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Tuesday, September 18 2012

The Epistles: First Peter

Studies in this complete Epistles series:
What Is An Epistle? Luke Acts Romans First Corinthians
Second Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians
First Thessalonians Second Thessalonians First Timothy Second Timothy Titus
Philemon Hebrews James First Peter Second Peter
First John Second John Third John Jude Revelation


Peter's first epistle was written primarily to his fellow Jews (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah, Israel In History and Prophecy: Jews and Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism) who had been "scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" - believing Jews, "through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ."

The "scattering" was due to more than just travel or immigration (i.e. in migration). Apart from the dispersion of all Jews due to the Roman occupation of Judah (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Roman Judea), and the repeated revolts against it (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Zealots), Christian Jews had been driven from Jerusalem, and all of Judea, by other Jews. A major scattering of that sort occurred just prior to the conversion of the Pharisee Saul (see also The Passed Over Pharisees), after which he became the apostle Paul - who thereafter encountered both believing and non-believing Jews of that dispersion during his missionary journeys.

"8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles." (Acts 8:1 KJV)

"9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus [see Straight Street] to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" (Acts 9:1-4 KJV)

Peter had been specifically directed by the LORD (see Who Is The LORD?) to serve Jews (as stated by Paul, "2:8 For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles" Galatians 2:8 KJV), so hence this epistle.

"1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied." (1 Peter 1:1-2 KJV)

The Roman Empire

Peter, like Paul, did not preach the "how to be successful in this world" doctrine of what calls itself "Christianity" today. Peter taught living a righteous life, according to the Way of the LORD, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."

"1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead [see The Harvest Prophecies], 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?]." (1 Peter 1:3-9 KJV)

Like Paul, Peter understood that they were not teaching a new religion, or a breakaway religion from Judah, but the Scriptural Truth that was originally given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, by Jesus Christ (see Who Is The LORD? and How Did The Messiah's Levite Priesthood Change?).

"1:10 Of which salvation the prophets [see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Prophets] have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into." (1 Peter 1:10-12 KJV)

"Ye have purified your souls in obeying the Truth"

"Holy" means to "have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit." So too, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God" is not merely a state of mind, but a state of obedience (see What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?).

Sidon

"1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ [see The Apocalypse Of Jesus Christ]; 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ [see The Day Of Atonement: It's All About Christianity], as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God [see What Does Word of God Mean To You?], which liveth and abideth for ever. 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever [see The Church: Mission Accomplished]. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." (1 Peter 1:13-25 KJV)

Christ's people must live in the world, but not as the world, "laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings."

"2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word [see The Way To The Land Of Milk And Honey], that ye may grow thereby: 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house [see Mansions], an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Zion].

2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation [see The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God], a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works [see Works Means Obedience], which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." (1 Peter 2:1-12 KJV)

"When the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away"

Like all of the prophets and teachers, Peter focused on the return of the Messiah. The purpose of physical life is to prepare for the day of Christ's return (see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin and Could Christ Return Tonight?).

Corinth

"4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh [see Counting On The Resurrection], arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 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. 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead [see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners and What Is The Day Of The LORD?]. 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

4:7 But the end of all things is at hand [see Could Christ Return Tonight? and The Church In The End Time] : be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 4:1-11 KJV)

In the mean time, troubles will come, along with the troubles that occur to all people, "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing."

"4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 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 [see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin]. 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 he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator." (1 Peter 4:12-19 KJV)

Peter's understanding had greatly deepened and widened after the Sacrifice of the Messiah (see the Fact Finder question below), while at the same time he also grew in focus and aim (see The Strait Gate).

"5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre [see What Does The Bible Say About Lucre?], but of a ready mind; 5:3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (1 Peter 5:1-4 KJV)

Fact Finder: (a) As it happened, what did the Messiah have Peter witness that some of the other apostles did not see? (b) When did Peter come to fully realize that salvation was as much open to "Gentiles" as it is to Jews? Did Jonah learn the same lesson, in the same city, as Peter did?
(a) See What Did Peter and John See That Others Didn't?
(b) See The Joppa Lessons Of Jonah And Peter


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This Day In History, September 18

14: Tiberius was confirmed as Roman Emperor by the Roman Senate after the death of Augustus, the first Roman Emperor (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). Augustus was Caesar at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ (Luke 2:1-7; see also Does Rome Have Christ's Birth Certificate?). Tiberius was Caesar at the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:1-4; see also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?).

96: The accession of Nerva, the 12th Roman emperor (reigned 96-98 AD). He succeeded Domitian who was assassinated (see also Israel In History and Prophecy: Aelia Capitolina).

324: Constantine defeated Licinius at Chrysopolis, making Constantine the sole emperor of the Roman empire (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).

1180: Philip Augustus became king of France.

1502: Christopher Columbus landed at Costa Rica on his fourth and last voyage to the "New World." Contrary to popular myth, the voyages of Columbus were all actually to and around the islands of the Caribbean (e.g. Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola) and central America, from Panama to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico - Columbus never landed on what is today the U.S.

1635: Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II of Austria declared war on France (see The Holy Roman Empire).

1759: The French formally surrendered Quebec to the British.

1810: Chile declared its independence from Spain.

1819: Jean-Bernard Foucault was born. In 1851 the French physicist demonstrated, using a pendulum named after him, that the earth does indeed rotate on its axis (readers of the Holy Bible were far ahead of "scientists" in that knowledge - see No 'Flat Earth' In The Bible).

1830: Near Baltimore, a 9-mile race was held between the newly-invented railway locomotive and a rider on a horse. The horse won.

1906: A typhoon, along with a tsunami, killed an estimated 10,000 people in Hong Kong.

1924: The Moffatt Translation of the Bible was published by Bible scholar James Moffatt.

1934: The U.S.S.R. was admitted to the League of Nations.

1939: A German U-boat (in German meaning Underwater Boat i.e. a submarine) sank the British aircraft carrier Courageous, killing 500 crewmen.

1974: Hurricane Fifi struck Honduras with 110 mph winds. An estimated 5,000 people were killed.

1977: The unmanned spacecraft Voyager I took the first photographs of the earth and moon together in space.

1981: The French parliament abolished capital punishment and the guillotine.

1982: "Christian" militia slaughtered 600 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

1991: Yugoslavia began a naval blockade of seven port cities of the Adriatic Sea.


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