We are going to continue a Bible study in 1st Peter 1 today. We are in chapter one. I will read the first five verses before we start. It says in 1Peter 1:1-5:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
I will stop reading there.
Last week, we were looking at the end of verse three and into verse four. I understand that there were some technical difficulties. I am not sure what everyone heard, but we saw that God has provided for His people an inheritance that is incorruptible due to the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
We can understand this when we realize that everything in this world is corruptible. Apart from the Word of God, everything has an end. Everything will rot and fade away, as it goes on to say, and yet the gift of faith or the gift of salvation that God gives His elect people, people who were chosen before the foundation of the world to receive this inheritance, goes into eternity future. This wonderful gift of God is incorruptible. It cannot pass away. It cannot be lost in any way. Plus, this is in Heaven, as it says in 1Peter 1:4:
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
This is how safe and secure this wonderful promise of God is. It is not on earth; because if this was on earth, like any treasure, a thief could break through and steal. But since this is in Heaven, no thief can break through and steal. This gift is totally and eternally secure. This is just the tremendous information that we get from the Bible. The good news of the Bible or of the Gospel for the children of God is that salvation is reserved.
This word for “reserved” is found in 2nd Peter 2 a couple of times. It says in 2Peter 2:4:
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
This is referring to Satan and the fallen angels, the demons. They have been judged and they have been under the wrath of God.
This is just a matter of the utter completion or of the fulfillment of all things. The final destruction of these beings is reserved. It is kept. This word “reserved” is also translated sometimes as “keep/kept”; and so it is “reserved unto judgment” and it is guaranteed that this will take place one day.
This same word is also found in 2Peter 2:17 in reference to false prophets:
These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
This is just indicating that on the last day when the unsaved individuals who brought other kinds of gospels experience the judgment of God and are destroyed, they will experience an eternal destruction, which is how God describes annihilation in the book of Jude where He calls it “the blackness of darkness for ever.”
Try to imagine how you would describe an eternal annihilation. What would be the best description of nothing? How would you describe nothing? The best way is to close your eyes and to picture blackness, which is the way that God describes this in the Bible. It is the “mist of darkness” forever or the “blackness of darkness” forever, and this is kept or reserved for those who are not God’s elect and yet they are involved in the Gospel. They are ministers of the Gospel or teachers of the Gospel, and yet they themselves are not children of God.
This is why 2Peter 2:19 says:
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption…
This is just a very accurate description of the overwhelming majority of teaching out there in the Christian world. This is 100% in the churches, but this is also in ministries outside of the churches. This is delivered like a promise, and the degree of promises concerning eternal life are just overwhelming, “If you do this or that, if you walk down this aisle, if you accept Christ, if you say the sinner’s prayer, if you get baptized, if you regularly attend our church and follow our confession and creeds, then the result is that you will have liberty; you will have freedom, you will have life.”
But the ones promising this are themselves “the servants of corruption.” They are still in the bondage of sin and under the wrath of God. They cannot even get themselves freed from this predicament, and yet they are daring to promise others life. This is just a horrible thing that is going on in the Christian world today.
Going back to 1Peter 1:4, we read:
To an inheritance incorruptible...reserved in heaven for you,
The child of God, the one who is a true believer, has tremendous security, hope, confidence and assurance regarding salvation.
Speaking of something reserved, it is getting near summertime when a lot of people make reservations for their summer vacations. If you have a family and you have discussed vacation plans with the family and you talk about a possible destination, if you have young children especially, they probably want to know whether or not you made a reservation. This becomes much more real to them if a reservation has been made. Then they get very excited. The real issue is, “Did you make the reservation?” There is security for the children when a reservation is made. It is then that they begin to believe that they are actually going to get to go there, and this is because the reservation has been made.
Just discussing things and not making a reservation means that you probably will not even end up going, and they realize this. Plus, a lot of times when you make a reservation, what does the hotel require? For whatever kind of plans that you are making, they require either a down payment or a deposit.
God has basically used this idea regarding our eternal inheritance. In Ephesians 1, we read about this. God does this because He knows how frail and weak we are and how quickly troubled we can get. He tells us in Ephesians 1:10-14:
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom [Christ] also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
This is really quite a bit of information that God is giving us in these verses; but, again, this is referring to the inheritance that is given to the children of God. Notice that He says that we were “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” The Holy Spirit seals the individual who is one of God’s elect.
Prior to salvation, that individual (who had always been one of God’s elect) did not have the Holy Spirit seal him. They had to wait for the fullness of time according to God’s plan for their life. At some point in that person’s life, God brought the Gospel to them and saved them. In salvation, the Holy Spirit enters into this individual and indwells them.
This indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a wonderful thing. One of the things that it is is a promise that God has purchased them, that He has redeemed them, that He has paid for their sins, that He has saved them; and yet we tend to think that salvation is just receiving a new heart and a new spirit.
This is part of salvation. This is one part and this is a big part of salvation. The Bible calls it “the first resurrection,” and yet salvation is not complete when we just receive a new heart and a new spirit. Salvation is completed when we receive our new body, a resurrected body. This is the second resurrection.
So God saves a person. He takes out their heart of stone and He gives them a heart of flesh. He has His Spirit within that individual now and He has sealed that individual; that is, it is now absolutely certain that God has placed His seal on that person and that this person will not die the death of other men. This person will not cease to exist and be annihilated. This individual will live forever.
This is part of the promise; but also, this person is guaranteed to receive a new resurrected body and to enter into the new heavens and the new earth and to live and dwell with God forevermore. All of the promises of the Bible, all of the glorious things that the Bible tells us about eternity future, are now promised to that person and the Holy Spirit is basically a down payment of these promises.
This is why it says in Ephesians 1:14, which is referring back to the “holy Spirit of promise”:
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession…
We have heard of earnest money. If you are buying a house, you put a down payment on the house. This is a good analogy and a good way of comparing what God is saying here. He has purchased the individual and redeemed them and given the Holy Spirit as a down payment on the future fulfillment of the promise.
We also find this word in 2Corinthians 1:22. It says in 2Corinthians 1:20-22:
For all the promises of God in him are yea…
That is, it is positive that they will be fulfilled, and this is referring to Jesus. It continues:
…and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Notice again that in the context of all of the promises of God, we read of the Holy Spirit sealing us and giving us “the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts,” because this is basically God’s oath. This is His assurance and His absolute guarantee.
If you or I or if any believer out there has experienced salvation, if we have experienced a new birth, and if we have seen evidence of this in our lives, if God has granted us assurance of this and we just know by God’s grace that He has saved us, this salvation or this knowledge that the Holy Spirit indwells us gives us complete confidence in all of the other promises of the Bible, the promises of God concerning the future. The Holy Spirit assures us, since He is within us, that just as God gave us this tremendous salvation, He will fulfill all other things.
Of course, now the question is when. Let us say that we are here for twenty more years. This is nothing in comparison to the eternity to come. Any length of time is nothing in comparison with eternal blessings and riches; and so the child of God has all things in his favor if he has “the earnest of the Spirit,” if the Holy Spirit is within him.
There is also another verse in 2Corinthians that speaks of the earnest. It says in 2Corinthians 5:1-6:
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
Do you see how God refers to the children of God having “the earnest of the Spirit,” and how, because of this, we are “always confident”?
It goes on to say in 2Corinthians 5:8:
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
So we are confident that if we were to die today, tomorrow, or anytime soon that we would go to be with the Lord and that we would begin to experience more of the promises of God as we would await the fulfillment of the body. We are confident that we would receive that resurrected body and so on, and this confidence stems from and is the result of the indwelling Spirit of God. This is what gives the believer this confidence.
Let us return to 1st Peter in our study of chapter one. We will move on to verse 5. It says in 1Peter 1:5:
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Even though the word “reserved” in verse 4 is also translated as “keep/kept,” the word “kept” here in verse 5 is a completely different Greek word. This word is found four times in the New Testament. One place that I think is helpful is in Philippians 4:7. We read in Philippians 4:6-7:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
We see here the word for “kept” is translated as “keep.” This is the action of God. It is the “peace of God,” and who is the “peace of God”? Christ is or peace, and it is the “peace of God” that keeps our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. God is the one who does this, and God is the one in 1Peter 1:5 who tells us that our inheritance (the tremendously bountiful spiritual blessings that we receive in Christ) is kept by the power of God. This, again, addresses the great security of these spiritual riches that await each child of God, each sinner who has been given, by the grace of God, such a goodly (to use a word) salvation plan.
I would like to take a look and do a word study on the word “power” in 1Peter 1:5. I think as we do, we are going to learn something about Matthew 24, because this word is found in Matthew 24. I do not think that we have correctly understood what was being said in Matthew 24.
So let us take a look at how the word “power,” which is the Greek word dunamis (Strong’s #1411), is used in several places; then we will go over to Matthew 24 and we will see how it is used there.
First, it says in Luke 5:17:
And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
This word for “power” is that same Greek word dunamis. Notice that this is referring to healing. When Jesus would do healings, like when a leper was cleansed or when the blind could see or the lame could walk, we know that this pointed to salvation. They were true historical and physical healings, but those healings typified the spiritual healing that comes with salvation as God heals the sin-sick.
In the same book, in Luke 9:1-2, it says:
Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
Again, this is the same Greek word dunamis. The twelve were given power and authority over devils and to cure diseases. The disciples went out, which is a picture of the sending forth of the Gospel as the Word of God has power to heal, power to cast out devils. Again, spiritually, this would typify salvation.
It says in Romans 1:16:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Again, we read that the Gospel of Christ is the power of God; and so, one way that we could describe the Gospel would be to use a synonym that the Bible presents, which is that the Gospel is the “power of God.” The Bible even tells us what power it possesses. It possesses the power “unto salvation.” The power of the Gospel is that it can bring salvation to sinners.
This verse is direct in its statement and we are getting a better understanding of the word dunamis. This word actually involves many aspects of God’s power. It could describe certain things. For instance, in 1Peter 1:5, the inheritance that is reserved in Heaven is:
…kept by the power of God…
Salvation could be in view here, but it also involves other attributes of God because there are also a couple of other things that are involved with this word dunamis. The “power of God” is the Gospel of salvation – it is the power of God unto salvation – as well as the sending forth of this Gospel, the preaching of this Gospel.
We see this even further in 1Corinthians 1:18:
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
This is another direct statement, like we found in Romans 1:16. Here it says again:
For the preaching of the cross…is the power of God.
There is a lot of preaching of the cross today, but it lacks the power of God. God even addresses this elsewhere in the New Testament; but still, the true preaching of the cross or when the Bible is taught faithfully and when truth is proclaimed, it is the power of God, the dunamis of God.
Further down in 1Corinthians 1:23-25, we read:
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Christ Himself is called the “power of God,” and we always have to keep in mind that Jesus is “the Word…made flesh.” Christ is the Word made flesh, and if we were to search where Christ was (and Christ is the power of God), we would go to the Bible. On every page of the Bible, we could say, “Here is Christ, the power of God.”
So the preaching of the cross is the power of God, the Gospel unto salvation is the power of God, and Christ, the Word, the Bible itself, is the power of God.
In 1Corinthians 2:4-5, it says:
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
This is in relation to Paul’s preaching as God moved him to write these words.
Let us just look at a couple more verses, and there are others. For now, let us look at 1Thessalonians 1. It also uses this word dunamis. We read in 1Thessalonians 1:5:
For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
Let us go to one last place to look at this word before we go to Matthew 24. Look at Hebrews 1:3:
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
We read here again of the “word of his power,” the Word of God. Scripture or the Bible is the power of God.
A little further along in Hebrews, we actually read about the Word. It tells us that the Word is “quick [living] and powerful.” The word in this verse in Hebrews that was translated as “powerful” is a different Greek word, but it is definitely the same idea.
The Word of God is the power of God and the Gospel is “the power of God unto salvation.” It was His will in the Great Commission that people would preach the Gospel to all creatures. It would be shared with all mankind. Then according to God’s will and according to His plan of election, this would bring spiritual healing to those whom God intended to save. All of these things are included in this word dunamis, the power of God.
When we go to Matthew 24:29, we find that this says:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven…
Is this to be taken literally? Will the sun be darkened and will the moon not give its light and will the stars fall? We have gone over this many times.
No; it is impossible for this to be literal. This is because Mark 13:24-25 tells us:
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall…
So Mark 13:24 looks at a period of time after the tribulation, a period that it calls “days.”
Think about stars falling from the sky. It says in Revelation 6, “And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth.”
So for a science trivia question, how many stars would it take to fall to the earth before the earth was completely obliterated? The answer is not even one; because before one star got anywhere near the earth, the earth would melt with a fervent heat. This is because stars are intensely hot and very enormous. One star would destroy the earth long before it reached us.
Spiritually speaking, this must mean then that immediately after the tribulation, these strange events will take place in the celestial bodies. This must be spiritual, because after the tribulation it says that this will be taking place for “days” in Mark 13:24. God also helps us further when He tells us in Luke 21:25, which is a parallel passage:
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars…
This is indicating that this will be a “sign” of something and not a reality. The sign just points to the reality, and the reality is the darkening of the Gospel lights.
So the question that all of us are faced with is when the tribulation ended. When did the tribulation end? If the tribulation ended on May 21, 2011, then the Gospel lights were put out. If, however, there is a lengthening of the tribulation, then this would not be for some time.
We find all sorts of people arguing that there is still salvation, but they are not addressing what took place on May 21. They do not tell us if the tribulation ended or if the tribulation is continuing. They do not tell us many, many things. No questions are answered. We are just expected to adopt this and pressure is put on us to adopt this just because they believe that we must; and yet this is not what the believer does. The child of God waits on the Lord. The questions must be answered.
Let us finish reading Matthew 24:29:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
The Greek word for “powers” here is dunamis, but why is it in the plural form? Why is it that God tells us that “immediately after the tribulation” that “the powers of the heavens shall be shaken”? What could this mean?
Could this be referring to the sun, moon, and stars? We know that these are not literal, so this has to also be spiritual itself. When we just looked at the word dunamis, we found that it has much to do with preaching, with the sending forth of the Gospel, which is the “power of God unto salvation,” with the Word of God, the Bible. These are the “powers” of God, “the powers of the heavens.”
This is just as the sun, moon, and stars relate spiritually as we realize that the sun represents the light of Christ, the moon represents the law of God, the Bible, and the stars represent the true believers; and this is interesting because this is exactly what we found with the word dunamis. Dunamis, the power of God, was involved in the sending forth of the true believers. Dunamis was involved with the Word of God, just like the moon represents the law or the Word of God. Dunamis was involved with Christ Himself, just like the sun typifies the Lord Jesus Christ.
So we do see, spiritually, that dunamis has everything to do with the light of the Gospel, with the salvation of God, with the preaching of the salvation of God, with the sending forth of the Gospel into the world; and now, “Immediately after the tribulation…the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.”
We must honestly ask a question. We search and we go to God because there are some things that we just do not know right now. There is some confusion, and so we go to the Lord and we ask for wisdom, “O Lord, what is going on? What are You doing? What has happened since May 21 of last year? Can You please show us?” Yet we must be willing to accept what the answer is. We cannot dismiss possible answers. We cannot say, “Well, I will accept everything but that there is no more salvation.”
I am not saying this for now. I want to go back, which I have done, with an open mind and I want to look at what is going on, at what God is teaching, and at what is spiritually happening right now. I want an open mind. If God has a plan to save people still, fine; but we need to find this information in the Bible. We do not get this from outside of the Bible. We do not get this intuitively. We do not get this from other individuals. This must come from the Bible itself.
Is it not something that the Bible indicates that the power of God has everything to do with the Bible, with the Gospel, with salvation and with the sending forth of it? It tells us that immediately after the tribulation, these powers of the heavens will be shaken; and so this is something that we must look at.
Why is it that since May 21, there have been no tract trips? Why is it that true believers, faithful men and women, have been sitting at home on Sundays and many other days during the week and not sharing the Gospel? Why are true believers not out there? Why are they not bringing forth the Gospel to the world? Most of all, why do they not have a horrible conscience about this? Why are they not convicted in their souls, like they used to be?
I can speak from experience about this. I remember how I felt in the past when I could have handed out tracts for a couple of hours standing on a street corner, but I did not. If I went to a store and failed at giving the person who was checking me out a tract, I would have been strongly convicted in my mind as I walked out, “Oh, I should have given that person a tract.” Why is it that I and many others cannot not only give a tract to someone like the person checking us out at the store, but also not have any conscience about not spending any time whatsoever in not doing this for going on close to a year now? Why are believers seemingly content in not bringing forth the Gospel to the world?
If you remember, Family Radio was expanding for years and years. God was opening up doors left and right with new radio stations and opportunities to share the Gospel. Why has this expansion stopped? Why is it in Philadelphia where I live right outside of the city that when we turn to WKDN 106.9 FM right now, there is no Family Radio? Family Radio is off the air here and I think also in parts of Maryland. It has lost two major stations in this area, and so on. We could continue. There is no forward expansion any longer with the sending forth of the true Gospel into the world.
Some people might say that this is just because of May 21 and a failed date. They might say that this is why there are no tract trips and that this is why people are not out there.
Well, I was around in 1994. In 1994, there was a prediction about September of that year, and yet Family Radio continued with its tract trips. They had a core group in India all the way through that period. I even remember joining that core group in the summer of 1995 as the Gospel continued to go out and as Family Radio continued to expand at that point and in the years following.
The time that we are now in is not similar. This is not because of a failed date. God’s people continually go back to the truth of the Word and we always shared the Word because that is the desire that God had placed within us.
What has happened? What happened on May 21, 2011? Why is it that we had thought that May 21 would be the completion of the tribulation, the 23 years and the full 8400 days? Since that point, it certainly seems that the powers of the heavens have been shaken because the Gospel power, the Bible, is not going forth as it has been.
We will continue to study and to pray for wisdom, but may we all be willing to receive what God has for us. We will stop here.