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Tuesday, September 18 2012
The Epistles: First Peter
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)
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:
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?).
"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.
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.
"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?).
"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.
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?
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?
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.