There is some dispute over whether Peter actually wrote the two Epistles (1 and 2 Peter)
attributed to his name. This is largely due to the fact that Peter could neither read nor write, to
which Scripture freely attests.
After Jesus' resurrection, Peter and John had miraculously healed a man who had been lame from birth just outside of the Temple. This had caused a commotion among the people, and the corrupt Sanhedrin did as they usually did in these matters, they arrested Peter and John.
While being questioned about the incident, Peter testified about Jesus and stated that it was through the power of Jesus that the man had been healed. The members of the Sanhedrin were shocked by the eloquence and boldness of Peter's response. Scripture then states:
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
Basically Peter and John were what we today would call illiterate, yet they confounded the much-learned Sanhedrin elders and lawyers with their wisdom and eloquent speaking. Jeremiah, considered one of the most prominent of the prophets of the Old Testament could neither read nor write (all of his written words were dictated to his scribe Baruch), yet he shook the world with his prophecies.
This goes to show that God can empower and use anyone that He chooses to carry out His purposes!
1 PETER 1:1-2
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace be multiplied.
There is some debate as to whom Peter was writing when he addressed "the Dispersion" (Diaspora). Some say that he was addressing Jews who had scattered throughout the Roman Empire while others believe he was addressing both believing Jews and Gentiles together.
1 PETER 1:3-5
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Note that Peter is careful to link Jesus with God the Father, who planned for our salvation from the very beginning, through His Son. And as proof of God's salvation plan which the Old Testament Law could not provide, and as verification that the teachings and promises through Jesus Christ are real, God resurrected Jesus from the dead as promised.
Peter also subtly reminds his readers that the salvation and promised inheritance through Jesus can only be gained throughfaith, and is not automatic because they are descendants of Abraham as many Jews thought. But John the Baptist disillusioned them of that when he said;
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,
9 and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Salvation is offered to all men regardless of ethnicity, but it requires faith in Jesus to receive it.
1 PETER 1:6-9
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
Peter warns us to not lose heart if we are beset with trials as this is for the testing and purification of our faith. A good example is when metal ores are mined: in a raw state the ore is riddled with impurities which weakens the tensile strength and degrades the appearance of the metal, greatly reducing its value.
But when it is subjected to caustic chemicals and great heat in a furnace the impurities are burned away leaving a strong, pure product which is of great value in the estimation of evaluators. Muscles are he same way - we subject them to stress and strain to make them grow stronger and more useful.
Our faith is of priceless value to God, but like raw metals, it must be refined to remove weaknesses and increase its strength and value. The end result is praise and eternal glory from God, things far richer than Earthly treasures. And while trials and temptations may seem harsh, Paul reassures us that;
1 CORINTHIANS 10:13
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
God sets limits on what Satan is allowed to test us. (Job chapters 1 and 2 are good examples of this) Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness without restraint, so that He could understand first-hand what we have to face;
14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven--things which angels desire to look into.
The prophets many times did not understand what they were prophesying about, usually they knew or were told that their prophecies would be fulfilled sometime in the future. As Daniel was told when he made his famous End Times prophecies;
8 Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, "My lord, what shall be the end of these things?"
9 And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand."
Scripture was closed permanently when the Book of Revelation was written, despite the Mormon belief that the Book of Mormon is the"Latter-Day Revelations of Jesus Christ". The only thing I'll say about this is if they were indeed "latter-day revelations" of Jesus, they would agree with the Bible, which they most certainly do not.
We who live today are blessed beyond measure, in that we have all of the prophecies and can see where and when in history they were fulfilled and will be able to watch the fulfillment of those yet to be fulfilled. As Jesus told the disciples;
23 Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see;
24 for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it."
And we in turn have seen and heard what the disciples did not. As the prophets were making their prophecies, they could only see parts of God's plan of salvation unfolding. We who live in these Last Days can see it in its entirety from Genesis to Revelation.
1 PETER 1:13-16
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
Before we started believing, as Peter states we were ignorant of God's plan for redemption and we regarded fleshly lusts as 'natural urges.' Now we know differently and can no longer claim ignorance as an excuse for sinful actions and behaviors.
REMEMBER, WITH KNOWLEDGE COMES RESPONSIBILITY FOR THAT KNOWLEDGE! THIS IS THE TRUE STING OF SIN AS ADAM AND EVE FOUND OUT!!!
Satan in his malevolence had actually spoken the truth when he promised that if they ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would be like God, knowing good from evil. He baited his hook with the desirability to be like God and they took the bait.
Then he set the hook. They now possessed the knowledge, like God, to discern the difference between good and evil. They also understood that they were now responsible before God for that knowledge, and knew that they had sinned. They had lost their innocence and would be held responsible and would be judged for everything they did hereafter based on that knowledge.
A good analogy is bees. They're busy little creatures and fun to watch, but experience tells you not to play with them or you'll get stung, so we generally avoid them. Sin is like a bee. Keep a healthy distance from it, as it contains a nasty sting that will inject a deadly spiritual toxin into your soul which only the blood of Jesus can neutralize and destroy.
1 PETER 1:17-25
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
24 because "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away,
25 But the word of the Lord endures forever." Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.
Peter reminds us that one day our works will be impartially judged by God. It won't matter who you were on Earth, each will be judged by the same laws according to their actions on Earth. Those convicted of sin will be punished and condemned to an eternity of torment in the Lake of Fire, the magnitude of their agony based on the magnitude of their sins. The righteous will be judged for their obedience to God's commands and their quality of service to God and Jesus while on Earth. And each will be praised or rebuked by God as judged by Him, and the magnitude of our eternal glory and rewards based on that judgement.
Peter also reminds us of the fleeting nature of this physical world. Good looks or a great physique fade away eventually, or can be destroyed in a moment. Riches and popularity are the same. Here today, gone tomorrow. But if you are rich, good-looking , nicely built, and popular, will that be of any benefit after age sets in, or after death? Remember, you can't take it with you! And it could all be gone in an instant.
But if you set your mind on spiritual things which are eternal, they will be waiting for you after death. No one will ever rob you, covet what is yours, you will shine like the sun forever and neither you nor your treasures will ever age.
1 PETER 2:1-3
1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,
2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Peter isn't trying to be insulting, but when we accept Christ we are all like babies needing milk (the fundamentals of Christianity) before we can handle the deeper, stronger principles and doctrines in Christ. Even the Apostles needed to start with the basics from Jesus.
If we lead a person to Jesus, do we start them reading Romans or Corinthians? Of course not! We send them to the Gospels and when they are grounded in the basic principles of Christ, we give them stronger principles and doctrines to follow.
1 PETER 2:4-10
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,
5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame."
7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,"
8 and "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense." They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
Peter makes some very important points here. Namely;
With Jesus' death, the need for a separate physical priesthood was finished. God waited for 40 years after Jesus'resurrection for the preaching of the disciples to show this and when the Jews refused to follow their teachings and continued offering now-useless sacrifices, His patience came to an end.
With the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. the need for a separate, physical priesthood was destroyed. With Jesus' sacrifice of Himself on the cross the perfect sacrifice for sin had been made and accepted by God. Therefore there was no further need for animal sacrifices, and with Jesus being made the eternal High Priest before God there was no further need for a physical priesthood either.
The Law had been fulfilled in Jesus, and the focus was now on spiritual matters, which the Law had pointed to all along. God gave the Jews 40 years after Jesus' death to repent, believe and obey the New Covenant in Jesus and when they refused, in His wrath He destroyed the Temple, the priesthood and the unbelieving Jews in a devastating war with the Romans.
And NOWHERE in the New Testament does God ever call for the rebuilding of the Temple, or the formation of another priesthood!!! And that is because we, through Jesus, are ALL priests before Him now, and after His sacrifice both Jew and Gentile are equal before Him and we are ALL inheritors of the promises given to Abraham by God.
Bottom line? There should not be a dedicated physical priesthood today. Peter says we areALL a royal priesthood, echoed by the apostle John in Revelation. John saw the redeemed standing before the throne of God who held a scroll sealed with seven seals, and Jesus standing before God's throne.;
9 And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."
In the Old Testament the priests were only taken from the tribe of Levi. And here the redeemed are designated as priests from every tribe and nation. Anyone claiming to be serving God in the office of a separate, dedicated priesthood today has not been chosen by God for that office, and has taken a Man-made office and title.
1 PETER 2:11-12
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,
12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
This is nothing more than the old "practice what you preach" doctrine, right along with "actions speak louder than words". If you preach and teach righteous conduct and abstinence from sin but act no different than the rest of the world, will people believe you? How many preachers have been caught in scandals, destroying the message they preached?
1 PETER 2:13-17
13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme,
14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.
15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men--
16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.
17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
We are to honor and respect those in authority over us for the Lord's sake, seeing as He has set them over us. And we are to submit to their authority, especially to those that reward good and punish evildoers.
This can be a hard one at times. The Jews of Jesus' time chafed under Roman rule for many years and had even tried to trap Jesus into committing treason against Rome by asking whether it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not.
20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.
21 Then they asked Him, saying, "Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth:
22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, "Why do you test Me?
24 Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?" They answered and said, "Caesar's."
25 And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
26 But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.
Jesus understood that the Romans ruled over Israel because it was the Father's will that it be so. Even He Himself was under Caesar's authority by the will of the Father in what is called 'positional authority.' Even though Jesus was far greater in authority and power than Caesar, He submitted Himself to His Father's will and subjected Himself to Caesar's will.
Note also that Jesus never crossed the Roman authorities in Judea and Galilee, neither did He preach rebellion against Rome, even when Roman soldiers slaughtered Jews who rioted against Roman rule.
Peter says we are to follow the rules of those set in authority over us unless they violate God's commandments. An example of this is found in Acts;
After Jesus' death and resurrection, Peter and John had been arrested by the religious authorities for preaching and teaching about Jesus. Luke then records;
18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.
20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
There is a lot of confusion among believers as to what to do when men's laws conflict with God's laws. When men's commands are contrary to God's commands, we must follow God's commands.
1 PETER 2:18-25
18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.
19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.
21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 "Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth";
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed.
25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Peter is talking to servants of his time, telling them to respect their masters and serve them like we would as being servants of Jesus Christ, setting an example of Christian service and conduct. While servitude may seem repulsive to us today, God has no problem with it and set down laws concerning conduct of masters and servants in the Law of Moses. Paul also speaks of Christian conduct of masters and servants in the books of Ephesians and Titus.
But Peter above holds up Jesus as an example of servitude, who though being Himself God, made Himself a servant for mankind. As Paul said;
5 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:
1 PETER 3:1-2
1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,
2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.
Some women tend to bristle at this, but Peter is not commanding servitude here. God set men over women at the very beginning in that men are to be the heads of their households, providing financial support and leadership to the household. Women are not to be treated as servants, but are partners in the household, with the husband making the final decisions in household matters. As for providing for the needs of the household, Paul says;
1 TIMOTHY 5:8
8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
This commandment applies to both the husband and the wife.
But husbands are to remember that they are responsible to God for their decisions, and they are also responsible to God for the conduct of their households. Remember that Adam and Eve both sinned in the Garden of Eden, but God held Adam responsible for what happened, punishing Eve separately for her part in the matter.
1 PETER 3:3-6
3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel--
4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,
6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
I have seen gorgeous women who had horrid personalities, and plain women who had sparkling personalities and were a delight to be with. Remember, looks fade with time whereas the personality usually doesn't change that much over time.
I see articles all of the time asking why beautiful women marry "plain" men and vice versa. I admire these people as they look beyond the physical appearance and see the heart of their partner. Too many marriages fail because people marry for looks or lust and later file for divorce because they really don't know each other. So-called 'celebrities' are good examples of this.
God is not interested the outward appearance, He is interested in what is in the heart. A woman who is gentle, humble and loving is of great price to both man and God and is the joy and crown of a man in this life.
1 PETER 3:7
7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
It is just as important that a husband treat his wife with the love and honor she is to give him, remembering that she, too, is a fellow believer in Christ and is as precious in His sight as the husband Note that Peter says that a husband not treating your wife properly can hinder his prayers from being answered!
Paul defines the conduct of a husband towards his wife and vice versa as follows;
EPHESIANS 5:22-25, 28-33
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
1 PETER 3:8-12
8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;
9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
10 For "He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
Peter is speaking of our conduct as Christians, in which we are to be at peace with all men as much as possible. Knowing that we are targets for Satan, do not antagonize those who revile us by being evil in return. How many arguments escalate into violence because people being antagonized fight back in like fashion?
Remember who is really behind the provocation, and pray for the person being used by Satan. If they provoke you, it is usually because they are looking for an excuse to escalate the situation. Don't be drawn into their behavior, but remember the proverb;
1 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
1 PETER 3:13-17
13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?
14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled."
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
It is the nature of evil to attack the good and the innocent. Evil is convicted by righteousness and innocence and seeks to corrupt and destroy goodness and innocence to be rid of that conviction. Scriptures are full of stories in which the innocent and Godly are persecuted by the wicked, so we should not be surprised when the same happens to us. As Jesus said;
20 Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
Many people are defined by others according to their works. Evil men are usually classified as such by the evil that they do, and good men are defined in the same fashion.But if you as a Christian are accused of evildoing, those that know you will know better, putting your accuser(s) to shame as liars. Therefore continue doing good so Satan has no ammunition to use against you.
1 PETER 3:18-22
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
21 There is also an antitype which now saves us--baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.
Peter brings up an interesting fact in verse 19, when he says that Jesus preached to the 'spirits in prison'.
First, we need to define what this prison is, and who the prisoners were. The prophet Isaiah spoke of this when he said;
21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.
22 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.
Before Jesus' resurrection everyone who died went to 'The Pit', a place in the same location as Hell but separated by a huge gulf as we'll see in a minute.
During the Exodus from Egypt, a man named Korah gathered some people and rebelled against Moses, defying Moses' leadership which had been appointed by God Himself. God, in order to keep the rebellion from spreading and to prove that Moses' office had been appointed by Him said;
23 So the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
24 "Speak to the congregation, saying, 'Get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.'"
25 Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him.
26 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, "Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins."
27 So they got away from around the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, their sons, and their little children.
28 And Moses said: "By this you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will.
29 If these men die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all men, then the Lord has not sent me.
30 But if the Lord creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the Lord."
31 Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them,
32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods.
33 So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly.
34 Then all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, "Lest the earth swallow us up also!"
Even though Korah and his men went into Hell alive, they went to 'the Pit', the place of the dead where Hell is located.
God spoke of Hell being located in the Pit when He spoke to the prophet Ezekiel. Egypt and a coalition of Assyrians had just lost a huge battle at Carchemish (by the river Euphrates, just south of modern-day Turkey) for dominance of Mesopotamia when Pharaoh Neco II battled against Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon in 605 B.C.
God spoke of the battle when He said;
17 It came to pass also in the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the month, that the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
18 "Son of man, wail over the multitude of Egypt, and cast them down to the depths of the earth, her and the daughters of the famous nations, with those who go down to the Pit:
19 'Whom do you surpass in beauty? Go down, be placed with the uncircumcised.'
20 "They shall fall in the midst of those slain by the sword; she is delivered to the sword, drawing her and all her multitudes.
21 The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of Hell with those who help him: 'They have gone down, they lie with the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.'
Hell and the Pit are not actually located within the Earth and the ancients knew this. It was used as an allegory for the grave. But this shows that the Pit and Hell were in the same location, with Hell being located within the Pit, as a prison for the wicked.
Where did the righteous go after death? David spoke of this when he said;
3 O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Please bear with me for a few minutes, and I'll tie all of this together.
The fact that no one had ascended into Heaven before Jesus' resurrection was spoken by Jesus' Himself when He said;
13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
By this we know that ALL who died went to the Pit. The wicked were thrown into Hell while the righteous, even though sent to the Pit, were sent somewhere else to await their redemption.
Why were the righteous sent to the Pit, and not allowed into Heaven? Because the animal sacrifices required by the Law could only cover sins, they could not remove them. As David said;
1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
The author of Hebrews confirms this, when he said of the animal sacrifices performed after Jesus' resurrection;
11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,
13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
Note what is being said here. Those who died in obedience to the Law were righteous, but they were still sinners. Their sins had been covered, but were still there. Jesus' perfect sacrifice removed the sins, making the righteous perfect and sinless in God's sight, and therefore worthy through Jesus' righteousness to enter Heaven, a fact confirmed by;
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men."
9 (Now this, "He ascended"--what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
The 'captivity' referred to in verse 8 is those who although righteous according to the Law of Moses, were imprisoned as sinners until their redemption through Jesus. Being now made perfect, they were now worthy to enter Heaven.
The fact that the righteous were confined in the Pit is shown in a story that Jesus told;
19 "There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.
20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,
21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
23 And being in torments in Hell, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 "Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'
25 But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.
26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'
Note first of all, Jesus never said this was a parable. I believe it to be a true story.
Next, at the time, Abraham, Lazarus and the rich man were confined to the Pit, but in different locations. Abraham and Lazarus could see and communicate with the rich man in Hell and vice versa but neither could approach the other because of a huge abyss separating them.
When Jesus died, He went to the dead, both in Hell and those awaiting redemption and preached the Gospel to them so that they understood why they were where they were, and He revealed God's plan for redemption for the righteous dead.
And through His redemption, being now worthy, at His ascension back into Heaven the Pit was emptied of the righteous dead and they were taken to Heaven. Now, after death the wicked are imprisoned in Hell to await their Judgment and the righteous are taken to Heaven to await Jesus' return.
1 PETER 4: 1-6
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles--when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.
5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
Face it, sin is corrosive to the spirit. Much like illegal drugs, it makes you feel as if you're having a good time, even as it poisons your spirit and degrades your health. And like addictive drugs, once you try it, you crave more and more of it putting you in a downhill spiral physically and spiritually.
1 PETER 4:7-11
7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."
9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
We are to treat each other with kindness and respect, remembering that we reap what we sow. Someday YOU may be needy and if you've been kind, hospitable and respectful to others, you will be treated the same way in return.
We all receive spiritual gifts from God, some are more prominent than others (prophecy, healing,, preaching), while others are not as prominent (prayer warriors, organization, .teaching). ALL spiritual gifts are equally important and NONE are to be looked down upon. No matter what gift you have been given, it has been given to you to help those in the Church and each helps the Church body. It's not the gift you've been given, it's how you use it that is praiseworthy in God's sight. And if you don't use it or use it improperly, He can take it away from you and give it to someone who will use it properly.
1 PETER 4:12-19
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.
16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18 Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
Unfortunately too many new Christians are taught by enthusiastic teachers and evangelists that when they accept Jesus that life will be all flowers and butterflies so to speak. They are quickly surprised when hardship sets in, and they become disillusioned and fall away when Satan attacks them, because they're not prepared.
Those who believe in the poisonous "Pre-Tribulation Rapture" will fall into this category. The Scriptures are very clear that we WILL go through the Tribulation, and seeing the direction the world is heading, we're getting plenty of warning as to what is coming!
I've met Christians whose Christianity is based on this erroneous doctrine, and they desperately believe that they will escape what is coming. Jesus said that many will fall away and will betray one another when the Tribulation starts and I believe that they will feel disillusioned and lied to when it starts and they are still here, whereas we who are ready will remain faithful to the end. The Tribulation will start against Christians first, to clean out the "dead wood" in God's Church and will then spread in Judgment to the rest of the world.
1 PETER 5:1-4
1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:
2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;
3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;
4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
Elders of the Church should rejoice in the high honor given to them by God, who has chosen and entrusted them to be shepherds of His flock, to provide for their needs. This is a high calling in His sight, with the elders guiding and mentoring the people of God.
But they must be willing to perform their duties with a willing heart, not allowing pride or arrogance to corrupt them, but gently guiding the congregation, supporting the pastor and being role models to the congregation.
1 PETER 5:5-7
5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Young Christians should treat elders with respect as like fathers, who use their experience and wisdom to guide them in their Christian walk. We are to show respect and honor to those set in authority over us, obeying their commandments which is of great price in God's sight.
Above all, don't feel as if you are burdening God with your requests or problems. Just as fathers care and provide for the needs of ther children, even so He cares for us. But let us not do so in arrogance or with a "You owe me" attitude, but asking humbly for His help.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
A lion when on the hunt roars so as to frighten and weaken its intended prey, but when it attacks it is perfectly silent. The same with Satan today. We are not to be afraid of him, but are to be vigilant so as not to be caught unawares when he attacks.
1 PETER 5:10-14
10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
12 By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand.
13 She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son.
14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Remember that God allows us to be tested so as to show us where our faith needs strengthening. Faith is like a muscle, it must be tested and stressed in order to grow and become strong. But we need to remember also that God will never test us beyond out limits;
1 CORINTHIANS 10:13
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Remember also, God does NOT tempt anyone, He allows Satan to tempt us as a test of our faith. James says;
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Satan is limited as to what kind of test or temptation to bring against us, and how long the test lasts. Successfully resisting the test glorifies us, pleases God and shames Satan before God's throne. If we fail, we know that this a weak point that we need to strengthen.
In 1 Peter 5, verse 12 above, Peter's audience knew that he could neither read or write, so he explains that he indeed dictated the letter and a fellow Christian wrote it. The "she" to whom Peter refers to in Babylon is unknown, though the "Mark" he refers to is probably John Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark. Peter was not his father, but as Paul called a young disciple named Timothy who ministered to him his 'son', even so John Mark ministered to Peter in the same fashion, a son in the faith..
I hope you found this study to be enjoyable and enlightening!!! And may God the eternal Father be honored and glorified through His Son Jesus Christ for the wisdom He has shown us in His Word and for His incredible plans for our salvation!!
Comments? Questions? E:mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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