The Apostle Peter’s first epistle was written to the “strangers” and “pilgrims” (converted Jews) who had been scattered due to the persecution that had taken place following the establishment of God’s church on the Day of Pentecost 31 A.D. (1:1). These Jews were called strangers (1:1) and pilgrims (2:11) because they were rejected wherever they went. Those who followed the lowly carpenter from Nazareth, claiming that He was God’s Son and that He had risen from the dead, etc. were persecuted by their fellow Jews as well as the Gentiles (2:12). Both unconverted Jews and Gentiles unknowingly worshiped and served Satan while believing that they were serving the true god. Jesus told unbelieving Jews that their spiritual father was the devil (Jn. 8:44). Later, John would tell (1 Jn. 3:10) unfaithful church members the same thing because they failed to overcome when faced with trials, tests and temptations that always accompany conversion. In this and the following posting we will study Peter’s Words to the Jewish segment of God’s chosen people who were also having problems when temptations came their way as recorded in 1 Peter 1:1-10. The “Jews” were and still are members of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi. “Jews” was the nickname given to the Judahites by King James’ translators.
The focal passage is rich in Truth relative to temptation and God’s expectations when facing it. As we study this very important “fine print” let us remember that it is therein that the Almighty explains how to receive the promises He makes in His “headlines.” Let us examine Peter’s Holy Spirit inspired teaching to the “elect”–Israelites (in this case converted Jews) who had embraced Jesus as their lord, master and messiah. Peter–“the apostle to the Jews”–is here addressing those to whom God had sent him with His Gospel, which is the good news of the coming Kingdom of God on earth. The kingdom message was the Gospel Christ preached (Mk. 1:14) and the Gospel He told His ministers to preach throughout all the world before His return (Mat. 24:14). Note that NOWHERE IN SCRIPTURE ARE WE TOLD THAT GOD’S SAINTS WILL GO TO HEAVEN–EVER. We are told, however, that eternal paradise will be on earth. Read The Kingdom of God. Key word-Kingdom. For instructions concerning how to download a series see the segment titled NOTICE on the introduction page to this website. Let us now delve into the focal verses (1:1-10) with hearts (minds), eyes and ears tuned in to what God is saying to Truth seekers. As God instructs all who would be His saints, we will study His Holy Word/Truth/Gospel line-by-line, and in some cases word-by-word in accordance with His instructions found in Isaiah 28:9-13. We will now rejoin the narrative at verse two.
“Elect” is a word rich in meaning. As are “foreknowledge,” “sanctification,” “obedience,” “peace” and “multiplied.” Judahites (Jews) were part of the elect (Israel) whom God had “foreknown” (chosen) and “sanctified” (set apart) to be His “light to the Gentiles” (Isa. 42:6) to bring them unto Him through their (obedience) to His Word which was made possible by the shedding of Christ’s blood. To those Jews who were remaining true to their commission, Peter was sending “grace and peace” in abundance because he knew that they were being persecuted by Jews and Gentiles alike.
In verse three Peter makes clear the fact that the Jews (along with the other nine tribes of Israel) were/are God’s chosen people. Those Jews who had been converted had been begotten “again.” The Biblical word “begettal” equates to the English word “conception.” God made all people by establishing the process of reproduction, which begins with conception–begettal. Humans beget humans, animals beget animals, etc. This is brought out in Matthew 1:1-16. Physical begettal is the physical aspect of human physical birth. Spiritual begettal is the spiritual aspect of human spiritual birth. The converted Jews had been begotten “again,” meaning that the Holy Spirit had “begotten” (converted) them, made them “new creations, and enabled them to walk in “newness of life” as Christ had walked while on earth as a man (1 Jn. 2:6). Conversion meant that they had been begotten “again”–this time spiritually. THIS IS NOT THE BORN AGAIN EXPERIENCE in which a true saint will undergo a bodily transformation from physical to spiritual as did Jesus when He rose from the dead. He was born again when He changed from a dead physical corpse to a living spiritual being. Jesus was the FIRST born again human–the “firstborn among many brethren.” All who will spend eternity with Him will be born again upon His return to earth. All who rise in the first resurrection will be born again as they rise to meet Him in the air (1 Cor. 15:52/ 1 Thes. 4:16/ 1 Jn. 3:2). Read Born Again. Key word–Again. Note that those who have been “begotten again” have been given “hope” (for salvation–resurrection/rebirth) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Read Hope and Salvation and The Three Resurrections. Key words–Hope and Three respectively.
In verse four we learn that the saint’s “hope” is to receive the “inheritance” promised by God and made possible by Christ’s sinless life, His death, resurrection and rebirth. The inheritance (salvation) promised the true saint is at this time reserved for him in heaven. As the Kingdom of God series points out, one’s inheritance includes the earth which Christ will turn into a paradise following His return. It’s universe capital will be New Jerusalem that is now in heaven with the Father, both of which will come down following the creation of a new earth and a new heaven. True saints are “heirs and joint (equal) heirs with Jesus Christ”–their inheritance is the same as His. An heir has the promise of an inheritance; an inheritor already has what was promised. Christ and His saints are now heirs waiting to receive their inheritance consisting the earth initially, then the entire universe. Read God’s Very Elect: Future Caretakers of the Universe. Key word-Caretakers.
In verse five Peter reminded the converted Jews that they were “kept” through the power of God (the Holy Spirit living within them) through their faith UNTO SALVATION which is READY TO BE REVEALED (RECEIVED) DURING THE LAST DAYS (of this age). Note it: THOSE WHO ARE KEPT BY GOD BECAUSE OF THEIR OBEDIENCE TO HIM THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL RECEIVE SALVATION/REBIRTH/THEIR INHERITANCE AT THE END OF TIME (THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST TO EARTH TO ESTABLISH THE KINGDOM OF GOD). Their inheritance is “reserved in heaven” now and is “ready to be received” in the “last (end of) time”–the end of this world. NO ONE IS SAVED IN THIS LIFE. SALVATION WILL BE AWARDED TO THOSE WHO OVERCOME PERSECUTION, TESTING, TRIALS, TEMPTATIONS UNTIL THE END OF THEIR LIVES (MAT. 10:22; 24:4-13).
We must understand that this life is simply a trial period in which we are tested, tried, persecuted, tempted, etc. in order for God to see who will qualify for salvation at the return of Jesus Christ. God tests and tries His people through circumstances; Satan tempts them to sin. Satan has deceived the whole of Christendom into believing that they are saved and born again in this life (Rev. 12:9). For this reason God commands true seekers of salvation to leave Catholicism/Protestantism, to come out of that “unclean thing” and to stay out. One must “cleanse oneself from all her (the false church) filthiness and perfect holiness in the fear of God,” just as Jesus did. Only then, God tells us, will He be one’s God and one will be His child (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1). Only those who overcome Satan’s temptations will one sit with Jesus on His throne (Rev. 3:21). L.J.