[ 817 ] Les Feldick [ Book 69 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Redeem, Redeemed, Redemption |a
[ 818 ] Les Feldick [ Book 69 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] Redeem, Redeemed, Redemption |b
[ 819 ] Les Feldick [ Book 69 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Redeem, Redeemed, Redemption |c
[ 820 ] Les Feldick [ Book 69 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Redeem, Redeemed, Redemption |d
[ 821 ] Les Feldick [ Book 69 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] Kinsman Redeemer |a
[ 822 ] Les Feldick [ Book 69 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] Kinsman Redeemer |b
[ 823 ] Les Feldick [ Book 69 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] Kinsman Redeemer |c
[ 824 ] Les Feldick [ Book 69 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] Kinsman Redeemer |d
[ 825 ] Les Feldick [ Book 69 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] For such a time as this: Book of Esther |a
[ 826 ] Les Feldick [ Book 69 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] For such a time as this: Book of Esther |b
[ 827 ] Les Feldick [ Book 69 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] For such a time as this: Book of Esther |c
[ 828 ] Les Feldick [ Book 69 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] For such a time as this: Book of Esther |d
REDEEM, REDEEMED, REDEMPTION
Various Scripture References
My, it’s good to see everybody in this afternoon. We’ve got more than a full house. It won’t be long and they’re going to have to give us a bigger studio, aren’t they? We’ve got folks here from Indiana, Illinois, and various parts of Oklahoma. Now, did I miss any other out of state? Oh yeah, Texas. Good grief, yes, right here in front of me. So anyway, we want all of you to feel welcome and to know how much we appreciate your coming in and being a part of this. You know, I think some of our visitors from Chicago were just anxious to get here and start meeting the people that they’ve been seeing on television over the years. It’s just a good time this afternoon. Plus, we trust that we’re blessed with the feeding of the Word of God.
Okay, for all of you out in television, again, we just have to thank you. When the letters come in, oh, every letter that comes in I wish could answer. Well, I’d never get anything else done, of course, so you have to just let me get by with this on television, to express my personal appreciation for all of your good letters. My, what a shot in the arm it is every day to hear the response from the program, and so many coming to a true knowledge of salvation for the first time. We just can’t praise the Lord enough.
Okay, we’re going to start a new book today, Book 69. I’m going to depart from the “But Now’s and But God’s,” and we’re going to take a look at one of the themes of Scripture. We’re going to chase it all the way down from Genesis to Revelation. It’s this whole idea of redemption, and Jerry’s got the three various word forms. We’ve got the word “redeemed,” and we’ve got the verb tense “to redeem,” and then the noun is “redemption.” Of course, they’re all associated with the same act of God which is by definition – “buying back something that was originally owned and lost.” That’s the whole idea of redemption. I always use the simple illustration in our western culture of a “hockshop.”
I’ve never, fortunately, ever had to hock something, but I have bought things in a hockshop, because you can get some pretty good deals, you know. But the whole idea of a hockshop is that if you get in a financial bind you can take something that may be rather intrinsically precious to you and get a small amount of money for it. Then, hopefully, down the road you can go back and redeem it by buying it back. And hopefully, in a hockshop, it will still be there. So, the whole idea of redemption is that you have owned something. It’s been secure, but it was lost, and it will have to be redeemed in order for you to regain ownership.
All right, now God has had to do this over and over. We’re going to look at the various places where He had to come back in and redeem that which was originally His own. Of course, the first place to start would be Adam. So, you can turn with me, if you will, to Genesis chapter 1. I’m going to drop right in at the verse of creation – verse 27.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Now, the first thing I always have to qualify, in fact I just shared it with somebody on the phone in the last day or two, is that when God created man in His image, it was not our physical appearance as man or woman, because God was an invisible creature. He was a personality, and personality is an invisible entity.
Way back when we taught this, I made this illustration: you could go into an autopsy and as they are taking everything apart bit by bit, they can dissect the brain into the smallest particles, but they will never find the personality. Well, does that mean the personality isn’t real? Of course it’s real! And God was made up of personality – the mind, the will and the emotion. All three persons of the Godhead, you can chase this through Scripture, are given credit with those same things. God the Son had mind, will, and emotion. God the Father has mind, will, and emotion. So does the Holy Spirit.
All right, so when He created mankind in His image, it was that part of the Godhead that was transferred, you might say, to humankind. Adam was created as an invisible mind, will, and emotion, but since he’s going to function as mankind functions God placed him into what we call “the body.” Now, it’s just that simple. The body is a temporary thing. That’s why Paul calls it a tent in II Corinthians 5:1.
II Corinthians 5:1a
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle…” It’s a tent. Now a tent is always temporary. So, our real person, your real “you,” has been placed into a temporary tent-like thing which we call the body. So, when people call and say, “Well, what happens at death?” Always remember, the invisible part of us that was created in the image of God will never die. Don’t you ever fall for this idea of “soul sleep.” It cannot die, because it was created in an eternal entity, and it’s going to live eternally – someplace.
The lost are going to spend their eternity doomed in the Lake of Fire. The saved are going to spend eternity in God’s presence. Both are going to be eternal, because we are an eternal created being. The body was temporary. That’s why we can lay the body in the grave and it goes back to dust, but never the person – never the mind, will, and emotion.
All right, this is where we can move on. God creates Adam as a person, but He calls up out of the dust of the earth the tabernacle in which he’s going to dwell – verse 27.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;…” Now that’s the invisible part. God didn’t have a visible body at this point in time. All right, now then, verse 28:
“And God blessed them and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Now, what is the general mentality of mankind when they think of Adam and Eve being placed in the Garden? How much authority, how much dominion, did they have?
Well, wherever the Garden was limited. That’s what most people, I’m sure, think was their responsibility – the Garden of Eden. No! The whole planet was their responsibility. There was no ocean in the Garden of Eden. You see that? But that’s what he’s got dominion over – “the fish of the sea.” The same way with all the other animals that weren’t part and parcel of the Garden itself. So, never lose sight of the fact that Adam was given dominion over the whole planet.
Now, here is the reason I’m emphasizing this as we come through these various portions of Scripture dealing with redemption. I’ll tell you what got me started on it. My daughter had said a long time ago, she said, “Daddy, I hope someday you’ll do a study on the Book of Ruth.” Well, I’ve been putting it aside and once in a while I’d delve into it and I’d think, well, some day out in the future. Well, when I got ready for this taping, that’s where I started. I was going to teach the Book of Ruth, and I just ran up a cement wall. I was going to teach redemption in the little Book of Ruth, but there was no mention of the blood. There was no mention of death. And I think, now wait a minute, I can’t teach just this alone by itself.
So, as I was getting ready over the last several months, this wasn’t just in the last week, I was tying this in with Revelation chapter 5. Because whenever I teach Revelation chapter 5 and God the Son brings the mortgage, as we speak of it, before God the Father, the only way we can connect anything to that is from the Book of Ruth, but when I got ready to teach the Book of Ruth, that wasn’t the real picture of the other forms of redemption, which always involved a blood sacrifice and so forth.
So, I had to rethink the whole thing and decided, well, I’m going to – in fact, have I got room on the board? I’m going to put it on the board. Everybody can always remember better what you see than what you hear. We’re going to find that we’re going to have redemption in four places. Number one we’re going to see Adam – lost and restored. The next one we’re going to see is the Nation of Israel – lost and restored. Then we’re going to see at the cross the whole human race – humanity – I guess I can put it. The whole sphere of humanity is going to be in a place of redemption. Then the fourth one we’re going to cover is the redemption of the planet, the physical earth. Now, maybe that’ll help.
Now, the only way that I could fit the Book of Ruth in here is to put it someplace here, halfway up to the Old Testament, the Book of Ruth. But I’m going to have to bypass it, because it will not have any connection to these until I get down to this last one. So, if you can bear with me, that’s the whole scope of my afternoon, or maybe the next two afternoons, I don’t know. I never know how far we’ll get. See, I may even run out of gas at the end of the third program and will have to hurry up and figure out something else. But I don’t think so. I think I’m going to have enough material here to hold us all afternoon.
Okay, so back to Genesis. Adam is given dominion over everything! Not just that little area of the Garden of Eden, but the whole planet is now under his dominion. All right, now let’s jump, for sake of time, on up to chapter 2 verse 16. Now, we jump up to where things are really going to start taking off.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Now, that’s plain English, isn’t it? Now verse 18:
“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an helpmeet for him. 19. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20. And Adam gave names to all the cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an helpmeet for him.”
Now here again, that’s another. I could go all afternoon on that alone, because most people think that when I read chapter 1 verses 26 and 27, Adam and Eve were both created side-by-side. No, they weren’t. Adam was alone for the longest time, although Eve was in Adam. Oh, that turns people off. They just can’t handle that. So, I’m not going to deal with it this afternoon.
But anyway, sometime later, after all the animals have been named, and they’ve all been coming no doubt like at the Ark, two by two. What is the first thing Adam notices? Every male has its female. And he has none. He’s alone. God saw in the heart of Adam that he was longing for a mate. That’s why He comes back then in verses 21 and 22 and He creates Eve to be a helpmeet for Adam. Now, that’s long after he was originally created. But anyway, now you come down to verses 23 and 24.
“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Now, let me stop and ask a minute. How much mind, will, and emotion are in a rib bone? Have you ever thought of that? See, this is what I tell my callers. The phone – you know, I’m on the phone some days almost from morning till night. And the first thing I tell people is – THINK. Just sit back and think. This isn’t so deep.
Now somebody, I think it was Ike; you gave me that book on Quantum Physics, didn’t you? I don’t know where in the world he thought I had the wherewithal, but he gives me a book on Quantum Physics. Come to find out, that in the last six or eight months they have now found mathematically that there are ten or eleven dimensions instead of three. But see that’s beyond me. It’s beyond most people. But this Book isn’t. This Book is not beyond the thinking realm of the simplest of the simple.
I’m always using the illustration, I see it when we’re dubbing tapes, and I’ve used it over and over. When old Tyndale, the reformer, was trying to get Bibles across the Channel into England, they finally caught him. They were going to burn him at the stake for it. What was his final plea to God? “Oh, let every plowboy in England have a copy of this Book.” Well, here’s my point. How much education did a plowboy in England have in 1500? Not much, but was it enough to understand Scripture? Yes! So, don’t ever let somebody tell you, well, it’s too complicated. I can’t…no, it isn’t. God has made it so simple that a plowboy in England in 1500 could read it and comprehend it.
Okay, so now we have to understand that when Adam was first formed, Eve was within him. God takes her out at this point in time and Adam doesn’t call her Eve, he calls her Woman. She’s called Woman all the rest of the verses until we get to chapter 3 in verse 20. All right, but I don’t want to jump away from chapter 2 just yet. Come back there where he says, she’s “now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Now verse 24:
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25. And they were both naked, (They were totally in complete oblivion to sin or anything like that. They were perfectly innocent.) the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
Okay, now when you get into chapter 3, we have the fall. They eat of the tree. God loses them. That’s the point I want to make. Here they’ve been in the very will of God. The Lord comes down every day and walks with them and communes with them. I think person to person they communicated, and it was the most glorious relationship that you could ever hope for. But then all of a sudden, Satan moves in and Adam ate and Eve ate, and they lost that favored position. They were now separated from their Creator.
Now get the picture. They were God’s. He made them. They were His, but he left them with the option of being obedient or disobedient, and when they became disobedient He lost them. Now, in order to show you how clearly He lost them, drop down to verse 8 of chapter 3. Don’t forget the Lord has been communicating with them every day. Oh, what a time of fellowship that must have been, walking in the midst of that beautiful Garden with the Lord at their side.
“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife (ran to meet Him? Is that what your Bible says? No. Quite the opposite. What do they do?) hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” Their fellowship has been broken. Sin has entered, and God’s lost them. Now, I’m always emphasizing the Apostle Paul’s use of the word “grace,” but listen, grace didn’t originate with Paul. Grace originated right here, because when they ran to hide rather than confront the glorious Creator God, does God just simply give up on them? No. He seeks them out. Well, why? His grace! That’s the Grace of God in its first example. Verse 9:
“And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” Now, when I taught this 15 years ago on television, I made the point: didn’t God know where they were? Of course He did. So, why did He call? The same reason He calls today. He wants a free will response. He wasn’t going to search them out and say, oh, there you are. Huh uh. But He calls, “Where are you?” He’s waiting for their response. Nothing has changed.
“And Adam said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11. And the LORD God said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast though eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12. And the man said, The woman…” Hasn’t changed a bit, has it? It’s always the woman’s fault!
“And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”
Well, anyway, what we have to understand now is– I’m going to skip over verses 14 and 15 for just a moment and come back to them later. Here we find that, as a result of the fall, God lost that glorious fellowship between Himself and His created beings. They’re going to suffer the results of it with verse 17.
“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
All right, that was the lot, now, of fallen Adam and Eve, out of fellowship with their Creator. Now, what’s God going to have to do? He’s going to have to redeem them. He’s going to have to pay the price of redemption to bring Adam and Eve back into a walk and a talk with Himself. All right, in verse 20 comes the first step back from separation to once again enjoying fellowship with the Creator.
“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” Now, if you know your Bible, ever since chapter 1 when Eve appeared, she was called nothing but Woman. The Woman said… the Woman this… the Woman that. Here is the first instance where we have her called Eve, because she was to be the mother of all living.
Now, here’s the big question. Adam understood that when they ate death was imminent. Well, how are you going to be the mother of all living if you’re going to die? So, here’s my question. On what basis does Adam call the Woman, Eve, the mother of all living? Faith! And what’s faith? Taking God at His Word! Now, by deduction, just like algebra, you deduce. What had God evidently told them? That they weren’t going to die right away, they’re going to propagate their own likenesses. So consequently – believing God – although it may have seemed as utterly ridiculous as a lot of things that we have to take by faith, Adam believed Him and called her the mother of all living.
I’m sure he had no idea of what that was going to entail. But in simple faith, he said, all right, I’ll call her Eve, because that’s what she’s going to be. All right, now then we have the faith established, which is one of the two absolutes in Scripture. The second absolute, if we had time to go back and look at it also in Hebrews, is the blood. Without faith it is impossible to please God, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission. All right, we’ve got the faith established, so where is the blood? Always remember that blood is the price of redemption. That’s why I’m using this one. All right, we’re right down into verse 21.
“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats (or clothing) of skins,…” Animal skins. Now again, you’ve got to sit back and think. What’s God doing? Well, He’s preparing an animal sacrifice, but He’s going to use–what’s the word I’m looking for? He’s going to kill two birds with one stone. He’s not only going to clothe their physical nakedness with these animals, He’s also going to have the blood for the blood sacrifice. So, these animals were killed.
I made a point in one of my seminars in Minnesota. Don’t ever think God was cruel, because even the Jewish priests and so forth were so adept at killing those sacrificial animals that they never suffered. Not for a second. It was instant death, painless death. And that’s what we have to feel that God did here. He killed these animals and used the skins to provide clothing for Adam and Eve. But more important, it was the blood that was needed for restoration and forgiveness, for atonement. All right, so we find this is so clearly put that he made coats of skins to clothe their nakedness.
“…and (the next word is) clothed them.” Clothed, this is a spiritual term. The only way we can put that together is to jump all the way up to Isaiah. Now, we’ll have to do this quickly. Again, time is getting away from us, isn’t it? All the way up to Isaiah 61 verse 10. This is 700 BC instead of 4,000 BC. Look what Isaiah experiences. It is the same thing, the same forgiveness, the same blood application.
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he (God) hath (Watch the word.) clothed (The same word in Genesis, not with garments for the physical flesh, but garments of what?) me with the garments of salvation, (See the difference?) he hath clothes me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments,…”
All right, now we’ve got one minute. You’ve got to jump all the way up to Romans, and you know what? It’s no different. Paul now teaches basically the same thing in Romans chapter 3. This is where you and I have come. The same forgiveness, we’ve got, of course, the atoning blood of Christ instead of an animal, but, oh, the result is the same.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that (What?) believe:…” Now, what is imputed to the believer? The clothing of righteousness, the covering of righteousness. When we become a believer, I maintain, God doesn’t see me, He doesn’t see you. God sees who? Jesus Christ! We’ve been clothed with His righteousness. Now, that’s beyond human comprehension. But it’s what the Book says. When Adam and Eve came away from that experience of being clothed with their physical nakedness, they also were clothed with God’s righteousness. It restored them back to fellowship with the Creator. You see all that? He bought them back from their lost estate.
LESSON ONE * PART II
REDEEM, REDEEMED, REDEMPTION
Various Scripture References
We’re going to get on with program number two this afternoon. For those of you joining us on television, we’re just an informal Bible Study. I like to compare it to a Sunday School class more than anything. We’re simply comparing Scripture with Scripture. My whole idea of this is to get people to study their Bible by themselves. Don’t go by what I say. Don’t go by what some preacher says. You go by what the Book says, because this is how we’re going to be judged one day.
Okay, we’re looking at a little different approach to Scripture today. We’re looking at the whole process of redemption as we see God exercise it in various ways and forms from Genesis to Revelation. As I mentioned in the last program, I really wanted to do this with the Book of Ruth, but I couldn’t do it with Ruth alone, so we’re going to have to put it all together and then come back and see where the picture of Ruth and Boaz figure in.
All right, in this lesson we’re going to go back and look at the beginning of the Nation of Israel and how God lost them. Again, it’s a picture of what was once God’s He lost and He has to redeem them.
So, let’s go all the way back to Genesis chapter 37. We’re going to jump all the way up to when Joseph was having his dreams. I don’t think I have to rehearse for most people that Joseph is the dreamer. The brothers are starting to hate him a little bit more all the time until finally, one day, old father Jacob sends him out to check on the brethren. They conspire and say, here comes that dreamer, let’s get rid of him.
All right, so drop all the way down to Genesis 37 verse 19. I want you to see how all this took place, that here we have the Abrahamic Covenant, and it has now become a reality. Isaac has come and gone. Jacob has sired the twelve sons which will be the twelve tribes of Israel. We’re still in the early stages, of course, but the Nation has now gotten a good beginning.
“And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.” Which was Joseph, and then they conspire between themselves what to do with him. First they want to kill him. Then they decide to throw him into a pit, and you know the story. So, let’s drop down to verse 26, where the eldest of the brethren, Judah, has a little bit of compassion left in him.
“And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay (or kill) our brother, and conceal his blood? 27. Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, (slave traders) and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. 28. Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph to Egypt.”
Now that is merely the beginning of the process that brought the whole Nation of Israel down into the land of Egypt where they became slaves of the Egyptian Pharaohs and so forth. But it all started with the evil thinking and reaction to this godly man, Joseph, who was actually dreaming things that were prophecy. He was dreaming of the time when indeed they would be coming down to Egypt, and they’d have to bow down to him in order to get food for sustenance. But of course, none of them understood that as yet.
But, what we want to show in just this little bit here is how the beginning of the Nation under Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and his twelve sons is now interrupted by the first step in God’s losing them as they go down into Egypt. All right, now we know that after they’re in Egypt for a period of time, they come under abject slavery and the persecution and pressure of the Pharaohs, and then God’s going to do something totally different.
Now, jump all the way up to Genesis chapter 46. We’re going to see how everybody ends up in Egypt, and it all began with selling Joseph into slavery. Joseph, of course, comes out of prison and becomes the second man in Egypt. He puts together the seven years of plenty. You know the story. I don’t have to rehearse that. But now we come to the place where Jacob and the brethren have had to go to Joseph to get grain, not knowing who he was, of course, the first time. But when they went back the second time, then they understood that Joseph was indeed their brother, and Joseph made it known that the brethren were his brethren.
And that, of course, is a point that Stephen makes in Acts chapter 7, that for whatever reason, Israel always has to have a second go around. When the brethren went down to Joseph the first time, they didn’t know who he was. They didn’t have clue. But Joseph knew them. But when they came back the second time, then it’s revealed who Joseph is, and of course there’s this great reunion. Well, this was all a picture, in type of course, of Christ. The first time He came, He knew them. But they didn’t know Him.
We have the same thing with Moses. Moses went out to the Children of Israel supposing that he could lead them out. But what’d they do with Moses? They rejected him, and he was guilty of murder, so he had to flee for 40 years. Then he comes back the second time and he becomes the deliverer.
Now, these are all pictures in type. Which of course, I was thinking again sometime, either during the night or driving up here, you know, this Book is just like a huge, beautiful mosaic. I don’t think many people understand the beauty of a mosaic unless you get to the Middle East and see some of the archeological uncoverings over there of these beautiful mosaics, these little chips of stone. I think the most beautiful one we ever saw was the lady in Sepphoris.
It was in a huge mosaic. Almost a quarter of the size of this room and in one central part of the mosaic was a beautiful face of a young lady. It was like a Mona Lisa. You know why? No matter where you stood from that face, it was looking at you. You could look over here. It was looking at you. Stand in front of it. It was looking at you. Well you see, I like to compare that as a crude, crude illustration, but this Bible is a beautiful mosaic. All the little pieces when they come together are flabbergasting! But people will just reject it out of hand.
I always have to think of a survey I think lawyers took up in Iowa years and years and years ago. This one believing lawyer asked all the members of the bar association, I think it was in Iowa. Forgive me if I’m wrong. But he asked two questions. Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God? The second question was – if you said no, have you ever read it? Well, you know what the result was? About 90% said, no, they didn’t believe the Bible. Had they ever read it? One hundred percent said, no, they’d never read it. So, they reject it out of hand, not even having a clue of what they’re rejecting. But, you see, it is such a beautiful mosaic. Everything fits, but you have to dig it out. It isn’t going to unfold like a fifth grade reader necessarily. But yet it’s simple enough, like I said in the last half-hour, that anybody can understand it if they’ll just try!
You know, when people write and disagree with me on some of these things, you know what my stock answer is? There’s only one reason that you’re not agreeing with me. You don’t want to. And isn’t that true? No, they don’t want to. And they’ll be switched if they’ll try. But if they would and if they’d want to, it’s there. It’s as plain as day. I make no apology for that.
Okay, so here we go back to Israel now. They’ve just gotten started as a result of the promises made to Abraham. Then the old devil comes into these eleven brothers with envy and jealousy, and they sell Joseph down into Egypt. All right, so now in chapter 46 verse 1, we find that the brethren up there in Canaan are getting short of food. They’re hungry, and Joseph has the granaries full in Egypt. Now, up until this time they were warned constantly to never go down to Egypt, because Egypt was the biblical picture of the world. God’s people don’t go to the world for their problems, nor was Israel to go to Egypt. But now, after all these years of don’t go to Egypt, God changes it around and He gives the opposite directions.
“And Israel (Jacob) took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, (Which is down south of Jerusalem, present day Jerusalem, about, I suppose, 75-80 miles, which makes it just due east from Egypt.) and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. 2. And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. (Now, look what God tells Jacob after all these years of saying go not down to Egypt.) 3. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there (in Egypt) make of you a great nation:”
You know the rest of the story. Jacob and the eleven brethren moved down into Goshen. Under Joseph’s authority they prospered. They had the best producing area of Egypt up there in the delta, and they fared quite sumptuously for quite a few years. But then the Scripture tells us that there was another Pharaoh “who knew not Joseph” after he had died. Of course he brought in the extreme pressure of the slavery that the children of Israel found themselves under.
All right, let’s move on up, for sake of time, to see how God is going to bring about a redemption of that which He had lost. He has lost the Nation of Israel. They are out of fellowship with Him. They are under Gentile dominion, but He’s going to buy them back. Now, this is why I had to bypass the Book of Ruth. As we saw with Adam, we’re going to see with Israel. We’re going to see with Christ and the work for the whole human race. We’re going to see at the same time that when He pays off old Satan’s mortgage in Revelation, there are always three parts of redemption.
Number one, there has to be a person. Now, you might want to write this in your notes. You have to have a person. Number two, it has to be by blood. It has to be by blood. That’s the only way God can redeem. The third one is power. Power! This is why I cannot understand, as I’ve said it almost every taping lately, why do even our evangelical people avoid the Resurrection? They’ll speak of His death. They’ll speak of His forgiveness. But they just seemingly are remiss in bringing up the Resurrection. That’s where the power lies! That’s where the power is. You cannot have redemption without all three.
It doesn’t do a bit of good to have the shed blood if you don’t experience the power, and vice versa. We’re going to the Book of Exodus. We’re going to jump in at, let’s see, I want to go to chapter 11, I think. Exodus chapter 11 dropping down to verse 6, this is the night when every firstborn of Egypt is being put to death. This is the beginning of God redeeming His lost people and bringing them to Himself.
“And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it anymore. 7. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” Now verse 9.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt. 10. And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.” All right, now God is going to step in, in chapter 12, with the first step of redemption. And what’s it going to be? First, we have the person, which is Moses. That’s right off the bat in verse 1.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses (He’s going to be the person God is going to use in this instance.) and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2. This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” This, of course, is our month of April.
“Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: 4. And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.” These are the instructions leading up to the very first Passover. The night that the Egyptians were losing their firstborn and Israel is gathered in their little houses, their huts, whatever the case may be. It’s nighttime. They’re not sitting at the table, they are what? They’re standing. Okay, let’s move on.
“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:” Now remember, they were to take it out on the tenth day. They were to watch it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Of course the whole purpose was to make sure that there was nothing remiss about this little sacrificial animal. It had to be perfect. No injury. No sign of sickness. It had to be absolutely perfect.
And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. (Now, here comes the next part of redemption.) 7. And they shall take of the blood,…” Remember what we said in the first half hour? Hebrews says that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission.”
I wish I could give a beautiful, simple illustration as to why God always demands the shed blood. I can’t. I’ve got an idea, but I cannot explain it enough that everybody would be satisfied. The closest I can come is that all through the process of salvation, redemption, whatever the case may be, we have to have death, and out of death comes life. Genesis tells us that “life is in the blood.” This is not enough to satisfy everybody. I know it isn’t. But, it’s as far as I can go. Since life is in the blood, that blood has to experience death, so that out of death can come new life.
We see it in the plant families of the earth. When that seed is planted, it dies. Out of that death comes new life. This is the only thing that I’m able to put on why does God always demand the shed blood. It’s a fact of Scripture. We can’t escape it. Whether they like it or not, you cannot take it away. All right, so here again we had to have the sacrificial Passover lamb. Its blood had to be applied on the doorposts of their little huts in Egypt. That blood would spare them and would secure them from the death that was going across the land of Egypt.
“They shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it (the Passover lamb). 8. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs shall they eat it. 9. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden (or boiled) at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.”
“And ye shall let nothing of it remain to the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.” All right, now verse 12. While they are enjoying the Passover Lamb with the blood of safety on the doorposts, God says:
“For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all of the gods (Plural – everything in Egypt was a god, remember.) of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. 13. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”
Now, that’s the beginning of the Passover. Jews to this day are still celebrating Passover. Even though they’re missing, I think for the most part, all of the spiritual ramifications. Yet, this has always been part of Israel’s history. All the way since 1500 BC and here is the reason. Verse 26 of this same chapter, and, oh, this just says it all! Why do our Jewish people still practice Passover when they don’t believe in the God of the Passover? Here it is in verse 26.
“And it shall come to pass, when your children…” Now, are kids active in the Passover? Absolutely they are! What do the parents hide? The piece of bread? They hide the Matzo. And whose prerogative is it to go through the house and find it? The children. They become an active part of the Passover feast. Okay, here’s the reason. Oh, God knows how to do things!
“And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean you by this service?” Why are we doing this, Daddy? Why are you hiding something and then we go and find it? Well, to get them involved and to give them an understanding. Now verse 27, when the kids shall say why are we doing this? Then the Scripture says:
“That ye shall say, it is the sacrifice of the LORD’S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.”
All right, let’s just jump over a little further and come down now to chapter 14 where Israel is now escaping Egypt. Miraculously! The whole scope of Israel, and I maintain that there were six or seven million of them. Now, for the longest time I never heard anybody say anything more than six or seven hundred thousand, but then it wasn’t long and I heard people say three million. Then it wasn’t long and it was four million. Now I’m reading more and more people who are agreeing with me, it was more like seven million.
I think that was pretty much the average population of Israel all the way up through their history. Then lo and behold, I was reading the editorial by the Jewish editorial writer Krauthammer, and miracle of miracles, you know what Israel is close to today? They are real close to six million people in Israel. Six million. There’s fifteen million worldwide, but they’re getting close to six million now.
The first thing I had to think of, now I’m rambling, I’m chasing rabbits! Sorry about that. But you know I had to think of what he said. Six million people in Israel – what was the number of the men of war when Israel began winning everything all the way up through their history? What was the number that they had to have? You know? Six hundred thousand. When they reached six hundred thousand men of war, nobody could beat them. And I think the same thing happened in 1967. Israel had the six hundred thousand men of war and nobody could beat them.
Now, when I saw that there were six million, that’s just another multiplication of six hundred thousand, so there’s the mosaic. Everything fits. Okay, chapter 14, we’ve only got three minutes left? They have now escaped out of Egypt. They’re gathered on the banks of the Red Sea. Why bring us to the banks of the Red Sea? We don’t have boats. We don’t have rafts. What are we going to do? I imagine about that time they could see the dust clouds behind them of Pharaoh’s army. Can you see the panic? Can you feel it? What are we going to do? There’s no place to go and the Egyptians are coming.
Verse 13, of all things to tell seven million people. Now remember they had a chain of command. Moses didn’t stand some place and yell at six or seven million people. But they had a chain of command that just went like wildfire, and what was His command?
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still,…” Stand still? Are you kidding?! The Egyptians are behind us! They’ll slaughter us. But God says, “Stand still,” or Moses does by God’s instruction.
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” Do you suppose those Jews had even an inkling of what was about to happen? They had no idea. They couldn’t dream of all of a sudden the waters parting, but they did.
Now what’s this? We’ve had the blood on the doorpost. We’ve have had Moses as God’s spokesman. Now what have we got? Power! Power! The power of God opens that Red Sea, not just for forty or fifty feet. It must have been for miles, because seven million people cross on dry ground in a matter of hours. You see that? What a miracle! And of course, it became part of Israel’s history. One of the greatest miracles in all of Israel’s history was how God opened the Red Sea.
All right, now in the minute we have left, I hope I’ve got your imagination running. Here these seven million walk through the Red Sea on dry ground. Not a drop of water touches them. And as soon as they come up on the other side, the water comes back and destroys their enemies. Now, what’s the picture for you and me? That’s our Salvation. When we recognize that we’re a lost sinner, we’re undone. Does God say, get to work and do something? Does God say, go find a preacher and get baptized? Does God say, well, learn how to speak in tongues? What does He say? Don’t try to do anything. I’ve done it all. I’ve done it for you. I’ve shed my blood. I’ve already experienced the power of resurrection. I’m ready to give it to you – if you’ll just stand still and believe it! I can’t make it any plainer.
This is the perfect picture then of Israel losing their identity with God for ever so long, almost two hundred and some years, and then God redeems them with the use of a person, with the shed blood, and with the power of opening the Red Sea. Israel comes out on the other side now a redeemed Nation of people.
LESSON ONE * PART III
REDEEM, REDEEMED, REDEMPTION
Various Scripture References
For those of you joining us on television again, we want to welcome you to a Bible Study that we trust will help you to learn to study on your own. I’ve said over and over, it’s not that difficult. Just learn to separate some of these things. You can’t just keep it all jumbled up. It’s not an impossible Book, not by any stretch. Remember, we use all the Bible for our learning, but Paul’s books, Romans – Philemon, are for our Grace Age doctrine.
We want to thank you for your prayers, your letters, your financial help, every one of you. We love you. We pray for you from coast to coast. We know that we couldn’t do it without you. Same for all of you who come in for these tapings. How we appreciate this! We know that the Lord is using you to use us.
Okay, we’re going to continue on with our theme of redemption. First we saw that Adam and Eve needed to be restored to fellowship, but Adam of course plunged the whole human race into a need for redemption. This is going to be our next program, how that Christ in the work of the cross is going to redeem not just Israel but the whole human race. After Israel experienced the national redemption of the Red Sea, we still have that hope of a spiritual redemption in their future.
All right, we’re going to jump in, to start this half hour, in Isaiah chapter 59 verse 20. We know that Job spoke of a redeemer, one of the earliest books written in our Bible. But now, Isaiah in verse 20 says:
“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion,…” That’s a future promise from Isaiah’s point in time 700 years before Christ. A redeemer would be coming to Jerusalem to Mount Zion.
“…and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, (or in the Nation of Israel) saith the LORD. 21. As for me, this is my covenant with them,…” That is Israel. Now, I can never emphasize enough, and you know that this has been my teaching from day one, that with the onset of the Abrahamic Covenant all of God’s dealing was primarily to the Jew. There were some Gentile exceptions, but that’s what they were, they were exceptions. God has been dealing with the Nation of Israel. He’s going to continue to deal with Israel even as Christ makes His appearance for His earthly ministry.
“As for me, this is my covenant with them, (Israel) saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.” That’s almost a word for word repetition from Jeremiah 31:31 where He calls it a “new covenant I will make with the house of Israel.”
All right, let’s jump all the way up to our New Testament and jump into Luke chapter 1. Again, if you really get this concept of Scripture, the four Gospels are not that much different from the Old Testament, especially from Genesis chapter 12, the call of Abraham on. It’s all tied to Israel. Everything is God dealing with Israel. He hasn’t left the Gentiles out of His mind, but He’s going to have to deal with Israel first, and then He’ll deal with the rest of the world.
All right, Luke’s Gospel chapter 1, and I want to drop in at verse 68. The setting for this little portion of Scripture is the father of John the Baptist. He was one of the priests laboring at the Temple. When the little fellow was born, they asked the mother what his name would be. Elizabeth said, “John.” Well, that threw them a curve. Nobody has ever been called John before. So they look up old Zacharias who has been stricken speechless throughout the nine months of gestation. They find him up at the Temple compound. They asked him, what’s going to be the name of this baby? And he wrote the name, “John.” Well, they were all shook up, of course, but now the Lord gives him back his speech. I guess, in that case, we’d better start at verse 67. Now, Zacharias has gotten his speech back. Look what he says.
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, (So, everything he says is God moved. This isn’t just the voice of a wishful thinking Jew. This is the word that God wanted spoken.) and prophesied, saying, (or he spoke forth saying) 68. Blessed be the Lord God of (The world? No. That’s not what it says.) Israel; (Now we’ve got to keep Scripture in its context. We have no validity whatsoever in saying, well, He meant everybody. No. He meant what He said.) Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and (What?) redeemed his people,”
Well, this is prophecy ready to be fulfilled. Isaiah said, “The Redeemer would come to Jerusalem.” And here He is! He’s in their midst. John the Baptist will in short order be announcing Him to the Nation of Israel. “Your King is in your midst.” He’s ready to fulfill all the promises made to the Patriarchs and to the prophets. Here He is! So, Israel is put on the spot. All right, let’s read a few of these.
“And He hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” Now again I always ask the question. How many Gentiles in the House of David? Not a one! This is all Jewish. This is Jewish ground.
“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, you name them.) who have been since the ages began: (What did the prophets say?) 71. That we should be saved from our enemies, (The physical enemies, their neighbors, the Arab world, the Roman world, Israel was to be saved from all those Gentiles enemies.) and from the hand of all that hate us.” Which were, again, the same people.
“To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73. The oath which he swear to our father Abraham.” Now you see, everything goes back to Genesis 12. You can’t separate it. It’s just an on flowing of those Old Testament statements. Now verse 74.
“That he would grant unto us, that we (the Nation of Israel) being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75. In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 76. And thou, child, (speaking of John the Baptist) shall be called the prophet (the forth teller) of the Highest: (John would be the forerunner of the Messiah.) for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 77. To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, 78. Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,”
All right, so here is the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry, which is directed completely to Israel with only two exceptions, the Canaanite woman and the Roman centurion. It was all Israel. Everything in His earthly ministry is spoken to the Jews who are now under the Old Testament economy of the Law. The Temple is operating. The priesthood is operating. Into that comes Jesus of Nazareth (Gal. 4:4).
For the sake of our study this afternoon, we haven’t got time to go through His earthly ministry, so we’re going to jump all the way over to the Apostle Paul, because Israel has now rejected the Messiah out of hand when they said in so many words, “we’ll not have this man to rule over us.” You know, once in a while the Lord is patient with me. In His own time He revealed it. I made that statement on a program a long time ago and people wrote and said, “Les, where did you get that statement, we’ll not have this man to rule over us? It’s not in the Bible.” And you know, I looked and I looked and I looked and I had to admit, you know I’m wrong. I must have pulled that out of the woodwork someplace. But the other night I was reading in one of the Gospels and there it was! It was in one of His parables. When the husband went to a far country and he sent his son and so forth and then the statement was made, “we’ll not have this man to rule over us.” Well, it was a direct reference to Christ, but I was remiss in quoting Him as such, although He is the one who said it in the parable.
So, they rejected Him. They crucified Him. Peter comes back in the early chapters of Acts and he pleads – repent of the horrible sin of killing your Messiah. I had someone write me the other day. They said, “Peter preached death, burial, and resurrection.” And I have to write right back and say, “But not for salvation!” He had to preach resurrection. Otherwise, how could he tell the people of Israel that their king was still coming? A dead person can’t rule. So, the first thing Peter had to convince Israel was the one they crucified was alive. Indeed He was. And He would still come and fulfill the promises. But Peter never associated it with salvation. Never. He just simply says, “the One you killed, God raised from the dead.” He doesn’t say – believe it with all your heart for your salvation like the next apostle, Paul, does. Paul says, you believe it if you want salvation!
All right, now we’re going to look at the approach of this whole idea of redemption not just for Israel, not just for the Gentile, but for the whole human race. That’s why I’ve got it up on the board now – Humanity. The whole sphere of humanity comes under this work of redemption. That is when God the Son took on flesh and ministered for three years to the Nation of Israel, was rejected, crucified, shed His blood. He was buried, raised from the dead. All right, now what have you got? You’ve got the three attributes, again, of redemption. The person? Jesus Christ. The blood? Calvary’s cross. The power? Resurrection morning. Now we’re all set to proclaim redemption to the whole human race. This is for everyone!
All right, Romans chapter 3 and I almost have to start, whenever I go into chapter 3, I just can’t leave verse 19 alone. I can’t help it. I wasn’t intending to use it today, but I’m going to have to.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:” Well, Beloved, there was only one group of people whom God put under the Law. Who was it? Israel! Israel alone had the Temple. Israel alone had a priesthood. Israel alone rested on the prophets and the Old Testament. That has nothing to do with us Gentiles except as it’s going to unfold now through this Apostle. Now Paul is making it so plain that Israel was under the Law, the Ten Commandments. But, since it is God’s moral law for the human race, it didn’t stop at Israel’s borders. It put the whole human race under condemnation. Read on.
“…that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world (not just Israel now) may become guilty before God. 20. Therefore by the deeds (or the keeping) of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge (Of salvation? No, it’s the knowledge–) of sin.” Now, this is the complete opposite of what even most of Christendom is preaching today. “Just do the best you can. Keep the commandments and God might let you in.” Isn’t that the hope of most people? What a travesty.
The Law was never given to get anybody to Heaven, except to bring him under condemnation where he recognizes his need. That’s all the law the can do. The law is a convicting power. The law condemns every one who breaks it. And how in the world do people think they’re going to make it to Heaven by keeping something that no man can keep?
So, Paul makes it so plain that “by the law there shall no flesh be justified.” Not one, because only Christ Himself was sinless and never failed in the keeping of the Law. All right, now verse 21, here’s the flipside. We covered it in one of our “But Now’s”.
“But now the righteousness of God…” This is the verse we used when we were looking at Adam’s salvation back in Genesis. That when God brought in the sacrificial lamb and shed its blood and saw Adams’s faith, He clothed him with what? Righteousness! Well, it’s the same righteousness that Paul deals with – “The righteousness of God without the law.” Now don’t miss that.
“The righteousness of God without the law (Leave it where God put it, as a condemnation and nothing more.) is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.” Of course, this Bible is a progressive revelation. You don’t take one page out of this Book. I’ll come back to the mosaic. You keep every little stone of the mosaic in place. You don’t ever take a portion of Scripture and say, well, that’s irrelevant. I can throw it away. No, you can’t. It’s a complete composite of the Word of God. All right, now verse 22.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus Christ (The faithfulness that Christ accomplished everything that needed to be done and it will never faileth. Now we know that you can put money in banks and a bank can fail and you lose it all. You can put your faith in an MD who is nothing but a renegade. He’s not what he claims to be and you lose it all. And all through life we can have experiences with men and women that are not faithful to what they’re supposed to be. But God will never let us down. He is always faithful.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus Christ (And this righteousness of Christ is imputed to–) unto all and upon all them that believe:” See how simple that is? There’s nothing else in there. This righteousness comes upon all them that believe plus nothing. And, oh, they muddy it up. They goof it up. But it’s so simple. It’s to those who place their faith or believe it. Then verse 23, beginning with Adam, because of Adam–
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;” The Ten Commandments prove that. No man can go through life without breaking those Ten Commandments. It just proves that he’s a sin-natured individual.
I made the comment in one of my seminars here the other day. I haven’t done it for years and years on the program. But you know, when that little baby is born and first brought in from the hospital, they’re sweet. Oh, they’re innocent. They’re loving. They’re cuddly. But how long until that Adamic nature shows its head? Not long and they have a temper. Oh, they can get angry!
Then it isn’t very long and they can lie like a rug. Who teaches them to lie? I know no Mama is going to say, “Now look honey, when I ask if you’ve taken a cookie, all you have to do is just tell me no you haven’t.” That’s the way you do that? No, that isn’t the way it works. They know how to lie. I’ll go one step further. They hear the neighbor’s kid use a bad word. Do they know where to use it? You better believe it! They know where to use it! You don’t have to teach them. Why? We’re born with that Adamic sin nature. Everyone one of us is. All right, now read on. Here’s the blessed hope.
“Being justified freely (without a cost) by his grace through the (What?) redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” Redemption – the same word that Isaiah and Moses used. It is the same word that Adam experienced. It’s the process where God is going to buy back that which He lost. He’s going to pay the price. He’s going to exert the power necessary to get it done. That’s our redemption. That’s where we are. “Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Now, what did Christ Jesus do?
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,…” His shed blood – you can’t take that out of the Gospel of salvation. Denominations take it out, but this Book doesn’t. Some of the new translations take it out. But God’s Word in its original purity hasn’t. So, we have to have faith that His Divine sinless blood was shed as the redemption price for our salvation. Never forget that!
That’s why we have to maintain Christ’s Deity, that His blood was Divine. It was sinless blood. That’s why He had to be virgin born. Have you ever thought of that? Had He been born of an earthly father, his blood wouldn’t have been any more perfect than mine or yours. I mean, it’s impossible for a human being to have the Divine blood that was necessary for redemption. So, he had to be absent a human father. That’s where the virgin birth came in. Mary was impregnated by an act of God. Not by a human father. That’s intrinsic to our whole plan of salvation. He had to be virgin born, without an earthly father to pollute his blood. All right, so it was through His Divine sinless blood that He could–
“…to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” All right, now that word “propitiation” I don’t dare just fluff off. I’ve got to show that. If you’ve ever done a study with me, or anybody else, of the tabernacle out there in the wilderness, I hope you can picture it in your mind’s eye. Here was that beautiful white fence all around the altar and the little tent in the center with the laver of cleansing, and all these things that made up the Temple or the tabernacle complex. Every last jot and tittle of it was a picture of Christ in one form of His work of redemption or another. Every last bit of it was a picture of Christ.
Well, not only was it a picture of Christ the person, the Redeemer, it was a picture of His finished work. In other words, when the animal was killed and the blood was shed and it was laid on the altar, what was it a picture of? His own death at the cross. When the priest comes in and stops at the laver of cleansing, what was it a picture of? Who alone can cleanse us from our sins? God the Son. All the things in the tabernacle, everything about it, were not only a picture of Christ Himself in His physical appearance, but in His work. Everything He did was right there in that little tabernacle. Everything! And that’s the word – propitiation. All of that comes together for the act of redemption for us even today, for the whole human race.
All right, now I can’t leave without using verse 26, even though we’re moving on from the word redemption now. But in verse 26 Paul says:
“To declare, I say, at this time his (the Redeemer’s) righteousness: that he (the Redeemer, God the Son, Jesus the Christ) might be just, (absolutely fair) and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus.” Do you see that? God will never cut corners when it comes to our sin. He’s going to deal with it. But He’s going to deal with it and declare us just and justified, not when we’ve kept the commandments, but when we’ve what? Believed Paul’s Gospel. That’s all. Then God moves in and does all the work of transforming our lives and our appetites and all that goes with it.
All right, now let’s move ahead a little bit in the few minutes we have left to Galatians chapter 3. We have yet another reference to this work of redemption. Galatians chapter 3, let’s start at verse 10.
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse:…” Now Beloved, stop and think a minute. How many people today are exactly in that position? It’s sobering. It’s frightening. The multitudes of Christendom are trying to approach God with a works religion. That’s law. And what are they under? The curse of God. Now that’s strong language, but that’s what the Book says. Not my idea. If you’re going to make Heaven by keeping the commandments, you’re not going to make Heaven. You’re going to be under the curse.
“…for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” In other words, if you’re going to make Heaven keeping the Ten Commandments, and you so much as steal a dime’s worth of something, you’re doomed. You’ve broken the Law. You’re under condemnation. You’re under the curse. All right, now verse 11, but that’s not the way it is. Praise the Lord, that’s not the way it is!
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, (Why? Because even from the Old Testament economy–) The just shall live by (What?) faith. 12. And the law is not of faith: (The law is works. Do this and do that and don’t do that and so forth, that’s law. That’s not faith.) The man that doeth them shall live in them.” Again, if you’re going to make Heaven with works, then you can’t break one single commandment one time in your whole life. Well, you know, it’s impossible. Okay, now here comes the word we’re looking for.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,…” What’s the word? Redeemed us! He has paid the price of redemption with His shed blood on the cross of Calvary. And you and I have been set scot-free. Now, we’ve got more verses to look at, but we’ll have to pick that up in the next half-hour, because I’m not ready to let this drop. We’ve got to come back in our next program.
LESSON ONE * PART IV
REDEEM, REDEEMED, REDEMPTION
Various Scripture References
Okay, program number 4 and again I just want to thank all of you folks from near and far for coming in this afternoon. It’s just been a pleasure on my part. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. For those of you joining us on television, we’re an informal Bible study. We’ve got nobody that underwrites us. We just depend on the gifts of God’s people, and amazingly, He supplies all our needs. We never have to beg or borrow. We just give Him all the praise. Thank you, folks, for everything that you do for us. We appreciate the prayers. They’re just as important as the financial.
Okay, we’re in a Bible study. We’re looking today at the whole concept of redemption from Genesis through Revelation. I didn’t feel like I quite wound up in the last half-hour the whole idea of the redemption work of Christ and the cross. So, I’m going to come back to where we left off in the closing seconds of the program, Galatians chapter 3 verse 13 once again. Remember now that the three facets of redemption are: it takes a person; it takes blood; and it takes power.
Of course the Lord Himself fulfilled all that when He went to the work of the cross, not just to redeem Israel, not just to redeem the Gentile, but to redeem the whole human race. This is a concept, I think, that probably shakes people up every time I say it. You want to remember that the work of the cross passed forgiveness to the whole human race. From Adam to the end of time every sin has been forgiven. It was laid on Christ at the cross. Every alienated person has been reconciled to God, so far as God is concerned. Every human being now has access to this salvation, but it has to be appropriated by their personal faith.
It isn’t just a blanket statement that oh well, God’s going to bring everyone into glory sooner or later. No, the Scripture doesn’t teach that. The Scripture makes it so plain that even though God has accomplished the work for all the human race, it has to be appropriated by faith. He redeemed the whole human race. He paid the price of redemption for everybody, but it doesn’t do them any good until they appropriate it with their own personal faith.
All right, back to Galatians chapter 3 where we left off in verse 13.
“Christ has (past tense) redeemed us from the curse of the law,…” Now, do you get the impact of that? What does the Law do to the human race? It puts a curse on them. It doesn’t lead them to Heaven.
My, I can’t imagine how Satan has been so successful in twisting this whole approach to the Law by giving people the idea that if they do the best they can, if they keep the Commandments, God will let them into His Heaven. That’s not what the Law was given for. The Law was given to convict every individual of his law-breaking, his failure, his sinfulness, and that only the work of the cross can compensate for it. All right, so again, “Christ hath redeemed us.” He has bought us back. He’s paid the price.
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:…” Now see, there again, you’ve heard me say it over and over, especially those of you here in Oklahoma. There is no way any human being can comprehend what Christ suffered at that cross.
The “Passion of the Christ” didn’t even scratch the surface, because that was merely from the physical point of view. What they could not show is how He suffered from the spiritual side. Whereupon being God Himself, being the Creator, He alone was capable of it. He suffered the sin debt of the whole human race. We can’t comprehend that. But that’s what the Scripture teaches. That He suffered being sin for us, He who knew no sin.
“…for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” Well, what’s it directing at? Where was Christ hung? On a tree. That’s why it had to be a cross. He had to be hung on a tree to fulfill the cursedness of having been hung on a tree. Now look at verse 14.
“That the blessing of Abraham (Who also was under that redemption that happened to Israel.) might come on the Gentiles (not through the law) through Jesus Christ; that we (as Gentiles) might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Not law-keeping. Not Temple worship. Not sacrifices.
All right, now skip across, still in this same little letter to the Galatians, to chapter 4 verses 4 and 5. This is the only time that the Apostle Paul makes reference to Christ’s birth at Bethlehem. The only time. Why? Because Christ’s earthly ministry was not for the Gentiles. That was for Israel. We are concerned with His finished work of the cross. So for us, it’s from the cross on.
“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made (Where?) under the law,” My, how many times have you heard me say it? Everything that Jesus said and did was according to the Law. He lived, He preached, and He practiced under the Law. He was in the Synagogue on the seventh day (Sabbath day). He went to the Temple. When he preformed the miracle of healing the lepers, ten of them, what did He tell them? “Go show yourself to the priest according to the law.”
Everything He preached was according to the Law. That’s why Paul now teaches–I didn’t intend to do this, but these things come up and I have to hit them. II Corinthians chapter 5 and a lot of preachers hate this. I know they do. I hear it. II Corinthians chapter 5, but as Peter says, everything that Paul wrote is Scripture. And if it’s Scripture, it’s what? The Word of God. And if it’s the Word of God, we’d better pay attention, or else you’re going to be misleading people.
All right, II Corinthians chapter 5, I almost have to start at verse 14 to pick up the flow. Paul is writing to the Gentile church at Corinth. He’s writing to us.
II Corinthians 5:14-15
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, (or conclude) that if one died for all, then were all dead: (That is spiritually.) 15. And that he died for all, that they who live should not henceforth (That is from their salvation on.) live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again.” There’s Paul’s gospel. Now look at verse 16, and, oh, so many preachers and teachers don’t like it. It makes them mad. But I can’t help it.
II Corinthians 5:16a
“Wherefore henceforth (from this point of the resurrection forward) know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh,…” His three years of earthly ministry. Old Saul of Tarsus knew what Jesus of Nazareth was doing. I’ll bet he was on the fringes just infuriated over what he was seeing Jesus do. He was a good Pharisee. So, when he writes something like this, even though it’s inspired of the Spirit, it was still apropos from his own experience. Paul knew all about it. But now look at the rest of the verse.
II Corinthians 5:16b
“…yet now henceforth (From this time forward. Not from John the Baptist. Not from Peter, James, and John’s call up there at Galilee, but from this time of this revelation of this Gospel of Grace.) know we him no more.” That’s why Paul never refers to Bethlehem. He doesn’t refer to His earthy ministry. He doesn’t refer to His miracles, because that’s moot. That was all for Israel. What counts for us are the work of the cross and the power of His resurrection.
All right, back to Galatians chapter 4 a minute, chapter 4 verse 5. Then we’re going to move on to our next point on the board – the Redemption of the planet. That’s coming next. But now we’re dealing with the redemption of the human race, our need, spiritually, as lost people. All right, verse 5.
“To redeem (to buy back, to pay the price of redemption) them who were under the law, that we might (experience redemption and) receive the adoption (or the placement) of sons.” As a child of God, and that’s all part of redemption, He bought us back from the slave market. That again was what Paul pictured back there in Romans. It was the slave market that was such an apropos illustration for his day, because they were operating all over the Roman Empire.
Slavery was a mundane thing. These people would be captured, probably in war, and they’d be brought back to Rome or other places and were immediately placed into a slave market. They were treated like animals, the same kind of slavery that carried all through human history.
All right, now once they were in the slave market, they only had two alternatives. One was death by one way or another, whether it was the lions in the Coliseum or whatever. The other alternative was that some rich Roman would buy them out and pay the price of redemption. Hopefully, taking them to a beautiful villa and giving them light work. That was the hope of a slave in a slave market. Well, Paul draws the analogy – that’s the lost person. We’re in Satan’s slave market. Satan is only going to give us one alternative. Death! Eternal doom! That’s where Satan wants us. But God by His grace instituted redemption. By faith He bought us out of Satan’s slave market.
That’s why I’m always emphasizing, what all was involved in the power of His resurrection? Defeating all these forces of Satan that have such a hold on the human being. The resurrection power had to break that. Well, let’s just use the slave market as another step. Here we are in Satan’s slave market. Satan is jealous of his subjects. He doesn’t want anyone to take one of them away from him. But, you see, the power of resurrection was able to do it. The power of resurrection breaks the chains of Satan. It sets us free. Then this is the glory of the life of a believer: when we become a believer and we’re set free, are we confined with a whole bunch of rules and regulations? No, we’re free! We now have the Holy Spirit to guide us, to direct us. But we don’t have walls of limitation. You can’t do this. You can’t do that. It’s the liberty that we experience when we’ve been bought out of the slave market.
Okay, so much for that. We’ve got thirteen minutes. I don’t know if I can do justice. I doubt it. We’ll have to go to the text taping session next month, but let’s go back quickly to Revelation. No, I’m going to stop at Peter. I’ve got to do justice to Peter. Peter uses the term just as well as Paul does and just as well as Isaiah, so we’re going to use it. I Peter chapter 1 verse 18. Remember that Peter is writing to scattered Jews. They were driven out of Jerusalem because of Saul’s persecution. Now he writes these little letters, that we’ve been addressing in our daily programs, to the Nation of Israel who are believers that Jesus was the Christ. They’re in little synagogues scattered throughout the Roman Empire. This is where this letter is directed. All right, verse 18, we have the same concept. It doesn’t matter if you’re Jew or Gentile.
I Peter 1:18
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation (manner of living) received by tradition from your fathers;” See how Jewish this is? This wouldn’t apply to us Gentiles. We’re not resting on the tradition of the Old Testament Gentile people. Heaven forbid! But for the Jew, they were resting on the tradition of the fathers, ever since Abraham. But Peter says, that’s not what redeemed you. These believing Jews were redeemed with–now verse 19.
I Peter 1:19
“But (you were redeemed, you were bought back) with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” Aren’t you glad we went back to Exodus a little while ago? That’s just exactly what they had to look for. They had to find a lamb that was perfect, with no injuries, no visible signs of anything being wrong with it. They watched it for four days to make sure it was perfect. All right, that’s what Christ did in His three years of earthly ministry. He showed His sinlessness. He showed that He was the perfect, spotless Lamb of God.
All right, now Peter makes reference to it as he writes to fellow Jews, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb (like the Passover lamb) without blemish and without spot.” Well, hopefully that will settle the whole act of redemption, first of Adam, and then of the Nation of Israel out of Egypt, and then the human race as the work of the cross paid the price.
Now, we’re going to look at the redemption of the planet. Because as soon as Adam fell, who took over the dominion that Adam enjoyed? Well, Satan did. Satan became the god of this world. Immediately! We made reference to it in our last taping. Maybe I should go back and show it. Keep your hand in Revelation, if you’ve already found it.
Come back with me to Matthew a minute, because when I make a statement like this, I know people will say, “Well, now wait a minute, Les, where do you get this?” Come all the way back to Matthew chapter 4. Satan is tempting Christ. For sake of time, again, let’s bring it all the way down to verse 8. Now remember, this is in His earthly ministry. This is Christ in the flesh, the God-Man, totally man, totally God. Now verse 8.
“Again, the devil taketh him (Jesus) up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;” The Roman Empire as it was then existing. In the realm of the spirit, he could probably rehearse the Greek Empire, the Medes, and the Babylonians. Maybe he even had the wherewithal to look ahead a few hundred years. But the whole concept was that Satan is now showing Jesus in His earthly ministry, in the realm, I think, of the spiritual, all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. Not the hideous part. Not the slum sections, not the ghettos. The glory of them. The good part. Now verse 9, the audacity that Satan approached the Lord Jesus Christ.
“And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Isn’t that amazing? Now you know, I always stop right here and ask the question. You’ve heard me say it a hundred times. Were they his to give? Yes! He’s the god of this world!
Now, another verse comes to mind. Then we’ll go back to Revelation in the few minutes we’ve got left. We’re not going to have much time are we? II Corinthians chapter 4, a lot of church people don’t want to recognize that Satan is the god of this world. But he is. This planet is under his thumb. It’s under his power. It’s under his control.
II Corinthians 4:3-4
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:” A saved person doesn’t have any trouble understanding the Gospel. He knows that he is what he is because of it. But for lost people, hey, they haven’t got a clue. Even church people, I’m finding, are getting a little more ignorant all the time. My goodness, back when I was a teenager, everybody knew what you were talking about when you talked about a Damascus Road experience. Talk to your average teenager today. Do they know what it is? They don’t know what you’re talking about.
I think I passed on what one of the poll takers had found out not too many month’s ago. It was a poll taken only among Sunday School kids of supposedly evangelical churches. He asked the question whether they believed in the Biblical God, the God of Creation. And I was aghast. I stand to be corrected, but if I’m not mistaken, it was something like 80% of our teenagers in Sunday School knew nothing of the God of this Book. They were what we call deists What’s a deist? They recognize that there’s a power, that there’s a providence, but a personal God? They know nothing of that. All right, so Satan is the god of this world, back to your text, verse 4.
II Corinthians 4:4a
“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them who believe not,…” Who blinds them? Satan does. Hey, listen, he’s a smooth operator. He’s brilliant. Don’t ever picture him as a little monkey in a red suit with a pitchfork. That’s the worst. He is a brilliant shining angel. And he has power, limited only, of course, by God’s Sovereign power.
I’ve taught it for forty years, ten years before I ever started anything else, that this Satan will use all the beautiful things of this world to confuse the issue. Drive through a beautiful city park paid for by the taxes of the people. Is it a work of God or a work of Satan? I’m not tricking you. That’s a work of Satan. Oh, he loves that. He loves to put out beautiful things – beautiful libraries, beautiful this, beautiful campuses. In his so doing, who does he get people to forget? God. He puts all the emphasis on himself. Hey, I’m not kidding you. He is the god of this world. He is sharp. He knows exactly how to confuse the issues.
That’s why the Lord himself and I mentioned this in the last taping, the Lord Himself used the example “broad is the way, wide is the gate that leadeth to (What?) destruction, and many go in thereat.” What’s the next verse? “But narrow is the way, straight is the gate, and few there be that find it.” Beloved, it’s enough to scare you down to your socks that the vast majority of the human race is missing it because the god of this world is so subtle. My, look at our kids today. Sunday morning is the best time in the world to have a baseball tournament. Do you know that? Yeah! Why Sunday morning? Because Satan doesn’t want them in a Sunday School someplace. Why, when we were kids they never dreamed of doing things like that on Sunday morning. But now it’s the norm. Hey, the god of this world, he’s in control. The only thing we can hope for is that we’ll have the wherewithal to have the Holy Spirit enlighten us, convict us, and bring us out of the slave market of sin and be one of the fortunate few that are finding the narrow way which leads to life eternal.
Well, I haven’t really got time to go back to Revelation. Just to whet your appetite, we’ll go back to Revelation chapter 5. I’m going to give you just enough so that you can do like I’ve been doing for the last few months. Now, take Revelation chapter 5 and then go back to the Book of Ruth, and then you’ll have my next taping! Because this is where we’re going to pick it up. Revelation chapter 5 and we’re going to start at verse 1. Now, this is at the very beginning of the Tribulation. It hasn’t really started yet. This is the beginning of the seven years.
“And I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a book (or a scroll) written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.” Now, it’s unfortunate that it’s called a book, because a scroll gives you a better picture. What are we talking about? A mortgage! We’re talking about a mortgage. The mortgage is written on the inside that is not visible, and it’s written on the outside and then sealed with seven seals, so it won’t unroll. All right, read on.
“And I saw strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll, and to loose the seals thereof? 3. And no man in heaven, nor in earth, nor under the earth, was able to open the scroll, neither to look thereupon. 4. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, (or to pay off this mortgage) neither to look thereon.
“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, (the scroll) and to loose the seven seals thereof.” Now again, where are our references taking us? Old Testament. We’re not going back to the writings of Paul for this. We’re going back to the Old Testament to pick up the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of King David, and then verse 6.
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 7. And he (this Lamb of God) came and took the scroll out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.” Now come down to verse 10, and it says:
“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Why? Because the One who took the scroll had died and shed His blood and was raised from the dead. Now, we’ll pick that up in the Book of Ruth in our next taping.
LESSON TWO * PART I
Revelation 5; Ruth; I Corinthians 15:1-4
It is good to see everybody in again this afternoon. We’ve got folks from Minnesota, California, and Alabama. Did I miss anybody? Florida? Yeah, Jim right here is from Florida.
Okay, for those of you out in television, in case you’re a new listener, we’re an informal Bible study. We try not to get preachy. I don’t want to get theological, per se, but we just want to teach the Book verse by verse, line upon line, and precept upon precept. And we have been blessed! My, we are getting so many people that are seeing things they have never seen before!
My goodness, you know, I see things that I never, never heard 30-40 years ago. That’s the whole idea. So, those of you joining us we again thank you for your prayers. That’s most of all. We thank you for your kind letters, and then we thank you for your financial help. After all these things do have to be paid for, and you’ve been picking up the bill every month. We thank you from the depths of our heart. Okay, we’re going to continue on with the redemption of the planet from the last taping.
Now, we talked about the redemption that God promised back in Genesis chapter 3 when Adam and Eve were first out of the Garden. Then we spoke of some other times of redemption, like Israel coming out of Egypt. That was an act of redemption. Then we looked at the work of the cross, how that in itself is the work of redemption for the whole human race. And it can be appropriated only by faith.
Now we have to make that clear, because I had the question come in again the other day. Since God performed the work of the cross, which was sufficient for every human being, does that mean that sooner or later everybody’s going to get to Heaven? Don’t you ever think it! It is only those who appropriate this finished work by faith.
I’m always giving the illustration that Congress can appropriate billions and billions of dollars for a particular purpose. We’ll say for highways. But the states have to make application. They have to appropriate that which Congress has set aside. Otherwise, it just stays there. Well, now that’s the work of salvation. God has finished it. It’s satisfactory for every human being that’s on the planet to personally appropriate it – by faith. That’s what we keep emphasizing. If I’ve got time this afternoon, I’m hoping to get into one of my favorite Gospel passages – I Corinthians 15:1-4. I just can’t imagine why it’s not used more often, but it isn’t. But we’re going to if I have time. So anyway, then we looked at redemption, I think as Paul perceived it in Galatians when he said, “He came to redeem them who were under the Law.”
Now, we’re looking at the redemption of the planet. We’re going to have to go to the Book of Ruth after a bit, because when we come down to the redemption of the planet, we have to understand that when Adam fell and he lost that dominion…now, I guess we’d better look at that. I know I’ve got everybody in Revelation 5, don’t I? Well, let’s go back to chapter 1 of Genesis. Keep your hand in Revelation. I’ll be right back.
I remember years ago when we were still in the original studio and a gentleman and his wife, who have now moved to Phoenix. They aren’t on the program any more, but Monty and Helen always used to sit on the front row. And I would do just like I did today – okay, I’m going to be starting out in such and such chapter and such and such a verse, and Monty would look up and say, “You want to bet on it?” But, that’s the way I teach. I can’t help it. Okay, back to Genesis chapter 1 when God is now making the promises to Adam in chapter 1 verse 28.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth (or fill it up), and subdue it: (Now, look at the next statement. This is to Adam.) and have dominion over…” The Garden of Eden? Is that what your Bible says? No! That’s what everybody’s idea is, that the only place that Adam had any authority was in the Garden. No! He had the whole planet. That was his dominion.
“…and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Was all that in Eden? Well, of course not! So, what does that tell you? Adam’s dominion was the whole planet. It was all his to have control of, under God of course. All right, but when Adam sinned, when he disobeyed God by the simple act of eating of the tree, what happened to that dominion? He lost it! Who picked it up? Satan! Never forget that. Adam dropped the ball, and just that quick Satan picked it up. So consequently, for the last 6,000 years, who’s been the god of this world? Satan! Oh, under God’s Sovereignty. We don’t take anything away from that, but Satan has been the god of this world for the last 6,000 years.
Now, somebody is going to say, now where do you find that in Scripture? Well, there are several places. Let’s stop first at one in Matthew chapter 4, because I want to establish with my whole television and radio and internet audience that Satan has been the god of this world for the last 6,000 years. And the only way that God can wrest control from him is to redeem it. He’s going to pay the price.
All right, Matthew chapter 4 and this is when the Lord is being tempted by Satan. But we’ll just look at one of them, verse 8. Matthew 4 verse 8 and as you look at these different Scriptures, don’t forget what we’re talking about. We’re going to show that Satan is in control of this world. This is in Christ’s earthly ministry.
“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain,…” Now, as I was mulling this over the last few days, how many of you have seen a picture of the globe from outer space? I’m sure you all have – that beautiful, round blue and white globe. Well, I like to think that whatever this high mountain was, it was high enough that Jesus, in His human form with Satan, could see the whole planet. Now, that’s just my own idea. But, whatever – he takes him up to an exceeding high mountain and shows him all. See, that’s why I have to think that it had to be from a tremendously high vantage point.
“…and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;” Now, that means what it says and it says what it means. He saw them all. Since they were both eternal creatures, Satan as well as the Lord Himself, I think Satan took Him, mentally at least, all the way past the empire of Rome which was now on the scene, and back through the Greek Empire, the Mede Empire, and the Babylonians, all of the beauty of that. I also think he projected into the future. So, he gives the Lord Jesus this whole view of planet earth in all of its empires.
Now, look what this creature says. I was just about to say something that wouldn’t have been kind. But Satan is a rascal. Look what he says!
“And saith unto him, All these things (Everything pertaining to the planet and the empires and the cities and the parks and you name it.) I will give thee, (Now remember who’s talking? Satan! He’s telling Jesus that all these things that they’ve been viewing of planet earth he says, I will give them to you.) if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Well, now you’ve heard me ask the question more than once. Were they Satan’s to give? Well, of course! He’s the god of this world. But you see, the Lord could very well have said, that’s fine, Satan, I’m going to have them some day without you. But He didn’t.
Now let’s move ahead a little bit to Corinthians. Go to II Corinthians chapter 4 verses 3 and 4. Now, this is what the Book says! Whenever I put out something that I think, it’s my own idea, I’m always hopeful anyway that I express it that way. But when the Book says it, I want you to know it’s what the Book says.
II Corinthians 4:3-4a
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (Why? Next verse–) 4. In whom (lost people of this world) the god of this world (Who’s he talking about? Satan! The Devil) hath blinded the minds of them who believe not,…” Has he got the power to do it? Absolutely! That’s why we’re always emphasizing that it takes the work of the Holy Spirit to come through and open the understanding of the lost person, because Satan’s power is going to do everything he can to keep them from it.
And it is the same way when I’m always exclaiming the power of the resurrection. Why do I put so much on the power of the resurrection? Because Christ had to break through all the powers of the Satanic forces in order to overcome and become victorious. Well, the same way here. The lost of this world are literally encompassed with the power of Satan. He’s going to keep them there if he possibly can. But the Spirit is still above the powers of Satan. The Spirit can still break through and open the hearts and minds to bring people to a knowledge, or at least have the opportunity to have the knowledge of, salvation.
All right, so always remember that when Adam dropped the ball, when he sinned and lost dominion over the planet earth, Satan picked it up. And he’s been enjoying that now for 6,000 years. But the day is coming, and we think we’re getting closer and closer, when Christ is going to pay off that mortgage that Satan has been holding on the planet. That’s what the Scripture is picturing here. He’s holding his control of the planet just like a mortgage. And the reason is that it was something that was God’s and He handed over to Adam and what happened? They lost it! Satan picked it up.
Now, you know I’m always giving the simple illustration of losing control of something that you’ve owned. That is – if you take it to a hock shop and you take whatever they’ll give you for it. But the understanding is that you’ll someday be able to come back and redeem it by buying it back, by paying the price. Well, that’s the perfect picture of redemption all through Scripture. Something that was fully owned is lost and now has to be redeemed. Now, is that so hard to understand? All right, the planet was God’s. He gave it to Adam. They lost it. Satan picks it up. Now God is going to pay the price to redeem it.
Now, we’re going to have to go to the Book of Ruth after a bit, because that explains what chapter 5 is talking about. Without the Book of Ruth it would be pretty hard to define what we’re talking about in Revelation 5. But we’re going to stay in Revelation 5 first. So don’t go back to Ruth just yet. Okay, Revelation chapter 5 verse 1. And John writes:
“And I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne…” Now, there again I have to stop, because of all the questions I get of what people are saying. Christ is not sitting on the throne in Glory. Who is? Figuratively speaking now, I’m sure that you don’t have a literal throne chair and God the Father is sitting there over all the ends of time and then a smaller chair here on which Christ is sitting. But the analogy is that God the Father is seated on the throne in Glory and God the Son is beside him. “Sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on High,” that’s the way the Scripture puts it.
Okay, let’s just jump in at verse 7, where we have God the Son going to approach God the Father with the idea in mind of taking the scroll and paying it off. But first let’s jump back to Daniel and pick up pretty much the same kind of a scene in Heaven, which many commentators call identical, but I don’t. I just can’t see that it’s the same one, because this taking of the scroll in Revelation is at the beginning of the Tribulation getting ready for the horrors that are going to follow. In Daniel it seems like the same thing, but it can’t be, because Daniel’s vision is now ready for him to take up the Kingdom which comes immediately after the Tribulation. So, let’s go back to Daniel chapter 7 to pick up the scene in Heaven, how that God the Son comes before God the Father. I guess I should go up to verse 13.
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man (That’s the Son of God, that’s Jesus the Christ.) came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him (God the Son) near before him (God the Father). 14. And there was given him (the Son) dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
Now that’s obvious He’s now ready to take over the Kingdom. Well, back here in Revelation, even though it seems like the same, and some commentaries will say it is, it can’t be, because in Revelation He’s getting ready to introduce the paying off of the mortgage, which is in reality the Tribulation, as we’re going to see. Okay, so come back with me to Revelation chapter 5 and repeat verse 7.
“And he came (God the Son comes before God the Father) and took the book out of the right hand of him who sat upon the throne. 8. And when he had taken the book, (this mortgage) the four creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors (the incense you know) which are the prayers of the saints.
“And they sang a new song, saying, (Now watch this!) Thou (speaking of God the Son) art worthy to take the book, (the mortgage) and to open the seals thereof: (And here’s the reason He’s worthy.) for thou wast slain, (The death of the cross) and hast redeemed us (These are some of the believers here gathered around the throne. So they’ve already experienced the redemption.) to God by thy blood…” You remember in our last programs, in the last taping anyway, that was one of the redemptions we looked at – the price of redemption which was the blood of the Lamb. All right, reading on.
“…for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” See, that doesn’t confine it here to the Jew. This has already reached out to the whole human race in redemption.
All right, now just for the sake of interest let’s turn the page, at least in my Bible, and go on into chapter 6 for a moment. I’m not going to make another study of the seals, but I want you to see that this is the mortgage that Satan is holding on planet earth and Christ is going to pay it off with the horrors of the Tribulation. Now, I know that’s probably hard on the surface to explain, but just think.
For 6,000 years what has Satan promoted on planet earth? Misery. And turmoil. And heartache. And death. And destruction. That’s Satan’s bag. Now, in so many words, what’s God going to tell him? I’m going to pay you back in full. You’re going to get paid back with more misery than you could ever dream of. You’re going to get paid back with more death and destruction than you ever dreamed of. That’s what the Tribulation is going to do.
All right, so in chapter 6 this is the first seal taken off of that mortgage. Now, you can’t look at the details of the mortgage until you take the seals off. So the first thing that happens in response to taking off the seal is the introduction of the antichrist. There again, that’s why I feel people are totally wrong when they think this is the real Christ. It can’t be. This is the counterfeit. This is the antichrist. I’m always emphasizing that the word “anti” throws a curve at people. They just think it’s against Christ. No, the word “anti” is best defined as the false, or the counterfeit, Christ. And look how he does it.
“And I saw when the Lamb (Christ) opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four creatures saying, Come and see.” Now, this is the first opening event of the Tribulation. And what is it? The appearance of the antichrist.
“And I saw, and behold a white horse:…” A counterfeit. The true Christ is going to come on a white horse, absolutely He is. At least symbolically in Revelation 20, so the antichrist is going to be a counterfeit, so he does the same thing. He makes his appearance on a white horse.
“…and he that sat on him (that is on the horse) had a bow; and a crown was given unto him; (He’s going to have great authority.) and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”
Well, that’s the first seal, the opening part of the Tribulation. Well, that leads into the second seal. We’ll just take a couple of these, and then we’ve got to get back into–no, only six minutes left. All right, so now you take the second seal.
“And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second creature say, Come and see. 4. And there went out another horse (Another event in this seven year period of horror) that was red: (The first one was white, speaking of the counterfeit. But now here comes the red horse.) and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth,…” Well, what’s the opposite of peace? War! So, even though we just signed a seven-year peace treaty, seemingly, up in verse 2, this next event is the absence of peace. It’s going to have to be war.
Well, those of you who have heard me teach over the years, I feel that this is the great northern invasion of Ezekiel 38 and 39. It’s going to be headed up by Russia, and, I think, now as we see everything coming together so fast there in the Middle East, I think it will be Russia and the Muslim world.
They’re going to come together according to Ezekiel 38 and 39 and they’re going to invade Israel. But there’s an interesting little tidbit back there in Ezekiel 38. And that is that of all the Muslim nations that are listed as coming in with Russia, there is one that is glaringly absent. And who is it? Iraq. Babylon. They’re not in there. All the rest of them are. That’s why I’ve been saying now for the last year, this may not be Bush’s war after all. This is God’s war, because we have to get Iraq ready for–“Babylon, Babylon is fallen, that great city.”
Well, now what did that all depict back in the Book of Revelation here? That Babylon would be the great commercial center, not just one like a New York, but it’ll be the great commercial center. It’ll be a city so beautiful it’d knock your eyes out. But in the final hours of these seven years, it too is going to fall. And that’s what Revelation 18 says, “Babylon, Babylon is fallen, that great city.” And the sailors, I think they’re out on the Persian Gulf, will be able to see the smoke of its burning. And, oh, it’s coming so fast.
Now, you’ve got to stop and use some common sense. If all this begins to gel and we get peace in Iraq, they’ve got the second largest reserve of oil in the whole world. Now, if oil goes up to $70-$80-$90-$100 a barrel, can you imagine the wealth that will be flowing into Baghdad? It’s beyond human comprehension. Well you see, with that kind of money to play with, they’ll be able to build a city like mankind has never built before, and they’ll do it in probably less than a year. That’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for this ancient city of Babylon to suddenly just blossom out there in the desert.
Old Saddam Hussein already had a pretty good start, you know, on some of his palaces out there. With all the oil money flowing into it, you just wait and see. Now, that’s my own idea. See, there’s one of those things. I don’t set that in concrete and say, this is what the Bible says. But I think I’m on the right track that this great war here in the “red horse” and in Ezekiel 38 and 39 will be that invasion of the Russians and the Muslim world. God will destroy them, of course, on the mountains of Israel.
Well, we’ll just take one or two more of these and then this half-hour is gone. Move on down to verse 5, the third seal. It, too, is a horse.
“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third creature say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four creatures say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.”
Bible scholars tell us that these bits of income are enough for a workingman to survive for one day. But there’s going to be tremendous shortage of food or food grain – feed grains we call it. Because, I feel, of the results of this great Russian invasion, there will be a worldwide calamity on particularly the food production areas of the world – our Midwest, the Russian Ukraine, and The Steppes and so forth.
All of a sudden the great food production areas of the world are decimated, which I think will now be the advent of nuclear power. The world is now destitute of food. The big food producing areas are wiped out. Now you find that you have a pair of balances, which indicate food rationing. The multitudes of people that have already been killed will be in the major food producing areas. The rest of the world will enter into a time of shortage.
Well, then I would like to move on down with the few seconds I have left to the fourth one. When people think that the first part of the Tribulation is going to be a Sunday school picnic, they’d better think again. Look what the Scripture says. After this next horse has run its course, it takes us pretty much up into the seven years.
“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” One fourth of the world’s population is going to get wiped out in the first half of the Tribulation. So don’t ever think it’s going to be something rosy.
LESSON TWO * PART II
Rev. 5; Ruth; I Corinthians 15:1-4
Okay, this is a Bible study, so we’re going to get right back in and continue on this whole concept of redemption. Now, like I said, I think in the opening remarks of the last program, the only way that we can understand what Revelation 5 is really talking about – the whole idea of being a “kinsman redeemer” – we have to go back to the Book of Ruth.
I just shared with the class here in the studio, my daughter asked for a study on the Book of Ruth a couple of years ago. Every once in a while she’d say, “Daddy, when are you going to teach Ruth?” So, just before we left this morning, I said, “Well, Honey, we’re going to teach Ruth today.” She was thrilled.
So, turn to Ruth chapter 1 verse 1. For a little backdrop, the Book of Ruth takes place probably in the first half of the period of time when Israel was ruled by judges. In other words, you remember Joshua led the people into the land of Canaan. They conquered the land and instead of setting up a king, God continued to rule the Nation of Israel by way of the judges.
Some of the judges were good. Some weren’t so good. It doesn’t say which judge was ruling. We just have to guess that this little episode took place sometime in the first half of that 300 and some years that God ruled Israel through the judges. We do know there was a famine in Israel at that time. Always remember, God told Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when things got tough in Canaan – where should they never go? Down into Egypt.
Egypt, of course, was always a picture of the world. In this case, it’s Moab. God could have just as well said, now when things get tough up there in the land of Israel, don’t go to Moab. I’ll take care of you. But here we have an instance that I think by Divine plan, or however you want to put it, this little Jewish family couldn’t handle the drought and the famine up there in the area of Bethlehem. So they go down to Moab.
Now you have to know your Middle Eastern geography. Moab was in the area south of the Dead Sea and maybe a little bit east. It wasn’t all that far, but in antiquity of course, a hundred miles is quite a distance. All right, let’s pick it up in chapter 1 verse 1.
“Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, (There’s our time indication.) that there was a famine in the land. (That is the land of Israel, which has now been taken from the Canaanites.) And a certain man of Bethlehem-Judah went to sojourn (or to live for a period of time) in the country of Moab,…”
Now again, who remembers where Moab came from? Well, Moab was one of the two sons sired by Lot and his own daughters. Consequently, there was a stigma on the Moabites. The Jews were really not to have a lot to do with them, although according to Levitical law a Moabitess woman could marry into the Israelites but not visa versa.
All right, so here’s where we’ve got the setting now. This Jewish family, because of the lack of food and income, they were evidently financially destitute because as we’re going to see later on in the book, what was the state of the land that they owned? It was mortgaged. They were in debt. They probably weren’t capable of making any payments, so they just simply up and leave. But remember, the land is still in their name, even though they have now left the country. Okay, here’s the Jewish family then.
“And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons was Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem-Judah. (The same Bethlehem that we speak of at the birth of Christ) And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.” We’re going to just take this verse-by-verse. Otherwise we might miss some of the little tidbits that we shouldn’t have missed.
“And Elimelech, Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.” Now, there’s a period, near as can tell historically, of about ten years. Ten years from the beginning of the Book of Ruth until the end. In this ten-year period, her husband dies and the two sons, which of course is to be expected, marry Moabite girls. All right, so they came to the country of Moab and only Naomi was left and her 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 was Ruth: and they dwelled there (Here it is.) about ten years. 5. And Mahlon and Chilion died, also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.” Now you know, whenever I consider things like this, I have to feel that this is all part of God’s Sovereign design. Everything in Scripture happened for a purpose. I think it’s the same way today.
We talk with our company a lot of times, and when you look back and at the time you just wonder, why did God put us through such a time of distress? But, years later you can look back and you can see exactly why. It was all part of His plan to get us where He wants us. Well, the end result of all this, I’m sure you all realize, is that this Ruth the Moabitess becomes, I think, the great-grandmother of King David. She comes into the lineage. Well, that’s not an accident. That’s the Divine purpose.
All right, so here we have a famine that drives one little Jewish family down into Moab where the two sons take wives of the Moabite girls, one of whom is Ruth. Ruth is going to end up in the genealogy of Christ. That can’t just be an accident. This is Divine appointment. Okay, verse 5, and the two boys died. Imagine, first the husband and now the two sons shortly after they’ve married, and evidently before they even had children.
“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, (the two girls from Moab) 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 (up in Israel) in giving them bread.” In other words, the famine was over. They were now harvesting crops once again. Now verse 7:
“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. 8. And Naomi said unto her two daughters-in-law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, and ye have dealt with the dead, (in other words, reference to her sons) and with me. 9. 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.” In other words, there was a real affinity between this mother-in-law and her two Moabitess daughters-in-law.
“And the girls said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. (And Naomi just begged them. I can hear it!) 11. And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12. Turn again, my daughters, go your way;…” In other words, stay here in your home country of Moab.
“…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? (Well, of course not.) would ye stay for them from having husbands? No, 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 (she simply) kissed her mother-in-law (goodbye); but (Now again, this is all, I’m sure, in God’s Divine purposes.) Ruth (stays or) clave unto Naomi.” Now here is the part that I think raises questions, verse 15.
“And she said, Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her (What?) gods: (Isn’t that a scary word? So, what were they? They were idolaters. Worshipping idols. Naomi says to her daughter-in-law–) return thou after thy sister-in-law.” Go back to your people. Go back to your gods. All right, now verse 16.
“And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whether thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: (Now, if you don’t mind underlining your Bible, underline this next statement. This is crucial to the whole story.) thy people (Israel) shall be my people, and thy God (What?) my God:”
Now, we have to realize that in the Old Testament economy we’re under a whole different set of circumstances when it comes to believing and salvation. Like I’ve said over and over on this program, I don’t claim to have all the answers. There are a lot of things that are questionable and I just can’t answer. But here again, knowing that Ruth is going to end up in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, she must have been a believer that one day will be in Glory with the rest of us, whereas Orpah went back to the pagan gods and idols of Moab. All right, so remember that Ruth has now made a profession, I guess we could say, of faith when she says, “Thy God shall be my God.”
“Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried:…” In other words, she has no intent of ever coming back to Moab. All right, the two of them take off from Moab and go back up to Bethlehem, up there in the environs of Jerusalem. When she gets back home, after having been gone ten years, remember, all of her friends and neighbors exclaimed in verse 19.
“…is this Naomi? (Is this Elimelech’s wife?) 20. And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: (In the Hebrew that word meant bitter.) for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. 21. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?” So, you have to take from that, that Naomi was a solid Jewish believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. She certainly wasn’t destitute of faith. All right, 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 (What?) barley harvest.” Now here again, this is all in God’s planning. Never lose sight of that. Why at the beginning of barley harvest? Well, it’s going to mean everything, because it’s all going to revolve around the fields and the gleanings and the harvest of barley. Had she come in a month later, that wouldn’t have been the case.
That’s what I like to point out in Scripture. The thing that keeps flying around in my head all the time and I guess I’ve got to share it. You go all the way up into the New Testament. Why, out of the blue, does God send Peter up to the house of Cornelius? I know this is a far stretch from Ruth, but on the other hand it shows how everything God does is for a purpose, even though it may be twelve or fourteen years out ahead.
Why does Peter go up to the house of Cornelius? Well, not only did God want the house of Cornelius saved, those Gentile men, but the far greater purpose was that twelve years later when it almost seemed as though the Jewish church in Jerusalem was going to knock Paul’s ministry in the head and end it, Peter remembers what? The house of Cornelius. And Peter says, wait a minute. Wait a minute. twelve years ago, a long time ago, God showed me that He will save Gentiles. And what was the whole purpose? To come to Paul’s defense.
All right, now the same way here. All of this, the timing is perfect. Had they come back a month later, harvest would have been over. These scenarios that led to the culmination of everything wouldn’t have been appropriate. That’s what you have to learn as you study Scripture.
All right, now here we come to the “kinsman redeemer” aspect of this little Book of Ruth, which is tied to Revelation chapter 5 when God the Son will be the “kinsman redeemer” of planet earth. Okay, verse 1 chapter 2:
“And Naomi had a (What?) kinsman…” Now underline that. That’s the key word here. Naomi has a kinsman! What’s a kinsman? Well, a relative, a near relative – probably an uncle or a cousin. Somebody that was close.
“And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth,…” Now wait a minute. What’s Naomi’s financial state? She’s broke! Naomi the poor woman is broke! But she still has title to a piece of land. Don’t forget that now.
Here again I’ve got to always remind people that this whole concept of owning and deeding and recording property isn’t a western invention. That isn’t something that came out of America. It goes all the way back to antiquity. Clear back here in the time of the judges and going on back of course to Jacob and Abraham, like I’m always pointing out when I’m showing Israel has land deeded to them, they were already having land deeded. They recorded it. That was the purpose of these mortgages.
I guess I’d better jump back up to today. If you’ve got a piece of property and it’s mortgaged, who knows about it? Anybody that wants to go to the courthouse. It’s there. You can find the mortgage on anybody that you can think of. They have to let you see what’s mortgaged. Well, what’s the purpose? So that some scam artist doesn’t come along and sell it twice. Then you’re buying property that you have no right to. So the whole idea of recording mortgages is the protection of the innocent. It’s no different back here. Here we have a piece of ground that is mortgaged. It’s still in Naomi’s name, but she’s too poor to do anything about it. She probably doesn’t even have enough money to buy the seed to plant the crop.
“…a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; (Naomi’s husband) and his name was Boaz. 2. And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn…” Now remember, they didn’t have corn as we in America understand corn. It was either barley or wheat and so forth. It’s already said it is the barley harvest. So, she wants to go and glean in the barley fields.
“…Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of barley after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. (I love this next verse. Ruth leaves. She goes out to the fields.) 3. And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap (That little three lettered word – underline it. What is it?) (It was her hap. Now I suppose in our English language we would say she happened.) was to light (land) on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.”
I was reading the other night that way back in the beginning of our English language the Scots up there in Scotland translated this word much like we would say, “It was her good luck.” We don’t like to use the word luck. I don’t, because as believers we’re not dependant on luck. But, on the other hand, we are happenstance at times. It was all, again, in God’s divine purposes, although it’s to us an accidental event.
All right, it is the same way here. She didn’t pick out a particular field and set her eyes and go there. She was more or less following, I suppose, other gleaners, other poor people. But it was her good fortune. It was “her hap to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of (Whom? Of her father-in-law who has now died) Elimelech.”
“And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. (You’ve got to pick up from the language here that this Boaz was a believing Jew. He was a righteous Jew.) And they answered him, The LORD bless thee. 5. Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel (or whose maid) is this?”
Can you picture it? Boaz is evidently a rather young single man. And naturally he caught that there’s a strange girl in the field that he didn’t know. Now again, you know these communities are small. Having grown up in a small farming community, like a lot of you have, everybody knows everybody. And all of sudden a stranger comes into the midst, hey, they stick out like a sore thumb. Well, so did Ruth. She just stuck out like a sore thumb. Boaz says who’s that?
“And the servant that was set over the reapers (the manager of the field,) answered and said, It is the Moabitess damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: 7. And she said, I pray you, (Ruth speaking) let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: (in other words, among the stems of grain) so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house. 8. Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field,…”
What’s happening? Oh! God’s at work! Now, don’t try to put anything immoral in here. This is all the divine purpose of God to bring this Moabite girl, Ruth, into the genealogy of Jesus Christ. All right, reading on.
“Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast (close) by my maidens:” Now you’ve got to remember, they had servants in those days, or what we later on called slaves. But nevertheless, Boaz with his wealth had control of these servitude kinds of people. Ruth and Naomi are flat broke financially. So, she is actually amongst those that are the poorest of the poor. That’s why they are gleaning. Boaz continues:
“Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged (or already instructed) the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the water vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.”
“Then she (Ruth) fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?” I have to insert also what kind of a stranger? A poor one. She had no wealth. She had no money. She was poor and a stranger. All right, now verse 11, here is the Lord at work.
“And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been showed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother-in-law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. 12. The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, (Here comes the man’s faith.) under whose wings thou art come to (What?) trust.” Now, trust is the Old Testament word that is equal to our New Testament word what? Faith. You don’t see the word faith so much in the Old Testament. It’s always trust. But it’s the same thing. It’s synonymous. In fact, I want to say there are three words that are synonymous: trust and faith and believe. They all mean the same thing. All right, here we have the faith element coming in. Boaz is impressed by the fact that this young woman, out of an idolatrous environment, has now come into the relationship of Israel’s God and under His wings. My, what a beautiful picture for someone coming into a place of faith and trust.
“Then she said, (Ruth) Let me find favor in thy sight, my lord; (Now the word lord is small l. That was merely a term of respect. It has nothing to do with Deity. It was like we use the word sir.) Let me find favor in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.” (I’m a foreigner.)
“And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime you come hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn (or grain), and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.” See how Boaz is just constantly doing the best for her.
“And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:” Now, what’s that? Well, a gleaner would come in after the main harvest had been taken out, as we stressed here several weeks back, and they would pick up one stem at a time. But Boaz was now telling her, you don’t have to just depend on what’s laying on the ground that the reapers have left. You go into the bundles. You don’t have to wait and go all over acres and acres to gather. He says you go into the sheaves, or what I always grew up understanding as the bundles of grain.
“And let fall also some of the handfuls on purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not. 17. So she gleaned in the field unto evening, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah (one bushel and three pints of barley).” Pretty good day’s work for a gleaner. All right, God is doing all of this by divine purpose to bring this young Moabite girl into a marriage relationship with Boaz. From that union will come one of the forefathers of King David. So, as you read this little Book of Ruth, always look at the divine purposes behind every bit of it.
LESSON TWO * PART III
Revelation 5; Ruth; I Corinthians 15:1-4
Okay, once again we’re ready for program number three. We always appreciate the fact that you all stay to the end. We would like to welcome you to an informal Bible study. We just sort of take most of these things verse-by-verse and precept-upon-precept. I have no agenda. I don’t try to grind any axes. I hopefully never name names. Maybe some people think I should, but no, I don’t want to do that. I feel if I keep teaching what the Book says, and I stay on the Truth, the Word will do everything that needs to be done. Maybe that’s a pacifist approach, but that’s what I feel the most comfortable with, is to let the Word itself speak.
Okay, here we’re in a beautiful love story between Ruth the Moabitess out of idolatry, who finally comes into a marriage relationship with a man of Israel who was a next of kin. He was in a position to redeem the land that had been mortgaged. And that was all according to Israeli law. You couldn’t just go in and buy a piece of property and pay the mortgage and go on. It was always according to the inheritances and that it stayed within the family.
Now in the Book of Ruth, we’re going to continue on. Forgive me if I take it pretty much reading it verse-by-verse. I’ll never forget, quite a few years ago, a lady wrote and she said, “I’m a Jehovah’s Witness, but I love your reading program.” So, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to read, because after all a lot of people don’t. They just don’t read. Even if they look at it, they don’t read.
I’ll never forget years back, I was teaching one of my classes here in Oklahoma. We were just a small group. I was reading a verse of Scripture and one of the ladies looked at me almost in utter shock and said, “Les, I read this, this afternoon, and it didn’t mean a thing like when you read it!”
Well, maybe I do have a unique way of reading, so bear with me because I see no other way to teach a book like Ruth, because there aren’t a lot of things that I can go and chase other references. It’s just simply a verse-by-verse love story. Yet we do want to get the impact of how God was in control of everything to bring about a redemption that would then fit with the redemption of Revelation chapter 5. That’s the whole purpose that I’m trying to bring out.
All right, come back with me now to Ruth chapter 2 and verse 19. Ruth has now come home to the house of Naomi at the end of the day, up there in Bethlehem. And naturally, I mean these people are just as normal and human as we are. What’s the first question she asks Ruth? Well, how’d it go today? That about right? Sure! How did it go today, Ruth? Did you have a good day?
“And her mother-in-law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned today? And where wroughtest (workest) thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she showed her mother-in-law with whom she had wrought (worked), and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought is Boaz.” Well, that didn’t mean anything to Ruth. She didn’t know of any particular connection. But oh, the lights came on and the bells rang for Naomi!
“And Naomi said unto her daughter-in-law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. (What’s she making reference to? The family tree. Her dead husband. Her dead sons, who were all part and parcel of that inheritance – that piece of ground that’s lying there mortgaged.) And Naomi said unto her, The man is (What?) near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.” Hallelujah, Ruth! This means something! This is just the guy that we need. He’s wealthy. He’s next of kin. He’s one of our kinsmen. He’s going to be a kinsman redeemer.
“And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.” In other words, pick up the conversation. Now, you’ve got to read between the lines. Here these two women, the mother-in-law and her young daughter-in-law, are rehearsing the events of the day. She’s come home with an unusual amount of grain for just being a gleaner. Why? How come? Well, the man told me I didn’t even have to wait for the harvesters. I could take part of theirs. And Naomi is just ecstatic. I’m sure she is.
“And Naomi said unto Rut, her daughter-in-law, It is good, my daughter, that thou shalt go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field.” What’s she telling her? You stay on Boaz’s field. Don’t you wander anyplace else, because, hey, things are happening here! God is in control. Now Naomi becomes what we’d call Cupid. She’s going to make sure that Ruth does everything right, so that we can see this consummation of a kinsman redeemer marrying this girl. So, don’t put anything immoral in here. Everything is according to custom and everything is in righteousness, because these are two people that God is going to use for His purposes.
“Then Naomi the mother-in-law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? 2. And now is not Boaz of our kindred, (He’s our next of kin.) with whose maidens thou wast?” In other words, whose maidens you’ve been working with. Now see, Naomi knows the whole process. Ruth is just a young, innocent girl, fresh out of a foreign country. She doesn’t know the process of harvest time, but Naomi does. Look what happens next.
“…Behold, he winnoweth barley tonight in the threshing floor.” Now again, you’ve got to know some of your ancient history. What was the threshing floor? Well, it was a flat, probably level piece, of property. It probably was on a rather high elevation. When you winnow grain as they did in antiquity, they’d probably beat it and beat it to get all the chaff loosened. In order to winnow it, then what did they do? They pick up the container and they pour it out and let the wind blow the chaff aside and the grain falls straight down. That’s what you call winnowing.
Now, I’ve made comment of this before. If you go through wheat country at harvest time, that old combine is just spewing all the trash out the back. But where’s the grain? Up in the tank. Well, what’s happened? They’ve separated all the straw and the chaff and the dust, and the pure wheat is up in the tank. Well, all right, now they’re doing it in antiquity by just holding it up high and pouring the grain and letting the wind blow the chaff.
All right, Naomi knows all about this, so she says, they usually do this at night. I did some research on this. The reason they did it at night was not only to escape the heat, but there was usually a little more breeze. It wouldn’t be that stifling stillness. So, nighttime was when they could pick up some breeze. So she said, now you get back to the threshing floor, because that’s where Boaz will be tonight. All right, verse 3, now don’t tell me she’s not playing Cupid!
“Wash thyself…” My goodness, you’ve been sweating all day. Now you get yourself all cleaned up and you get perfumed and you get to where you’re attractive to Boaz.
“Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, (in other words, the best clothes that you’ve got) and get thee down to the threshing floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, (Don’t let Boaz know. Don’t come in with a big bluster. Just sort of slip in quietly. Don’t make yourself known. Don’t let him even be aware that you are there.) until he shall have done eating and drinking (finished his evening meal).” Now verse 4.
“And it shall be, when he lieth down,…” Now there again, what do you suppose was the custom? After they had been winnowing grain and they’ve had a long day, even overseeing the servants and stuff, everybody needs some rest. So, they would just simply lie down and sleep up there on the threshing floor. Again, Naomi knows all of this. Now, she says, Boaz will probably just lie down and sleep up there at the threshing floor without taking time to go home.
“…that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do. 5. And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do. 6. And she went down unto the threshing floor, and did according to all that her mother-in-law had instructed her. 7. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain:…” In other words, after he had finished that much of a day’s work.
“…and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, (just exactly like Naomi told her to do) and she laid down. 8. And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, (Evidently the Lord had probably done something to shake him awake.) and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. 9. And he said, Who art thou?…” Now you’ve got to remember in antiquity they had more darkness than we have. It was probably almost pitch dark. He doesn’t know who is at his feet.
“…Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou ate a near kinsman.” Now there again, you go back into antiquity and some of the customs of Israel were just exactly this. The maid would have her suitor just more or less cover her with a piece of what we would today probably call a quilt or something. So she says, “Spread your skirt over thine handmaid for thou art a near kinsman.”
“And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast showed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, in as much as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.” So, what is Boaz realizing? That this girl isn’t just looking at that which was the most attractive or that which would satisfy the desires of a young girl, but even though Boaz was somewhat older, she was simply following the instructions of her mother-in-law. Her mother-in-law’s only got one thing in mind. What is it? Get that mortgage paid off! We want that mortgage paid off, and he’s the only one that can do it.
So all of this, yes, it was some conniving. But listen, have other characters in God’s program connived? Well, I reckon they did! What about Isaac and Esau? My, if anybody ever connived to get something done, Rebecca did. Remember how she helped Jacob get covered up with animal skins so that poor old Isaac would be deceived? So evidently it was all in God’s divine purposes, even though we may not consider it apropos. But always remember, this is God at work. After the fact, we can see why everything played out the way it did.
“And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest, (In other words, with regard to that mortgage. Now, don’t get the immoral aspect. Keep that out of your mind. We’re dealing with a piece of property that has to be paid off with money. Okay and he said,) I will do to thee all that thou requirest; for all the city of my people doth know thou art a virtuous woman.” And Boaz, in so many words is saying, and I’m not going to do anything to change that. So, you’ve got nothing to fear.
“And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit (Now, there’s always got to be a monkey wrench.) there is a kinsman that is (What?) nearer than I.” Ah, I bet the poor girl’s heart almost stopped. There was another gentleman who was actually a closer relative even than Boaz. According to Israeli law of the inheritance and everything, what did they have to do? They had to give this guy first chance on the property. Well, that’s enough to scare anybody isn’t it? Boaz knows this and he tells her that there is someone else who has to have first chance at this buying off of your mortgage. All right, verse 13, but he doesn’t send her home. We’re going to continue on the premise that we’re going to get this done.
“Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman,…” Now, in straight English, what’s Boaz said? Well, let’s just rest, sleep, and in the morning we’ll approach this fellow who is a closer next of kin than I am and see if he wants to pay off the mortgage. That’s literally what he’s saying. Let’s just wait until morning. We will approach him and see if he will do the part of a kinsman.
“And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she arose up before one could know another. (In other words, what? Still dark.) And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the threshing floor. 15. Also he said, Bring the veil that thou hast upon thee, and hold it.…” In other words, it was like a piece of cloth. I suppose today I’d liken it to an apron. My, how many of you have seen women take that apron, put a knot in the end of it, and fill it up with apples and whatever. Those of you that are older, you remember that.
All right, this is basically what he’s saying. He said, now, Ruth, you take that piece of cloth that you’ve got. We’re going to make a basket and fill it with what? Grain. Because that was the staff of life in that day.
“And when she held it, he measured in six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.” That was a pretty good chunk of grain that she had to carry home, in what then became a knapsack. So when she held it, he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her and she went into the city (or into Bethlehem) to the home of Naomi. All right, now you’ve got to read between the lines. I’m always stressing that. She gets home to Naomi and Ruth says to Naomi:
“And when she came to her mother-in-law (Naomi), she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. 17. And she said, These six measures of barley he gave me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother-in-law. 18. Then she said, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall:…”
Well, in plain English what’s she saying? Let’s just play it cool. Let’s not do anything rash. Let’s just see how all this works out. Now see, what I try to bring in here is it’s about 1500 BC. It’s about 500 years before King David. Were these people any different than we are today? Not one bit! These two women are just as concerned of what’s going to happen to their future with regard to that piece of ground, because they could end up with a fairly decent life, or they could end up continuing on poor as church mice. So, they are concerned. But Naomi is telling Ruth in so many words, let’s play it cool now Ruth. Let’s not do anything rash or foolish that we lose it.
“Then she said, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest until he has finished the thing this day.” Now again, this is the human element. What do you suppose is churning in the heart of Boaz? Oh, I hope that guy doesn’t take up the opportunity. I hope that other fellow won’t buy the mortgage. He wants to have the opportunity of not only buying the mortgage, but he’s got Ruth on his mind. Don’t think he hasn’t.
“Then went Boaz up to the gate,…” Now, what does that mean? Well, in Old Testament language it means that that’s where the city fathers would gather at the city gate. Now, if you go to the ancient city of Corinth, it was at the Bema Seat. It was an elevated place where the city fathers would hold counsel. All right, in Israel’s antiquity, then, to have the men at the gate meant, more or less, the city fathers. These were the guys that were more or less in control of the community’s welfare.
“Then went Boaz goes up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by;…” Now again, what is that? Hey, that’s the God thing! It’s that moment of Divine appointment. Here comes just exactly the guy they are waiting for.
“…the kinsman of whom Boaz spake (that is to Ruth) came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.” Today we’d say what? Hey! Come here! I’ve got something I want to talk to you about. Boaz immediately fills what was required to make this kind of an agreement for witnesses and so forth.
“And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and he said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.” They sat down. They knew that there was something that was going to be conducted that was of importance.
“And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s: 4. And I thought to advertise thee, (or to let you know) saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it:…” Boaz says to the kinsman, you’ve got dibs on this thing. You have got first rite by virtue of your relationship with Naomi. Now, if you want this piece of property – buy it. If you don’t, tell me so.
“…if thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. 5. Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.”
Now, all of a sudden everything changes, verse 6. According to the laws of redemption, this guy couldn’t do it. So, he loses out. All right, read it.
“And the (first) kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.” Now according to the laws of Israel, and I haven’t go time to go into all that, but they recognized that this first next of kin, for whatever relationship he had other than Naomi, he could not redeem it. So that opens the door for Boaz.
“Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, (This is the way they consummated these things legally.) a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor: and this was a testimony in Israel. 8. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.
“ And Boaz said unto the elders, and to all the people, Ye are witnesses to this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi. 10. Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, (Everything is falling in place.) to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.” Now verse 11.
“And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that has come into thine house like Rachael and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: 12. And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah,…”
Oh, now wait a minute. Here is what gets interesting in the genealogy of Christ. Is it just a genealogy of the elite? Is it just a genealogy of the noble? No. Because what was Tamar? Come on, you don’t want to say it, do you? She was a prostitute. She had a child by Judah, who went in when he certainly shouldn’t have, but she ends up in the genealogy. These people are aware of that. They said well let Ruth be in the same vein. Sure, she’s a Moabitess, but here by Divine appointment she has come in, and she’s going to be a part of this lineage of Israel. Now, they didn’t know ahead. They were just looking at what had gone in the past. That’s why they said:
“And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman. 13. So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. 14. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.”
“And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, (Now this is still where Naomi is coming in.) and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter-in-law, who loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.” Now, what does this do for Naomi? Why, this put her in a place of ease for the rest of her days. Instead of being poverty stricken, she can now live with a certain amount of wealth. But the important thing is what does this do with Ruth? It puts her right into the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
All right, I’ve got a minute of time. Come up with me to Matthew chapter 1. This is the beauty of Scripture. This is our Sovereign God. This is why I make no apology for proclaiming who He is and what He is. He’s in control of everything. Even the little details like making the first next of kin unable to redeem. The one that was meant to have it is going to get it.
You got Matthew chapter 1? For sake of time I’m going to bring you all the way down to verse 5 in the genealogy that began back there with Abraham.
“And Salmon begat Boaz of Rahab (Who was Rahab? The woman on the wall at Jericho.) and Boaz begat Obed (And who was the mother of Obed?) of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 6. And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon…”
So there Ruth sits in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ. All right, but what was the picture that we tied in? Christ is going to redeem planet earth as a next of kin. He has the power and the wherewithal and the wealth of heaven to pay off the mortgage held by Satan.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
Revelation 5; Ruth; I Corinthians 15: 1-4
Okay, once again we want to let our television audience know how much we appreciate especially your prayers on our behalf as well as on our daughter’s. My, she stays in such a good mood. When strangers come in, they can’t figure out how she could be so upbeat. Her answer constantly is – I’ve got a million people praying for me. We appreciate so much that you keep praying for her as well for us. And for your financial help as well. We thank you for every dollar that comes in. I don’t care if it’s a single dollar bill. We thank the Lord for it.
Okay, we’re going to take this half hour, which sort of came up with not enough time to go into a whole new field of study. We’re still in book 69. We’ve got to be aware of that and try to keep our subject matter as much as we can within a certain book. So, we’re going to look at the plan of salvation that I feel is so often totally misunderstood. It’s so misrepresented. There are precious few people anymore that are actually proclaiming the Gospel by which we are saved.
Now what made me think of it? I had a gentleman call not too long ago, who came out of one of the big denominations. He came to know the Lord through our program and got a love for the Word. He called one day and he said, “Les, I went back to my old denominational church and I asked my people that I’d grown up with, “Tell me. What is the Gospel?” He said, “They looked at me with a blank stare and then finally somebody said, well, the Bible.” The Bible? Well, yes, the Bible contains the Gospel, but that’s not the Gospel.
Then others said, “Well, you’ve got to be baptized and join the church.” No, that’s not the Gospel. We hear it from various areas of the world and the country that people just do not really know what the Gospel is. Unbelievable! As I’ve said over and over, here in I Corinthians 15 where we’re going to look now for a moment is the most clearly defined statement of the Gospel in the Bible, and nobody uses it. I shouldn’t say nobody, but few. They’ll use everything and anything but. That’s why I thought, well, maybe this half-hour came up the way it did for a Divine purpose, like we saw in the Book of Ruth. Everything is by Divine purpose.
All right, let’s start in I Corinthians 15 verse 1. It turns out to be the great resurrection chapter. Here’s the way it starts in verse 1.
I Corinthians 15:1a
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel….” Now what does that mean? How many are there? One! That’s what I want you to see. It’s not “a” (one of many), but rather there is only one.
Now, just because I teach two Gospels for a little while back in the Book of Acts, when God was still dealing with Israel, people have got the crazy, misconstrued notion that I proclaim two Gospels today. No! Never! Yes, there were two Gospels for a little while when God was transitioning from Israel to the Gospel of Grace. Peter preached to Israel a Gospel of the Kingdom based on who Jesus was. Then when Paul was chosen by God to go to the Gentiles and has the revelations that we’re going to see in these next few moments, we have the Gospel of the Grace of God. The Kingdom Gospel dropped away because Israel rejected it.
By the time we get to the end of Acts, it is Paul’s Gospel or nothing! And as I’m going to hopefully show in a minute or two, what did Peter write at the end of his life as the Kingdom Gospel, the Jewish program, has fallen through the cracks. It has ended. What does Peter say? You go to Paul’s epistles! That’s what he says to Israel. That’s the only Gospel.
Absolutely, it’s the only Gospel. So, I’ve been totally maligned. I’ve been maligned because I proclaim two–in fact somebody sent me a tape of their preacher. My! He said, “Don’t you ever listen to Les Feldick. He preaches two gospels.” Well, I guess when you’re in my shoes; you’ve got to expect those kinds of things. But I’m going to make it clear here today. No, there is only one Gospel, and here it is!
I Corinthians 15:1
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, (that is from the Apostle Paul, in person as well as in print) and wherein ye stand;” (That is positionally. Unmovable. Now verse two. Oh, I love this statement, Beloved. Don’t ever shrink from showing people.)
I Corinthians 15:2a
By which (THIS Gospel) also ye are saved,…” Now you can’t get it any plainer than that. It’s by this Gospel that you are saved. But there’s some requirement. You have to understand what you believe. It can’t just be head knowledge. It has to be a heart thing, that with all our heart we have believed this Gospel. All right, verse 3 and here it is.
I Corinthians 15:3
“For I delivered unto you first of all…” Who? Peter? No, not Peter. Jesus? No, not Jesus. Rather it was the Apostle Paul who delivered the Gospel of Grace first. Once in a while somebody will get on my case and say, you make too much of Paul. How can I? The Lord Himself designated him as the Apostle of the Gentiles. (Romans 11:13) The Lord Himself revealed these things to this apostle.
That’s why, like I repeated, Peter sends everybody back to Paul. That’s where people have to be. And, oh, most people don’t like that. Don’t think I don’t know it. They don’t like Paul’s Gospel. They don’t like Paul’s epistles. We hear it over and over. Someone will say, “Well, it shouldn’t even be in our Bible.” Well, that’s not what Peter said. Peter said that Paul’s epistles are what? Scripture! And if it’s Scripture, it is the divinely inspired Word of God, Beloved. All right, now look what he says.
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; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” Now, there are some things in there that we have as what I call a given. Things you should know before you even read. What is it? That Christ was the Eternal Creator, Son of God. He was totally God. It was only as God that He could forgive and take on Himself the sins of the world.
All right, that’s a given. Paul didn’t put it in here, but it’s in all the rest of his Scriptures. The second one is that He shed His blood. That’s not in here. I know it isn’t. But it’s in all the rest of his verses on salvation. How we’ve been redeemed, we’ll look at it in a minute, by His blood.
All right, you put all that together: that we have God the Son who died, shed His blood, was buried for three days and three nights to prove that He was really dead, and then He arose from the dead. Now listen, you’ve got to take the whole package or you’re still destitute of salvation.
I had a letter the other day, “Les, you make too much of the resurrection. It’s not that important. The only thing that’s important is that we believe that Christ died for us.” Well, do you know what I wrote to the gentleman? I said please read I Corinthians 15 twice a day for the next three weeks and then write or call me if you’re still disagreeing. Because what does Paul say a little later in this chapter? “If Christ be not risen from the dead, then you are yet in your sin.” Absolutely, that resurrection is paramount!
I had a gentleman years ago; he shared this with Iris and me across a breakfast table. He said, “Les, for years I believed that Christ died the death of the cross. I had no problem with that. But with my intellect and with my scientific background (he said) I couldn’t believe He rose from the dead.” He said, “I was nothing but a dead church member. And then all of a sudden the Lord opened my eyes to the power of the resurrection and it changed my life.” Of course it does!
All right, we have to take the whole three points of the Gospel – that Christ died, He was buried, and He rose from the dead.
All right, I’ve been making reference to Peter. I guess maybe before I run out of time I better go back and use it. Come back with me to II Peter. We use it over and over and over, but some of these I don’t think I can run into the ground. They are paramount to answering my accusers, if I may call them that. But look what Peter says here in plain English. Now, he didn’t say it in English, but our Book is telling us in English! Look at this carefully.
II Peter 3:15a
“And account (or understand) that the longsuffering (the patience) of our Lord is salvation;…” Oh, He’s not willing that any should perish. That’s why His Grace is without end. That where sin abounds, Grace does much more abound, because God wants them saved.
II Peter 3:15b
“…even as our beloved brother Paul…” Now stop a minute. All the way through the Book of Acts as Peter is preaching to Israel, does he ever make any reference to the Apostle Paul? Never. All through I Peter and these first chapters of II Peter, does he make any reference to the Apostle Paul? Not a one. But here he is at the end of what he will now be writing in finality. He’s soon going to be martyred. He says, “Even as our beloved brother Paul.”
II Peter 3:15b-16a
“…even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him has written unto you; (Here comes a reference to the written Word.) 16. As also in all his epistles,…” I think the top verse is referring to Hebrews. That’s my personal opinion. I don’t know of anything else that Paul ever wrote to the Jewish people, but I think he wrote the Book of Hebrews based on this verse. But it isn’t just Hebrews, it’s all his epistles!
II Peter 3:16b
“…speaking in them of these things; (pertaining to salvation) in which (In Paul’s epistles – in the mind of Peter, a good legalistic Jew) are some things hard to be understood, which they who are unlearned and unstable twist, as they do also the other scriptures,…” What does that tell you? Paul’s epistles are Scripture just as much as the first five books of Moses, just as much as the prophets or the Psalms or the four Gospels. Paul’s epistles are the Word of God. They’re Scripture, and we’d better believe it. That’s why Peter was inspired to write this. But look what many of them do.
II Peter 3:16c
“…they twist the Scriptures, unto their own destruction.” All right, let’s come back a minute to Romans. I think this is a direct reference of what Peter is talking about when he speaks of the wisdom that was given to the Apostle Paul that even he did not comprehend.
This is what we have to understand. Paul was given revelations from the ascended Lord, probably in those three years out in the desert, that you will find no where else in your Bible. It’s not in there. It’s not back in the Old Testament. It’s not in the Four Gospels. These are things that were only pertinent after the death, burial, and resurrection.
“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel,…” What’s Paul’s Gospel? The one we just read in I Corinthians 15:1-4. You see that? That’s Paul’s Gospel. All right, reading on.
“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, (Not according to His earthly ministry, not according to the Old Testament prophecies but) according to the revelation (or the revealing) of the mystery, which was (past tense) kept (What?) secret since the world began,”
That’s why I tell people, don’t try and find anything back there in the Old Testament pertaining to this. Don’t look in the Gospels for anything pertaining. It’s not back there. They were kept secret in the mind of God until God revealed it to this apostle. That’s what Peter was making reference to. Peter was saying that this man has things that he knew nothing of, because it was a special revelation. That’s what most of Christendom is missing.
I wrote to one guy who wrote and said, “Les, I just can’t agree with you on this.” He gave me a whole bunch of verses. I knew every one of them. Not one of them was from Paul. Not one. You know what I wrote back? One statement. I said – there’s only one reason you can’t see what I’m talking about – you don’t want to. That’s my stock answer. If they want to they can see it. But they don’t want to. Why? Because like one guy told me the other day, they have such fragile egos.
They cannot, in the strength of their own ego, admit that they’ve been wrong. But we’ve got a lot of them that do. I’ve got one dear brother; he’ll hear me when I come on the air in Florida. With a church full of people, as he introduced me he said, “You know, for years I couldn’t agree with Les on tithing.” He said, “I just couldn’t. I had to preach the tithe.” And I didn’t know that until the fourth year in a row that I was in his church and had every service. He never restricted me. He never told me he had any disagreement with me.
But we were having dinner after church that Sunday morning and he said, “You know Les, there is one place I can’t agree with you.” And I said, “Well, what is it?” He said, “I have to preach the tithe. I have to use Malachi 3.” And I said, “Well, go ahead, but I can’t!”
Well, the next year I got down there, he announced to the whole church, out of one of the major denominations now, and to the whole church he said, “Now folks, you know that for years I couldn’t agree with Les on tithing, but I’m standing here to tell you today that I was wrong.” Now, that takes a good man. He said, “I was wrong. Because when I would read II Corinthians 9 verse 7, one word just jumped off the page. Let every man give as God hath laid it on their heart, not grudgingly, not of necessity.”
He said, “I would wake up at night and that word necessity would come to mind.” He said, “I knew the Lord was speaking to me. So last October I announced to my church, from now on we’re going to give according to Paul’s instructions in II Corinthians. I’m no longer going to teach the tithe.”
He said, “You know what has happened? In six months our giving tripled.” Tripled! He’s going to hear this. I know he is. He listens to every program. But that’s the way it is. If they want to see it, they will. If they don’t want to see it, they won’t.
Now, I tell people that call with a problem of drugs, alcohol, homosexual, hey, I get them all. I tell them the same thing. If you want to get out from under your problem, you have to first want to. Because if you don’t want to, the Lord nor anybody else can do anything for you. But if a person wants to, then God will step in and He will do what it takes to be done.
It’s the same way with understanding Paul’s principles, Paul’s theology. If they want to, and I’ve heard this over and over, Les, I just simply made it a matter of prayer. I just said, God, I want to understand this Bible. I want to be able to enjoy it. Bingo, it happened. That’s what it takes. There has to be a desire to understand these things that are not according to tradition. They’re not according to the norm. Don’t think I don’t know that. All right, now read verse 25, the last part of the verse once more.
“…and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation (or the revealing, the unveiling) of the mystery, (And the word mystery in plain English is secret. Now God’s unveiling a secret–) which was kept secret since the ages began.”
Let’s flip over to Galatians chapter 1. This is all by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This isn’t the man Paul reading his own mind. This is Spirit inspired. Look what he writes in Galatians 1 verse 11. Christendom, in general, absolutely refuses to look at these things. And I’ll repeat it. It’s because they don’t want to see it.
They want to be comfortable. They want to be left alone and say, well, this is the way I’ve always heard it. This is the way I’ve always learned it, and I’m not going to change. Well, I can’t help that. But here it is in Galatians 1 verse 11, where Paul is writing to these Gentile groups up in Central Turkey who were being pummeled with legalism. They were being conned to come back under circumcision and keeping the Mosaic Law. So, he’s defending his Gospel.
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me (Paul’s Gospel) is not after man. (It’s not a human thing.) 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it (by other men), but (here comes that same word) by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” A revealing from heaven – after the death, burial, and resurrection has happened.
Then he goes on and explains the horrors of his persecuting those Jews who had embraced Jesus of Nazareth, and how he wrecked and wasted that Jewish Church. All right, now then, come on down to verse 15.
“But when it pleased God,…” Now there again, just like we saw in the Book of Ruth, everything is according to what? God’s divine purpose and old Saul of Tarsus had a Divine appointment that day on the road to Damascus. God moved in unannounced and took him completely by surprise. So, he says:
“But when it pleased God, (with that Divine appointment) who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,” Now you’ve got to remember, Saul of Tarsus was wicked. He killed people. He tortured. He persecuted. All in the name of religion. Well, that’s nothing new is it? You’re seeing it every day. That’s why they do it, for their religion. Well, Saul did too. This is what he’s referring to.
“To reveal his Son (the crucified, resurrected Son of God) in (Whom?) me,…” Not us – me. That’s singular. That’s his apostleship. That’s his purpose,
To reveal his Son in me, so that I might preach him among the heathen; (or the non-Jewish world) immediately (right after that road experience out there at Damascus) I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them who were apostles before me;…” The Twelve. Now I’ve got to stop there. This is the way I’ve put it over and over for thirty years.
He’s up in Syria in Damascus. The Twelve have spent three years with Jesus, and they’re down there at Jerusalem. What would have been the logical thing for the man to do? Go back to Jerusalem and check in with Peter and the rest – come on, fellows – tell me. I’ve now met the Messiah. He saved me. I want to work with you not against you. Tell me everything you know.
But what does God say? No, Paul. I don’t want you going to the Twelve. All they’re going to do is muddy the water. I want you to come out. You’re going to get something completely new. It’s going to be purely different, and I don’t want anybody messing with it. So, as I always put it, Jerusalem was southwest, Arabia was southeast. Which way did Paul go? Southeast. He went to Arabia. I think he went to Mount Sinai in Arabia. The same place where Moses received the Law, this Apostle received these great doctrines of Grace which people today would just as soon turn their back on. They refuse to look at the man’s apostleship.
“…immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them who were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 18 Then after three years…” We know that he was three years, in verse 18, in Arabia. Then he stopped at Jerusalem, and then he went on up into his hometown of Tarsus, up there just north of Antioch.
Now, in the two minutes we have left, I’d like to show you a portion of Scripture that nobody ever uses. I’ve never seen it in print, yet. That’s what I like to use Acts 11 verse 19. Now, this is just after Peter has been up to the house of Cornelius. God has miraculously proven to Peter that He’s going to save Gentiles by faith and faith alone, without baptism, without repentance. All of a sudden Peter says – hey, wait a minute, what’s going on? These men are saved! So he has to stop preaching and naturally, you know, he had to baptize them, he thought. And that was all well and good according to the program. But now in Acts 11, after the Cornelius experience, we pick it up in verse 19. This is several years after Pentecost.
“Now they (These Jewish believers from the Jerusalem church) which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen (And who was the leader of Stephen’s persecution? Saul of Tarsus! These people have been spread far and yon by the persecution.) traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, (Which is up there north of present day Beirut on the western end of Syria.) preaching the word (that is the Old Testament for the Jews benefit.) to (Who?) none but Jews only.”
God hadn’t been dealing with the Gentiles. That’s why He called the Apostle Paul. That was going to be his ministry. All right, now I’ve only got thirty seconds left. All right, now when you get home this evening, you just read. All of a sudden we’ve got Gentiles showing an interest! Well, whose work is that? Well, that’s God’s work. Now the Gentiles are showing an interest. So, by the time that Barnabas has been sent from the Jerusalem church to check them out, Barnabas knows there’s only one man for Gentiles. And who was that? The Apostle Paul. So, Barnabas goes up and finds him and brings him back to Antioch.
LESSON THREE* PART I
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS
Book of Esther
We’re so glad you’re here this afternoon. For those of you joining us out there on television again, we thank the Lord for every one of you, and especially for your prayers and your giving and your letters. I have to make some comment on the letters. Now, I know I have stressed keeping them short, but I think I overdid it, because too many people will say, “Hi. God bless you. Is that short enough?”
Now, when I say short, I just mean I don’t want a whole ream of eight, ten, twelve pages. A one page letter doesn’t bother us a bit. But, I probably overdid it. Keep them short, but by that I mean not more than a page or so. If you have a testimony to write out and it takes two or three, that’s fine, we’ll still read it. So, again, thank all of you out there for everything.
Okay, we’re going to be doing something a little different today. After studying the Book of Ruth, I couldn’t help but think of the other book written concerning a woman in Israel, the Book of Esther. So, we’re going to look at the Book of Esther in a little bit. But in order to give us biblical permission to really spend a lot of time in the Old Testament, I still like to come back to what Paul says in Romans chapter 15 verse 4 where the apostle writes. Now watch this! This is interesting.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,…” What’s he referring to? The Old Testament and all the things written back in the Old Testament. You know, a lot of people probably think that since I emphasize Paul, that I’m intimating we don’t need the rest of our Bible. I have never said that! I have never even implied that! It’s just that Paul is writing directly to us Gentiles, and it’s in that area of Scripture that we find those things that are pertinent doctrinally for us. But Paul says, “All Scripture has been inspired of God and is profitable.”
All right, here is another good instance. He refers us back to the Old Testament, not for doctrine. You won’t find the plan of salvation back in the Old Testament. You won’t find a teaching concerning the Rapture in the Old Testament. Those things were all unknown. But look what he says. “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning.”
My goodness, I dare say that 90% of even professing Christians really don’t know why they believe what they believe. They really don’t know. Why? They’ve never been taught anything. Now, I read sometime ago and I won’t name the denomination. But I read in the paper of that denomination that 80% of converts to the four major cults – Seventh Day Adventists, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, and at that time it was Worldwide Church of God – 80% of their converts came out of this particular denomination. They were writing it in their own newsletter. Why? They’re so biblically ignorant. When these people come to the door and seemingly are skilled with the Scriptures, hey, they fall for it. This is why we have to learn, learn, learn. God doesn’t want us to remain ignorant. Even Peter says, “That we might grow in grace and knowledge.” Well, how do you grow in grace and knowledge? You study the Scriptures! And not just the New Testament, but even here he says to study the things “that were written aforetime.” All right, I didn’t finish the verse, did I?
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” So, whenever you do study Old Testament, I don’t care whether it’s Jacob and the twelve sons, or whether it’s Joseph or Moses or Noah, it’s all for the purpose of increasing our hope from the Scriptures, because it’s all true.
All right, now the Book of Esther. You can turn back to it, if you haven’t already, here in the studio. I’m going to make a couple of comparisons between these two women. Then I’m going to make a couple of other statements before we actually start studying chapter 1.
Now, since we just finished Ruth, this should all be fresh on your minds, as it is mine. Number one, Ruth was a Gentile who married a Jewish husband. Esther, we’ve got just the inversion. We’ve got a Jewish girl ending up marrying a Gentile husband. Ruth was poverty stricken. She didn’t have anything until she married Boaz. Whereas Esther is in the very center of a sumptuous castle, or capital of the empire, a palace, whatever you want to call it. What a difference. Yet there are so many comparisons.
Now, when we taught the Book of Ruth–I’m going to have to go back and look at it. You can put it on the screen, too. Go back to the Book of Ruth a minute. Chapter 2 I think it was. Go back to Ruth chapter 2. When we were studying it, I said, this is almost the capstone of this little Book of Ruth. In verse 3:
“And she went, and came, (After having come up from Moab with Naomi, remember.) and gleaned in the field after the reapers: (without knowing where she was going or without picking out any particular field) and her hap was to land on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz,…”
She just happened – well, as I said without putting the wrong connotation on it, it was just her good luck we’d say today, even though we don’t like the word luck in Christian terms. But nevertheless, as I mentioned, one of the old Scottish terms came from this very ancient word. That it was just her hap. She accidentally, without any previous conniving, without any previous instruction, she happened to light (or end up gleaning) on a field belonging to Boaz. Well, it was a Divine appointment. It was the very thing that God wanted to be accomplished.
Now you know, as long as I’ve been teaching. I think from the very first program or so that I taught in Genesis. I’m always making the comment: Isn’t it amazing. I can’t understand it, I can’t define it, but I can certainly teach it as a fact, that when God set the whole ball of human history rolling, He never took away the freedom of men and nations to do as they please. Nations build armies. They build navies. They sign peace treaties. They declare war. God isn’t pulling them like a puppet on a string. They’re doing it out of their own free will. Yet here we are now, 6,000 years later, and we’re right on God’s schedule. We’re not a day late.
Well, how does it happen? Well, I can’t explain it, but I know it does. God does not control men and nations like a puppet on a string. Yet after just so much time and Divine appointments, everything is exactly where and when and how He wants it. And that’s one of the miracles of His Book. All right, the same way here with Ruth. He didn’t just take her like a robot and say, okay, here’s the field you’re going to glean. Just through normal circumstances she ends up in the right place.
All right, now in Esther our key verse is going to be Esther chapter 4. Drop down to verse 14. Now here we are centuries later. The Jews have been taken captive, first the northern ten tribes and then a little later Judah. So, they are all out there in the eastern area of what we now call Iraq and Iran. They’re out there in Mesopotamia. Esther, of course, is east of Baghdad, out in what is presently Iran in the ancient city of Susa. We’ll look at that a little later.
But now, in the midst of all these Gentiles, here’s this one Jewish young lady. Nobody knows that she’s a Jewess. She has kept it secret. But her uncle, who was more or less in charge of getting her to where she is in the harem, you might say, of the king. Her uncle Mordecai approaches her. Look what he says.
“Then Mordecai, commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.” Because, as we’re going to see in a little bit, the decree has gone out to kill every Jew in the kingdom.
Her uncle is telling her don’t think for minute that just because you haven’t told them what you are you’re safe. They’ll find out. They’ll kill you just like they will the rest of us. All right, so that’s what he’s driving at.
“…Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. 14. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: (Now here’s the part of the verse that I want you to latch on to for the whole afternoon.) and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom (that is the kingdom of the Medes and Persians) for such a time as this?”
Well, what’s he talking about? To bring the sparing of the Jewish nation. It will rest on one young girl, Esther. All right, now with that as a backdrop, let’s go back to chapter 1. As you’re finding that, I want to remind you and our television audience that from the very moment that God sent the human race on its way down through history, Satan has moved in and does everything he can to thwart God’s plan of the ages.
First, of course, he had Cain rise up and kill Abel. Satan thought he now had God in a dilemma, because, after all, Abel was to be in the line of the righteous. And ol’ Cain got rid of him. Well, it wasn’t Cain’s idea – it was Satan’s. This is the Devil at work.
Well, as we come up to the appearance of the Nation of Israel, immediately Satan goes to work, now on the offspring of Abraham. The first instance, of course, is the confrontation between Ishmael and Isaac. Then it goes a little further, when you get to the confrontation between Jacob and Esau. And it just keeps coming up. Satan is constantly trying to thwart the godly line that’s going to bring about the Messiah.
Anytime that he can disrupt by killing a key person, Satan thinks that he can stop God’s program. And it would. Because, you remember, every jot and tittle that God has prophesied has to be fulfilled. I just told somebody that yesterday on the phone. They were asking about something, and I said, “Well, you just mark it down. If this Book has prophesied something, even though we may think it’s just completely out of comprehension, it will be fulfilled!” It has to. Otherwise, this Book would fall apart.
So, everything that has been prophesied, even though we can’t comprehend it and it may seem to us ridiculous, it will be fulfilled. Judas, I guess, was the one that prompted the question. Judas was a good example. Judas had to betray. Not because God had brought him on the scene for the simple reason that he’s going to be a hardhearted betrayer. But somebody had to betray Jesus Christ, because it was prophesied in the Psalms that there would be a betrayer. It had to happen. All these things that are going to come on the earth, they have to happen because God said it. Well, fortunately, God has said some things concerning Israel. No matter how hard Satan tries. No matter how much he connives to upset God’s prophetic program, he’s never going to succeed. Never! Because then prophecy would fall apart.
All right, so always keep that in mind. So now Satan is at the epitome of his joy, because here in the Book of Esther it’s going to be decreed that every Jew in the then known world was to be put to death. Now think of that. Well, for those of you that are a little older, it wasn’t all that long ago we had another demonic dictator who thought he was going to do the same thing. Hitler. Hitler actually had it in his mind that he would not rest until he had seen every Jew on the planet removed. Well, now we’re hearing this rascal over there in Tehran, the president of Iran. That’s his whole hope. That’s his whole reason for ruling and reigning in the Nation of Iran. He wants to see every Jew thrown into the sea, is their expression, which merely means – destroyed.
Well, the way things are going, you almost wonder if he isn’t going to succeed. But he won’t. But Satan will never quit trying. He will never quit trying. So, all up through Israel’s history the whole premise has been that Satan is trying to stop the prophetic program from being fulfilled. If he can destroy any one of these key players, of course, it would happen. But God won’t let it. All right, here, too, it came close. My, it came close. But, just at the last moment, Esther was God’s instrument. She was there by Divine appointment. She reversed the decree.
All right, now when I first started preparing this, like I was telling Sharon, I thought I would do the whole Book of Esther, just skim through it maybe in a half hour program or maybe two. The more I got into it, I thought, I can’t do that. I’m just going to have to take it verse by verse. There’s just too much good stuff in here to skim over. So, even those of you out in television, I hope you’ll bear with me. We’re going to take this Book of Esther even though it’s relatively unknown. I don’t image anybody ever studies it verse by verse. But I think you’ll agree with me that it’s time well spent. All right, let’s just start at verse 1 chapter 1.
“Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus who reigned, from India even to Ethiopia, over 127 provinces:)” That is the then known world. All the way from India back west to the Mediterranean and down into Africa.
Now the term Ahasuerus is not his name. It’s just a term like Pharaoh or King or Premier. His real name was Astyages (in the Greek). He ends up, believe it or not, as one historian has decreed, not all will agree, but this one line of history decrees that this king that married Esther is also the father of Cyrus, who was named 150 years, you remember, before he was born. It was Cyrus that made the decree to the Jews to go back and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. So, all these things are falling in place.
“That in those days,…” Now this is back, remember, in the Mede and Persian Empires, east even of present day Baghdad. If you’ve got a map in the back of your Bible, when we have break time, look it up. Susa was the city. Shushan was the palace. It was in the area of present day Iran, a little north of the Persian Gulf and a little bit further east than the headwaters of the Euphrates.
“That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, (And Susa was the name of the city.) 3. In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, (See, that’s why we call it the Mede and Persian Empires.) the nobles and the princes of the provinces, being before him: 4. When he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore.” That’s 180 days. That’s six-months! Six months of partying is what it really amounts to.
“And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace;” Now, I read an interesting thing in an archaeology magazine the other day. A lot of people just slough this off and they think, oh well, this is just some Jewish figment of imagination and so forth, but no.
Here not too long ago, the archaeologists actually uncovered this ancient city of Susa, which of course had been covered up like most of those ancient cities were. They could still see the remains of the floor plan of that palace, and it fit perfectly the description here in the Book of Esther. I mean fit it perfectly. Like, from one palace to a garden, or one dining room to a garden into another one. And it was all laid out in the foundation stones, so that we know that this is not just some frivolous writing. All right, now verse 6; look at the sumptuousness of these monarchs and their palaces.
“Where were white, green, and blue hangings, (that is curtains.) fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver,…” Now, I’ve got to stop right there again. Most of you have seen even, I think, at the last supper. How did people at the time of even the Roman Empire, how did they sit at tables? Well, they reclined on couches. That was evidently what we’re referring to here. These were what we would normally refer to as our dining room chairs. It was instead their dining room couches on which they reclined as they ate.
“…the beds (these couches) were of gold and silver, upon a pavement (they’re resting on a floor) of red, and blue, and white, and black, and marble.” Now, use a little imagination. They must have been beautiful! Now remember, this is back about nearly 600 BC. I had to think for a minute. Not quite, probably around 575 BC or 580 BC. That’s a long time ago. I suppose most of us have gotten the idea that in antiquity everybody lived like cavemen. No. They lived sumptuously. They had beauty all around them.
As we study this, I want you to be mindful as well that when we refer to these parties that they’re going to be having here in the palace of the king, what happens whenever a foreign dignitary comes to Washington? What do they have? Well, they have big White House dinners. It is the same thing here. They show the best that America has got. Money doesn’t mean a thing! Because, after all, they’re drawing their money, taxes, from so many million people.
I was reading the other day, and this is interesting. This guy was decrying the billions of dollars that we give to the United Nations. I would tend to agree. I mean, it’s just like pouring it down a rat hole. But even though it was billions of dollars, what it really boiled down to was just a few cents per head for you and me. Well, I’m not going to get all exercised if it’s only costing me 30 cents to supply the United Nations. But see, that’s the way the whole thing works. When you get these multitudes of tax dollars working, it doesn’t amount to anything, because there is so much of it coming in.
Well, they were the same way. Now, we’re going to see a little later on in the Book that the rank and file people in the street, as we say today, were living a life of misery. They were just barely existing. But, oh, the elite, they lived sumptuously. Well, I’ll never forget that when Communism fell, and all of a sudden it was revealed that all the apparatchiks as we called them in Russia were the same way. The Russian peasants were poor and devastated, but here they’d been living like these kings. Well, it’s been that way now for thousands of years. That’s what I want you to see – how they lived so sumptuously.
“And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being different one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king.” What’s going to happen to these people? Well, they’re going to be drunk as lords. Yeah, they did. They drank until they were drunk. All right, verse 8, but fortunately here in the Medes and Persians they did have a limit.
“And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel; (In other words, none were compelled to partake. If they didn’t want to, they didn’t have to.) for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man’s pleasure.” If he wanted to get soused, he could. If he didn’t want to, he didn’t have to. Now, here we come to the first major player, Vashti the queen, the king’s wife.
“Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.” Besides the feast that’s already being held for the men, Vashti has now put up one for the women in the royal house.
“On the seventh day, (seven days of banqueting) when the heart of the king was merry with wine, (See how plain the language is? He’s already three sheets to the wind.) he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, and Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains (Now, they were usually eunuchs.) that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, 11. To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to show the people and the princes her (What?) beauty: for she was fair to look on.”
So, what you’re going to see throughout the whole Book of Esther is one humongous beauty pageant. That’s what the whole book’s about. Who is the most beautiful girl in Persia? All right, so Vashti has her own role. So, they are commanded to bring Vashti in to see her beauty, for she was fair to look on.
“But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.”
Now, let’s just compare history with history. Had they pulled that on Nero, what would have happened to her? Why, she’d have been dead in thirty seconds. That’s the way a lot of the monarchs were. What prompted this guy to spare her, I still haven’t figured out. There’s nothing in the Book of Esther to indicate that he ever had her put to death. She merely was removed from her place of preeminence as his queen. And that, of course, is what brings about the appearing of Esther. All right, our time’s just about gone. We’ll just take one more verse.
“Then the king said to the wise men, who knew the times, (for so was the king’s manner toward all that knew law and judgment:” And so on and so forth. And when they saw, down in verse 14, the king’s face:
“…which saw the king’s face, and which sat the first in the kingdom;) 15. What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to the law,…” Now, that’s where I’ll have to stop. We’ll pick it up in our next program.
LESSON THREE * PART II
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS
Book of Esther
Okay, it’s good to have everybody back again. For those of you joining us on television again, we always like to invite you, if you’re ever headed toward Tulsa, to try to make it to one of our tapings for an afternoon. We just have a good time, and the hospitality is just overrunning. Again, we want to thank all of our folks out there for your prayers, especially. Because I’ll tell you what – prayer does everything. And we’d like to thank you for your letters.
Now, I forgot to do it in the last program. When I speak of letters, this is my way of responding to the hundreds of letters that I can’t answer personally. We do have a quarterly newsletter. We send it out free. If you aren’t getting one and you would like to, you can just send us a request, or call the girls and give them your name and address, and you can get it. Now rest assured, we never share our database. So, you don’t have to worry about getting a whole mailbox full of junk.
And all you’ll get from us is the newsletter, and we don’t even beg for money in that. I know this is one of the fears people have. They don’t want to get on a mailing list. You ought to see my mailbox. Where’s Ruby? Ruby, where are you? Yeah, Ruby knows! Oh, junk mail – that high. It’s just unbelievable! So, no, we never, never share our database with anybody, and you won’t be bombarded with appeals.
Let’s get right back into where we left off in this Book of Esther. Somebody reminded me during the break that I had failed to mention that the name of God is not visible in the whole Book of Esther. There’s not one single reference to God. There are three or four what they call acrostics. In other words, there are some hidden things that you have to be a real deep scholar of the Hebrew to find. But, there is no visible mention of the name of God. But God’s presence is so evident! There’s just no doubt.
Just like in the Book of Ruth, how everything fell into place so that she married just exactly the man that God wanted her to marry. It is the same way here. This is one of Satan’s efforts to destroy the Nation of Israel, but God in His providence has a young Jewish girl in place to keep it from happening. All right, let’s go back into Esther then, chapter 1 verse 16.
“And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, (Now watch this guy!) but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in the provinces of the king Ahasuerus.” What’s he driving at? Why, that she had the wherewithal to not obey the king?! What man could have a woman like that, for goodness sakes! That’d be awful. So, that’s their big worry. Look at the influence that she’s having in this kingdom.
“For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. (She still doesn’t obey him.) 18. Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king’s princes, who have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.” That is from the women. I’m not going to do as my husband says. Vashti didn’t. Why should I?
“If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it not be altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she. 20. And when the king’s decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) (All the way from India. All the way up to beyond the Mediterranean.) all the wives shall give to their husbands honor, both to great and small.
“And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan: 22. For he sent letters into all the king’s provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language,…”
Now you want to remember, there were all kinds of different dialects and languages and so forth in that large a kingdom.
“…that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people.” Okay, now we’re going to move on. We’re going to get more involved with Esther.
“After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. 2. Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king:” Now you’ve got to remember, you’re dealing back here in Gentile paganism. They didn’t have the morality that we practice today. Of course, you’re all aware that even in the Old Testament times every king and every man of importance had his harem.
So, what they’re really going to do now is go throughout the whole kingdom of the Medes and Persians and conscript the young and most beautiful girls. Well, you know, that’s what I said a little bit at the beginning of the first program. You’ve got the beginning here of a national “Miss Mede and Persia.” They’re going to be looking for the fairest and the most beautiful in the kingdom.
“And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king’s chamberlain, keeper of the women; (or the harem) and let their things for purification be given them. 4. And let the maiden who pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king: 5. Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, (All right, now we’re getting to the heart of the whole story of Esther.) the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;”
In other words, he was from the Southern Kingdom. Now you’ve got to remember, not too many years before all of this the first the ten tribes to the north were taken captive into Syria. Then about 75-80 years later, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was taken captive. So, by the time we get to Esther, all twelve tribes are in captivity out there in the area of the Medes and the Persians. So, there’s not a distinguishing element here at all. Mordecai was from the southern tribes, and many of these others were from the Northern Kingdom. All right, verse 6.
“Mordecai had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.” Now, this would also include Daniel, who was carried captive, you remember, by the Babylonians; and Ezekiel and the three men in the fiery furnace. This is all part of that same period of time when the Jews are out there in the captivity of the Babylonians and later on the Medes and the Persians. So, this is how they are all out in that part of the world. They’ve been taken captive out of Jerusalem and the land of Israel out to the Middle East.
“And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncles daughter: (She was not his immediate daughter. She was merely a next of kin. So, Esther is his uncle’s daughter) for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.”
“So it came to pass, when the king’s commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace,…” Again, you can’t help but realize – what are they doing? They’re building a beauty contest. The whole purpose is to find the most beautiful girl in the Mede and Persian Empire to be the wife of the king. Well, he just lost out on all the fun of courting, didn’t he? But, they’re doing all the work for him. They’re bringing all the fairest maidens into Shushan the palace.
“…to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women. 9. And the maiden (Esther in particular) pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king’s house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women.” Now verse 10, watch this closely.
“Esther had not showed her people nor her kindred: (Now, what’s that talking about? She hadn’t told anybody that she was Jewish. So far as everybody’s concerned, she’s just another one of the other Gentile nations.) for Mordecai had charged her that she should not show it (or reveal it).” In other words, I can just hear him. He’d say, Esther, don’t you dare let any of these people know that you’re a Jew.
“And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her. 12. Now when every maid’s turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women,…” In preparation and making her beautiful. Everything prepared, I suppose, her manners, her curtseys, just everything that would impress the king. Then verse 13.
“Then thus came every maiden to the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king’s house. 14. In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s chamberlain, (another eunuch) who kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she ware called by name.”
“Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king,…” Now, just put yourself in that young girl’s boots. These oriental kings could be ruthless. There wasn’t much love and compassion in most of them. Had a king not been totally impressed, he could just simply give the word and they could be put to death. So, this is no simple thing to come before this oriental king of a huge Gentile empire.
“…And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all of them that looked upon her. 16 So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal, in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17. And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.” He still doesn’t know she’s a Jew.
“Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther’s feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king. 19. And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king’s gate.” Now, we don’t know exactly what Mordecai’s role was, but he was of somewhat in the government of this king. So, he had access to the palace, and he sat in the king’s gate. Now, verse 20.
“Esther had not yet showed her kindred nor her people; (She still hasn’t revealed that she’s Jewish.) as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.” All right, now we jump over to Mordecai. Here the stage is being set that Esther is going to find herself in a position to plead with the king to spare her people. All right, it begins with Mordecai in verse 21.
“In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those who kept the door, were angry, and sought to lay hand on (or to kill) the king Ahasuerus. 22. And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified (or confirmed) the king thereof in Mordecai’s name.”
“And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: (Because they had conspired to kill the king, but here’s the one–) and it was written (Now, these are all little tidbits. Had they not happened, the rest wouldn’t have happened.) it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king. ” What was written was that these two men had conspired to kill the king, but Mordecai had been the one who had stopped the thing from taking place. All right, now we move to the next key player. It’s Haman.
“After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.” All right, now we’ve got to chase this guy Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite down. Here again is God’s Providence. Here is the hand of God. Go back with me to Numbers chapter 24 verse 7. This is all part of the intricate working of God clear back in Numbers.
Now, this is at the time that Israel was trying to go through Moab, and Balak the king wouldn’t let them. Remember that? So, he goes and hires the magician, Balaam. Balak hires Balaam the prophet, the magician. Balaam comes and sees the multitude of Israel, and, of course, God wouldn’t let him put a curse on Israel. Instead, miracle of miracles, Balaam brings out prophetic utterances concerning the Nation of Israel.
All right, here we are now in Numbers 24 verse 7. Let’s start up at verse 6, speaking of the children of Israel waiting there before Moab in order to go on up into the Promised Land.
“As the valleys are they spread forth, (That is the Jews, the Israelites.) as gardens by the river’s side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters.”
“He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, (Now, this is symbolic language concerning the future of Israel coming from the lips of Balaam.) and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.” That is the kingdom of Israel above the kingdom of this Agag. All right, now we’ve got to find out who this guy is. Come on over to chapter 24 verse 20. Got it?
“And when he (Balaam, the prophet) looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek…” Remember now, this is just after the forty years of the wilderness experience. Within forty years of coming out of Egypt, the Nation is out there on the desert trying to make their way over to the crossing of the Jordan River and go into the Promised Land.
“Balaam looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; (Now, when I first read it, I read it wrong. It doesn’t mean that Amalek was the best or the first in number or anything like that. He was the first nation to confront Israel with war. The Amalekites were the first tribes that tried to destroy Israel.) Amalek was the first of the nations; but (Balaam prophesies) his latter end shall be that he perish forever.” The Amalekites are going to come to an end in God’s program.
All right, now we pick it up in I Samuel chapter 15 verse 5. We’re already up to the time of King Saul. We’ve gone through the period of the Judges. Saul is now king of Israel.
I Samuel 15:5-8a
“And Saul came to a city of Amalek, (The same people.) and laid wait in the valley. 6. And Saul said unto the Kenites, (That is a part of Israel,) Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye showed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7. And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. 8. And he took Agag the king…” See, there’s that name again. That was back in the Book of Esther.
I Samuel 15:8-9
“And he took Agag (who was at that time) the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.” All right, now to get what God’s reaction to all this was, verse 10.
I Samuel 15:10-11a
“Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, 11. It repenteth me (I’m sorry) that I have set up Saul to be king: for he has turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel;…” All right, where did Saul fail? He should have finished the job with the Amalekites, but he didn’t.
Now then, when you jump all the way up to the Book of Esther, here we’ve got the same tribal people. Haman is an Amalekite. So, what’s his feeling toward Israel? He hates them. It’s just part of his makeup. All right, back to Esther chapter 3. Now, the king promotes this Amalekite, Haman, who was the son of Hamedatha the Agagite. Remember, he was the king of the Amalekites.
“…and the king advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. 2. And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: (this enemy of the Jew.) for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.” Now, we’re setting him up for trouble, aren’t we? Mordecai the Jew will not bow down to this Amalekite, which he evidently knew he was – verse 3.
“Then the king’s servants, who were in the king’s gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king’s commandment? 4. Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew.” So, now the secret is out completely, so far as Mordecai is concerned – verse 5.
“And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, not did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. 6. And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had showed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy (Now watch it carefully. Haman is going to seek to–) destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.” He wants every Jew destroyed out of the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians. All right, I’m going to skip verse 7 and come down to verse 8.
“And Haman said unto the king, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse (or different) from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer (permit) them.” So, what’s he building up for? Get the king a decree to kill every Jew. All right, verse 9, now old Haman, remember where he’s coming from.
“If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, (That is to kill the Jews.) to bring it into the king’s treasuries. 10. And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy. 11. And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.” You see how it’s building? Oh, listen, when Satan goes after the Jew, he pulls every plug – verse 12.
“Then were the king’s scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king’s ring.”
“And the letters were sent by posts (Have you ever wondered where the name post office comes from? That’s not a western invention. It was already called that way back here. Here’s the Pony Express! The original.) into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.” In other words, to take over their property.
“The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, and they should be ready against that day. 15. The posts went out, (The mailmen, see? The Pony Express riders, they went out.) being hastened by the king’s commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city of Shushan was perplexed.” Now, what does that mean? Oh, they lived sumptuously in the palace. But the people in the street, as they say today, were living in utter poverty. They had nothing of the comforts of life.
“When Mordecai perceived (or understood) all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and bitter cry; 2. And came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. 3b. …there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.”.
“So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not. 5. Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king’s chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was.”
Esther 4:6 -7
“So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king’s gate. 7. And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay the king’s treasury for the Jews, to destroy them.”
Well, anyway, to make it simple, when all this is understood, we come back to the key verse that we started with in the Book of Esther, verse 14. Now, Mordecai is letting his beautiful niece I’m going to call her, Esther, he’s going to let her know what is really going on. Again, he says:
“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
LESSON THREE * PART III
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS
Book of Esther
Okay, it’s good to see everybody back so quickly. We’re going to get out of here early today if we keep this up! So, again we want to make our television audience feel right at home. Like I told someone in the studio before one of our programs this afternoon, I had a letter, or a phone call, from a gentleman who heard me refer to previous letters that say they feel like they’re sitting on the back row. This guy says, “Not me. I’m sitting on the front row right beside that gal with the red hair.” (Sharon)
We appreciate the fact that you just make yourself at home with us, because all we are is an informal Bible study. We just have a good time searching the Scriptures together. So, if you’re ever headed toward Tulsa on, usually, the first Wednesday after the first Sunday of the month, try to make it in and enjoy the day with us.
Okay, we’re in the Book of Esther. It’s a little different Bible study than what I’ve been normally doing. I hope I’m not losing you. But on the other hand, I felt it was too good a book that’s just sort of lying back there. Nobody ever studies it. The primary reason I’m doing this is because, as we’re seeing again today, we’ve got this fellow in Iran who is just bound and determined that every Jew be thrown into the sea. Well, it’s nothing new. This is the satanic effort to interrupt God’s prophetic program.
Remember, prophecy can never be fulfilled if Israel is not in their homeland. They have to be there, because when Christ returns, where is He going to return to? Well, not New York or Washington or Tokyo. He’s going to return to the Mount of Olives which is in Jerusalem. So, it’s prophetic. It has to happen. And Satan is never going to win.
Somebody called the other day and said, “Is Satan ignorant? Is he stupid? Why can’t he understand he can’t win?” That is a good question. Satan evidently still thinks he can win. But he can’t, because prophecy has set all this in concrete, as I like to say, and they have to happen.
So, my number one reason for teaching this Book of Esther is not just to fill up book 69, but to make the point that Satan never stops trying to destroy the Nation of Israel. It’s happened over and over all the way back in antiquity, back in recent history, and now even today. The world in general would just as soon see every Jew disappear. That’s why I’m always reminding my classes here in Oklahoma, and I might as well remind my television audience – you pray! You pray for our President. I don’t care whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican in the White House. You pray for them that they will maintain our stand with Israel.
You know, I’m telling everybody lately to send a message to the White House: Remember Harry Truman. Harry Truman proved that if you do what God wants you to do; He’ll end up blessing you. For those of you who may not know what I’m talking about. In the spring of 1948 he was at the bottom of the polls. He didn’t stand a “Chinaman’s chance,” as we’d say, of winning the election in the fall. All his advisors, every member of his cabinet, and every member of congress begged him not to stand up with this little emerging Nation of Israel while they were still fighting for their independence. And I trust you all know the story. When Ben-Gurion announced to the world that Israel was now a sovereign state, Harry Truman was the first major player on the stage of history to declare that America will stand with this little Nation of Israel and defend her.
Well, that was in May of 1948. In November, you all know your history. Harry Truman beat Thomas Dewey hands down. I maintain it was all because, against all of his advisors and against all the media of the day, Harry Truman did what was right. He stood up for Israel. I feel that this is still appropriate today. So, you pray for our men in high places. You pray for the Nation of Israel, because they have to be there. Otherwise, prophecy can’t be fulfilled.
All right, now I’m going to go back to Esther, again, with that premise that here we have another opportunity where Satan thinks he can destroy the Nation to the last little boy and girl. They were to have no mercy and to kill every Jew in the empire. All right, we were down at chapter 4. I’m going to read again the last part of verse 14. This is exactly what it boiled down to, where Mordecai tells Esther:
“…and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom (as a queen in a place where she can really get something done) for such a time as this. (To stop the obliteration of the Jewish people.) 15. Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer. 16. Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.” In other words, she could not go in unless he would invite her. But she’s going to make the move, and he could have just as well made the decree to kill her.
“So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him. 1. Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, (She’s going to get dressed to the hilt.) and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.”
“And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favor in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the scepter.” This, of course, was the custom. You’ve seen it in movies. I know you have. Where the king would appoint whoever touched the scepter to come into his presence.
“Then the king said unto her, (Here it comes now. We’re setting the stage to reverse everything against this Amalekite Haman.) The king said unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? It shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom. 4. And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him.”
Now, she’s just not asking him straight out – reverse the decree. But she’s going to, I think, get them pretty well as we would say today, loosened up. You know, like a lot of people call it – attitude adjustment or whatever. Alcohol has been the vehicle for centuries, you know that. So, she’s going to use the same thing. She prepares a huge banquet.
“Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared. 6. And the king said unto Esther at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed. 7. Then answered Esther and said, My petition and my request is;” Here it comes.
You know how they did in the antiquities. I know this because I read a lot of archaeology stuff. This is exactly how they wrote each other letters. They would just flower and give all kinds of descriptions of how great they were. So, she does the same thing.
“If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do tomorrow as the king hath said. 9. Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation, (That’s another word for wrath.) against Mordecai.”
“Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife.” He rehearsed all that was taking place between him and the king, and how he feels that one of these days he’s going to be second in the kingdom. He’s really flying high. Then verse 12.
“Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and tomorrow I am invited unto her also with the king.” You see how they like to lubricate their ego. I guess that’s part of politics, isn’t it? They just love to have their ego stroked, and, as we say, lifted up. So, Haman was just ecstatic that he alone would be in this banquet with the king and the queen. All right, then he says:
“Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” He had such a hatred for Jews that even though he thought he was really making headway with the king, yet this just overwhelmed him.
“Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and tomorrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.” But now, here God moves in. Yes, God moves in on the thinking of a king lying on his bed at night.
“On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles: and they were read before the king.” Now, do you see why I made special note of that a few chapters back? What happened in that book of chronicles? It was recorded how Mordecai had kept him from being killed by these two chamberlains. It was in the book. Now he reads it, see? Oh, the Providence, the hand of God in everything, Beloved. Id it’s no different today. It’s not one whit different. God is in everything.
“And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. 3. And the king said, What honor and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him.”
“And the king said, Who is in the court? Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king’s house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. 5. And the king’s servant said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in. 6. So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor?…” Now remember, Haman is all puffed up. He thinks he is about to become second man in the Kingdom. The stage is being set.
“…Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honor more than to myself? 7. And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honor, 8. Let the royal apparel be brought which the king used to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head:” Now, this is almost comedy isn’t it? I love this little book after spending all this time in it. Here this guy is thinking all this is going to happen to him.
“And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honor. (All right then, here it comes.) 10. Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew,…” Glorious, isn’t it? Glorious! You know, someone has said, does God have a sense of humor? I think He does.
Now mostly, you know, even when I have the question come up, did Jesus ever smile or laugh in His earthly ministry? Well, we don’t know that He did. If He didn’t, it was because the sin of the world was the number one thing on His mind. And naturally, you know, you can’t make light of things when you’re thinking of that aspect of it. The same way with God in general, you know. “He’s not willing that any should perish,” and He looks at the wickedness of man. Yet, I have to feel, especially in a situation like this, that He does have a sense of humor. So, here Haman is being set up. He thinks to bring in his own honor and glory and then to have it suddenly go to the Jew. Boy! That must have been a real hammer blow to the man’s ego.
“…and do even so, do it to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken. (In other words, you fulfill every detail Haman.) 11. Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor.”
“And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman, hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered. (I mean, he is in complete sorrow.) 13. And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou has begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shall surely fall before him. 14. And while they were yet talking with him, came the king’s chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.” Now, here’s where Esther came in and began to set the stage for a reversal of the decree to destroy the Jew.
“So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. 2. And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request?… 3. Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favor in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people (the Jews now remember) at my request:”
“For we are sold, (Remember, the decree has gone out.) I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen. (In other words, if we’d just been sold into servitude–) I would have held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage. 5. Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said, unto Esther the queen, Who is he and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?” In other words, to kill all the Jews.
“And Esther said, The adversary and enemy (Now remember, there’s only three people at that banquet, if I read right – the king, the queen, and Haman.) And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. 7. And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath, went into the palace garden:…” Now, that’s why I referred to the archaeological digs of this palace. They could reconstruct, according to the foundation stones, that this was the floor plan of this palace. So, this is all set in antiquity, archaeologically.
“And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Easter the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king. 8. Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed (Or couch, I feel that they had been reclining to eat and partake of their banquet. This is just about a repeat of Joseph back there in Egypt.) whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house?’ As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.”
“And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. 10. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.” So, the very gallows that Haman had built hoping to kill Mordecai was used to hang Haman. Well, now we just keep right on going in chapter 8, and we’ll finish the whole story of Esther this afternoon.
“On that day, did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews’ enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her. 2. And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. 3. And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.”
“Then the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king, 5. And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written (Now, here it comes.) to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king’s provinces:
“For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred? 7. Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews.”
“Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse.”
“Then were the king’s scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred and twenty seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.” Okay, now here we come. This is what I wanted you to see. The post office, everything, was already operating clear back there 500 years before Christ, verse 10.
“And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus’ name, and sealed it with the king’s ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries:” Boy, if that isn’t the Pony Express, I don’t know what is. So, all these riders went out all the way across the empire. Now picture that, all the way from India to around the Mediterranean, on the south and on the north. All the posts were made aware of the king’s reversal that would now put the Jew in the place of preeminence. Now verse 11:
“Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, (Now, it’s reversed.) to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey. 12. Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.”
“The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, and that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. 14. So the posts that rode upon mules and camels went out, being hastened and pressed on by the king’s commandment. And the decree was given at Shushan the palace.”
“And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. 16. The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honor. 17. And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; (In other words, even some of the Gentiles came in and began to embrace the Jews religion.) for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.”
Well, anyway, as we go through the rest of this Book, we find that the vengeance is turned from killing the Jews to killing all those who hated them. The Jews come back into a place of preeminence. Now go to verse 5 of chapter 9.
“Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.” Now see, this is contrary to our line of thinking. But all the way back in antiquity, especially in the Middle East, just like you see it today, what is their favorite statement? The Arabs love death, and the Jews love life.
Just think of that. And you’re seeing it. Every day! They love death, but the Jews, on the other hand, love life. Hey, it’s no secret. The Jews know how to live sumptuously. They always have. They’ve been stricken in poverty a good portion of their history. But on the other hand, they have the wherewithal; they know how to live sumptuously. So, here again, the whole thing is reversed, and now the Jews are in the place of killing their enemies. Then down to verse 10.
“The ten sons of Haman (Now, this is the end of the Amalekites, historically speaking. This is where God finally said, this is the end of the Amalekites.) The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, they slew; but on the spoil they laid not their hand. 11. On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king. 12. And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what is thy request further? and it shall be done.”
“Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews who are in Shushan to do tomorrow also according unto this day’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows. 14. And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman’s ten sons.” Which, like I said, brought an end to the Amalekites, which King Saul should have ended himself hundreds and hundreds of years earlier.
“ For the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan: but on the prey they laid not their hand. 16. But the other Jews that were in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey, 17. On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.”
Now, we’ll pick that up in our final half-hour. We’ll find that it is a feast day that is still celebrated in Israel today. The name of the day is Purim (p-u-r-i-m). It is still celebrated traditionally by Jews, going all the way back to the time of Queen Esther.
Interesting, not like I normally like to teach, but hopefully this is just a little interlude. We’re going to be going into the Minor Prophets in our next study.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS
Book of Esther
Okay, good to see everybody in again for program number four this afternoon. I guess my television audience should know by now that we put four of these together at one time. This is number four, and then we’ll be on our way home.
Again, we like to welcome our TV audience. We always want to thank you for everything you do – your financial help, your prayers, and your letters of encouragement. For those of you here in the studio, we always appreciate the fact that you come in and spend the afternoon with us.
Well, we’re going to wind up the Book of Esther in the first part of the program. We constantly get phone calls, well, where are you going next? Our next series, we’re going to finally do the twelve Minor Prophets. We’ve had a lot of requests for them. The only reason they’re called Minor is not because they’re not important, but because they’re short. They’re not sixty-six chapters long like Isaiah. So, if we have a little time left yet on this program, we’ll jump over to Hosea for just a few minutes. For the next several tapings then, we’ll do studies on the twelve Minor Prophets.
But for now, we’re going to stay in Esther and finish the little book. Hopefully you’ll get it implanted on your mind how that Satan is always trying to disrupt God’s program, and the number one way to do that would be to get rid of the Jew. Because, I trust you all realize, that because of the Nation of Israel we have this Book. I maintain that every word of this book from cover to cover was written by Jews, including Luke. I get a little opposition on that once in a while, but I have to go back to Romans 3 verse 2 where Paul asks the question in verse 1 – What advantage then hath the Jew? Then he answers it in verse 2 – Much every way, but chiefly because unto them, the Jew, was committed the Word of God.
Now I maintain, if Luke was a Gentile, then that verse would have had to say – for unto the Jews and one Gentile was committed the Word of God. But it doesn’t say that. It says that unto the Jew, unto them, was committed the Word of God. I’m a stickler for language, because I know that if the Lord wanted us to realize that Luke was a Gentile, it would have been explicitly stated as such.
But anyway, through the Nation of Israel, then, has come our whole Bible. Through the Nation of Israel has come our Savior, our Redeemer, and the Head of the Body, Jesus of Nazareth. Through the Nation of Israel will come all the end-time prophecy.
Now, of course, there’s no secret anymore that our programs are rerun from time to time. I think the date usually goes up on the program. So, I’m not quite as cautious about dating. Right now we realize that the Middle East is in tremendous turmoil. Everybody calls and asks what’s going on? Well, all I know is, it’s just one step closer to the end. Anybody with any common sense should be able to realize why there is all this turmoil in the Middle East? Why isn’t it in Africa? Why isn’t it in Europe? Why isn’t it over in the Western Hemisphere? But see, it’s all in the Middle East. Of course, we know that’s where all the end-time events will take place. So, all we can say about the whole thing is, it is part of the end-time scenario.
In fact, before we go back to Esther, while we’re talking about this, come back with me to Matthew 24 a moment. I didn’t intend to do this. I think most of my listeners realize that I’m impetuous that way. But Matthew 24 and you pray for the Jewish people. They have got some awful, horrible days ahead of them. As I said in the last program, you pray that our America will stand with them until the end. But the time will come when even America will no longer stand with Israel.
Matthew 24 and we’ll drop down to verse 8. The Lord is speaking. He’s referring to the events of the Tribulation, prophecy of course, but they’re going to happen. Like I said before, if it’s written, it has to happen. All right, from the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, verse 8, oh well, let’s look at verse 7.
“For nation shall rise against nation, (Now, we’re not in the Tribulation, not by any stretch, but we’re getting previews of it.) and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. 8. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” This is just the beginning. Then verse 9.
“Then shall they deliver you (Now remember, who is Jesus speaking to? Jews. So it’s the Jews that we’re referring to here.) up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”
My, I read an article the other day where the guy had listed I don’t know how many false prophets already out there proclaiming themselves as the Messiah. It’s unbelievable. But, it’s prophecy.
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Well, that’s all part of the prophetic program that is still going to have to be consummated in the Nation of Israel. It can’t consummate in Israel if they’re not there. So, they’re not going to drive them into the sea. And, I do not see another dispersion. All the things that are happening are in fulfillment of our end-time events. How close we are? I don’t know. But I think we’re getting closer every day. I think I’m safe in saying that.
All right, let’s go back to the Book of Esther. Keep in mind that what we’re seeing today is just a repeat of what happened back here 500 and some years before Christ, when Haman the Amalekite tried to obliterate the Jew to every last little boy and girl. All right, but it got turned on him. As we saw in our last program, Haman and his whole family came to their fateful end. The Jews, on the other hand, come into a place of favor and rejoicing.
All right, Chapter 9 verse 20, we’ll finish it. Then I’m thinking that we’ll go on, like I said, into the Minor Prophets. So, if we’ve got time, we’ll slip over to Hosea before the program is over.
“And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king .Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, ” Now remember, this takes constant reminding, the Jews were brought up out of Jerusalem and the area of Israel out to the east. You’re all aware of the present day geography, I trust.
First, of course, to Babylon, and then from Babylon they began to migrate out into all the areas of the Babylonian empire. Evidently, they had freedom to do that. So, that was the beginning of Jews ending up all over the then known world. As a result of that you see, even when you get up to the ministry of the Apostle Paul, no matter where he went, where could he begin his ministry? In a Synagogue of the Jews. They had become scattered throughout the whole then known world.
Well, it all started with the captivities brought about by Nebuchadnezzar and then on into the Mede and Persian. Now I didn’t realize, until I started studying the Book of Esther, that all these kings and queens were related. Nebuchadnezzar was an uncle of this Ahasuerus, and Ahasuerus in turn becomes the father of Cyrus. I’m going to refer to that at the end of the Book of Esther. So, all these Middle-Eastern kings back there in the Medes and the Persians and the Babylonians were really relatives. They were intermarried and everything else.
All right, so the Jews are scattered throughout the Mede and Persian Empire near and far. Now verse 21, his message was:
“To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly. (In other words, the two days in a row) 22. As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.”
“And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai has written unto them; 24. Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, (Which was already a day in the Mede and Persian social calendar.) that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them;”
“But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.” Now, here it comes. If you know anything about the Jewish calendar, they still celebrate traditionally the two days of Purim. Here it comes.
“Wherefore they called these days (the 14th and the 15th day of March) Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, which had come unto them, 27. The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year;”
That’s where tradition comes in. Everybody knows what it is to be steeped in tradition. I say this with no malice, with no unkindness. But just to show you how deep tradition can run, a couple of tapings ago we had a girl in our audience, a visitor from up north someplace. She was a converted Jew. She had a tremendous testimony.
Her family was still playing Jews, but they were agnostic. They didn’t believe in God. They invited her to their home for Passover last spring. So, she went down to Passover. They had done just like the Jews in their Orthodoxy do. They clean the house from top to bottom so that there was no leaven. They did all the right things of using the right dishes and everything. And she said, “Dad, why do you do all this? You don’t believe in God.” He says, “Tradition.”
I was rehearsing this with Iris and she says, well, what about the world today with Christmas? How many totally unbelieving people have a big Christmas dinner? Go in and ask those people, why do you celebrate Christmas? You don’t believe in Christ? What will their answer be? Tradition. And it’s an awful thing, because it is so hard to get people that are in the wrong tradition to come out of it. You can just about bet what that could be. All right, but Purim is still being celebrated in the Jewish religious system and even in the secular, all going back to a memorial of Mordecai and Queen Esther. Okay, so they keep these two days every year, now verse 28.
“And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.”
All right, now I’m thinking, I didn’t intend to do this, but I can’t help it. Come back with me to Exodus. If this isn’t almost the same language that God gave Israel concerning what I just referred to, the Passover. That’s why a good Jew to this day, whether he’s a believer or not, he may be a total atheist, but because of tradition they keep Passover. I think it’s been the glue that has held the Jewish people together down through the centuries of being scattered into every nation under heaven. They’re still Jews.
All right, here it is back in Exodus chapter 12 and, oh, my goodness, verse 24. It’s the night of the Passover. Death is striking the firstborn of every home in Egypt, except in Goshen where the Jews are.
“And (God says) ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons forever. (In other words, till the end of time.) 25. And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. (Now, that’s a commandment from God.) 26. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?”
I think I explained this when the Jewish lady was in our midst, because I remember asking her if I wasn’t right. The very Passover service involves the kids. They hide something. I don’t remember what it was, but they hid it throughout the house and the kids go and find it. It becomes almost a game. All right, so it says, “When your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?”
“That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered (or spared) our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.” Passover, the same way like Purim, has become one of the traditional days of celebration in Israel’s calendar year. All right, come back to Esther for a little bit, verse 29.
“So then Esther the queen, (Now remember, she’s in a Gentile pagan palace of the Mede and Persians.) the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim. 30. And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth.” So, he sent the letters to all the Jews in all the provinces – now verse 31.
“To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry. 32. And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.” Now chapter 10 verse 1.
“And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea. 2. And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai,…” Who was second, remember, unto the king. Now, just stop and think again. How often has that happened? My, just think back in biblical history. How many times did a Jew end up second in the kingdom? Well, I think the first one was probably Joseph, when he was put in charge of preparing the land for seven years of famine and seven years of plenty. Joseph became second in the kingdom.
The next one is Daniel. Daniel becomes the second in the kingdom under Nebuchadnezzar and the rest of them. Over and over we see this. So, here again, Mordecai ends up as the second man in this Gentile empire.
“And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?” Now, that’s where I’ve been picking up some of my information. I’ve been reading the last few days of these records of these ancient chronicles.
“For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.” All right, Sharon wants to know how to spell the word, and so do the rest of you! It’s A-s-t-y-a-g-e-s. Astyages is the way I pronounce it. He, of course, was the husband of Esther. According to this history that I was reading, out of that union came King Cyrus.
All right, now I’ve got to show you a little bit about Cyrus and how all of this fits together. Turn with me to Isaiah chapter 44 and verse 28. Now remember, Esther is in the area of the late 500 BC. Isaiah writes 700 and some BC. Almost 200 years earlier. Look what Isaiah writes. Now, this is what we talk about being the inspiration of Scripture and how unique that our Bible can foretell even the names of kings 200 years.
Josiah, one of the kings of Israel, was named 300 years before he was born. All right, so here’s Isaiah prophesying of a coming king who won’t be born for 200 years.
“That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: (Now, this is God speaking through the prophet.) even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, thy foundation shall be laid.” But what’s the reference? Well, not too long after Isaiah writes all this, what happened to Jerusalem and the temple? They were utterly destroyed by the Babylonians. But, this King Cyrus will give the decree to go back and rebuild. This was prophesied by Isaiah 200 years before he’s born. All right, now drop into chapter 45 verse 1.
“Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, (to His chosen one) to Cyrus, (a Gentile) whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;” and so on and so forth.
All right, now let’s go back and see where that prophecy is fulfilled. Now remember, according to this one line of history, this Cyrus was the son of Esther. All right, come all the way back to Ezra chapter 1 verse 1. Now, that’s what you get when you start studying. You just jump back and forth. Now, here the prophecy written by Isaiah is fulfilled.
“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia,…” You haven’t all found it yet, have you? Well, Ezra is back in front of Esther. Actually, like someone said, the Book of Esther should have been ahead of Ezra and Nehemiah time-wise, but they put it up there. It’s been that way for the Jews forever, simply because it’s connected with the historical books rather than the books of poetry.
“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia (the son of Esther) that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2. Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, the LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.”
Now, I’d never thought of it before, because I’d never studied Esther before, but you see what’s happening here? Now, I’m just surmising. I’m not proving anything from Scripture, per se. I’m surmising. Where do you suppose Cyrus first got the inkling of the importance of the temple in Jerusalem? I think from his mother, who was a Jew. Esther. Then it all fits. I’m not taking anything away from the supernatural work of God, but on the other hand, God always does things in a logical way. So, this is exactly how I think it happened.
Esther was not only in a divine appointment to save the Nation of Israel from its destruction. Not only was she instrumental in bringing about the end of the tribe of the Amalekites, which King Saul should have accomplished. But Esther also, I think, is a major player in bringing about the decree of Cyrus, if indeed he was her son. That he sends the proclamation to rebuild the city and the temple – verse 2 again.
“Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house (the temple) at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.” Now, we have to feel then that Cyrus was a believer in the God of Abraham. Verse 4.
“And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill-offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” All these things have always been needed. Nobody has ever been able to do anything without what? Money. Now, you know I have to be amazed at the political structure of nations. For example, the fall of the Russians back in the ‘90’s, what prompted it? Well, their economy crashed. Their economy went down. Well, you’d think a nation as big as Russia wouldn’t have to worry about an economy. All they’d have to do is print money and tell people to do this. Hey, it doesn’t work that way. That’s why they can sanction people. They can shut off their money supply. When you shut off the money supply, they can’t do anything. It’s been a hard pill for me to swallow.
My goodness, you’d think that if a nation has their own natural resources, they can just create their own wealth. They can’t do it. They have to work with the world’s money system. All right, now it is the same way back here. What does Cyrus provide? Money! You can’t do anything without it. Even way back here in antiquity, nothing could be done unless there was financing behind it. You can’t just simply decree, go out and do this and go out and do that. No, it has to be paid for. You watch for that even in your everyday world affairs. How a nation’s economies can take them off the scene overnight, because you can’t do anything without being able to pay for it. I don’t care who you are. It’s just a fact of life. All the way back in antiquity it was the same thing.
Next taping we’ll start a study of the Minor Prophets and begin with the Book of Hosea.