Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 54
I Peter 2:15 – 3:22 – Part 2
Okay, I Peter chapter 3 and we’re in verse 20. In the last lesson, as we closed, we were talking about Noah’s Flood, and how Christ related to it when He went down into Paradise. And we also covered that the atoning blood had never been shed until Christ died. Before that, animal’s blood could not atone for sin, only cover it up, and so the Old Testament saints could not go into Glory when they died.
Now, of course, some of you have probably been thinking (and I get the question once in a while), what about Enoch and Elijah? Well, you see, Enoch and Elijah, so far as we know, have never died physically, so their day is still coming. How God’s going to do it, I don’t know. The rank and file of believers in the Old Testament were not allowed up to Glory until the atoning blood had been shed. All right now, I guess we’d better read verse 18 to get the flow.
I Peter 3:18-20
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (or alive) by the Spirit: (so He was in the Spirit) 19. By which also he went and preached unto the (Old Testament believers) spirits in prison; 20. Which sometimes were disobedient, (of course, every human being has been in that position.) when once the long-suffering (and patience) of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, (after the years of preparation for the ark. A hundred and twenty years, remember) eight souls were saved by water.”
Now that throws a curve at some people; they think the water saved them when actually it drowned everybody else. Well, it was the water, you see, that was the judgment of God on unbelieving mankind; but the believers escaped the judgment because of the ark floating in the water. And that’s where the water comes in. All right, let’s go in to verse 21 and we can probably clarify.
I Peter 3:21-22
“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22. Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”
All right, now then, let’s just take all three of these verses together going back again to verse 20. While Noah was preparing the ark, a hundred and twenty years, every hammer blow, everything that was taking place was a sermon of coming judgment to the people of Noah’s day. They knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that something was about to happen. Now, of course, they didn’t know what because they wouldn’t believe a word God said anyway. Well, you see, there again, we’re in the same situation today. I think the world, in general, out there knows that something is about to happen. If they don’t, they’ve got their head in the sand. And as I’ve been stressing once in while on the program, but especially in my classes in Oklahoma, why are we all of a sudden hearing all of this language of Weapons of Mass Destruction? It’s everywhere. Everybody’s got them. We’re not alone. Iraq isn’t alone. They’ve all got them.
Iris and I were talking about it coming up today. I’ve always said, for the last thirty years at least, that I do not expect any nuclear holocaust to begin until we’re in the Tribulation – or they are – we’re not going to be here. But, once the Tribulation starts, then these Weapons of Mass Destruction will be waiting to fulfill everything that Scripture says is going to happen to this world in God’s wrath. So everything is getting ready. But, I do not see it happening until the Tribulation.
There may be a small event, but I do not look for someone to go and ‘nuke’ some big populated area which, in turn, will trigger the enemy to recriminate back. I don’t look for that because that will just start the chain reaction that will bring about the whole planet’s destruction, which will come in the closing days of the Tribulation. So what the world should realize tonight is that everything is getting ready. The stage is being set. And I don’t set dates. I came close one time a few years ago and I was left with egg on my face – I’ll never do that again. But, we are getting close. Whether it’s three years, five years, seven years – I don’t think it will be much longer than that, but who knows? But the world is getting ready. All these Weapons of Mass Destruction are being accumulated everywhere, and once they start using them on one another, who’s going to stop it? And so the world is getting ripe for judgment.
And at the same time, the moral fabric of the world is rotting so fast it scares us to death. But God’s finally going to say, “Enough!” and then His wrath and judgment will fall. All right, now it was the same way, of course, leading up to the flood – they, too, were such a wicked generation. Violence was filling the earth, Genesis said. And God says, “I’m going to destroy them.” But, He still had that little tiny remnant of believers, so He brings about Noah building the ark so that it can be a place of safety for those few believers that were left.
Now remember when we talk about “few,” there must have been almost four or five billion people on the earth in Noah’s day and they all went except eight. Babies. Women. Children. Nobody was spared. Everything went under the horrors of the flood, except the eight who were in the ark of safety. Now the ark of safety was just that because of (now come back with me to Genesis for a moment) the makeup of the ark. And the ark is always just a box. The other word for ark in the Old Testament is a coffin and a coffin is not shaped like a boat. A coffin is rectangular. It’s a box. Well, so was the ark of Noah’s time. It was a big rectangular box. All right, Genesis chapter 6 verse 13 and 14.
“And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them;…” My does that ring a bell? I just heard again on the radio coming up, they blew up another bus in Haifa, Israel. Killed another what? Fifteen Israelis. See? It’s everywhere. All around the planet. Violence. The taking of human life one way or another. All right, and so God says:
“…and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” Now we also know that when God put the rainbow in the sky, it was a promise that He would never again destroy the earth with water. But Peter is going to tell us, here in a few more programs, that He will destroy it the next time with fire. And so that is still coming, but He will never again destroy it with water. But here He did. Now then, verse 14. God’s instruction to Noah was to:
“Make thee an ark (make a box, make a coffin, a huge one) of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, (and now here comes the kicker) and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” Now pitch, of course, was tar, or at least that’s what we would call it. It was a tar-like substance that would seal all of the seams between the boards, or the logs or whatever they used. So, the pitch is what really was the thing that made the ark a place of safety. It couldn’t leak because of that tar sealing. Now it’s interesting that the same word translated ‘pitch’ here in this verse is translated ‘atonement’ in other places. So the pitch in Noah’s ark became then in type, the atonement that guaranteed the safety of those in the ark. That’s the whole picture. The ark was a place of safety going through the waters of judgment.
That’s the whole idea of the flood – to teach us that God is going to bring through that segment of believers because of the pitch that sealed out the water of judgment. And that’s why, back when we teach Genesis, we always teach the ark as a picture also of our salvation. That the blood of Christ is what seals out the wrath and the judgment of God that’ll never touch us, no more than the flood water ever touched Noah and their families.
And so, here is the whole picture, that the ark became a place of salvation for these eight people in the midst of horrendous wrath and judgment on the rest of humanity. All right, now then, maybe this will make a little sense when you come back to I Peter.
I Peter 3:20b
“…eight souls were saved by water.” They were saved by or through the water, because the water destroyed all of the wicked generation, and the ark floating in the water was the salvation of these who escaped.
All right, now then, maybe this will help us a little bit – verse 21. Now remember, this is Peter, this isn’t Paul. Peter is coming out of that Jewish mentality of water, water, water. And it began way back when God told Moses that the Children of Israel would be a kingdom of priests. And then you go into Leviticus chapter 8 and you get the picture. What did the priests have to go through to start his service as a priest? Wash, wash, wash in water. All right, you come all the way up through and you get type after type. Naaman, the Syrian general was plagued with leprosy and he bit his pride enough to go and find old Elisha. But then his pride really got stomped in the mud when Elisha didn’t even go out himself – he sent his servant boy who told Naaman to go dip in the Jordan seven times. Well, what a come down.
And I imagine old Naaman thought, “What’s the matter with that Jew, why didn’t he come out and tell me himself?” Well, he was just putting Naaman down where he belonged. See? And so he sends his servant boy out and tells Naaman, “You go dip in the Jordan seven times.” Well, what was the response of this Syrian general? “That filthy Jordan? You know, it’s just a little creek. I’m supposed to get into that when there’s a beautiful freshwater river flowing through Damascus?” Well, it wasn’t the idea of whether the Jordan would take away his leprosy; it was his faith. And he did what Elisha told him to do. He finally did go and dip seven times in the Jordan and his leprosy was cured.
All right, the water didn’t do it; it was his faith. And so all the way up through the Old Testament you have this washing. So then you come all the way up to Christ’s own baptism. Why did He demand baptism? Not because He had sin to be cleansed of. Not because He needed identification with Israel (that was obvious through His genealogy). But what’s He getting ready for? A priesthood – so as a priest He, too, had to signify it with a washing. And so that, as far as I’m concerned, was the reason for Christ’s demanding baptism by John; to prepare Him for His priesthood as the priest after the order of Melchisedec and so forth. Now, when you bring all that in here, Peter is still of the water mentality. He can’t help it, and I’ll show you why.
Come to II Peter, now I’m going to jump ahead a few weeks but you bear with me. We’re going to hit it again when I get there because I love these two verses like you can’t believe. II Peter 3:15. You’ve heard me use them over and over on the program and here in Oklahoma.
II Peter 3:15a
“And account (or understand) that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;…” That’s the whole purpose of this Book – to bring lost humanity to a place of salvation. All right, so Peter is showing it even here.
II Peter 3:15b
“…that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;…” People read and read and they don’t read it. Somebody just told me the other day, they had read a verse many times and they finally saw it for the first time. Well it’s typical. And so I’m sure the same thing happens here. I can read it and most people don’t get what I’m driving at. But Peter says:
II Peter 3:15c
“…even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;” What is Peter admitting? That Paul has a knowledge that he can’t comprehend. And Paul makes it so plain in Galatians chapter 2, “When we compared our notes, they didn’t add anything to me.” Speaking of the Twelve. But, he said, “I added a whole truckload to them.” Because he had so many more revelations. And they couldn’t comprehend it, Peter still can’t. And this is at almost his dying day. I think Peter was martyred just shortly after he finished this II Peter. So he says: “Even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him (the revelation of the mysteries) hath written unto you;” (I think referring to the book of Hebrews, but now look at verse 16.)
II Peter 3:16a
“As also in all his epistles, (that’s Romans through Philemon) speaking in them of these things;…” What things? Salvation! See that’s why he’s been saying all that. You won’t find the plan of salvation in these little Jewish epistles. Peter says, “You go to Paul”. All right, so you go to Paul’s epistles, where it’s speaking of these things pertaining to salvation. Now here’s the part I like.
II Peter 3:16b
“…in which (Paul’s epistles) are some things hard to be understood,…” Hey, this is at the end of Peter’s life. This is some 28 years after Paul’s conversion, or more, and still Peter doesn’t get it. Well, he wasn’t supposed to. God didn’t expect him to. Peter is still of that Jewish mentality. Peter is still more tied to the Law than he is to Paul’s Gospel of Grace, and so he could never quite get it all straight.
II Peter 3:16c
“…which they that are unlearned and unstable (and I don’t think it necessarily means that they haven’t been to seminary. But they haven’t been enlightened by the Holy Spirit) wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” But they don’t stop with Paul, they twist what? They twist all of them. They twist them all to fit their own doctrines and their own theology. But, what’s going to be their end? “Their own destruction.” The Book says it, I don’t! That’s not a very kind word, I know it isn’t. But that’s what they’re going to get because they have twisted the Scriptures and they have avoided the Truth.
All right, now then let’s go back and hopefully not rile too many people and get them too angry – but here is not what Peter is referring to as our understanding of baptism. But remember that baptism, in its true definition, is placing something “into.” Now again I can use all kinds of references that were not water. When Israel came out of Egypt, they went through the Red Sea. The Scripture tells us that Israel was “baptized into Moses.” They weren’t baptized by the water, they went on dry ground, the dust was around them, not water. And so they were placed into Moses’ leadership and the cloud. They were placed into that.
All right, now then you come along and what’s the next one? Well, Christ Himself was placed, by virtue of that water baptism, into a priesthood. The other one I thought of was Christ at His Passion. As he was approaching Gethsemane, what did He tell the Twelve – or the Eleven – “I have a baptism that you know nothing of.” Can you be baptized with it? And I think Peter glibly said, “Yes we can,” and he didn’t know what he was saying; because Christ was speaking of being placed, inundated, into the sufferings and the Passion, as we call it, of that death of the cross. It was a baptism. No water, but it was a placing “into.” I know the other one I wanted to use, we might as well look at this one, I Corinthians chapter 12.
We have been so programmed (the human race over the last 2,000 years), that baptism automatically means water. No it doesn’t. It merely means when something is placed “into,”whether it was Moses’ leadership, Christ’s priesthood or Christ into His suffering and His Passion. Now we’ll see how Paul uses it as we are placed into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit.
I Corinthians 12:12
“For as the body (the human body) is one, and hath many members, (hands, feet, eyes, ears) and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”
Now I’m going to use an analogy. If you were to drop a heavy object on your big toe, how far does it hurt? All the way to your head. Why? Because the toe is a part of the body and it’s going to affect all of it. Now the Body of Christ is the same way. We’re all brought into the Body of Christ and if one of the members hurts, we all hurt. Christ hurts. Now come back to our text, verse 13.
I Corinthians 12:13a
“For by one Spirit (Holy Spirit) are we all (not just a few, every believer is) baptized into one body,…” How? By a work of the Holy Spirit. No water. Not a drop. But the Holy Spirit places us into the Body of Christ, and it’s called a baptism. And that’s as it should be. We have been placed into the Body of Christ, so that we can function under the headship of Christ.
My, what a position we enjoy! Not the king and His subjects. The Head of the Body and the members of the Body. Okay, so now then, maybe that can qualify that baptism doesn’t automatically mean water. Well, for Peter, of course, the flood and Noah and everything – that included a lot of water – but he’s not putting any salvation on any kind of water baptism; but he’s using it as a figure that even as baptism:
I Peter 3:21
“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”
Now we won’t take time to go back and look, but when John the Baptist began his ministry, what was his message? “Repent.” That was his message. And how were the Jews of his day to manifest that repentance? With baptism. And the same way all through Christ’s earthly ministry and on into the day of Pentecost – Peter preaches the same thing that John did. And what was it? Repentance and water baptism. Later on, Paul will tell us that John preached a baptism of repentance – totally different than where we are under this Age of Grace. In fact, I just had a conversation and my idea is that, today, repentance is not a prerequisite for salvation; it’s the result of it. It’s the result. Because when we’re saved, we’re going to change directions and that’s what repentance is all about. But see, so many people put the cart out in front of the horse. You’ve got to repent first and then get saved. Hey, that’s the flesh talking. The flesh won’t save anybody. But, when you let the Spirit convict, and you let the Spirit bring us into a place of salvation; then, we’re going to experience a repentance. We’re going to experience a change of lifestyle and all these things. All right, verse 22 and, remember, we ended verse 21 with “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”
Now you want to remember, these Jews of Peter’s day are only shortly removed from the crucifixion. Their Messiah was put to death. And they have to be constantly reminded that He’s no longer dead, He’s alive. He’s up in Glory waiting to return in order to bring these people into the Kingdom. That’s what they were waiting for. The King and the Kingdom. So Peter again reminds them that this One Who was crucified and has gone into Heaven now in verse 22:
I Peter 3:22
“Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.” What does that mean? Even though He had become man, and even though He had died the horrible death of the cross, God raised Him from the dead and His power is just as supreme, if not more so, than ever before. And that’s what the Scripture says, “Therefore God hath highly exalted Him so that His name is above every name.” The world doesn’t like to buy that today, do they? But it’s true.