650 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 Part 2 Book 55 - The End of All Things is at Hand - Part 2

650: The End of All Things is at Hand – Part 2 – Lesson 1 Part 2 Book 55

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 55

The End of All Things is at Hand – Part 2

I Peter 4:1 – 5:14

Today we begin in I Peter chapter 4, and we left off in the last half-hour in verse 6. And remember the whole scenario here is, Jewish believers who are under intense pressure – and of course, they feel like they’re looking at the seven years of Tribulation (that they thought was right out in front of them). They think it’s just over the horizon, but hopefully, they can go through the Tribulation and witness the Second Coming of Christ and they will be then part and parcel of the Kingdom. Now that is the overall picture as James, Peter, John, and Jude are writing these last little Jewish epistles. Remember these early Jewish believers weren’t promised the Rapture like we have been in the Body of Christ (as only Paul teaches the Body of Christ and the Rapture). The rest of the writers in the Old and New Testament speak only of His second coming after the seven years of Tribulation, and just before the earthly Kingdom Age.

On the top of our Bible timeline, all we can get from the Old Testament is Christ’s earthly ministry, His rejection at the cross, and His ascension (as we see in Acts chapter 1 He ascended back to glory). After that, there is an indeterminate period of time during which Peter and the Eleven have been preaching to the Jews (Acts chapters 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6). And it really doesn’t end until they reject Stephen in chapter 7. And I always call that the crescendo of Israel’s rejection of Jesus of Nazareth. Then, in chapter 9, we have the conversion of Saul of Tarsus and that is the beginning of the end for Israel and the beginning of the beginning for the Gentile Body of Christ, which we see on this bottom part of the timeline.

All right, but this top line is where Peter is still dwelling. Peter is still aware of nothing more than the Old Testament prophecies and Christ’s earthly ministry prophecy. And so here’s what they’re looking at. They’re in this time period after Christ has ascended (after Pentecost), and they’re looking for the horrors of the Tribulation, ending with the Second Coming, and they’ll go into the Kingdom. That’s all they understand. But from our perspective now, God stopped this timeline right here. And instead of bringing in the seven years of Tribulation, He sent the Apostle Paul out into the Gentile world, calling out the Body of Christ. And we have now been in this 1,900 plus years period of time and we now are waiting for the Rapture to take the Body of Christ off the scene. And then the timeline will pick right up where it left off as it is up here.

And that’s why, as I said in the beginning of the last program, everything that disappeared together back in the first century is now reappearing together as we are now in 2003 and we are looking for the Lord’s appearing for us at any time. In light of this, Peter and these early Jewish believers are on this top line. Peter sees nothing but the horrors of the Tribulation facing them but believes, if they can survive it, they’re going to see the return of the King in glory, and they’ll be going into the Kingdom. In fact, we’re going to look at Matthew 24 to clarify some of this, but first let’s read verse 6 here in I Peter chapter 4. That’s where we left off. Now they’ve gone through persecution, and if they’ve died, so much the better – they’re now in the Lord’s presence. And so this is who he’s referring to in verse 6, those who have been martyred and put to death for their faith

I Peter 4:6

“For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, (they’ve been persecuted and they’ve been martyred.) that they might be judged according to men in the flesh,(In other words, men hated their testimony. But as a result of their martyr’s death of course) but live according to God in the sprit.” Now verse 7, what’s the first word? “But.” What does that mean? The flipside!

I Peter 4:7

“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” Well now, can you see why Peter says the end of all things is at hand. They’re right here on this top timeline. Christ has been crucified. He’s ascended. Peter’s been preaching to the Nation of Israel. The persecution has scattered them out of Jerusalem and he’s still writing to the Jews scattered. But all of this is leading up to the next event on the Old Testament program, which would be the seven years of the Tribulation and the return of Christ and the Kingdom. That’s what they’re looking for.

All right, now, we’re going to let this go for the time being because this does not come about until Paul comes out and begins to preach the Gospel of Grace and the outcalling of the Gentile Body of Christ. But, as we teach this we’re up here on this top timeline. All through these little Jewish epistles, they’re preparing these Jewish believers for the seven years that are coming. All right, back to Matthew 24. And this is back in Christ’s earthly ministry. And that’s why it ties so beautifully with what Peter says here. Matthew 24 verse 1.

Sometimes I just get in such a hurry to get through these Books to get to the next one, but we’ll take our time. We’re in no big hurry. If the Lord comes before we finish Peter, why so much the better! As we begin this passage, Christ is toward the end of His earthly ministry and the Twelve, in view of the Kingdom, don’t as yet realize that He’s going to be crucified in short order, and put to death. They just think that everything’s going to keep on going until the King sets up the Kingdom.

Matthew 24:1-2

“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Now remember He’s God. He knows the end from the beginning. He knew that the Romans would be coming in and destroying it all.

Matthew 24:3

“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples (the Twelve) came unto him privately, (In other words, no press of the crowds here. Just Jesus and the Twelve) saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Now they were aware of the coming of the King and the Kingdom – but a destruction of the Temple? That all these things would be destroyed? So, “When will these things be? What shall be the sign of thy coming and the end of the ages?” Which would be the thousand-year reign and rule of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 24:4

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” Don’t be taken up with deception. Now, even as you read this, that was so appropriate for the top timeline – my it just fits perfectly, getting them ready for the seven years. The Lord knew it wasn’t going to happen but He still never betrayed the secret of it all and so He’s speaking as if this is coming along this top line.

Now we can bring ourselves in here and it’s almost identical. We’re in the same scenario today that Peter was back then. And so it all fits, whether it was Peter back in his day in the late 50’s in the first century. Or whether it’s us living today in 2003, there’s not that much difference. All right, now look what he said, “Take heed that no man deceive you.”

What is the world getting shot full of? Deception! My, when I hear of all the religious stuff that’s up there on that Internet, it’s everything from soup to nuts. And what is it? Ninety-nine percent is as false as a $3.00 bill. But most people can’t tell the difference. And that’s one reason I enjoy teaching is to get people so ingrained in the Book that when they see that garbage, they can recognize it for what it is. Pure garbage! So Jesus warned us. He warned the people of His day. Remember now, we’re looking at two different time scenarios and yet they’re almost the same.

Matthew 24:5a

“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Oh, they use the name of Jesus Christ glibly. They are ministers of the Gospel. Ha! But they don’t use the same Book that we do. All right, and so we’re warned. “Many shall come in my name saying I am the Christ and they shall deceive many.” Now verse 6. If this isn’t today’s news, I don’t’ know what is.

Matthew 24:6

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Now you want to remember, as Peter and those believing Jews were facing that scenario, the Roman Empire was known for it’s peace-keeping for a good period of time, but the world has never been stable. There’s always been somebody wanting what somebody else has got. You know, some of these pacifists think that we should just lay down our arms and bring home our armies and just sit here and enjoy life. Phooey! How long would we last? Three months, two months? Maybe not that. Because it’s been a fact of human history, if you’ve got something that’s worth keeping, you have to fight for it. You have to shed blood to keep it. It’s been a fact of history. And it’s no different today.

So even back then there were constant rumors of war, one empire wanting to destroy another. But Jesus said, “The end isn’t yet.” Now verse 7.

Matthew 24:7

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: (my we’re seeing that today with the threat of terrorism around the world and the unstable governments everywhere) and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Now of course, they weren’t as aware of that as we are because they didn’t have the technology. But somebody sent me something the other day on the earthquake activity around the world. If you just want to see what’s going on, just get up there on the Internet. You can see earthquakes every day. Well, they didn’t use to know that (because of the technology) like we do now. Now verse 8.

Matthew 24:8

“All these (things that are pretty much commonplace in human history but now they’re going to be in such magnitude) are the beginning of sorrows.” (or travail)

Now the word ‘travail’ speaks of the woman about to be delivered. Now, we can use that same thing as a background. Come back with me to Jeremiah 30 – now this is prophecy. And you want to remember that in Jeremiah’s day he was speaking of the Babylonian captivity that was about to come. And the Nation of Israel would be removed from the land, but God’s going to bring them back, and did.

The same thing happened in 70 AD – they were removed from the land but now in our lifetime, God has brought them back, so even though these prophecies are written in 600-and-some BC, it’s a two-fold prophecy. The near and the far. All right, Jeremiah chapter 30, starting at verse 1,

Jeremiah 30:1-3

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2. Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, (so we’re dealing with the Jewish people here) saying. Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. (in other words, God’s telling Jeremiah to write God’s words) 3. For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers and they shall possess it.” Now that happened twice. The first time they came back after the Babylonian captivity under Ezra and Nehemiah and rebuilt the Temple and got ready for Christ’s first coming. Then in 70 AD, they were dispersed the second time, went out into every nation under heaven, and now they’re back in the land the second time. Okay, so “they will come back to the land that I gave to their fathers and they shall possess it.”

Jeremiah 30:4-7a

“And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. 5. For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. (here it comes ) 6. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? (like a woman at childbirth.) wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? 7. Alas! for that day is great,…” This is the Tribulation as we know it and Israel has faced this more than once. But this, in particular, is what Peter was preparing his people for and what we are now talking about in the same kind of language.

Jeremiah 30:7b

“…so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble;…” That’s why I’ve said adamantly that the Church will not fit in that seven years of Tribulation. You cannot force the Church into that time of Jacob’s trouble – we’re Gentiles. They’re Jews. It’s prophecy. You’ve got to be able to separate the Scriptures, because we’re back here in the revelation of the mysteries with the Apostle Paul. And so you cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, put the Church into the Tribulation, whether it’s up there on the timeline or whether it’s over here on the timeline, that doesn’t matter. It will not fit, because the Tribulation is the time of Jacob’s trouble. It’s God dealing primarily with the Nation of Israel, and it’s going to be in judgment. Why should He bring judgment on the believing Church? Just doesn’t make sense. But He is going to bring judgment on unbelieving Israel.

Okay, now let’s go back to where we were in Matthew 24, because I’m not to the verse yet that I wanted. Verse 8 again.

Matthew 24:8

“All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (travail) Today we’re not in the Tribulation as some think. Good heavens, there are a lot of people that think so, but we’re not. We are not in the Tribulation, but we’re seeing the world get ready for it. The stage is being set. That’s the best way I can put it. Everything that we’re seeing happen around the globe is simply preparing the world for these days. See? And we’re close. Now verse 9. Remember Jesus is speaking to Jews.

Matthew 24:9a

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you:…” Now do you see how that rhymes with what Peter has been writing about? They were in the same thing. They were already being killed for their faith and it was going to get worse. And so Jesus is speaking the very same thing, even though now we’re 1,900 and some years later.

Matthew 24:9b

“…and ye shall be hated of (not all nations but one, but how many?) all nations for my name’s sake.” Now today, Israel is hated by everybody but one – America. We’re the only nation on earth that’s a true friend of Israel, and we’d better stay that way until the Lord comes. But, even during the Tribulation, America for one reason or another, will no longer be that friend of Israel. Either we’re gone, or we, like the rest of the world, will turn against them. I prefer to think that we’ll be gone. So, “they’ll deliver you up and you will be hated of all the nations for my name’s sake.” Not because they’re Jews but because they are God’s people and the world hates anything concerning the people of God.

All right, now then, with that backdrop, let’s go back to I Peter and maybe this will make a little more sense yet because I know, like I said in the last program, I’ve learned a bunch myself as I’ve been preparing this for broadcasting. And I imagine anybody out there that knows how to study will see a lot of things that I’ve missed. All right, I Peter chapter 4 verse 7 again.

I Peter 4:7a

“But the end of all things is at hand:…”

Not 2,000 years from now “at hand.” Now we’ve got to stop and think. Is this inspired of the Holy Spirit? Of course it is! But see, even Jesus in His earthly ministry never betrayed the secret of the interruption of the timeline with the out-calling of the Body of Christ. He spoke and taught with the exception of two, that I can find, that it was all going to stay right along that line of prophecy. He did not betray that one bit. Neither did the Holy Spirit allow these writers to betray it. So by Spirit inspiration, they write as if it’s all going to continue like the top timeline. So Peter can write:

I Peter 1:7

“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” But now remember we should also be in that same attitude today because we are getting so close. Oh, we’re not going to have to go through any part of the Tribulation, but we’ll know when it’s at the door.

I Peter 1:8

“And above all things have fervent charity (love) among yourselves: for charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins.” Now that’s self-explanatory. You don’t need a theologian’s degree for that. You know, I told Iris a while back, I can remember a song that was on the radio quite a bit several years ago, and I loved it. She didn’t remember ever hearing it. I guess that’s when she was working every day. Many of you will have heard it. ‘Love Changes Everything.’ Remember that one? Sure you do. And how true. Love does change everything!

And it’s exactly what this says. When love is operating, it makes a whole different scenario. Whether it’s in the home; whether it’s in the business world – anywhere – love changes everything. And that’s what Peter is admonishing these believers to do. Don’t be nitpicking at each other. Don’t be making life miserable. You’ve got enough problems from the outside world. But at least show your love for one another. When I looked at this last night I couldn’t help but think of Florida. Iris and I enjoyed that two-three weeks of seminar teachings because of the hospitality. I figured up last night – you know how many different homes we were in? We were in nine different homes and the hospitality was just beyond your imagination. All right, that’s as Christians should be, see? Verse 9.

I Peter 4:9-10a

“Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10. As every man hath received the gift, (that is of salvation) even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards….”What’s a steward? A caretaker or a manager. You remember when Abraham was way back there in Genesis and God was promising him a son; what did old Abraham say? “Well now Lord, you know I haven’t got a son. All I’ve got is this steward, Eliezer of Damascus.” Well what was Eliezer? He was the manager of all of Abraham’s material wealth, see? All right, Paul uses the same word. In fact, let’s go back and look at it. We’ve got time enough. So turn with me to I Corinthians chapter 4, and it’s a word that applies to believers of any day.

I Corinthians 4:1-2

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found (what?) faithful.” Now what is the law-breaking sin of an unfaithful steward? Embezzlement. Right? If you’ve got an unfaithful manager, he will, nine times out of ten, end up embezzling you into bankruptcy. Isn’t that right? Sure. And so here was the whole scenario that Paul lays out to you and I as believers. Don’t be an embezzler, but be a faithful steward of these mysteries which, of course, are the revelations of Paul.

Now Peter is referring to something different than Paul’s revelation, but it’s the same language that these Jews were to be faithful managers, or keepers, or stewards of these things of God, and they were to show it with their love toward one another. Now verse 11.

I Peter 4:11a

“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles (or as the Word) of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth:…”

You know I’ve told teachers and pastors (and I’m constantly reminding myself), we have to be so careful that when we get ready to teach a class or prepare a sermon that we don’t put so much work and study and notes into it that we rely on the flesh. That’s the problem. I’ve seen people go up into the pulpit with a stack of notes that high. Well, that’s the flesh. Now granted we have to study. But if we’re going to rely on a bunch of notes to bring out the Word of God, then there’s something wrong because we have to be moved as the Spirit directs and not just simply as the flesh has prepared.

Now I’m not against preparation. That’s necessary. But if we’re going to get into a situation of teaching or preaching the Word, we have to come to the place where the Spirit takes over. The Spirit has to bring us the words; the Holy Spirit has to bring the thoughts. That’s my prayer just before I come in here every taping. I go to the back restroom and there I ask the Lord, now just pour out the Pneuma-Hagion, that it’ll be the Spirit that speaks through me.

649 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 Part 1 Book 55 - The End of All Things is at Hand

649: The End of All Things is at Hand – Lesson 1 Part 1 Book 55

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 55

The End of All Things is at Hand

I Peter 4:1 – 5:14

Okay, we’re ready to get started and take up where we left off in our last program, which will be in I Peter chapter 4. We want to constantly be reminded that these little epistles of James, Peter, John, Jude and on into Revelation were all part and parcel of the Old Testament prophetic program laid out for the Nation of Israel. A good example of that is Psalms chapter 2. And, consequently, it is addressed to Jews.

Now go back with me for just a second so you can pick up what I’m talking about. Go back to James chapter 1 verse 1, because we just never want to lose sight of the fact that you must always look at the Scriptures in light of this; to whom was it written? Who’s writing it? When was it written? And what were the circumstances? Then you can begin to understand. All right, now in James verse 1 of chapter 1, it is so obvious who the first of these little Jewish epistles were written to. Now remember, this is not the James that was part of the Twelve disciples but, rather, this is the half-brother. James of the Twelve was beheaded earlier.

James 1:1

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, (written) to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” Well there are no Gentiles in the Twelve Tribes of Israel, so James is writing to the Jews.

Well, you come to I Peter chapter 1 and, even though he doesn’t mention the Twelve Tribes, he’s writing to Jews, but he calls them “those who are scattered,” as James does. Well, that wouldn’t apply to Gentiles, they’re not scattered – but Jews were. They were driven out of Jerusalem because of Saul of Tarsus’ persecution, and they’ve been scattered throughout that part of the Middle East and on up into Asia Minor – what’s present day Turkey. And, in fact, that’s the area I think that James and Peter and even John (to the most degree), are writing.They wrote to little Jewish congregations up there in Asia Minor.

In fact, in my own mind I think the Jewish congregations that James and Peter and John are writing to are the same congregations addressed in the first three chapters of Revelation. In other words, those, too, are Jewish churches, and we’ll see that when we get back there in a few months because there’s no Church language in there. There’s no Church language in James. There’s no Church language in Peter. There’s no Church language in I, II or III John. Not a word. It’s all addressed to Jewish believers who had, no doubt, been scattered out of that church in Jerusalem, back in Acts 8:1. So, when you keep that in mind, all these things just fall in place and become so easy to understand.

In fact, I’ve learned a lot in the last few months preparing for these TV programs – things that I never saw before. And I’m sure everyone that hears me teach this is going to say the same thing. All right, but now in I Peter chapter 4 (writing to these Jews probably up there in Western Turkey and Asia Minor in separate little Jewish congregations), they’re under intense pressure. The rest of the Jewish world has pretty much made life easy with the Romans – but these believers who are now living a life that is according to God’s program, are being persecuted. And it’s always been that way. You go back into the Old Testament.

Go all the way back into Israel’s history – how did even the mainstream of Israel treat the true believing Jew? They persecuted them constantly. What did they do with the prophets? Killed them. And that’s just been part and parcel of the human history; that the true believers of any age are hated by the majority of the human race. So these Jews here now, in these little epistles are under intense pressure. Not only from the Romans but probably also from the more lackadaisical Jews who are religious but not godly.

The thrust of these letters is to give them the wherewithal to resist the tribulational persecution they’re under. No they’re not in the Tribulation, as Peter is writing this, but remember according to the Old Testament program (and by the time we get into these little Jewish epistles), they feel like the Tribulation is right out in front of them. And all they’re seeing is the stage being set for the Tribulation, as I call it, even today.

Now, as I pointed out when we started all these little epistles, this was back in the first century between 40 and 70 AD. But now here we are in 2003 and we’re almost in the same identical scenario. Oh, a different world technologically and socially but, humanly speaking, nothing has changed. The only thing that is different, is God has now given the Gentile world through the Apostle Paul’s teaching of Grace nearly 2,000 years to complete the Body of Christ. And I think we’re getting close to that completion.

Mankind is still the same. They still practice the same wickedness. True believers are still under the same kind of pressure. The political systems haven’t changed. In fact, we just thought of something the other night, and I’m going to turn right around and share it with our whole television audience. Isn’t it amazing that God did not let Rome destroy the Temple and Jerusalem, and scatter the Nation of Israel, until Paul had finished his epistles? So the stage was set, that they would no longer need the central Jewish element because, as Peter writes, they’re scattered. And because Paul’s epistles are now complete, everything is ready to send the Gospel of Grace to the ends of the earth, which has been going now for almost 2,000 years.

So it’s amazing that those two things were pretty much in proximity – probably a year and a half or two between. Now the next big amazing thing is that, just about the time that Israel started reappearing as a nation (and coming back into the Promised Land back in 1946, and finally culminating with their independence in1948), almost at the same time we have the Roman Empire also reappearing in the area of Western Europe. So Israel and the Roman Empire went down into the dustbin of history together. They were dormant for almost 2,000 years together – and now they have reappeared together. Isn’t that amazing?

When we were down in Florida, we were out fishing in the Gulf. And one day, there was a pair of dolphins, a mother and its baby, and I couldn’t help but think of it. All afternoon they were just going up and down side-by-side. You’d think they were glued together. And then they told us, “No, that’s the baby.” Well, you know I couldn’t help but think of that when I pictured this, this is exactly what happened with Rome and Israel.

They went down into the dustbin of history about the same time. Two thousand years later, they come back up into view almost the same time. Well, that should make an imprint on your thinking shouldn’t it? That, as Israel reappeared, so did the Roman Empire reappear – because, after all, we know that Daniel told us in chapter 9 that the empire that would destroy the city and the sanctuary (which was Rome), would also be the empire out of which this man of sin (the Anti-christ) would come.

So, we know that there has to be a semblance of the Old Roman Empire. Well, that began of course, right after World War II. First they called it the Club of Rome, ten nations. Then for the longest time they just called themselves The Ten. And now we know them as the European Union. The ‘EU’. But it’s a Revived Roman Empire and it’s coming more and more to the fore as I mentioned in my last newsletter. Just watch Western Europe because, as Israel comes more to the fore, right beside it comes the Roman Empire – because they will be operating in unison again by the time the Tribulation starts.

So, we’ve got two scenarios. They thought it was all coming as it was being written – it was just right out in front of them. They didn’t know that God was going to stop His time clock and not permit the Tribulation to come in, and instead offer grace for 2,000 years. But now we see that those same elements of what we see here are back in view – and so there’s going to be a group of Jews that will play the role that these Jews were playing (and that is being prepared to go into the horrors of the Tribulation). You’ll see it more and more as we come along.

I Peter 4:1a

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, (speaking of course of His death on the cross,) arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;” Now that sounds a lot like Paul in Philippians, doesn’t it?

Philippians 2:5-8

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” So Peter is aware of the death and the burial and the resurrection, but he never proclaimed it as the Gospel of Salvation, as Paul does. He merely proclaims it as a fact that the One Israel rejected and crucified has now been brought back to life and He is still in a position to bring about the Kingdom and His role as King.

I Peter 4:2

“That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” Now what’s Peter saying here? That when a believer dies for his faith, he naturally is being subjected to the power of ungodly men who put him to death. But as soon as that believer is put to death, he is out from under the authority of the enemies of the flesh, and he’s in the presence of God. And the whole idea here is that when persecution and death stares the believer in the face (and they’ve faced it for thousands of years), we have to take comfort in the fact that once the suffering has ended and death comes, we’re immediately in Glory! And that’s what’s going to have to keep us if we are faced with persecution someday. And the whole thrust here is that (for these Jews Peter is writing to), if they should have to die for their faith, then their eternal life would immediately begin. Now verse 3.

I Peter 4:3a

“For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the (who?) Gentiles,…” Now do you see how obvious this is that Peter is talking to Jews? As he writes to Jews he makes reference to those Gentile persecutors. Which, of course, were Romans in that case.

I Peter 4:3b

“…when we walked in (now this was the moral state of the Gentile world in which the Nation of Israel had to move and breath and live. This was typical of Gentiledom)lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, (or drunkenness) revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:” That was the picture of the Gentile society in which these Jews had to live. Now I’m always reminding people that this was the horrible climate in which the Apostle Paul moved during his whole 25 years of ministry. He was constantly up against this kind of a lifestyle. And yet, by just the simple preaching of the Gospel of Salvation (that to believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again), he had multitudes come out of it and enjoy a Godly lifestyle.

All right, let me just show you a little bit of what I mean by this. Come all the way back to Acts chapter 15 – after they’ve had that counsel at Jerusalem – and when James, Peter and John finally agree that Paul can go out to the Gentiles, and that they (the Twelve) would stay amongst the Nation of Israel, the Jews. Come over with me to Acts 15 verse 19. If you understand the wicked lifestyle, the rotten social structure of the Roman Empire (Gentiles), then you can understand why these Jewish believers like the Twelve were concerned as to how Paul would handle these Gentile converts. So James attaches this string to his okay.

Acts 15:19-20

“Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: (but here’s what he had to warn them against; be sure that they are taught that they have to separate from this kind of Gentile action) 20. But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, (the whole world was steeped in idolatry,) and from fornication, (in other words, the whole Roman Empire living in an immoral state) and from things strangled, (in other words, they had no compunction about the Laws of God,)and from blood.”

Now, from day one, even before Israel became a nation, God had given instruction way back there at Noah’s time that the human race was not to partake of drinking blood. But the pagan world was doing it all the time. And these Jews knew that and so James says, “Now all right, if you’re going to go out and preach this Gospel of Grace to the Gentiles, well and good. But make sure they understand that, in the freedom of Grace, they don’t keep on doing what the Gentiles do.” Got the picture? Oh, it was wickedness on every hand. And so when Peter speaks of it in his little epistle, he knows well, and so did Paul.

Now I’m going to stop a minute in Galatians on our way back to I Peter – where Paul gives us the same kind of a verbal picture of the lifestyle of the Gentile world at that time. Now, granted, to a certain degree it’s the same way today. The world has always been this way. But, I think at the time that Paul and Peter are ministering, it was probably worse than maybe any other time in history. And here in Galatians chapter 5 is, again, the verbal picture of the social fabric of the Gentile world at the time Peter and Paul ministered.

Galatians 5:19-20

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, (no marital fidelity whatsoever) fornication, (the most gross forms of sexual immorality) uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies.” Not a very pretty society was it? And yet this was normal. This was the lifestyle of the wicked Gentile. All right finish the verse,

Galatians 5:21

“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 which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” That was the lifestyle of the Gentiles. And this is what these Jewish believers were up against – when they withdrew from that kind of lifestyle they came under persecution. And so, Peter is admonishing them not to give in and to maintain their testimony with Godly living. All right, now let me read verse 3 in I Peter chapter 4 again, so that you catch the language, how that it’s all the same.

I Peter 4:3a

“For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles,…” In other words, to live like the Gentiles. Now let me stop a minute again. Do you realize that from day one, from the time that Moses brought Israel out of Egypt, what was the one thing that God had to constantly warn Israel to beware of? “Don’t be like the Gentiles.” Now think about that. God had to tell them over and over, “Don’t be like the Gentiles.” Now I can give you one glaring example of how that came to the top. They’d been ruled by the judges of which Samuel was the last – and in Samuel’s older years, what did Israel come and say? “We want a king like the Gentiles have. The Gentiles all have kings, why can’t we have a king?” See? That was the first glaring example.

And so all up through their history, God had to constantly warn, “Don’t ever want to be like those Gentiles.” But it was a constant temptation to Israel to do just that, and it’s the same way today. That’s one of the big problems even in Israel in the Middle East is that they want to be recognized as just another nation like the Gentiles. And they’re not supposed to be, they’re supposed to be different.

All right, and so now back to I Peter again – now this is what Peter is alluding to. Don’t try to assimilate and be like those Gentiles. Now I’ve got another thought. Have you ever stopped to realize why the Nation of Israel hasn’t disappeared? You know that’s one of my favorite topics when we’re on seminars with people that I haven’t been teaching all the time. What a miracle that, after three to four thousand years that little tiny nation of never more than fifteen million people has not disappeared. Well they should have. Under normal circumstances they would have intermarried and they would have ceased to be a nation of people. But they didn’t. And they have still maintained their identity in spite of this constant temptation to be like the Gentiles.

If they’re going to be like the Gentiles, then they have no compunction about intermarrying. I read the other day in the Jerusalem Post that 52% of Jewish young people are marrying Gentiles. And, of those 52%, 80% are not raising their children in the Jewish teachings. And so now we’re getting to the place that, if it doesn’t stop, they will disappear. They will go into an assimilation and lose their identity. But, miracle of miracles, so far they have not, and that’s why we think it’s proof that This Book is the Word of God because God says they will not disappear. They will never leave the scene. Now verse 4.

I Peter 3:4a

“Wherein they (the Gentiles) think it strange…’ Sound familiar? That’s just like your neighbors around you today, isn’t it? They think we’re kind of strange. There’s something wrong with us that we don’t go out there and revel with the world, see?

I Peter 3:4b

“… that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, (Consequently, they’re what? They’re) speaking evil of you:” Now verse 5.

I Peter 1:5

“Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.” Now what is it saying? That’s a shifting in gears, as I say. Here we have Peter all of a sudden admonishing these Jewish believers not to even want to be like those Gentiles, but why? Because we as believers know that we’re going to be confronted with the Holy Judge of all – God Himself, see? Now that speaks of Christ Who will be the Judge at the Great White Throne. Now verse 6.

I Peter 1:6a

“For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead.,…” In other words, those that already died for their faith. That’s what we’re driving at here, those who have died by persecution. The Gospel of the Kingdom was preached to them, they died as believers.

I Peter 1:6b

“…that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, (they hated them. They didn’t like their holy lifestyle, so they killed them.) but (the result of that persecuted death was to)live according to God in the spirit.” Get the picture? So Peter’s admonishing them saying, “Sure, as soon as you separate from the wild drunken living of the Gentiles, they’re going to persecute you, they’re going to hate you, they’re going to kill you. But when they kill you, you immediately end up in the eternal life side, and so it’s still worth it.”

Now with this I’m going to take you back to what Paul says in Romans chapter 8, and we may use this again before we get out of I Peter. Now this of course is from the other Apostle. The Apostle of the Gentiles – but we’re dealing with the same God; we’re dealing with the same ungodly world. So that part is no different – whether it’s Paul, whether it’s Peter, whether it’s Jeremiah, or Ezekiel or whether it’s the story of Cain and Abel (because after all why did Cain kill Abel? Because Abel was a just man. And Cain was intensely jealous of his righteous relationship).

Romans 8:18

“For I reckon that the sufferings (persecution) of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.” You see what he’s saying? Almost the same thing that Peter said, Paul says, “Okay, so you’ve come under intense persecution because of your faith. It may even bring you to the place of physical death, but the minute you slip out of this human experience by virtue of a martyr’s death, you’re into the eternal bliss and presence with the Lord.” And that’s what we have to comfort ourselves with if persecution should come; if we are ever faced with a martyr’s death. We just simply go through it knowing that when death comes we escape this old body of flesh and we’re going to be in Glory! And we have no idea of the glory that Glory is going to be! And that’s the thing that keeps motivating us to live under the pressure. Now we’re fortunate in America, we don’t know yet what pressure is, but the day may come that we will.