653 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 2 Part 1 Book 55 - The Believer’s Virtue

653: The Believer’s Virtue – Lesson 2 Part 1 Book 55

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 55

The Believer’s Virtue

II Peter 1:1 – 2:8

Okay, now we’re beginning in II Peter and ready to start with verse 1. And I want again to emphasize that, except for Paul’s epistles, all of Scripture is on a straight timeline – things just unfolding the way the Old Testament said it would – with everything looking forward to the day when Christ would set up His kingdom here on earth (after the 7 years of Tribulation has run it’s course). And so all these writers of the Jewish economy, the Kingdom Gospel, are looking at all this to come in their lifetime.

So go back for a second to James, so that you get what I’m driving at – that all of these writers – James and Peter and John and Jude and even the writer of the Revelation – are still writing on the same basis of the Old Testament prophecies, Christ’s earthly ministry and Peter and the Eleven in the book of Acts. And now they’re looking for the horrors of the Tribulation that they feel are right out in front of them – which, of course, will be fulfilled to a certain degree with the 70 AD invasion of Titus (but that wasn’t the Tribulation that is still future). So to give you an inkling of what I’m talking about, James 1:1, and take note to whom is he writing?

James 1:1b

“…to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” And remember that, because of Saul of Tarsus’ tremendous persecution, what happened to that Jerusalem congregation? They scattered for fear of their lives, and they took up residence in other parts of that part of the world, the Roman Empire. All right, turn again to I Peter, and the language is almost the same.

I Peter 1:1

“Peter an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” So Peter was writing to “strangers that had been scattered.” Not to the citizens of Rome and Athens, but to the strangers who were scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia and so on and so forth. Those are Jews who had been scared away from Jerusalem because of the awful persecution of Saul. All right, now then, when you come into II Peter the language doesn’t change all that much.

II Peter 1:1a

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us…” Now, when and where did Peter attain his faith that Jesus was the promised Messiah? Way back there at Galilee when he was at his fishing nets and the Lord walked by and said, ‘Follow me.’ Well, Peter’s faith began with Christ’s earthly ministry.

And the same way here – he’s writing to those people who had been connected with Christ’s earthly ministry (they, as yet, know nothing of Paul’s Gospel of Grace. They are still under what we call the Kingdom economy). And you can just follow this on through into I John. I just thought of this on the way up, “How can I review this and make the point that these little epistles are still connected to the Jews of Christ’s earthly ministry?” All right, so even I John chapter 1 verse 1,

I John 1:1

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;” Now what’s John referring to? Christ’s earthly ministry. When they actually saw Him and they were with Him and they, you might say, handled Him and so forth. All an extension now of Christ’s earthly ministry. Well, you can come right on in to II or III John saying basically the same thing, but now look at Jude just so I make my point. I want you to see how all of this ties straight back to Christ’s earthly ministry and His Gospel of the Kingdom, and that it was directed to the Jew only.

Jude 1:1a

“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,…” Who was James? He was part and parcel of Israel. See? And so he’s tying himself to the Twelve. Well, we certainly know that Revelation is all Jewish. I was reading a commentary written in 1890 and it just thrilled my heart! That old fellow said the same thing I’ve been saying for the last 20 years. All of these things are Jewish. These are all Jewish epistles. The book of Revelation is all Jewish. There’s nothing of Gentiles except as they come under being associated with Israel. But the books and these little epistles are all written to the Jewish people. And, unknown to them of course, God has set aside the Apostle Paul with the revelation of the mysteries. One of these mysteries was the out-calling of the Gentile Body of Christ, the Church Age, which has been going on now nearly 2,000 years.

All right, now according to the Old Testament promises coming out of the Old Testament, we have in order; Christ’s earthly ministry, His rejection, His resurrection and His ascension back to Glory. Then Peter starts proclaiming in Acts chapter 2 that the One they crucified was the Christ and if they would repent of having rejected their Messiah then in chapter 3 verse 20 what does he say? “God will send Jesus Christ.” Why? “To yet fulfill the promises of the Old Testament.”

And so everything stays on that top timeline in their correct order. And so here we come through the book of Acts, and these believing Jews are looking at these seven years of Tribulation that they know are just out in front of them, but they have no idea that it’s going to be pushed out into the future, now for nearly 2,000 years. Now the Lord knew, but remember, He was God! He’s the author of The Book. He knew that this was all going to be postponed, but Peter didn’t. In Acts chapter 2 Peter quotes Joel and he takes you right on through the Tribulation to the Second Coming and the Kingdom Age, with no interruption. Peter had no idea that this top timeline was going to be interrupted.

And so, always remember, these things that we have now had 1,900-and-some years of this Age of Grace, which came about through the revelations of the mysteries that were revealed to the Apostle Paul. And that of course is why I emphasize Paul’s writings are for us today. Romans 11:13 tells us “he is the apostle to the Gentiles.” So that is where we should be getting all of our doctrine and instructions for salvation, and how to live a fruitful life for our Lord. All the rest of Scripture was written to the Nation of Israel, and they were still under the Law of Moses. Why would anyone miss Heaven by trying to follow instructions that were never intended for the Gentile Body of Christ is beyond me.

And so keep all these things in mind now as we move on into II Peter chapter 1 verse 1. He’s still writing to the same people he wrote to in his first letter (they’re still under the Law of Moses), but he’s writing probably about 10 years later. II Peter is written just shortly before he’ll be martyred. He makes mention of it down here in verse 14, that he will shortly be facing his demise. I have said it over and over that I feel that Peter and Paul were both martyred probably within a matter of days or weeks because both of them speak now at the end of their earthly sojourn. I might as well cover my tracks with Scripture, so we’ll go ahead and look at it.

II Peter 1:14a

“Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle,…” Now the tabernacle is a reference to Peter’s human body, this is his temporary tent. All right, now I said that Paul was, no doubt, martyred at about the same time, so let look at that again, so back up if you will to II Timothy chapter 4. Almost identical language with Peter and I think almost the identical time frame. While Paul is being readied for his martyrdom in Rome, I think Peter is being readied for his martyrdom wherever he was. I think Jerusalem. I may be wrong. But he says, “Babylon;” but I think the Babylon that’s he’s speaking of is Jerusalem as it is referred to in a couple of other places. Here Paul has the end in sight.

II Timothy 4:6

“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is (what?) at hand.” And he’s speaking of his physical death. And so, both of these gentlemen now, Paul and Peter, come to the end of their ministry in the latter part of the 60’s AD and then, shortly after Paul and Peter are gone, in comes the Roman invasion under Titus in 70 AD; and Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed and the Jews are then scattered into the dispersion that has lasted up until our own time. Now let’s begin II Peter.

II Peter 1:1

“Simon Peter, a servant, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us, through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:”All right, let’s compare Scripture with Scripture. Here Peter is claiming to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, by inspiration. Now let’s back up to Galatians chapter 2 where, from the pen of the Apostle Paul, we see it defined a little finer. Galatians chapter 2 dropping in at verse 7 and 8. And I know when people hear and see me delineate these verses it shakes them up. They really don’t want to believe it and yet they can’t argue with the Scripture because there’s no gobbledy gook language here. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand this; it’s plain English. Here Paul is writing.

Galatians 2:7

“But contrariwise, (or on the other hand) when they (the Twelve, with whom he had come to settle these arguments) saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision, (the Gospel of the Gentile) was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision (the Gospel of the Jew or the Gospel of the Kingdom) was unto Peter;” Now that’s plain language. You have two totally different economies. The Gospel of the uncircumcision (the Gentile world), was committed unto Paul; the Gospel of the Jew was committed unto Peter. All right, but now look at the next verse.

Galatians 2:8

“(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of (whom? The Jews.) the circumcision, (see how plain that is. Peter was an apostle of the circumcision.) the same was mighty in me (by declaring the Apostle Paul, of course, an apostle) toward the Gentiles:)” Now let’s back that up with Scripture. Keep your hand in Galatians; I’m not through here. Come back with me to Romans chapter 11, because unless you see these things in black and white, it may be a little hard to swallow. But here it is, just as plain as language can make it.

Romans 11:13a

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles,…” See how plain that is? He wasn’t an apostle of Israel. He was an apostle of the Gentiles. Peter and the Eleven were apostles of Israel, two totally different apostleships. Same God! That’s why I was going to make the point here when we get back to II Peter that, even though these things are written primarily to Jewish believers, that doesn’t mean that we ignore it. That doesn’t mean you take it out of your Bible and throw it away. It’s applicable. We can learn because we’re dealing with the same God and God doesn’t differentiate in His righteousness, in His reaction with you and I as Gentiles, and the Jew. In that respect He’s the same. But, on the other hand, by the responsibilities, the directions He gives them for fulfilling their dispensation – yes, it’s different than what he gives us. All right, so now back to Galatians 2 for a moment.

Galatians 2:9

“And when James, Cephas, (Peter) and John, who seemed to be pillars, (that is of that Jerusalem church) perceived (or understood) the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we (Paul and Barnabas) should go unto the heathen, (the Gentiles) and they (James, Peter and John and the rest of the Twelve) unto the circumcision (to Israel.)”

Turn again to II Peter verse 2. So we’ve established that indeed Peter is an apostle of Israel as Paul is the apostle of the Gentile – but it’s the same God. And so we can certainly glean things in here that are for our benefit.

II Peter 1:2-3a

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. 3. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,.…” Does that sound much different than Paul? No. Turn to Titus, because I want people to see that this Book fits hand in glove even though you may have Peter addressing Jews and Paul addressing Gentiles, but God’s the same. All right, Titus chapter 2. Now this is Paul writing to you and I. Almost the same thing that Peter wrote to his Jewish believers.

Titus 2:11

“For the grace of God (see, just like Peter said about grace and knowledge, Paul says the same thing) that bringeth salvation hath (past tense) appeared to all men. (now here it comes) 12. Teaching us (this is what we’re supposed to know) that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”Does that sound much different than Peter? No. Practically the same language, and so, for the believer of any dispensation, these are the things that God is looking for. Now back to II Peter and let’s read the last part of verse 3.

II Peter 1:3b-4

“…through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (being good) 4. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Now wait a minute. Just stop and think what they’ve uncovered the last few weeks in Iraq (May, 2003). What did that tell you? Corruption upon corruption. Those palaces showed more human corruption and immorality than people could even imagine. But you know what, it isn’t limited to Baghdad. It’s not limited to Iraq – that’s the world in general. Right here in our own beloved nation. My, whenever I read of the political corruption, I have to be amazed that we have survived as a republic as long as we have. The corruption is just beyond human understanding. Not just sexual. It can be financial. It can be in every category of society. Corruption abounds. See? Well, we’re not to be part and parcel of that. We’re to be above the corruption that is in the world through lust.

What did Paul say was the number one commandment? Thou shalt not covet! Well, what’s the difference between coveting and lusting? Almost nothing. And so what prompts all this corruption? What prompts an embezzler? What prompts the person who starts getting crooked? Coveting. Coveting. I don’t care whether it’s Enron or WorldCom or whatever, it’s all the same thing, see? Back to chapter 1 verse 5.

II Peter 1:5

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;” What is always paramount? Faith! “Without faith you cannot please God.” Everything in our relationship with God has to start on that bedrock word – Faith. Without faith you don’t stand a snowball’s chance of making it. But with faith then everything begins to fall in place, see? All right, and so by faith, as we feed on the Word of God, it’s going to bring us to a place of virtue.

II Peter 1:6

“And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;” That’s a small ‘g’ – that doesn’t mean we become gods. It merely means we pertain to a life that is after God’s design.

II Peter 1:7-8a

“And to godliness brotherly kindness; (or love) and to brotherly kindness (indeed) charity. (which is love) 8. For if these things be in you, and abound,…” Now who is Peter writing to? Believers. Believers in the midst of even the Jewish community of unbelief. Even a lot of the fellow Jews who were neighbors and friends of these believers hated them and persecuted them – made life miserable for them. And we’re under the same circumstances. That part isn’t any different, but see, this is who Peter’s writing to. He’s writing to believing Jews who are being persecuted by their own fellow unbelieving Jews as well as the pagan Romans and then between that vice (not sinful vice, the squeezing vice! A shop vice.) In between that vice are these believers being constantly squeezed, see? And so Peter is admonishing them not to give in to these pressures. Verse 8 again.

II Peter 1:8

“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now there’s another word that Paul is always using. Let’s back up to that one. Come back with me to Ephesians chapter 3 – and then go on ahead to Colossians chapter 1 where he mentions the same thing again, which means it’s important that we have knowledge! Now this is Paul’s prayer on behalf of Gentile believers. And he says:

Ephesians 3:17-19

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts (how?) by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; (which is four dimensions and we live in a world of three.) 19. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Which includes knowledge. Now turn to Colossians chapter 1 and he makes it a little plainer probably than in Ephesians. Here is one of the Apostle’s prayers on behalf of you and I as believers.

Colossians 1:10a

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all (even the unsaved world) pleasing,….” In other words, God doesn’t expect us to be a bunch of kooks that the world can just ridicule because we’re oddballs. No, we are to be so rooted in our Christian faith that, even though the world may not love us, they’ll have to respect us for what we are. They have to look at us and admit that they wish that they could be as we are. So Paul is praying that we might be just good solid testimonies of God’s grace.

Colossians 1:10b

“…being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” We’re not just saved to sit. We are saved to serve and we’re going to serve by increasing in our knowledge. And how do you increase in knowledge? Prayer and Bible Study. And oh it’s so lacking. But get into the Book and learn and pray and grow.

652 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 55 - I Peter 4:1 - 5:14 - Part 2

652: I Peter 4:1 – 5:14 – Part 2 – Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 55

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 55

I Peter 4:1 – 5:14 – Part 2

All we want to do as we teach is to just open the Book and let people begin to study on their own. And I think the Lord is doing that in a lot of hearts. He’s is showing them how to read and enjoy and study the Book on their own. It’s so thrilling when people write or call and tell us, “For the first time, I’m studying my Bible and enjoying it.”

Okay, let’s pick right up where we left off in the last lesson, and we are now in I Peter chapter 5. And, again, for review, these little epistles are written to Jewish believers who had been scattered out of the area of Jerusalem and Judea, probably by Saul’s persecution – and they have established little congregations around that part of the eastern Mediterranean. But I think that these little letters that Peter writes are primarily written to Jewish congregations in the western end of Turkey.

Now the book of James, on the other hand, was probably written to one larger congregation of Jewish believers, but not necessarily at Jerusalem – maybe Alexandria or maybe one of the areas up in northern Galilee.

Now, we don’t want to leave the impression that Peter is associating the salvation of these Jews as being accomplished by their martyrdom. I hope that didn’t come across like that in the last lesson because we’re all aware now that the idea behind the Muslim suicide bombers is that, if they can become a martyr, they’re going to immediately go to Paradise. Well, that is not at all what we teach – that when you go through martyrdom you are guaranteed an eternal life.

But for the believer, for the true saved individual that is martyred, yes, he is going to be instantly in the Lord’s presence just like anyone who dies a natural death. So the martyr’s death does not, in itself, guarantee salvation, as that is accomplished when you believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again. We call that Paul’s Gospel of salvation found over in I Corinthians 15:1-4.

Now then, as we come into chapter 5 this is pretty much along the same line that Paul teaches for establishing his Gentile churches. And no doubt a lot of this was patterned after the synagogues of Israel, and it just falls in line that the Jewish believers are under the same God that we Gentile believers are. Never forget that. We’ve got the same God Who is dealing with both sides – the Jew and the Gentile. And then, of course, when we get to Paul, there is a breakdown of the distinction between Jew and Gentile. The middle wall of partition has been broken down. And now in this Age of Grace, there is no difference between black or white, rich or poor, Jew or Gentile – we are all one in the Body of Christ!

Iris and I experience it all the time. We can go into a home that’s as modest as can be, and the spiritual camaraderie is just as good as it is on up the scale. We’ve gone into black families’ homes and we have just thoroughly enjoyed that because we’re all members of the Body of Christ and there are no distinctions. All right, so now then, coming down into chapter 5, dealing with these Jewish congregations, you have the same kind of language, where Peter says in verse 1:

I Peter 5:1a

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder,…” (speaking of himself). Now I’ve pointed this out in other times (but we certainly know) that, at Pentecost, and even during Christ’s earthly ministry, Peter was the headman. Peter spoke for the Twelve invariably and, at Pentecost, everybody recognized Peter as the head of the Jewish Jerusalem church. But now come back with me to Galatians chapter 2, where some of you have heard me teach this. Galatians chapter 2, and I want to bring you down to verse 9, because you may have never seen this before.

Now the setting is the Jerusalem counsel. After several years of Paul’s ministry, false teachers emanating from the Jerusalem church were coming in behind Paul and telling Paul’s Gentile converts that they had to keep the Law and circumcision in order to be saved. You can read that over in the first 5 verses of Acts chapter 15. And, Paul and Barnabas meet with Peter, James and John up there in Jerusalem to refute that. But, the point I want to make here is that Peter has now lost that place of ‘top man’ authority. It is now James who is in charge.

Galatians 2:9a

“And when James, Cephas, (Peter) and John, who seemed to be pillars,…” In other words, they had lost a lot of their authority because Israel is continuing to reject everything and they are sliding on down to the dispersion of 70 AD. But just like Peter shows in his epistles back here, they’re not aware of that yet. They think everything is still ‘A-OK.’ They still think Israel is going to go into, and through, the Tribulation and have their King and their Kingdom in short order. But, here it’s obvious now that James, who was not even the James of the Twelve (he’s been beheaded); but this James is now the moderator of this meeting.

Galatians 2:9

“And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived (or understood) the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, (Gentiles) and they unto the circumcision. (Jews)

All right now the companion passage is Acts 15, and let’s go back there where it’s more obvious that James is the moderator. Acts 15 verse 13. We were here, I think, in one of the previous programs for a different reason, but now it’s to show that Peter is no longer the head honcho of the Jewish equation. James is.

Acts 15:13

“And after they had held their peace, James (the moderator) answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:” And then you come down to verse 19 and James continues:

Acts 15:19a

“Wherefore my sentence is,.…” So James is the one who is making the authoritative statement, not Peter, and that should be sufficient. Now the same way with the order of how these little Jewish epistles (and I think the Holy Spirit did it purposely), where James is first, not Peter. It’s James’ epistle, and then we go to I Peter and II Peter and then John, and Jude.

Okay, here we are now in I Peter chapter 5, and we’re going to have the organization laid out much as it was in the Jewish Synagogue, but also in Paul’s instructions to the Gentile churches in I Timothy chapter 3. All right, verse 1 again:

I Peter 5:1

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, (he doesn’t claim to be the head man; he’s just merely one of the elders) and a witness of the sufferings of Christ,(in other words, Peter was there at the crucifixion) and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:” Now what in the world do you suppose he was talking about? Well I think he was talking about the Transfiguration. And you remember what happened at the Transfiguration? Let’s go back and look at it in Matthew 16 verse 28, where Jesus is speaking now to the Twelve. And He says:

Matthew 16:28

“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here (not all of them, only three) which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” Quite a statement wasn’t it? Now chapter 17 and verse 1.

Matthew 17:1-2

“And after six days (six days later) Jesus taketh Peter, (now there he’s in first place) James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2. And was transfigured before them: (now here was the glory that I think Peter is referring to in his little epistle) and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Now that’s glorious in my book. It was almost blinding, okay, so that’s the Glory that I think Peter can make reference to, that he and James and John had witnessed it. And, of course, it was just a little preview of the glory that He will reveal when He comes and sets up His Kingdom – when again He will be that Light of the world. All right, back to I Peter chapter 5, and continuing verse 1.

I Peter 5:1b

“…who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:” In other words, when Christ returns, that glory of the Transfiguration will be fulfilled to its completeness.

I Peter 5:2

“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;” In other words, what’s Peter saying? You don’t enter into the Lord’s service with the idea of monetary return. That’s not a reason for serving. Naturally every servant has to have enough to feed himself and his family and so forth, but it is not the prerequisite for service. All right, so “Feed the flock of God,” be a shepherd, and again I think in the Synagogue there were the upper shepherds and the lower shepherds.

I Peter 5:3-4

“Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. 4. And when the chief Shepherd (capitalized) shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” Now, come back with me to John’s Gospel. When we speak of sheep and the shepherd and the flock, what people are we generally speaking of? Israel! Israel is always referred to as sheep, Christ is always referred to as the Shepherd, and He uses the parables of the Shepherd. And I cannot find anything that pertains to Gentiles being called God’s sheep.

All right, John’s Gospel, chapter 21 (and you all know the account back here in John’s Gospel chapter 21, in His resurrected body and how He appears to the Eleven up there at Galilee). And after the miracle of the net full of fish that did not break, now come down to verse 15 (after they had eaten that delicious bread and fish). You know I referred to it several programs back. That must have been the most delicious meal ever served up to mortal man. That is if you like fish like Iris and I do. My, that’s one thing that we enjoy about our seminars in Florida. We eat fish until it comes out our ears and we love it. But I’ll bet this was super! Don’t you know that the Lord knows how to do everything better than any mortal? But He has fish ready for them to eat and He says:

John 21:15a

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?…” Now some people think He’s talking about his fellow disciples. I don’t. I think He’s talking about fish because that was his business, he was a fisherman. He loved fish like I love cattle. Now that’s all there is to it – let’s be honest about it. But now he’s put on the spot. Peter do you love me more than your fishing business up on Galilee? Are you ready to turn your back on all that and be my servant?

John 21:15b

“…He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my (what?) lambs.” Now what are lambs? Well they’re sheep. So who are the sheep in Scripture? Israel. So who was Peter to be feeding? Jews. And who does Peter feed? Jews. And always remember that. He’s obedient to what the Lord told him. Well, let’s just keep going while we’re here for a little bit.

John 21:16-17

“He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him Feed my sheep. 17. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time. Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus said unto him, Feed my sheep.” What do you suppose those three commands set opposite? Peter’s denials. Three times when Peter said, “I don’t know that man.” Three times the Lord says, “Feed my sheep.” Okay now, this is exactly what he’s referring to now in his little epistle, then, that it’s his responsibility as well as the rest of the Jewish leadership to “feed God’s sheep,” and that’s Israel, the Jewish element. Verse 3 again.

I Peter 5:3

“Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.” Now what is always the first thing you think of when you think of the word “flock? A flock of sheep. Verse 4.

I Peter 5:4a

“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear,…” See how all the language fits. Now Israel’s chief Shepherd (their Messiah, their King, their Redeemer, their Savior, but also their chief Shepherd and all those promises, the Old Testament), are finally going to be fulfilled and He will be the Shepherd of the sheep in His pasture. Now reading on.

I Peter 5:4-6a

“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, (those believing Jews, faithful to martyrdom even) ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6. Humble yourselves.…” In other words, humility is something that we have to generate ourselves. Humility is not a gift, it’s something that we have to precipitate.

I Peter 5:6-7

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, (and if we remain humble) that he may exalt you in due time: 7. Casting all your care upon him; (Now he’s drawing from the Old Testament promises) for he careth for you.” In fact let’s go look at it, that would be in Psalms 55. Let’s go back and check that one. The Holy Spirit has caused Peter to draw from this verse and, of course, David knew what it was to rely totally upon his God.

Psalms 55:22

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer (permit) the righteous to be moved.” Casting all your cares upon him. All right, back to I Peter chapter 5 again. Verse 8. If you’re going to cast your cares upon the Lord Jesus, then it behooves us to live accordingly. And we’re to:

I Peter 5:8

“Be sober, (we’re to) be vigilant; (in other words, we’ve got to be on top of it constantly) because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” But, as I was thinking this over last night, how does Paul depict Satan? II Corinthians, chapter 11, and let’s drop down to verse 14. Now remember what Peter just said, “Beware of Satan who is as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” Paul depicts him:

II Corinthians 11:14-15

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed (not) into (a lion but a what?) an angel of light. 15. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

Now as I was thinking of this, which form, if you had a choice, would you rather be confronted with, the lion, or the angel of light? I’ll take the lion any day because you know you’re in trouble with him. But with that angel of light, you’ve got to be wise as a serpent to see the difference, because it’s so subtle. And you know, we’re finding it out more and more about all the false teaching that’s coming in off the Internet and off television. My goodness, I just read an article the other night by one of the old Bible scholars of a by-gone day and he used the analogy of “steak laced with arsenic.” How does it taste? Delicious, but the more you eat of it the quicker you’re going to die. Well, you see, that’s exactly what Satan is doing today. He’s lacing gorgeous steaks with arsenic. And people are falling for it left and right.

I think I mentioned in our last taping, I had a fellow call and he was following this kind of stuff. And I said, “Man, you’re being ‘pied-pipered.’” And he didn’t know what I was talking about. But you all know the story of the pied piper. He piped and the rats followed to their doom. Well, that’s what’s happening today – these false teachers are up there, they’re piping the tune, and multitudes are following them. It’s unbelievable. Why? Because up there in verse 13, this is the reason,

II Corinthians 11:13

“For such are false apostles, (that’s what some of them claim to be, you know, that they’re apostles) deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” They’re false teachers, and we’re going to be looking at that more in the next taping when we get to II Peter chapter 3, which is almost word-for-word with the little book of Jude – and it just lays out the descriptive language of these false teachers. A good yardstick for us in the Body of Christ is to line it all up against the Apostle Paul’s teachings of Romans through Philemon and you can’t go wrong. Look at verse 14 one more time, because this is so important.

II Corinthians 11:14

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” Because that’s what Satan, and his ministers do all the time – he transforms himself into an angel of light. So that’s what we’re up against. Peter’s followers back here in the little epistle are up against a lion “seeking whom he may devour.” Now, of course, we can use both analogies and hopefully I’ve made my point. The lion aspect is relatively easy to recognize. You know you’re in trouble when a lion confronts you, but when an angelic light appears, people fall for it. They just fall for it because, if it’s a light, it must be God. No. It’s a false angel of light. All right, back in I Peter 5.

I Peter 5:9

“Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” In other words, we all are confronted with these same things.

I Peter 5:10-11

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11. To him (that is to Christ) be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Now he’s winding down the letter and he says:

I Peter 5:12

“By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.” Now, remember, Grace did not start with Paul. Paul becomes the more eminent Apostle of Grace, but God has always dealt in Grace. When He saved Adam and Eve, it was in Grace. When He helped Noah escape the flood, it was Grace. When He brought Israel out of Egypt, it was Grace. So that’s nothing new. The only thing is that, it is so much more epitomized when we get to Paul, that God can pour out His Grace on ungodly, unregenerate Gentiles. And that was hard to comprehend for the Jews. Now closing with verse 13.

I Peter 5:13-14

“The church that is at Babylon, (I think the Babylon here is Jerusalem and not Iraq). elected together with you. saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son. 14. Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity, (love) Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

651 - Les Feldick Bible Study - Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 55 - I Peter 4:1 - 5:14

651: I Peter 4:1 – 5:14 – Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 55

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1* PART 3 * BOOK 55

I Peter 4:1 – 5:14

Okay, let’s get back to where we were in our last lesson. And again, I need to remind you, as we have new people joining us every day, that these little Jewish epistles are written to the Jewish believers who have been scattered from Acts 8:1 – I think predominately to the Jewish churches in the area of Asia Minor and Western Turkey. Probably it’s the same Jewish churches that are addressed in Revelation 1 through 3. And the whole idea was to prepare them not only for the suffering of the Tribulation that was ahead of them, but also to cope with the suffering that they were already under because of the Roman oppression and so forth.

And I think you are now aware that these were Jewish believers being prepared by Peter, James and John for the horrors of the Tribulation through which they would have to pass if they were going to enter into the glories of the earthly Kingdom. All right, now we saw that so vividly back up in verse 7, where Peter said:

I Peter 4:7a

“But the end of all things is at hand:…” And then we ended the last lesson at verse 11, and I think we’re ready to start in verse 12 where Peter now goes on to say:

I Peter 4:12a

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try (or test) you,….” Present or future? Future. He’s looking at the seven years of Tribulation up here in the top line. Peter doesn’t know about Paul’s outcalling of the Gentiles with the pure Gospel of Grace. Now, he will by the time we get to II Peter. But you see you’ve got a time element involved. When he writes on this top line in I Peter, he’s probably writing back there about the time that Paul’s letters are just coming out. By the time he writes II Peter (which is about eight years later) then, of course, he is aware of Paul’s epistles and he will make mention of them. But up here in I Peter there is not a word about Paul; not a word about Paul’s Gospel; not a word about Gentiles; it’s just as if he doesn’t even know that Paul is out there. But, he is preparing these Jewish believers for the fiery trials that are out in front of them – the Tribulation. Now continuing verse 12.

I Peter 4:12b

“…as though some strange thing happened unto you:” And, remember, as soon as the Tribulation begins, the supernatural begins. It’s going to be unusual. Whether it would have happened then or whether it’s going to happen in our day, that’s beside the point. It was going to be a supernatural period of time. All right, verse 13.

I Peter 4:13

“But rejoice, (because if they can survive the pressures, they’re going to enter into the glory of the Kingdom) inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” What’s he talking about? The Kingdom. And he says again, “If you can come through these fiery trials.” Remember he’s up here on this top timeline. If you can come through these fiery trials and witness the return of Christ, and go into the glory of His Kingdom…. Now sometimes people will say, “Well, how in the world do you come to a conclusion like that?” Well, I’m going to show you.

Go back with me in Matthew (in Christ’s earthly ministry). Matthew chapter 19, and let’s start with verse 27. Now all of this will make sense if you just keep it in that top timeline. Remember it’s all Jewish. All of this was just going to be coming down the pike. Peter has no idea that it would be interrupted by almost 2,000 years with Paul’s Gospel of Grace. But we can now look back and see how beautifully it was interrupted.

Matthew 19:27

“Then answered Peter and said unto him, (that is unto the Lord) Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we (the Twelve) have therefore?” In other words, what’s he complaining about? Well, he’s not really complaining and yet on the other hand, he’s saying, “Okay now Lord, we left our fishing business. We left the beauty of the Galilee.” And I think I may have mentioned on the program, there isn’t a more beautiful sight on earth than sunrise on the Galilee. Some of you have been there with us, and it’s just gorgeous!

He loved his fishing business. His family. And Peter now says “We left all that to follow you, what are we going to have?” Now he’s not talking about salvation, he’s talking about reward. Now look what the Lord says, and He wasn’t playing games with them.

Matthew 19:28a

“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, (in other words, the Twelve – we’re going to kick Judas out in a little while, but he’s still included here. Those of you who have followed me) in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory,…” Now you always have to pick that verse apart or you’ll miss the meaning of it. Most of you have heard me do this before, maybe some out in television never have. When “the regeneration” – what does that mean? When the earth is regenerated or reconstituted or remade like it was in the beginning. The earth is going to go back to that which was before the curse fell. And it’s going to be glorious. It’s going to be beautiful once again. And Christ is going to be sitting on the throne of His glory. Not in Heaven, but in Jerusalem, on Mount Zion. All right, so the Lord is referring to all that and He says to Peter and the Eleven:

Matthew 19:28b

“…That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Now that hasn’t happened yet, but they were expecting it to happen in their lifetime. Now do you have to have some seminary degree to understand that? No. That’s plain English. That when He returns at the end of the Tribulation and sets up that Kingdom, He’s going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords – but the Twelve are going to be ruling the twelve tribes of Israel from smaller thrones there on Mount Zion. That’s as plain as I can make it. And this is what Peter and the others never forgot.

And when we teach Acts, we always point that out. Why was Peter in such a terrible hurry to fill the twelfth slot after Judas was gone? Because they expected all this to come in short order, and you don’t rule twelve tribes with eleven men. They had to have the twelfth one. And so the first thing on Peter’s agenda in Acts 1 was to fill the spot left open by Judas.

On our way back to Peter, let’s just stop at Acts chapter 8, and I can throw a curve at some of these theologians who evidently don’t read some of these things. Acts chapter 8 verse 1. Now Israel has just stoned Stephen – killed him – because Stephen made the last appeal to the Nation of Israel to repent of having crucified their Messiah. All right, now look at Acts 8:1 and how can anybody miss it?

Acts 8:1a

“And Saul was consenting unto his death. (that is Stephen’s) And at that time there was a great persecution (headed up by Saul) against the church (Jewish assembly) which was at Jerusalem;…” That church or that assembly of Jewish believers, who had embraced Jesus as the Messiah. And they were just a small, small percentage of the vast number of Jews who were still practicing Temple worship in Jerusalem. These were those Jewish believers beginning from Christ’s earthly ministry and Pentecost. And now here we are seven or eight years later, and a great persecution has begun.

Acts 8:1b

“…and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

Now these are the Jews that Peter and James and John are writing to, remember? They were all scattered except who? “the apostles.” I don’t think anybody ever reads that! Here most teachers and preachers have been trying to tell us (at least that’s the way I was taught for years and years) that Christianity began way back there at Pentecost, and the Twelve were out there ministering to the Gentiles. No they weren’t. This verse says they were still sitting tight in Jerusalem. They weren’t about to leave. Why? Because when the King comes, where is He coming to? Jerusalem.

My goodness, when the King comes, who wants to be out in Babylon? When the King comes, who wants to be in Spain? They were going to be right there when it happened and so they didn’t leave, in spite of intense persecution. They stayed right there at Jerusalem thinking that all this was going to be happening within a matter of a few years. Now back to I Peter chapter 4 again.

I Peter 4:13a

“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings;…” Now, sure, Peter is referring to Jesus’ crucifixion. They knew that that was a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy. Psalms 22 is a clear picture and so is Isaiah 53. So it wasn’t that these Jewish believers didn’t know, now, that He had died for the sins of the world. But they did not knowPaul’s Gospel of salvation (which is that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again, and that you and I must believe for salvation) would go to the whole world without a part of Israel and Israel’s religion of Judaism. All right, so he’s referring back to the work of the cross, naturally.

I Peter 4:13

“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” Well what’s he talking about? When Christ would come and set up His earthly Kingdom! Now let’s go back to the Old Testament. Go back to Zechariah chapter 12, because I want everyone to see how this is all in perfect accord with the Old Testament prophecies. And then we’re going to turn over to chapter 13.

Zechariah 12:10a

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced,(past tense) and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son,…” Now this is not a mourning as we would think of losing a loved one in death, but this is a mourning as the eleven sons of Jacob mourned, or rejoiced, when they were reunited with whom? Joseph. What did they do? My, they hung on his neck and they wept. Well it wasn’t a weeping like we would do when we lose someone in death, but it was a weeping of now being reunited with a loved one. And they just literally hung on his neck and wept tears of joy.

All right, I think you’ve got the same scenario here – when Israel as a nation will suddenly realize that this One in their midst is the One that had been crucified. And again, Peter is still talking in proximity of only a few years, remember. And they were expecting His soon return and all of this certainly fits, that they would see the One Whom they had pierced. They would mourn. They would have tears of rejoicing that the Messiah, the King, the Redeemer is alive and He’s in their midst:

Zechariah 12:10b-11

“…and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. 11. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.” Now turn to Zechariah 13:6. This, again, is part and parcel of when He would return, and Israel would suddenly, as a nation, recognize Who He is.

Zechariah 13:6

“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends,” Now we’re going to be careful. It wasn’t the Jews who actually carried out the wounding; it was the Romans. But it was in Jerusalem. It was in the house of the House of David. Okay, let’s go back once again to I Peter chapter 4 and we’ll pick up in verse 14.

I Peter 4:14a

“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ,…” That’s not hard to understand is it? That’s always been the case. The true believers were always hated and detested. All the way back into Israel’s history, the unbelieving, pagan worshipping Jews killed and detested those that were believers. My, you remember the parable that Jesus gave of the husbandman who planted a vineyard? Got it ready to go into production, leased it out and went into a far country.

He pretty well knew when that crop would be harvested and when his share of the crop would be due. So he sent his servants and what did the lease holders of that vineyard do to his servants? They killed them. You know the parable. And over and over every year he would send his servants and they would kill them. And then finally, he said, I’ll send my Son. Certainly they will reverence my son. What’d they do with the son? They killed Him also. And then of course, I always feel that Stephen is the epitome of the third person of the Trinity and that is what I always associate with the unpardonable sin of Israel. And when Stephen (full of the Holy Spirit, full of the Holy Ghost), throughout chapters 6 and 7 of Acts, appealed to the nation for the last time to recognize Who Jesus of Nazareth was, what did they do with Stephen? They killed him.

And so the parable was in regard to Israel – that Israel was the vineyard. Christ was the husbandman, and when He went to a far country and He sent His servants (those were the prophets of the Old Testament), they killed them. Then finally He sent the Son and they crucified Him. Then He sent Stephen who represented the Holy Spirit, and they stoned and killed him. And so Israel nationally rejected all three persons of the Trinity. Now verse 14 again.

I Peter 4:14

“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part (that is the persecutors, whether it was Jews or Romans)he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” Ring a bell? You know why the world in general hates our President? Because he makes no apology for his faith in Jesus Christ. Now, don’t expect him to preach Jesus Christ from the White House, he cannot. I don’t expect him to. He’s the President of a pluralistic society. But I have talked to several people who have met with him personally and he makes no apology for his faith and his trust. And I just have no reason to not pray for the man, day in and day out. But I don’t expect him to be an evangelist in the White House. I just can’t see that God expects it either. But, here we have that the world detests the name of Jesus Christ. We know they do.

So “…he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” Now, this is applicable for us just as it was for the Jews of Jesus’ day. The world should see Christ living in us wherever we go. All right now verse 15.

I Peter 4:15

“But let none of you (as believers) suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.” That’s not part of the believer’s lifestyle.

I Peter 4:16-17a

“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, (now here the word ‘Christian’ is used by someone that you don’t expect to hear it from because Christians were usually associated with Paul’s Gospel, but here Peter uses the term for whatever reason and we can just take it as one who is Christ-like) let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:…” (Israel)

Now of course a lot of preachers and evangelists like to refer to the church as the house of God and, in a symbolic way, maybe that’s all right. But in its text here as it sits, Israel is the house of God. Israel was to be the example to the world. That was the whole purpose of God setting them apart and above – head and shoulders above all the rest of the world. They were to be the living example of the True God in the midst of an unbelieving world.

Now of course, that has been placed on you and I as members of the Body of Christ. But Peter is not addressing the Body of Christ. Peter is addressing only Jews. And so he says again: “The time has come that judgment (or God’s dealing now righteously) must begin at the house of God.” Now if this doesn’t make it clear I don’t know what can. Peter says:

I Peter 4:17b

“…and if it first begin at us….” And who’s the us? I’m trying to think of the old comic strip that says, “We’ve met the enemy and he is us.” But it’s just about the same thing. Who are the ones that are to be God’s example? Israel. They’re the ‘us.’ And so he says:

I Peter 4:17c

… what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” Because if it can’t be shown through Israel, how in the world can the rest of the world measure up? Well, they can’t. And they didn’t and they won’t. See? Now verse 18.

I Peter 4:18

“And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” Well I’ll tell you where they’ll appear. Turn back with me to Revelation chapter 20. This is where the non-believing element of the world is going to be. And that goes all the way back to the first registered unbeliever – Cain, until the last one at the end of the Kingdom. The last one and they’ll all be brought, before the Great White Throne in verse 11.

Revelation 20:11-15

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12. And I saw the dead, (that is the lost of all the ages) small and great, (whether they were just a slave in the bottom of a Roman ship, or whether they were kings and queens – makes no difference, they’re all going to) stand before God; and the books (plural) were opened: and another book (singular) was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead (the lost) were judged out of those things which were written in the books, (the daily record) according to their works. 13. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death, and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works. 14. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (or the spiritual death that is the eternal separation of lost mankind from their Creator) 15. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” All right, now come back if you will for just a second to chapter 20 and verse 10.

Revelation 20:10

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the last of fire and brimstone, where the beast (anti-Christ) and the false prophet are and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Now that’s what the Book says.

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.