[ 925 ] Les Feldick [ Book 78 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Christ as the Rock of Scripture |a
[ 926 ] Les Feldick [ Book 78 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] Christ as the Rock of Scripture |b
[ 927 ] Les Feldick [ Book 78 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Christ as the Rock of Scripture |c
[ 928 ] Les Feldick [ Book 78 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Christ as the Rock of Scripture |d
[ 929 ] Les Feldick [ Book 78 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] Pt 1: Messianic Prophecies: Psalm 2, 8, 16 |a
[ 930 ] Les Feldick [ Book 78 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] Pt 1: Messianic Prophecies: Psalm 2, 8, 16 |b
[ 931 ] Les Feldick [ Book 78 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] Pt 1: Messianic Prophecies: Psalm 2, 8, 16 |c
[ 932 ] Les Feldick [ Book 78 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] Pt 1: Messianic Prophecies: Psalm 2, 8, 16 |d
[ 933 ] Les Feldick [ Book 78 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] Pt 2: Messianic Prophecies: Psalm 22, 23, 24 |a
[ 934 ] Les Feldick [ Book 78 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] Pt 2: Messianic Prophecies: Psalm 22, 23, 24 |b
[ 935 ] Les Feldick [ Book 78 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] Pt 2: Messianic Prophecies: Psalm 22, 23, 24 |c
[ 936 ] Les Feldick [ Book 78 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Pt 2: Messianic Prophecies: Psalm 22, 23, 24 |d
CHRIST AS THE ROCK OF SCRIPTURE
Okay, it’s good to see everybody in this afternoon. For those of you joining us on television, again we want to thank you for joining us. We have just come back from a rather long trip. And you know, the thing that just rings in our ears when we get home is the word “every.” They all say the same thing – we watch you every morning. Well, you know we love to hear that. And a couple right here just told us the same thing. That tells us that there’s a hunger. You’re not watching it just to kill half an hour from time-to-time, but to really get hooked on the Word of God.
And as one of my listeners I was talking to last night said, “I never had an interest in this before, but now I just can’t get enough.” Well, that’s as it should be. You know, just as soon as that new baby is born, it starts crying. What triggers the cry? Hunger. They want to be fed. And that’s the way it should be with a new believer. So those of you out in television, again, we just thank you for your response. We thank you for your kind letters and your financial help and everything that makes this possible.
All right, we’re going to start a new book today. It is book number 78. We finished our review of Genesis to Revelation in the last taping. I’m going to be looking at something new today. We’re going to look at the many times in Scripture that Jesus Christ is referred to as the Rock or the Stone. And there’s a lot of confusion of that simply because of one verse. The studio audience already has it, so those of you in television go with us to Matthew chapter 16. We’re going to drop in at verse 13. These are verses that we’ve used many times, but we’re going to comment when we get down to verse 18.
“When Jesus came into the borders of Caesarea Philippi, (up there in Northern Israel) he asked his disciples (the Twelve), saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.” Which, of course, is the normal way of enlightening people. Peter isn’t the first nor the last. Now here it comes in verse 18. Jesus is speaking.
“And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; (And remember, the word is always ecclesia, so it was a called-out assembly. Not necessarily the Body of Christ Church, but it would be a Jewish called-out assembly.) and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
I’m not a Greek scholar, but I went into some of my Greek dictionaries and I didn’t find anything that I hadn’t heard before. And that is that there’s a play on words here. They’re pretty much the same—the Rock or Stone. One of the Hebrew words, or the Greek, is Cephas—from which we get Peter’s other name—which is the word for rock or stone. The only difference is that when He says, “Thou art Peter,” it’s in the feminine, if I’ve got it right. But when He speaks of the other, “upon this rock,” then it’s masculine. Then I went to a couple of the other commentaries and they both maintain that, yes, indeed, He was speaking to Peter as the “little stone,” but upon Himself as “the Rock, I will build my church.”
And then I was really shocked when I got into Augustine. You know I’ve been rather critical of Augustine, because after all he became the father of Roman Catholicism. Yet even Augustine maintained that the Rock on which Christ was speaking was Himself—not Peter, but Himself.
Of course, we are all aware that Roman Catholicism stresses the fact that that’s why Peter became the first pope, because of this statement right here. But the Roman Catholics aren’t alone. There are a lot of other Protestant groups that adhere to the same thing. That when Jesus said “upon this rock,” He was speaking of Peter. And I’m going to show, hopefully from Scripture, contrary to the tradition of Christendom, that the Rock in Scripture is always Jesus Christ. He is the Rock. He is the Stone! We’re going to chase them down and see if we can make sense.
Now, before we go back and look up our Old Testament reference to that, I want you to go ahead with me to Romans chapter 15. I think it’s either verse 3 or 4—verse 4. This is the basis for our study today. We’re going to go back to the Old Testament, and we’re going to look at these terms concerning Christ as the Rock or the Stone, because Paul writes and tells us that:
“For whatsoever thing were written aforetime (in other words, back in the Old Testament) were written for our learning,…”
And you know I’m always stressing there’s a big difference between learning and doctrine. Doctrine is that which influences our behavior. Doctrine is what brings us to salvation. But learning is just simply background. So all these Old Testament Scriptures are for background more than they are for our doctrine. In the Old Testament we get a good understanding of how God has worked from the very onset of the human experience. All right, reading on:
“…were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Now, we’re going to go back to Exodus. As you turn back to Exodus, I want you to be thinking of one or two instances in the Old Testament where that is so apropos.
The first one that always comes to my mind is Joseph. Now there was Joseph, the favored son, hated by the brethren. And because of their hatred, they sold him into slavery, and where did he end up? Down in Egypt! And another unfortunate situation was in the house of Potiphar when Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of trying to assault her, and he was consequently thrown into prison. And if I’ve got my timing right, the poor guy must have been in prison about 10 years. Did God ever give up on him? Did God forget about him? Why, no! So it tells us—no matter how tough things may get, no matter how deep the valley we’re going through—God is there. And in His own time He’s going to bring us out of it, even as He did Joseph.
Well, I think that’s what Paul refers to then. That we study and learn from these Old Testament Scriptures so that we, too, may have the patience to wait on God—knowing that in His own time He’s going to bring us through to the fruition of everything.
All right, now one of the first instances in Scripture where we have Christ as the Rock is here in Exodus chapter 17. Of course, Israel is out there on the desert. Not a very pleasant place to be in the Middle East. And how much of our everyday resources are on the desert? None. There’s nothing. You know, the best time I can picture the desert is, if any of you went with us, when we went down to Petra. From Amman all the way down to Petra is an all day drive in that bus, and it’s just nothing but flat gravel, nothing even for an animal to eat. There were a few camels out there. I don’t know whether they eat rocks or what! But that was the perfect picture of the desert. There’s nothing!
Well, that’s where these Israelites are. They’re out there on the desert. You know, it just happened that Iris was going through some of her stuff yesterday and she came up with a little internet article that somebody sent me several years ago. I’m sure you’ve all seen it—where someone in our American Army took the time one day to put together the logistics that were necessary for Israel out there on the desert. I’m sure most of you have read it and seen it. And they were looking at the same figure that I have used over the years—three million people. I remember the first time I taught this, I used Dallas-Fort Worth as an example. Because in the 1990 census, if I remember right, in Dallas-Fort Worth there were a little over three million people.
So I used the example: can you imagine Dallas and Fort Worth moving out in mass and then ending out there on the desert with nothing of natural provision. They were totally dependent on God. Totally! But they were human, so what did they do? They griped. And they complained. And sometimes it got worse than others. And Moses said, “God, these are not my people. I didn’t conceive them. You can have them.” And God said, “No, they’re not Mine. They’re yours.”
But nevertheless, get the picture? The poor people were out there on that flat desert living in their tents. I don’t image they even had the wherewithal for a pick-up basketball game or a softball game. What did the poor people do for diversion? And that’s why things got pretty difficult. But nevertheless, the Nation of Israel is out there completely dependent on their God.
Now what are we to learn from that? Well, that’s where we are. We are totally dependent. We can’t do anything on our own, because as soon as a believer thinks he can do it on his own, he’s in trouble. So here’s one of the lessons that we learn from this – that as Israel was totally dependent on their miracle-working God, so we have to be dependent day by day.
Now, when I say miracle-working—as I was going over all this the last few weeks—has there ever been a greater miracle than God moving a Nation of three to five million people out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, out onto the desert, and taking care of them for forty years? What a miracle!
But anyway, imagine how many millions of gallons of water it took every day just for their routine use? Cooking and bathing and what have you. And the car loads of wood that it would take for their fires! And we know they cooked the manna. They fried it. They boiled it and everything, so they had to have fires. This article, that I forgot to bring today, went through all the humongous amounts of material that those three million people needed—not just for a day or two, not just for a week of campout, but for forty years. And yet God provided.
Well, that brings us all the way up to Exodus 17. Again, I’m going to start at verse 1, because we’ve got plenty of time.
“And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, (See, this is all under the Lord’s direction day-by-day.) and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. 2. Wherefore the people did chide (or began to complain) with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt (test) the LORD?” Well, I don’t know what Moses expected them to do. You sure don’t get water on the desert.
“And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?” That’s the other thing I think a lot of time we forget. They didn’t just move out with humanity, but they had all their livestock. And it must have been tremendous numbers of it. Everything had to eat and drink. Now what I’m building on is the miraculousness of it all, and how God constantly supplied their need.
All right, now just to show you how they complained, I think it’s in Numbers 11. Turn there with me. Numbers 11 and jump down to verse 4. Now, this was the attitude of these Israelites, I imagine, during the whole 40 years out there on that sandy desert.
“And the mixed multitude that was among them (Now, that was probably non-Israelites—maybe a few of the Egyptians. We don’t know.) fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?” Well, what have they been eating? Manna. The provided food, but they were getting sick and tired of manna. They cooked it. They boiled it. They fried it. They baked it. And it was still manna. All right, so now they want flesh. Now look at verse 5.
Now all we think of these Israelites is that they had been in absolute slavery. And slavery, we know, is never a very pleasant experience. That meant that from the time the sun came up in the morning until it set at night they were under the slave masters. But on the other hand, it wasn’t all bad, because look at the next verse.
“We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leaks, and the onions, and the garlick:” Isn’t that amazing? And you know what? That’s the favorite diet of a Jew today.
My, our breakfasts over there when we go to Israel, that’s what it is. It is cucumbers and fish and you name it. It hasn’t changed. So, you see, we don’t want to blot out certain parts of these things and be overcome by this. Along with their slavery and the horrors of it, they still had the good things they were willing to eat. They had their fish and their vegetables, and they had plenty of water. They were up there in the richest area of Egypt.
Now you want to remember, Goshen was the most productive part, agriculturally, of Egypt. So we know that these are not just so many empty words. They had the wherewithal to produce a lot of food. Now, as they’re out there on the desert, I think we can appreciate the fact that they were reminiscing. My goodness, back in Egypt, even though we did work all day, at least we could sit down and have a meal when we got home at night. We were always with plenty of water to drink, and here we are with nothing to eat except this manna and nothing to drink. There’s no water. Okay, now let’s move on.
“And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. 5. And the LORD said unto Moses, go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod,…” Now remember, that’s been an important thing from day one when Moses went back to Egypt with that shepherd’s rod. All right, He said to be sure you take your rod.
“…take the rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, (Back there when he was in Egypt and he smote the Nile—and all the things that would happen when he would use that shepherd’s rod.) take in thine hand, and go. 6. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock (There’s your word.) in Horeb;…” Now remember, that’s just the other name for Mount Sinai.
“…and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted (or tested) the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?”
Now it doesn’t say here, but in another account we have what came out—a dribble or a river? A river! A river of water coming out there on the blank desert out of this rock, which was sufficient for these millions of Israelites plus all their livestock. And what does that tell us? God provided all their needs. Well, what’s the lesson for us? We’re going to see it more distinctly when we get back up into Matthew, when the woman at the well said, “Give me of this water.” Well, what was Jesus talking about? The water of Life! And this was a picture of it. This was simply a symbolic picture of what Christ would be to His own of any period of time. So out came this river of water with which they were all satisfied. Now the next verse is the next step after salvation, for us even today. Things never change. Verse 8:
“Then came Amalek,…” Amalek, you remember, was one of the sons or grandsons of Esau, and they were arch-enemies of the Jews. They were their constant torment. So these tribes of these Amalekites, when they saw this river of water out there in the desert, what do you suppose they did? Well, hey, they’re going to come and take their part. And as they did, of course, it caused a fight. So we have a war between these Israelites and the Amalekites.
But what’s the spiritual lesson? Well, it’s the same way in the spiritual. Just as soon as we feast on salvation, what’s the first thing that comes in? Opposition from the devil and the evil part of the world. They taunt and they torment. So here’s the lesson. But when you go on, of course, then we see that Israel prevailed.
But anyway, here is a perfect illustration. Now we’re going to go back to the New Testament for confirmation. Come back up to I Corinthians chapter 10, and see what Paul says concerning this Rock out there on the desert. This is where we learn – when you compare Scripture with Scripture. Otherwise you would never stop to think that just because Moses struck that rock that it was something special. But it was. And I’m going to let the Scripture tell you rather than myself.
I Corinthians 10:1a
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers (In other words, all of those Israelites that had come out of Egypt—three to five million of them.) were under the cloud,…” In other words, it was their shade for that desert heat during the day and it became a pillar of fire at night that protected them as well as gave them the light that they needed.
I Corinthians 10:1b-2
“…they were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; (the Red Sea experience) 2. And were all baptized (Not the water baptism that Christendom thinks of, but they were placed by an act of God–) unto Moses (Or under Moses, or into Moses; however you want to put it. They were all placed.) in the cloud and in the sea;” As they came through—they were under God’s protective care.
I Corinthians 10:3-4
“And did all eat the same spiritual food; (The manna. And then the experience that we just covered.) 4. And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: (And now here it is.) and that Rock was (Who?) Christ.”
Now, you see, that’s hard for our feeble little human minds to comprehend. That piece of rock out there on the desert, over there on the other side of the Red Sea—that was Christ? It’s what The Book says. And what did Moses do? He smote it. Well, what was the smiting a picture of? The Cross!
When Christ was smitten for mankind, what did He become? He became that river of life-giving water. All the pictures and symbolisms fit. Everything from Genesis to Revelation fits. Here we have it as clear as language can make it. When Moses struck that rock with his rod, he was smiting the Christ of eternity, and out came the water.
So here is another perfect example of how Christ is the all-sufficient Rock. He is the One that gives eternal life. He supplies all the needs of not only Israel, but the whole human race. It’s just a beautiful picture of symbolism, again, how that all these things are teaching us and preparing the Nation of Israel.
Now, the point I want to make before we go any further, is that Israel is the primary recipient of the work and miraculousness of the Rock. We’re going to come later this afternoon to when Paul speaks of the foundation of the Church. But it won’t be a rock; it’s just going to be a foundation. But for Israel, all these references to the Rock as being Jesus Christ were predominately between God and Israel.
Now maybe I can make one point on that. Turn ahead with me a little bit to I Peter chapter 2. I’m going to come to it a little later. But for now, just turn to I Peter chapter 2 and see how this is such an affinity between God and Israel—this role of the Rock and the Stone. I Peter chapter 2 and dropping all the way down to verse 8.
I Peter 2:8-9a
“And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them who stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. (But now verse 9, here’s where I really want to come in.) 9. But ye (These Jews to whom Peter is writing. And remember, Peter is writing to Jews. He’s writing to those who are scattered. All right, he says–) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy (or set apart) nation,…”
You see, none of that applies to the Church like most people like to think. This is Jewish language. They are the chosen Nation. They are the favored ones. They’re the peculiar people. They are the priestly nation.
I Peter 2:9b
“…that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:” Well, yes, in a degree that applies to us as believers, but this is all primarily God dealing with His chosen people. They were the ones who were the Holy Priesthood. Remember way back in Exodus, we used it over and over, “and you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests.” Well, you see, the Scripture never tells you and me that in the Body of Christ. But Christendom as a whole can’t separate all this and makes the mistake of telling us this all belongs to us.
LESSON ONE * PART II
Christ as the Rock of Scripture
We’re beginning the next twelve programs going into the next book, Book 78. We’re taking sort of a subject matter today. We’re looking at Christ as the Rock and the Stone of Scripture. For this half hour, we’re going to look at the stumbling aspect of the Stone. How Israel was prophesied to do it and they did it. And they still are stumbling over that Rock of offence. We’re going to start our Scripture in this half hour in Psalms 118 verse 22.
While you’re looking that up, and for those of you out in television, again, we just want to invite you to a Bible study. That’s all we hope it to be. I don’t feel like I’m an evangelist. Although if you’d read our mail and how many people are getting saved, you’d kind of think so. But, you know, only once or twice in all the thirty years that I’ve been teaching has somebody come up and said, “Les, you should have given an invitation.”
One of them was at one of our times in Jerusalem last fall. We had a little over 200 people on that tour. For one reason or another, I was kind of wound up that night, even though it was long day. I think I had a nap a little while before. And, boy, when we went to that, I was wound up. And several people said, “Lands, Les, you should have given an invitation.” But I’ve never considered myself an evangelist or preacher. I prefer to just be the teaching end of it, and let the Scripture speak for Itself. All right, now in Psalms 118 verse 22, we have that exact language.
“The stone which the builders refused is become the headstone of the corner.” Now you have two opposites there, don’t you? I’ve referred to it before on the program. I think it is more legend than anything, but yet Scripture certainly supports that something like that might have happened.
While they were building the Temple—whether it was Solomon’s or Herod the Second’s temple is irregardless—all the stones were cut exactly out at the quarry, wherever that was, so there was no hammering and chiseling at the building site. And, probably through a mistake of the quarry workers, they sent one of the key-stones that was waiting for the latter end of the building. They sent it too early. And the builders on the building sight couldn’t figure out where it was to go. So, naturally, as men would do, they rolled it off to the side. The weeds grew around it, and it became a stone of stumbling.
Well, I like that analogy, because that’s exactly what happened. You see, when Christ came the first time, Israel, like those builders, didn’t know what to do with Him. Think about that for a minute. They should have. They should have been able to search the Scriptures, but they didn’t. So they rejected the “stone of stumbling” by crucifying Him and literally screaming, “…we’ll not have this man ruling over us.”
But the last half of this verse is prophecy. And it’s still prophecy. But it’s coming. We’re getting closer and closer every day for the return of Christ, and then it will be in total fulfillment of all these prophecies. For He will indeed, yet, become the “Headstone of the Corner” of all these promises that have been given to the Nation of Israel.
Now, we’re not talking about a building, per se, of stone and mortar. We’re talking about a spiritual concept—how that when Christ will finally come and set up this glorious earthly kingdom and be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, then that building will become complete. And, of course, He is the Cornerstone, the Headstone, or anything else that you’d want to put on that which is the most important. But here again, verse 22:
“The stone which the builders refused…” Now just get the picture. The stone came in from the quarry. It came to the building sight. The builders didn’t know what to do with it, so they rolled it aside. It became a stone of stumbling. But the end result is that He’s still going to be everything that He claimed to be.
All right, now let’s jump ahead a little bit to Isaiah chapter 8 verse 13. Again we have the same concept. Now I’m going to keep repeating all afternoon that this is a concept between God and Israel. Paul is going to refer to the stone of stumbling, but he’s going to refer to it with regard to Israel. We’ll see that maybe in this half hour, otherwise in one of the later ones. But the Rock and the Stone concept is between God and Israel.
“Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14. And he shall be for a sanctuary, but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel,…” See how clear the language puts it? Now this is prophecy. This is looking forward to Israel’s future. Now remember, we’re having it in two events. In His first coming, He was the Rock of Offence—and the vast majority of Israel ended up hating Him and detesting Him. Even Saul of Tarsus put people death for following this imposter.
But this whole concept, it’s done a lot for me in the last few weeks as I’ve been mulling these things over. Last night Iris looked at me with a blank look. It was just after supper and I said, “You’re wondering what I’m thinking?” And she says, “Yeah.” I said, “Tomorrow afternoon.”
Well, these things just keep rolling and rolling, and the more you think about it, the clearer the picture becomes. That all through Israel’s history, God has these promises. But before the promises come, what had to come first? Chastisement. Discipline. And the same way here. First, he’s going to be the Stone of Stumbling at His first coming. Can anything good come out of Nazareth? That was their attitude. And they finally ended up crucifying Him. “We’ll not have this man to rule over us.”
But see, here we’ve now come 2,000 years. I said in the last taping, remember, that God is timeless. How long in God’s thinking is 2,000 years? Nothing! So almost like a snap of the finger He’s ready to come back and fulfill the other half of these. Instead of being the Rock of Offence and Stone of Stumbling, He’s going to be the Headstone of the Corner. He’s going to be the King of the glorious Kingdom.
“And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel,…”
Now remember, the Old Testament is always dealing with the Northern Kingdom of the Ten Tribes and the Southern Kingdom of Judah and Benjamin. That’s why we so often see it split like it is here. But He’s going to be the same for all of them. Don’t think for a minute those Ten Tribes were ever lost. They are just as complete a part of Israel today as they were way back at the beginning. You know that was a false, false concept that was promoted primarily by Ted Armstrong. And, of course, others have followed along. They still try to promote the fact that the Ten Northern Tribes were lost.
No, they weren’t. They were never lost. Some of them went into captivity. But whenever somebody calls on it, I just tell them, “Well, now listen. You just get out your Bible, and you start reading Israel’s history back there in Chronicles and Kings and keep track of the civil wars. Keep track of the civil wars between Judah in the south and the Ten tribes or Israel in the north.” And they did. They had civil war. Well, in the very first civil war, the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah could only put out a few hundred thousand. But the Ten tribes of the North could put out a million three-hundred thousand. Well, that was to be expected. They had five times as many more people, and it showed in their numbers of armed forces.
All right, then about five or six years after the first one, they had another one. And already the numbers had almost evened out. Judah was now able to put almost as many troops in the field as Israel. Then thirty years later, the Scripture says that Israel’s army was like a bunch of kid goats. They were worthless. There was nothing. And Judah had millions.
Well, now common sense ought to tell people—what started happening just as soon as the Nation divided? The people from the North start migrating down South. Why? The Temple was down there. And that was the heart of Israel’s life. So over the years they migrated and they migrated and they migrated. So that by the time Sennacherib came in and took Syria captive, there weren’t that many Jews left up there. They were all down in Judah.
All right, if you follow it a little further, and I didn’t intend to do this. I’m rambling. Now, you follow it a little further. Who comes and takes Judah captive? Well, Nebuchadnezzar. He takes them all out to Babylon, which is present-day Baghdad. And what does the Scripture say? Two Tribes? No. “The whole house of Israel” was taken captive. Then when they came back, even though it was only a small percentage of the whole, forty-four thousand or whatever it was, but what were they? Representatives of all the Tribes, all Israel came back.
And just to show how it held together up through history—when Peter is preaching on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:36, and they’re asking what shall we do, what does Peter say? “Therefore let the whole house of Israel know assuredly.” Well, who’s the whole House of Israel? Judah and Benjamin? Why, heavens, no, all Twelve Tribes. So, if you’ve ever been dangled with that idea that some of the Jews were lost or the Tribes lost. You forget it.
And I’m even forgetting the most important one of all. Revelation chapter 7 when they sealed twelve thousand from each tribe, how many did they end up with? Twenty-four thousand? No. How many, Luther? A hundred and forty four, which, when I was in fourth grade was 12 X 12. I think it still is. Right? So, all Twelve Tribes are evenly represented at the beginning of the Tribulation. What’s the matter with these people? So, if you ever get dangled with that in front of you, that some of the Jewish Tribes are lost, you just forget it. Not a one was lost. All right, let’s get back to “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence.”
All right, now I think I can jump all the way up to the New Testament. Let’s go up to Acts chapter 4. Now remember, it’s all still Jewish. Oh, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts chapter 4. Now again, verse 11 is the verse we want to look at, but let’s feed into it. Let’s get the flow. Let’s go to verse 8. Peter is addressing the Sanhedrin, not the religious leaders, but the political leaders.
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9. If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;” That’s back there in chapter 3, when they healed the lame man, you remember, and he was leaping for joy?
“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him (The resurrected, ascended Lord, His power is still evident.) doth this man stand here before you whole.” Healed completely.
“This (This Jesus of Nazareth whom you rejected. Who was crucified, was buried, and rose from the dead. He ascended back to the Father’s right hand and is waiting to yet fulfill the other half of the promise that’s He’s going to be the Headstone of the Corner.) is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.” Now, are you getting the picture? It’s that same concept. That when the Headstone of the corner came in ahead of time and the builders couldn’t figure out where it put it, they rolled it off into a vacant lot. Now, I’m just using that as an illustration.
But, even though it became a stone—in fact I was thinking of it driving up. I know it happened to me one time when Iris and I were still able to go to Colorado every summer. We’d go trout fishing up in the mountains, just the two of us. And one night I went out after dark and got off the path a little bit, and I stumbled on a stone about that big. Hit me right in the shins. You know what that feels like – to get kicked in the shins by a stone of stumbling.
Well, you see, that’s what happened to Israel when Christ came the first time. He just literally kicked them in the shins, and they couldn’t get over it. All right, now Peter says the same thing.
“This is the stone (Speaking of the Christ that healed the lame man. Not of Christ in His earthly ministry, now. He’s already ascended back to Glory. But the ascended Lord from Glory was still the power that healed the lame man. And so Peter says,) which was set at naught of you builders,…”
See what he’s driving at? They were the leaders of Israel. The Sanhedrin along with the priests, and they rejected Him out-of-hand. But Peter also gives rise to that which is still future. And that is that He’s still going to be the Headstone of the Corner. Only in symbolic language now, we’re talking of when He sets up this glorious Kingdom over which He will rule and reign as the God of Creation.
But now come back to verse 12. I’m mindful of this, because you know of the poll that was taken about a month ago, how that the vast percentage of Americans from all various denominational backgrounds are now claiming that there’s not just one way to heaven. You can pick and choose. You’re seeing it. I read an article again last night referring to that same poll, where people no longer have the concept that there is only one way of salvation.
Now, the reason I thought of that is this next verse. This is the verse that we have to rest on. This is the verse that 80% of American church people are rejecting out-of-hand. It’s scary. How long am I going to be able to teach the way I teach? I sometimes think it won’t be long.
In fact, I think if my ministry is getting the world, or getting America, ready for anything, it’ll be like China did when the Communists took over in the 40’s. What happened to the church? It went underground. And it survived all those horrible years with house churches. I think we’re getting ready for the same thing if the Lord tarries, because Christendom today does not like the truth. It’s evident. All right, Peter goes on in verse 12. This is where we stand.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: (Can’t be. So whenever you have groups holding hands who are Hindus and Buddhists and Muslims and Catholics and Lutherans and Baptists and Pentecostals, hey, it won’t fly, because they don’t agree on this. They will never agree that there is only one name given among men whereby we must be saved.) for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
And that’s where we get separated. That’s where we get pushed off to the side. All right, so read it again. This Headstone of the corner, this Stone rejected of the builders, is the One in whom there is salvation alone.
“…for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” And, beloved, don’t ever forget that. Don’t ever compromise that. There is not a second or an alternative way to Glory.
All right, now I think I’ve got one more—Romans chapter 9 starting at verse 30. But now remember, just because Paul is writing it does not take away the Jewish concept of the stone and the rock, because chapter 9 is part of the three chapters where Paul deals with the Nation of Israel. Again, the language is evident.
“What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, (to whom he’s ministering) who followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31. But Israel, who followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32. Wherefore? (Or why? What was their problem?) Because they sought it not by faith,…”
It was a works religion. And it’s no different today. My goodness, most of Christendom is hung up on what we do. And it’s not what we do. It’s what God has done! But they can’t swallow that. All right, so that was Israel’s problem from day one.
“Wherefore? (Why?) Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. (That was Israel’s standard.) For they stumbled at this stumbling stone; (What stumbling stone?) 33. As it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion (That’s Jerusalem.) a stumbling stone and rock of offence:…” That’s what He was to most of Israel.
But there was that small remnant that believed who He was, that followed Him as their Messiah. That was the group that Saul of Tarsus tried to obliterate with his persecution. What was the end result for them?
“…and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” In other words, disappointed is another word that I like there better. Why? Because they put their faith in that Rock of Offence—who to them was not a stumbling stone. He was the cornerstone. See that? And it is all through God’s dealing with Israel.
All right, let’s go to one more, yet. I Corinthians chapter 1 and, again, it’s the same thing. Paul is speaking, but he’s referring to Israel and their relationship with this Stone of Stumbling. I Corinthians chapter 1, oh, my goodness, these are too good to pass up. We’re going to start at verse 18.
I Corinthians 1:18-19
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish (to the lost world) foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is (What?) the power of God. (And that’s where the world misses it.) 19. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
Now those of you who were with us in the last several tapings, when’s all that going to happen? During the Tribulation when the wrath of God will finally be poured out. Grace will be brought to an end, and unbelieving humanity is going to come under the wrath of God. It’s going to be unbelievable. Unbelievable!
I’ve been reading a book which is really interesting. It is showing the comparison of the eschatology of Islam, or the Mohammedan religion, compared to the eschatology of our Bible. And, you know, it’s shocking. It is. I don’t want to be – what’s the word I’m looking for? I don’t want to be sensational, but it was shocking. Because you all know that this guy down in Tehran is talking about the coming of the Muslim Mahdi (the M. A. H. D. I.). The Muslim Mahdi is what we would call the biblical anti-Christ.
But here is the shocking thing. He quotes, quotes, quotes how that the Muslim Mahdi is identical with the biblical anti-Christ. See how close we’re getting? So, if the anti-Christ is Muslim, then it all fits in place. I just couldn’t believe the constant comparisons at how identical they are. Except that from the Muslim point of view, it’s their Mahdi and it’s our bible’s anti-Christ. They’re going to do the same thing. Only instead of the anti-Christ as we see it from the Bible who is going to have the false prophet funnel people to a worship for the anti-Christ.
The Muslim Mahdi is also going to also be helped by their concept of the biblical Jesus, only He’s not going to be the biblical Jesus. He’s going to be a corrupt. But nevertheless, he’s going to work hand-in-glove with their Mahdi like our false prophet of Revelation will work with the anti-Christ. Oh, it’s just unbelievable! And all I could think of as I read the book is how close are we really getting? We’re just getting so close; we can almost hold our breath! Now, back to I Corinthians chapter 1.
I Corinthians 1:19-21a
“For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21. For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom…” With all of our technology, with all of our computer smarts—and I still have to sit and ask, how did that guy figure it out? I mean the computer. How does he figure it out? I mean, it’s just beyond this simple mind of mine. But see, this is what the Scripture is talking about. That kind of wisdom is going to be brought to nothing. Well, now I’ve got to hurry. I’m running out of time.
I Corinthians 1:21-23a
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that (What?) believe.” (Now here we’re coming.) 22. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greek’s seek after wisdom: 23. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a (What?) stumbling block,…” See that? The Jews consider this Gospel of Grace a stumbling block, because it’s that Stone of Stumbling that’s at the heart of it all.
I Corinthians 1:23b
“…unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks (It’s just so much–) foolishness;” But I made my point. All the way through Israel’s experience, who’s the Stone of Stumbling? Jesus of Nazareth.
LESSON ONE * PART III
Christ as the Rock of Scripture
Okay, it’s good to have everybody back from their break. We’re glad you’re back. And for those of you joining us on television, you don’t know what you’re missing by not being able to come in on a Wednesday afternoon. Because we just have a good time, don’t we? It’s a good afternoon, well spent.
But again, we want to thank those of you out there for all your support and your kind letters. My, how we love the letters and your financial support and your prayers. We can’t do it without it. Now that’s all there is to it.
All right, we’re going to continue our study, for the third time now, on the various descriptions of the Rock or the Stone of Scripture, which is always Jesus Christ. Not Peter. It’s Jesus. We have to keep that straight. Because there is only one verse that we looked at in the first half hour, where there is a possibility of confusion that it could be Peter. But it isn’t. Again, I always tell people on a lot of these things—even though Scripture may not affirmatively say something, what does the big picture tell us?
That’s what we have to learn. What’s the big picture in Scripture? The same way with this Rock and Stone deal when you look at the big picture. How often all through Scripture under various circumstances Jesus Christ is the Rock and the Stone.
We’re going to look at the Stone of Judgment this half hour. We’re going to start back in Daniel chapter 2 with Christ as the Stone of Judgment. At the end of days it’ll become a reality. When the final seven years have run their course, and it’s time for His Second Coming, then He will fulfill this symbolic prophecy.
All right, Daniel chapter 2 and, again, just for a little background, you want to remember that Daniel was one of the young Israelites taken captive after Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion. The Temple was destroyed, and they were taken captive down into Babylon, present day Iraq in the area of Baghdad. That is why all this is in the news. We’re coming full circle as we’re going to see in a little bit.
Daniel was a young Jewish lad and was part of the slave system in the palace of the king. Nebuchadnezzar, of course, as you all remember, had a dream. He had no idea what it meant, but it disturbed him. So that meant it must be serious business. He tried to recover the dream, and, of course, none of his wizards and magicians could do it. But somebody thought about little Daniel down there. So they bring Daniel up, and Daniel not only recovers the dream but interprets it. It becomes, then, the benchmark of prophecy as we understand end-time events.
So we’ll drop down to chapter 2 verse 31 as he recovers the dream. We’re going to take the time to read it. Because even though most of you have heard it a dozen times, we know there are a lot people out there in TV who have probably never heard it. Because these things aren’t covered in church in Sunday school, are they? No. I’ve never heard of it. So we’re going to take advantage of our audience out there. Daniel is speaking.
“Thou, O king, sawest, (in his dream now) and behold a great image. (Or likeness or we would say today a statue.) This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. (Or frightening—for whatever reason) 32. This image’s (Or this statue. Now picture in your mind the statue of a man—probably a military type.) head was of fine gold, his breast and arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass.”
Now we’re coming down through the torso. Just picture this in your mind. If I were an artist, I’d love to put it on the board. But I’m not an artist. But you start with the head, and you come down through the torso all the way down to the feet and the toes.
“His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. (And Daniel says to Nebuchadnezzar,) 34. Thou sawest (Or you watched in this dream) until that a stone (Here it comes now.) was cut out without hands,…” Now, whenever the Bible speaks of something as being done without hands, what does it indicate?
Well, it’s a work of God. Whatever it is. Whether it speaks of the Temple up in Heaven that was not built with human hands, or something else. It’s something that was constructed by God Himself. All right, the same way here. Nebuchadnezzar sees a stone.
“…which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 35. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together,…” In other words, it starts at the feet. So, you’ve got to put all of this in your mind’s picture now. This stone cut out without hands strikes this statue on its feet, rolls it over, and like a steam roller crushes it to pieces.
“…and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, so that no place was found for them: and the stone (Here we come back now to the crushing stone.) that smote the image became a great mountain, (And a mountain in Old Testament language is a Kingdom. So here this stone now becomes the head of a great kingdom. Doesn’t just fill the Middle East, but what?) and filled the whole earth.” It’s going to be an earth-wide kingdom.
“This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. 37. Thou O king, art a king of kings:…” Now, again, you have to know your ancient history. Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar was the first great military consort. There had been tribal wars, sure, for hundreds and hundreds of years. But Nebuchadnezzar ruling there in Babylon became the first visible Gentile Empire. And, of course, they had conquered many of the countries around them. But they were the first. He had absolute dictatorial rule. He didn’t have a Congress. He didn’t have a Cabinet. He had nothing. He was absolute in his own power. All right, so consequently he’s called:
“…art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 38. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, (In other words, he had absolute control like no one had ever had before.) and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.”
All right, then you come down. It’s just a quick review of the unfolding of Gentile history. That’s why history and Bible study go so well together. You’ve got to get a little glimpse of history, or this is “all Greek” to you. But as soon as Babylon became a great, glorious nation—an empire with one of the most beautiful cities of the then-known world with all of its hanging gardens—then naturally what boils up amongst the enemy? Envy. Jealousy. They’re going to want it.
That’s why I am a proponent of defense. If America was to lay down our defense with all of our natural resources, with our system of living; the world would come in and take us in a minute. Because that’s the way it has always been, beloved. And these pacifists can go fly a kite. They’re as wrong as wrong can be. You have to defend what you’ve got, or you will lose it.
All right, it happened to Babylon. The greatest empire at that time, but bubbling underneath was this envy from the other areas. Up comes another empire, the Medes and Persians, right next door.
“And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another (We skipped over the second one, which was the Medes and the Persians. We jump right over to another one, which was down to the brass part of the image, or the statue, the Greek Empire.) third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.”
Now, let’s just reconstruct. After Babylon became the great beautiful city and empire, then next door, which is present day Iran and those Arab nations—they rose up, defeated the Babylonians, and established their kingdom—the Medes and the Persians, Artaxerxes and Cyrus and some of those guys.
But as time went by, according to the dream, a third empire would come up and overrun the Medes and the Persians. And that was Alexander the Great. You’ve all studied Alexander back in grade school. Well, he was the third of these prophesied Gentile empires. Alexander conquered everything clear to the Ganges River of India and all the way back west as far as Turkey and Greece. He didn’t get to Rome, but he got as far as Greece.
Then what? Well, his empire held for a couple to three hundred years, and then it began to weaken. Up came the Romans. That is the fourth empire. All right, now that’s the next one in verse 40, the fourth empire.
“And the fourth kingdom (Speaking of this statue in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar’s.) shall be strong as iron: (Now I think you all are aware of the power of the Roman military.) forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.” And then verse 41:
“And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, (In other words, it was fragile. It did not have the strength of pure iron itself. But it was an admixture.) the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.”
Now if you know anything about metals, you know that iron mixed with clay is like trying to mix cement with plain ordinary dirt. It just won’t work, will it? If you’re going to mix concrete, you have to have the right kind of sand or you won’t have concrete that’s worth anything. Well, it’s the same way with metals. If you’re going to mix iron and clay, it’s absolutely impossible to have any strength. It’ll crumble. All right, so this is a picture of that particular empire. Now verse 42:
“And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.” All right, now Bible scholars and the people who teach eschatology are convinced that the fourth empire was the ancient Roman Empire. But this next empire is what we see coming on the scene today, and I still hold to Western Europe.
A lot of the prophecy people are now moving to the Middle East because of Islam. But I refuse to do that. I still maintain that Western Europe is going to be this final empire—the mixture of iron and clay—because even the original ten nations that started right after World War II have all been so nationalistic that they cannot work together. They have various ethnic backgrounds. They all have different languages. They finally got a common currency, but they are still an admixture of people. So consequently, they will not have that singleness of purpose like the Nazis did in Germany and so forth. And that’s what I feel will be the end-time empire.
A lot of people are getting the idea that the anti-Christ has to be a Muslim because of the increase in all they’re doing. Well, it could well be. Because what is Europe fast becoming? Muslim! It’s so fast, it’s scary. England especially. So, if I’m going to hold to these Ten Nations of the Common Market as they first came about, and I still do. Even though there are 15 or 20 others, those original ten still have the core of power in that European Community. All right, if indeed the anti-Christ comes out of that and he’s a Muslim, no problem, because Europe is mostly Muslim already. So don’t fall for the idea that it can’t be the Ten Nations of Europe anymore because it’s going to be a Muslim anti-Christ. No problem.
Now I’ll tell you, while I’m on that, because I’m getting so many letters. They’re beginning to ask me now, “Well, Les, is something else going to come up besides the European Community?” No. I do not think so. I didn’t intend to do this, so this is free for nothing. Come over to Daniel chapter 9. I want to set people straight. Don’t fall for all of these little gimmicks. The final empire is still going to be Western Europe, because it’s out of Western Europe that the anti-Christ will come, albeit, he may be a Muslim. And we understand that that’s no problem. But come down to Daniel chapter 9. Now this may be throwing me off schedule, but I can’t help it.
Daniel chapter 9, here we have the final 490 years of prophecy concerning the Nation of Israel. Most of you know all about this. Come all the way down to verse 26. We’re getting ready now to be introduced to the anti-Christ for the first time, if I’m not mistaken, in the Old Testament.
“And after threescore and two weeks, and Messiah is cut off, (In other words, after 483 years of the 490 years of prophecy, which still leaves7 years.) but not for himself:…” He didn’t die for anything He had done. Now here it comes, and we take this slowly.
“…and the people of the prince that shall come (Now who’s the prince that’s coming? The anti-Christ. All right, the anti-Christ is going to come out of this people. And what is that empire going to do to Jerusalem? Destroy it!) shall destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary; (the Temple) and the end thereof…” Which happened in A.D. 70.
All right, so what that verse tells us is that the coming anti-Christ will come out of the same empire that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70. Well, anybody knows what empire did that? Rome. No doubt about it. All right, even though Rome as an Empire went into the dustbin of history, as I usually put it. Yet since World War II what are we seeing? It’s coming back up. Only it’s not coming back up as a Roman Empire headquartered in Rome under a Caesar. Instead, it’s coming up more or less as a democracy of Ten Nations. And that’s where the ten toes come in.
All right, now they’re already up to what? Twenty-eight or thirty nations? But you know what? Those original Ten are still at the core of everything with the European Community. I read one time not too long ago that they have veto power. So they’re still in total control. All the others are just satellite nations. All right, so here we have it. We have to have a revived Roman Empire coming out of Western Europe. And out of that empire will come the anti-Christ. He, in turn, of course, will become a world ruler. All right, so much for that.
Come back with me to Daniel chapter 2. So what Daniel is really prophesying here is the unfolding of the Gentile Empires beginning with Nebuchadnezzar in 606 B.C. So between 600 B.C. and Christ’s first advent, all four empires came and went. Well, Rome hasn’t gone yet, but they will. The Babylonians came and went. The Medes and Persians came and went. The Greeks came and went. And Rome was holding forth during Christ’s first advent, and then they disappeared.
All right, but now here we are 2,000 years later. And if you know anything about everyday news, what four empires are again in there? Iran. That was what? That was Persia. That was the second empire. Baghdad—our boys are over there fighting every day. What is it? That first empire. And then what was the third empire? Greece—and Syria was the key player so far as Israel was concerned. Syria is in the news every day. And then our Common Market or the European Union is the fourth, and it’s in the news every day. So here we are 2,000 years later, and we’ve come full circle. All these empires are now evident in the business and the production of the world. They’ve all got their fingers in the pie.
Okay, now let’s read on in chapter 2. Let’s see, I got down to about verse 41, I think.
“And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it the strength of iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.” All right, now verse 42:
“And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men:…” In other words, those nations are coming together and making a loose-knit democratic government. Then come down to verse 44.
“And in the days of these kings (In other words, when all these Gentile Empires are back in the news every day, as we see them as I stand here.) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”
“For as much as thou sawest that the stone…” Here we go again, the complete repetition of what the first part of the chapter talked about – that this coming Stone will hit that empire that is ruling at the time, which will be the Revived Roman Empire headed up over in Western Europe under an anti-Christ that will come out of it someplace. Then all these others—Iran, Assyria, Iraq—they’re all going to be smashed to smithereens like the dust of the threshing floor.
“Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, (The Common Market as we now know it, which will be ruling during the Tribulation under the anti-Christ.) the clay, the silver, and the gold;…” And it will be completely annihilated, so that now you can come over to chapter 7 verses 13 and 14. As a result of that crushing stone coming down on these end-time governments and economics or economies, whatever you want to call it, the world’s system under the anti-Christ is at its final end. This is the crushing of the stone.
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. (God the Son comes before God the Father. And the Father now in turn–) 14. And there was given him 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.”
All right, now in the few minutes we have left, let’s jump all the way up to Revelation chapter 19. Now we see the same stone, but we have different language. Revelation 19—but it’s the same crushing stone of Daniel. And my, we can get excited. Because I think we can just about see it coming over the horizon. Revelation 19 verse 11 and this is just another way of putting the “stone cut out without hands.”
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” Oh, it’s going to be totally fair.
You know, let me stop a minute. The unbelieving world—they hear this and they think—what kind of a God is this anyway? A God that’s going to kill millions and millions of people, that’s not a God of love. Well, of course not. He’s been a God of love for 6,000 years. He has never brought in that kind of judgment until here.
Now even the flood—you know, I’ve said this before. The flood was a judgment, absolutely, because of their ungodliness. But I read again the other night in a scientific journal where their description of the flood was almost identical with what I taught in Genesis 6. Twenty years ago, wasn’t it? It was a long time ago.
You remember how I made the point that it wasn’t the forty days of rain that drowned the people, for goodness sakes. But what happened? Within the first 24 hours the fountains of the deep opened up. It was instantaneous destruction. Instant! They never knew what hit them. Well, this scientist was explaining it. How the tectonic plates were moving underneath and all this. You know, I just get goose bumps. Well, that’s what I’ve always said. It wasn’t the 40 days of rain. It was that breaking up of the fountains of the deep.
All right, now here we have the judgment of God, because His Grace has run its course. Nobody has to go to that horrible place we call the Lake of Fire. Nobody. Everyone’s sin is already paid for. And all they have to do is believe it. But they will not. I mentioned in my seminar in Charlotte the other day, and I made it a point. Don’t get discouraged when we realize that people who think like we do are in a small minority. It’s always been that way. God has never had the majority.
Eight people in the flood. Isaiah said, “a very small remnant.” And the other one – Elijah – he thought he was the only one. And so it’s always been. God has never had the “many.” But anyway, here we come to that Smiting Stone. Who is going to now come, not as the “stone rejected of the builders,” but He’s going to come as the Stone of Judgment.
And the Second Coming, of course, says it all. I haven’t got time enough to read it. But you can read Revelation 19 when you get home. The Second Coming of Christ is when He’s going to come and become absolute Sovereign King of Kings and Lord of Lords, not just over Israel, but over the whole world.
LESSON ONE * PART IV
Christ as the Rock of Scripture
It’s good to see you all back here again in program number 4 this afternoon. Then that will be the first four programs of Book 78. For those of you joining us on television, in case you’ve never caught us before. I know a lot of people that write and say, “Well, I saw just a little flick of you and I thought who could get interested in something like that?” And they go on. But sooner or later they listen long enough to get hooked and they become avid listeners. So, if you’re one of those that just happened to catch it, and you wonder what it is, we’re just a simple Bible study. But the Lord has permitted us to make it interesting enough to build a pretty good-sized audience. So bear with us, because we do think that the Word of God is exciting; and it’s definitely the spiritual food, the manna, that mankind needs.
All right, we’re on a whole new concept this afternoon of the Rock and the Stone of Scripture, which is always a picture of Jesus Christ. In this fourth program, we’re going to look at Christ as the foundation stone. It’s a well-known passage of Scripture that we’ll start with—Matthew chapter 7 and we’re going to look at verses 24 and 25. Then we’ll go from there. This is Jesus speaking during His earthly ministry.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock: (Here comes the basic part of a foundation.) 25. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Or something stable.)
“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, (Or they reject it in unbelief.) shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand: 27. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
Now, of course, that is where most of Israel fell short. I trust you all realize by now that even all the way up through Israel’s history as the chosen people, the favored nation, yet the vast majority of them never entered into a saving belief. In fact, I have to do this all the time. I mentioned in the last program that when I was in Charlotte I hit people with it all day long—listen, don’t get discouraged if we feel that we are such a small minority. It has always been this way. The vast majority of the human race does not want to believe what God says.
Go back with me to Isaiah chapter 1. Keep your hand in Matthew, we’ll be coming right back. But Isaiah chapter 1 and verse 9 just says it all. And this wasn’t a unique period of Israel’s history. It was very commonplace. All through Israel’s history that was the lament—why, why can’t you believe? You remember at Kadesh-Barnea when God said to go in and take it; it’s yours. Did they? No. Why? Unbelief. It has always plagued them, but not just Israel. We don’t point the finger at just the Jew. It’s the whole human race. But look what Isaiah said.
“Except (or unless) the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant,…” Now you can put whatever percentage you want on a small remnant, but it can’t be over 5%. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a very small remnant. So out of the millions of Israel, there were just a few percentages that were true believers. If God had not kept those, then Israel would have been like Sodom. They’d have been like unto Gomorrah. God would have had to destroy them. But because of that little remnant, you see, He kept dealing with the Nation of Israel.
All right, now flip back up to Matthew. Since you’re in chapter 7—I didn’t intend to do this either, but here they are—the words that say the same thing in chapter 7. Go back to verses 13 and 14. You know these verses. And it means exactly what it says—verse 13. Jesus is speaking.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to (What?) destruction,…” Not salvation, but just the opposite. That’s where most of even the Jews were going. Oh, they were religious. They wouldn’t miss temple worship for anything. They wouldn’t miss a feast day. But saving faith? No, they didn’t have it.
“…and many there be which go in thereat: (To destruction. Now the next verse is the flip side of the coin.) 14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, (That is eternal life.) and (How many?) few there be that find it.” And it’s never been any different.
And I always use the point—come back with me to Acts chapter 1 and verse 15. This is almost heartbreaking. After three years of signs and wonders and miracles by the Son of God Himself, He’s now ascended back to Glory after His rejection. And Peter and the Eleven are calling the believers together to wait for Pentecost. How many believing Jews do we have? Why, you’d think they would have had to hire a stadium, wouldn’t you? But did they? How many? One hundred and twenty. Let’s read it.
“And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, (That is these followers of Jesus, not just the Twelve. All of those who had become believers that Jesus was the Christ, remember.) and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)” Horror of horrors, that’s all? Yes, that’s all. Now, he may have had more up in Galilee, but in the area of Jerusalem, that’s all there were. And it’s never been any different.
My goodness, at the time of the flood, and I maintain there were 4 to 5 billion people on earth. Why couldn’t there have been? They lived for a thousand years. They probably all had two or three hundred kids. So don’t think I’m stretching it when I say 4 to 5 billion people in that 1,600 years of time. How many were spared? Eight. That’s all. What happened to the rest? They were lost. And so it’s always been. But we have to still get out and proclaim salvation for the few.
Even the Apostle Paul, when he made his comment that God had called him out to save—“the multitudes?” No. How many? “Some.” How many are some? Not very many. So always be aware of that. Don’t get discouraged because you don’t get the multitudes. I don’t want the multitude. If I filled a football stadium, I’d run scared, because that’s not where it’s at. All we get are the few, the small percentage.
All right, so back to our study of the Rock here in Matthew. Jesus uses the analogy that the man who built his house on a rock foundation was able to withstand the storms of life. And that’s what it really amounts to. But those that are built on the things of the flesh and tough times come, what happens? They fall apart. They go into depression. They can’t handle it. The admonition again is just like it was back in Exodus where we started this afternoon. That when the Rock was smitten, out flowed that water of life for the whole nation and all their livestock, and how it was supplying all their needs to the place where even the enemies wanted to come in and take it over.
All right, so that’s the concept of Scripture. Let’s look at one more while we’re in Matthew. Come over with me to Matthew chapter 21 and drop down to verse 42. Jesus is still speaking. And remember, He never addressed anybody but Jews, with two exceptions—the Roman Centurion and the Canaanite Woman. Otherwise, this is always a conversation between Jesus and the Jews. And the Jews are usually the religious leaders. I think that’s what we have here. He is addressing the Pharisees and Sadducees.
“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, (Just like we’ve been reading all afternoon.) the same is become the head of the corner: (In other words, their rejection didn’t end God’s program for Israel, not by any stretch.) this is the Lord’s doing, and it’s marvellous in our eyes? 43. Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”
Now, I think that’s a reference that after they have rejected Him, God is going to turn to the Gentiles—not through Israel, but through one Jew. Not through the Nation, but through the Apostle Paul. We’re going to look at that before we leave, hopefully.
“And whosoever shall fall on this stone (speaking of Himself, the Stone of Offence, the Stone of Stumbling) shall be broken: (That is spiritually because of their unbelief.) but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” In other words, there’s the other aspect of the Stone, the judgment. It’ll grind them to powder in judgment because of their unbelief. Now I cap this with a smile when I read verse 45.
“And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived (or understood) that he spoke of (Who?) them.” They knew who He was addressing. Did they do anything about it? No. And, you know, it’s so sad. It’s even the same way today.
Some of the toughest nuts to crack are those that are standing behind the pulpits and are in the seminaries and so forth. But we are getting phone calls. I just shared a couple with some people. My, it’s thrilling. But the sad part is, it’s after they retire. After they’ve retired, then they’ll say, “Les, will God ever forgive me for misleading people for 40 years?” Well, isn’t it great that God is a forgiving God? But see, those are the kind of phone calls I get. They see it when they’ve got time to sit down and contemplate it and study it—and from various denominations.
But here it is, the fact of Scripture. If they do not want to recognize Christ for who He is, then He becomes a Stone of Judgment, or however you want to put it. All right, now let’s move on, all the way up to I Peter chapter 2 and verse 1. I was there for a little bit, I think, in the first program. But now we’re going to come back to I Peter and spend a little time here. Then hopefully have time to get back to Paul’s reference to our foundation, which is not a Rock concept, but it’s just a foundation.
Now before you go any further, come back with me to I Peter chapter 1 verse 1. Because what’s my first rule of thumb? Who’s writing? Peter. Who’s he writing to? Jews. And what are the circumstances? They’re believers. They’re waiting for their Messiah to return. But before He can return, what are they going to have to go through? The Tribulation. So, these little epistles back here are really preparatory letters to the believing Jews if and when the Tribulation comes.
Now, most of Christendom misses that. I read another one the other night. The guy was good. And it was enjoyable reading. But you know, as I got to the end of the book, it dawned on me. He had never once used one verse from Paul’s epistles. Not one. He never mentioned the Body of Christ. He never mentioned the Rapture. He was writing everything as if everybody from John the Baptist until the Second Coming were Christians. And consequently, they’re all going to come under the beheading of the Muslim world. And, you know, I’m kind of slow on the draw myself. Now why didn’t I see this earlier? But you know, you get to the end of the book and then it hits you. They’ve totally missed it. But I Peter, chapter 1 verse 1:
I Peter 1:1-2a
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, (I’m going to put in the word “writing” without violating Scripture, because that’s what he’s doing. He’s…) writing to the strangers throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (And they were.) 2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God…” So, who’s he writing to? Believing Jews who had been scattered out of Jerusalem because of Saul of Tarsus’ persecution. Now to these believing Jews, then, chapter 2 becomes so appropriate. We can gain from it, but this isn’t doctrine for us. This is for Israel. This is Jewish.
I Peter 2:1-2
“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” Now that’s appropriate for us, absolutely it is.
I Peter 2:3-5a
“If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, (Now what’s ringing the bell? Jewish. We’ve been seeing it all afternoon. The Stone and the Rock concept are between Israel and God, and here it is again.) disallowed indeed of men, (See, the Stone was rejected of the builders.) but chosen of God, and precious, 5. Ye also, (you Jewish believers) as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy (What?) priesthood,…”
I’m going to take the time. I’ll probably regret it, but go all the way back, keep your hand here. Go all the way back to Exodus chapter 19. You know, I don’t intend to do these things. That’s why I get way off schedule. But Exodus 19 verse 5, Israel is just out of Egypt and has just crossed the Red Sea, and they’re gathered around Mount Sinai. God has called Moses up into the mountain. And up there in the mountaintop, He says to Moses:
“Now therefore, (Now remember, Moses is representing Israel, the Nation.) if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: (See, that’s not church language. This is God and Israel.) for all the earth is mine:” God’s Sovereign. If He wanted to call Israel His, that was His prerogative, and that’s what He did. Now here it comes.
“And ye shall be unto me (at some future time) a (What?) kingdom of priests,…” Now that’s plain language, isn’t it? That’s what Israel was to become. A kingdom of priests. In other words, every Jew was to be a believer and a priest of Jehovah. All right, come back to Peter, and it’s a perfect fit. It doesn’t fit for us, but it does for Peter’s listeners. All right, back to I Peter chapter 2 verse 5 again.
I Peter 2:5-6a
“Ye also, as lively stones, (Because they have now placed their faith in that Stone, the Rock, Christ Jesus.) are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, (not animal sacrifices, but spiritual sacrifices) acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone,…” Now here we go again. Now it’s not the stone which the builders rejected; it’s the Stone as the head part of the corner.
Now if you mull these things over, if you’re going to build a building of any kind—if I’ve got it right, I hope I do—you’re going to start from some designated place. Right? And from that designated place you’re going to draw your dimensions wherever it is. But you have to have a starting place. Now normally when you begin to build a pretty good-sized building, you’re going to start with what? The cornerstone. That’s what’s going to be there as the place you shoot from, from every direction. The cornerstone. And that’s exactly what Christ will be at the beginning of the Kingdom. He is going to be the Headstone. He’s going to be the Cornerstone. He’s going to be that Rock that all Israel can rest on. All right, so he says:
I Peter 2:6b
“…Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, and precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” But who’s the Cornerstone? Jesus Christ! So even for Israel’s future, they’re going to have to recognize—after the Church Age is ended, the Tribulation comes in—that Christ returns as the Chief Cornerstone in whom they have placed their faith. All right, if they do, “He that believeth on him shall not be confounded,” or I like the word disappointed. They’re not going to suddenly realize they’re lost. They’re going to know they’re saved. And they’ll not be confounded. All right, now verse 7:
I Peter 2:7
“Unto you therefore who believe (Not to every Jew. Again, it has to be the faith element. And it’s always been the few. I’ve been saying that all afternoon, haven’t I? Again, to the few who believe–) he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, (then Christ becomes) the stone which the builders disallowed, (And what did they do with Him then? They stumbled on Him and they were crushed. But nevertheless, even though He was disallowed at His first coming–) the same is made the head of the corner.”
I Peter 2:8a
“And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them who stumble at the word, being (What?) disobedient:…” And disobedient in what area? Faith. They refuse to believe who He is. And that’s the world’s problem today. That’s the whole world’s problem. They refuse to believe the work of the Cross. They refuse to believe that Jesus Christ is the Creator of everything. They make Him anything and everything but. And they’re going to miss it, because they are disobedient. Then He comes back in verse 9, again, to head up what we just saw in Exodus.
I Peter 2:9a
“But (Peter says) ye (speaking of the Jews to whom he was writing) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;…” See, that’s not language for us. But it’s so appropriate for the believing Jews of Peter’s day.
All right, now for us in the Body of Christ, I have to come back and spend our closing moments in what Paul calls our foundation. Because after all, I won’t be helping anybody out there that’s lost if we don’t touch on where Paul comes from. I Corinthians chapter 3, whenever I’m in this, I always start with verse 9. Now this is where we are today. This is where every human being has to confront the God of Scripture. Remember, Paul always writes to the believer, and he says:
I Corinthians 3:9
“For we are (himself included, as we are) laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s (Now what’s the word?) building.” We’re not talking about a Rock; now we’re talking about a building.
I Corinthians 3:10
“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the (Not a, but rather the, which makes it singular.) foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”
Now here’s a perfect parallel with a verse we read earlier in the book of Acts. Where Peter said, “There hath no other foundation been laid than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” All right, Paul is saying the same thing with regard to our foundation for the Body of Christ in this Age of Grace.
I Corinthians 3:11
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Now I know a lot of people think that because I use Paul so much that I’m putting Paul as the foundation. Don’t you believe it! Paul is NOT the foundation.
Paul is the architect that is building on that foundation. And he is preparing people to come in from generation after generation and to keep building and calling out a people for His name from amongst the Gentiles; because Israel, for the most part, has been set aside. Now, I wish I had three minutes instead of one. But anyway, here we have the one and only foundation for salvation in this Age of Grace—and that is faith in Christ crucified, buried, and risen from the dead (I Corinthians 15:1-4).
Turn back real quick to Romans chapter 11. I’m going to have to do this real quick. And again, here is the definite promise that God is not through with Israel. That, yes, they fell; but they’re still going to be brought back into God’s program to finish His program for the Ages. Drop in with me at verse 11.
“I say then, Have they stumbled (Over that Rock of Offence, remember?) that they should fall? God forbid: (Don’t even think such a thought.) but rather through their fall salvation is come unto (Whom?) the Gentiles,…”
So what does it all say? By their stumbling they crucified their Christ. But when they crucified the Christ, what did they open up for us Gentiles? The plan of Salvation. So never, never look at the Jew with any kind of disdain. They were instruments in God’s hands to bring about everything that had to happen for our salvation. And when God is through with us, He’s still going to turn to His Chosen People.
LESSON TWO * PART I
PART 1 of the MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
Psalms 2, 8, and 16
As most of you know, this is just an informal Bible study. I’m not a preacher. I’m not an evangelist. But I do like to pick the Scriptures apart and, specifically, as we’re going to show now in these next several programs, show how intrinsically all of this Book fits from cover-to-cover. What’s in the Old concealed is in the New revealed and visa versa. So this is what we’re going to be doing as we open with this series of the Messianic Psalms. We’re going to be looking at 16 different chapters throughout the Book of Psalms that all vividly foretell the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah. That’s why we call them the Messianic Psalms.
Again, I want to thank our television audience for all of your prayers. What a thrill that wherever Iris and I go, the word we hear over and over is, we pray for you every day. I think what’s made this program what it is, are the prayers of the saints. And we do thank you, and, of course, for the financial help, as well; because we do have to pay the bills. And I will never ever ask for money. That was one of the first things we got straight with the TV guys when we first started taping about 18 years ago. I told them at that time—I will never ask for money. And I was ready to go home if that didn’t fly. But we haven’t had to, and we trust we never will.
We’re going to start with something that Peter says in his little epistle, and then we’ll go back to Psalms. But look up I Peter chapter 1. We’re going to start with verse 10, because what I want to show is in verse 11.
I Peter 1:10
“Of which salvation the prophets (Old Testament writers) have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come (sometime up into the future) unto you:”
Now again, I’m going to stop a moment. Always take our rule of thumb for Bible study. What’s the first question we ask? Who’s writing? What’s the second one? To whom? The third one? The circumstances? The fourth one? Well, what’s gone before? The fifth one? What follows? All right, so right here is a good example. Who is writing? Peter. Who is he writing to? Jews. He’s not writing to the Gentile body of Christ. In no way, shape, or form is he doing that. He’s writing to Jews who are still associated with the Kingdom program. They were saved by the Kingdom gospel, which was completely different than the Gospel of Grace. They were looking forward to the Kingdom coming soon. With that in mind, then, Peter is writing to Jews in view of the coming Kingdom, which they thought was just down the road.
These Jews didn’t have any idea there was going to be a 2,000 year hiatus, where God would be calling out the Body of Christ in this Age of Grace that you and I are enjoying today. And remember, the only way you can get into the Body of Christ is by believing Paul’s Gospel of I Corinthians 15:1-4. Now verse 11:
I Peter 1:11a
“Searching (Now remember, who’s doing the searching? Those prophets as they wrote.) what, or what manner of time (the when) the Spirit of Christ who was in them did signify,…” Now this is all just “double-speak” to show that every word of Scripture was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Whether it was Peter or Paul or Isaiah or Moses makes no difference. It’s all the Word of God by virtue of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. All right, so they were trying to figure out what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ that’s within did signify. Did He put a specific time-frame on it that they could look for? No. It was left, as Paul calls it, a mystery, a secret.
I Peter 1:11b
“…what manner of time the Sprit of Christ which was in them did signify, when he testified beforehand (Before any of it every happened. Now here’s what I want you to home in on.) the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” I’m going to put it on the board. Even though you probably can’t read my writing, it’s going to be better than nothing.
Maybe at break time Sharon can come up here and redo it for me. But we’re going to be speaking of the suffering of Christ and then the glory. The glory that would what? Follow. In other words, come after. And the biggest part of understanding Scripture, even for us in the Age of Grace, is that all of the Old Testament writers, in one way or another, were speaking of the sufferings of Christ. But it wouldn’t end there. There would be glory that should follow.
And I’ve referred to this more than once over the years. How in the world could one Messiah be both? How could they have a suffering Messiah and also a ruling King for a Messiah? Well, you remember, I’ve shared that at times they would say, there must have been two Messiahs prophesied. And yet David had enough understanding that that couldn’t be the case. So there was only one other answer to the dilemma: that a result of the suffering Messiah is that He would die and be buried, but be raised back to life. He would go back to Glory and then in a future time return and still be the second part of that prophecy, a ruling King. Now this is what we’re going to especially look for as we go back and look at the 16 different Messianic Psalms.
So go back with me for this half hour to Psalms chapter 2. We’ve looked at it many, many times as just sort of a jump-start of the Old Testament program. It’s just a quick review. But today we’re going to take it verse by verse, just like we would if we were teaching Romans. And again, don’t ever forget, who’s writing the Psalms for the most part? David. When did David live? What was the time-frame? One thousand years B.C. One thousand years before Christ’s first advent, the Book of Psalms is being written, again by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Okay, already the prophetic program is laid out so clearly. We can readily believe that it was all set in motion before anything was ever created. And that’s what Scripture tells us. That all that has happened was foretold up front. It was laid out like a blueprint, and everything has followed the blueprint. Consequently, I repeat myself again, here we are 6,000 years after it all started, and where are we in God’s timetable? Right on schedule. To the exact hour and minute.
We’re not ahead of God. We’re not behind Him. We’re right on schedule because of His omnipotent foreknowledge of everything. All right, so we’ll come into Psalms chapter 2 as the first of these Messianic Psalms that are vividly foretelling the coming of this Messiah or the Anointed One. Verse 1:
“Why do the heathen (Now I trust you all understand that heathen and Gentile are all one and the same. Anybody who was not a Jew of the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is categorized in that term heathen, or Gentile.) rage, and the people (the people of God, the Jew, all together they…) imagine a vain thing?”
Well, what was their vain imagination? That they could run this planet without the Creator. Thank you. We don’t need Him. Sound familiar? They’re no different today. Do you think for a minute that a vast percentage of the world’s leaders ever stop to ask God for wisdom? I doubt if anybody outside of America ever does. Not many in America do anymore. And when they do, they’re ridiculed by the press and the media. After all, who needs God? Well, it’s never been any different really. Back here the Psalmist now is foretelling what’s going to come to pass a thousand years into the future. These two groups of people that we still have today, Jew and Gentile, are imagining or thinking vain things.
“The kings of the earth (Whether they were small banana republic kings, or whether they were the rulers of Rome, it makes no difference.) set themselves, and the rulers (Now that’s implying the rulers of Israel. They…) take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,…”
So you see, already we’ve got it prophesied that it’s not going to be a Jewish thing. It’s not going to be a Roman thing. It’s going to be a combination of both. Consequently, how much of the world’s population were guilty of the crucifixion? Everyone! You and I were just as guilt-ridden for His crucifixion as any Jew and visa versa. Because He died for the whole human race, Jew and Gentile.
All right, so now these kings of the earth and the rulers of Israel take counsel together. Now you’ve got to know a little bit about your New Testament. Because on the night of His arrest, who were involved in all that commotion involving His arrest and His trial leading up to the Crucifixion? Well, the Jewish religious leaders, the High Priests, and everybody else, but who else? Pilate and the Roman leaders. They were having their discussions together. They weren’t operating independent of each other. They were all in it together. Well, the Psalmist has already prophesied that that’s what would happen.
“…they took counsel together, against the LORD, and against his (What’s the word) anointed,…” Now, once in a while someone will write, and they will think I’m anointed. And nothing rubs me more, faster, or more vigorously. There’s only one person on earth that deserves that title, and I cannot come close to it. And that is “anointed.” I do not want to be referred to as anointed. That’s a title only for the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of these people are comfortable with it. So be it. But I never can be, because there’s only been one truly anointed, and that’s our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. All right, now then, verse 3. What do the rulers of the world and Israel think they can do?
“Let us break their bands asunder, (Or the powers that be that control human activity and they think they can.) and cast away their cords from us.” And I think I’m correct. If you go to your Strong’s Concordance, this word translated cords is also a root form of reigns on horses. In other words, that which we control. So they’re going to break away all of God’s control on planet earth. They don’t want any of His control in their day-to-day proceedings. God, just leave us alone, thank you. We don’t need You! And like I said, that hasn’t changed over the millennia.
Now then, here’s the Creator’s response as He sits in Heaven and views all of these things. And you’ve got to remember, this is all pushing out into a thousand years into the future as it’s written.
“He that sitteth in the heavens (the Creator Himself) shall laugh: (Not a laugh of amusement, but a laugh of scorn and ridicule.) the Lord shall have them (That is the nations of the world including Israel.) in derision.” After they have accomplished their rejection and have totally turned on the Anointed One, and they have crucified Him, and they have screamed all these various epitaphs and so forth—that we’ll not have this man rule over us.
All right, then God in His laugh of scorn and derision, verse 5, will do the next thing on the prophetic calendar. And that is to bring in the wrath and vexation of God.
“Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.”
Now remember, we’ve put the timeline on the board over and over. I don’t think I have it up here anymore. But anyway, after the crucifixion, according to all the Old Testament—with no hint whatsoever of the Grace Age coming in—all the Old Testament foretold prophetically was that after this rejection and a short period of time, in would come the anti-Christ and the seven years of Tribulation. That would trigger, then, the Second Coming and His becoming the ruling King and the One who would be ruling and reigning.
All right, we’ve got to remember that in the Old Testament there’s not one iota of room for the Body of Christ or the 2,000 years of Grace. We’re looking only at God dealing with the Nation of Israel. So as I’m teaching now today, you’ve got to be constantly aware that I won’t be referring much to Paul during these lessons. Because this is all God dealing with His covenant people – Israel. So those of you who think I’ve been overbearing with regard to Paul, why you’re going to have a little break for a while. I’m going to go to the other extreme now. We’re going to be talking about God dealing with Israel and how that has nothing to do with us in the Age of Grace. When this takes place, we’ll be in Heaven. This is all just for our learning. This is all to help us understand what a tremendous Book this is and how it all fits so perfectly.
All right, so after the rejection, the crucifixion, His death, burial, and resurrection, He would bring in the wrath and vexation—which, of course, is taught in Daniel as seven years in length. Then after the seven years has run its course, Christ would return and now kick in at verse 6. Here’s the next part of the program—foretold a thousand years before it ever happened.
“Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” Now we’ve already passed the sufferings of the Messiah. He was crucified. He was rejected. We’re already jumping into the glory that should follow, so far as the Psalmist is concerned. In reality, we’ve had 2,000 years interval. It still hasn’t happened yet. But according to the Old Testament prophetic program, it was to have come in just shortly after.
“Yet have I set my king (Not on the shores of Heaven or not on the sides of the north, as Heaven is sometimes described. But where will this King rule? In Jerusalem…) on my holy hill of Mount Zion.” And never forget, Mount Zion is not like the hymnbook says it. We’re not marching to a Zion in Heaven. Mount Zion is in Jerusalem.
Hopefully, if the world doesn’t fly apart, we’ll be there (Mt. Zion) in a few more weeks. We’re getting tired of thinking about it. But hopefully we’ll be on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Same one as here. All right, look at the next verse. God says:
“I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my (What’s the term?) Son;…” Capitalized. Here we have a reference in 1,000 B.C. of the Son of God being the prospected King of Israel. That’s the whole idea—and not in Heaven, but rather on planet earth.
Now, I know that most of Christendom doesn’t have a clue about this. And yet the Scripture is so vividly plain that that’s 90% of our Old Testament promises—this coming glorious earthly Kingdom over which God the Son will rule and reign. All right, so here we have it.
“…Thou art my Son; this day I have begotten thee.” Now, what’s the first verse you think of when you see that word begotten? Well, John 3:16, don’t you? “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son,…”
Now you know, people have been quoting that verse for 2,000 years, and 99% of the time they don’t have a clue of what they’re talking about. What does it mean “the only begotten Son”? You go out in the streets tomorrow and you just ask or on Sunday at church, whatever. What does it mean—the only begotten Son of God? And I can just about guarantee what the average rank and file answer will be. Who wants to venture? Well, Bethlehem. That’s the only thing they can figure. It must have been when He was born at Bethlehem. No!
Now we’ve got to let the Scripture answer for us. Now we’re going to jump back up into the New. For the last several years we went from the New to the Old. Today, we’re going to go from the Old to the New. Come back with me to Acts chapter 13, and the Scripture tells us as plain as language can make it. Drop in at verse 32. Paul is speaking.
“And we declare unto you the glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, (Now remember, that’s all these Old Testament prophecies.) 33. God hath (past tense) fulfilled the same unto us their children, (at the time that Paul is speaking) in that he hath raised up Jesus again; (And, of course, in Paul’s time it wasn’t that many years ago.) as it is also written in the second psalm, (That’s where we just came from.) Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten thee.”
Plain? As plain as language can make it. But all right, now the next verse gives us the answer to when did Jesus Christ become the only begotten Son of God? Not Bethlehem. Verse 34:
“And as concerning that (His being the Only Begotten Son of God) he (God) raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.” What’s it a reference to? He’s still going to be not only the suffering and dying and resurrected Savior, He’s also going to be the what? The King. So, when was the “only Begotten Son” made what we understand? Resurrection morning! Resurrection morning He became the Only Begotten Son of God. He’s the only person of the Godhead that lived and died and was resurrected. That’s plain common sense.
All right, now let’s just follow that up. We’ve got a few minutes yet. Go over to Romans chapter 1 and we have the very same thing again. Romans chapter 1. It doesn’t say it quite as explicitly as it does here in Acts, but nevertheless the point is made. Romans 1 and we have to start at verse 1 to pick up the flow.
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2. Which he had promised before by his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3. Concerning his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” In other words the lineage by way of Mary went all the way back to Solomon and King David.
“…which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; (And now here it comes.) 4. And declared to be the Son of God with power, (That would be exercised from that point on.) according to the spirit of holiness, by (What?) the resurrection from the dead.” That’s what made Him superior to every other religious leader that the planet has ever entertained.
It was by virtue of His death and His burial and His resurrection that He was able to proclaim salvation to the whole human race. Not just Israel. Not just to the white race. Not just to the Oriental. But to the whole human race. Because His resurrection power was so beyond human comprehension; it was so complete. It would reach into the very deepest dens of iniquity, and yet it would reach up to the very elite of society with Salvation on the same basis for every one of us—and all because of the fact that He was the Only Begotten Son of God.
Now, I’m going to repeat it for emphasis. Did any other person of the Godhead die and rise from the dead? Of course not. He’s the only one. Even in the physical realm, no one was ever resurrected until Jesus Christ. Now, we have those that came after His resurrection back there in Matthew 27. But you see other instances like the widow’s son that Elijah raised from death to life. That wasn’t resurrection. That kid died later on. Lazarus wasn’t resurrected. He died again later on. But resurrection is a death that now comes to life eternal someplace.
Every human being that dies will at one time yet be resurrected. That’s the words of the Lord Jesus Himself in John chapter 5.
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
The day is coming when all that are in the graves, the lost as well as the saved, will be resurrected. Some to an eternal doom—don’t miss the word eternal—and some to an eternal life. Every human being that has ever lived and died will yet be resurrected back to an eternal state. That’s scriptural. And again, it goes back to like I’ve taught over and over at Creation in Genesis 1 verse 27. In whose image was the human race made? Well, in the image of God. And what is God? He’s eternal. He will never die. And I can’t put it any plainer. We will live in eternity as long as God lives. And how long is that? That’s forever and ever and ever!
So never forget, now, this whole concept that starts way back a thousand years before Christ – “Thou art my only begotten Son.” And that’s because He’s the only One, in the Deity or in any other level of living—angelic or human—Jesus Christ was the first and only to be resurrected from the dead. Never to die again, as Hebrews puts it so plainly, because we now have eternal life associated with resurrection power.
LESSON TWO * PART II
PART 1 of the MESSIANIC PROHECIES
Psalms 2, 8, and 16
Okay, we’re going to pick right up where we left off at the end of the last program, and that was in Psalms chapter 2. We’re looking at the Messianic Psalms. There are sixteen of them that deal particularly with the coming of a promised King and Messiah. They are so plainly put, that there’s just no room for argument that these prophets were speaking of that. Which now, of course, we understand is just right out in front of us as the world events are taking place.
So, we’re going to come back to Psalms chapter 2. We have just covered in our last half hour the fact that Jesus Christ was the Only Begotten Son of God by virtue of His resurrection. That alone sets Him apart from everything else. Now we’re going into the next aspect of the Psalms, where God says in verse 8:
“Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen (or the non-Jewish world) for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Now that doesn’t just mean the little Nation of Israel; that means the whole planet is going to come under the rulership of this Kingdom. But before that can happen, He has to defeat His enemies. We see that in verse 9.
“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Now let’s jump up to some of the other prophets and see how they picture that. We’re going to look at Daniel first, because Daniel is the very benchmark of most end-time prophecy.
And you remember that Daniel was in captivity in Babylon at the time of Nebuchadnezzar. The king had had a dream, and he couldn’t remember what it was. You remember that Daniel was brought up from wherever he was, and he not only rehearsed the dream, but interpreted it. It was a prophetic thing. It was a prophecy concerning the coming Gentile Empires beginning with Babylon and going all the way up to the Roman—which, of course, took us up to the time of Christ.
All right, I just want you to see a little bit of this to show that before the King and the Kingdom can become a reality, He would have to destroy all the empires that were still on the scene at the time of His coming—which, of course, would be the four major empires that Daniel 4 told about in the first place.
All right, now you want to remember that he saw a vision of a human being – humongous in size – frightening in its appearance. It had a head of gold, a chest of silver, belly and thighs of brass, the two legs of iron, and the feet and toes were iron mixed with clay. These were indicative of the Babylonians, the Medes and Persians, the Greek, the Romans, and then the one that we now see as coming up, a Revived Roman Empire.
But the place I want to take you to here in Daniel chapter 2 is verse 35. There is no indication here of a two thousand-year interval. There is no indication that these empires are now in possession of nuclear weapons and modern warfare and so forth. Yet we have to realize, that it is all part of the reality of it now. But when the Tribulation will have run its course, the end result will be—verse 35 of Daniel 2.
“Then was the iron, the clay,…” We’re starting from the feet, remember, because that’s where the steamroller is going to hit it first. It’s in the form of a stone cut out without hands in the symbolism. But in the reality, it’s the Second Coming of Christ.
“Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, (See what the Psalmist said? They would be smashed. All right, all these symbolic pieces of the kingdoms were smashed together.) and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them:…”
All right, now get the picture? What is being driven into nothingness? All the Gentile Empires. Now just look at the world today. Everything is global. You all realize that. All the banking systems are global. Manufacturing is global. Communications is global. Everything is coming into a global connection. All right, now when Christ comes, He won’t just destroy one segment of it in the Middle East. It will be a global destruction from pole to pole and from east to west. It will totally be swept away, so that no sign of any of these pagan, ungodly, satanic empires will be left. And then finish the verse.
“…and the stone that smote the image (That’s Jesus the Christ.) became a great mountain, (Or kingdom, and what does that Kingdom fill?) and filled the whole earth.” It’s going to be a complete earthly kingdom involving every nation and tribe and tongue.
All right, I’d like to have you look at one more that we’ve used quite often over the years because of the simplicity of it. Let’s go up to Zechariah—the next to the last book in your Old Testament—and jump up to chapter 14. And like I said, it’s the simplicity of this verse, and that’s why I use it.
“And the LORD (Now that word capitalized in the Old Testament is Jehovah. It’s God the Son as we understand Him in the New Testament.) shall be king over all the earth: (Every square mile is going to be under His power and under His jurisdiction.) in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”
He is going to be absolute. He will not have a bunch of subservients laboring under Him—except, of course, the Twelve are going to rule the Twelve Tribes of Israel. But He is going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. One LORD and his name shall be called one. And, of course, we can pick that up in Revelation. You know the verse as well as I do, so we’ll just spare the time to look it up—His name shall be King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Now let’s go back to Psalms chapter 2 and finish the chapter, so we can go on into the next one. Verse 10, and now the prophet writes:
“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; (not just Israel’s, not just the Gentiles, but all of them) be instructed, ye judges (or rulers) of the earth. 11. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” But will they do it? No way. There’s no fear of God in their eyes. They have no recognition that He is Sovereign above them all. But nevertheless, the instruction is here. Now look at verse 12.
“Kiss the Son, (In other words, a sign of endearment, recognize who He is.) lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath (Now you’ve got to remember that we’ve been living 2,000 years under the Grace of God. His wrath hasn’t been exposed one iota. But, oh, when it will be, it’s going to be beyond human comprehension. And so the warning is again–) when His wrath is kindled but a little. (But for the believers, whether it be Jew or Gentile, they are–) Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.” Because He alone is the Savior of the world!
Now let’s jump forward to chapter 8, which is the second in our series of Psalms that are Messianic in character. Psalms chapter 8 and we’ll start at verse 1.
“O LORD our Lord,…” Now what do you see there? Well, you see two forms of Lord. Do you realize that? One is all capitalized, and the other one is just capital L small o-r-d.
Now, just to show you that that’s not a quirk of Scripture, jump ahead to Psalms 110 verse 1. We see the same thing. It’s almost a phenomenon. It is just one of the few times in Scripture that we have this, and I have to explain it. Psalms 110 verse 1. We may be looking at it later on this afternoon.
“The LORD (all capitalized) said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” I have to explain this, because I just got through telling you that the capitalized LORD is Jehovah. It’s God the Son. It’s Jesus Christ.
But in these two instances that cannot be the case, because it isn’t God the Son speaking to God the Son. It’s whom or who is speaking to the Son? Well, God the Father. So we just have to kind of ride with that without trying to get real nitpicky in both these cases – because especially Psalms 110 makes it so obvious. Just look at it, where the “LORD (God the Father) said unto my Lord (God the Son), sit thou at my right hand,…” Isn’t that exactly what happened? God the Father didn’t sit at the Son’s right hand. So we just have to take all these things into consideration.
Now the same way back here with Psalms chapter 8, come back with me again. Here we have those same two spellings of Lord, and it’s for the same reason.
“O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.” Well, now we’re dealing with both personalities of the Godhead, with God the Father certainly putting God the Son in that place of glory and authority above all the heavens. All right now drop into verse 2.
“Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings (or nursers) hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still (or defeat) the enemy and the avenger.” All right, let’s jump all the way up to Matthew 21 for a minute and see how the Lord Jesus Himself puts His stamp of approval on that very verse. Matthew 21 verse 16, and remember now, this is during the Lord’s earthly ministry. So a good portion of this is in red, if you have a red-letter edition. And here we have in verse 16 where Jesus said:
“…Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” What’s He quoting? The Psalms that we just read. Word for word. See how it all ties together. And that puts the stamp of approval on the Psalms as the Word of God, because Jesus Himself used it as such. All right, back to Psalms chapter 8 and verse 2, repeating it.
“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 3. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou has ordained;”
Now, I’ve got to stop again. Let’s jump all the way up to Colossians chapter 1. These are verses that we’ve used over and over again to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. Who was the Creator of the Universe and everything in it? Well, it’s God the Son, Jesus of Nazareth. Oh, people don’t like to think of the earthly Jesus as the Creator of Genesis 1. But, beloved, He was! And here we have it in Colossians chapter 1. I usually like to drop down to verse 13, so that we identify who this Creator is.
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” Now verse 15.
“Who (the Son up in verse 13) is the image (or that visible likeness) of the invisible God, the firstborn (He is ahead of everything else that was ever created. He was–) the firstborn of every creature:” Now here it comes.
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things (Everything!) were created by him, and for him: 17. And he is before all things, (He came out of eternity past; and, consequently, there was nothing created before God Himself was there? And so was God the Son.) and by him all things (are held together) consist.”
And then I’ve got to go on to verse 18. Because here’s His role, so far as you and I are concerned. Not only is He the Creator of us and everything around us, but:
“And He is the head of the body,…” Of which we are a part. And that’s how we are intricately connected with this Creator, God the Son. And we’re going to be in His presence for all eternity! My, we can’t wait for the time when we’ll be able to look into His eyes! And we’re going to see Him as He is, the Scripture says.
All right, now back to the Psalms again. How all this becomes a living reality, and how this Book is so miraculous. All right, back to Psalms chapter 8 and verse 4, after considering the heavens, space—oh, my goodness. You know, I think we’re all hearing it from every direction—the magnitude of space. How it’s beyond human comprehension.
My, I was just reading an article again last night that our scientists have picked up light beams from sixteen billion light-years away! Now see, that’s beyond human comprehension. A light-year is the distance that light can travel at the rate of a hundred and eighty-six thousand miles per second for three hundred sixty-five days. You see, we can’t comprehend what one light-year is. And now they’re talking about billions of them?! That’s our God. He’s the Creator of it all. Now, in light of that, I like verse 4.
“What is man, (The simple manifestation of the dust of the earth that we are.) that thou (O God—I could put in there.) that thou (God) art mindful of him?…” Then in the other half of the thought—the Son of Man, whom God brought into a particular relationship with you and I. This is all beyond our comprehension.
I think I’ve got a verse in Hebrews I wanted to look at—Hebrews 2:6-8. Let’s look at that a minute; where, again, the writer makes it better and plainer than I could ever hope to do it.
“But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?” In other words, why did God have enough concern for mankind to do the work of redemption—which required God the Son to take on human flesh and co-habit planet earth with man in order to become the sacrifice for all concerned. All right, so this is the question. Why?
“…What is man, that thou are mindful of him? or the son of man, (a reference to the Christ) that thou visitest him. 7. Thou madest him (Now, I’m sure we’re speaking of the Christ here, God the Son.) a little lower than the angels;…” That’s hard to comprehend, isn’t it? But He was, because He became humanity.
He took on human flesh; and as such, He took Himself below the realm of the angelic hosts. All right, it doesn’t stop there, even though He was a little lower than the angels.
“…thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8. Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9. But we see Jesus,…”
Now, do you get the connection? Here is little insignificant man on insignificant planet Earth in view of the whole of creation. Absolutely nothing compared to creation and yet what did God see? He saw the value of the human race. That’s why He created it. I think I’ve explained it from the time I first started teaching Genesis years and years ago. Why did He create the human race? He had the eons of angels. Why the human race when it became such a failure?
Well, you see, the angelic host did not have that wherewithal to return His love. Now, again, we can’t understand that. But they couldn’t. But He created man with the ability within us to return the love of Deity. Animals can’t do that. So we alone, in all of God’s creation, can be an object of His extended love that would respond.
And He put the same thing into the marriage relationship. I always like to put the two together. What did God put within the female makeup? That ability to respond to the love of the husband. It’s something that’s beyond human understanding. When a husband and wife relationship is working as it should be, it’s beyond understanding. This is what we have to do to put all the things together.
God had such a love for this insignificant creature that He made from the dust of the earth, that He was willing to actually leave the glories of Heaven, walk the dusty paths of the land of Israel, and go to that Roman cross, and—as Philippians puts it so beautifully—“even the death of the cross.” For what purpose? To redeem at least enough of mankind that He can extend His love to for all eternity. Now most of that is beyond our human comprehension. And that’s why I think the Psalmist puts it this way.
Come back with me again, if you will, to Psalms chapter 8. What is man that God should even be mindful of him. And who is the Son of man who would go to such lengths to redeem mankind? Now verse 5, and as we just read in Hebrews, this is where the writer got it.
“For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. 6. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:”
Now you know, I’m thinking of another individual who was given dominion of everything. Who was it? Adam. Adam was given dominion of everything from one end of the planet to the other. But Adam dropped the ball. So the whole 6,000 years of human history, with all of its misery and turmoil and death, is a result of Adam’s failure. But the Second Adam—as the New Testament calls Jesus Christ—He’s going to make the whole thing right once again. And He will absolutely have everything under His dominion.
Let me take this back to I Corinthians chapter 15. We’re also going to look at Philippians chapter 2, because I want you to see how all of Scripture is constantly dovetailing. There isn’t a book on Earth that can even come close. Yet mankind scorns it and ridicules it.
I Corinthians 15:27
“For he (There again, I think that’s a reference to God the Father.) hath put all things under his (Christ’s, God the Son) feet. But when he saith all things are put unto him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.” All right, now flip over to Philippians chapter 2 verse 7.
“But (speaking of Christ Jesus) made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, (or a bond slave) and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, (See that? His becoming human–) he humbled himself, (from that exalted position in Glory) and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” That’s the one I referred to a moment ago.
“Wherefore (Because He was obedient to that horrible crucifixion.) God (the Father) also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” And then they try to bring Him down to the level of some of the religious gods of this world. Isn’t it pitiful?
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
LESSON TWO * PART III
PART 1 of the MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
Psalms 2, 8, and 16
Okay, it is good to have everybody back, again; and you’ve had your break. For those of you joining us on television, we’re just an informal Bible study. We like to compare Scripture with Scripture primarily. My main reason for using so much of Scripture is to prove to the scoffers that this is a supernatural Book unlike anything else on Earth. All you have to do is study it, and it becomes obvious. But most of the world will not do that.
We’re especially looking at Psalms for a few programs. I know we’ve had a lot of requests over the years to teach some Psalms. Today, a gentleman just told me that he was moved a month or two ago to start studying Psalms. So he’s appreciating today.
All right, we’re going to pick right up where we left off in the idea of the Messianic Psalms. There are sixteen chapters throughout the Book of Psalms that deal quite completely with the death, burial, and resurrection. Now I’m going to jump up to the next one, which is Psalms chapter 16. We just finished chapter 8. If you’ve noticed in your Bible—I’m sure they all have it—that it’s called a Michtam of David. A Michtam was something that was actually set in stone, and it was a prayer of David. There are several of them throughout the Book of Psalms that were engraven, and they, too, were primarily concerned with Christ and His resurrection.
Psalms 16 was just that. It was engraved in stone of some sort—much like the Ten Commandments, I guess—and it became a prayer concerning the death and resurrection of Christ. Now the first several verses we’re not going to make comment on. We’ll just drive right on down until we get to the part where, again, I can show from the New Testament proof-positive that we’re talking about His death, burial, and resurrection. This will be down in verse 10, where Peter quotes it in Acts chapter 2. But we don’t want to skip all these good verses. So if you’ll bear with me, we’ll just read them and realize that the underlying thought is resurrection.
“Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.” Now, I’ve done this before. I’ll do it again. There are three words in Scripture that are all quite synonymous – trust is the Old Testament word. The New Testament words are primarily – faith and believe. You put the three of them together, and they all mean the same thing. When you believe, you’re trusting. When you’re trusting, you believe. And when you believe and trust, you’re exercising faith. Always remember that when the Old Testament speaks of this “I have put my trust,” it’s putting his faith. He believes it. Now verse 2:
“O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; 3. But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.” Now the saints in the Earth in David’s vocabulary would have been what people? Well, it would have been Israel—the believing element in Israel—because the Gentiles for the most part had nothing to do with Israel. So, to the saints within the Earth, would have to be the believing remnant of Israel:
“…and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.” Well, now it figures, doesn’t it? Who do you suppose David had the most real sincere fellowship with? The believers or the unbelievers? Well, naturally the believers.
It’s doesn’t matter where you are. Iris and I have gone all over the United States the last two months, and no matter where we go, we don’t hit strangers over five minutes. Why? Because they all love the same Lord that we do. And it is (even though we get tired) so thrilling to know that we have like-minded believers from Maine to California. And that’s just part of being members of the Body of Christ. All right, let’s read on.
“Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god:…” Well, now what’s that taking about? The pagans and the idolaters in Israel. They can’t enjoy any of the blessings of the God of Abraham that David can. But on the other hand, their sorrows shall be more.
Now I can’t help this as I read these things. Other verses come to mind, and I have to use them. Turn with me to Jeremiah 44 to show that when David spoke of those who were adhering to other gods, he wasn’t necessarily speaking of the Gentile world. He was speaking of fellow Israelites. Jeremiah chapter 44 and this is why I use it as often as I do—the shocking experience that in Israel there was this much blatant pagan worship. And this, of course, is why God had to deal with them so severely over and over.
Come back to Jeremiah 44, so that we’ll know what David was referring to. Jeremiah isn’t that far removed from David. A couple of hundred years and Israel never did improve, so it all stayed the same. Now Jeremiah 44 and drop in at verse 15. We’ve done this before, but it’s been a long time ago.
“Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense (To whom?) other gods, (What were the other gods? The pagan gods and idols of the Gentiles. The men knew that their women were doing it. Did they do anything about it? No. They went right along with it.) and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,”
Now, you see, Jeremiah was God’s prophet. Jeremiah had been sent to warn Israel of coming judgment if they wouldn’t refrain from this open idolatry. And, you know, when we taught this—of course, that’s quite a long time ago—one of those valleys at which the Jewish people offered their little babies to the brazen fire god, Moloch, they actually called the Valley of Drums.
And do you remember what the reason was? In order to cover the screaming of their little babies as they laid them on that hard, white-hot god Moloch. To cover their screaming they would beat the drums. Awful! Beyond comprehension. God’s chosen people who should have known better. It’d be one thing for the pagan Gentiles, but here we have the Jews doing it. But here’s the evidence, see, verse 16:
“As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. (They knew that Jeremiah was a valid prophet. Do you see the rebelliousness here?) 17. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven,…” Who’s the queen of heaven in antiquity? The female goddesses—Athena was one. There were several of them in various cultures. They all had the female goddess, which was usually the one that led into the most hideous immorality.
“…to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, (See, they weren’t just a small minority.) in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then (Now what a lie.) we had plenty of victuals (or food), and were well, and saw no evil. 18. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, (In other words, things haven’t been going well.) and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.”
Well, what was the real reason? It was God’s chastisement upon them. And they couldn’t even recognize that. Now that’s how ridiculously ignorant people can become of the things of God. All right, verse 19:
“And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink-offerings unto her, did we make cakes to worship her, and pour out drink-offerings unto her, without our men? 20. Then (the prophet) Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying,”
“The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind? 22. So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed: therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment,…”
But they couldn’t even recognize that. And they rebelled totally against Jeremiah until finally the Babylonians came in. And from what I’ve read from ancient history, the Babylonians found Jeremiah in a deep, dark dungeon where the Jews had pitched him. They didn’t actually kill him, for a change. But they didn’t like the message, so they got rid of the messenger.
Well, this is the very thing that David is referring to in Psalms chapter 16. This is what he’s referring to—oh, my goodness, all of this other part of Israel that was contrary to the things of God. Now verse 4:
“Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink-offerings of blood (Not the drink-offerings of the wine and so forth that God prescribed. But they are so wicked; they are so evil, much like Satan-worship is today—blood becomes a part of their worship.) will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips. 5. The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. 6. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.” Because David was an obedient believer.
“I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. 8. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” I think that’s a verse that sounds familiar. Now verse 9, we’re getting close to where I’m going to jump up to the New Testament.
“Therefore, my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” Now what’s he talking about? Resurrection. The flesh will die. David died. His tomb is still remembered in Jerusalem, but David isn’t there in the tomb. The real David is in the presence of the Lord.
All right, now another verse comes to mind. Let’s see, I want to go Job. I think it is chapter 19. In Job 19 you have the same kind of language, written long before David. But it all fits. It’s still the same language. We’ll jump in at verse 25. This is the verse that first opened up to me about rightly dividing the Scriptures. You know, I’ve shared this, I think, with a lot of people over the years. I was under the typical denominational umbrella, teaching the denominational line obediently, you know. Then one day they asked me to come and teach a home Bible study in some other denominations. Actually, it was a Methodist couple and a Lutheran couple that asked Iris and me to come in one night a week and teach a home Bible class.
Well, it hadn’t been two or three weeks and the Methodist lady came up afterwards and she said, “Les, why isn’t Heaven taught in the Old Testament?” I said, “What?” She said, “Why isn’t Heaven taught in the Old Testament?” I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “Well, those Jews had no idea of dying and going to Heaven.” Well, I’d never considered that before. So I said, “Well, I don’t know. You’re throwing a new one on me, you know.” This is the first time they’d ever done this outside the church umbrella.
So anyway, for my study to prove the answer to her question, this is the first thing I came up with. Job doesn’t say a word about dying and going to Heaven. So, the lady was right. Well, that was a whole new opening for me in Scripture. And that’s what set the whole stage then – you deal with Israel as God’s earthly people. They had no concept of dying and going to Heaven. And you’ve got the Body of Christ who are God’s heavenly people. And that just opens everything up! All right, but now look what Job said. That’s what reminded me of it, verse 25.
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the (Portals of heaven? No. Where?) upon the earth: (So what are we dealing in? Earthly things.) 26. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:”
Now what’s he talking about? Physical death—when the body goes back to the dust of the Earth. He knew that much. But it doesn’t stop there. “… worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I will see God.” Well, what kind of flesh? Resurrected flesh. A resurrected body.
And, good heavens, you all know that the Lord Jesus, after He came out of the tomb—for forty days He gave an example of what we have to look forward to. Why? Because He moved and ate and did everything in a resurrected body that didn’t look any different than the gardener. And you say, well, where’d you get that? Well, that’s what Mary thought He was.
Now I don’t know that gardeners looked like something from outer space, did they? No. They looked very common. They were working-class people. So we get this little bit of information in that forty days. And in those forty days, what did He do? He walked with them. He talked with them. He ate fish with them. All right, so now we have the concept of what Job already had way back here—that in the resurrected state, he would be in a physical body of flesh and bone. And though he had no concept of dying and going to Heaven, yet he certainly had the concept of resurrection life! All right, back to Psalms 16 once again to make a little headway. Okay verse 9, repeat it.
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also (That’s what made me think of Job.) shall rest in hope.” Because even though he goes back to the dust of the Earth, in resurrection power he’s going to come back with a body fit for all eternity. Whether it’s Old Testament believers, or whether it’s you and me in the Body of Christ.
All right, verse 10, now the scenario switches to prophecy. Because we’re going to show from the New Testament that this is God the Son speaking through the prophet David.
“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (or Hades); neither wilt thou permit thine Holy One to see corruption.” All right, now we’ve got to jump up to the New Testament and see where that is quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost. This proves the point, then, that these Old Testament references are always to Jesus Christ as we know Him in the New. Now, we don’t refer to Him as Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. He’s God the Son. He’s the Anointed One. He’s the Messiah. But it’s the same person. We’re just in a different scenario of language.
All right, Acts chapter 2 and the day of Pentecost. I think I’ll go all the way up to verse 22, so that you get the flow. Peter is speaking to these thousands of Jews gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost—a Jewish feast day. So the terminology is as it should be.
“Ye men of Israel,…” Now, I’m the first to admit that a good portion of even dispensational Christendom maintain that this is already the Body of Christ Church. And I just don’t see how they see it. I don’t see how they can come to such a conclusion when there’s nothing in here to indicate the Body of Christ.
The thought of the Body of Christ hasn’t even been revealed yet. That won’t come until Paul’s apostleship. There is not one word with reference to a Gentile—even in the crowd here. It’s all Jews. The language is Kingdom language—not a word of the Gospel of Grace. But be that as it may, they can fault me all they want. I just say you’ve got to show me some Scripture, because I can’t find anything of the Gentile makeup whatsoever. So Peter said:
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:” That’s the three years of His earthly ministry.
Now you’ve got to remember, Pentecost was only fifty days after the resurrection. That’s only a matter of days past His earthly ministry. They all understood what He was talking about—performing signs and wonders and miracles. Now verse 23:
“Him, (this Jesus of Nazareth) being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,…” Now you’ve heard me address that way back years ago. What’s He talking about? That way back in eternity past—before anything had ever been created—the Triune God came together and formulated this whole work of humanity, including the plan of redemption. Every aspect of it was all—blueprinted is the word I like to use.
It was all blueprinted. And Peter could say absolutely correctly that it was the foreknowledge of God that was able to cause the Old Testament writers to speak of His death, burial, and resurrection. God knew the end from the beginning. It wasn’t anything that He didn’t understand. And so the correct word is:
“…and foreknowledge of God, (According to that whole plan of redemption, you are in perfect accord with it.) ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: (But did that stop God? No. What did He do?) 24. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
God the Son was God! Nothing could hold Him in the realms of death. Nothing. So the power of God raised Him from the dead, in spite of all that had just happened. All right, now here it comes. The stamp of approval that David was speaking of this very thing.
“For David speaketh concerning him, (Who? Jesus of Nazareth!) I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26. Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in (What?) hope:” What kind of hope? Resurrection!
My, I’m confident that the Lord’s going to come before very many of us pass off the scene. But if not and if we die, and we go to the grave, hey, that’s not the end. You know, I don’t have many funerals. But I’ve had a few over the years for some of our class people. And when we’re at the cemetery, the first thing I want to remind the family – your loved one isn’t here!
We don’t have to traipse back every day and weep over that grave. They’re not there! Where is that loved one? They’re with the Lord in Glory! And what’s going to happen to that body in the grave? One day it’s going to be resurrected and reunited with that soul and spirit. Once again, like Thessalonians says, to be a complete body, soul and spirit for eternity.
But, oh, whether it’s death, or whether it’s the hope of the Rapture, it’s still an eternal hope that the best is yet to come. All right, so here the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking through the prophet David way back here at 1,000 B.C.
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,…” Now, that almost takes another hour of explanation, doesn’t it? The word hell here is from the two Greek words that are described better as Sheol and Hades. It was not the Lake of Fire Hell that we normally think of as the eternal place of the wicked. But this was the waiting place for the dead before Christ’s first advent.
If you’ll go into Luke 15, what do you have? You have Abraham with Lazarus in his bosom in Paradise. But they’re in Hades. On the other side of the great gulf fixed, you have the rich man who was in torment in Hades. All right, but on Resurrection morning Christ took the believing element out of Hades and took them up to Heaven, and Hell was enlarged so the rich man stayed there. So ever since, lost people still go to Hades. That’s what Jesus says over and over. The saved person now goes immediately from death to be present with the Lord in Glory. And that happened as result of the death, burial, and resurrection. We in the Body of Christ today get into the Body by believing only—what?—for our salvation. What do we believe? That Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again, and is alive today!—I Corinthians 15:1-4.
But see, at this point in time, David, of course, didn’t understand about the Body of Christ. All David was looking forward to, was that the Messiah must suffer. That’s why we had it on the board. Still got it? The sufferings would be followed by what? The glory that would follow. And what would it follow? The death, burial, and resurrection.
All right, if you’ll come back with me to verse 27.
“Because thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell (Hades), neither wilt thou permit thine Holy One to see corruption.” Now then, we always have to be reminded. When Christ’s body lay three days and three nights in the tomb, did corruption set in? Not one whit. His body never saw corruption. And again, because it was a supernatural, divine birth and conception that Christ’s body did not see corruption. And that’s far different from the norm. But nevertheless, that’s the fact that we have to understand. He never saw corruption.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
PART 1 of the MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
Psalms 2, 8, and 16
We’re glad you’re all here. For those of you joining us on television, we’re going to continue on where we left off in our last half hour, coming out of the 16th Psalm—which is a Messianic Psalm. We’re going to pick it right up again in Acts chapter 2, where Peter quotes from the 16th Psalm concerning the resurrection of Christ.
Now you have to understand, that resurrection was not a daily discussion. It certainly was evident throughout the Old Testament, but yet it was not something that was constantly referred to. As we hopefully do today—because resurrection is the very core of our gospel of salvation. And as Paul says, “If Christ be not raised from the dead, then you are yet in your sins.” But nevertheless, since Christ has been raised from the dead—all still in association with His dealing with Israel—there has not yet been a word said about Him going to the Gentile world, except as He had planned to do in the Old Testament economy.
Israel was to have been priests of Jehovah. Israel was to have been the evangelists. But they dropped the ball and lost the opportunity. But Peter doesn’t realize that yet. Peter thinks this is all still part of God dealing with the Nation under those covenant promises. I’m going to come back where we left off in our last half hour, as we didn’t really get to finish—Acts chapter 2. And let’s just go back and repeat as we closed the program.
“Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: (See, he’s quoting from the Psalms.) 27. Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, (Or, as I explained in the last program, that’s Hades—the place of the departed.) neither wilt thou permit thine Holy One to see corruption.” And Christ didn’t. He did not see corruption even in those three days and three nights. Now verse 28:
“Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. (Now, Peter comes back and picks up his interpretation of all this. And he says,) 29. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre (his place of burial) is with us to this day. (But now here comes the answer to it all.) 30. Therefore being a (What?) prophet,….”
See, most people don’t think of David as one of the prophets. We normally think of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and all the Minor Prophets. But, no, David was a prophet. The Psalms has got all kinds of prophecies, especially with regard to the death, burial, and resurrection.
In fact, as I speak of these things—I can’t help that. That’s my mode of teaching, and most of you are used to it. Keep your hand here a minute and go ahead to 1 Corinthians 15. Most of you already know what that says. 1 Corinthians 15, Paul’s Gospel that has now been going out to the Gentile world especially, but also to the Jew. But here are some statements that I suppose a lot of people have wondered about. That’s what made me think of it. 1 Corinthians 15 starting at verse 1, where Paul states:
I Corinthians 15:1-2
“Moreover, brethren, (writing to fellow Gentile believers) I declare unto you the gospel (not a Gospel) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, (That’s why he could call them brethren. They are believers.) and wherein ye stand; 2. By which also (by this Gospel) ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” Now, here comes the Gospel of salvation.
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (That is from the ascended, glorified Lord of Glory.) how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (Well, I know a lot of people say, what’s he talking about? Old Testament, see? It wasn’t back there in black and white, but it was back there in what we’d call innuendo. Just enough that now with our knowledge of the New Testament, yes, we can go back and see that God had it on His mind all along.) 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day (What?) according to the scriptures:” Now that is what we must believe for our salvation.
All right, that’s what we have to see. Come back with me now to Acts chapter 2. Not only in the Psalms, but even in Scriptures before Paul comes along, we have this revelation of this death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah—also as it would be passed on to every true believer. All right, back to Acts chapter 2 and verse 30.
“Therefore being a prophet,…” One that not only spoke forth as we see it in this bit, but one who saw the future—a thousand years. Now he didn’t understand it. There’s no way that David understood a crucifixion. He didn’t understand the fact the Christ was actually going to die and have His blood shed and be placed in a tomb and all that. That was all details that were still unknown. But he certainly accepted the fact that if the suffering Savior was to become a Glory that would follow, there would have to be a death and a resurrection in-between here. It’s the only way it would fit. But you see, even the Jewish rabbis and scholars didn’t figure that out. They couldn’t comprehend how one person could play both roles. But David had unction of it, but only as the Holy Spirit revealed it to him. And how much of the details? I don’t believe he understood any more than Daniel did. But reading on in verse 30 again.
“Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins,…” Now who are we talking about? David’s loins. And what does that mean? The promises of this coming Messiah began with David. Now, in a latent way, yes, it goes all the way back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But when it actually came out to foretelling of a coming glorious Kingdom and a King, it began with David.
In fact, keep your hand in Acts. Let’s go back a minute to II Samuel chapter 7. Let’s start with verse 8. Here God is dealing through the prophet Nathan. Nathan is, in turn, going to go and speak to David.
II Samuel 7:8-10a
“Now therefore (God says) so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: 9. And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. 10. Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them,…” Now this is God speaking—that Nathan is going to pass on to David.
II Samuel 7:10
“Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness (That is the Arab world around them—that constantly tormented the Nation of Israel.) afflict them any more, as beforetime,”
II Samuel 7:11a
“And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies….” Now you want to remember, David was successful in all of his battles. He brought peace and prosperity to the Nation as a result of all his wars.
II Samuel 7:11-12
“And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also (On top of all this. Looking down the eons of time.) the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. (a royal family) 12. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, who shall proceed out of thy bowels (inner-most being—which was Solomon), and I will establish his kingdom.”
II Samuel 7:13-14
“He shall build an house for my name, (again, a royal family) and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him (That’s speaking of the Nation of Israel.) with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:”
II Samuel 7:15-16
“But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. (And now here it comes.) 16. And thine house (Your royal family—going all the way from David clear down to Joseph and Mary.) and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”
All right, now we see that laid out so clearly in the genealogies of Matthew 1 and Luke 3. We won’t have time to look at them right now. So come back with me, again, to where we just were in Acts chapter 2. All of this began with the promises made to David of a coming King who would rule over a Kingdom of which Israel would be the primary nation; but it’s going to be a world-wide Kingdom. Now back to Acts chapter 2 verse 30 again.
“Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, (A thousand years later here would come the Messiah.) he would raise up Christ to sit on his (David’s) throne; 31. He (David) seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, (See that!? That’s a thousand years beforehand. David saw it through the eyes of prophecy.) that his (Christ’s) soul was not left in Hades, neither did his flesh see corruption.”
All right, now I have to think of a verse that Paul wrote. Keep your hand in Acts, I’m not quite through here yet. But come over with me now to Ephesians. See, we can tie all of this together—that, yes indeed, from the cross, Christ in soul and spirit went down into Hades on the Paradise side. He took the thief on the cross when He told him, “today thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”
The thief went with Him. Then Peter tells us that when He got there, He preached to those Old Testament Saints waiting for their release from their place in captivity—because the atoning blood had now been shed. All right, now Paul puts it this way.
“Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, (Those Old Testament souls that had been kept there waiting for the atoning blood, remember?) and gave gifts unto men. 9. (Now that He ascended, (That is up to Glory.) what is it but that he also descended first (See, before He went to Glory.) into the lower parts of the earth? (Into that realm of what we called Hades and Sheol—into the Paradise side, and having preached to them, then–) 10. He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all the heavens, that he might fill (or fulfill) all things.)”
All right, now Peter is, of course, way back here yet several years previous to Paul’s revelations. But he sees it clearly enough now—that as David saw that the Messiah would suffer and die, He’d be resurrected back to life so that He could still yet fulfill the Kingdom role of King. Now, if you’re back in Acts chapter 2, drop down into verse 32.
“This Jesus (See how plain we make all this?) hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” In other words, the resurrection wasn’t one of those things where there wasn’t evidence.
You see, a lot of things in Scripture—and I smile when mankind has a lot of problems with things. For example, Noah’s Ark. My, they get all shook up. They can’t find the Ark. Then they get people who think they have. And then it’s proven that they haven’t. Well, you know, I’m sure God sits in His heaven and smiles, if I may use the expression. Foolish men, why do they want to find that Ark? Well, they think that then they can prove that the Bible story was true. But you know what God says? You believe it whether you see it or not. And that’s faith.
But you see, with the resurrection He didn’t do that. With the resurrection He gave ample proof. Not only did the Twelve recognize it, but five hundred at one time saw Him in His resurrected body. And then Paul says what? “And last of all, I saw Him also.” But there are so many things in Scripture that God makes us take by faith.
Another one is—do you realize there’s almost no archeological evidence of Israel ever having been in Egypt? And that just drives these archeologists up the wall! Well, you and I don’t have to have archeological evidence to know that they were in Egypt. We believe it. The Book says it. But, oh, then we like to read the account of how they think they found chariot wheels in the bottom of the Red Sea. Well, then that perks everybody up. Well, it must be true. Because there they see the chariot wheels. But, beloved, we’re to take this Book by faith.
But here’s an example where God doesn’t even leave it to faith. He left ample proof that Christ arose from the dead. All right, back to Acts chapter 2 verse 33.
“Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, (Now remember, this is Pentecost day, when the Holy Spirit came down in outright evidence of His presence.) which ye now see and hear.” Now he’s back to David again, back to the Psalms.
“For David is not ascended into the heavens: (So goodness sakes, when the Psalms says ‘I see him ascending into the heavens,’ who was it talking about? Jesus the Christ! All right, so David hasn’t ascended into the heavens.) but he saith himself, (David said it.) The LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand,”
Well, we won’t look at Psalms 110:1 again, because we looked at it in the last program. What did it say? “The LORD said unto my Lord, come sit at my right hand.” And we know that the Book of Hebrews confirms that. That when He had purged us from our sins, what did He do? “He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty at High” in fulfillment of the Psalms. Okay, back to Acts chapter 2 verse 35.
“Until I make thy foes thy footstool.” Oh, then what? Then He’s going to return and mete out vengeance and wrath and justice, which would be followed by the glory that’s coming. All right, so here again is where the Jews would get upset—when Peter would make these kinds of statements. In this case, in verse 36, it was a positive response. Instead of like those women in Jeremiah 44, here the Jews of Pentecost respond—in verse 36.
“Therefore (Peter said) let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” He’s alive. He can still be our Promised Anointed and our Messiah. Now verse 37 and the Jews respond better than they did back in the Old Testament days. What did they say?
“Now when they heard this, they were convicted in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” In light of the fact that this Christ, whom they had crucified and thought was dead and out of the way, was what? Alive—and ready to bring in the Kingdom. Now, I’m thinking of a verse that I’m going to be using, I think, at a later taping. But let’s go back and look at it. You’ll have forgotten it by the time that rolls around.
Come back to Psalms. I think I want 68, if I’m not mistaken. Because I like to use this when people call and say, “Well, why did they get so upset when Stephen said, ‘I see Jesus standing’?” You know those verses? When ordinarily He should have been sitting, but Stephen saw Him standing. Well, what’s all this? Now I’m not so sure that I’m 100% right, but I think I’m close, if I’m not. Psalm 68. I think those Jews of Stephen’s day immediately put two and two together. That when Stephen said, “I see Jesus standing,” this Psalm came to mind. No wonder it angered them. The quicker they could kill this guy, the better—before anything worse could happen. Now read it.
“Let (Who?) God arise, (Well, who was sitting at the right hand of the Father? God the Son. So I’m sure this is a reference.) let his enemies be (What?) scattered. (Oh, they didn’t want to have that happen.) let them also that hate him flee before him.” Was that word hate used rightly? Oh, yes. They hated Him. They hated Jesus of Nazareth. Saul of Tarsus was not the only one. He was just simply the one that carried it out. Now look at the next verse.
“As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: (Oh, they could see there was a reference to them – those who hated the name of Jesus; those who were trying to kill Stephen for standing up for Jesus of Nazareth.) as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.” You see, those Jews were all shook up when Stephen said, “I see Him standing.” I think this says it all.
All right, but now we’ll save that for a later time. We’ve still got three minutes left. Come back with me, once again, to Acts chapter 2—for the moment or two that we’ve got left.
“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” If the One we rejected is alive, and if He is still going to bring in the Kingdom, what do we have to do to appropriate all that?
And look at Peter’s answer. That’s why, again, that I said this isn’t church language. This isn’t Body of Christ language. This is Jewish language. All you have to do is stop and think. Who made the very same statement at the very beginning of everything? John the Baptist. And what did he say? Repent. Repent every one of you and be baptized.
That’s John the Baptist’s message. Come back to Matthew chapter 3, starting at verse 1. John the Baptist is just beginning his ministry.
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2. And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Well, what was he talking about? The King was alive. The King was in their midst. He’s only a few months younger than John the Baptist. So He’s already about the same age. And here’s the introduction to the whole Kingdom program coming to fruition.
“For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” All right, drop on down to verse 6.
“And were baptized of him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.” Just exactly what Peter said in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized.” And they were confessing their sins, so we call it a baptism of repentance. So the whole thing was now quickly coming to fruition. All right, now if you’ll come over with me a few pages to chapter 5 in Matthew. This will almost wind it down.
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to (What?) fulfill.” Well, what’s He going to fulfill? All these Old Testament promises concerning a King and a Kingdom promised to the Nation of Israel.
But, what was their problem? The eye—the blinded eyes of unbelief. They couldn’t see that any good thing would come out of Nazareth. So they rejected Him out-of-hand. We’ll not have this Jesus of Nazareth to rule over us. So what happened? They crucified Him. But God raised Him from the dead.
LESSON THREE * PART I
PART 2 of the MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
Psalms 22, 23, and 24
We’re so glad to have all of you in the studio. For those of you joining us out in television, we just want to always remind you that we’re just a simple Bible study. I don’t want to get theological, and I don’t want to get deeper than what people can understand. But on the other hand, we do want to go beyond what most Sunday school quarterlies do. My whole premise is: keep it simple, yet get an understanding of what the Word really says. Because there’s a lot of ignorance out there that’s just almost unbelievable.
But for those of you out in television, again, we want to thank you for your prayer support and your letters. My, we continue to be amazed at our mail and how encouraging it all is. And the phone calls—once in a while the girls will tell me what they just heard, and they have to grab the Kleenex because the tears are flowing about the good phone calls they get. So we know the Lord is being awfully good to us. And again, we just ask that you would search the Scriptures with us, follow verse-by-verse. I’m always emphasizing to be just as aware of what is not in here as what is, because a lot of people have been told stuff that is not in here.
These next four programs will be, hopefully, in the next Messianic Psalms. We’ll be going to them in a minute, which will be Psalm 22, 23, and 24. Now, they all three kind of fit together. You’ll see that when we get there. But as a New Testament introduction to the Old, I’m going to start out with verses I use quite often – Romans 15. We’re just going to start at verse 4 and go all the way down, and verse 8 is sort of like the frosting on the cake.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime (that means back in the Old Testament) were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 5. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:”
“That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7. Wherefore receive you one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. 8. Now I say that Jesus Christ was (past tense—in His earthly ministry) a minister of the circumcision…”
Now catch that. He was a minister of whom? Israel. Not a word about being a minister to Gentiles back there in His earthly ministry. He was the minister of the “circumcision”—of Israel. Now I’m doing this because of one of the comments I’m going to make back in the Book of Psalms.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” Well, now goodness sakes, who were the Fathers? The Old Patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and later on Moses and David and the Prophets. It was all concerning God and His Covenant people, Israel.
Now one more before we go back to Psalms. I want you to turn to I Peter chapter 1. I think we did this in our last taping. This will be the theme now of all the Messianic Psalms.
I Peter 1:10a
“Of which salvation…” In other words—you know, that’s the theme of Scripture—whether it was to Adam or whether it was to Israel or whether it’s to us as Gentiles today. But Peter is dealing with fellow Jews who had now come into a relationship through the Kingdom Gospel—which required the Jew to believe that Jesus was the Christ. Nobody has told them to quit Law-keeping, so Peter is talking of that salvation.
I Peter 1:10
“Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, (those same prophets) who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:” At some point in the future.
I Peter 1:11
“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who was in them (That is, in the Prophets as they wrote.) did signify, when he testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the (What?) glory that should follow.”
Now, I think we put it on the board last week. We haven’t got it up there now. But that’s the whole theme of these Messianic Psalms—the suffering of the coming Messiah and the glory which would follow.
Now let’s go back to Psalms 22. Remember now, David is the primary author of the Book of Psalms, under the Holy Spirit, of course. But it’s the relationship, not between God and you and me as the Gentile world, but it’s the relationship between God and Israel. And since Israel was a pastoral nation—I trust you all know what I mean by that. What was their main commodity? Sheep!
They were sheepherders from day one. They had some other things. They had goats, and they had some cattle. But they were primarily shepherds with sheep. And that’s why whenever God dealt with Israel, that was so often the analogy—the shepherd and the sheep. All right, now we see this especially in these three chapters of Psalms that are all tied together with that shepherd and sheep concept.
In chapter 22, He is declared as the Good Shepherd. Now again, I didn’t intend to do this. But let’s just go back to John chapter 10, which I have always referred to as the shepherd chapter—the chapter concerning Israel’s Good Shepherd. And again, there is nothing in here that is directed to Gentiles, although we can take analogy from it. Of course we can. It’s the Word of God. But this is not directed to Gentiles. This is directed to Jews in Christ’s earthly ministry. Consequently, in chapter 10 verse 1 He said:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2. But (Now here’s the one we looked at in Psalm chapter 22.) he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.” And then He goes on and describes the Good Shepherd.
“To him the porter (or the door keeper) openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name,…” Now you’ve got to remember, that back in the days of Israel, they didn’t have these thousands upon thousands of head of sheep in herds like we’ve got out in our mountain states.
They were just small, little flocks. Indeed, they were almost like pets, and they probably all had a name. And they didn’t drive them, like we normally think of herding something. But what’d they do? They led them. They’d go ahead of their little flock of sheep.
All right, now that’s the analogy that Jesus is making. It’s in red if you’ve got a red-letter edition. That’s His role between Himself and Israel, like the Shepherd of the sheep.
“…the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, (He leads them. He doesn’t drive them.) and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” Now what is that? That’s the Good Shepherd. Now verse 11—this is the verse I really wanted to jump off to in Psalm 22.
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd (Does what?) giveth his life for the sheep.” Now think about that for a minute. What is He talking about? His own death, burial, and resurrection. For whose benefit? Now we’ve got to be careful up front. First and foremost, for whose benefit? Israel. To whom were all the promises given? The Fathers. Who were the Fathers? Israel.
It isn’t until Israel just rejects and rejects and rejects, and I’ve always used these same comments. When you get to Stephen’s martyrdom back there in Acts chapter 7, it was the epitome, the crescendo, not of Israel’s following the shepherd, but of her what? Rejection!
And then who were we introduced to at the stoning of Stephen? The next Apostle who is going to go to the Gentiles. But we have to leave it all in its own order. We’re dealing now, primarily—when we go back to Psalms 22, and it’s God relationship with His sheep—Israel. No Gentiles involved in here yet. It’s all between God and Israel. Now then, the Good Shepherd cries out:
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” Now, if you know anything about your Gospel account, what is this a prophecy of? The cross.
And that’s exactly what He cried out. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Here it is a thousand years before it happened! That’s why we call it a Messianic and a Prophetic Psalm. He’s rehearsing this to His own people Israel.
Now remember what John said? What does the Good Shepherd do for His sheep? He dies for them. Now this is a different set of circumstances, of course, than for some shepherd who probably has to fight off a bunch of wolves and so forth to protect his sheep and loses his life in doing it. But nevertheless, the concept is that the Good Shepherd is going to give His life for His sheep. That’s what this Psalm is all about.
But now we’re going to notice as we come through, and I’m going to take my time. Because you’ll see all the way from verse 1 up through verse 21, that it all deals with the crucifixion. And then all of a sudden at verse 22 it breaks into the joy and the power of resurrection. And then it’s resurrection from 22 to the end of the chapter. All right, we’re going to wait for that until we cover these verses that deal with His crucifixion.
“Oh my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3. But thou art holy, O thou who inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Now you’ve got to remember, that this is all speaking prophetically of that which won’t happen for another 1,000 years.
Now that just reminds me. How many times over the years haven’t I made the statement? Some of you may have never heard it. Some of you have heard it more than once. When Christ came at that first advent, Israel could have known who He was! Israel should have known who He was, because of all these Old Testament prophecies. But why didn’t they? Because they were so blinded by their unbelief.
But listen, don’t blame the Jew. We’re no different today. Look at the rank and file of even so-called Christian America. Churches on every corner—what percent of them know anything of this Book anymore? Very few. Very few. I get phone call after phone call. They find that out after they’ve learned something from listening to my program and they take it into their Sunday school class. What do they find out? How ignorant all the rest of them are. They never touch on these things. And why? They’re blinded with that same power of unbelief. So, yes, Israel could have known. All the prophets were declaring it. Israel should have known. But Israel did not know.
“Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.” Well, now this is a flashback in some of Israel’s history. The first one I think of is Joseph. My goodness, Joseph was a perfect picture of Christ. And what was he? Rejected by his brothers and cast into the pit.
But did God abscond from Joseph? No. God was with him. And even when they sold him to the slave traders, the Ishmaelites, did God abandon Joseph? No. God stayed with him. And even though he probably ended up in an Egyptian prison for what I feel was probably 10 years, yet the Scripture says, “God was with him.” Even in his adversity, God was with him. Then what happened? He became the second man in Egypt. He became the savior, not only of that part of the world, but especially the children of Jacob. These are all verses that flash us back to some of the previous things that took place in our Old Testament account.
“Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. 5. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.” Now we’re coming back again to Christ in His suffering and His rejection at the cross.
“But I am a worm, (Now you want to remember, He didn’t execute His authority and His power, but He let them do to Him whatever they wanted.) and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” Now we come up to the time that He was on the cross in verse 7:
“All they that see me (What’s their response? Sorrow and repentance? No! They were gloating. And they–) laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8. He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him,…”
Now, do you remember all this from Matthew and the Gospel accounts? Sure. This was the conversation out there in the crowd watching Him suffer. Well, if He’s who He says He is, let Him call down ten legions of angels. They’ll help Him. It was a constant scorn of their Messiah.
“But thou art he who took me out of the womb:…” Oh, my goodness, now we’ve got to stop. Now this, of course, is a conversation between the Son and the Father. What’s He talking about? Mary in Bethlehem—that the Son of God would come into the human experience through a human mother—through the womb experience.
“But thou art he who took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.” As a suckling babe. That’s how He became the God-Man prophesied back here 1,000 years before Christ.
Now, I guess the reason I’m going to be a little excited this afternoon in teaching these things, is that it just confirms again what this Book really is. It’s the supernatural Word of God—cover-to-cover. And we can believe every word of it, because of things like this. A thousand years before it happened, it’s already telling the exact way that God would become human flesh through the womb of a human mother.
“I was cast upon thee from the womb: (He never stopped being God, and yet He was always resting on the power and the promise of the Father.) thou art my God from my mother’s belly. (He never stopped being the Son of God, even in the womb.) 11. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; and there is none to help.”
Now, I’m just thinking of a verse. You know that’s the way I teach. I certainly wasn’t contemplating this before. Come back with me to the New Testament, to Luke chapter 18. Now remember the verse I just read, “Be not far from me; for trouble is near; and there is none to help.” All right, Luke 18, starting at verse 31—and this is at the end of His earthly ministry now. He has the Twelve up there in Northern Israel. They’re going to be making their way up to Jerusalem for Passover and the crucifixion. So there they are, up there at the headwaters of the Jordan River.
“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets (in the Old Testament) concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.” And here’s what’s going to happen. Jesus is speaking, knowing the end from the beginning, because of His Deity.
“For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33. And they shall scourge him, (That is with the whips.) and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” There it is, all in one verse. How He’s going to suffer and after three days in the tomb, He’d be raised from the dead. But now look at verse 34.
“And they (the Twelve) understood none of these things: (Why?) and this saying was hid from them,…” God didn’t intend those Twelve men to know what was coming, because—remembering what Jesus says from the Psalms—how many were going to help Him? None!
Well, what if these Twelve men would have gotten an inkling of what was coming? What could they have done? My, they could have raised up a few, anyway, to help Him fight back on the Romans. Because the Jews were tenacious, you know. They hated the Romans. And for any excuse, they would have had an insurrection. But you see, God made sure that for our benefit, to show us that Jesus knew what was coming—He kept the Twelve from understanding one iota.
Beloved, they had no idea whatsoever that He was going to be arrested, and that He was going to be put to death. And after He’d been put to death, they had no idea that He’d be raised from the dead. And remember, in this Age of Grace we live in, that’s what we have to believe for salvation (I Corinthians 15:1-4).
Now they could have, if they’d have known their Old Testament. But they didn’t. Remember what Peter wrote? “The prophets searched diligently.” Well, why were they searching diligently? They couldn’t find what they were looking for. That’s what it amounts to. And here we have it plain as day. As the Psalmist puts it in the words of the Lord Jesus from the cross, there were none to help Him.
All right, come back again, if you will, to Psalm 22 and verse 12. Now keep the picture of the crucifixion out in front of you, because that’s what this is all describing from a 1,000 year B.C. perspective, prophetically.
“Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.” Now I used to think that was just the crowd around Him. No. It was the demonic forces.
All the forces of Satan and Hell itself were surrounding Him there on the cross. Probably elated—just rejoicing that they finally had the One they were trying to usurp. They had Him where they wanted Him—hanging on that Roman cross. So, as He looked at it from a thousand years B.C., “They compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.” Now you come back to the crowd of humans around Him.
“They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.” Now remember, what was the cry of even the Jews at His trial? “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” Well, if they were crying that at His trial, do you think they stopped when He was on the cross? Well, of course not. It was just like a bunch of ravening wolves—get rid of Him! I don’t think we get a clue of the hatred that they had for this Jesus of Nazareth.
Have I got time? Come back with me to Acts chapter 26. This is from the lips of Saul of Tarsus—after his conversion, of course. Long after he’s been serving the Christ he once hated. But look what an intense hatred Saul of Tarsus had for this Jesus of Nazareth.
Saul was not that much different than the rank and file of Israel. Maybe this will give us a good indication of what we’re seeing in Psalms 22 of how those people hated and detested this One that was dying for them. That’s the pitiful part. He was dying for them who hated Him. All right, look what Paul tells Agrippa back here in Acts 26 verse 9.
“I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. (There are no ifs, ands, or buts about who he’s talking about.) 10. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints…” That is, those Jews who had embraced Jesus as the Messiah, and they loved Him with all their heart.
“…many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; (See, it wasn’t a one-man show. He had all the priesthood behind him.) having received authority from the chief priests; and when they (these saints, these believing Jews) were put to death, I gave my vote against them.” I was in favor of putting them to death.
“And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled (I forced them–) to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. 12. Whereupon as I went to Damascus…” Now, that gives you a little inkling of the hatred that the rank and file of Israel had for their Beloved Shepherd, the Messiah.
All right, back for the last few seconds to Psalm 22. He continues with the graphic description of crucifixion in verse 14.
“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: (from hanging there from those hands and so forth) my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my being. 15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.” That’s why He cried out, I thirst. Verse 16:
“For dogs have compassed me:…” Well who were “dogs” in Christ’s day? The Romans, the Gentiles. It’s all a graphic picture of the crucifixion.
“I may tell (I can count.) all my bones: they look and stare upon me.” What were they staring at? His suffering!
LESSON THREE * PART II
PART 2 of the MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
Psalms 22, 23, and 24
You know, from day one I have always stressed that this is an informal Bible study. I’m not going to be a stuffed-shirt. We’re going to keep it simple and have a time of fellowship and search the Scriptures together. So those of you out in television, if you’re ever in the Tulsa area the first Wednesday after the first Sunday of a month, why come in and enjoy the day with us.
All right, let’s go right back to where we left off in Psalm 22. As I said in the introduction of the last program, Psalms 22, 23, and 24 are sort of a trilogy. They all fit together, and we’re going to take them in that order. But here in Psalm 22, we have the first 21 verses—the graphic description of the crucifixion. It is so graphic that there is no mistaking that this is what it was talking about. And yet you want to remember, crucifixion hadn’t even been invented yet. That wouldn’t be invented for at least another 700 years. That’s another one of the miracles of Scripture. That here we have this description of a person on a cross being crucified, even though it had never happened at this point in time.
All right, so let’s finish the first half of chapter 22. We are still dealing with the crucifixion. Then at verse 22, we will break into the resurrection. Verse 16 again:
“For dogs (That is the Gentile Roman authorities.) have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: (We were describing that as the screaming Jews hating Him, even as we know Saul of Tarsus did.) they pierced my hands and my feet.” Now that was something unknown in any kind of an execution before crucifixion.
“I may tell (or I can count) all my bones: they look and stare upon me. (Which means that He was in an elevated position.) 18. They part my garments among them, (And we know that that’s exactly what they did.) and cast lots upon my vesture. (They gambled over the robe, remember?) 19. But be not thou far from me, O LORD: (In other words, it’s God the Son crying out to God the Father.) O my strength, haste thee to help me.”
“Deliver my soul from the sword; (That is from death itself.) my darling…” Now the commentary that I read the other night was, I think, the one that made the most sense. He’s referring to his own physical body. He can’t be referring to the church, because that isn’t even revealed yet. So He’s speaking of His own physical body of flesh.
“Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. (That is, again, from the Gentile soldiers around me.) 21. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.” In other words, as He was crying out from the very depths of death itself.
All right, now verse 22—we will break into, as I said earlier, into the graphic description of His resurrection.
“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” Now let’s stop and go all the way up to John’s Gospel chapter 20 and have the fulfillment of that—to the exact letter. John 20—resurrection morning, when Mary has gone to the tomb and finds it empty. She runs back and finds Peter and John, and they all come together. All right, then Jesus reveals Himself to Mary, remember, in verse 15.
“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener,…” We were just talking about that last night in our McAlester class.
Did He look weird in His resurrection body? Did He look like something from outer space? Did He have a pointed head and weird color? No. If He looked like a gardener, He looked very what? Ordinary. Just very ordinary. Now the reason we were talking about it last night is because we were talking about our eternal state when we get our resurrected body.
Well, what’s it going to be like? Like His resurrected body. So, what was His resurrected body? Very normal. Looked like a gardener. Like an ordinary human being. But it wasn’t ordinary. It was supernatural. It was flesh and bone. It wasn’t blood. That was left up there at Calvary. So the resurrected body was flesh and bone. But on the other hand, He walked and talked. He had fish frying on the shores of Galilee. He ate with them. But on the other hand, the supernatural aspect is that He could go through twenty feet of concrete as if it wasn’t there. We’re going to have those same capabilities someday when we get our resurrected body. Well, anyway, that’s all on the side. She supposed Him, verse 15 again, to be the gardener.
“…she supposing him to be the gardener saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” She still has no idea that He’s been raised from the dead.
“Jesus saith unto her, Mary….” You know, I can just hear Him. Can’t you? Almost in disgust at such unbelief. Mary, what’s the matter with you? Can’t you see it’s Me! And then, of course, she responds to almost the extreme. She was just going to, I think, throw herself at Him in a bear hug, and He has to say:
“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto my Father: but go to my brethren,…” What did the Psalmist say? “In the midst of the brethren.” So here is the correlation. The same language He spoke back in Psalms in prophecy, here it is in reality. He says to Mary:
“…but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” All right, just for sake of comparison, come back again to Psalm chapter 22 verse 23.
“Ye who fear the LORD, praise him;…” Well, now I had to do a little word search. In the Old Testament economy as it’s used here, what did that word “fear” really mean? Shaking in their boots? No. It was a reverential trust. That’s what it meant to fear God. Fear is the beginning of what? Wisdom. And when you’ve got spiritual wisdom, you’re going to do things as it should be done.
All right, so here we have the same connotation. Now, not all of Israel had that kind of trust in their Messiah. That was evident by the rejection of Him at His first advent. And all the way up through Scripture—I’ve done this over and over now. Even as we travel in my seminars and other parts of the country, I’ve got to remind people. Listen, even though they were all children of Abraham, yet the vast majority of even the Jews did not have a saving faith. They practiced idolatry. They were weak in faith.
In fact, to make my point, turn with me to Isaiah chapter 1. We’ve used this more than once, but I’ve got to keep hammering it home. God has never had the multitude. Never. Always the few. Because it’s just mankind’s bent to reject God’s offer of mercy. All right, Isaiah chapter 1 verse 9, which was 700 B.C. About 300 years beyond the writer of this Psalm, which was David. And look what the spiritual climate in Israel was.
“Except (or unless) the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” But what kept God’s wrath from destroying them? That little, small percentage of believers. And so it’s always been. All right, back to Psalms once again. Here we have this small percentage of Jews who feared Him with a reverential trust.
“Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. (But they didn’t. Most of them did not. All right, now verse 24.) 24. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.” In other words, when the Lord cried unto God the Father, He responded.
“My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.” See, now this is a constant reference that this will take place only amongst the true believers. The rest will care less.
“The meek (Looking forward after His resurrection—and again, as we’re going to see in chapter 24, when He brings in that glorious Kingdom.) shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.” All right, again, let’s jump up to Isaiah, so that we see that all these things fit together.
That’s what makes Bible study so exciting—that it’s not just one man writing at one point in time, but all the way through the whole period of time the Scripture is brought together and from all these different writers. Isaiah chapter 11 and start at verse 1. And again, this is prophecy. This still hasn’t been fulfilled, but it will be. Everything that prophecy states will come to pass. We just don’t know when.
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, (Now who are we really looking at? David. David was the son of Jesse, and out of the bloodline of David would come the Branch. Capital “B”—so it’s another term for the Son of God in the Old Testament.) and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” Now here’s when He comes in and establishes the Kingdom.
“And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;” Now, I call that the seven spirits of God who become the very person of God the Son Himself. All right, now as a result of that being a member of the Godhead and King over this Kingdom, verse 3:
“And they shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he (speaking of this Messiah King that’s coming) shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:” Well now, when you look at something like that, you’ve got to stop and make an illustration.
Put yourself in the White House. Just put yourself in the White House. There is no way that one man can keep his thumb on every segment of our nation. It’s utterly impossible. Look at all the diverse sections. You’ve got the mining community, the manufacturing community. You’ve got the medical community. You’ve got the farmers, and you’ve got the ranchers, and you’ve got the coal miners, and you’ve got the oil people, and you’ve got the merchants. I could just go on and on and on and on and on.
Those are all segments of society that are looking to the head of government for whatever reason. So what does the poor man have to do? Well, he has to have advisors. They have to gather their information and bring it to him in their own designated time. They have to explain to us if we’re behind the desk, well, this is what these people really have to have. The next guy comes in. Well, this is what this segment of society needs.
So the only way a president can function—he has to have good advisors. No one man can cover every base. But this One! He won’t need them. He won’t need them, because He’s the all-knowing God Himself. And that’s what I like to point out here. He will not judge after the sight of His eyes. He’s not going to make decisions based on what He sees. He’s not going to be making decisions on what some advisor says. But in His all-sufficient knowledge and in His omnipotence, verse 4:
“But with righteousness he shall judge (or rule) the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth:… ” That’s what brought me back here. That’s what the Psalm is talking about. That He would rule with equity over the poor and the meek in this glorious Kingdom that’s coming. There will be no disadvantage. There will be no grumbling of those that haven’t got as much as someone else. Okay, back to Psalm chapter 22 and verse 26.
“The meek shall eat and be satisfied: (They’re going to have nothing to complain about.) they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.” It’s the beginning of eternity when this Kingdom does finally come in. Now verse 27:
“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.” Has that ever happened in the last 6,000 years? No. When will it happen? When He finally sets up His Kingdom.
All right, now another verse comes to mind. We’ve used it before. A lot of this is a repeat. I just had a letter again yesterday. “Les, repeat, repeat, repeat. It’s finally soaking in.” So here we go, Zechariah chapter 14, I won’t take any more verses than I have to. Verse 9 and this is all prophecy that’s going to come to pass. That’s why it gets so exciting, because we’re getting so close. I don’t know whether it is six months or a year, or it might be ten years. I don’t know. But nevertheless, we know that this whole thing is finally coming together for the appearance of His Second Coming and the establishment of this glorious Kingdom.
“And the LORD (God the Son, Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament) shall be King over (Israel? But what?) all the earth: (It’s going to be a complete, pole-to-pole, from east to west glorious earthly Kingdom. He’s going to rule from Jerusalem.) in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”
Now we might as well flip back to the one I’m sure you’re all aware of. Revelation chapter 19 and verse 16. This is the Second Coming that introduces the Kingdom. And that’s when it will come about—at the end of the Tribulation, after the Battle of Armageddon has been fought and won.
“And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, (And what’s the name?) KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Absolute power and rule and authority. King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
And how did Zechariah say it? “And he will be King over all the earth.” My, Christendom hardly knows anything of this. What a pity. But it’s primarily for Israel until the Kingdom comes in. Then, of course, the Gentiles will become involved—although they will certainly be in a minority.
Now in that light, I guess maybe I should qualify that statement. On your way back to Psalms stop at Isaiah chapter 42. Because even though all these are dealing primarily with Israel, and it was Jew only for the most part—once the Kingdom comes in, Gentiles will be part of it. They will be the minority, but they’re going to be there. And here it is.
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, (It’s the same One we’re talking about in Psalm 22—the crucified, resurrected, ascended, and coming again Lord of Glory.) in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he (this coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords) shall bring forth judgment (Or rule, or government—to what people?) to the Gentiles.” God hasn’t left the Gentiles out of the picture. We know they’re going to part and parcel of that glorious earthly Kingdom. All right, back to Psalm 22.
“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28. For the kingdom (See how plain this is.) is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.”
I think I’ve got time enough. Let’s look at another one in Isaiah. Come back again—this is repetition for some, but for some it’s probably brand new. Isaiah chapter 9. But remember, before any of these things could happen, He had to go the way of the cross.
“For unto us (Now again, we always qualify. Who’s writing? The prophet Isaiah. And who’s he writing to? Jews. Israel. There’s not a word of this for Gentiles, except as we use it. But it wasn’t directed to us. It’s directed to the Nation of Israel.) a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government (Now what does the government speak of? Well, a Nation or a Kingdom) shall be upon his shoulder: (singular) and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Now, some of those are known names of God the Son, and some of them are names of the Father. But what’s it indicate? They’re one. One God. In three persons.
“Of the increase of his government (over this world-wide kingdom) and peace there shall be no end, (Because it’s going to slip right on into eternity—even after the 1,000 years have run their course.) upon the throne of David, (See, that’s why David is so involved in all these Kingdom promises.) and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Oh, it’s going to happen. Don’t worry, it’s going to happen.
Back to Psalms again, chapter 22, maybe we can finish the chapter in this half hour. Verse 29:
“All they that be fat upon the earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. (He’s going to have total dominion.) 30. A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.”
Now, let’s go back up to fill out the last couple minutes here. Come up with me to Amos. That’s right after Hosea, if I remember right. And, fortunately, we did a series of programs on this a while back—on this coming glorious Kingdom. So for most of our listeners, hopefully, this is just a review. But now in Amos chapter 9 we have exactly what the Psalmist is talking about in chapter 22. How that all the people of the earth are going to be well-fed. There’ll be no poverty. There’ll be no shortage of food.
Here in Amos chapter 9—these are all descriptions of this glorious, coming earthly Kingdom. Verse 13:
“Behold, the days come, (Has it happened yet? No. Is it going to? Yeah, I’ve got you convinced. Yeah, it’s going to.) saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper,…” In other words, it’s going to be continuous production. And it will be light labor production. No insects. No weeds. No drought. No need of irrigation. It’s just going to be a fabulous time of food production. Without having the sweat of the face.
“…and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. (That’s just speaking of intense production of all these good foodstuffs.) 14. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel,…” Now what does that mean? Oh, the Jews being scattered into every nation under heaven these last 2,000 years, they’re all—who are ending up as believers, of course—they’re all going to end up in this glorious earthly Kingdom under the rulership of their Messiah.
“…of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards,…” Now we’ve already seen the beginning of some of this. My, how the little land of Israel has blossomed like a rose in the last 30 to 40 years. It’s just unbelievable. And they will inhabit it.
“…they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.”
LESSON THREE * PART III
PART 2 of the MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
Psalms 22, 23, and 24
Again, for those of you joining us on television, you can tell we’re informal. I mean we just don’t get too stiff if we can help it. We do appreciate the folks that come in and enjoy the afternoon with us. And for those of you in television, we just want to invite you to study with us. And evidently it’s working. Our letters tell us that you get your cup of coffee and you get your notepad and Bible and we have Bible study. Well, that’s what we like to hear.
We always have to thank our TV audience, as well as all of you in here, for your support, prayers, financial, whatever. We just trust the Lord is getting all the glory for it. We just had contact with our mission group in Russia, and they’re still translating all our stuff into Russian and Ukrainian. Churches are using it, and the Lord is blessing it.
And then last month in our retreat, we had a fellow from Spain and a fellow from Czechoslovakia who flew over just to be with us for a couple of days. They had picked us up on the internet. So you just have no idea how far the Lord is reaching with this—what I call—simple Bible study. That’s all it is.
All right, we’re in a series of three chapters back in the Book of Psalms that are pretty much tied together—Psalms 22, 23, and 24. They all deal, prophetically of course, with Christ at His first advent and especially in His identity with the Nation of Israel as the Shepherd of the Sheep. In our previous two programs, we dealt with His crucifixion and how He died for the sheep. And then we saw in the last program how He arose from the dead in power and glory. Now we’re going to look at chapter 23, the Psalm that I imagine every one of you know practically from memory—the Lord is my Shepherd and so forth.
“The LORD is my shepherd;…” Now, if I’m not mistaken, the original Hebrew would say that the Lord here is the I AM—the Jehovah of the Old Testament. And you remember, the I AM of the Old Testament was Jesus of the New. It’s the same person of the Godhead who is claiming to be the Shepherd of Israel.
Now we’ll jump up to the New Testament again for a little while, because I don’t like to get hung up in either part of Scripture. Because they dovetail so beautifully. Come up with me to Hebrews chapter 13. Here we have the term the Great Shepherd—Hebrews 13 verse 20.
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead (See, just like we saw in Psalm 22.) our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,”
Now, I think we have to stop and consider. From the very onset of Judaism, or the Jewish religion back there around Mount Sinai, they built the tabernacle—the tent made of animal skins—and established the priesthood and the feast days. And Israel became aware that there was only one payment for sin. And that was what? Blood.
They saw it in Egypt when they put the blood on the doorposts. It was their escape. It was their protection. Now they also became aware of it, especially on the Day of Atonement—which was not a true atonement, because animal’s blood could not atone for their sin. All it could do was cover it. But you see, Israel had now gone through 500 years of their religion. So they had a pretty well-established idea that there had to be an atoning blood that would pay their sin debt, which animals’ blood could not do. This little Book of Hebrews shows that.
In fact, while you’re in Hebrews, you might as well just back up so that you’ll know what I’m talking about. Back up to Hebrews chapter 9. This is what we have to understand. That everything is moving forward to the time when the true atoning blood would be shed. But, of course, Israel didn’t know how or why and when it would happen. Yet they had that understanding that animals’ blood could not take away their sin. It was just a cover-up. It was a temporary thing again.
All right, the Book of Hebrews, after the fact, now tells us exactly how it is. Here in Hebrews chapter 9 and let’s start at verse 11.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, (Not made of animal skins, not made even of the cedars of Lebanon and gold and silver. But it was made without hands.) that is to say, not of this building;” Or this creation. It was in Heaven.
“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood (the blood from Calvary) he entered in once into the holy place,…” Not in the Temple in Jerusalem, but the Tabernacle in Heaven.
And you remember in John 20, that’s why He told Mary, Touch me not, I have not yet ascended to my God and your God. Well, He couldn’t be defiled until He had presented His own blood in the heavenlies—in the Tabernacle that is up there. Then he went on in verse 12.
“…but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, (not in Jerusalem but in Heaven) having obtained eternal redemption for us. Having paid the sin debt, not only for Israel, now, but of the whole human race.
“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, (if that) sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (in the Old Testament economy) 14. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot (a perfect sacrifice) to God, (How much more shall that–) purge (or cleanse) your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” See, that was all appropriated by His shed blood.
All right, now lest we lose the Great Shepherd concept of the Book of Hebrews, let’s go back again to the Shepherd chapter in John’s Gospel, where we were in the first half hour this afternoon. John chapter 10 verse 1. And I was just sharing with somebody at break. This just struck me this morning. I’d only been up for just a little bit and mulling these things over, when it hit me like a bolt of lightening. And I’m going to see what you think of it when we’re through. But I think you’ll agree—what a tremendous comparison.
Here in John chapter 10, Jesus is speaking, still in the concept of the Shepherd and his Sheep. God and His Covenant people Israel. Look at verse 1.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold,…” Now I’ve got to stop a minute. How many ways into God’s salvation? One! How many doors in the sheepfold? One! And as I’ve stressed in past years, where was the sheepfold? In some inaccessible place or was it on level ground? Right out in front where the sheep could just walk right in without having to jeopardize themselves, without having to crawl up a mountain or cross a river. There was the sheepfold.
But now Jesus is making the analogy that not everybody is going to come in that one prescribed sheep door. They’re going to do what? They’re going climb up some other way. They’re going to find one excuse or another to go contrary to the one way that God has given. And what is it?
“…the same is a thief and a robber.” Not very nice terms are they? In other words, in the analogy, if someone is going to try to sneak into the sheepfold to do whatever dirty work he’s going to do, he’s not going to come through the door. He’s going to sneak in some other way.
That’s all well and good so far as God and Israel are concerned. But where is the same thing applied to us in this Age of Grace? Now, I’m going to shock you. Turn ahead to Galatians chapter 1. And like I said, it just struck me like a thunderbolt this morning. And if I wouldn’t have found time to share it this afternoon, I probably wouldn’t have slept a wink all night. But it just came up perfectly.
Galatians chapter 1, it is the same analogy. If you’re going to do something other than God’s prescribed way, you’re under the anathema of God as much as a thief and a robber were in John chapter 10. Now that’s strong language. I know it is. I’ve used these verses. I’ve spent three hours in seminars on these three verses, because people better wake up. They are going in some other way and God will not have it.
All right, look at it. Galatians 1 verse 6 and I’ve got to stop a minute. Always—before we read these verses—what was Paul dealing with? Well you see, he had his little groups of Gentile believers up there—especially from Antioch and Syria and then across central Turkey through the highlands, Derbe, Lystra, Antioch of Pisidia, and then on over to Ephesus. And here come the Judaizers from Jerusalem—who were still under the Law of Moses. The Temple was still operating, but they had become believers in Jesus the Messiah. They come along behind Paul and go into these little Gentile congregations and tell them…. I guess I’ve got to use Scripture. It’s the only way to do it.
Acts chapter 15—a portion, again, that most of Christendom doesn’t even know is in their Bible. And if they do, they ignore it. But here was the problem that Paul had to deal with that precipitated these verses in Galatians—Acts chapter 15 and start at verse 1. Now like I’ve said in so many other programs. I didn’t intend to do this. I was going to show you Galatians 1. But you see, you can’t teach Galatians unless you know why it was written.
“And certain men (We don’t know how many. But they–) which came down from Judea (Now what’s in Judea? Jerusalem, the Temple.) taught the brethren, (That is, Paul’s Gentile converts. And these Judaizers–) and said, Except (or unless) ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” Isn’t that something? And then you come along a little further up into verse 5.
“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, (That Jesus was the promised Messiah in the Kingdom economy.) saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, (Now don’t forget who we’re talking about—Paul’s Gentile converts up there in Asia Minor and so forth.) and to command them to keep the Law of Moses.” Well, what did that fly in the face of? Paul’s Gospel. And that’s why he had to frantically write these six little chapters of Galatians.
All right, now come back if you will to Galatians chapter 1. Now don’t lose my analogy. The one that won’t come into the sheepfold through the door and goes in some other way is a what? “A thief and a robber.” And God has no time for that. All right, Galatians 1:
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto (What?) another gospel:” What’s the word in John 10? If he goes in another way instead of the door. See the analogy. I think it’s perfect. And this is where we are. John 10 was for Israel. But here for us in the Age of Grace, if someone comes in and muddies up our thinking with another gospel, verse 7:
“Which is not another; (In other words, in John 10 they weren’t going into some other or somebody else’s sheepfold. They were going into the prescribed one that Jesus is talking about. And so Paul the same way—it’s not a totally different and new set of circumstances, but here is what the problem is.) but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert (or pollute or corrupt) the gospel of Christ.” They came in and added to Paul’s Gospel. Now verse 8:
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be (What?) accursed.”
See how similar the language is? I just can’t get over it. All Paul’s converts were required to believe for salvation was that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and rose again—as we see in I Corinthians 15:1-4. But now they were being told this was not enough!
If someone is going to come into Jesus’ sheepfold some other way, he’s a thief and a robber. If someone is going to come unto us with a Gospel other than Paul’s Gospel of Grace, he is under the anathema of God. Why? Because if someone is going to come and tell you and me that this Grace Gospel isn’t enough—you have to do this and you have to do that, etc.—he’s perverting that gospel. And God won’t have it. He won’t call them a thief and a robber, but you know what He’s going to call them? Liars. You’re liars. There is nothing else but the one Gospel. And if you’re going to add to it, even a smidgen, you’re telling God, You lied.
You know why? What were the last three words that Christ said from the cross? “It is finished.” And what has mankind been doing for 2,000 years? Saying, no, it isn’t finished. You’ve got to do this, and you’ve got to do that. You’ve got to do something else. Do you see the parallel? Boy, I was so excited. You know, I was just on edge driving up here all morning. But, listen, this is where we are. This is exactly what we’re up against, like Israel was up against the thief and the robber sneaking into the sheepfold without any authority to do so.
Now then, we know that Psalm 23 is that chapter of comfort, and we’re going to go back there. But since you’re in Galatians, I think I’ll just use it. I was going to go back there and then come back, but since we’re here, we’ll stay here. Stay in Galatians and move ahead to chapter 5 and jump in at verse 22. Now while we’re reading this, keep rehearsing in your mind Psalm 23 – “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” and all the promises that we’re going to look at in a minute. That was for Israel.
Now, we can take comfort from Psalm 23, don’t get me wrong. But it’s still not as applicable to you and to me as this is, because we have this power of the Holy Spirit within us. And this is as sweet a language as Psalm 23 is in the account of a shepherd and his sheep.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they who are Christ’s have (put to death) crucified the flesh (or the Old Adam) with the affections and lusts.” And in its place, we have all these good things in verses 22 and 23. That’s glorious, isn’t it? What kind of a better life-style could you hope for than to have these attributes in your everyday life?
Now let’s go back, in the few minutes we have left, and see how that compares with the Great Shepherd of Psalm 23. And again, never lose the concept. The Great Shepherd is just like the Good Shepherd. He’s willing to give His life for His sheep. But He is primarily interested in giving them all the blessings of life. And that’s what this chapter amounts to. It’s all in language that a shepherd and a sheep owner would understand.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:…” Well, what’s that a picture of? Tranquility. Peace and quiet.
You know, there’s nothing that looks better to me than to drive through the country and see a herd of cattle lying out there chewing their cud. What is that? That’s tranquility. Nothing to disturb them. They’re satisfied. Their bellies are full. Green grass abundant. Well, that’s what you’ve got here. This was the analogy of the believer’s life under the Law.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Well, now what kind of creatures are we dealing with? Sheep.
Now sheep are different than all other animals. If they had a roaring river, do you think you’d get them to drink out of it? No way. They would never touch it. But you see, the shepherd made sure that he would bring them to a place of quiet, still water, where they could drink without fear. Always keep the analogy in mind. We’re dealing with sheep. Then verse 3:
“He restoreth (or He invigorates) my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Well, what’s the Psalmist talking about? Come back to Galatians once again. Because that’s the only way we can understand Scripture. It is to compare Scripture with Scripture. In this same chapter 5, just before the verses we read of the tranquil believer’s experience, like the sheep lying out there on green pastures drinking from still water. All right, that’s what our picture is in verses 22 and 23. But when David speaks of walking in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake, he’s speaking of the opposite that he’s not doing. And that’s what we have up here in Galatians 5 verse 19. This is the exact opposite of what it is to walk in the paths of righteousness.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, (See, this is all part of the opposite of the righteousness.) emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21. Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” They’re going to miss it. Now back to Psalm 23 verse 4.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, (Well, what’s he talking about? Physical death. And that’s how Job described it—like walking through a valley. And here we have the promise, that even if he does come to physical death, the shadow of death–) I will fear no evil: (He doesn’t have to worry that he’s going to miss his eternal reward.) for thou art with me;…”
All right, once again let’s slip back to see how Paul puts it for us. What’s our assurance that if physical death catches up with us, and we have to go through that valley of the shadow of death before we’re called out in what we’re hopefully looking at—the Rapture. Now we come to II Corinthians chapter 5. This question comes in almost every day. What happens to a believer’s soul and spirit when we die? All right, II Corinthians 5—I’ll probably run out of time. Let’s just drop in at verse 6.
II Corinthians 5:6
“Therefore we are always confident, (As a believer. Now remember, that’s all Paul talks to.) knowing that, while we are at home in the body, (In other words, we’re functioning day-to-day under normal circumstances.) we are absent from the Lord:” We’re only seeing Him through the eyes of faith.
II Corinthians 5:7-8
“(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and (The minute our soul and spirit leaves this body that’s now in death, where does it go?) to be present with the Lord.” Immediately! So, if you’ve never known that before, you know now—that if you die, you go immediately into the Lord’s presence in that realm of the soul and the spirit.
Now quickly back to Psalm 23. I’ve got one minute left. Maybe we can do fairly good justice to it. Verse 5:
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: (Now you can just about picture that, can’t you?) thou anointest my head with oil; (Which was a Middle Eastern habit, or whatever you want to call it.) my cup runneth over.” And then here’s the promise.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: (Because David has this glorious assurance that he is the sheep of the Great Shepherd.) and I will dwell in the house of the LORD (How long?) for ever.”
And listen, it’s the same hope with us. We, too, once time ends, are going to spend eternity in God’s presence.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
PART 2 of the MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
Psalms 22, 23, and 24
Okay, good to see everybody back for program number four this afternoon. And we’re going to continue on to the next Psalm, which is Psalm 24. But before we look at that, we’re going to look at some verses in the New Testament again, and then we’ll come back.
For those of you joining us on television, again, you know how I like to keep thanking you and praising the Lord for all your prayers, your contributions, and all that goes with it. How we thank you for your encouraging letters that we are getting something done. People are getting interested in what the Book really says.
Now to introduce us to the 24th Psalm, let’s go back to I Peter a moment. Remember, that Peter is writing to Jews just as well as the Psalm is dealing with Jews. A lot of people don’t see that. But there’s nothing in Peter’s epistles that say otherwise, so I’ll maintain that.
I Peter 5:4a
“And when the chief Shepherd (We’ve had the Good Shepherd. We’ve had the Great Shepherd. Now we’ve got the Chief Shepherd.) shall appear,…” That is at His Second Coming. Now you want to remember, that when Peter wrote this little epistle, this is after the work of the cross. This is just shortly before they thought the Tribulation would be coming in. Of course, it’s not too long before Peter and Paul are both taken off the scene.
But here he writes as an Apostle of the Nation of Israel—as he was when he was in Christ’s earthly ministry. But he writes concerning His Second Coming. Peter knows nothing of the Rapture, only His Second Coming. We’ve got the timeline up here, so I’m going to use it.
Here we’ve been coming through all these Old Testament prophets and prophecies. Everything is 99% God dealing with Israel, even as we’re seeing in these Psalms. Then He fulfills those graphic prophecies concerning His first advent—His suffering, His death, His resurrection. He ascended. And then, according to all the Old Testament prophecies and timing and all that, they were expecting, like Peter is writing here, the seven years of Daniel’s seventieth week—or what we call the Tribulation—to come right in. And if these Jewish believers could survive these seven years, they’d go into the Kingdom, because that’s what they were looking for.
Now in reality, looking back, we know that it didn’t happen. God postponed it. He brought in, instead, our Age of Grace. We now feel that we’re right down here toward the end. And again, we’re looking at those seven years as just out in front of the world. But here again, Peter is rehearsing the matter with his fellow-believing Jews—as if all of this is going to be happening within their lifetime. So read it once again.
I Peter 5:4-5a
“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, (At His Second Coming and He will bring in that 1,000 year reign, or what we call the millennial reign, or the Kingdom.) ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (Because now it goes into the eternal state.) 5. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder, Yea, all of you be subject one to another, be clothed with humility:…” And so on and so forth—preparing these Jewish believers for the Tribulation that they felt was right out in front of them.
All right, back up a page, at least in my Bible, to chapter 2. Still in I Peter and verse 25. I just want you to see this constant analogy that the Jew was the sheep and God was the Shepherd. All the way through from the appearance of, especially, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and so forth—it’s that analogy of the sheep and the Shepherd.
And as I pointed out in previous programs, I cannot find that you and I as Gentiles are ever in that category. I cannot find where God looks on us as sheep of His pasture and He is the shepherd. Instead, He’s the Head and we are in the Body—a whole completely different concept. But here in I Peter now, we’re still dealing with the sheep aspect.
I Peter 2:25
“For ye (speaking to his fellow Jews) were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
In other words, the Spiritual element is ready for the coming of their King. But you know, I just thought of a verse. On your way back, before we go to Psalms, stop a minute at Luke 15. This is one of my favorite examples of how the majority of Israel saw absolutely no need for a spiritual salvation. And that’s in Luke 15, the Parable of the Lost Sheep. That’s what made me just think of it. You were as sheep going astray. And that’s exactly the parable that Jesus gives in Luke 15 verse 3. And again, I’ll remind you of what I said in the last program. Israel was a pastoral people. Most of them had their own little flocks of sheep and goats. So He could talk in language that they were so well aware of, and they could understand it. Now verse 3:
“And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4. What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness,…” Now you’ve got to remember, the wilderness is not like our Rocky Mountains and forests and so forth. The wilderness in the Middle East was what? Desert. Just flat desert. And in no time those sheep could be scattered and without a shepherd. They had no way of holding themselves together.
All right, so here’s the picture then. He leaves those ninety and nine with nothing to guide them or protect them, and he goes after the one that he hears crying out there. Maybe in a little cavern of some kind, but he’s lost. So he leaves the ninety and nine out there on the wilderness, on the desert.
“…and go after that which is lost, until he finds it? 5. And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.”
Now this is all hard to comprehend in the picture here. Why didn’t he just take it back and join the flock? Well, it wouldn’t fit any more, because this is the picture of a believer. And the rest are still unbelievers. Next verse:
“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, who need no repentance.”
Now, I just got a letter the other day with the question. Evidently I’d made point of it in a previous program, that these ninety and nine were lost. And the writer of the letter says, “Les, how can you say that when it says that they didn’t need repentance?” Well, why didn’t they need repentance? They were self-righteous. Now don’t lose that. They were self-righteous. They didn’t need anything that God had to offer. The ninety and nine were the same way. Did they miss the shepherd? No. They were out there on the wilderness grabbing at little clumps of grass. They had no concern. But what were they? Lost. You get the picture.
Now read this verse again. Because whoever wrote the letter, I know was thoroughly confused, and I am taking this opportunity to straighten them out. That likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth—why did he repent? He knew he was a sinner. Why did the little sheep cry his head off? He knew he was lost. The ninety and nine didn’t have a clue that there was anything wrong. They were self-satisfied. All right, now that’s the same way then in verse 7.
“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over the ninety and nine just persons, which needs no repentance.”
That sinner that repenteth was far more in God’s favor than the ninety and nine just persons who needed no repentance. Now, do you get the point? Why did they not feel that they needed repentance? Self-righteous. I’m okay. I don’t need anything. But what are they? Lost. And that’s most of mankind. They go through life thinking, well, I’m as good as my neighbor.
I’ll never forget, I had an elderly fellow right down the lane from me, and I would go down and try to witness to him. And every time, he’d say, “Les, I’m as good as so and so,” who was a known adulterer. But listen, that’s not going to cut it. You can’t hide behind an adulterer and hope to get to Heaven. But see, that’s the way they look at it. Well, I’m better than him, and he’s going to make it. I said, “What makes you think he’s going to make it?” “Well, he’s a big wheel in the church.” That’s not going to cut it. But, you see, these are the same way. They were out there on the wilderness, eating their little clumps of grass unconcerned. They were okay. But what did the Lord call them? Lost. Don’t ever forget that.
All right, now on your way back to Psalms, let’s stop at Isaiah chapter 40. Then we’ll go and look and see what the Psalms says. Here I just want you to see how all through Scripture, when God is dealing with Israel or the Jewish people, you have that shepherd and sheep concept. Here it is again.
“He shall feed his flock like a (What?) shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Well, when will Israel enjoy that kind of a closeness with their shepherd? In the Kingdom, when all the promises will finally be fulfilled.
Okay, now that’s exactly what Psalm 24 is talking about—that when the King shall come and set up this glorious Kingdom, then Israel will enjoy all the promises throughout the Old Testament. All right, back to Psalm 24, starting at verse 1. Now remember what our three Psalms applied to. The first one was the Good Shepherd. Psalm 23 was the Great Shepherd. And now we come to Psalm 24, the Chief Shepherd—because it’s bringing us to the end of time as we know it. Verse 1:
“The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Certainly no argument there, is there? He’s the Creator. He’s the Sovereign Ruler of the universe, and it’s His to do whatever He feels needs to be done.
“For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. (In other words, the floodwaters—if you want to go back to Noah, I see nothing wrong with that.) 3. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?” What is the Psalmist establishing? Who God is. Now I think if there’s a book in our Bible that establishes it, it’s Job. Now let me make my point.
Come back to Job 38. Maybe this will make my point—that even a lot of people living today do not have the concept of who God is. They’re evolutionists. They’re atheists. They’re agnostics. And they just will not recognize that the God of Creation is who this Book says He is. All right, now it wasn’t that Job was an agnostic, not by any stretch. But on the other hand, he had a long ways to go, didn’t he?
You know, a lot of people think that maybe God dealt unfairly with Job. Why? Why did God come down on that man so hard? Well, He had to make an impression on the man’s thinking. I think it was because Job thought he was a pretty good ol’ boy. I think he had a level of pride that God had to bring down. And that’s what I get here in chapter 38. After all these previous 37 chapters, now the Lord answers in verse 1.
“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 2. Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 3. Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.” Now watch these questions.
“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? (My, wouldn’t I like to ask some of these atheists a question like that? Where were you when God called the universe into being? That’s what He’s asking Job. And then look what the Lord says next.) declare, (tell me) if thou hast understanding.” So, what’s implied? Job was a pretty smart ol’ boy. But he wasn’t quite smart enough.
“Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6. Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7. When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Where were you Job?
Well, what’s He establishing? His Deity. His Sovereignty. He is the One that has all the answers. Well, that’s enough. It just sort of wets your appetite. Come back again to Psalm 24. Otherwise, I’m going to run out of time.
“Who shall ascend unto the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? 4. He who hath clean hands, and a pure heart; (In other words, a true believer—even back there in Israel.) who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. 5. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” See those promises for the believer?
“This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. (See how he’s addressing this to Israel, to the Jew.) 7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting (or the ancient or the eternal) doors; (Now here it comes. This is the thrust of this Psalm—the Chief Shepherd, the Bishop of Israel’s soul.) and the King of glory shall come in.”
Now, those of you who know a little bit about your Bible, come back with me to Ezekiel 44 verse 2. Now remember why I’m going back there. “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.”
“Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. 2. Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, and it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.”
Now, if you know a little bit about the Eastern Gate in the wall of Jerusalem, what’s unique about it? Well, number 1, if you see pictures of the Eastern Wall with the Dome of the Rock in there, there is a Golden Gate. Those of you who have been may have seen it. But that’s not the real gate. That’s not the gate through which Christ went on that triumphal entry on Palm Sunday. It’s about ten feet below ground. And the Muslims have put a cemetery there so that nobody can fool with it.
But you see, that Eastern Gate—even though the Golden Gate is up there in view—that’s not the one that Scripture’s talking about. That’s not the one through which Christ entered. It’s below ground. It’s been shut for centuries. The Muslims, for one reason or another, will not let anybody even attempt. One guy tried to dig down to it, and they caught him red-handed.
But the real Eastern Gate is down there below the one you see in the pictures. It’s been shut ever since when. But something is going to happen that that gate is going to be opened when the King of Glory will come in. And that’s what the Psalmist is talking about. That the Eastern Gate that has been now shut for 2,000 years will be opened, and the King of Glory will come in. Now verse 8:
“Who is this King of glory? The LORD (And that’s the Old Testament term for God the Son, remember?) The LORD (Jehovah—God the Son) strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; (that is of Jerusalem) even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall (What?) come in.”
And where’s He going to rule from? Mount Zion in Jerusalem. All of Scripture is looking forward to this glorious Kingdom that is still going to come. Now, I want to just finish the Psalm, and then we’ll look at a few other verses in Scripture that are promising this glorious King and His Kingdom. Verse 10, it’s repeated again for emphasis.
“Who is this King of glory? (Well, it’s–) The LORD of hosts, (The Creator—it’s God the Son.) he is the King of glory. Selah.”
All right, let me take you back to the New Testament. Let’s look at Matthew for a moment. Let’s jump in at Matthew chapter 25. This is just another little inkling of Scripture describing this King. This coming Lord of Lords, as Revelation put it. We saw that earlier. He will return to the Nation of Israel, to the city of Jerusalem, and He will set up His Kingdom. It’s coming! All right, verse 31 of Matthew 25:
“When the Son of man (the King of Glory) shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:”
Now let’s back up a few pages to chapter 19, where we get another picture of that same great throne room—that event that’s still future. Here is where it was promised to Peter and the Eleven disciples. Now of course, Judas fell out, but Mathias came in. So we’ve still got the Twelve apostles waiting to fulfill this glorious prophecy. Now verse 27 and this is toward the end of Christ’s earthly ministry. The Twelve, of course, are still—like I’ve already shown on our timeline—are looking for the King and the Kingdom in their lifetime. They have no idea it’s going to be another 2,000 years.
“Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, (Their fishing business up on Galilee, their families, and they’ve spent these three years serving the Lord day and night. So he says–) and followed thee; what shall be have therefore?”
That is for reward. And look at Jesus’ answer. Peter, are you crazy? Is that what He says? No. He doesn’t put him down. And He knows that Peter isn’t talking about his salvation. He’s got that. But what are we going to have for having forsaken everything? We’ve followed you. What’s our future? What’s our reward? Now look how the Lord answered him.
“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye who have followed me, (you eleven men) in the regeneration (In other words, when the world is made ready for the Kingdom. It’s been totally renovated and regenerated. That’s what the word means.) when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, (like we just saw in Matthew 25) ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging (ruling) the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Now isn’t that beautiful? Everything fits. Who is this King of Glory? It’s the Coming, Second Coming, of the Son of God, Jesus the Christ!