Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 54
Peter Continues the Kingdom Message
I Peter 1:1 – 2:14
It’s been almost 13 years now that we’ve been coming to Tulsa to do these tapings, and today we’re going to begin a study in I Peter, as we finished James in the last taping.
Now, as we discussed way back in our introduction to these little Jewish epistles of James, Peter, Jude, and the little epistle that John wrote back here, including Revelations, were all written primarily, but not exclusively, to Jewish believers who had been scattered away from Jerusalem because of the persecution, as we have seen in Acts chapter 8:1.
But always remember that Jews had already been out there in the Gentile world since about 606 BC – when Nebuchadnezzar took them all captive to Babylon. And then they began to migrate throughout the Mede and Persian, and the Babylonian and the Greek Empires; so that, by the time we get to the time of Christ and the Roman Empire, there are Jews living everywhere. And I always tell people that if you doubt that, just go to the book of Acts and you’ll notice that in every place Paul went on those missionary journeys, where did he start his ministry? In the synagogue. These Jews were everywhere, see?
All right, so, also in the midst of these regular ordinary Jews that came from the Babylonian captivity, there are now these Jews, beginning with Christ’s earthly ministry, that carried on after Pentecost – who had become believers by believing that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah, the Christ. And so they had, more or less, separated into separate little congregations, even though they were still practicing Temple worship and everything. And that’s the other point I always like to make. Remember, the Temple is still operating. All of this takes place before 68 AD, when we feel Paul and Peter were martyred; and then the Temple was destroyed two years later.
So, these little Jewish epistles are primarily written to these Jewish believers, who, for one reason or another, are gathered in little congregations, especially up in Asia Minor and Galatia, which we now call the land of Turkey. Of course there were others, but I think most of these Jews (that these little epistles addressed) were in that area of the world.
Now, as we showed in the very first introduction to these epistles, all of this is in line with the Old Testament prophetic program. There is not a word of church language in these little epistles. In other words, like I said when I taught Hebrews, you can’t take someone into I Peter, for example, and take them through a “Roman Road” of salvation. It’s not in here.There is nothing in here pertaining to the Body of Christ. But all of these things were written to Jews who were now facing, according to Old Testament prophecies, the coming seven years of wrath and vexation known as the Tribulation. There is no indication that God is going to interrupt that Old Testament timeline when these are written. They’re still looking for all this to happen.
In fact, if you’ll remember, when we were introducing all this several months ago, how all the Scripture spoke of these being the ‘last days.’ And how all these writers, James and Peter and John and Jude and even the book of Revelation, were all written with the idea that this was coming down the pike in a matter of a few years. And I even went back and covered Paul’s Scriptures concerning the Rapture for the Grace Age believers; and he included himself, as he thought all of this was going to happen in his lifetime. He thought that until, when he finally writes II Timothy, he realizes that the old world is going to keep going and his life is going to be taken.
But all of these little epistles, and we’ll be pointing it out when we hit those verses, are expecting the Tribulation to be coming in just a short period of time, and they are preparing these Jewish believers for the suffering and the persecution that’s coming. Now, of course, these epistles are still appropriate – we’ve now come full circle and we’re right back almost where the world was at the time that these things were taking place. Once again, the Tribulation is right out in front of us, we feel. And the revived Roman Empire, as we taught in Daniel, is falling into place in Western Europe faster than you can imagine. And the whole scenario of the world is now getting ready for, again, those final seven years.
Why, all of a sudden, is the world stressing weapons of mass destruction? Because they’re going to be evident in those final seven years. That’s how close I think we are. When, indeed, the whole world’s population, but the few, will be destroyed by whatever weapons that man has devised. And I’ve always said that the end events will be nuclear. I think Zechariah makes that so clear and now, of course, we realize that it will probably be weapons of bacteria and chemicals and everything else; but it’s all getting the world ready for those final seven years.
So, even though these letters were addressed to Jews living back there in 50, 60, 65 AD – these letters are still appropriate for the Jewish believers that will be on the scene in the early days of the Tribulation; and they, again, will take comfort from these very same Scriptures, as that same Gospel of the Kingdom that Christ and the disciples preached will be on the scene again, being proclaimed by the 144,000. I mean it’s just almost beyond human comprehension. And so these epistles will still fit, and be just as appropriate the day that takes place as they were then. So watch for it in that light – that these Jewish believers are now being prepared for the suffering and the persecution that is coming.
Now, lest you wonder what I’m talking about, come back with me to Matthew 24, where the Lord Himself is bringing the disciples up to par on end-time events. And also remember that Matthew 24 is describing the seven years of Tribulation in a nutshell. Here, the Lord Himself knew that the Tribulation wasn’t going to happen right away, and wouldn’t happen for another 2,000 years, but nobody else did. The Twelve had no idea. The Jewish believers had no idea. And, as I’ve already said, even the Apostle Paul had no idea that there was going to be a 1,900 and some year hiatus. So here in Matthew 24, look at the words of the Lord Jesus Himself.
“When ye (speaking to the Twelve, which represented the Nation of Israel) therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, (now the scoffers like to tell us that Daniel is a forgery and it was written by someone long afterward, but the Lord doesn’t. The Author of The Book Himself gives credit to Daniel’s prophecy) stand in the holy place,…” (which of course is the Anti-christ)
“Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:” Now, drop on down to verse 21.
“For then…” That’s the mid-point of the Tribulation of course. 3 1/2 years have passed, and they’ve already had one fourth of the world’s population lose their lives. So don’t ever let anybody tell you that the true Tribulation doesn’t begin until the mid-point. The first half, of course, is mild by comparison to the last half; but Revelation tells us that by the end of the first half, one fourth of the world’s population is already gone. I don’t call that a Sunday School picnic by any means.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world. (that goes all the way back to Adam, which includes even the Flood) to this time (that is, where He was speaking there at His first advent) no, nor ever shall be.” Which means that even the Holocaust, horrible beyond human description; how those six-million Jews lost their lives at the hand of the Nazis – but even that is going to pale by comparison to these last three and a half years.
Now that’s hard to understand, isn’t it, that even something worse than the Holocaust is coming upon this world. I think the reason is that the Holocaust was limited to Nazi Germany and the death camps, and World War II, which took a tremendous death toll all around the world. But yet, when this comes, it’s going to be the devastation of the whole human race. In fact, I think I left the program on our last taping with those verses in Jeremiah where it says that death is going to be so rampant that they won’t even be able to bury the dead. There’ll be no funerals. There’ll be no graveyard digging and the bodies will be as dung upon the ground. Now that’s what the world is coming to whether they want to admit it or not. And, of course, every time I read about weapons of mass destruction, I have to think of these verses. The world is facing God’s wrath.
Now, it isn’t because God is unfair or unloving. He has been extending His Grace now for 6,000 years in one way or another. But mankind continues to walk it underfoot until, finally, His wrath will fall and this is what it will be. All right, so remember, that the days of the Tribulation were postponed back there at 68-70 AD (even though Jerusalem did come under portions of tribulation times when many Jews and the Temple were destroyed), and the Tribulation is still waiting to happen. But, the scenario is pretty much the same. Now, never confuse any of this with the Church Age believers. We in the Church Age will be gone before the Tribulation even starts; we are removed from the earth when the Rapture takes place. Okay, I Peter verse 1 says it exactly like it is.
I Peter 1:1
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.” Peter is addressing his apostleship to the Jews that are scattered. Now, I’ve been doing this throughout the little book of James and I’m going to do it with Peter. Let’s go back and compare how Paul puts it. Come back with me to Ephesians chapter 3. And here’s the difference. This is what we have to understand; you can’t just throw it all in the blender and turn it up on high, like most like to do. But, rather, you have to keep them all separated and just compare one with the other and then note the differences. What a difference! Paul tells us to “Separate the Scriptures,” and I always say, Paul’s writings are for us, from the rest of Scripture. That way you can get your Church doctrine, and your salvation verses, and know what belongs to you. Then you can truly separate Law and Grace.
Remember, Peter says, “An apostle of Jesus Christ to those Jewish strangers.” Now look what Paul says in Ephesians 3:1:
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner (and an apostle) of Jesus Christ for (whom?) you Gentiles.” See how clearly he puts that? So everything Paul writes from Romans 1:1 until the last verse of Philemon is addressed primarily, not exclusively, but primarily to Gentiles; like these little letters are written primarily, not exclusively, to Jews. See the difference? Now, come back to I Peter. So, now then, he’s an apostle of Jesus Christ writing to Jews scattered throughout that part of the Middle East.
I Peter 1:2
“Elect (or chosen) 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.” All right now, again, let’s come back to the Book of Ephesians chapter 1 verse 3, and see how Paul puts the same kind of a scenario, writing to us Gentiles.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in (the heavenlies, or) heavenly places in Christ:” Now the verse we came here for:
“According as he hath chosen us in him from before the foundation of the world,…” See? What does that tell us? That our Almighty, Omniscient God knew everything before the world was ever created. He knew exactly who would become believers, whether it was in Israel or whether it was in the Church Age. Nothing was unknown to Him. So when Paul says that, we, who are in Christ, were already reckoned as such, according to that foreknowledge of God. And when we speak of the foreknowledge of God, it isn’t that God picked and chose and said, well you’re going to hell and you’re going to Heaven. Don’t ever buy that kind of stuff. God has not done that. He has made it possible for every human being to spend eternity with Him someday.
Let me show you a verse back in John’s Gospel chapter 1. We’ve used it before, but it’s been a long time ago now. Here John is speaking, of course, of Christ in His first advent.
“That (speaking of Jesus of Nazareth) was the true Light, (capitalized) which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” How many? Every last one. No one has ever escaped that Light that has been revealed. I don’t care if they’re the Aborigines of Australia or the darkest part of China or Africa or Timbuktu; every human has had a Light. Consequently, when I’m on that subject, I’ve always got to carry it on to the Book of Romans. In Romans, Paul can write under inspiration, in perfect accord with what John said. Romans 1 verse 19, in light of the fact that Christ the Light of the world has lighted every man – now that’s a generic term that also includes the women – that cometh into the world.
“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; (that is the unbelieving world) for God hath (past tense) shewed it unto them.” Now don’t ask me how, I can’t tell you; but the Scripture says it has already happened.
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; (that’s been revealed to the whole human race beginning with Adam and Eve) so that they (the whole human race) are (what?) without excuse:”
In other words, they’re going to come before the Great White Throne for the lost of all the ages bodily; and they’re going to come before Him and they’re going to have to admit that they spurned the opportunity that was given them. And they won’t beg an excuse. They won’t have one; because they had enough Light to become believers. I can’ t comprehend it. I can’t understand it. But, I believe what The Word says. Now, back to I Peter chapter 1 verse 2. So, they were the elect, or they became the chosen; they became believers and God knew it in His foreknowledge. Not that He’d picked some to be lost and some to be save – that was everybody’s opportunity, Jew as well as Gentile. But those who became believers, then, enter into that position of being the elect and, according to the foreknowledge of God, now back in verse 2:
I Peter 1:2b
“… through sanctification (or the setting apart work) of the Spirit, unto obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” Like I said at the beginning, there is no Gospel of Grace in these little Jewish epistles, but that doesn’t mean Peter will make no reference, now, to Christ’s death, burial and His resurrection; and, as he does here, speaking of His shed Blood – certainly he will, because it’s a done deal, it’s past. But he does not present that as a means of salvation like Paul does. Now, I’d better go back so you can see what I’m talking about. Come back again to Romans, because I want to show you how, clearly, these things are not in these little Jewish epistles. You just can’t find them. Even though there’s a reference to the blood or so forth, it does not define it like Paul does and that’s where the difference comes in.
Now, Romans chapter 3. I like to start with verse 23 as this is an all-encompassing verse on the lot of mankind ever since Adam.
“For all have sinned, (every one of us) and come short of the glory of God; (now here it comes) 24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption (or the process of buying us back) that is in Christ Jesus: 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,…” Through faith in His blood! Now you see, Peter just makes reference to it as an accomplished fact. But he doesn’t tell us what Christ’s shed blood is really doing with us in our faith relationship. But here Paul tells us that we placed our faith in His shed blood.
“…to declare his (God’s) righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. 26. (this is where you and I are) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, (totally fair) and the justifier of him which believeth….” Peter doesn’t lay that out that clearly. And then you go on through Paul’s epistles, and over and over he makes it plain that faith in the finished work of the Cross then becomes our means of going to Heaven. Now back to I Peter. So Peter is certainly going to make mention of these things that are past, that Christ has died; His Blood has been shed. Absolutely.
I Peter 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 (or a living hope. Why? Because Christ is not longer in the tomb) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” Christ has been raised from the dead! But Peter doesn’t lay that out as part and parcel of the Gospel of Salvation like Paul does. He’s just laying it out as a fact to be rested upon that, even Israel has to understand, their Messiah is not dead – He’s alive! Peter does the same thing in Acts 2 and 3. He doesn’t associate it with Gospel per se, but he lets it be known that the Christ they crucified was not dead; he was alive, and was still fully capable of fulfilling those covenant promises of bringing in that glorious Kingdom.
I Peter 1:4-5a
“To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, (see?) and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, (so they’re also looking for an eternal existence in God’s program because of their faith) 5. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.…”
Now the question comes up so often, “How were the Old Testament people saved?” By faith – it’s always been by faith. In fact we showed in our teaching up in South Dakota last week, that Adam and Eve were restored back to fellowship. Why? Because they had taken God at His Word. God had told them that they would be the progenitors of the whole human race and, because of that, Adam named the woman, “the mother of all living.” Well what was that? It was a manifestation of his faith. And so, all the way up through the Old Testament whether it was sacrifices, Temple worship or whatever, it was still always precipitated by their faith.
And when you come into Christ’s earthly ministry, what was the basis for the Twelve knowing that Jesus was the Promised Messiah? Faith – they believed it because the Word of God had promised such a Person would come. And when they saw His signs and wonders and miracles, they believed it. It’s always been by faith. And the same way with us in the Age of Grace; but so, also now, with these Jews to whom Peter, James and John are writing these little epistles – it’s always by faith.
I Peter 1:5
“Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Well what’s the last time? These final seven years of human history, which would lead up to the coming of their Messiah to set up His Kingdom. So watch for this; every once in a while you have this reference, that this is bringing us to the end of the human experience, that the 1,000-year earthly Kingdom would be coming in and from there, of course, we’d be ushered into eternity.
There is no inkling that all this is going to be interrupted and filled with what we now call the 1900+ years of the Church Age. So, he said, “All these things will be revealed in the last time.”