1 Peter is not written to us, the sealed Church. Broader still, Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, 3 John, Jude, and Revelation are not to us. Even more amazing, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are not to us either. And, yes, even Acts is not ours!
We’ve been wrongly dividing the Bible.
The Synoptic Gospels show Jesus coming to proclaim to the Jews that their Kingdom is at hand. Jesus then spends all three books explaining to them about that Kingdom. He tells them what they must do to be part of it when it arrives. At first plainly, then through parables. Due to His being rejected as its King, the Kingdom was postponed. The Church Age was thrown in the gap that that rejection created, thus extending the postponement of Daniel 9’s Jewish prophecy (discussed all over this site).
If you’ve read my home page, you’ve seen how unique the Church is. We’re the only ones given the Holy Spirit internally; sealed, guaranteed until the Rapture when we’ll no longer need His deposit. That sets us apart from every other time frame. Check out the free book on the Book tab, the Synoptic Gospels, and other articles/charts on this site. You’ll see that the only kingdom mentioned in the Bible is the Jewish Kingdom. In other words, the Millennium. The Jews must suffer through the Tribulation in order to complete that prophecy in Daniel resulting in that Kingdom’s arrival.
You’ll see also that the post-Philemon books give doctrine and daily life details for the Tribulation Jews. With this foundation, you can then move on to understanding what faith is. There is a difference between their faith outside of the Church Age, and our faith within it. Romans might be a good article to read on that.
Therefore, this study in 1 Peter will begin on the subject of faith. When non-Church Age books are talking about faith, it’s not like our Church Age faith. Once we believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, we’re sealed with a guaranteed inheritance. Remember, no one else has that eternal security. Their faith must endure. It must hope, hold fast, not fall away…
Since this is key to understanding all these non-Church books, I’m going to ask you to put aside your thoughts that these verses are speaking to us and just read what they say. I’m going to start by listing some Hebrews passages because Hebrews is what connects the OT Jews and early NT Jews to their Tribulation brethren. They must believe that Jesus is the author of their New Covenant (see The New Covenant). 1 Peter will then follow.
Intro: Non-Church Age Faith Found in Hebrews
Hebrews 3:6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
Hebrews 3:14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,
And what happens if these Tribulation Jews fall away with an unbelieving heart? Like the Hebrews in the exodus from Egypt, they won’t enter His rest. Even though they had seen God’s hand in their favor, they ended up with hardened, unbelieving hearts. Likewise these, too, if they don’t hold fast until the end will also not enter their rest — the Kingdom. Read Hebrews 3 and check out Pick a Path.
Hebrews 4 continues. Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.
Here’s the faith I’m talking about:
Hebrews 4:2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
Hebrews 4:3-10 then tells them that this final rest (v.9) is still coming (Kingdom), so this applies to them too.
11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The following three passages have caused much consternation for us in the Church Age. Why? Because we’ve been applying them to us in error. Perfect example is the falling away we discussed a minute ago in chapter 3. Well, it’s confirmed again here that it’s not talking to us. Tribulation Jews must maintain. Here, once again, are results of falling away:
4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
2 Peter 2:20-22
20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”
26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. 35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
On the flipside, the results for those who hope until the end:
Hebrews 6:9-20 9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name… 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
….18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
And their lives shall look like this:
Hebrews 10:19-25 19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Hebrews 13 also exhorts Tribulation believers how to live, closing with vs.20-21. 20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Now, how could we have come this far in talking about faith and not even mentioned Hebrews 11?!? First, let’s see what it’s sandwiched between.
35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. 37 For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. 38 But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.
This passage is the intro into Hebrews 11, the chapter of faithful OT believers in God. Now see its wrap-up in chapter 12.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Is that not a summary of everything you’ve been reading??
I skipped over the details of chapter 11 because they’re already in Romans and The New Covenant articles. Please read them to get the entire picture on faith outside the Church Age.
In preparing this article, I found myself continually back in the Old Testament, amazed at its beauty. God created Israel to have a unique relationship with Him. He formed them for that purpose. Yet they failed to do right and obey Him. They, instead, chose to do evil. And just as God promised, judgment always followed. What’s the theme over and over again in these OT books? It’s God telling Israel to be righteous, show justice and have mercy. Then He’ll deliver them from the just consequences of their disobedience that they continually found themselves in.
The cycle looked like this: sin, judgment, repentance, rescue from judgment, sin again. Almost every time this cycle reached the ‘rescue from judgment’ phase, something happened: God would look forward to the kingdom age where the cycle will be no more. His New Covenant will be in effect and His laws will be written on their hearts, etc (Isaiah 59:21). Ezekiel 20 sums this up nicely.
Check out the book of Isaiah.
It’s a perfect example of this. For starters try chapters 1, 2, 11, 32, 35, 54-58, the 60s.
The Tribulation Jews will need the book of Hebrews. It will tell them they must accept Jesus as the author/mediator/testor of their New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). This will be required for them to enter their kingdom promised to them throughout the OT.
So in short, Hebrews will show these Tribulation Jews their God keeps His promises. The Creator God has kept His time table by starting His Jewish clock back to ticking. Their kingdom is just around the corner and though their forefathers rejected Jesus as Messiah, they must now accept Him. They must follow the instructions He’s giving them in these books. I don’t have space to put all the verses in here, but I’ll give you a couple references. Hebrews 7:22; 8:6; 9:15; 10:9-10… Just read Hebrews in the way it was written — to the Jews.
1 Peter confirms it.