Pastor David B. Curtis

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Angelology

1 Peter 1:12c

Delivered 05/26/24

Good morning, Bereans. We are continuing our study of 1 Peter this morning. Peter is writing to Christians that are suffering greatly for their faith.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 1 Peter 1:6 ESV

Peter calls for praise to be given to God for salvation for the glorious eternal inheritance that belongs to the believer. Peter writes to them about the greatness of their salvation in order to encourage them and bring them joy in the midst of suffering. This epistle was written to strengthen those who were suffering. The word "suffering" occurs about twenty times in 1 Peter. The epistle, therefore, was written to give encouragement in the suffering.

On the issue of suffering let me say this: Be very cautious of any type of doctrine that minimizes Christian suffering. Suffering is very real. Tragedies abound on every hand. And they are real tragedies. Trials face every one of us, sometimes severe trials.

The health and wealth gospel preached by so many in our day is a destructive doctrine. The proponents of this false gospel claim that God wants all believers to be healthy, wealthy, pain free, and prosperous in whatever they do. That sounds like good news. The only problem with it is that it isn't true; it is not what the Bible teaches.

What the preachers of this health and wealth gospel do is to replace what the Bible actually has to say about wealth with what our culture says about wealth and prosperity. And, of course, when you preach a message that is heard as saying "God wants you rich," then the implication is that the gospel message is really all about us and about the things we can do to get God to fulfill our needs and desires and even our self-centered dreams of acquisition. Our real center of existence is not God. We only relate to God for what we can get out of God. Our real center of existence is our own prosperity and life style that insists that "God bless my standard of living."

Notice what the Bible says about suffering.

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, Philippians 1:29 ESV

The verse says that suffering "has been granted." This is the Greek verb charizomai which comes from charis (grace). So charizomai is grace. The noun form is used for spiritual gifts. Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says, "Charizomai primarily denotes "to show favor or kindness." In Galatians 3:18, it is "to give freely, bestow graciously." Suffering is a grace gift from God.

"For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe." Peter compares suffering with salvation. Both are grace gifts. Salvation is a gift, according to Ephesians 2:8-9, and so is suffering. He doesn't say that suffering is punishment or that it is something that happens by chance. God gives suffering as graciously and lovingly as He gives the faith to believe in His Son. Does this make sense to you? Suffering and persecution are gracious gifts from God?

Believers, we must understand that whenever Christians live as they ought to live in this world, wherever they live righteous lives and aggressively seek to spread the Gospel and make disciples, and whenever they stand for righteousness, the natural outcome will be suffering.

But please get this: There is great value in suffering. Suffering is God's way of getting our attention. And it's a very good way of doing it too.

We must consider that when life is going very well and we're on top of the world, when business is going fine and raises are coming regularly, when those deals that we have been engaged in have all turned out successfully, when we're having amazing success in our contacts and we're just selling our product hand over fist to the extent that we have a hard time even keeping up with the money that's coming in, very often our thoughts really do not go towards God at all. In fact, we tend to forget all about spiritual things.

Have you seen this in your life? How much time do you spend in prayer when you're on vacation? God knows this. He warned the children of Israel about it.

And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. "Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, Deuteronomy 8:10-14 ESV

When everything is going great, we have a tendency to forget God. But when trouble hits (e.g., you get a cancer diagnosis), we suddenly begin to think about eternal things. God begins to cross our mind. We begin to think about our relationship to the eternal.

That's why Peter begins this letter to the persecuted, scattered, rejected, hated, despised Christians who are living in a hostile world. They have been blamed for the burning of Rome and persecution is mounting against them. So, Peter seeks to focus their attention on the glory of their salvation. He mentioned it in verse 5. He mentioned it in verse 9. He mentioned it again in verse 10. Their suffering is grievous; their salvation is glorious. Their suffering is for a time; their salvation is eternal.

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 1 Peter 1:8 ESV

          Most of tthis letter became believers after Yeshua's death, resurrection, and ascension, and, so, like us, they have come to know Christ by hearing about him from others.

"Though you have not seen him, you love him."  How can you love someone that you have never seen? Can you fall in love with someone through letters or phone conversations? Sure, you could. They came to love Christ through reading and hearing of him.

These Christians had never met Yeshua. Like us, they never looked into His face. They never touched Him. They never ate with Him. They never walked with Him. They never talked with Him. Peter had done all these things, but they had not. But through Peter or from others, they heard about Yeshua and now Peter says, "you love him." This is a present active indicative of agape, presenting the truth that they were loving Him through a constant love of choice.

How do we love Yeshua? People will say, "I love Yeshua," but that usually means that they feel warm and fuzzy when they think of Him. Biblically we love him through obedience.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15 ESV
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."  John 14:21 ESV

We can only do this as we learn of Him and what he wants of us through his Word.

"Though you do not now see him, you believe in him"—the word "believe" here is from the Greek pisteuō which is translated into English by the terms "faith," "believe," and "trust." Biblical faith or trust is not primarily something we do but, rather, is focused on the one in whom we put our trust. Faith is understanding and assent to the propositions of the Gospel. It is not some special kind of faith in the sense that its quality or essence is different from other kinds of faith. There are not different kinds of faith; there are just different objects of faith. Saving faith is taking God at His Word. It is believing what God has said.

Even amidst suffering, believers are to trust in Him. Yeshua prayed for those who believed in Him but have never seen Him.

"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, John 17:20 ESV
Yeshua said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."  John 20:29 ESV

"And rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory"—Peter mentions joy for the second time in his epistle. This joy is an experience that surpasses all that is conceivable. Peter calls it "inexpressible and filled with glory." The word "glory" sets it apart from all other joy we can experience on earth.

This joy is inexpressible. This is the Greek word, aneklalētos, which "is above language, it is above speech, higher than speech is what that literally says." Grudem says of aneklalētos: "It occurs only here in the New Testament and describes a joy so profound as to be beyond the power of words to express." This joy, which Peter speaks of, is found even amidst suffering.

Why is it that they, "Rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory?"  It is because they love Him and trust Him. We see here that there are two elements of a relationship that bring joy: Love and trust. "You love him, and you believe in him"—this is discipleship.

The two key ingredients in any meaningful relationship are love and trust. That is the essence of relationships. It is the source of joy in any relationship. Violate love and the relationship disintegrates. Violate trust and the relationship disintegrates.

Believing in Christ and trusting Him makes you a Christian. Loving Christ and living in obedience makes you a disciple which brings joy.

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:8-11 ESV

"These things"—is everything He's just said in the previous ten verses. They are the truths of abiding in Christ, particularly the practical applications of abiding found in verses 7-10.

So why did Yeshua say these things to His disciples? So that His joy may be in them and that their joy may be full. In 14:27 He promises them "peace" and now He promises them "His joy." Yeshua explains why He has said what He said. His intention was not to create anxiety or fear, nor was it to lay the necessity of keeping His commands to us as a legalistic necessity. Rather, His intention for us is joy.

Earlier Yeshua had told them, "Don't let your hearts be troubled." Hearts were heavy that evening, for Yeshua had told them some very distressing things that troubled them greatly (13:22; 14:1, 27; 16:6, 22). But when we read through the Book of Acts, we find joyful believers who were very often in the midst of adversity (see Acts 2:28; 8:5-8; 13:52; 15:3; 20:24).

Joy in the Lord marked the testimonies of countless Christians who died at the hand of executioners throughout pre-and-post-Reformation Europe. The joy of Christ was evidenced in Paul and Silas when they were singing and worshiping in a Philippian jail.

Thomas Watson wrote, "The more holiness any man has, the more he shall enjoy Him, in whose presence is fulness of joy, Ps. 16:11; and the more any man enjoys the presence of God with his spirit, the greater will be his heaven of joy in this world… Divine joy ebbs and flows as holiness ebbs and flows" [Works, vol. 4, 353].

Joy is something that can grow and increase in our lives, or "ebb and flow" as Thomas Watson put it. This is because joy is a by-product of abiding in Christ. The more you abide, the greater your joy.

Believers we are commanded to abide in Christ. This can only happen if the Word of Christ dwells in us and we keep His commandments. As we know the Word and obey the Word, we will abide in Christ and bear much fruit, and we will also experience His joy.

How do we cultivate and maintain that kind of love for our unseen Savior? First, Spend time alone with Him. You can't cultivate love for your mate if you never spend time alone together. If you want to love the Lord more, spend time alone with Him in His Word and in prayer. Second, Obey Him.

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:10-11 ESV

Peter goes on to say,

obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:9 ESV

The Greek here for "obtaining" is komizō which means "to receive what is deserved, to win something that is due to you." It doesn't say "you will obtain." It's in the present tense which gives the meaning of "obtaining,"—here and now, in the present. It's the middle voice and could literally be translated like this: "presently receiving for yourselves." They were receiving the outcome of their faith, which was the salvation of their souls.

"Salvation" is the general term that Peter uses as the sum of all that they receive in Christ. "Salvation" in this verse is the completion of their salvation that was to be revealed at the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Christ.

"Soul"—is the Greek term psuchē which is used often in Peter's writings. It is used as a Hebraic idiom for the entire person. Humans are not two-part or three-part beings but a single unity.

Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. Genesis 2:7 ESV

The Hebrew word translated here as "creature" is nephesh. It is often translated as soul. But it simply means "a breathing creature." Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words defines nephesh as, "The essence of life, the act of breathing, taking breath. The problem with the English term 'soul' is that no actual equivalent of the term or the idea behind it is represented in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew system of thought does not include the combination or opposition of the 'body' and 'soul' which are really Greek and Latin in origin" [1985, p. 237-238].

So, man is composed of dirt and the breath of God and not a combination of two or three separate entities (body, soul, and spirit). This helps us understand death. If you take away the body, or the breath of life, there is no longer a living creature.

So, Peter is saying, "No matter how severe the persecution, no matter how painful the rejection, you can always look ahead to the salvation of your souls."  Back in verse 1, he implied that you may be rejected by the world but you are chosen by God.

Verses 10-12 deal with the Old Covenant prophets' knowledge of New Testament salvation in Christ. In these verses Peter gives us in a nutshell the content of all Tanakh prophecy. We will read the Tanakh in a different way when we realize that it speaks "of the grace that was to come to [us]."

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 1 Peter 1:10 ESV

"Concerning this salvation"this has been the topic in verses 2, 6-9, which describe these believers' suffering because of this salvation.

"The prophets who prophesied" "the prophets" refers to the Old Covenant prophets. In rabbinical thought, all inspired writers were considered prophets. Moses is called a prophet (Deut. 18:18).

This salvation was not an afterthought or merely a remedy for unanticipated failures on our part but was made known to the prophets of the old covenant through the revelatory work of the Spirit of Christ Yeshua.

Paul, a servant of Christ Yeshua, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, Romans 1:1-2 ESV
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Yeshua the Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Yeshua Christ! Amen. Romans 16:25-27 ESV

The New Testament writers demonstrate that their teaching was no novelty but that it was testified beforehand by the prophets. Understanding this made salvation so much greater in the mind of Peter's afflicted readers.

Peter says that they prophesied, "about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully"this phrase implies that the Old Covenant prophets knew something of the new covenant. This is also the implication of Hebrews 11:13.

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. Hebrews 11:13 ESV

It is difficult to know exactly how much the Old Covenant prophets knew about the gospel. Jeremiah's description of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31 points toward an acceptance based on God's love and actions and not on human performance.

"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jeremiah 31:31-34 ESV

Matthew 13:17 states that many Old Covenant prophets longed to see and hear what Yeshua was doing and saying.

For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. Matthew 13:17 ESV

The prophets of the Old Covenant longed to see the grace of the New Covenant to come. Prophesying by the Spirit of Christ, they knew something of His sufferings and glories but far less than they longed to know.

Understanding the grace given in salvation should make us joyful. We didn't deserve it; it came from God on the basis of his mercy and grace. This should give us joy. Amazing grace should make us rejoice even in suffering!

"Searched and inquired carefully"—these seem to be synonyms. These spokesmen for God sometimes themselves did not understand the meaning of the message they were delivering. They diligently studied their own writings. They dug into their own writings and the writings of the other prophets to better understand salvation.

What was something that these Old Covenant prophets didn't understand? They didn't understand the mystery.

When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Yeshua through the gospel. Ephesians 3:4-6 ESV

The mystery very simply is that Jew and Gentile are brought together now in one body called the church. The Old Covenant spoke about Gentile salvation. The Old Covenant spoke about Jewish salvation. The Old Covenant never fully revealed that these two would be brought together in one body, the body of Christ, the church. Gentiles are seen experiencing salvation in the Old Covenant. It is always in the context of Israel. Now here we find God is going to bring Gentile and Jew together in a relationship of oneness in the body.

inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 1 Peter 1:11 ESV

"Inquiring what person or time"—this implies both a person and a time. They expected a Davidic Messiah to break into history at a specific God-appointed time.

The Holy Spirit's role in salvation was active in the Old Covenant through the prophets of God like Isaiah who announced the future suffering of God's "Servant" and His resurrection in glory that would result in the promise of salvation. Now in the New Covenant, what was promised has come about, and it is the preachers of the Gospel, inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit, who announce it.

Peter reminded his readers that the prophets had predicted that Yeshua's life, as their own lives, would include suffering followed by glory. He mentioned this in order to encourage them to realize that their experience of suffering—for their commitment to follow God faithfully— was not abnormal.

The Old Covenant "prophets" had predicted that Messiah would experience both suffering and glory (e.g., Isa. 61:1-3). However, they did not understand how His suffering and glory would fit together.

"The Spirit of Christ in them was indicating" the title "Spirit of Christ" occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in Romans 8:9. In both places it probably signifies not only that the Spirit came from Christ but also that the Spirit witnesses to Christ as His representative (cf. John 15:26-27). Peter was stressing the Spirit's witness to Christ in the Old Covenant.

Everything the prophets received they received from the Holy Spirit. This establishes the divine inspiration of the Tanakh. As Peter explains,

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21 ESV

The prophets didn't cook up their own message. Peter tells his readers that those who preached the gospel to them did so "by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven." (1 Pet. 1:12).

Charles Ryrie writes, "When we talk about the inspiration of the Bible, we mean that God superintended the human authors of Scripture so that using their own personalities they composed and recorded without error His message" (Charles Ryrie, Study Graph, "Bible Doctrine I" [Moody Bible Institute]).

Charles Hodge wrote, "Inspiration was an influence of the Holy Spirit on the minds of certain select men, which rendered them the organs of God for the infallible communication of his mind and will. They were in such a sense the organs of God that what they said, God said." (Systematic Theology [Eerdmans], 1:154),

"When he predicted the sufferings of Christ"—in Acts Peter says,

But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Acts 3:18 ESV

The Suffering Servant became a central pillar of the early sermons of Peter and Paul in Acts. For the typical first–century religious Jew, this thought was simply unacceptable. They wanted a Christ of glory. They had no time for a Messiah given over to suffering.

Throughout the Tanakh, you see the sufferings of Christ. You see it in Psalm 22, Psalm 69:1-21, Isaiah 52:13 to 53:10, Daniel 9:24-26, and Zechariah 12:10. They wrote about the sufferings of Christ under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

For the discouraged believer in Peter's audience, this reminder would have been greatly encouraging. The life they were living, filled as it was with trials and difficulties, mirrored the life of the Messiah, in whom they had put their trust.

"And the subsequent glories"—the subsequent glories would be the resurrection of Christ, the ascension of Christ, the enthronement of Christ.

The prophets also prophesied that Messiah would triumph. The Psalms declared that God will not leave His Holy One to see corruption. Psalm 2, states that He would "set His King on His holy hill." He would rule "with a rod of iron" and a scepter. Isaiah 9 announces that "the government would be on His shoulder" and He would be "the mighty God." Daniel 2 speaks about the one who would be the ultimate King. So, the prophets prophesied a Messiah that would suffer and a Messiah that would triumph.

It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. 1 Peter 1:12 ESV

"It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you"—this whole message was not for their generation, not for their time. That's so important. There are several places in Paul's writings where he asserts this same truth.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4 ESV

Look at Numbers 24.

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth. Numbers 24:17 ESV

Already way back in the Torah, the Spirit of God was beginning to testify about the coming Messiah. And they weren't speaking about their age and their time.

"In the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you."  "The things," that is the salvation grace which is to come, the suffering and glory of Messiah, everything the Spirit inspired in the Old Covenant writers "have now been announced to you through those who preach the good news to you." Those are the New Testament preachers.

This seems to imply that Peter did not start all of these churches. They may have been started by believing Jews returning from Pentecost or by the preaching of Paul or other evangelists.

"By the Holy Spirit sent from heaven"this phrase was a Hebrew idiom for asserting that the new age of righteousness, which was from God and brought by the Spirit, had fully come.

So, the Holy Spirit inspired not only the Old Covenant writers but the New Testament apostles as well. Both Tanakh and New Testament, then, are the breath of the Spirit of God and of divine origin.

Following the death of Yeshua, but before the disciples had really got hold of the truth of the resurrection, the two saddened disciples who were travelling on the Emmaus Road in Luke 24:13-35 were accompanied by Yeshua. But they did not recognize Him. As they journeyed, He revealed from the Tanakh just how the Christ must suffer in order to come into His glory. The revelation that Yeshua presented to these men was the evidence to the Elect of God of Salvation through Christ's suffering, deliverance, and redemption. Peter is reminding them that this evidence, written in the prophets within the Tanakh is there for all to see. Yeshua said to them,

"O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" Luke 24:25-26 ESV

Peter is revealing that the prophets spoke about Christ. Look at the next verse.

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:27 ESV

Believers, the Tanakh is all about Christ. This being said, we should spend time in it, searching for all it has to say about Christ.

Peter's point in verses 10 through 12 seems to be that his readers could rejoice in their sufferings even though they could not see exactly how or when their present trials would end. Peter asserts that no matter what their trials were and no matter what their difficulties were, they were to remember that the greatness of their salvation was that which the prophets studied, which the Spirit inspired, which the apostles gave testimony of, and which was the ongoing interest of the angels themselves. Peter argued that our salvation is so great that whatever we must endure for Christ's sake now is nothing compared with the glory that awaits us.

Peter ends verse 12 by saying, "things into which angels long to look."  Next week we are going to dig into this phrase and do a study on Angelology. What does this Greek word aggelos mean and to whom does this word refer?

Continue the Series

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