Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 54
I Peter 1:1 – 2:14
We’re glad you’re with us and we trust that you’ll study and search the Scriptures; and just don’t take what I say. You can disagree with me. I don’t mind disagreement one bit, but you have to do it scripturally. Not just because of what your denomination says, or what my denomination says, or anybody else’s; but what we go by is what the Book says. And I find that when we don’t agree, it normally is because people like to stay in the Law rather than in what the Apostle Paul has written to us. So you have to rightly divide the Word of God.
Okay, now, to pick up again with our study. We find that I Peter is in this little group of Jewish epistles at the back of our Bible, that is written to the Jews. And we showed that, at the beginning of the chapter, he is writing to the strangers, or to the dispersed Jews out there in the Roman Empire, primarily in Asia Minor. Now, of course, there were other groups as well, but I think most of these Jews of the Gospel of the Kingdom persuasion had believed Jesus was the Christ, and they’re now waiting for His soon return. And all the pressures of persecution are building and yet it’s nothing compared to that which they think is just in front of them, which at the time Peter is writing, is the 7 years of Tribulation.
So, even though that 7 years of Tribulation has been postponed for nearly 2,000 years, yet we have come full circle, and here we are almost back in the same kind of a setting. At that time, the Roman Empire held forth, but today, Western Europe is coming up fast, as is prophesied in Daniel. So the revised Roman Empire is coming on the scene. Israel was still in the land as of Peter’s writings, and they did not experience the Roman invasion and destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, so they still weren’t aware of that. And the same way today, the land of Israel is in Jewish hands for the most part and we trust that when the seven-year peace treaty is signed, the first thing they’re going to get will be a restored Temple of some sort. So all of these things are now almost back as they were before.
All right, so coming back now in I Peter chapter 1 – we left off with verse 11; how that all the Old Testament prophets had an inkling, and yet no understanding of some of the things that were to come. They knew there was to be a suffering Redeemer. They knew there was to be a glorious ruling King. And I think a lot of the old rabbis and so forth thought that they might even be two separate people. But, if it was One and the same, they certainly couldn’t comprehend that it was separated by a period of time, which now, of course, has been almost 2,000 years since the suffering Savior and we are now getting ready for the return of the glorious King and His Kingdom. All right, so, reading verse 11 again just to review our thinking that these prophets in verse 10 were:
I Peter 1:11a
“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify,…” Which again, what does that tell you? Even the Old Testament saints were moved as Paul says, that “all Scripture was inspired of God.” The Old Testament writers were just as much inspired by the Holy Spirit as our New Testament writers and here it is again.
I Peter 1:11b
“…when it testified (to those Old Testament prophets,) beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” In other words, after He would suffer the death of the Cross, and He would ascend back to Glory, then in short order would come the horrors of the Tribulation, and then the King would return and set up the Kingdom. That was the Old Testament format and timeline according to Psalms chapter 2, but none of them had an inkling that God would stop it and usher in the Age of Grace with the Apostle Paul.
Now the Lord Himself did. Jesus, in Luke chapter 4 gave us, as I’ve used so often, our reason for opening up our timeline. Because Jesus understood that the Tribulation would not be coming as quickly as Psalms 2 indicated, but He did not betray that knowledge except when he read from the book of Isaiah.
Maybe we should go back and look at that because we haven’t done that for a while. Let’s go back to Luke chapter 4. Sometimes there’s no apparent rhyme nor reason to what I do, and yet I have to feel the Lord has done it the way He wants it done, because we’re seeing so many people understand Scripture like they never have before. Now remember here in Luke chapter 4, we have Christ in His earthly ministry, and Christ is still under the Law.
“And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, (of course) and stood up for to read. 17. And there was delivered unto him the book (or the scroll) of the prophet Esaias (Isaiah). And when he had opened the book, he found (in other words, he looked for it) the place where it was written;” Now this is what he read from Isaiah.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel (or the good news, which in that case was of the King and the Kingdom) to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, (which he did when he went down into hell or hades those three days and three nights in the tomb.) and recovering of sight to the blind, (a reference to His miracles and signs and wonders) to set at liberty them that are bruised. 19. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.” And then, when Jesus realized that they were looking for some kind of a statement from him, He said again:
“And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture (Isaiah 61 verses 1, 2 and 3) fulfilled in your ears.”
Now we always have to go back to Isaiah 61 and see why there was such consternation in that Synagogue group when Jesus stopped reading. Well, of course, the reason was that He stopped right in the middle of a verse or even in the middle of a thought.
Isaiah 61, and we won’t take time to reread verse 1, but come up to verse 2 and I want you to notice where He stopped. But no one else figured it out. The disciples didn’t figure it out. They didn’t understand, and so we in retrospect can. All right, in verse 2 of Isaiah 61.
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,…” (and that’s where He stopped). He stopped right in the middle of the thought. But why did He stop? Because He knew the rest of those verses were not going to be fulfilled at that time. But He never betrayed that secret. He didn’t tell the Twelve what He was talking about. All right, now look where he stopped as we finish that verse.
“…and the day of vengeance of our God;…” (the 7 years of Tribulation). See, He knew that wasn’t going to come right away like all the rest of Scripture had laid it out – that all these things would come right down the pike, one thing after the other. But Jesus here, in His knowledge as God, knew that it was going to be interrupted and so He stopped in the middle of the verse, so that He could honestly say, “this has been fulfilled in your ears.”
But the day of vengeance hadn’t been, that was still future. And then after the day of vengeance the next thing on the agenda of all of prophecy was what?
“…to comfort all that mourn;” That’s the Kingdom! That’s what the Kingdom will do. That’s when the curse will be lifted and there’ll be no more sorrow and sin and death. And so Jesus here, I think, gives us the authority that I take in opening up that timeline and showing how everything stopped when Paul began his ministry to the Gentile world, in what we call the Age of Grace. And when this Age of Grace is finished and out of the way, then God will pick up where He left off back here in Israel’s history, and then that 7 years of Tribulation and the Kingdom will come in!
All right, back to I Peter where he thinks the Tribulation is just over the horizon, and he continues to warn his little flock of Jews. And as we come back to the text, we have been studying how these Old Testament Prophets had been searching the Scriptures.
I Peter 1:12
“Unto whom (that is the Old Testament believers) it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us (the believers now at the time of Christ’s first advent) they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”In other words, the angels have always had that desire to get a comprehension of God’s dealing with the human race. And that’s why Paul warns us not to get involved with these angelic beings. All right, verse 13.
I Peter 1:13
“Wherefore (Peter writes) gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you (when?) at the revelation (or the second coming)of Jesus Christ.” See how all of this is just as if it’s right out in front of them. Hang tough! Don’t give in to these persecutions because, one day soon, Christ is going to return and all of this will fade away; and we’ll be in the glories of the Kingdom. Notice Peter never mentions the Rapture of the Church like Paul does? None of that was ever revealed to the Twelve. But rather it was only revealed to Paul for us in the Church Age. Aren’t you glad Paul never tells us we’ll have to go through the Tribulation, like Peter tells his flock they would have to? Now verse 14.
I Peter 1:14-15
“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts (or desires) in your ignorance: 15. But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” In other words, Christ was not only their example, He was also their Messiah and coming King, and they were to pattern their lifestyle after Him, even as we do. To a certain extent, we try to live Christ-like lives – He is definitely an example to be followed, although the Holy Spirit directed Paul to write to us, telling us in 5 or 6 different places that Paul was our example and pattern here in the Church Age. All right, now verse 16.
I Peter 1:16-17
“Because it is written, Be ye holy; (set apart) for I am holy. (set apart) 17. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:” What does that word “sojourning” imply? Just a short period of time. Just a little short period of time and all this pressure and suffering will end and the Kingdom will be their lot. All right, now verse 18. Here, again, we come as close as Peter can to bringing salvation into the lives of these Jewish believers.
I Peter 1:18
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed (or bought back) with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation (manner of living) received by tradition from your fathers;” In other words, Judaism, Law-keeping, sacrifices and all that. Now these believing Jews have something more concrete.
I Peter 1:19
“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” Now remember this is after His death, burial and resurrection, and Peter can proclaim that that’s what the Cross accomplished, even though they did not believe that per se as their Gospel of salvation. Their Gospel of salvation was to believe that Jesus was Who He said He was. “Their Messiah! The Christ! The Son of God!” And that’s all God expected them to believe for their salvation. But, when they believed what God told them to believe, then God reckoned all the work of the Cross as credit to their account, naturally.
I Peter 1:20
“Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,” In other words, as we’ve seen in Acts chapter 2, in days gone by, long before anything was ever created, what did God set up? The Plan of Redemption. See? It was way back before eternity past. All right, and Peter’s reminding them of that, that all of this was foreordained before the world was ever created but it’s all been brought into the spotlight now. It has all been brought to their understanding in what times? “These last times.”They think they’re at the end of God’s program for the human race.
They had no concept of another 2,000 years before it will all wrap up. They thought they were ripe, ready for the Tribulation and the Second Coming and the Kingdom.
I Peter 1:21a
“Who by him do believe in God, (the same God) that raised him up from the dead,…” Peter makes no apology for the fact that Christ died and rose from the dead. But he does not proclaim it as their Gospel of salvation. Now let me show you how perfectly this agrees with what he preached on Pentecost.
Come all the way back to Acts because I want to be able to show you this whole concept of Israel’s Messiah and that they were not expected to believe in the death, burial and resurrection for their Salvation. Acts chapter 2 starting in verse 22. Now this was Pentecost, that Jewish feast day where we had multitudes of Jews coming from every corner of the then-known world to the Temple worship of these seven feast days of Jehovah throughout the year. All right, this was the feast of Pentecost. Peter is addressing Israel.
“Ye men of Israel, (there’s no Gentile language here) 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:” Remember the timing. How long has it been since He was crucified? Seven weeks. Fifty days. That’s all. So we’re close to the crucifixion. And he says, “As you yourselves know.”
“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel…” In other words, before eternity past had even brought about creation – back there in that determining counsel. Now continue the verse.
“…and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
Does Peter mention anything about their salvation in believing that? No. What’s he proving? That even though the Messiah was crucified, God has raised Him from the dead, He can still be our King. He’s alive! He’s well! Don’t give up on His Kingship. Don’t give up on the Kingdom – that’s the message. Not that they were to believe it for salvation. The message of faith in His death, and burial, and resurrection for salvation was only given to Paul for us in the Body of Christ. It was never given to the Twelve for Israel. A lot of people think it was, but it’s not in the Book!
All right, then he comes from the Psalms in these next series of verses, showing from the Psalms that the Messiah must suffer and die and be raised from the dead, verse 31.
“He (that is David the writer of the Psalms) seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, (way back in the Psalms, 1000 BC) that his (Christ’s) soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32. This Jesus (whom had just been crucified seven weeks ago) hath God raised up, (from the dead) whereof (Peter said) we are all witnesses. 33. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” Well, he said, David isn’t talking about himself – he didn’t ascend up to the heavens, but he wrote Psalms 110 verse 1 which says:
“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” And then verse 36 of Acts chapter 2. Because all of this has now been accomplished according to prophecy:
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
The first program this afternoon, we went back to Acts chapter 3 where Peter says again that, if they would just repent of having crucified their Messiah and get right with their God, Christ would return and give them the Kingdom. But, the Tribulation had to come before that could happen. All right, so Peter is still on the same ground. Peter isn’t on church ground. Peter is on prophecy. Peter is on the Old Testament promises concerning the Nation of Israel. All right, back to I Peter, and verse 21
I Peter 1:21
“Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” See how he’s rehearsing all this that was back there in that Pentecostal sermon. Now verse 22.
I Peter 1:22-23a
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23. Being born again,…” Now I’ve got to stop a minute. Were did you first hear that term? Where did you first hear of being born again? John chapter 3. Jesus is dealing with Nicodemus and what did He tell Nicodemus? “Unless you are born again you cannot see the Kingdom.” The same Kingdom, which they were all looking for that is coming to the earth. That’s the 1,000-year reign and rule of Christ we read about in the Book of Revelation. All right Peter uses the same terminology.
I Peter 1:23b
“…not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
Now this brings up a point. Does Paul ever use the term “born again?” No. And it seems odd. Now he certainly speaks of becoming a new person in Christ. He certainly speaks of the death of Old Adam and of a new nature. And he speaks of our being crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, resurrected with Christ. But he never uses the term, “born again.” And I’ve wondered at that over the years but, evidently, there has to be a technical difference that maybe only God knows. But Peter certainly uses it now, even as the Lord used it – that, if they’re going to go into the Kingdom of heaven on earth that’s coming, they had to be born again. Now verse 24.
I Peter 1:24a
“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass….” In other words it comes up and it’s clipped off and it’s done.
I Peter 1:24b
“…The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:”
I read a poem or something, years and years ago, and it has always stuck in my memory. “Snow on the River.” Have you ever seen snow falling on the river? How long does that snowflake last? (Snap) It’s gone. That’s what life is, life is like snow on the river. And this life, whether it’s 70, 80, 90 or 100 years is nothing in the light of eternity. It’s about as long as a flake of snow hitting the river. All right, the Psalmist does it and so does Peter – refers to it as grass that springs up in the morning and in the afternoon it’s clipped off and it’s gone. That’s life. Now verse 25, and here’s the flip side.
I Peter 1:25
“But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
Now let’s go back to Matthew chapter 9 so that you’ll get this concept of the gospel that Peter is speaking of. A lot of people think that when you hear the word ‘Gospel’ you’re thinking about the Gospel of Grace that we’re saved by – and that is, of course, as Paul teaches in I Corinthians 15:1-4, that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead. That’s our Gospel of Grace.
But, look what Jesus says back here in Matthew chapter 9; and here’s where you have to compare Scripture. And this is the Gospel that Peter is still resting on. Nothing has changed so far as Peter is concerned. They were still on the same Gospel that Jesus preached in His earthly ministry. Matthew 9 verse 35.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” All right, then, you come over to chapter 10 where it shows it so clearly – it’s all Jewish as we see in verse 5.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of Samaritans enter ye not: 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And what were they to preach? “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. That was the good news of the Kingdom; that Israel’s Messiah was here and is ready to give the Kingdom to Israel if they would just believe that He was that Promised Messiah. That’s the Gospel of the Kingdom. It has nothing to do so far as their faith was concerned in death, burial and resurrection.