1 Peter Chapter 3: Spousal and other Relationships, Suffering for Christ

Nov 11th, 2009 | By | Category: 1 & 2 Peter, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

1 Peter Chapter 3: Spousal and other Relationships, Suffering for Christ

1 Pet. 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

1 Pet. 3:2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

This advice is directed particularly to married sisters who have unconsecrated husbands, although the principles of obedience to husbands carry over to those with consecrated husbands as well. Hopefully, the wife’s conduct will have a beneficial influence on the unconsecrated husband so that he, too, will reverence the Lord and perhaps come into a consecrated relationship.

The wife should have pure conduct (behavior) coupled with reverential “fear” for God. Thus the husband will realize the wife is obeying her conscience because of reverence for God. He still might not like certain things, but at least he will see the motivation of wanting to please God. The emphasis is on pure conduct.

Just as with the servant and his master (1 Pet. 2:18), the word “fear” here also includes the  thought that the wife should consider her relationship to her husband and be careful to avoid giving offense or being overly contentious—unless, of course, principle is involved. In that case, she is to contend for principle.

Both the servant who becomes a Christian and the wife who consecrates would have minds enlightened beyond those of their master and husband, respectively, and the temptation in knowing they are right on so many points would be to make the relationship a very contentious one. Therefore, except where principle is involved, some forbearance to speak out should be practiced, and this balance is difficult to achieve. Regarding the servant, Peter said to be subject to the master even if the master was unjust—as long as the slave’s relationship to God was not jeopardized. And the same applies to a consecrated wife who has an unconsecrated husband. There are times when self has to be put out of the way and the wife has to go along with unjust demands. Such a situation should be borne with patience and forbearance except where principle is involved and/or where one’s spiritual life could be snuffed out and gradually strangled.

Peter is giving guidelines to all people in all situations as to how to face certain matters. It is up to each Christian to analyze each problem as it arises and then try to determine the right course. “Fear” on the part of the wife would include “reverence” for the husband inasmuch as Sarah called Abraham “lord” (verse 6). This would be in harmony with 1 Peter 2:17, “Honor all men,” which would certainly include the husband. (Of course Abraham was not unconsecrated, but Peter is concentrating on the proper demeanor of the wife in the marital relationship.) A caution is needed, however, for it is very easy for a wife, etc., who is weak in one direction to overdraw one side of this reasoning to her own preference, that is, to be either too submissive or too contentious.

Our own homes are the most difficult places to practice Christian principles, for that is where we let our hair down. For a wife to be the best example to her husband means she must always be on guard.

1 Pet. 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

1 Pet. 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Character is more important than outward adornment. Peter is not saying that there should be no braiding of the hair, wearing of gold, or putting on of apparel but that there should not be undue emphasis on these things. There should be the “ornament [development] of a meek and quiet spirit” and not outward adornment merely. The thought of “merely” is like Paul’s statement that we do not fight against flesh and blood merely but against principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12).

God places the higher emphasis on character development, but as far as outward adornment goes, the rule for dress of the sisters should be modesty, discretion, and simplicity. Elaborate braiding of the hair and gold chains would be an ornate display—and thus an inordinate attempt to attract attention to the body. In this same epistle, Peter says to “be clothed with humility” (1 Pet. 5:5).

1 Pet. 3:5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

1 Pet. 3:6 Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

Sarah is used as an example of one who had a meek and quiet spirit and was in subjection to her husband, yet she wore a gold bracelet and a ring. Therefore, Peter is not saying that women should wear no gold but to do it modestly and discreetly.

Evidently, Sarah was an unusual woman. She was extremely sedate and attractive, even to a king, and thus no doubt had a natural, stately bearing. Although she was a beautiful woman, her humility was manifested by the fact that she agreed to leave so-called civilization and to lead a nomadic, bedouin type of life following her husband, Abraham, through faith in God. In such an existence, she could not cater to her own natural beauty.

Sarah humbled herself by calling Abraham “lord” (or “master”), but coupled with this “do[ing] well,” she was “not afraid with any amazement.” In other words, she was not afraid to disagree with him in the proper spirit. The point is that the wife should not be in abject slavery to her husband with no opinions, no thoughts, and no judgments. From the standpoint of the wife being a new creature, the husband should not make inordinate, contrary demands. If the husband wants to curtail the wife completely as a new creature, she should not be terrorized by him. In such a case, the wife should not subject herself completely to his will but should obey the Lord instead. Therefore, in addition to modesty, simplicity, and obedience to the husband, there should be a reverence for God and no fear of man. The wife of an unconsecrated husband should try to be a good example to her husband, but where he tries to suppress her development as a new creature, she should not let him walk all over her like a doormat.

1 Pet. 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

In regard to the marital relationship, if we are at fault for not promoting peace and quiet in the home (where principle is not involved, of course), our prayers will be “hindered.” Serenity is conducive to a proper prayer atmosphere. Moreover, immediately following a heated difference on a matter, one or both parties may have difficulty in mechanically cutting off the argument and going to the Lord in prayer. This situation would be apt to affect the wife more, for her makeup is more sensitive than that of the husband.

If husband and wife are both consecrated, their prayers will be hindered if there is not a concern and consideration for the spiritual growth of the partner. This is especially true if the husband does not so honor his wife, but a responsibility is incumbent on both partners. If either one defaults on his or her responsibility, that one’s prayers will be hindered. However, in matters of disputation, the prayers of both will be hindered if both are guilty. The principle is the same as in Matthew 5:23,24, “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” If two brothers have a problem, the party in the wrong should make amends before he goes to the Lord in prayer (before he presents his “gift” at the “altar”). In other words, if it is possible to reconcile the difference and that possibility is not used, the prayers will not be accepted. Before we pray to the Lord, we should try to get a matter straightened out if we are the one at fault. The effort has to be made whether or not it works. And so in the husband-wife relationship, if one is responsible, both are affected but particularly the guilty one. (Usually both are at fault to a  greater or lesser extent.)

Verse 7 has an even wider application to the husband’s overall regard for his wife’s spiritual welfare. If the husband habitually oppresses the wife and overrides her, his prayer life will be adversely affected as well.

Peter is trying to make both husband and wife understand the relationship. If the husband is oppressive, he should see that this is an inordinate exercise of his responsibility. Or if the wife is not properly submissive, her prayers will be hindered. There is a mutual relationship and responsibility here. If this advice is neglected, hardened habits and attitudes will develop, leading to estrangement. And persistent estrangement has a deleterious effect on the home and the children. In giving honor to the wife, the husband must make sure he does not override her and develop a confirmed habit along this line, completely disregarding her feelings and welfare.

Husbands are to dwell with their wives “according to knowledge”; that is, they are to live considerately, wisely, and generously with them. If husband and wife are both consecrated and thus have the same hope and calling, then each should realize that the Lord has called the other party as well as himself or herself. This knowledge should keep both humble in the sense of treating each other respectfully. Neither should be high-minded. They should keep in mind that both are consecrated to do the Lord’s will and the Lord loves them both.

Familiarity with Scripture should provide husband and wife with a basic outline of how to treat the mate. If both are rightly exercised, conduct will be governed accordingly and each will see his or her own faults.

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, … [yet] as being heirs together of the grace of life.” The word “yet” instead of “and” helps to bring out the main thrust that both are consecrated to do the Lord’s will. If the husband has Scriptural knowledge along a certain line that pertains to a problem or dispute that arises, that knowledge should bring a solution as long as the wife is sincerely motivated toward the Word and toward doing God’s will. The fact that Peter was married helped him to understand the husband-wife relationship.

1 Pet. 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

Peter enlarges the husband-wife relationship to include all of the brethren.

“Be courteous.” Sometimes one is more courteous to a worldly person than to a brother or sister because “familiarity breeds contempt.” Such an attitude will have a bearing on one’s salvation. The thought of courtesy, which is related to brotherly love in the Greek, is being “friendly minded.” We should have more courtesy.

1 Pet. 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

Rendering “evil for evil” or “railing for railing” is quite different than saying something the Bible instructs us to do. Certain situations will arise where stern things have to be said. Such cases are not “rendering evil for evil” but are speaking according to the Lord’s Word.

However, when a wrong deed is done or a wrong and evil expression is uttered, we should not retaliate with the same.

1 Pet. 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

1 Pet. 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

Actively turn away from evil, do good, and seek and pursue peace. Peace will not just happen. We must seek and pursue it—as long as conscience is not violated.

1 Pet. 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

Peter mentions prayer again. We can see how this former rough, uncouth fisherman has been tenderized and changed in his attitude. Think of his courage to speak on the day of Pentecost about Christ so soon after the Crucifixion! He said the nation had crucified the Messiah.

Although thousands became disciples as a result, many more did not (perhaps he spoke to 10,000 on that occasion). Moreover, he spoke in the Temple. What courage he displayed! His epistles show that his consecration changed him as a man. Such a strong personality could now be soft and gentle and speak about prayer life, seeking peace, and being compassionate—yet retain his courage for Christ! Although Peter was ignorant in the sense of being unlearned, without formal education, he was intelligent and very knowledgeable.

Jesus not only said Peter was a “rock” but also instructed him to “feed my lambs.” Normally we would not think of a rock feeding a gentle lamb (Matt. 16:18; John 21:15). Evidently, to be of the Little Flock, this tender disposition must be intermingled with firmness. We know this because God Himself is pictured as both a diamond and a sard stone. “Godlikeness” means a balancing out of a previously misshaped character that was either too soft or too hard. Justice and love have to be balanced.

The implication in verses 10–12 is that we must continue to follow these instructions, or we will jeopardize our future salvation (“For he that will love life, and see good days, let him….”).

Those who obey the Lord’s counsel in the present life will “see good days” by attaining the Little Flock. Those of the Great Company will be somewhat ashamed in that they will be shown to be inferior, but at least they will get life. Not properly obeying the Lord’s counsel will either terminate our future life completely in Second Death or just partially affect our future life by limiting it to the Great Company.

Our conduct will definitely affect our prayer life. We are responsible for our conduct, but it must be according to the knowledge of the Word. At times Jesus made very strong statements. Depending on the circumstances and whom we are addressing, we must do likewise. We must speak with the authority of the Bible.

1 Pet. 3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

1 Pet. 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

Verses 12–14 are a summary of the advice on how to be a servant, a citizen of the government, a wife (or husband), or one of the brotherhood. If we try to do all that is recorded here and we still suffer, then we should be happy and unafraid, for we are suffering for righteousness’ sake. If the Lord’s eyes are over us and His ears are open to our prayers and we have His approval, then there is no reason to fear what others may say or do to us. Even if we lose the world’s friendship, we will not be harmed as a new creature, and we will be pleasing God and have His approval.

“But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye.” Suffering for righteousness’ sake is different from suffering for Christ’s sake, which is espousing him as our Savior and following  his instructions instead of some other pagan idea. The advice starting in 1 Peter 2:11 pertains to daily living, which should be guided by behavioral principles. Suffering in these categories in connection with consistency of obedience would be suffering for righteousness’ sake and principle. In regard to the Sermon on the Mount, there is a difference between suffering “for my [Jesus’] sake” and suffering “for righteousness’ sake.” “Blessed are they which are

persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Matt. 5:10,11).

When we consider Peter’s strength of character and his tender conscience, no doubt it bothered him all the rest of his life that he had denied Jesus three times prior to the Crucifixion. Now Peter was determined never to be afraid again, yet he was sympathetic toward others, for he, too, had once had problems.

1 Pet. 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Be ready always to give an answer … [regarding] the hope that is in you.” We are not to be ashamed, afraid, or unprepared. There are times when we should be not merely unafraid but also more aggressive and speak out. At other times we should pursue peace. The point is to have the eagerness and readiness of mind to use all opportunities properly. The “hope” we are to defend is a broad term referring to our expectations—whether about the high calling, the Kingdom, the Second Presence of Christ, the resurrection, or another aspect.

“Be ready always to give a n answer … with meekness and fear.” This is a balanced thought. Aggressiveness is desired in that we should always be ready to give an answer or reason, but the response should be given with both meekness and reverence. While we should not fear to speak out, yet we should not lash out with words too strong for the occasion. In other words, we should not be unnecessarily combatant. And to be able to give a reason implies that we have studied the Lord’s Word first. But after studying, we should not be either too reticent or too aggressive. The “sledge hammer” approach should not be used. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:6).

Notice, it is when we are asked that we should be ready to give an answer. In other words, we can be very ready and willing to give an answer, but we should use discretion. When an opportunity arises, we are to use it, but we are not to force the opportunity.

The Revised Standard reads, “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account.” The thought is that when we are challenged, we should be ready to give a defense.

Earlier Peter had said we would be spoken of as evildoers (that is, we would be challenged), and when this happens, we should give an answer. Of course a simple question that is sincere and desirous of an answer certainly would not be treated the same as an accusation that we are evildoers.

1 Pet. 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

Accusations against a Christian should be false. We will be accused of evildoing, but in due time (in the Kingdom), we will be vindicated if our conduct is above reproach now.

1 Pet. 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

If it is God’s will that we suffer (and it is), we should suffer for well doing, not for evil doing. Several times Peter has mentioned this thought of Christians suffering falsely as evildoers, showing the early Christians in Asia Minor suffered a great deal along this line.

1 Pet. 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

After all, if Christ our Head, who was sinless and just, had to suffer as an evildoer, we should not be surprised to suffer likewise. Although Jesus suffered in a specialized sense (“the just for the unjust”), in principle we should also try to suffer unjustly.

Jesus was “put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” The reasoning of Peter in this verse is similar to that of Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” Progression is shown here. The outward man perishes progressively as the inner man is being renewed.

Christ also suffered for sins, as we are supposed to do, but in his case the thoroughly just One suffered for the unjust (that is, for the Church and the world). The thought alluded to here and stated in 2 Corinthians 4:16 is not merely that the Christian dies because he was born in sin and shaped in iniquity, and hence has the seeds of death in him through Adam’s fall, but also that the Christian’s “outward man” perishes from the standpoint of sacrifice. (Suffering in the flesh is part of the sin offering.) The inner man is being renewed or is growing up at the same time, but both processes (the perishing of the outward man and the growing of the inner man) terminate in a definite conclusion: death of the flesh. Suffering in the flesh terminates in the actual finality of the death of the flesh, and the renewing in the spirit (if faithful) eventually ends up in life. Just as Jesus’ whole ministry culminated in the Cross, the death of his flesh, and he received life as a spirit being, so the death of our flesh is the conclusion or result of a whole consecrated walk (progression) of suffering that will, hopefully, lead to our being raised as a glorious spirit being.

“Christ also hath once suffered for sins.” This statement contradicts the doctrine of the Mass in the Roman Catholic Church, which is supposed to sacrifice Jesus continually.

1 Pet. 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

1 Pet. 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a-preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

God did not terminate sin right away but permitted it to continue and get worse. This permission of sin seemed to show that God was impotent as far as abolishing evil and that He was unable to handle the situation. As a result, some of the angels were encouraged to be disobedient, whereas many might have refrained from disobedience through prudence if the situation had appeared otherwise. The seeming lack of punishment for wrongdoing—God’s long-suffering and waiting instead of quickly punishing evil—was a crucial test of obedience to the angels.

This verse shows that the angels who were disobedient materialized late into the First World or “world that then was” (2 Pet. 3:6). The time span of this dispensation, which extended from the creation of Adam to the Flood, covered 1,656 years. Adam died through a process of decay at age 930, which was more than halfway into this period. With the human race dying and the situation on earth looking hopeless, some of the angels decided to “help” things along by creating a new hybrid race. This they did by injecting their undying spirit-being seed into the human race (into the womb of women) and thus producing living children. The theory may be correct, but their actions were wrong, being contrary to God’s plan.

Incidentally, although incorrigible spirit beings are doomed for destruction and can therefore die, they do not decay and grow old as fallen human beings do. For this reason the fallen angels concluded they were immune to death.

The materialization of the fallen angels whereby they actually left their “first estate” and married “daughters of men” occurred late in the pre-Flood era, that is, primarily in the 120 years while the Ark was being built (Jude 6; Gen. 6:4). Before that, the angels were ministers trying to help mankind, materializing only for specific missions and then dematerializing and returning to heaven. But some began to like it here and changed their abode, taking wives and having children. Satan was the leader, trying to produce a living race through intermarriage.

When he was not punished, many others followed his lead.

“Few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” Only “eight souls” were saved in the Ark.

1 Pet. 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Why are the Ark and the saving of eight souls by water likened to baptism? This verse is a comparison of John’s baptism with Jesus’ baptism. (John’s baptism was unto repentance, and the water symbolized a washing or cleansing.) Peter is going out of his way to say, “Do not misunderstand, for I am talking not about John’s baptism but about the baptism into Christ’s death.” God deals with us according to the will, not according to the external deeds of the flesh.

When we are baptized into Jesus’ death, we are covered with a robe of righteousness, and thus we can be void of offense from the standpoint of conscience. Our heart condition is what counts, for if our salvation depended on the deeds of the flesh without this covering, we would all be condemned. Because of the imputed robe of righteousness, we can be free of unnecessary guilt.

This verse proves that all—Jew and Gentile—need Jesus’ baptism in order to become Christians. Regarding salvation, a baptism into Jesus’ death is also a baptism into his resurrection, for we are raised in “newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).

How was the resurrection prefigured in this illustration of the Ark? Those in the Ark were saved. The Ark was a means of safety that deposited eight souls on Mount Ararat, on the shore of safety. The number 8 signifies a new or fresh start, regeneration. It presupposes a previous completion.

7 = completion (a complete unit)

+1, or a total of 8 = a new day or a new start

When the eight souls were deposited on Mount Ararat, a new day or life began. God told Noah to “be fruitful, and multiply,” just as He had instructed Adam (Gen. 8:17). Although not perfect like Adam, Noah was reckoned perfect and was reassured by the bow of promise. Hence there was a fresh start after the Flood.

Another example of the number 8 signifying a new day will be demonstrated when Ezekiel’s Temple is built. In a portion of the Third Temple structure, eight steps will symbolize the Millennial Day.

Since only eight souls were “saved by water,” all the rest of the people  were destroyed by water.

1 Pet. 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

Jesus has “gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God.” After his resurrection Jesus went to heaven to be on the right hand of God. All powers there (except God) were made subject to him at that time.

In the Ark illustration, where would the “going into heaven” take place? It would be after the Ark landed when Noah entered a new life and got the commission from God to “multiply,” etc. Noah pictures Jesus as the Second Adam in the new age with the commission to regenerate the human race (1 Cor. 15:45). Those who get into the Ark with the antitypical Noah are the Church. Therefore, if the eighth soul is Christ in this picture, then the other seven souls are the Little Flock class developed during the seven stages of the Church (7 + 1 = 8). The fact that “angels and authorities and powers … [were] made subject unto him” signifies the new commission and authority of the resurrected Christ.

Verses 20–22: Peter is describing the baptism into Christ’s death, and the Ark is a symbol of this baptism. Noah represents Christ. The other seven on the Ark (Noah’s family) represent the Church, that is, the seven stages of the Church. The number 8 is a symbol of regeneration, resurrection, a new start, a new beginning—just as the number 8 is the start of a new week, seven days having passed (7 + 1 = 8).

The number 8 has become a symbol of resurrection for several reasons. In Arabic numerals, the number 10 is the revolving point, but number 7 is also a mark of complete units, as in the days of the week. The eighth day begins a new week. The notes of the musical scale are seven plus a repeat an octave higher: do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do. The Bible uses multiples of both 7 and 10 to show completion, but 7 is used more in connection with the Church.

In another picture, only the three sons represent the Church, and Noah again pictures Jesus: 3 (sons) + 1 (Noah) = 4. In this case, the wives represent the covenant under which the three sons are developed. Like the three wise men and the three Hebrew children, the three sons picture three classes of the feet members at the end of the age. Why the end of the age? Of the 1,656 years from Adam to the Flood, the Ark pertains to only the last 120 years. Hence Peter is using an end-time picture.

There is still another type. Since the Flood represents the Time of Trouble, living beyond the Flood pictures the Millennial Age after the Time of Trouble. Since the number 8 can refer to the Millennium or to the age beyond the Millennium depending on context, how can we prove that in this picture the eighth day represents the Millennial Age? The animals are the clue. Both clean and unclean animals were also saved and carried through the Flood, and they picture the world of mankind. Since no “unclean” of the human race will live beyond the Kingdom, we know this picture refers to the Millennium.

The animals that entered the Ark were paired (Gen. 7:2 RSV). With seven pairs of each clean animal and one pair of each unclean animal being taken onto the Ark, the proportion was 7 to 1. In addition to the Little Flock, the Great Company class is shown in this picture of eight souls being saved in the Ark. Noah (Jesus), Noah’s three sons (the Church), and Noah’s wife and the wives of his three sons (the Great Company) were all saved and brought to a new life. Why do the four wives represent the Great Company? There are two reasons: (1) They were not direct descendants of Noah and hence were not as closely related as the sons. (2) The names of the wives are not given, whereas the names of the sons are recorded. Therefore, the wives (the Great Company) have a subservient role. Although the wives got life, they were merely associates.

Verse 20 says that “few … were saved.” In comparison to the world of mankind, few will be saved through baptism as either Little Flock or Great Company. It might be a true statement to say that a saint is “one in a million” compared with the world, for probably only several million people (between 2 million and 7 million) were alive at the time of the Flood as opposed to the eight souls who were saved.

Here we have a clue as to how many fallen angels there were. Half of the several million people would have been female (between 1 million and 3.5 million). Since the fallen angels married “daughters of men,” we know that there were not more than this number of fallen angels. And we know that the holy angels outnumber the fallen angels.

In regard to the ratio of one pair of unclean animals to seven pairs of clean animals, it is possible that in the Kingdom one out of eight of the world of mankind will remain unclean and thus go into Second Death. This would be about 12 percent—a sizable number! If 100 billion people have lived, this would mean 12 billion would be incorrigible.

With the Church, the consecrated of the Gospel Age, there are several pictures of the Second Death class. Two are as follows:

1. Nadab, Abihu, Eleazer, and Ithamar were the four sons of Aaron, the high priest. Nadab and Abihu, the two who died for offering “strange fire,” picture those who go into Second Death. Eleazer and Ithamar, the two who were spared, picture the Little Flock and the Great Company, respectively.

2. Of the 2 million Israelites who left Egypt in the Exodus, all over a certain age died and thus did not enter the Promised Land except Joshua and Caleb. However, the next generation, which totaled the same number (2 million) did enter. In other words, half of the people entered the Promised Land and half perished. As children of Israel, not of the world, they represent the consecrated.

Here, then, are two examples of a possible numeric 50-50 proportion of the saved versus those who go into Second Death in the Gospel Age. Peter provides further information in the next chapter: “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Pet. 4:18). Probably the percentage of the Second Death class in the Gospel Age is higher than in the Kingdom. To fall back from the Little Flock to the Great Company is one thing, but to fall back from the Great Company means Second Death. Our standard should be high. If our standard is lax, there is great danger of falling into Second Death.

In 1 Peter 4:18, what is the difference between the “ungodly” and the “sinner”? The “sinner” is obviously such (the Nadab element). However, the “ungodly” can be outwardly godly and inwardly ungodly (the Abihu element). Both classes go into Second Death. “Nadab” means “lordly, aggressive.” This class expose  themselves as sinners, for they are outwardly and obviously sinners. “Abihu” means “love of the Father.” This class appear to be loving, kind, and nice (according to worldly standards but not according to God’s standards). They are outwardly obedient and inwardly corrupt. The point is that the standard for life is stricter than is generally conceded.

Agape love is not emotional; it is a disinterested love and hence would fully acquiesce in the destruction of an incorrigible soul, whoever that individual might be. God would make that decision, and agape love would concur. In other words, if God decides that certain ones are unfit to live and will go into Second Death, all who get life on any plane—Little Flock, Great Company, or world of mankind—will accept that decision. If told to be the executioner, the Little Flock will dispassionately mete out such judgment—even if the recipient is the closest relative or associate. When considered in this light, agape love is higher than phileo love. Agape love is a principled love, whereas phileo love is an emotional love. There is a common (phileo) love among the brethren, but agape love is higher—it is Godlike love.

The account in Exodus 32:25–28 is pertinent to this subject. “And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.” In connection with the golden calf incident, Moses commanded the sons of Levi to slay with the sword “every man his brother, … companion [friend], and … neighbor.”

We should consider the principle carefully. If asked by a draft board or someone else if we would ever kill anybody, shouldn’t our answer be, “Yes, if God wanted me to”? Moreover, Jesus said in John 18:36, “If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight [for it].” Many mistakenly think a pacifist is one who cannot kill under any circumstance.

Some erroneously think that agape love is so very generous. It is one thing to be magnanimous regarding an opportunity for all, but it is quite another matter to be so magnanimous regarding the results. The results are determined by how each individual responds. Agape love is a principled love.

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share

Leave Comment