very beginning, we’re going to come back now for the next couple of programs and go into more detail with the most important of all the Covenants, which is the Abrahamic. For that we’ve got to go back to Genesis chapter 12, in fact we might even start in the last couple of verses in chapter 11. Now remember that this is, time-wise, about halfway between Adam and Christ’s first advent, about 2000 BC. Now I say about because I’m not going to get nitpicky on a few years one way or the other. But at about 2000 BC, God has been dealing with the whole human race as one race of people. There has been no division in how one group would approach God compared to the other. Everybody, whoever they were, whatever their lot in life, had to approach God on the same basis, and that was to recognize a need and to bring an animal sacrifice by faith, and God would accept them.
But, of course, that became as rare as a hound’s tooth, because the human race just simply walked underfoot everything concerning God. That precipitated, first, the flood. A couple of hundred years after the flood, they’d already gone so far down again that they met at the Tower of Babel under Nimrod and instituted all the false religions that have plagued the human race ever since.
So, 200 years after Babel – now again – I always have to stop and qualify. In the scope of 6000 years, I think we are all prone, I know I am, to think that 200 years was just such a little tidbit of time. Nothing could happen in 200 years. Like from the Tower of Babel to the call of Abraham. Listen, 200 years back then is just as long as 200 years has been since 1800 and look what has happened to the world since 1800! So, when I say there was only 200 years between the Tower of Babel and Abraham, don’t think that that was just a snap of the finger, so how could anything happen? That was a long time.
In that 200 years period of time, the whole human race now had succumbed. Of course, they’re all living in a relatively small area of the planet. We don’t take that away. But nevertheless, that was a long time. As the human race expanded, they were all under pagan worship and the mythological gods and goddesses, as well as paganism or nothing. Whatever you want to be. Out of that population of abject idolatry, God puts the finger on one man. Just one out of however many millions may now have come about.
All right, this is down in Ur of the Chaldees, which is at the lower end of the Euphrates River, the same Iraq that’s in the news everyday. And a few miles south of present day Baghdad was the ancient city of Babylon. It’s going to be interesting to see, because you know, I’ll have to admit, sometimes I have to change my thinking. I’ve always been of the mindset that ancient Babylon would never be rebuilt, but I’m beginning to restudy that, and I’m now kind of on the fence and maybe it will be. Maybe that’s why our President was so determined to go into Iraq, because it had to be stabilized. It had to be brought about that if indeed ancient Babylon is going to be the capital of the anti-Christ for the Tribulation, then the stage has to be set for the city to be totally rebuilt.
Now, I was reading an interesting book the other night. There’s been a new city built on the deserts out in the Arab emirates – a whole new modern city, with all of the infrastructure and everything, the hotels and you name it. They built it in less than two years time. So, this writer was making the same claim that when we talk about rebuilding Babylon that doesn’t mean that the Tribulation is 30-40 years into the future. They can build a new city today in less than probably a year. But whatever. That’s all going to take place in where we are presently involved – Iraq and ancient Babylon. Right down there on the Euphrates River.
All right, it’s from that same area then that everything began so far as the Nation of Israel is concerned – the call of Abram. All right, we pick it up in chapter 11 verse 31.
“And Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife;…” Now, there’s the family, old Terah, the patriarch, and then his sons, including Abram and his wife, Sarai, who was a half-sister.
“…and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, (Now, Chaldea, of course, was ancient Babylon.) to go into the land of Canaan; (Which is up there on the shores of the Mediterranean.) and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.” Which was up at the upper reaches of the Euphrates River. Now, you’ve seen enough of Iraq lately, you know that the Euphrates River comes out of Eastern Turkey and makes a big swoop all the way down to the Persian Gulf. Just short of the Persian Gulf was the ancient city of Babel, or Babylon. All right, so they came all the way up the Euphrates Valley, up to about a little ways east of the Turkish border, and that’s where they stopped. That’s Haran, in Biblical history. On the Euphrates River straight north of Jerusalem but yet up in present day Syria.
“And the days of Terah (the father of Abram) were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.” In other words, old Terah did not accompany Abram and his family down into Canaan. I’ve always taught it this way. Terah was an idolater. God could not deal, even with Abram, until he was totally bereft of that idolatrous influencing father. So, God waits until Terah dies, and then He moves them down into the Promised Land.
All right, now we pick up the Covenant in Genesis chapter 12. Again, I guess I should go to the board and remind all of you that after the Edenic Covenant came to an end with the Garden of Eden, and all of its innocence and beauty had gone, all of these covenants now, then, functioned right up until the demise of Israel, after they crucified the Christ. We are now in this age that has left Israel dispersed and so forth, and waiting for the stage to be set for the coming of the New Covenant. So, all of these covenants after this one with Abraham were between God and Israel, up until God put the finger on the Apostle Paul to go to the Gentile world.
Now, I know a lot of people can’t comprehend that, but from Abraham until Paul, God only dealt, with some exceptions, with the Nation of Israel. Never were the Jews told to go out and evangelize the Gentile. It was God dealing with His covenant people and no one else, with some exceptions. God is Sovereign. He can make exceptions. Rahab – on the walls of Jericho – she was a pagan Gentile, but she came in by faith to the promises of Israel. She ended up in the genealogy of Christ. Ruth, the Moabitess, was a Gentile. She was not of the stock of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But she too, by faith, came with her mother-in-law Naomi and became a citizen of Israel.
So, you have these exceptions. But other than that, God only dealt with his covenant people Israel. Now, I always have to use a verse from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Come back with me, keep your hand in Genesis, we’ll be right back, but I always have to qualify my statements with Scripture that God did not deal with the Gentile world, so far as salvation is concerned. Oh, He dealt with them in His wrath. They came under His discipline. If a nation stabbed Israel in the back, it wasn’t too long until God sent them into the dustbin of history. But, so far as offering salvation to a Gentile, no way, it was only to His covenant people Israel. Here are some verses that we use periodically to prove my point.
“Wherefore (Paul writes) remember, (bring it to mind) that ye (Now, Ephesians were Gentiles. They were living there on the western end of Turkey in the city of Ephesus.) being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; (That is Israel.) 12. That at that time…” Well, now I have to always stop and ask –during what time? While God is dealing with the Covenant promises and Israel. All during the time from Abraham until we get to the Apostle Paul, God is only dealing with His Covenant people. And here it is.
“…that at that time ye (Gentiles) were without Christ, being aliens (Now, watch the language. Aliens – non-citizens) from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise,…” Now, aren’t you glad you know what the covenants are? Gentiles had no part in the Abrahamic. They had no part in the Mosaic or the Palestinian or the Davidic, nor will they necessarily in the New. This is all God dealing with Israel.
“…Ye were strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and (That left them where?) without God in the world.” The Gentile had no hope of salvation. I always point that out. Don’t blame God. They had 2000 years at the beginning, and they walked it all underfoot. What was to make them any different having that chance during Christ’s earthly ministry? They would have walked it underfoot also. So, God wasn’t being unfair, but He’s going to set the stage for when He can send salvation to the Gentiles. That’s going to have to be through the Nation of Israel, through the call of Abraham and the Abrahamic Covenant, and the Apostle Paul.
All right, come back now to Genesis 12, and we’re going to take our time on this Abrahamic Covenant. I just decided in the last thirty-seconds that if I don’t finish it in these two programs, we’ll just put it into the next two. We’re going to exhaust this Abrahamic Covenant. Ray Brewer, that should be making you feel good, shouldn’t it? Ray’s been waiting for this for two or three years. Every once in a while he’ll come out and say, “When are you going to give us something on that Abrahamic Covenant? Nobody knows anything about it.” Well, I’ll agree, but here it is now. We’re going to take our time.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, (from your family) and from thy father’s house, (Terah, get out from under Terah’s idolatrous influence.) unto a land that I will shew thee.” Now, He doesn’t tell him what it is, but He just says He’ll get him there one way or another. Now, here come the covenant promises, seven of them. Count them if you want.
“And I will make of thee a great nation, (That’s number 1) and I will bless thee, (That’s number 2) and make thy name great;…” That’s 3, and that carries all the way up to our present time. I’ve even got a grandson that they called Abraham. You know a lot of people throughout your friendships who are called Abraham. It’s still a popular name.
“…and thou shalt be a blessing:” (Number 4) 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, (This is number 5, and God has never backed off of that one. You bless the Jew and God will bless you. It’s a promise. This has never been rescinded. Then verse 3, reading on, on the other hand.) and curse (or I’ll bring bad things to those who bring bad things to the Jew) him that curseth thee: (This is number 6. God says He will bring it about to those who are against the Jew or the Nation of Israel. Then here’s the seventh one. The all encompassing promise made to Abraham. This carries all the way up through you and I) and in thee (in Abram) shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
Now He’s going beyond the borders and the genealogy of Israel. It’s going to carry to the whole human race. Now, that’s the crowning part of the Abrahamic Covenant, and it’s that part of the covenant that brings us into the picture. That through this man Abraham will come the Nation that God will pull apart from all the rest of humanity. He’s going to deal with them on a Covenant basis, like we’ve been seeing now for the last several programs, with the idea that He’s going to prepare the Nation for the coming of a Redeemer and a Savior of all mankind. He’s going to have to come through the Nation of Israel. It could be no other way.
All right, now in order for Christ to come in His first advent, a lot of things had to happen. You had to have the Nation of Israel in the area of Jerusalem where He’s going to be crucified. That’s all in God’s blueprint. So, in order to have Israel in the area of Jerusalem, He has to bring them into a homeland that will include Jerusalem. He’s going to have to establish the Nation under some sort of a government that will hold them together until all this is fulfilled. That is all in His Divine purposes as Paul puts it.
All right, so now, that’s the Abrahamic Covenant, those seven statements. Whenever you refer to the Covenant, this is what you have to look at, and whenever we refer to Christ having come through the Nation of Israel, it began right back here in this Covenant promise.
All right, now to bring it further and further along, let’s just chase it down through the Old Testament. Turn over to chapter 13, starting at verse 14. Now, He has Abram down in the land of Canaan. The Canaanites are still occupying the land. Remember that Israel is marked with mountains. Those of you that were with us a few weeks ago, I think you were probably surprised how mountainous the country is. The city of Jerusalem is just simply built on the mountains. You go north from Jerusalem and it’s mountainous. We call them the mountains of Israel. All right, now I think in one of those high points on one of those mountains of Israel, verse 14 occurred.
“And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, (up toward Lebanon) and southward, (down toward the Red Sea) and eastward, (out over the Jordan Valley and out into what is present day Jordan) and westward:” Which, of course, would end at the Mediterranean Sea. Look all four directions.
“For all the land which thou seest,…” Hey listen, the Middle East is still relatively compact. You can easily look from a high point in Israel clear across half of Jordan. And you can look half-way down to the Red Sea. You can look clear up past Mount Hermon. So, Abraham took in a lot of square miles in just one view. Now look what it says:
“For all the land which thee seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.” Of course, remember, when it says forever, it’s going to take you right on into the new heavens and the new earth of eternity.
“And I will make thy seed (or your offspring, the generations to come) as the dust of the earth:…” Now, I don’t think it’s so much numbering the grains of dust as it is the symbolic picture that Abraham is going to be associated with an earthly people. Now, you remember that as long as I’ve been teaching this on television, I’m always designating Israel as God’s earthly people. All of their promises were earthly. Never did God make spiritual, heavenly promises to Israel. It’s all earthly. That’s why, even in their Old Testament economy, if they were obedient, hey, they got wealthy. They were blessed. If they were disobedient, they may lose it.
Now see, we don’t have promises like that today. God doesn’t tell you that if you’re an obedient Christian He will bless you with wealth. That does not happen. I don’t care what anybody says. If you’re wealthy today, it’s by His grace, not by promise. So, when we get into Paul’s epistles, now it’s not the earthly people we’re associated with but what? The heavenly. All our promises, as a believer today, are heavenly. We’re just strangers here on this planet. We’re citizens of heaven because we have heavenly connected promises. Israel’s are earthly.
All right, now then, let’s skip over to chapter 15, I think I want to go, and now we’ve got another direction that Abraham is looking. God is still dealing with him on those mountains of Israel.
“And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and (count or) tell (Not the dust of the earth, but what?) the stars,…” Now, are you seeing the picture? He looked at the dust, that’s earthly. But he looked at the stars, and that’s what? Heavenly! So, Abraham has a connection not only to the earthly people of Israel, but also to you and I of the Church Age. And that’s where some people have totally twisted the concept into telling you that when you become a believer you become a Jew. No! That’s not what the Scripture teaches. The Scripture merely teaches that we have become recipients of this glorious Gospel of salvation because of the Covenant God made with Abraham.
Now, here’s the main point. When God made that Covenant with Abraham, was it after circumcision, or before? Well, before. Was it after the Law, or before? Before! So, what did Abraham have going for him other than to just simply believe what God said? Nothing. So, now what can we put on that? How was Abraham saved? Faith plus nothing!
Now, that should ring a bell! That’s where we are! With the exception of the thief on the cross, and that’s all that was, an exception, I know of no other individual from Abraham until we get to the Apostle Paul where anyone was saved by faith plus nothing. So, when I use the board, I don’t want to take off what’s up there, otherwise I would; you can just simply make your own diagram. Here’s the cross in the center of my time line and back here 2000 years is Abraham. Over here where we are today, 2000 years on this side of the cross, we are still connected with Abraham with an overview, that’s how I usually draw it on the board. Not that we become Jews. Not that we become recipients of any of the covenant promises, but we step into a relationship with the God of Abraham, how? By faith plus nothing!
Oh, not in what he told Abraham – get out and go to Canaan. But now our faith is in the finished work of the cross and His glorious resurrection. I can’t emphasize it enough. I just told a lady yesterday, “Look, God told the human race, through the Apostle Paul, that when He died the death of the cross, when His blood was shed according to the Old Testament prophecies, when He was buried three days and three nights and arose in power over sin and death and all His enemies, it’s done. He proclaimed that everything that needs to be done for man’s salvation is done. He said believe it, and I’ll give you eternal life.”
Now then, I use this illustration. How would you feel if all of a sudden you just had an impulse of love for your son or daughter, who is now old enough to drive, and out of the blue you say, “You know, Son, I love you so much that tomorrow we’re going to go down and I’m going to buy you a brand new car.” And the son says, “Dad, I don’t believe it.” How would you feel? You mean my own son doesn’t believe that I will do what I say I’m going to do? You’d be real put out, wouldn’t you? Now, that’s just a simple illustration. God has said, “I’m going to give you eternal life if you’ll just believe that what I’ve done is all you need.” But what does everybody do?
Well yeah, I believe that Christ died. I hear it all the time. I believe that Christ died. I believe that He rose from the dead, but I’ve got to ‘do’ this and I’ve got to ‘do’ that. But God says you don’t have to. Then what are you making God? You’re making Him a liar. My, how mankind has fowled up that glorious Gospel of salvation by adding everything to it that you can imagine, and it’s getting worse everyday, but always remember God will have no part of it!!
But all right, now back to….only got 45 seconds left! All right, so now just a recap. Abraham has been promised to be the progenitor of the dust of the earth, the earthly promises given to Israel. Now, he’s taken out and he’s shown the stars. He’s also going to be involved in God pulling out a people for His name, who are heavenly-connected. But it’s all based on this covenant promise that He made with this man Abraham 2000 years before Christ, “that in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
LESSON ONE * PART IV
THE NEW COVENANT AND ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
Various Pertinent Scripture References
Okay, once again we’re going right back where we left off, so those of you in the studio can go with me back to Genesis chapter 15. For those of you joining us on television, we again want to thank you so much for all your prayers, your letters, your financial help, and your encouragement. My goodness, mail time is a pleasant time, really.
Again, we like to always let new listeners know that we’re just an independent Bible study. I’m not out to build an empire, or build colleges and what have you. We’re just simply teaching the Word much like, as I said a taping or two ago, much like a Sunday School class. And we appreciate people. They say, “I just feel like I’m sitting back there on the back row. It’s just like an old college class.” Well, that’s exactly what we want to come across. Again, all we can say is thank you. We know the Lord is using it.
All right, now let’s go right back to where we left off in Genesis chapter 15. We’re covering now, for the next few programs at least, the Abrahamic Covenant. Now, everything that pertains to us today had its beginnings, yes in Adam, I know that, but predominately, in the realm of the spiritual, it’s all resting on this Abrahamic Covenant. The Nation of Israel appeared by the sovereignty of God. Then their promised Messiah came, was rejected, was crucified, buried, and risen from the dead and then proclaimed as the Savior of the world, and we call this the total purposes of God when He brought about this glorious plan of salvation.
But, let’s go back now to the early promises in this Abrahamic Covenant that are making everything possible that you and I enjoy today. Let’s go back to chapter 15 where we left off in the last lesson and where he looked at the stars.
“And he (God) brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell (count) the stars, if thou be able to number (or count) them: and he said unto him (Abram), So shall thy seed be.” Which I feel, and said in the last lesson, is the spiritual seed which would involve, I think, you and I as the members of the Body of Christ who are heavenly connected.
All right, now then you come on down into the next few verses and we see the humanness of this great patriarch Abram, or Abraham as he becomes known later. How he was just as human as we are. Now, after God had made all these promises, in a later verse what does Abraham say? Well, prove it. Show me. But first, verse 6:
“And he believed in the LORD: and he counted it to him for righteousness.” That’s all. He doesn’t do anything else. He doesn’t practice circumcision yet. He has no law to keep. He doesn’t offer sacrifices. He just simply believed what God said.
Now, let’s show you how Paul puts that. Maybe I should back everything up with Scripture. Jump all the way up to Romans chapter 4, and we’ll start at verse 1, because when I keep mentioning that Abraham has a connection with us who are saved by faith plus nothing, I’ve got to let the Scripture speak for Itself. Remember, Paul writes to us Gentiles in the Body of Christ.
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, (Now remember, Paul was a Jew.) as pertaining to the flesh, (in other words, in his genetic background) hath (Abraham) found? 2. For if Abraham were justified (or saved) by works, he hath whereof to glory; (Or brag, by saying look what I’ve done to obtain salvation.) but not before God. 3. For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, (That’s all! He believed what He said and what did God do? Called him righteous.) and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.” Now, that’s simple isn’t it? That’s too simple for mankind to comprehend. But that’s the truth of the Word. All right, so now come back to where this was first referred to in Genesis 15.
“And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Not because he was sinless, he’s going to fail. He’s going to trip up now and then. But God imputed righteousness to him in spite of it. All right, now then, verse 7:
“And he (God) said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.” That is the land of Canaan, where he’s standing, like I like to think, on one of the mountains of Israel. Now, here’s Abraham’s humanity.
“And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” Where’s the proof? And what does God do? Okay, Abraham, we’ll go through the secular system of transferring real estate. We’ll just do like your neighbors do. You remember that all of paganism rested on animal sacrifices. That’s where they adulterated the right thing, remember? So, they open up these animals and lay the carcasses with a space down between them. All right, now you pick it up in verse 10.
“And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.” He just laid the sacrificed birds there with that walkway down between them and now then verse 12.
“And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram;…” In other words, I always call this the first instance of real anesthesia. God put him under where he couldn’t say a word or know anything, and He says to him:
“…Know of a surety that thy seed (your offspring) shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs,…” Now, this is prophecy. I usually refer to this verse as the first true prophecy in Scripture. It’s a future event that God promises to the Nation of Israel. That’s prophecy. Even today, prophecy only really involves the Nation of Israel. As we see the world getting ready for the end time, all that’s taking place, whether it’s Iran or whether it’s North Korea and all that, it’s still all circling about the Nation of Israel. They are at the core of everything. So all of prophecy, even as we see it today, is based on what God has promised His covenant people, Israel. Here is the first one in Scripture that’s a true prophecy.
“…that they seed (Offspring – these children that will be coming down the pike.) shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; (Well that, of course, is the Egyptian bondage, which wouldn’t take place for two – three hundred years, but God prophesied it.) and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14. And also that nation, (Egypt) whom they shall serve, will I judge: (He will punish.) and afterward (That is after the plagues of Egypt.) they (the children of Abraham) shall come out with great substance. (And we know they did. They spoiled the Egyptians. Then verse 15, the promise is:) 15. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; (He’s going to die in a great old age.) thou shalt be buried in a good old age.”
“But in the fourth generation, they (his offspring) shall come hither (here to the mountains of Israel) again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” After a sojourn in Egypt, they’re going to come back to the land of Canaan, but it has to wait 400 years, because the iniquity of the Amorites, the Canaanites, was not yet full. God could not punish them with taking them out of their land that they had now worked for and had made prosperous and productive until their behavior demanded it. And if you want to know what their behavior was, you read Leviticus 18. It was horrible! All the immorality that mankind can think of, the Canaanites practiced. Promiscuously. Consequently, God was able to take their land away from them and give it over to the Promised Covenant People. All right, now verse 18:
“In the same day the LORD (Jehovah, God the Son in His Old Testament personality) made a covenant with Abram, saying, (On top of the one that He made in Genesis 12, now we come to an additional part, or addendum we may call it, with Abram. He says unto him:) Unto thy seed (unto your coming generations) have I (past tense) given this land, (It’s a done deal, Abraham, but I’ll just go a little bit further and secure it in your own mind.) from the river of Egypt (Whether it was the Nile, or whether it was another river that has since disappeared, it doesn’t make that much difference.) unto the great river, the river Euphrates:” And all those tribes that follow in verses 19-21 that were involved in that geographical area would have their land taken from them and given over to God’s covenant people, Israel.
All right, now we’re going to jump all the way up to chapter 26 verse 1. Genesis 26 verse 1. Now, we’re already up to Isaac. We’re going to pass this covenant promise that was given to Abram on to Isaac. From Isaac it’s going to pass on to Jacob. All right, verse 1:
“And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto the Gerar. 2. And the LORD (Again, that’s the same God the Son, the coming Messiah of Israel.) appeared unto him,…” Now, that word appeared in the Greek is what we use for the verb, I’ve got to think for a moment, ‘optomei,’ I think it is, and it means a visual eye to eye contact. Not just envisioned, but He evidently appeared eyeball to eyeball with Isaac.
“…and said, (face to face) Go not down into Egypt;…” Now you have to remember, and I’m always stressing history in my teaching, that back in antiquity, Egypt was to the then known world what America is today. And what are we? We’re the consumer nation. We’re only six percent of the world’s population, but we consume ninety-some percent of the world’s goods and raw materials. Of course, that’s why the world hates us. But that was Egypt in antiquity.
All of the caravan routes from the Far East and the Middle East and from the civilized areas of Europe wound their way down to Egypt, because Egypt was the kingpin of the civilizations at this time. So, the temptation was that if you didn’t have much going for you in the mountains of Canaan, go down to Egypt. But God warns Isaac – don’t you go down to Egypt. Now again, symbolically, Egypt in Scripture is a picture of ‘the world.’ So, this is where we get the whole idea that we are not to be enticed by the world. Well, there stood Egypt with all of its glitter and all of its pleasure and all of its abundance of goods and services, but God tells his pastoral people living there in the mountains of Israel, don’t go down to Egypt.
“Sojourn (or spend your time) in this land, (the land of Canaan) and I will be with thee, and I will bless thee; (Ringing a bell?) for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I (God says) will give these countries, (They haven’t got it yet, but they’re going to get them in time.) and I will perform the oath (or the covenant) which I sware unto Abraham thy father;” See how plain all this is? Now verse 4, right along with what He told Abraham, He repeats to Isaac.
“And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries, and in thy seed (Here comes the promise, again, of an over-all Redeemer for the whole human race.) and in thy seed (the Nation of Israel, Israel’s Messiah, Israel’s Son, Jesus of Nazareth) shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” See how plain that is? But until He can bless the nations of the world, He’s going to deal with His covenant people Israel. That’s how it’s all going to come about. All right, verse 5:
“Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” All right, so now then, we come all the way up through these Old Testament Scriptures, and it’s a constant referral to the promises that He made to Abraham. In fact, in the few moments that we have left, I think I’ll go ahead and just jump ahead to the New Testament promises that are resting on the Abrahamic Covenant. Then we’ll go back in our next program and pick up some more of those promises back in the Old Testament. But come up with me, for now, to Luke chapter 1. I was going to stop at Matthew for a minute, but I don’t think I’ll take time today. Let’s go right on into Luke chapter 1, which we’ve referred to many times. But repetition is the mother of learning, remember. I never apologize for repeating some of these things that are so basic to our understanding.
We looked at this in one of the previous programs this afternoon on the New Covenant, how it referred to – no, it was in the Davidic Covenant – referred to David in this one. But here, I want you to see how all that Zacharias is foretelling is resting on the promises that God made with their father Abraham. Okay, verse 67, the father of John the Baptist, here in Luke chapter 1, who has just now received back his ability to speak, is going to make some fantastic statements concerning God’s covenant people, Israel.
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, (he spoke forth) saying, 68. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; (Now, that’s because they are a covenant people! And God cannot deal outside of His covenant promises.) for he hath visited and redeemed his people,” Now, there’s only one Redeemer, and that will be God the Son, Jesus of Nazareth. And that’s what John the Baptist is being prepared to announce. Everything is falling in place.
“And hath raised up an horn of salvation…” Now, you remember, I’ve taught over and over through the years, that all through the Old Testament we have two lines of thought. Just like parallel railroad tracks. Remember seeing it on the board? I always put on the top line, the promise of a coming King and a Kingdom. The second parallel line is the promise of a suffering Savior.
Now, they had to have both. You could not have the ruling and reigning King without first having the suffering Savior. Because the New Covenant, as we saw earlier this afternoon, the New Covenant could not become a reality until the sacrifice for sin had been made, which was the person of God the Son who had to die the death of the cross. All right, so redemption now is going to be totally resting on the suffering Savior. But after He’s accomplished the suffering, then He could come and be the ruling King. But nowhere in the Old Testament do you have an indication that there will be a 2000-year hiatus. That’s why some of these Bible teachers scorn at the fact – show me where there’s a parenthetical period of time in the promises.
Well, while I was getting ready for this, I came across one that’s as plain as the nose on our face. I don’t know how they miss it, but they do. I don’t think I’ve got time to show it to us today, but I will in our next taping. I’ll let you look for it yourself. Where it’s just as plain as day that there’s going to be a period of time between the tabernacle of David falling down, which of course is when the Temple was destroyed and Israel was taken out of the land in 70 AD, until the tabernacle of David will rebuilt and restored. And in that interval, God is going to be calling out a group of Gentiles for His name. Now, I’ll let you find where it is in Scripture. But there it is.
That after the tabernacle is fallen down, He will call out a people for His name and then the tabernacle of David shall be restored. It is a parenthetical period of time. Now, it doesn’t designate how long. But there it is. And there are a couple of others, and I don’t remember just right now where they were. I’ve just seen them in the last few days, and then the scoffers scorn and they ridicule, “How can you even imagine that there was ever anything mentioned about a parenthetical period of time between the rejection of Christ and His Second Coming.” Well, I’ll let you look for them as well. Prove these people wrong. That’s what makes Bible study interesting. All right, reading on in Luke 1, repeating verse 69.
“And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;” Not in the Gentile world, only in the house of David, which is that lineage of the twelve tribes of Israel.
“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, (All the way back, you might say, to Genesis.) which have been since the world began: (Now, here’s the promise.) 71. That we (the Nation of Israel) should be saved from our enemies,…” Now stop and think all the way up through Israel’s history, how many enemies have they had? Few or many? Many! Their whole world around them has hated them from day one. Not because they’re deserving of hate because of what they say and do, it’s because they’re God’s chosen people, and Satan knows it.
I’ve stressed that on this program over and over. The reason the Jew has suffered inexorably since the very beginning is because Satan knows that if he can destroy the Nation of Israel, he destroys every promise in this Book. If he can keep the Nation of Israel from being a real entity in the Middle East today, then prophecy can’t be fulfilled. It just cannot happen, and Satan knows that. So, he’s been making life miserable for them. He’s tried over and over to obliterate them from the human experience, beginning with the Book of Esther and then again in the Roman invasion in 70 AD. The Romans would have loved to just literally annihilate every Jew. Now we’re seeing it today. The Arab world will not rest until every Jew is gone. But it’s not going to happen, because God has promised it. But this is why. Don’t blame the Arabs. Don’t blame the Muslims. Blame the source – The Devil. He knows that if he can destroy Israel, he can destroy the promises of this Book.
“That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; (All their Arab neighbors are one day going to be dealt with, and what’s the end result?) 72. To perform the mercy promised to our fathers,…” Now, you remember all the promises that we’ve been looking at today, and no matter how much Israel sins God will never withdraw His covenant promises. No matter how many times they break His covenants, He will not break it with them, because His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. Here it is again, Zacharias, through the unction of the Holy Spirit, repeats it – that we’re going to have the mercy promised to our fathers. Now here’s the part I came in for.
“…and to remember his holy covenant; (What covenant?) 73. The oath (or the covenant) which he sware to our father Abraham,” See how plain all this is? God is never going to give up on His covenant promises. All right, now reading on in verse 74, based on those covenant promises, God can tell the Nation of Israel through the priest Zacharias.
“That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,” That’s Israel’s future when their Messiah will yet be their King, and they’re going to have the New Covenant become a reality. They won’t have to work at living a spiritual life. It’s going to be automatic. They won’t have to sit down and study the Old Testament or anything else; it’s going to be automatic. God will just simply control their lives and their existence, and it will be joy like no one can understand.
“In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” It’s going to be without end. Now those are promises, you see, that the Nation of Israel can rest on. But if Israel can rest on them, then we know that God will be just as sure in His promises to us.
Now, I only have a minute left. I hardly know where to go to spend that minute, but let’s just go briefly to Romans chapter 11 and verse 11. This will be something that we can be thinking about for the next month until we come back for our next taping. Now, this is the Apostle Paul explaining how salvation came to us as Gentiles, without the covenants. This is by the Grace of God.
“I say then, (Paul says) Have they (the Nation of Israel) stumbled that they should fall? (And be gone and off the scene like the scoffers try to tell us?) God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation has come unto the Gentiles,…” Well, what’s Paul talking about? When did Israel fall? When they rejected the Messiah. When they cried out for His crucifixion. When they screamed, we’ll not have this Jesus of Nazareth to rule over us. That’s when they fell. But, what did they bring about? The work of the cross. Our glorious salvation!
LESSON TWO * PART I
Various Pertinent Scripture References
It’s so good to see everybody this afternoon, especially those of you from out of state. We have Indiana and Illinois and Texas and various other places outside of Tulsa. We just want to make you feel welcome and at home in our group, because, after all, people across the land get used to seeing these same faces all the time, and they feel like they know you as well as they do me. And of course that’s only by TV association. But, anyway, we’re glad to have you all.
For those of you joining us out there in television, we thank you for tuning in. We thank you for your loyalty, because the first thing everybody that writes to us or speaks to us at seminars says is, “I watch you every day.” So, we appreciate your loyalty, your prayers, your letters, and your financial help. On the ordinary, we appreciate short notes. That way we can keep in contact with all of you out there.
All right, this is a Bible study – for someone that might be catching us for the first time. We’re an informal Bible study, as you can tell. We simply go by what the Book says, but for the doctrine and instructions we live by during this Age of Grace, we go by what was written by the Apostle Paul, as he is the Apostle to the Gentiles, as we see in Romans 11:13. We don’t try to decipher the Greek and try to figure out how the Greek could have been mistranslated and all of this other stuff we’re hearing today. That’s the bad part of the computers now. You know the computers are throwing out so much information that now they think that they know it all. You know the old cliché as well as I do, “A little knowledge is frightening.” So, you have to take all that into consideration.
All right, now let’s go right back in a continuation of where we left off in our last program. I didn’t feel that I had sufficiently finished the Abrahamic Covenant, and we touched on Romans chapter 11, but I want to come back to it for this first half-hour and more or less complete it. All right, we’re dealing with the covenant that was made with Abraham way back in 2000 BC in Genesis chapter 12. That covenant said, in so many words, that God was going to make of that one man, Abram, a new nation, a group of people. God would bless the man himself, and the crowning act of the whole thing was that through Abram, or later on Abraham, “the whole human race would be blessed.”
That, of course, came about when the Messiah of Israel, who came as a result of the Covenant promises, went the way of the cross, purchased salvation for the whole human race. Not just for Israel, but for all. It all rested, of course, on that Abrahamic Covenant. That’s why I don’t think you can exhaust studying it.
All right, so now we come to Paul’s reference to the Abrahamic Covenant, which is of course primarily to the Nation of Israel. We’ll start with verse one, and what a statement we find in light of so much of the stuff that we’re being bombarded with today.
“I say then, Hath God cast away his people? (Has He given up on the Nation of Israel? Have they disappeared like they’re trying to tell us? Well, the Scripture answers the question.) God forbid.” A better translation there, I think, is – “Don’t even think such a thing!”
God could not cast away His people because of all the promises that we’ve been seeing coming up through the covenants in the last several programs. How could He cast away everything that He ever said? But you see, we’ve got this one huge group that is making such tremendous inroads today, and they call themselves Preterits. For years I called them Amillennialists, and they believe that in 70 AD the Nation of Israel disappeared.
The other day I received a huge, brown envelope that contained thick, typewriter-size pages. I didn’t even bother to look at who wrote it or where it came from, but I opened it. I have what some people call a bad habit. I think it’s the best one I’ve ever had, and that is everything I get, a book or an editorial or a news magazine, I go to the back page first. Can’t help it! Iris will bring a library book, and I go to the back page first. But anyway, that’s my habit. The editors know that I’m not alone. What’s usually on the back page now of your news magazine? The editorial! In the Daily Oklahoman, the editorial page isn’t in the front or the middle; it’s almost the back page.
So anyway, I open this great big manuscript, or whatever you want to call it. So, I go to the back page. What do you suppose his last paragraph says? Boy, what a time saver! “So, all this is to prove that the Jews that claim to be Jews today are not Jews at all.” Well, handily the round file was right there, and so I pitched it. So, if the guy’s listening, I hope he knows better than to spend three dollars in postage next time. Save your money, because I won’t read that garbage.
But see, this is what they’re bombarding even the Christian world with – that God did away with the Jews after the Titus invasion of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and that the Jews of today have no relationship whatsoever with the Jews of Scripture. Well, if that’s the case, then three-fourths of this Book can just as well be torn out and thrown away, because it all promises that God will never give up on the Nation of Israel. And Paul confirms it right here in chapter 11.
“God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.” Have they disappeared? Don’t even think such a thing. Because God’s Word is true. As we’ve been showing over the last several programs, especially in the covenant promises, God has promised that the sun will fall out of its position before Israel will disappear as a nation. Yet these people just totally ignore all that. Then here’s the crowning one in the New Testament.
“I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. (He can’t or His Word would become of no use. All right and Paul is living proof. He goes on now.) For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2. God hath not cast away his people, which he foreknew.” Now, we’re going to see in our following programs how that everything since the dawn of human history with Adam and Eve has been by God’s design. He’s in control of everything for 6000 years. This is what Paul is reminding us. God will never let the Nation of Israel disappear, because in His foreknowledge He has them ready for the end-time return of Christ to set up His Kingdom. They have to be here! All right, now I’m going to take a few of these verses and just sort of skim over them. He says in verse 3:
“Lord, they have killed thy prophets, (And we know the Old Testament Jews did that over and over.) and digged down thine altars; (And Elijah said,) and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” There’s that remnant – seven thousand out of Israel’s population of usually seven to ten million. So, you math people, what’s the percentage? One tenth of one percent.
All right, now we’ll read on, and when we get to the word remnant I’m going to go back and show you what it really means. All right, so that remnant of one tenth of one percent didn’t bow their knees to Baal. They remained true to Jehovah. Now, Paul brings them up to his present day, and he says:
“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election (now) of grace.” All right, now let’s go back to Isaiah chapter 1 to show that this is not a new phenomenon. I was reading a book last night by a British prophecy expert, and he was pointing up how close we are to the end. And of course being a Brit he was more acquainted with what’s going on in England and Europe. It’s frightening – frightening of what is really taking place in western civilization. He quoted what some of the Bishops of the Church of England had been telling young people, and it’s just unbelievable. So, he made the same point – the believing element in the world today is just a small remnant.
Well, that’s nothing new. Don’t be shocked, because here in Isaiah 1:9 we are 700 years before Christ, and among the Nation of Israel, the chosen race:
“Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us (that is the Nation of Israel) a very small remnant, we (the nation) should have been like unto Sodom and Gomorrah.” Had it not been for the little one tenth of one percent, what would God have done? Destroyed the Nation. And it’s ever been that way.
Now, we’ll probably see this in the next program. We’re going to go back to Noah, and I’ve always maintained there must have been around four or five billion people at the time of Noah’s flood. How many were saved? How many were believers? Eight! Not eight million, not eight thousand, not eight hundred. Eight. Out of four billion, five billion people, what was that? A little tiny remnant. And so it’s always been. Even today amongst Christendom. My, they like to tell us there are 50-60 million Christians in America. I wish that were true. But I’m afraid it’s a stretch, because the vast majority of even our well-churched people don’t have a clue about salvation through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and that alone in this Age of Grace. And it’s so sad.
Well, anyway, here we have this whole concept that it’s only the small percentage. All right, now come down to verse 7, still in Romans 11.
“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election (or those who truly believed) hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Now, we’ve got to stop. What was the Nation of Israel constantly looking and hoping for? The Messiah who would bring in the heaven-on-earth Kingdom environment. But when the Messiah came, in unbelief they rejected Him. Except for the few. That little, small flock of believers who Paul refers to here as “the remnant.” But what happened to the vast majority of Israel? Blinded! Blinded! And to this day, it’s almost impossible to speak to a Jew about Jesus Christ.
Now, I’ve been getting the little mission magazine Israel, My Glory for years and years. One of my favorite articles is, again, on the last page, written by a converted Jew, a survivor of the Holocaust. He’s always sharing his experiences of trying to testify or witness the Lord Jesus Christ to fellow Jews there in Jerusalem. You’d be amazed at how they hate him for it. But that’s the typical response of the Jew. They’re blinded – Providentially – until the day when God’s going to open their eyes. They’re suddenly going to again become the favored Nation, and they’ll recognize their Messiah when He comes the second time.
All right, but that’s not where I wanted to spend my time. I wanted to come on down now to some of the aspects that show the Abrahamic Covenant can never be abrogated. All right, let’s come all the way down then to verse 11 of Romans chapter 11. Here again, for these Preterits, what do they do with verses like this? As a rule, I don’t fault people who disagree with me, but this is becoming so obnoxious, and the material that’s coming in my mail, they’re just bombarding me with it. So, I can hardly hold my patience much longer. But see, what do they do with this verse?
“I say then, Have they (the Nation of Israel) stumbled that they should fall?” Well, of course they stumbled, but did they fall out of all of God’s dealing for the end-time? Never! Of course they stumbled, in unbelief. And of course God uprooted them and dispersed them into the nations of the world. But, did He obliterate them as a nation of people? No way!
Everything that’s happening in the world today is a fulfilling of those promises that after they’d been dispersed into every nation in the world, that God would bring them back. And He’s been doing it. And He’s still doing it. And people are blind to that. I don’t see how anybody can miss it, that those Jews are there in that bustling, beautiful city of Jerusalem – unbelievable wasn’t it, you guys? I know you were shocked when we were there just a few weeks ago. It’s shocking how huge and how busy that city of Jerusalem has become. And the Arab world thinks they’re still going to run them into the sea? You know, as we were driving through the streets with all that traffic, I almost had to laugh within myself. Who do they think they’re kidding? Who brought them in there and gave them all this? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! There isn’t enough force in this whole world to oppose the God of Abraham. So, they’re there. This is what Paul is talking about. Yes, they stumbled when they rejected the Messiah, but they didn’t fall out of God’s program for the future.
“…God forbid: but rather through their fall (Through their unbelief, rejecting the Messiah, crucifying Him, and bringing about the resurrection and all that pertains to our Gospel – it was all because of Israel’s unbelief. So…) salvation is come to the Gentiles, for to provoke them (the Nation of Israel) to jealousy.” To think, that the God of Abraham is now turning to the Gentile world. All right, now verse 12, and just keep reminding yourself of what I’m saying. How can this be true if the Jew disappeared 1900 years ago? Then we might as well throw the Book away and go home.
“Now if the fall of them (Israel’s rejecting their Messiah.) be the riches of the world, (the whole world) and the diminishing of them (Their being taken out of their homeland and dispersed among the nations.) the riches of the Gentiles;…” Which is what happened because of the Gospel of Grace. It went out to the whole human race. Rich and full and free! Whereas, they’ve been diminished and have been blinded and are out in dispersion, up until now in our lifetime. Then look at the last question. If all of this is accomplished, what we’ve seen it accomplish, then:
“…how much more their (What?) fullness?” What’s that? When they will finally, in opened eyes of belief, see the return of their Messiah, the establishing of that earthly kingdom. That’s their fullness. It’s still in their future. Okay, now verse 13, Paul reminds us that he’s merely giving us all these facts concerning the Nation of Israel.
“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles,” And oh, people don’t want to swallow that. It just rankles them. Paul? I had someone tell me again the other day that they were trying to talk to one of their pastors, and the guy says, “Paul, we don’t even look at Paul. We don’t have a thing to do with him.” Well, that’s running rampant through Christendom. But Paul is the Apostle of the Gentiles, he’s God’s spokesman for us who are not Jews.
“…I magnify mine office. (Then the reason for his apostleship) 14. If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” All right, now here we come back to Israel again. We’ve got to move quickly.
“For if the casting away of them (Sending them out into the dispersion) be the reconciling of the world, (That is, the rest of the world. In other words, by Israel’s rejecting and bringing about the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah, that opened up the whole plan of salvation for the rest of the world. Well, if that act of unbelief has brought about such a response of salvation for so many Gentiles…) what shall the receiving of them be (back into the promises – What is it, but like what?) but life from the dead?” Well, isn’t that exactly what’s pictured back there in Ezekiel 37, the dry bones? The valleys are white with dry bones. Those are symbolic pictures of Jews out in the dispersion for these hundreds and hundreds of years. But what did Ezekiel see? The bones coming back to life. They hooked up together. They formed skeletons. Flesh came upon them. It was all a symbolic picture of the Jew coming back to his homeland and becoming once again a nation among the nations. And we’ve all seen it happen. And what is it? Like a miracle of resurrection itself, life from the dead. All right, now I’m going to come down to verse 17.
“And if some of the branches be broken off, (Which of course is what God did with the Jew when He sent them into dispersion.) and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them,…” Remember, he’s talking to us Gentiles being grafted in.
“…and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;” Well, what’s he talking about? This whole Book, from cover to cover, was written by what people? Jews! That’s why I maintain Luke couldn’t have been a Gentile. This Book was written by Jews. You and I are feasting on what God accomplished through the Jewish people.
On top of that, Jesus came to earth as a Jew. He went through His earthly ministry as a Jew under the Law. Anything He accomplished that had to be reported to the priest, what’d He tell them? Go show yourself to the priest, according to the Law. So, everything that you and I enjoy under this Age of Grace is because of Israel. You can’t take them out of the picture. I don’t care how hard they try. So, here we are. We’re boasting in the “root and the fatness of Abraham.”
Now then, verse 18, you and I as Gentile believers cannot get proud and puffed up and look down on the Jew and say, “Look what we’ve accomplished that you could have had and didn’t get.” No! We dare not do that.
“Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root (is bearing) thee.” Do you see what he’s saying? He’s telling you and I, as believers, don’t get proud and puffed up and act as though we’re the ones that have brought about Israel’s possibility for salvation someday. No. Israel’s still going to rest on those same roots and the tree that began with the Abrahamic Covenant. And one day it’s going to come back into full force, and the Nation of Israel will be blessed like they’ve never been blessed before. All right, now we’ll come down to verse 19. Again, Paul is talking to you and I as Gentiles. He says:
“Thou (as a Gentile) wilt say then, The branches were broken off, (That is, the Nation of Israel was taken out of the place of blessing.) that I might be graffed in.” Now, what’s the danger? That we’d get proud and puffed up and say, “See, you Jews were nothing.” There are a lot of people that try to say that. How does the average Muslim refer to a Jew? “He’s a pig. He’s less than human.” And a lot of Gentiles are just as bad. A lot in Christendom are just about as bad. But we dare not take that attitude. It’s got to be the other way around. We’ve been blessed to partake of these covenant promises, even though they’ve been set aside because of their unbelief.
“Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:” They were sent into dispersion. They were given that spirit of blindness. And God turned to the Gentile world through the Apostle Paul. All right, so now he’s reminding us. Don’t be high-minded, don’t get proud and puffed up, but you’d better have some reverential fear. In other words, we’d better understand how blessed we are because of Israel’s unbelief back there at the time of Christ’s earthly ministry.
“For if God spared not the natural branches,…” If He judged Israel because of their unbelief, do you think He’s going to shrink from judging the Gentile world because of their unbelief? Not for a minute! The world is getting closer every day.
You know, I was reminded the other day, by some company we had from a distant state, of how many multiple murders were taking place in their particular area of the country. But lo and behold the Daily Oklahoman had headline front-page news of four people murdered over here in southeast Oklahoma City. Now we’re finding out it’s almost epidemic across the country. Not single murders. Multiple! Multiple! All right, so he says here, be careful that we will not bring in His wrath and His judgment because of unbelief just like He did with Israel.
“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity;…” Here we come back to Israel again because of their unbelief. It was severe. Their city was destroyed. Their Temple was destroyed. Almost a million Jews lost their life in that Roman invasion. The rest were scattered into the nations of the world because of God’s wrath against them and their unbelief. But hey, is the Gentile world going to miss it? Not for a minute. Their judgment is coming, and it’s coming faster and faster every day. All right, so he says, don’t be like they were. Don’t stay in unbelief, but continue in his goodness, otherwise you too will be cut off. Now verse 23:
“And they also, (that is Israel) if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in (And what’s the word?) again.” Now goodness, you know plain English. If they’ve been taken away from the root and the fatness and they’re going to be grafted in again, what does that tell you? They’re going to come back into the place of blessing. How can they if they’ve disappeared from the scene? You see what a big lie the whole thing turns out to be? But they will be grafted in again. They will enjoy their Messiah at His Second Coming.
All right, now I’m going to, for sake of time, come all the way down to verse 25. What’s going to be the indication of all this?
“For I would not, brethren, (That is to you and I.) that ye should be ignorant of this mystery (secret), lest ye should be wise in your own conceits: that blindness in part (That is, for a period of time. It’s now been 1900 and some years.) is happened to Israel, until (And they still are, but it’s going to end one day. And when will that be?) the fullness of the Gentiles be come (is brought) in.” And what’s the fullness of the Gentiles? When the Body of Christ is complete and removed in the Rapture.
LESSON TWO * PART II
Various Pertinent Scripture References
Okay, good to see everybody back from their coffee break. We’re going to be ready to start in a different series with this lesson. Several programs back I mentioned that I was contemplating doing some of the “Buts” in Scripture, so the day has arrived. We’re going to start with that series in just a moment.
For those of you out in television, we want to remind you again how much we appreciate your financial help, your letters, your phone calls, and everything that’s an encouragement to us. We just thank you for it from the depths of our heart. And the other thing that always amazes me, I think 99 out of 100 of our letters start out, “Dear Les and Iris.” Now, you know as well as I do that Iris is never visible. She never says anything. How everybody knows she’s part and parcel of this I really don’t know, but they do. And we appreciate it, because she is a big part, even though she may not be that visible.
We’re going to start this series so turn with me to Genesis chapter 6. We’re going to start with one of the very first ones in Scripture. Be aware that whenever we use these little prepositional phrases, because after all the word “but” is a proposition in our English language, it always involves the Sovereignty of God. Had God not intervened, then things would have never gone as they have.
Now, I’ve mentioned on this program down through the years, that one of the most amazing things is that when God set everything in motion back there with the Creation and Adam and Eve in the Garden, He did not make the human race puppets on a string. The human race has been left with a free will, and yet, by His Sovereign design, everything has fallen into place exactly as God blueprinted it. Here we are 6000 years later and God is not a day behind or a day ahead. It’s amazing, how that the human race is left with a free will, and as I’ve said over and over – nations can form armies and navies, they can declare war, they can sign peace treaties, and yet everything is in accord with His purpose and design.
All right, now let’s start here at Genesis chapter 6. It’s the chapter that brings in Noah’s Flood. The first one we want to look at now is verse 8.
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Now, what were all of the previous events that brought in this Sovereign act of God? Well, let’s just rehearse for a minute. I don’t have to show you from Scripture, most of you know. As soon as Adam and Eve fall, Satan becomes the god of this world. The human race becomes sin-natured. From the very day that they come out of the Garden, even though there was an element that remained faithful to God and so forth, yet within 1600 years, which of course is a long time, the whole human race had degenerated to a corrupt condition. And that’s the word in Genesis chapter 6. All right, let’s go back to verse 5, and we’ll build up to verse 8.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart (That is, of every individual human being.) was only evil continually.” Now, can you put that in context? In other words, the human race, however many there were, I think in the area of four to five billion people by now. If you don’t believe me, jump on your computer you math people, and you start out with two people having children. Who knows how many, because they lived 900 years? You put that over a period of 1500-1600 years and you have no trouble whatsoever getting four billion people. Yet every one of them was consumed with wickedness and evil, and the primary one was murder. They were killing each other like we kill flies and thought nothing of it. So, this is when God had to come in and begin to look at the whole situation.
“And it repented the LORD (Now, that’s far different from what we mean repent in our New Testament. This merely means that He was sorry.) that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Because man’s made such a mess of it. But why did man make a mess of it? Because God left him with a free will. Had God made him a robot, it would have never happened, but we’re not robots. Nobody is. We all have that free will. So it was that their hearts were bent on wickedness, and God was sorry, and it grieved him at his heart that he had made the human race.
Well, I imagine all of us think of that at one time or another, don’t we? What must God have thought, even as He looks at the world today? I’m going to make the point here in just a minute that we are right back to where they were then. We’re not very far removed. All right, now look at verse 7.
“And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me (I am sorry) that I have made them.” In other words, He’s just going to destroy it all so to speak and seemingly start over. Now verse 8, here’s where we have to stop and think.
“But Noah…” Here God is ready to cleanse the planet of what He had created, “but” something intervenes. What is it? Here’s one man that is still remaining true to the Creator. He has not become involved with all the wickedness around him. Consequently, God condescended to this man because of his steadfastness in his behavior and his faith toward the Creator. Consequently, instead of destroying every last human being, God spared Noah and his family.
An act of God? Absolutely! A miracle? My, it is beyond human comprehension that out of the billions of people in the then known world, He’s got one man that has remained true to Himself. All right, now come down and you get a recap of the corruptness of what God was going to deal with. Come down to verse 11.
“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Now, I think we’re all aware that the term violence is when men kill men. And the earth really has never changed.
Since I’ve been laid up these last couple or three weeks with this hip replacement, I’ve been doing more reading than I usually do. So, I’ve been reading about Alexander the Great. Oh, Horrors! What an evil, wicked individual. He had no compunction about giving an order to kill thirty – forty thousand people. He had no compunction about his immorality. He was wicked to the hilt. And that’s up to within 300 years of the time of Christ. It’s been going down hill ever since.
All right, but here we’re at the time of Noah, when the earth is filled with every kind of immorality and wickedness, and then capping it all was the murder that was taking place every day. All right, now let’s tie that up with our New Testament account, if you will. Come all the way up to Matthew 24. Luke accounts for much the same as these, but this is the one I wanted.
Matthew 24 starting at verse 37 and we’re doing this to make folks aware of how we are right at the same place today in the world. I think God is giving some wake-up calls with some of these horrendous disasters.
“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” Now of course, you want to remember that whenever the four Gospel’s speak of the coming of Christ, it’s not talking about the Rapture that will happen just before the Tribulation begins as you and I think of it. Rather, it is talking about the Second Coming at the end of the seven years of Tribulation. Always remember that. Everything in the four gospels falls right in line with the Old Testament and Revelation, and it is all preparing the world for the Second Coming of Christ. All right, so remember that’s always seven years beyond when we as Church Age believers will be here.
“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. 39. And knew not…” They had no idea that such a judgment was coming. But should they have known? Yes, they should have. Because the 120 years previous to it, while Noah and his sons and probably extraneous hired help were building the ark, what were they also doing? They’re preaching. Judgment to come! Did anybody listen? No. Is it any different today? No. You could scream from the housetops, “Wake up. The end is coming!” What do they do? They scoff at you. “Whoever heard of such a thing? The end of the world? No, the world will always keep going.” Not according to this Book. So, here we have an indication that when you go back and see the scenario just before the flood and compare it with what today is, what have we got? Identical. A perfect parallel. All right, now read on.
“And knew not (They should have. Noah was preaching it to them.) until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” In other words, it’s going to be a horrendous loss of human life. How we felt for those poor people in Asia. However many hundred thousands that lost their lives. Some say a hundred some say three hundred. It doesn’t matter – but a tremendous loss of life. But listen, that’s just a drop in the bucket to what’s coming when the wrath of God will be poured out. I can’t help but remind people, is it His fault? No. The human race won’t listen. The human race will not turn from their sin and their wickedness. Instead, they’re going deeper and deeper into it.
My, I always tell my grandkids, you know, when I warn them about movies. I say, don’t think old Grandpa doesn’t know what’s going on in the world out there, because I read. I don’t go to the movie theaters, but I read and I read the movie critics. I read what kind of garbage our kids are looking at on the big screen, and so old Grandpa knows pretty much what’s going on out there. Now, I read an article again the other day in one of our national newspapers of what’s going on in some of our bigger city school systems. I wouldn’t even dare show it to my wife. She’d vomit. But it’s awful what they’re doing to our Junior High kids in these big city schools! Not all of them, but a lot of them. And what is it? It’s a sign of the times. They think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with exposing these little seventh and eighth graders to all this garbage. But listen, that’s the way it was at the time of the flood. And we’re there. The Lord Himself says that’s a sign of the end. All right, let’s read on, verse 40.
“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Now, I suppose a lot of you were like I used to be. I used to think this was the Rapture. No. Jesus couldn’t talk about the Rapture, because the Church hadn’t even been revealed yet. So, how could He talk about something that they aren’t even aware of existing. So, what’s He talking about? He’s talking about Jews, because that’s whom He’s talking to. So, there’d be two Jews working in the field. One will be taken and the other left. Raptured? No. He’s going to be taken to his doom and the other one will go into the Kingdom. One was a believer and the other was not.
“Two women shall be grinding at the mil; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Well, the one that’s taken is the unbeliever, because you see, it’s time for Christ’s return and the setting up of the Kingdom, and no unbelievers go into the Kingdom – only the believer. So, what’s He going to do? He’s going to cleanse the earth of every unbeliever so that only believers go in.
Now, if you need a little further definition of that, go to Matthew 25 if you think I’m stretching the point. Now, these are not Jews that Jesus is dealing with here. He’s dealing with surviving Gentiles who have come through the Tribulation and have become believers as a result of the 144,000’s preaching. Along with the believing Gentiles, there are unbelieving Gentiles. So, He’s going to separate them. The analogy is just like a shepherd separates goats from the sheep. All right, we’ll start at verse 31. I didn’t intend to do this.
“When the Son of man shall come in his (What?) glory,…” What are we talking about? The Second Coming. Not the Rapture. The Second Coming is when He will come to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne (as King) of his glory. (There in Jerusalem, on Mount Zion) 32. And before him shall be gathered all nations: (Survivors from around the planet. From every nation under heaven.) and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33. And he shall set the sheep (the believers) on his right hand, but the goats (the unbelievers) on the left. (Now, here’s how he separated them.) 34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, (the believer) Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit (or partake of) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” What’s the Kingdom? That earthly, heavenly Kingdom where Christ is going to rule and reign from Jerusalem. All right, what happens to the believers? They go as flesh and blood into that glorious, earthly Kingdom. That’s plain as day, isn’t it? All right, but now let’s pick up the goats, and I’ll skip all these verses in between. Verse 41.
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, (the unbelievers) Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” And then verse 46, just to make sure you understand what’s happening here. Whereas the believing element can go alive into the coming thousand-year reign of Christ, look what happens to those who are not believers.
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Now, you can’t make it any plainer than that, can you? I don’t see how you can. All right, now come back to chapter 24 and pick up what we’re talking about. So, those that are removed are the unbelievers in Israel, and the believers are going to be part and parcel of the promised Kingdom. All right, verse 42 and then we’ll go back to our account of Noah.
“Watch therefore: (be ready) for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” Well, even though they will be able to understand it’s pretty near the end of the seven years, yet they will not know exactly the day and hour the Lord will suddenly return. The righteous will go into the Kingdom, and the unbeliever will go to their lost estate.
Okay, let’s come back to Genesis chapter 6 for just a moment or two more and see why God had to destroy that whole creation of human beings and animal life, except those, of course, that went into the ark. But come back to verse 8, and these are the kind of prepositional phrases that we’re going to look at for the next few moments.
“But Noah…” In spite of everybody else going down the tube, one man and his family stayed true to the Creator God. And what a difference it made in all of human history. Because like I said, had it not been for Noah, what would God have had to do? Destroy the whole creation. But He had that little, tiny remnant of eight people from which he could start the whole ball of wax going once again. It was a tremendous point in time.
Okay, let’s pick up the next one in Genesis chapter 45. We’re going to come all the way up to the life of Joseph. Now, I had to do some sorting out, because you wouldn’t even be able to guess how many times the word ‘b-u-t’ is used in Scripture. Well, I won’t make you sit there and sweat it out, almost 4000. Thirty nine hundred and I think forty-five, if I remember right. You won’t even find them all in a Strong’s Concordance. All right, here’s another one, Genesis chapter 45. Again, I think I’ll do like I did with Noah, I’ll bring you over to where we have the word “But.” It’s in verse 8, where Joseph and his brothers have been brought into a knowledge of each other.
“So now (Joseph says) it was not you (It wasn’t you eleven men.) that sent me hither, (What are the next two words?) but God:…” But God. In the midst of this Jewish family young Joseph is starting to have dreams. Dreams that just utterly provoked his brothers. You mean we’re going to all bow down and worship you some day?
Then he had yet another dream, and he shared it with his brothers. Now wait a minute, you little, teenage scamp. You mean to tell us that one day not only are we going to fall down but even your mother and father? You remember what his dream was? That even the sun and the moon worshipped him. Well, as a result of all their anger, you know what happened. They sold Joseph into slavery, which of course was commonplace throughout the Middle East. Because I’ll say this without trepidation, and history proves it, the most famous slave traders the world has ever known has always been the Arab people. So, to whom, did the brothers sell their little brother Joseph? Ishmaelites. Arabs. And he ends up down in Egypt.
Again, you all know the life story of Joseph. How he spent years in the dungeon, and finally came out, and by God’s intervention, by God’s providence, Joseph became the second leading man in that Gentile nation. As a result of his place of authority, he saved the grain during the good years and had it for the lean years. All of which, by God’s design, one day the sons of Jacob would have to come to Egypt, hat in hand, asking for food. You know the story. How Joseph, of course, supplied their needs. He knew them, but they didn’t know him. Time goes by, and they run out of grain, and they have to come back to Joseph once again. This time, of course, Joseph reveals who he is.
Now, in the few minutes that are left, let us come back to chapter 45 in Genesis. We’ll start at verse 1, because this is what’s leading up to the “but God” that we’re looking at in verse 8. So, who’s in control of everything? God is! Everything! Yet did He take away the free will of these people? Not one whit. Now, you see what I’m driving at? How does God do it? I don’t know!
But even today He’s in control. I’m going to be speaking here on Saturday, mostly on prophecy. I’ll give you a little tidbit. We’re going to be looking at Ezekiel 38. In those nations listed that are going to invade Israel, under what we think will be Russia’s leadership, there is one crucial nation in the world’s news today that is not in there. I didn’t catch it until a couple of months ago, and I was just flabbergasted!
All the Middle Eastern nations are involved in that Russian invasion except one. Which one is it? Babylon. Which is what? Iraq! Iraq won’t be in that invading force. Now, I have to set up and take notice. Do you suppose that’s why we were led to go in and clean up the government in Iraq. I think so! Something’s going to happen over there that’s going to boggle our minds before it’s all over, because God has something intrinsically on His mind. Otherwise, why did we invade Iraq when we should probably have gotten Syria or Iran? But according to Biblical prophecy, Iraq is the nation that’s not in that war. Well anyhow, we’re going to be looking at that in more detail Saturday in our seminar.
But see, God is in control of everything. So, here these men come the second time for their sacks of grain
“Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. 2. And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. 3. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled (They were fearful.) at his presence. (Because, after all, Joseph is the second top man in Egypt.) 4. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.” He’s not going to let them forget that. But now Joseph, with the heart of a believer, the heart of a godly man, says:
“Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.” See that? God caused them to sell him into slavery. Now verse 6:
“For these two years (they are in the famine time) hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. 7. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8. So now it was not you, that sent me hither, but God:…” This is what we want to see in all these “but God’s” as we come up through Scripture, how a Sovereign God is always in total control.
LESSON TWO * PART III
Various Pertinent Scripture References
Okay, again we want to thank you so much. My, I asked Cheryl again this morning, “Cheryl, is the bank account okay?” And she said, “Nothing to worry about.” So, we just praise the Lord! Because you’ve got to remember, most of our contributions are $25 and $50 bucks, and that takes a ton of people to keep us on the air. All we can do is just say thank you, and thank you, Lord, because the response is just phenomenal. I think I shared it with you a while back that we came to the conclusion that most of our primary responders are men. We are reaching so many men from 25 to 75 years of age, who never had spiritual interest, and they are just elated. They just can’t say enough how everything has changed their lives.
Now, I don’t take credit for it. It’s the Lord that does it. But nevertheless, we’ve been the vehicle the Lord has seen fit to use. So, continue to pray for us. And pray for our listening audience, that hearts will be open, because I’m so confident in what we teach, because we simply take what the Book says.
In fact, I guess I can give an illustration before we start. I had a gentleman call from, I think it was West Palm Beach, Florida, some time ago. He was a very devout, religious, young man, forty-two years old. He said, “I have never missed going to church, and I’ve always been devout, but I caught your program for the first time today, and by the end of the program I was believer, and was out of my dead, religious church.”
He says, “Now, don’t get the bighead. You didn’t do it. It was the Word of God that was on the screen.” So, I don’t know what verses it was we used, but the Lord directed it to his heart. You know, it doesn’t take six months to get saved when God is in it! These are the kinds of responses we get, and we just give the Lord the credit for all of it.
Okay, let’s pick up where we left off in our series, for however long it takes, when God moves in with the three-letter word “B-U-T.” But God or But Noah, as we saw in the last lesson. To begin this lesson, turn to the Book of Ruth, chapter 1. We’ve got much the same scenario as we had in Genesis 6. It’s “but Ruth.” So, go down to verse 14, and then we’ll go back and look at the background.
“And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clave (or hung on) unto her (her mother-in-law).” Well, by itself that doesn’t tell us much, so we need background, don’t we?
All right, now when you go back through chapter 1, and we’re not going to take time to read it all verse by verse, this little Jewish family of Elimelech, Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, had left Israel because of hard times and famine in the land. They went down into Moab. Now, if you know your Middle Eastern Old Testament geography, Moab was over on the east side of the Dead Sea, on the southern end. So, they either had to go around the south end of the Dead Sea to get to Moab, or they had to go around the north end. Nevertheless, they ended up in that Arab nation of Moab, which was a taboo for Jews. They were to have nothing to do with the Moabites.
But here we have this Jewish family, in complete opposition to the laws of Israel, finding themselves down in Moab. All right, we find that after they get to Moab that in verse 3:
“And Elimelech, Naomi’s husband died;…” Now, Naomi is left alone with her two sons, and they, contrary again to all the laws and traditions of Israel, married Moabite women. All right, in verse 4 we find these two sons:
“And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.” Which, in any period of time, is a long time. All right, so the ten years go by, verse 5:
“And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. 6. Then she arose with her daughters-in-law, (both of them) that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited His people in giving them bread.” In other words, the famine had ended up in Israel, and things were prospering once again. So now she sees fit to go back to her homeland, with the idea that she would leave her daughters-in-law in Moab.
“Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. (Which, of course, is the southern area of Israel. It’s the area around Jerusalem and Bethlehem.) 8. And Naomi said unto her two daughters-in-law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, (That is her sons.) and with me.”
“The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. (Now after all, you know, they’ve been family for ten years or more.) 10. And they (the girls of Moab, Ruth and Orpah) said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.” That is the Jews, Israel.
“And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in womb, that they may be your husbands? 12. Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also tonight, and should also bear sons; 13. Would ye tarry for them till they were grown?” Now, you want to remember that some of these old customs in antiquity were beyond our imagination, because they would necessarily wait for a replacement son to be born and finally become a husband to replace one that’s been lost.
“Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? Would ye stay for them from having husbands? Nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. 14. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; (She’s going to go back home to Moab.) but Ruth…” But Ruth! Now listen, there’s more there than meets the eye, because where does Ruth end up? In the genealogy of Jesus Christ! Ruth becomes part and parcel of the line of David. So, who’s behind it all? The Sovereign God! Isn’t it amazing! He’s in control of even marriage relationships. Here we have a woman from a taboo place such as Moab, yet by God’s grace she comes into a relationship with a Jewish family. So, she and her mother-in-law, two widows now, go back to the homeland of Israel. All right, now verse 16.
“And Ruth said, (contrary to what Naomi is insisting) Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest I will lodge: thy people (Israel, remember.) shall be my people, (And here’s the crowning part of all.) and thy God my God.”
Now, who was the god of Moab? Idols. They were idolaters. They had no knowledge of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So, here comes the pagan lady, Ruth, embracing the God of Israel, again by faith, and she goes on then to promise:
“Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. 18. When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. 19. So they two went until they came to Bethlehem.”
Now, you all know of course that Bethlehem is one of the key little towns in all of Israel – the House of Bread.
“…And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? 20. And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. 21. I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home empty:…” Well, that’s what she thought, but she didn’t come back empty. She came back with a daughter-in-law that would fall right in line with the line of King David. So, verse 22:
“So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.” Now, I think you all know the story of Ruth. How they had no real means of support, so Ruth becomes a gleaner in the grain fields. One of the fields that she happened to glean in was the field of Boaz, who was a next of kin. So, when the time comes for God’s providence to be put into play, Ruth not only becomes a gleaner in the field of Boaz, but also actually ends up being his wife. Then, of course, from the line of Boaz and Ruth, we have, if I remember correctly, Obed and then Jesse and then King David.
But the point is, it wasn’t just human beings operating under their own free will, but who’s behind it all? The God of Creation. I don’t think it’s a bit different today. I think that we’re left to the free will. Everything that happens isn’t God directing us like a puppet, and yet He is so aware of every facet of our life that He can control it in His own way of controlling. You know, I always remind people that if you’re a believer today, just look back and can’t you see how God has been maneuvering things all the way along? Of course He does. It’s beyond our comprehension how God can leave us with a free will and yet get us exactly where He wants us. So remember this, not only was it “But Noah.” Not only was it “But God” in the case of Joseph. But now, even in the case of this Moabitess young lady, “But Ruth,” by Providential guidance, stayed with her mother-in-law and became part of the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Okay, let’s go to another one of these key “buts” in Scripture. Let’s go to I Chronicles chapter 28 verse 3, and we’re going to come now to King David. Again for a little recap, when the Tabernacle was constructed out in the wilderness during those forty years, they carried it from place to place by taking it down and with staves were able to carry it on the shoulders of men. So, the Tabernacle makes its way all the way up to an area north of Jerusalem. King David, with all of his power and his pomp and his circumstance, was always rather upset that the house of God at which Israel worshipped was still just a little tent up there in the mountains. How much more appropriate would it be to have worship in a beautiful temple, I suppose much like the pagan temples of David’s day. So it was just a heart’s desire of David to build a temple that could house the Ark of the Covenant.
All right, so now we’ve come to I Chronicles chapter 28 and verse 3, and we find our two key words again, and what are they? “But God.” King David had power. He had pomp. He had wealth. “But God.” All right, let’s jump back to verse 1.
I Chronicles 28:1a
“And David assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the captains of the companies that ministered to the king by course,…” In other words, that’s what I mean by pomp and circumstance. All of his servants that waited on him were surrounding him because, after all, he was the king! This included his military leaders and his captains.
I Chronicles 28b
“…and the captains over the thousands, and captains over the hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possession of the king,…” Now, I don’t think I have to remind you that David was at the pinnacle of Israel’s history. Solomon takes it a little further, but David is the one who brought Israel to the very peak of her historical significance as a nation among the nations. All right, so they’re practicing much the same thing as the Gentiles around them.
I Chronicles 28:1c-2
“…and of his sons, with the officers, and with the mighty men, and with all the valiant men, unto Jerusalem. 2. Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, (with all of my power) I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building:” He had everything at his disposal. He had the wealth. He had the manpower. He had already bought the threshing floor from the Canaanites, and he’s now ready to build a permanent temple dwelling place for the Ark of the Covenant and the place of worship of the God of Abraham.
I Chronicles 28:3
“But God said unto me, (God intervenes! And what does He says? Oh no, David, not so fast. I’m not going to let you build my Temple. Why?) Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.” He’s shed blood by the gallons. Verse 4:
I Chronicles 28:4a
“Howbeit the LORD God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever:” Now, there’s a thought provoking word, isn’t it? How long will Israel’s kingship go? Into eternity! For Christ is referred to as the what? The Son of David. So, when He returns and sets up His kingdom in Jerusalem, yes, it’ll be God the Son, but He’s still going to be referred to as the Son of David. So, when David speaks of his kingship going on into the foreverness of eternity, it wasn’t loosely spoken, because that is exactly what it will be.
I Chronicles 28:4b
“…for He hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father, He liked me to make me king over all Israel:” Now, not only did David come out of the House of Judah, but who else? Jesus Christ Himself is of the House of Judah, and that’s why it’s a likely line of Kings from David right on up to the Lord Himself.
I Chronicles 28:5
“And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many son,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.” So Solomon now becomes the one that will build the Temple for the Lord there in Jerusalem. But again, in spite of all of David’s power, in spite of all of his clout, in spite of all of his wealth, who was Sovereign? God was. “But God” intervened and David couldn’t even begin to lay the first brick of a temple, because God overruled.
All right, let’s look at the next one before our time is up. Go with me to Jonah chapter 4 verse 7, and what are the first two words? “But God.” Of all places, here in this little book of Jonah, “But God.” What does that mean? Again, He moves in providentially, contrary to good human sense. God does something that would seem ridiculous. Well, what’s He doing? He’s teaching a lesson, even through the acts of this man Jonah.
All right, now we have to go all the way back again and recap. What had happened? Well, God had instructed Jonah to go to this wicked Gentile city of Nineveh and preach salvation to them. But now remember, I’ve been stressing over the years of my teaching that when God was dealing with Israel, what was to be their attitude to the rest of the Gentile world? They were to have nothing to do with them. As we saw with Ruth. They were not to intermarry with a Gentile. They weren’t to try to evangelize them. They were to have nothing to do with them socially or spiritually. It was strictly taboo.
But okay, now in the case of Jonah, what does God do? He said, “Jonah, I want you to go to that wicked city of Nineveh and I want you to preach to them.” Now, I imagine Jonah had the Old Testament mentality that the Twelve had in the New Testament. So, let’s go up to the New Testament before we look at Jonah. Go up to Matthew chapter 10, and people are shocked when they see this verse, especially since it’s from the lips of the Lord Jesus Himself. I’ve had people call and tell me they showed it to their preacher, and it made him mad. They don’t want to believe this. Well, then they’ve got problems, because it’s the Lord Himself that’s speaking.
Look what He says in Matthew 10. Now remember, I’ve got Jonah in the back of my mind, and I want you to have Jonah in the back of your mind, because nothing has changed. This was the mentality of Israel from day one. All right, Matthew 10, at the beginning of His earthly ministry, Jesus has just chosen the Twelve, now verse 5.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, (See that? Don’t you have a thing to do with Gentiles.) and into any city of the Samaritans, (Who were half-breed Jews.) enter ye not: 6. But, go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” That’s the way it was from the day that Abraham was called out of the Ur of the Chaldees. Have nothing to do with those Gentiles around them.
Now you see, the reason was because the whole then-known world’s population was steeped in vicious, satanic idolatry. And God knew that if He would permit His chosen people to begin to intermarry and intersperse and have intercourse with them through whatever area of life, it would destroy the Nation’s spiritual purity. So, they were to have nothing to do with the Gentile world.
All right, now let’s go back to Jonah. Jonah is a good Jew who has been told and taught to have nothing to do with a Gentile. Yet here the Lord says in verse 2 of chapter 1 of the little book of Jonah:
“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, (Gentile city) and cry against it; (Why?) for their wickedness is come up before me.” But God, in grace now, is going to send a Jew with a message of salvation.
“But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish…” Now Tarshish, I think most agree, was probably a reference to Spain, at the western end of the Mediterranean. Nineveh is east! So, when God tells Jonah to go east to Nineveh, Jonah, thinking he’s a good, obedient Jew goes west on the Mediterranean. You’ve heard me refer to this over and over. When he gets out on the Mediterranean and the ship starts having trouble, Jonah would rather walk the plank as go to a Gentile city. That was a typical Jewish response. But again, God is going to intervene. So Jonah, after being swallowed by the great fish, is spit up on the shore – a picture of death, burial, and resurrection, of course. And he goes to Nineveh, and he preaches salvation. And again the Lord told him in chapter 3.
“And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, 2. Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. 3. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.” It was one of the biggest cities in the ancient world. So, as a result of Jonah’s preaching, the city of Nineveh repents and experiences God’s goodness and grace.
All right, now if you know the story of Jonah, in his pouting response to God’s being gracious to Nineveh, he goes out and sits in the heat of the desert sun. But God springs a gourd up, and it becomes an umbrella for him and shields him from the heat of the day. Now then, as he’s enjoying the shade of that great gourd:
“But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.” God intervenes sovereignly, again. He prepares a worm that kills the gourd. Where does that leave Jonah? Without a shade tree. Well, what was the lesson? I think the lesson is, no matter where God is telling Jonah to go or what to do, God is providential and He is sovereign, and He can do whatever He wants, including taking away his shade tree.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
Various Pertinent Scripture References
Good to have everyone still with us for the fourth program this afternoon. We’re ready to move on to another in this series of “But God” and in this case it’s “But the just.” That’s in Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 1.
“I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. 2. And the LORD (Now these guys are prophets, and they have communication with the Lord.) answered me, and said, Write the vision, (That he sees. Put it down, translate it into words.) and make it plain upon tables, (and other writing tablets as we would call it) that he may run that readeth it.” In other words, as the person is running to take this vision to someplace else, he can read as he goes.
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time,…” What does that tell you? Who’s in control? God is! He’s in control of everything. Even this vision, when it comes to its fulfillment, is going to be providential.
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. 4. Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: (Here comes our word.) but the just shall live by his (What?) faith.” Now, I’m sure you’ve all heard that statement, and you probably never knew where it came from, but here it is back in a little Old Testament minor prophet, “the just shall live by faith.”
Now, I know a lot of people think that when I keep emphasizing Paul, that this whole idea of faith plus nothing is unique only to Paul’s teaching. No, not necessarily. Faith has always been the key. God’s grace has always been prevalent. You can go all the way back to Adam and Eve when they were hiding the bushes in the Garden, what prompted God to go and find them? His Grace! He could have just said, well, be gone with them. But He didn’t. So, His Grace prompted him to deal with Adam and Eve and bring them back from a place of broken fellowship. When God promised Eve that she would be the mother of all living, Adam’s faith caused him to consequently name her what? Eve. The very act of naming the woman Eve was a manifestation of Adam’s faith. When God saw Adam’s faith, He performed the animal sacrifice, it restored them to fellowship, and they were on their way to everlasting life.
So, all the way up through the Old Testament, you can’t leave faith out of the picture. It’s tantamount. It’s an absolute. We talked about it the other night. The absolutes that I use from the Book of Hebrews, “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” You go a little further in chapter 11 verse 6, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” It’s an absolute! Yet, how many of even Christendom think they can just go into heaven according to tradition. No. It has to be based on our faith.
All right, keep your hand in Habakkuk. I’m not through here, let’s turn to Romans chapter 4. Romans chapter 4 and you remember how Paul loves to use Abraham as an example. Here we have another one in Romans chapter 4 starting in verse 1.
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, (Now remember, Paul is a Jew and he speaks here as a Jew looking back at his national background.) as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? (Here it comes.) 2. For if Abraham were justified by works,…” That’s most of Christendom. It’s all of the rest of the religions of the world. They’re all based on what they do. They aren’t basing anything on their faith alone, but this Book, alone, teaches justification by faith.
“For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; (Or, I always say, to brag or boast.) but not before God. 3. For what saith the scripture? (What does the Word of God say? Well, it says…) Abraham believed God,…” What’s the other word for believing? Faith. So, it was Abraham’s faith that brought him out of the Ur of the Chaldees, steeped in idolatry and pagan worship, and he came out of that by believing what God said.
“…and it (his faith) was counted (or imputed, or accounted) unto him for (What?) righteousness.” He didn’t do a thing. Circumcision hadn’t had anything to do with it. The Law hadn’t been brought in yet. He does nothing but believe what God says. And that’s what God’s looking for today. It hasn’t changed. The only thing that changes is what we are to believe. Now, of course, we believe for salvation that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He arose again the third day and imparts eternal life to us. When? When we believe it, as we see in I Corinthians 15:1-4.
All right, now jump ahead with me a minute all the way up to I Thessalonians, because when I spoke of Abraham’s coming out of paganism I couldn’t help but think of this verse. The Thessalonians, now that’s a little city up north of Athens, Greece. After reading about Alexander the Great, I can appreciate it all the more. Do you know that every day that went by that rascal sacrificed to his gods and goddesses? And if he was about ready to go into a big battle, he would sacrifice animals by the dozens. To whom? Pagan gods and goddesses.
All right, these Greeks in Thessalonica were no different, but look what happened. I Thessalonians chapter 1 verse 9 where Paul is writing a commendation of their faith, and how the rest of Greece was admiring these Thessalonians. That’s what he’s talking about, “For they themselves (the fellow Greeks) show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you.” In other words, when he came into the city of Thessalonica, steeped in idolatry, with nothing but the Grace of God, no great, big pomp and circumstance, no great, big campaign, no great, big advertising. The little fellow came into the city preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God. And look what happened.
I Thessalonians 1:9
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;” But what caused them to turn from idols to the true God? Their faith! They believed Paul’s salvation message.
So it has always been and will be up until the end and especially for us now in this Age of Grace. We’ve got to constantly tell good people, “Listen, you’re not going to gain heaven’s gate by works or religion or church. You’re going to gain it by believing Paul’s Gospel.” And that’s all Paul knows. Believe. Believe. Believe – which is the other word for faith. All right, now let’s come back to Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 4. I want you to have these things hammered into your thinking.
“…but the just shall live by his faith” The person that’s been made right with God. Whether it’s Old Testament, whether it’s Christ’s earthly ministry, or whether it’s this Age of Grace, it has to be based on our faith. Now granted, these people back here didn’t believe in a death, burial, and resurrection. It hadn’t happened yet. It was still something kept in the mind of God. So, what were they to believe? What God told them!
You know, I’ve had a hard time getting some people to understand that. Faith is when you take God at His Word. We’ve already looked at Noah. What was Noah’s manifestation of faith? He built the Ark. That’s all! That’s over simplifying, it took him 120 years! But nevertheless, by faith Noah built the Ark. What does that mean? That’s what God told him to do. God didn’t tell him anything about a Roman cross. God didn’t tell him anything about Ten Commandments. God just said, “Build an Ark.” What’d Noah do? He believed it, and he built the Ark.
All right, now same way with this prophet, he has no knowledge of death, burial, and resurrection. But what does he know? He knows that the God of Abraham is the God of righteousness. He’s the God who is imparting this vision to him, and he takes it by faith. Okay, let’s go on to one more yet, and I imagine this will just about shoot the time.
Let’s jump up to Matthew chapter 13 verse 57 a moment and we’re in Christ’s earthly ministry. Well, let’s go up to verse 53. The “but” is down in verse 57, where it says, “…and they were offended in him, but Jesus…” Now, of course, He’s God so it doesn’t make that much difference.
“And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.” In other words, He left the area where He’d been ministering. Now He comes into His own country of Nazareth. Those of you, who were with us a few weeks ago, you remember Nazareth, don’t you? Up in the hill country in northern Israel.
“And when he was come into his own country, (Nazareth) he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, (Now, this is unbelievable. These people knew who He was. But they did not recognize who He really was.) Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55. Is not this the carpenter’s son?” Now, you got the picture? These citizens of Nazareth knew who He was. He grew up in their midst. Yet, they couldn’t comprehend who He really was. So, they’re confused.
“Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? (They’ve got everything straight.) and his brethren, (His half brothers) James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? (Those were all sons of Joseph and Mary that followed the birth of Christ.) 56. And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?” Why is He so different from the rest of the family? Shouldn’t they have known?
Shouldn’t they have known from the very beginning that God was going to come by way of virgin? It’s in their Old Testament. You know the verse back in Isaiah, “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a man child.” And they couldn’t put two and two together? Sad isn’t? But you know what? It’s no different today. You can show people what this Book says. It’s plain English. It’s so simple a third grader can understand it. And yet, with all their theological background and all of their preparation and their study, they can’t see it. Human nature really doesn’t change, does it?
“And they were offended in him. (Why be offended because He is showing such supernatural tendencies? But they couldn’t handle it.) But Jesus…” I suppose He could have gotten His ire up. He could have gotten angry. He could have chastised them. He could have judged them. He could have done any number of things with them, because after all, He could calm the wind on Galilee. He could call Lazarus from out of the tomb. So, use your imagination. What could He have done with His fellow Nazarenes? But He didn’t.
“But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, (Now, that’s a double negative. So, you put it in a straight positive.) A prophet has no honor (Where?) in his own country, and in his own house.” True today? It’s still true today. “A prophet has no honor in his own country or in his own environs and in his own house.” Now verse 58.
“And he did not many mighty works there (Why?) because of their unbelief.” It’d be like casting pearls before the swine. It wouldn’t have done any good. He could have performed miracle after miracle, and those people of Nazareth would have never believed it. Why? Because He grew up in the carpenter’s shop. He was a son of one of the families in town, Joseph and Mary. They never had the wherewithal, through the eyes of faith, to see who He really was.
Now you know, I can’t repeat things often enough, it seems, because the questions still keep coming. Now, since you’re in Matthew, anyway, I’m going to take you to chapter 16 verse 13. Because this was all Jesus was looking for from the Jews of His day. We call it the Gospel of the Kingdom – the Good News that the King was in their midst. He was in a position to bring in the Kingdom, if they would only believe it and take it by faith. This is what He was looking for in Nazareth and never found.
Matthew 16 verse 13 – those of you here in my class in Oklahoma, we use it over and over and over. But some out in television have probably never seen it before.
“When Jesus came into the coasts (borders) of Caesarea Philippi, (Which is way up in northern Israel at the headwaters of the Jordan River, the foot of Mount Herman.) he asked the disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” Now, stop and think a minute. Isn’t that exactly what He could have asked His own family? You know that I’m the son of Joseph and Mary, but who am I? Who am I really? Could they have answered? No. They didn’t have a clue. But see here, the Twelve give us the perfect reason why the family in Nazareth was no different than the whole Nation.
“And they said, (That is, the Twelve.) some say you’re John the Baptist:…” Now look at this! Just consider, after three years, what the rank and file of the Nation of Israel was thinking concerning Jesus of Nazareth, after all of His miracles.
“…some say you’re Elijah, and others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. (Ridiculous, isn’t it? Now, He comes back to the eleven.) He saith unto them, But whom do you say that I am?” Do you fellows know? All right, and Simon Peter, usually the spokesman for the Twelve speaks.
“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, (the Messiah) the Son of the living God.” Was Peter right on? Yes. That’s all the Lord was looking for. Who am I? You’re the Christ! The Son of the Living God. Now, look at verse 17.
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: (That’s another name for Peter.) for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” So, what did it take? It took a manifestation of a person of the Godhead to even help Peter understand who He really was. Now, in this case, the Holy Spirit is not the functioning person of the Godhead. It came from God the Father. Now, had this taken place later, then we could have had the Holy Spirit show Peter as He does us. But in this case it’s God the Father that had revealed to Simon Peter who Jesus really was. We can take you on through Scripture, and I think we will. We’ll just go on through and see how, over and over, some of these Jews understood who He was.
Let’s jump ahead to John’s Gospel, to chapter 11. John’s Gospel chapter 11, Lazarus, at his death and all that accompanied it. Lazarus had died, and Jesus is making His way back to Mary and Martha’s home.
“Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. 21. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. (Well, that’s certainly plausible enough.) 22. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24. And Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believeth thou this? 27. She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: (Now, watch this and compare it to what Peter just said back in Matthew 16.) I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” Was Jesus satisfied with her answer? Absolutely!
This is all He was asking. But the Nation as a whole was so blind to who He was, that they could not even come close to recognizing this kind of a confession of faith. That, of course, gave rise to the multitudes crying, “Crucify Him. Kill Him. We’ll not have this man to rule over us.” So what was their basic problem? They couldn’t believe who He was.
And all the way through Scripture – let’s turn to Acts chapter 8. We better do this one quickly. Acts chapter 8 – here we have Philip dealing with the Ethiopian eunuch on his way back from Jerusalem to Ethiopia. You all know the account. The Holy Spirit is now operating. This is in the Book of Acts, and the Spirit tells Philip to go up to this chariot and help this poor Ethiopian eunuch, who, of course, I have thought was a Jew in the employ of the Ethiopian government, which is not at all out of Old Testament criteria. But whatever. The eunuch is reading in the book of Isaiah.
“Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. Philip does. Jump down to verse 32.
“The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: (Isaiah 53) And then verse 34.
“And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35. Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. (In other words, he explains graphically who this prophet is writing about.) 36. And as they went on their way, they come unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, here’s water, what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37. And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. (And look at the eunuch’s answer.) And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
LESSON THREE * PART I
BUT GOD – (Kingdom of God)
Again, we like to thank our television audience for your letters and your prayers. My, as I’ve said over and over, our mail time is getting more thrilling all the time. Now, I have to share this with my whole nation-wide audience. The other day, five phone calls in a row were from men. Men are responding to our teaching I think, far more than anybody else, and they all say the same thing. They never had an interest before. A lot of them will say, “I never even went to church, but I caught your program and it has totally changed my life.” That’s the kind of responses we’re getting. So, we just praise the Lord, and for you gentlemen out there, we just say keep it up! Keep sharing the Word as you learn it.
Okay, I think we’re ready to get back into our study of the “But Now’s & But God,” whatever the case may be. All right, Matthew chapter 6 and we’re in Christ’s earthly ministry. If you have a red-letter edition, this is just about all red, the whole page. These are all words of Christ during His earthly ministry. I have stressed over and over and over that Jesus always spoke only to the Jew, with two exceptions, under the Law and with no indication of going to the Gentiles with what we call the Gospel of Grace. It’s just not in here. So, be aware of that as we study the words of the Lord Jesus Himself.
All right Matthew chapter 6, the verse that we want to find (the “But seek”) is verse 33, but let’s go back and see how Jesus builds up to that statement. Let’s go all the way back to verse 28, you can just about jump in on any of these because they’re all dealing with the same thing. Jesus says to His listeners, who are Jews:
“And why take ye thought for raiment? (or what your wear) Consider the lilies of the field, and how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Lilies) 30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, (or it just disappears) shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:)…” Now, if you know how to read, what does that statement right there tell you? He’s talking to Jews! He’s using Gentiles as an outside example. Now, the casual reader will just go right through that and never recognize it. But see, He’s talking to Jews, and He’s using those outside Gentiles as an example of how they are not to be. So He says, “Don’t be like those Gentiles. Be different.”
“(For after all these thing do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father…” Now, the Gentiles couldn’t say that. The Gentiles didn’t call God their Father. The only gods they had were the idols and the pagan, mythological gods and goddesses. They didn’t know the God of the Bible. This all points this out.
“…for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33. But (Now, here it comes, here’s what we’re building up to. Here’s the flipside. But instead of being all concerned about earthly and material and physical things…) seek ye first the kingdom of God,…” Not ONLY, you can’t just live on spiritual things in this old world. You still have to work. You still have to make a living. You have to provide for your family. We’re going to show all this in just a minute. But the order of priorities is what we’re talking about. Your first priority, Jesus says, should be to “seek the kingdom of God.”
Now, I’m going to stop right there, and I don’t know how long I’ll be on this. It’ll be a while. You hear so much today, “We’ve got to fill up the Kingdom. We’ve got to work for the Kingdom.” Well, that’s all okay up to a point. But you see, our number one priority is not the Kingdom of God as Jesus is presenting it to Israel.
Now, I think most of you and most of you even out in my television audience realize that you’ve got two references to kingdoms. One is the Kingdom of Heaven and the other one is the Kingdom of God. I get question after question, so I know that people are concerned about it. Are they both the same or are they different? What’s the deal? Why do we hear the Kingdom of Heaven on one hand and the Kingdom of God on the other?
Well, if I’d have thought of it, I would have brought a chalk with a string on it so I could draw a nice circle on the board, but since I didn’t I’m not going to. So, you’ll have to picture them in your mind. Just draw one large circle on your notepad. We’ll call that the Kingdom of God, because the Kingdom of God is that whole sphere of God’s Sovereignty over which He is in total control, which would include the heavens, the angelic hosts, all believers from day one until the end. Anytime you and I talk about things concerning the Word of God, it’s concerning the Kingdom of God, because it’s under His Sovereign grace and control. And so anytime that we have anything spiritual it pertains to the Kingdom of God. It’s that area where He is in intrinsic Sovereign control.
Now, on the other hand, the Kingdom of Heaven is in that circle that you have now labeled the Kingdom of God. So, draw another circle inside the big one. Here you have the Kingdom of Heaven. Then you can put a third circle over there and we’re going to come to that after awhile called the Body of Christ. Now, it’s the Body that you and I should be concerned about filling up today – not the Kingdom, necessarily. We’re never going to get that filled anyway. But we can work toward the filling of the Body of Christ, which is in the Kingdom of God. It’s part of God’s domain. Of course it is!
But all right, now in order to designate the Kingdom of Heaven, as we see it almost entirely in Matthew, and how the Kingdom of Heaven can sometimes be referred to as the Kingdom of God, because it is; it’s within that sphere of God’s influence. In fact, let me give you an example right here. Keep your hand in Matthew and go to Acts. Let’s go to Acts chapter 1, and I think this can probably explain it as well as anything. Acts chapter 1 and verse 3 – now, this is the Lord Jesus meeting with the Eleven after His resurrection, at the end of the forty days of His being with the Eleven until He will ascend back to Glory.
“…unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3. To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them (That is the Eleven in particular.) forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God:” But all right, what kingdom were the Twelve, or the Eleven, what were they really interested in? The earthly Kingdom of Heaven that Christ was one day going to set up!
All right, so here I think the “Kingdom of God” is a direct reference to the earthly Kingdom of Heaven, even though it’s called the Kingdom of God. Now, why do I think so? Go on over to verse 6 in this same chapter.
“When they therefore were come together, (That is Jesus and the Eleven.) they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Now, what kingdom are they talking about? The earthly Kingdom! That earthly Kingdom that’s been promised ever since, you might say, the call of Abraham. The day that would come when God the Son, the Messiah of Israel, would return to the planet and establish His throne room in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, and He would rule over an earthly, authoritarian Kingdom.
Now, I know that most of Christendom is just blank on this. I had a lady call from Texas yesterday, and she’s been in one of our major denominations, I suppose, most of her life She said, “Les, why, why haven’t we been taught this before?” She said, “I never heard of such a thing until I started watching your program.” I said, “Well, you’re not alone. That’s most of church people.” But this is the whole Biblical concept, that everything is moving to the day when Christ will return, not just to end everything but to establish an earthly kingdom, with flesh and blood people, with animals, kids, children, and homes.
But it’s going to be like Heaven, because Satan is off, and there’s no sin and no death. It’s going to be a glorious earthly Kingdom. Now, that’s the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s in the Kingdom of God, because it’s in God’s Sovereignty. Of course it is. Here is a good example that if you see the term ‘the Kingdom of God,’ look at it in the text in which it is located. Is it talking about the earthly Kingdom, or it is talking about that invisible sphere of God’s influence. It’s not that hard to do. This is a good example.
All right, let’s go back to the Old Testament and see how the concept of this earthly Kingdom begins to unfold. Go back first with me to Daniel chapter 2. I’m going to take my time on this because, like I said, we get so many questions from our television audience about these two Kingdoms. There is so little understanding amongst Christendom of this earthly Kingdom over which Christ will rule and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But the Old Testament is full of that. That’s what Israel was looking for, if they had any understanding of Scripture at all.
Daniel chapter 2 and I might as well start at verse 31. I might as well share with my television audience what I shared with the studio audience. I was contemplating winding up my producing programs with this program, and since it’s at the end of a book, it’d be a good time to stop. Then I mentioned that to a few people and they said, “No way!” So, I’ve decided we’ll keep on going for a while longer. Because, after all, I’m not getting any younger, all of you out in television know that. But anyway, now I’m not going to be in a big sweat. I was trying to wind everything up by the end of this afternoon. But we’ll keep going for a while.
Daniel chapter 2 starting at verse 31 and he’s addressing King Nebuchadnezzar about his dream. Daniel says to Nebuchadnezzar:
“Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. (or a likeness) This great image, whose brightness was excellent, (or frightening, or terrifying) stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible (frightening).” Now, you’ve got to use a little imagination. Nebuchadnezzar sees a huge likeness of a man, probably a military type. All right and now he says in verse 32.
“This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast (his shoulder area) and his arms were of silver, his belly (or his torso) and his thighs of brass. 33. His legs of iron, his feet part iron and part of clay.” Now, have you got the picture? We’ve done this in prophecy more than once. Here Nebuchadnezzar sees this humongous statue in the likeness, like I say, probably of a military figure, with a head of gold, a chest of silver, a belly of brass, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay. There it stood.
Now, we know from the rest of Scripture that it was a prophetic preview of the Gentile Empires that would be coming down history’s pike starting with Nebuchadnezzar in 606 BC, because the Babylonian Empire was the first and then came the Medes and the Persians. Then, they were overrun by the Greeks, and the Greeks in turn were defeated by the Romans. So, here are the four empires, prophetically speaking, and then the feet of iron and clay would be what we’re seeing in Europe tonight, or today, a Revived Roman Empire.
You can tell already from the news how those European nations have a hard time getting along because of all their differences – their ethnic background and their religious differences. So, they’ve come together. I thought last week they were going to have a new constitution, but it’s kind of been set back for a while. But nevertheless, it’s a revived Roman Empire, and that’s the feet of iron and clay.
All right, now here we have Gentile history, coming down from 606 BC up to the time of Christ and beyond when the Roman Empire disappeared. But now, 1900 years later, here it comes back on the scene in the form of the European Community. Now, let’s go on to Verse 34. Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that in his dream he saw this huge image, standing there in front of him, “Until.” I always use that word as a point in time. There would come a point in time when this whole preview of human history would come to an end. And we’re getting there. My, we’re getting there! Closer and closer. All right, now look what happens.
“Thou sawest until that a stone was cut out without hands,…” Now, there’s only one power in earth that can perform something without the use of human hands. Whose power is that? Well, God’s power. Who is the ‘stone’ in all of Scripture? Jesus Christ. All right, so here we have, prophetically speaking then, the coming of Jesus Christ, who is going to literally crush every vestige of these Gentile Empires.
“…stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.”
Now, we’ve taught this all years back, but I’m going to teach it meticulously again. Why does the stone strike the feet? Because that’s the empire that will be operating at His Second Coming. The European Community is coming up, coming up. In fact, somebody wrote and asked me the other day about the Euro dollar. She said, “You said something about it years ago.” And I said, “You bet I did.” And if I wanted to get a little proud, I could say, “See, I told you so.” But I’m not going to do that. But way back when we were teaching Revelation, they were still talking about a Euro dollar, but it hadn’t happened yet. I made the statement, “Now you wait and see. The day will come when it’ll go right on by in value to the American dollar, which is the benchmark for all the world currencies.” I think you all know that much about the market. Every currency in the world is registered according to the dollar.
Well, when they first introduced the Euro dollar a couple of years ago, it started out like 80 cents to a dollar. In other words, if you had a Euro dollar it was only worth 80 cents. Right now the Euro dollar, the last I read, is $1.39. So, what has it done? It’s gone right by the dollar in value. Now, I’m not saying it’ll stay there. It may drop back. But nevertheless, the European Community is being set to be the final Gentile Empire. Not America. Europe.
Now, I read a book the other night where there’s a lot of speculation about why America is never mentioned in prophecy? And this guy agrees with me. You can’t find it. There’s not even a hint of the Western Hemisphere in biblical prophecy. So, that being the case, something is going to have to happen to America so that Europe can be the primary power that the anti-Christ can use. Well, now this guy thought of something that I hadn’t even considered before, and he said, “It’ll be the Rapture.”
Here was his thinking. America has got, by far, more people who will be taken out in the Rapture than any other area of the world. That’s not hard to believe. All right, then he used two different poll figures. One poll I think was by Barna, who is quite reliable, and he comes up with a figure that there are probably around 50 million truly born-again Christians in America today. I think he’s high with that figure, but we’re not going to argue. The other fellow, I don’t remember who that was, came up with where I would come closer, that it’s somewhere between 25 and 30 million that if the Lord would come would be gone. So, this author said that even if you take the lowest figure, can you imagine what would happen to America’s economy if all of a sudden 30 million of us are gone from all walks of life? From the business world. All the house payments that will not be paid. All the car payments that will go defunct. It would devastate our economy in a week’s time.
Now, I don’t have to draw you the picture. If our economy should crash down to where it was in the “thirties,” with our young people as spoiled as they are, what will be the end result? Total revolution. It’ll be a total destruction. Now, I’m not a pessimist. You all know, I’m an optimist, if there ever was one. But I can still see that, prophetically, something like this is going to happen to bring America down to nothing, so that Europe can be the primary power. It has to be.
As we pointed out in our seminar in Tulsa here a few weeks ago, Iraq is not in that list of nations that will invade Israel and be destroyed. Why? Well, God evidently has something special in His program for the little nation of Iraq in the end time that they will not be destroyed with the rest of those Muslim nations in Ezekiel 38, which will be in the early part of the Tribulation. So, there’s something special. And I made the point then that this is probably why America and England were led to go in and do what we’ve done in Iraq. It seems hopeless right now, but I’ll just guarantee, that over time, Iraq is going to come out and blossom and be the main player in the Middle East. It may take a while, but that is what I think is in God’s program.
All right, now I’ve only got a couple of minutes left, so we’d better get back to our text -Daniel chapter 2. So, the Second Coming of Christ will strike the empire that is visible and operating at that time, which will be the revived Roman Empire coming out of Europe and the Mediterranean area. All right, now as that stone, symbolically now, remember this is symbolism, but it’s a literal fact that as that stone strikes the feet, the revived Roman Empire, it is going to crush the iron and the clay. Then, it will go on to the legs and then the brass and then the silver and the gold, in verse 35. In other words, that whole consortium of Gentile Empires that is back on the scene again right now. Iran is Ancient Persia. Syria is in the news every day. The Greek Empire is more or less indicated with some of the other Muslim nations. Then we’ve got, like I said, the revived Roman Empire and then the Babylonian. So, all of these empires are right back in every day’s news again today. So, for the Second Coming of Christ, then, they will all be lined up, and they will be destroyed, one right after the other. All right, so he says, verse 34, reading it again.
“Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 35. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, (That’s all the way up now to the Greek Empire.) the silver, (the Mede Empire) and the gold, (the Ancient Babylonian Empire – they were all…) broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floor; (And what is chaff? It just blows away and disappears.) and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them:” Now, here is the culmination of it all.
“…and the stone (Christ at His Second Coming) that smote the image became a great mountain, (And the word mountain in our Old Testament is a kingdom. So, Christ sets up a kingdom.) and filled the whole earth.” Not just Israel, “the whole earth.”
All right, now flip over a couple of pages, to chapter 7, and we’ve got Daniel having his own vision of the same scenario, but instead of having metals, he has carnivorous animals. But the end result is the same after all these empires have been destroyed. Now, I want to come down quickly to Daniel 7 verse 13 and 14. Because all I’m trying to establish is that there is coming an earthly Kingdom over which Christ will rule and reign.
“I saw in the night visions and, behold, one like the Son of man (and Son is capitalized) came with the clouds of heaven. and came to the Ancient of days, (He comes before the Father) and they brought him near before him. 14. And there was given him (the Son) dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: (Now, look at the rest of the verse.) his dominion (His rule, His Kingship) is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom (is going to be one that) shall not be destroyed.”
Now, the Old Testament doesn’t give us a time frame like the New Testament does, but it is going to be a thousand year reign of Christ.
LESSON THREE * PART II
BUT GOD – (Kingdom of God)
Again, we want to welcome you to an informal Bible study. I think most of you realize that we are not associated with any group, we are totally independent. We just rely on the Lord to lead us and direct us, as well as supply our every need. Consequently, we do not appeal and beg for money, and the Lord always seems to provide. Again, we appreciate the prayers of all of you out there for all us as a family and the ministry, and we just give the Lord the glory and the credit.
All right, for those of you here in the studio, we’re going to go back to where we left off in the last lesson, so let’s jump right back to Matthew chapter 6 verse 33. We were talking about the difference between the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, and we haven’t mentioned it yet but we will, and the Body of Christ.
I put the three on the board during our break. Remember from our last half-hour, I explained that if you will just draw a circle on your notepad and call the large circle the Kingdom of God. That is that area of God’s Sovereignty and influence that includes everything in heaven. It includes the angelic hosts. It includes the believers from day one to the end of time. It includes everything pertaining to the Word of God. It includes the Body of Christ. It includes you and I as believers today. So, as I said in the last program, when we sit down and talk about spiritual things, we are talking about things that pertain to the Kingdom of God.
On the other hand, within that circle of the Kingdom of God, we have the Kingdom of Heaven, which is that earthly Kingdom over which Christ will rule and reign from David’s throne in Jerusalem. That’s the Kingdom of Heaven, and we were looking at that when our time ran out. Then, also, as we’ll look at further down the line this afternoon, within that same circle you can also put the Body of Christ.
Now, the Body of Christ is that present day out-calling of believers. Every true believer becomes a member of the Body of Christ, and since the Body of Christ is in the Kingdom of God, yes, we are associated with the Kingdom. But our number one priority is not to fill the Kingdom. It just almost irks me when I hear that over and over – we have to fill the Kingdom, we have to work for the Kingdom. No, we are working today to fill the Body of Christ! Because when the Body of Christ is full, we’re out of here! It’s just that simple! We’re going to be raptured! As I mentioned in the last program, that will probably be the thing that will trigger the fall of America, so far as the nations of the world are concerned. Because when that many people suddenly disappear, things are bound to happen, and of course, the rapture is what we’re hoping and praying for.
All right, let’s come back to our verse, where Jesus has made note of the fact that the lilies gain all their beauty without any outward energy. He’s telling His Jewish listeners not to be so concerned with the physical and the material, but to have the number one priority.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Of course, we have to have things. You’ve got to have things, or you won’t survive. We have to have the wherewithal to keep a roof over our head. We have to have the wherewithal to buy our daily food and clothing, and God knows that. But that’s not to be our number one priority.
All right, we took off in our last program on delineating the Kingdom of Heaven as over against the Kingdom of God. We were back in Daniel’s prophecy, where he laid out the Gentile Empires. Now, let’s go back to Daniel again and pick up where we left off concerning the Kingdom of Heaven. That is going to be the veritable Sovereign rule and reign of Christ on the planet. He’s going to be totally Sovereign God. All right, let’s come back to Daniel 7, because we had to kind of wind it up quickly. Daniel 7 and drop in again at verse 13.
Now, this is a repetition of where we left off, but everybody keeps reminding me, even here in the studio, to repeat, repeat, and repeat. In fact, I guess Luther said it, “When I finally get so full up with your repetition that it makes me almost sick, that’s when it finally clicks!” And that’s about it. You just have to have it pounded and pounded and pounded and all of a sudden – and these are the kind of phone calls we get, “Les, all of a sudden it just opens up.” Well, that’s the way it works. Here, Daniel is now rehearsing his own vision concerning the end time. And he says:
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man (That’s, of course, God the Son, Jesus Christ of the New Testament.) came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, (Which is a reference to God the Father.) and they brought him near before him. 14. And there was given him dominion, and glory,…” Now, I didn’t do this in the last program, but I’m going to do it now. Who was first given dominion over this planet? Adam! Adam was given dominion over everything on the planet. Everything that lived and moved was under Adam’s dominion. But he lost it because of his rebellion when he ate of the tree. All right, now here we are some 6000 or more years later where the Second Adam, as Paul refers to Him, the Second Adam is going to pick up that which Adam lost. That’s why we use the same word – “dominion.”
“And there was given him dominion, and glory, (Now this is literal. Just read it for what it says.) and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him:…” In other words, His Kingdom is going to cover the whole globe – not just Israel – not just the Middle East.
Israel will be the apple of His eye. Israel will be the top dog of the nations, if I may put it that way. But it’s going to control the whole planet. It’s going to be glorious. It’s going to be heaven on earth. But yes, there are going to be animals. There are going to be the lion and the wolf and the lamb and the goat and the kids and the children are going to play amongst them, because it’s going to be a glorious kingdom. Satan is locked up. There’s no more sin, or death, or sickness. It is Heaven on earth. That’s why it’s called the Kingdom gospel, or the Kingdom of Heaven, because it’s going to be heaven on earth. All right, now finish the verse.
“…his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom which shall not be destroyed.” Now of course, like I mentioned in the closing seconds, Revelation puts a timeframe on it, doesn’t it? One thousand years. But this says it’s going to reign forever.
All right, so what’s going to happen? The thousand years will just slip right on into eternity. I remember reading a book years and years ago, and I guess it was appropriate that I read it when I did. This was a seminary professor, who had his head on straight, and he put it this way, “The thousand year kingdom-reign of Christ is just sort of like kindergarten for a child. You go from kindergarten right on into a higher level of everything.” That’s what it’s going to be. People will write with questions and this question was just a couple of weeks ago, “Well, now when the thousand years are over and we go into eternity, will everything come together and be mixed up as one?” No, I don’t think so. For the simple reason that when you get to Revelation chapter 21 and this whole system, I think the whole universe is going to go. What takes its place?
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth:…” Well, if it’s all going to be mixed up, why keep the two entities separate? So, my own conviction, I can’t prove this beyond where I’m showing you, is that even in eternity, God is still going to have Israel in the earthly realm and the Body of Christ in the heavenly. Now, you don’t have to buy that if you don’t want to, but this verse would seem to indicate that He is always going to keep those two entities separate.
All right, now let’s go a little further in the Old Testament. Come back with me to Isaiah. Now remember your prophets – Isaiah is the first of the Major Prophets, Daniel is the fourth. Come back to Isaiah chapter 2 – and with the description in Daniel, this should make sense.
“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. (Now here it comes.) 2. And it shall come to pass…” What does that mean? Maybe? No, it means it’s GOING to. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. It’s going to happen because God has said it shall, after all of human history has run its course.
“…that the mountain (or the kingdom) of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, (Or kingdoms! Now, as I told you in the last program, a mountain in Old Testament language is a kingdom. All right, this kingdom is going to be established as the top kingdom of the kingdoms.) and shall be exalted above the hills; (Or the smaller kingdoms or the other nations of the world – this kingdom with its capital, of course, in Jerusalem.) and all the nations shall (What?) flow unto it.” In other words, it’s going to be the hub of all of the planet’s activity – Jerusalem, where the King of Kings will be ruling and reigning. All right, now from Isaiah 2, let’s jump up to chapter 9. And the language is so self-explanatory, even though it’s written 700 years before Christ – 2,700 years before our day and time. That’s a long time ago. And look how accurately it is placed.
“For unto us (the Nation of Israel, again) a child is born, (Now, that’s a reference to Christ at Bethlehem.) unto us a son is given:…” Well, at the beginning of His earthly ministry, even the book of John says what? “He came unto his own.” Who were His own? Israel. He was given for their benefit. All right, now back to our text in verse 6.
“…and the government…” What’s the purpose of government? Control the masses. Otherwise you’ve got anarchy. Even in an area like the heaven on earth, you have to have control of the masses, so He’s going to have government.
“…and the government shall be upon his shoulder: (Whose shoulder? The Son that is given, up in the first part of the verse, which is Jesus of Nazareth.) and his name (When He comes to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords.) shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” See, He’s God in total. Now verse 7:
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,…” In other words, it’s going to be totally in control of God’s planet earth as well as, I think, the whole universe, but whatever, and “There shall be no end.” Because, like I’ve already said, it’s going to slip right on into eternity. Now, look where He’s going to rule from.
“…upon the throne of David,…” Now, we’ve said it a hundred times on this program, where was David’s throne? Mount Zion in Jerusalem. And that’s exactly where Christ is going to set up His rule and reign when He returns. He’s going to rule from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem.
“…and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment…” Now, the word judgment as it’s used in this vein is not meting out punishment. The word judgment means “righteous rule.” Always remember that when you see the word judgment in this kind of a setting, it’s not sentencing people. It is a righteous, godly rule.
“…and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” All right, now let’s go a little further in the Old Testament to Zechariah, the next to the last book in the Old Testament. These are all portions that I know we’ve used before in previous programs, but we’ll keep repeating them, because this is mandatory to understanding the end time scenario. This is what everything is moving forward to – the return of Christ and the setting up of His Kingdom. Now, this doesn’t pertain so much to you and I as members of the Body of Christ, but this is the promise made to Israel. They are the ones that are looking forward to this glorious Kingdom. All right, now let’s take our time and jump in at Zechariah 14 and see what has to precede the coming in of this glorious heaven on earth Kingdom.
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh,…” Now, the unskilled Bible reader doesn’t really know what that means. But those of you that have heard me teach long enough, you know that the day of the Lord is the Tribulation. Those final seven years, again from Daniel’s prophecy, where it’s going to be the most horrible period of time the world has ever experienced. It’s called the day of the Lord: Judgment – Wrath – Punishment.
“…and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. (In other words, Israel is going to be overrun by her enemies.) 2. For I (God) will (Sovereignly) gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle;…” Now, let’s compare Scripture with Scripture. Stop right there. Jump ahead to Matthew 24 with the words of the Lord Jesus Himself. Keep your hand in Zechariah, we’ll come right back. Matthew 24 and here is a chapter that is all Tribulation ground. Everything He speaks of is going to take place once that final seven years kicks in. All right, you’re going to come down to verse 7, you can jump in almost anyplace, but let’s jump in at verse 7, and Jesus is speaking.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there will be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Now, this all sounds familiar doesn’t it? But we’re not there yet. Even though we’re seeing a lot of this, it isn’t this prophecy yet being fulfilled. It’s going to be far, far worse than anything we’re seeing today. Even though all of this is telling the world that we’re coming closer and closer.
“All these (these disasters and catastrophes) are the (What?) beginning of sorrows.” Now, some of your newer translations may have “travail,” because it’s a reference to the woman approaching childbirth or delivery. The world or the earth is approaching the delivery from the curse. And the only way God can bring it about is to bring in this utter devastation upon Christ-rejecting mankind. So, all of these phenomena, far worse than anything we’ve seen today, are just the beginning. All right, now verse 9, and once it starts, like the woman approaching delivery —
“Then (Jesus says, and remember, He’s speaking to the Twelve who are representative of the Nation of Israel.) they shall deliver you (That is the Jewish people.) up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: (Sound familiar? Hitler all over again, only worse.) and ye shall be hated of (What’s the term?) all nations for my name’s sake. ” There won’t be a single nation on earth that will come to Israel’s defense like we would today. Even America will lose that opportunity of helping Israel. All the nations of the world will turn against them. Then it goes on, of course, until finally, in verse 21, Jesus puts the capstone on all these prophetic events.
“For then (Jesus said) shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” In other words, when He’s speaking there in 28-29 AD, this is going to be the most horrible seven-year period in all of human history. And the world just laughs at the thought of it. But I’m here to tell them, it’s going to happen because God’s Word has mandated it. All right, let’s go back to Zechariah. Here is what Jesus was making reference to, this prophecy right here in verse 2.
“For I will gather all nations, against Jerusalem to battle; (For war, not for peace, not a road map, this is for a total destruction of the Jewish people.) and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, (or ransacked) and the women ravished; (Or raped, it’s going to worse than anything you’ve ever seen or heard of.) and half of the city (That is Jerusalem, remember.) shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” In other words, it’s going to be a total, total mayhem for the city of Jerusalem. Then verse 3, before it is totally consummated, before the Jews are totally destroyed:
“Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations as when he fought in the day of battle.” And you remember how I’m always pointing out time-words. At that precise moment, now we don’t know the day, the month, or the year, but God does. But there will come a time when the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son, Israel’s Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, however you want to look at Him: “Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations.” When all the nations of the world have come to the Middle East for the sole purpose of destroying and removing the Jewish people, God will intervene. He is going to come in what we call the Second Coming, and it’s going to be with wrath and destruction. He’s going to come “as when he fought in the day of battle.” All right, now when all that is consummated, and the enemies have been totally destroyed, now verse 4.
“And his feet (In other words, He’s going to return bodily, physically, visibly; just like He left from the Mount of Olives in Acts chapter 1.) shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, (That’s in Jerusalem today.) which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave (or separate) in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, (to form a great river valley that will go from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea) and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” Then you pick it up in verse 8. After this valley is formed, going right through the middle of the Mount of Olives headed out to the Dead Sea, it will create a great river of supernaturally fresh water. It’s going to be so supernaturally fresh that it will clean up the Dead Sea. All right now verse 8.
“And it shall be in that day, (When Christ returns to Jerusalem.) that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, (That is, out to the Mediterranean.) and half of them toward the hinder sea: (Which is the Dead Sea.) in summer and in winter shall it be. (But now, here is the capstone again, and this is the final result of all this.) 9. And the LORD shall be king over (What?) all the earth: (Not just Israel. Not just Jerusalem. He’s going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords over the whole planet.) in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” So, this is the whole, prophetic picture of the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven.
All right, now let’s jump up to Acts a minute. I forestalled going, because I thought I’d run out of time, but let’s go to Acts chapter 1 and pick up that same kind of language. Acts chapter 1. We looked at this verse in the last program, but let’s look at it again. This is where Jesus and the Eleven are now meeting at the end of His time on earth, and He’s ready to ascend back to Glory, verse 6.
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Now, what Kingdom did they have in their mind? Solomon’s! See what glory for Israel! Is Israel again ready to have that kind of a kingdom? Well, Jesus’ answer was:
“And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons,…” He didn’t say it wasn’t going to happen, He just said it’s not for you to know when. But it will come. All right, now let’s go over quickly to verse 9, as they are standing on the Mount of Olives talking about things pertaining to this coming kingdom.
“And when he had spoken these things, and while they beheld, (Or, while they watched.) he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men (or two angels) stood by them in white apparel; (Now look what the angels told them, exactly what Zechariah just got through telling us.) 11. Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, (in His resurrected body) shall so come in like manner as (What?) as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
LESSON THREE * PART III
BUT GOD! – (Kingdom of God)
Okay, once again it’s good to see everybody back from the break. We’re going to go right back into our study concerning the Kingdom, because of some questions that just came up at break-time. That’s the way I teach. I’m not on a format. I don’t have to go by a set script, thank goodness! That would kill me, you know that, if I would have to go by a script and end at a certain place. So, if that happened, they’d carry me out on a stretcher. So, anyhow, we’re going to come back and address some questions from break-time.
Again, for those of you joining us on television, we always have to thank you for your financial help, because, after all, bills have to be paid. We thank you for your prayers and your letters. My, our mail is so thrilling, over and over. Sometimes it’s just a couple of sentences long. In fact, one the other day, I wish I’d have brought it along. It was from a gentleman, and he said, “Les, thanks to you and your program I now have come to know the Lord.” That’s all that the letter said, but that’s all you need, see? Over and over we see this.
I just noticed my lovely, little wife on the screen, and that’s the other thing that amazes me, we never mention her. She never says a word on this program, and yet every single letter says, “Dear Les and Iris,” and I appreciate that all of you out there recognize that she’s a part of the ministry. Even though she doesn’t want the limelight, we couldn’t do it without her!
Okay, we’re going to continue our study on the Kingdom of Heaven coming on earth. The question that came up over our coffee break was – “Well who are the people that will be coming into the Kingdom, and where are they going to come from?” Well, it’s a good question, because, after all, we teach that the Church, the Body of Christ, is going to be raptured. By the time the Kingdom is set up, we will be long gone! We’ve already been gathered up into the heavenlies even before the Tribulation begins.
So, who’s going to be on earth for Christ to rule and reign over? Well, let’s go back to Matthew 24. We’re going to have to set our “But God and But Now’s” at abeyance for a while, we’ll pick them up later. This is totally unrehearsed. I wasn’t figuring on this. Matthew 24 starting at verse 15 and if you’ve got a red-letter edition, it’s red. Jesus is speaking during His earthly ministry. As I said in the last program, this chapter is all Tribulation ground. All right, verse 15 and remember whom He’s talking to. He’s still talking to the Twelve, to the Disciples as they came back to Him in verse 3 and said, “tell us when shall these things be?”
“When ye (Jews, because he’s talking to the Twelve. They’re Jews. He’s not including Gentiles in here at all.) therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place,…” Now, what do we have to do? You’ve got to go back to Daniel. What is he talking about?
Go back to Daniel, but keep your hand in Matthew. Daniel chapter 9 and here is that 490-year prophecy on the nation of Israel, broken down by weeks of years. By the time we get down to verse 26, we’ve got 483 of the 490 years fulfilled. And remember that the 490-year prophecy began with the instructions to Nehemiah to go and rebuild the city wall. Not the Temple. Ezra did that about 70-80 years earlier. But then Nehemiah’s instruction was to rebuild the city wall and the gates; in other words, the city in general. All right, that was the trigger date for this prophecy. Verse 24, we might as well look at the whole thing.
“Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined (according to God’s providence) upon thy people (Israel) and upon thy holy city, (Jerusalem) to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, (That’s the work of the cross.) and to bring in everlasting righteousness, (That’s the Kingdom. But we’re going to see that it didn’t come in at the end of the 490 years, it’s going to wait 2000 years.) and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Which, of course, is the Messiah, Christ, or God the Son. Now verse 25. Daniel is going to break this prophecy down.
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem (The one I just referred to in Nehemiah.) unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks,…” Or, that’s 49 years, which actually took the Jewish people up to a little over or under 400 BC, at which time they now dedicated Ezra’s rebuilt temple.
Now again, we’ve got to understand that Nebuchadnezzar’s armies destroyed Solomon’s Temple. It was nothing but ashes and rocks. Ezra comes back with a small number of Jews, 44,000, and they begin to rebuild the temple. Now, with the wherewithal that they had in antiquity, that took awhile. So, at the end of this first 49 years, they now have enough of a temple rebuilt that they can dedicate it. All right, so that’s the end of the first seven weeks.
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah shall be cut off,…” So, that was 483 years total. From the decree to rebuild the walls in Jerusalem until the Messiah would be cut off, or crucified, would be 483 years. Four hundred and eighty three years. I’ve got to repeat it until you can’t forget it. But, the whole prophecy was how much? Four hundred and ninety. Now, you got to have a little bit of arithmetic here. Four hundred and eighty three from four hundred and ninety leaves seven years that have to be accounted for, and it’s going to be after the crucifixion, and it is still future.
All right, now we know that most of Old Testament Scripture and most of the four Gospel’s and everything make it sound like it would all come right shortly after. There was nothing to indicate that there would be the 2000-year parenthetical period of time that we’re in right now. They had no idea it would be that long. All right, so let’s continue on with Daniel’s prophecy. After the 490 years are completed –
“…shall Messiah be cut off (or be crucified) but not for himself: (We know that from our New Testament. He didn’t die for His own sin; He died for ours. Now, here comes the key of prophecy.) and the people of the prince that shall come…” Now, that’s the reference to the anti-Christ. The small letter ‘p’ is the anti-Christ. He will come out of the empire that destroyed and crucified the Christ, which was what? The Roman Empire.
“…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;…” Now remember, Daniel is writing 500 years before it all happens. This is Old Testament prophecy, now. That after these 483 years, Christ would be cut off, or crucified, and then the people of the prince that shall come will destroy the city, which Rome did in 70 AD.
“…and the end therefore shall be with a flood, and unto the end wars and desolations are determined.” And of course, that was all part and parcel of the final seven years, which we pick up in verse 27. Now, here come those final seven years.
“And he (This prince that shall come, the anti-Christ that the world is getting ready for, even today.) shall confirm (or make) the covenant (or treaty) with many for one week….” Now, for years I used to think this was just a reference to Israel. But no, you don’t make a treaty with one nation. If you’re going to bring peace to the Middle East, you have to involve all the nations in the Middle East. And that’s what this guy’s going to do. He’s going to come in and with the power of the Sovereign God Himself, he’s going to bring about a seven-year peace treaty in the Middle East. That’s why all the world is looking for peace in the Middle East. Bush can’t do it. Blair can’t do it. The United Nations can’t do it. Europe can’t do it. It’s going to take this man, under God’s Sovereign direction, to bring about a Middle Eastern peace. It’s going to be such a peace that Israel will have permission to rebuild a temple.
Now, it’s not going to be of gold and silver like Solomon’s. I think it will probably be rather makeshift. Probably pre-fabbed or whatever, they’re going to set that thing up overnight. But it’s going to be a temple. It’ll be functional, and they’ll re-institute temple worship, sacrifices, and everything. All right, so he will make a treaty with the whole Middle East for seven years. There is the final seven years of the 490.
“…and in the midst of the week (Or, in the middle of those seven years – that’s why the book of Revelation divides it into three-and-a-half and three-and-a-half. Matthew also divides it three-and-a-half and three-and-a-half, and this is what Jesus is referring to.) in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,…” Now, whenever I teach this verse, this is what I have to say. How can you stop something that has never started?’ So, they’re going to have to have a temple rebuilt. They’re going to re-institute temple worship. Israel is going to go back under the Judaistic system that was on the scene when Christ was here. They will reestablish temple worship. But in the middle of the seven years, this man, this prince that shall come, or what we call the anti-Christ, will come in and cause the sacrifice and the oblation to stop. Then reading on in verse 27.
“…and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, (Which is a horrible word in Scripture.) he (the anti-Christ) shall make it (This temple that Israel has built.) desolate, (No longer usable. And it’s going to remain desolate.) even until the consummation, (That is, of the seven years and all.) and that determined (in prophecy) shall be poured upon the desolator.” Which, of course, is the anti-Christ when he finally meets his doom.
All right, now let’s go back to Matthew 24 because this is what Jesus was referring to. Matthew 24 verse 15 again, so He says that when you see this man, this demonic individual, come into the temple that’s been rebuilt and reestablished in Jerusalem, which will be at the middle of the seven years, certain things must occur. Jesus speaks of what Daniel the prophet said, and when you see that happen — now verse 16.
“Then (Now, this is the warning to Jews who will be living in the area of Jerusalem at the midpoint of the Tribulation.) let them which be in Judea (Which, of course, is the area around Jerusalem.) flee into the mountains: 17. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:” Now, many of you have heard me teach this before. This, I think, is a reference probably to the wealthier, retired people of Jerusalem and Judea.
If you’ve been to Israel lately, like we have, there are some beautiful, beautiful condominiums and apartment places that could certainly fill the bill. But what’s the admonition? Don’t stop to take something out of your house. Time is of the essence. You get down, and you hit the road, and you get out of Jerusalem and head for the mountains. Now, I think most Bible teachers, scholars, and so forth are looking at the ancient city of Petra, down there in the Jordanian desert, as the place to which Israel will flee. I won’t argue the point. It could very well be, but it doesn’t have to be, because it doesn’t designate it. But anyway, they’re going to flee.
Now then, verse 18, we have to always reconcile the time in which these things are written with language today. Now, at the time of Christ, 90% of Jewish people were farmers and herders and so forth. It was an agrarian society. So, He uses that kind of language, “Let him who is in the field” — farming, fruit growing and what have you. Today it would be the technology people. The engineers and the chemists and so forth, the bankers and the business people, because they are no longer agrarian. They are now a western-type civilization.
“Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. (You won’t have time. Don’t go back home to get an extra set of clothes. Get out of Jerusalem.) 19. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!” Now, we’re picking up the female element, the young mothers. We’re thinking primarily of the working class as being the men. Now, what I like to point out is that here you have a complete cross-section of Jewish society. You’ve got the older, wealthier people. You’ve got the working class. You’ve got the stay-at-home moms and their kids and whatever. It’s a whole cross-section of society. All right, then verse 20, Jesus continues on.
“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, (Now, you remember that this past winter they’ve had 12-14 inches of snow – two or three different times. How would you like to be walking out, carrying a baby, in 14 inches of snow in the hills and valleys of Jerusalem? So, Jesus makes mention of that. Pray that won’t be the case.) neither on the Sabbath day:” Which indicates what? They’ll be back under the Law of Judaism, which mandated that they couldn’t walk about three-quarters of a mile. So, all this fits the scenario that Israel will be back under the Judaistic system that was prevalent at the time of Christ. All right, now verse 21, starting with this midpoint of the seven years until the end.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, (That’s beyond human comprehension. But then Jesus even looks ahead of His day and time.) no, nor ever shall be.” Now of course, the average person at Christ’s time had no idea that this would be 2000 years out into the future. But Jesus knew. He knew that this Age of Grace was going to be opened up and that Israel would go into 1900 years of dispersion. But to prove prophecy and to prove that Scripture knows what it’s talking about, Israel is back in the land tonight. Against all odds! They should have never survived those 1900 years. They should have never been able to come back and reestablish a nation and their Hebrew language. But this Book said they would, and since the Book said they would, they did! This is proof positive of our Bible; that it is the Word of God.
All right, now this escaping remnant of Jews, whom God is going to protect out in the mountains or wherever He takes them, according to Revelation chapter 12. Now, we’ve got to go look at this, otherwise you’re depending on what I tell you, and I don’t want anybody to do that. Revelation 12, we pick up this escaping remnant, now, as John reveals it. Revelation chapter 12 and we’ll jump in at verse 5 for sake of time. Always remember that “the woman” in Revelation 12 is the symbolic picture of Israel. The woman is Israel. Doesn’t fit in any other way.
“And she (the woman) brought forth a man-child, (That’s a reference to Christ being born in Bethlehem.) who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron:…” When He becomes King over the earthly Kingdom. In other words, there’ll be no monkey-business in His Kingdom. It’s going to be a benevolent Kingdom, but there will be no room for corruption or disobedience or anything like that. It’s going to be an absolute, holy, righteous government.
“…and her child (the woman’s child, Jesus of Nazareth) was caught up unto God, (That’s a reference to His ascension.) and to his throne.” Now verse 6. We jump back again to the middle of the Tribulation that we just saw in Matthew 24.
“And the woman (Not the whole Nation, just the remnant remember. One-third if you want to go by the Old Testament. One third of Israel will be the remnant.) fled into the wilderness, (And in that wilderness environment–) where she hath a place prepared of God,…” Now, we’ve got the supernatural involved here again. So, this remnant of Israel will have God’s Sovereign protection like they did when Moses led them out of Egypt, even in this wilderness experience.
“…she hath a place prepared of God, that they (the Godhead, the Triune God) should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days,” Which is three-and-a-half years. So, here we have not only Daniel speaking of it, and Jesus confirming it, but John the Revelator also fills in the details, that this escaping remnant will be protected by a Sovereign God. He’ll feed her there. They’ll have the same scenario as Israel in the wilderness for forty years. Their clothes won’t wear out. Their shoes won’t wear out. God will feed them. God will protect them. All the horrors of the Tribulation will not touch them for three-and-a-half years.
All right, now come across the page and you find the same thing in verse 14, a repeat of the exodus from Egypt. Oh, it’s thousands of years later, but it’s almost an identical repetition. Now, verse 14.
“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished (or taken care of) for a time, (one year) and times, (plural, two years for a total of three) and half a time, (Three-and-a-half years and God’s going to protect her.) from the face of the serpent.” All right, now I just mentioned that it’s a repetition of Exodus. Now hold your hand in Revelation. Come back with me to Exodus.
Exodus chapter 19, all the way back to the beginning of your Bible. Here, Israel is just fresh out of Egypt. They’re gathered around Mount Sinai, which would be in the same direction that Petra is today. Now, Moses has gone up into the mountain.
“And Moses went up unto God, (in the mountain) and the LORD (Now, that’s the other term for God the Son in the Old Testament. We’re dealing again with Jesus the Christ.) called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:” Now ,look at this next verse, remembering what you just read in Revelation as to what is still future.
“Ye have seen what I did to the Egyptians, (Drowned them, of course, in the Red Sea.) and how I bare you on (What?) eagles’ wings, (Well, they didn’t fly. But it was as if they supernaturally were guided out of Egypt and all the way down to Mount Sinai. But the terminology was “eagles’ wings.” A reference, of course, to God’s Sovereignty) and brought you unto myself.” All right, flip back to Revelation again. You’ve got the same language. Verse 14 again:
“And to the woman (this escaping remnant of Israel) were given two wings of a great eagle, (Just like they did coming out of Egypt) that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place,…” Of protection. Now verse 15, the anti-Christ is going to send a military force after them, to destroy them, because Satan has now in-dwelt the man anti-Christ, and Satan hates anything pertaining to Israel. So, he can’t stand these few million Jews escaping.
“And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman,…” Now, I interpret that to mean a military force. Just like Pharaoh did after Israel in Exodus, the anti-Christ is going to send a force after these Jews here in Revelation.
“…that he might cause her (the remnant) to be carried away of the flood.” Or, to be destroyed. But now verse 16, God intervenes, just like He did at the Red Sea with Pharaoh.
“And the earth (instead of the water) helped the woman, (this escaping remnant of Jews) and the earth opened her mouth,…” Now, this isn’t the first time this happened in Scripture, either. You remember it happened back in the Old Testament with the sons of Korah, while they were standing there making a big bruhaha with Moses, the earth opened up and in they went. All right, now you’ve got a repetition of that.
“…and swallowed up the flood (This military exercise. Whether it’s a battalion or a regiment or whatever, it’ll open up and swallow this military that has followed Israel to destroy them.) which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” By a simple command, he gave the order go destroy those Jews. But, it all fell into the open chasm of the earth and they were swallowed up. All right, now we’ve got to take verse 17, and then that will set the stage for our next half-hour program.
“And the dragon (The anti-Christ, in-dwelt by Satan up there at Jerusalem.) was wroth (angry) with the woman, (or this escaping remnant) and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, ….” Now, we’ve got two remnants in Revelation, you remember. The escaping remnant of men, women, and children, and the other remnant is the 144,000 Jewish evangelist who have, what does it say?
“…which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” They are adherents to Judaism and temple worship. What are they doing? They are the world’s evangelists for those seven years of Tribulation.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
BUT GOD! – (Kingdom of God)
Well, with this lesson we’ll wind up book 64. In case we have some new listeners, and I’m sure we do have new ones every day, we’re just an informal Bible study. We don’t try to pick any fights with anybody. We don’t try to attack anyone. We’re just trying to help people understand what the Book says. It’s really so plain. I had a lady call the other day and she said, “Why can’t people see it, because if I can see it anybody should see it.” Well, it is just so plain. That’s why we like to compare Scripture with Scripture and not try to twist it as so many do. So anyway, if you’re a new listener, we want to welcome you to get your Bible and follow along with us. Again, we thank our whole television audience from coast to coast for your prayers and your support and for your letters and your concern for us as a family. We’ve had some tough rows lately, health wise, with our family, but anyway, we just appreciate so much your concern.
All right, we’re going to get right back where we left off in the last lesson. We got sidetracked with a question, but we like questions even in our other ministries. We love to have people ask questions. So, I’ve gotten completely off of our format of “But God or But Now” for the last couple of programs. We’re looking at the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, as we saw in our very first program. We’ve got the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, and then later on we’re going to see the Body of Christ as another entity. Both of these are part and parcel, of course, of the overall Kingdom of God.
We’ve been looking at the Kingdom of Heaven all afternoon and in our last program, due to a question, we went back to determine who will go into this earthly kingdom. Well, in our last program we showed that there will be an escaping remnant of Jews who will flee the area of Jerusalem and Judea. They will go out to the wilderness where God will supernaturally take care of them, just like He did Israel under Moses. For three-and-a-half years they will have total Divine protection, and of course, when they see Christ returning with all of His power and glory and defeating the armies of the anti-Christ, they will be ready to accept Him as their long promised Messiah.
I do not believe that they go out as believers. I think they will go out supernaturally protected by God, and they do not become believers until they see Christ return. Here’s my reason. All right, I’ve got the folks in the studio already turned there. So, you in television, turn with me to Zechariah chapter 12 which, remember, is the next to the last book in your Old Testament. Now, jump in at chapter 12 and verse 9. Here again is a reference to these final seven years of tribulation and the return of Christ. Verse 9.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, (That is the Day of the Lord and the final seven years of human history, as we know it.) that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” Now that’s exactly what we showed in the last hour. That when the nations of the world, under the leadership of the anti-Christ, come to destroy the Nation of Israel and get rid of every Jew on the planet, then of course, God is going to intervene. Now, verse 10, here’s where I get the idea that these Jews out in their place of safety will not recognize, or believe, that Jesus is the Messiah until this point in time. Here it is. God says through the prophet:
“And I will pour upon the house of David, (That is this remnant of Israelites.) and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplications: (In other words, He’s going to literally bring them to the place where they can believe and recognize who He is.) and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, (2000 years ago) 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.” In other words, a tearful reunion of someone that they had spurned for generations.
All right, if you turn the page to Zechariah chapter 13, we have much the same scenario. Verse 6, and this all takes place as Christ is returning and defeating the nations of the world and is cleansing the world and getting it ready for His Kingdom. Now, He will supernaturally renovate the planet. I think it’s going to happen so fast, you can’t imagine that the whole planet will be made ready for this Kingdom economy. All right, now here’s the spiritual element.
“And one (That is of these Jews who have survived the Tribulation. This remnant out in the wilderness.) shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thy hands? (Up until now they haven’t understood.) Then he (the Messiah) shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” So, here is the full revelation of who Jesus Christ really is, and how He has suffered and died for the sins of the whole world, including the Nation of Israel. So, I feel that at the end of the Tribulation, at the Second Coming of Christ, this remnant of Israel will suddenly, to the last person, believe.
Now, I’m going to have to take you back to John’s Gospel to make you understand why I feel that every last one of these Jews in the remnant in the wilderness will become a believer. The last chapter of John. This takes a little explanation. While you’re looking it up, remember there are eight sign miracles in the Book of John. They are all signs. Now, not all miracles are signs, but all signs are miracles. These eight in John are all from the Greek word ‘semeion,’ which meant a sign. So, the first seven sign miracles were before the cross and pertained to Israel’s future. The eighth sign miracle, which we see here in chapter 21, is after the cross. It’s the eighth, so it’s a sign of new beginnings. So, it’s a reference to that which is way out into the future.
John’s Gospel chapter 21 and they’ve been fishing all night. Jesus is on the shore of Galilee. All right verse 5, it’s about the break of day; it’s morning.
“Then Jesus saith unto them, (That is to the Eleven. Judas is gone.) Children, have ye any meat? (Now, to put it in our language, when my little gal goes fishing the first thing I ask her when she gets back is, “Did you catch anything?” And she isn’t much different than the Eleven.) They answered him, No.” Not a one – now, use your mental ability to picture this. Here they are on the shore of Galilee. They’ve been fishing all night with nets. They’ve gotten nothing. Jesus is now on the shore asking the question, “Did you catch anything?” Right now, here’s the miracle.
“And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, (or the little fishing boat) and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. 7. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved, (Which is a reference always to John, the writer of this Gospel.) 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,) (Not stark, I’m sure, but he was probably down to the underclothes or something like that. He grabs his fishing coat.) and did cast himself into the sea.” In other words, they are close to the shore, so he can just jump into the water and wade up to where the Lord is standing.
“And the other disciples (the other ten) came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were 200 cubits,) (Now, that’s not very far, and the Sea of Galilee does not drop off that fast, so they were in water that they can wade, I’m pretty sure.) dragging the net with fishes. 9. And as soon as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there and fish laid thereon, and bread. 10. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which you have now caught. 11. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: (Now, I don’t stop to put the emphasis on the number, although there are some. But this is the part I want you to see. Even though that net was jammed full of huge fish, yet…) and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.”
Now, in other times when they did this, the net broke. Now remember, this is a supernatural sign for Israel, after the resurrection and looking forward to the future. So, what’s the picture? That this remnant of Israel that God is drawing unto Himself, not one will be lost. That’s the picture. So, of this remnant of Israel out there in the wilderness, plus probably a scattering who have survived within the city itself, not a one will be lost. They will all, at His Second Coming, recognize who He is. They will all now be candidates to go into the Kingdom representing the Nation of Israel.
Now, we’ve got to go back to all the way to Deuteronomy 28 to understand that when this remnant of Israel is saved and comes into the Kingdom as flesh and blood people, they will comprise the largest single nation in the Kingdom. Let’s go back to chapter 28 first, and then we’ll look at 30. Now remember, Moses is writing this, so that’s two thousand plus fifteen hundred years; that’s 3500 years ago. And he’s right on. That’s the beauty of prophecy. All right, Deuteronomy chapter 28 verse 13, because this remnant of Israel will be the largest number of any one nation going into the Kingdom. We’re going to pick up the Gentiles in a little bit. Consequently, Israel will be the head of the nations during the thousand-year reign.
“And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath;…” They’ll be the greatest nation on earth. All right, now come on over to chapter 30, and we find the promises being fulfilled concerning Israel in their Kingdom economy. Let’s just jump in at verse 8.
“And thou shalt return (That is from their dispersion, as we’ve already been seeing it in the last several years.) and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. 9. And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thy hand, in the fruit of thy body,…” Now, what does that mean? They’re going to have children. They’re going to have a population explosion.
“…in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, (See livestock. Yes, it’s a literal, physical kingdom but without disease, without thorns, or thistles. It’s going to be heaven on earth, remember?) and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers: 10. If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments, and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.” And they’re going to! Israel will come in under the rule of their Messiah King and begin to repopulate the Nation of Israel as it functions in the Kingdom.
All right, now we’ve got to pick up the Gentiles going into the Kingdom, don’t we? Because, after all, when you get back to the Book of Revelation, you’ll find that there are people from every nation and tongue imaginable that have gone into the Kingdom. All right, Isaiah 24. Now, we’ve got the people of Israel. They’re going to go in as flesh and blood. They’ve survived the Tribulation, some of them by sheer survival if they’re up in the area of Jerusalem. But those out in the desert survive because of God’s protection. Now, we’re going to come to Gentiles who have survived by pure – well, we would say in the secular term – by pure luck. But they’re going to survive by God’s providential care. Isaiah 24 and we’re going to start at verse 1 to get the full picture. Again, it’s the Tribulation, Isaiah 24 verse 1.
“Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty,…” Due to all the horrors of the Tribulation. Now, what’s that going to entail? Volcanoes. Earthquakes. Tsunamis. Probably meteorite showers. Anything that’s imaginable that God can use from the natural phenomena to literally pummel the planet. It’s beyond human understanding,
“…and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. 2. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; (In other words, nobody will escape this wrath of God.) as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. 3. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word. 4. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.” Even the super, super rich are not going to escape.
“The earth (Now remember, we’re not talking about the Middle East, we’re talking about the whole planet.) also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, (Wickedness has compounded.) changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 6. Therefore (Because man has gone into total rebellion against God and His Sovereignty.) hath the curse (Which fell when Adam sinned.) devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: (Boy, it’s going to be nuclear winter like you cannot imagine.) therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned (Which, to me, speaks of a nuclear end to it all.) and few men left.” Now, that’s the key. If you don’t mind marking your Bible, highlight that. “Few men left.” Well, what’s the word? Survivors. There will be a few survivors.
Now, you can put whatever percentage on the word “few” that you want to put. Two percent. Three percent. Five percent, whatever. It’ll be a small percentage of the whole that will come through that seven years physically alive. They’ve survived. Now, it stands to reason. Those 144,000 Jews have been out there preaching salvation for the last several years during this time. We know from the Book of Revelation that they’re going to have a tremendous response, but most of those that respond will be martyred just as fast as they profess faith in the Gospel of the Kingdom. So, it’s only going to be those who have survived to the end of the seven years. They’re still alive, physically. But you’re going to have some that are saved and some that are lost.
Now, no lost person can go into the Kingdom, so God has to do something. He has to separate them. He’s going to have to bring in a judgment, discernment. All right, let’s jump up to Matthew again. Now, we can go to Matthew chapter 25. We’ve been in 24 quite a bit, but now we’ll go to the next chapter, chapter 25, and we’re going to drop in at verse 31. Watch the language carefully.
“When the Son of man (Now, that’s Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.) shall come in his (What?) glory, (Power. Majesty.) and all the holy angels with him, (the hosts of heaven) then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:” And where is that going to be? Jerusalem – On Mount Zion, on the very same place where David once sat and ruled. All right, so Christ returns and after the planet is made ready for this glorious heaven on earth experience, He is now established on His throne in Jerusalem.
All right, now verse 32, now remember, we’re in the realm of the supernatural. So don’t try to figure out how this is all going to take place. God can do it. Nothing is impossible with Him. That’s not just doing it frivolously. This is what I mean by the power of God. It’s going to make this thing happen.
“And before him shall be gathered all nations,…” Now, stop a minute. How many people of all the nations are left? Just a few. But there are probably a few in every sovereign state around the planet. There’ll be a few Chinese. There’ll be a few Indians. There’ll be a few of all the nations of Africa and Europe and South America. There’ll be a few survivors in every nation. I don’t think a one is going to be left out. God is going to bring those few survivors, of all the nations of the world, before Him and His throne in Jerusalem.
Now, like I said, this is a supernatural phenomenon that I can’t explain, but I know it’s going to happen, because the Book says it is. All right, so He brings all the survivors of the Tribulation before Him, but like I told you a moment ago – some are lost – some are saved. So, what does He have to do? He has to separate them. And that’s exactly what He’s going to do.
“…and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” Now, that’s not too hard to understand is it? My goodness, the shepherd goes in and he puts the sheep on the right and the goats on the left, and they’re separated. That’s what God is going to do with the believers and the unbelievers.
“Then shall the King (God the Son, Israel’s Messiah) say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” Now, this isn’t heaven in the heavens, this is the Kingdom on earth. Got it? The Kingdom over which He’s going to be ruling and reigning for a thousand years. But it’s got to be populated, because after all, you’re going to have millions of people at the end of the thousand years.
All right, we’ve already brought in the remnant of Israel, as we saw earlier, that’ll become the Nation of Israel. Here come representatives of the Gentile seed stock from all the nations of the world. Some of them are believers. Some of them are unbelievers. All right, He’s sorting them out. To the believers He says, “Come into the kingdom, or inherit the kingdom, prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Now, these next few verses do not mean that they work for their salvation. It was proof of their salvation, which they had heard from the 144,000 Jewish evangelists. All right, now He’s got the believers set aside, and they are ready to go into that earthly Kingdom.
Now, this is my own idea, and that’s all I can put on it. It stands to reason if by the time we get to the end of the thousand years there are nations all around the planet, all the various tongues and tribes, they’re going to have to all come from these few survivors. So, my idea is that the survivors of England will go back to England. The survivors of America will go back to America. The survivors of China will go back to China. These survivors that are believers will go back to their original homeland and begin to repopulate all the nations of the world. Now remember, we’ve got a thousand years. They’re going to have multitudes of children. So, by the time the thousand years are over, there are going to be literally billions of people on the planet once again, because there’s been no sin, there’s been no death, no Satan to interrupt.
All right, now to the other portion, the lost people, the goats, we’d better pick them up to see their fate. This is the same scenario, but now we’re dealing with the lost, the goats.
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” And again, the proof of their response is that they had no concern about these spiritual things that the others did. So, here is where you get the Gentile citizenry of the Kingdom. You get the Nation of Israel. And the thousand years is now ready to start moving on. Christ is going to rule and reign with a perfect government. It’s going to be like the expression says, “It’s going to be heaven on earth!”