1 PETER 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;

The Apostle Peter, in common with the Apostle Paul, provided counsel on the role of husbands and wives. Unlike Paul, however, who chose to make reference to the wonder of marriage enshrined in Eden,14 and the mystery of marriage spoken of in the Song, 15

Peter drew on the lives of Abraham and Sarah to enhance his teaching. What better marriage relationship could be used as the benchmark for believers who needed to know how best to conduct their own marriages in Christ?

His words to wives were more detailed than those to husbands, yet both exhortations focused on a particular spirit that each should manifest. Both exhortations began with the word "likewise", and there can be no doubt what he means. For immediately before this section begins, the example of Christ had been set forth as the pattern above all others that we should strive to follow.

Christ's character and disposition under trial revealed two special virtues. Here was the spirit of perfect sacrifice for others, and here was the spirit of perfect submission to his Father.

Peter's employment of the word "likewise" therefore, lifted the realm of marriage, and the conduct of husbands and wives towards each other, into the sacred charge of following Christ.

It is his spirit that should be seen in all the mundane matters of daily life together, his example that we must emulate in all our dealings with each other, as husbands and wives. And Peter was true to the lesson of our Lord. To the wives he counselled that they render submission with reverence. To the husbands he counselled that they demonstrate sacrifice with honour.

14 Ephesians 5: 31 which is cited from Genesis 2: 24

15 Ephesians 5: 27 which is cited from Song of Solomon 4: 7

Bro Roger Lewis - Abraham and Sarah Ch 9



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;


Wise and worthy women can afford to act on this exhortation. Woman is attractive enough in herself to make her independent of trinkets and ribbons, not that she is to go to the other extreme and be prudish and unsightly. There is a medium in all these things which good sense easily finds.

Women of worth will be found on the medium line. The gew-gaws will certainly be left to the fools. It is the same among men. Where do you find dressiness, dandyism, foppery? Always among the empty heads - never among the wise and righteous. In fact it is almost a safe rule of calculation that in proportion to the amount of adornment outside is the want of adornment inside. Wives are to be modest, and discreet, and sober of character and attire.

Seasons 1.85



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.

Wise and worthy women can afford to act on this exhortation. Woman is attractive enough in herself to make her independent of trinkets and ribbons, not that she is to go to the other extreme and be prudish and unsightly. There is a medium in all these things which good sense easily finds.

Women of worth will be found on the medium line. The gew-gaws will certainly be left to the fools. It is the same among men. Where do you find dressiness, dandyism, foppery? Always among the empty heads - never among the wise and righteous. In fact it is almost a safe rule of calculation that in proportion to the amount of adornment outside is the want of adornment inside. Wives are to be modest, and discreet, and sober of character and attire.

Seasons 1.85



The spirit of the truth is a spirit of reverence


This spirit ought to be manifest in all the assemblies of the truth. It is very much the contrary oftentimes. The members of the assembly, in the course of their exercises, will rise quickly from their seats, and resume them with almost the indecent haste of schoolboys, when prayer or singing is concluded. This ought not to be.

There ought to be the dignity and deliberation that always spring from true feeling toward God and man. Reverence to God and deference to our neighbours, if allowed to have their full sway, will lead to that gentleness of which some degree of slowness of action is an element. Superstition goes to one extreme; the sterile independence of modern democratic feeling is liable to lead to another. The medium in all things is best.

The Christadelphian, Feb 1886


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

The wisdom of Peter, himself a married man. 16 lay in making the focus of his teaching to rest upon the duties of husbands and wives, and not their rights. If both were to focus on their duties towards each other, instead of demanding their rights from each other, then marriage in the Lord would be transformed into an experience that the world knew nothing about.

Such a spirit would not remove life's difficulties, for they are ever present in every marriage, but it would allow husbands and wives to meet those challenges, resolve them mutually, and grow closer through their failures and their fears.

Peter knew of an outstanding example where this spirit of Christ was woven into the fabric of a marriage, and yet again, Abraham and Sarah, this godly man and this holy woman would be seen together in an apostolic appeal.

...The episode Peter had especially in mind was that of their journey into Egypt where Sarah submitted to her husband's request that they conceal their true relationship. 17 Despite the terrors of the moment, it is evident that so complete was Sarah's trust in the mighty power of God to deliver her, that she remained in subjection to Abraham, and that moreover in the spirit of calling him lord.

Her submission was real and complete, and rendered in a time of such crisis that a lesser woman would have wavered. Yet her conduct was exemplary, rendered the more eloquent by her silence, an amazing spirit that helped to save her household. It was possible to emulate Sarah, and the apostle gave, counsel to the wives that they should.

It was her doing well that they were to copy, and in following her precious example they would become her offspring. Not to be afraid therefore relates to Sarah's confidence in the Lord in a time of great anxiety and alarm.

Here was the evidence of her "hidden man of the heart", a holy woman who trusted in God, adorned thereby with the spirit of reverential subjection. It is a characteristic that is questioned by some married sisters today, but only by those who have not grasped the paradox of victory through submission.

16 Mark 1:30; 1 Corinthians 9:5.

17 The episode he has in mind is that of Genesis 12:11-17. It is the only place where the incident reflects fully the spirit of Sarah's confidence in time of great alarm, her deep submission to Abraham, her implicit trust in God, and her silence throughout the episode.

He quotes however from 18:12 as illustrative of the spirit that Sarah showed on the earlier occasion. Peter is in good company. For in James 2:20-24, when expounding the spirit of Abraham in Genesis 22:9-12, James actually quotes from 15:6 to show the spirit which Abraham later revealed on Mount Moriah.

Similarly in Romans 4:18-21, Paul, expounding the circumstances of Genesis 17 :3-5 also quotes from 15:5,6 to capture the spirit of complete faith the patriarch revealed when later faced with what seemed to be an impossibly marvellous promise. In each case a specific episode was referred to, but a different passage cited to capture the spirit of the moment.

Bro Roger Lewis - Abraham and Sarah Ch 9



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.

Then the husbands have their part. They are to "dwell with the wives according to knowledge"-not according to ignorance: not according to unwisdom. A husband of the apostolic type is governed by intelligence in his ways. A wise man is a beauty anywhere, but especially by the side of a good wife.

... The wife is told to be subject to her husband: but the husband is not told to lecture her on her duty to be subject. He is told to "give honour" to her. This is the opposite of telling her she is subject. To tell her of her subjection is to cast dishonour upon her.

To treat her as a subject is to make her a slave and not a co-heir of life eternal. Let a man do his part and a woman is very likely to do hers. Where is the woman that would not find it easy to be subject to a man who honoured her,

"who nourished and cherished her, even as the Lord the ecclesia"? (Eph. 5:29).

There may be women who even in such a case would be insubordinate and untractable: but they would be out of the common run. If a man, however, loves, nourishes and cherishes his wife, he will not be under much temptation to lay down the law to her on the subject of her subjection. In fact he could not do such a thing, for such a course would be inconsistent with the honour he gives her.

If each side would preach and concern themselves with their own duty, each would find their own part easier. It is not for the husband to say to a wife, "It is your duty to obey me." It is not for a wife to say to a husband, "It is your duty to honour me." This mode of going to work would frustrate instead of forward the end in view. A wife is not likely to be the more obedient for being told it is her duty, but the reverse; and a husband's love is not likely to grow for being ordered. Rather let the wife say,

"It is my duty to obey you";

and let the husband say,

"It is my duty to honour you."

Such an attitude, taken sincerely and naturally on each side, and carried out in a practical way, would be a powerful mutual help. The other way is a mutual hindrance and destruction. The right way is the attitude divinely enjoined, and it is the attitude taken by the children of God. Those who act otherwise are not "obedient children."

A man knowing the gospel and able to talk of it, but acting the part of a tyrant at home, is no brother of Christ, however he may pass current among men. He is what Paul calls "sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." So a woman having understanding of the ways of God, but acting an insubordinate unloving part in private, is no member of the sisterhood of Christ, however distinctly and decidedly she may be recognised as "a sister" among professors of the truth. These things concern the spirit of Christ, and

"if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

Seasons 1.85.



Giving honour

Husbands likewise are called to exhibit a characteristic that was marvellously shown in the patriarch's life. In an age where many women were but chattels, and where the lordship of men went unchallenged, this couple were the epitome of living together in mutual harmony and understanding.

The record depicts Abraham and Sarah as dwelling together in the same tent, labouring together in love and obedience before God, and entertaining their angelic visitors together in unity.l'' Abraham accorded to his wife the deepest respect, honouring her not only in esteem, but also in the sharing of God's promises and all that they implied.

They had discussed and debated all that God had promised, and how necessary this was, for not until their mutual faith had been perfected could the promised seed be born. Abraham, acutely aware of this reality, truly dwelt with his wife according to knowledge, in an intellectual kinship unparalleled in the record of holy Scripture.

Throughout the story of their life together, Abraham was seen as a man who gave honour unto his wife. In his gentle answer to her at a time of marital tension.l? in his exclamation of delight at hearing her involvement in the promise confirmed.e? in his hearkening unto the voice of his wife in a moment of acute personal pain, 21 this man showed that he honoured her indeed, respectful of her part in the promises.

18 Genesis 18:1,6,9,10.

19 Genesis 16:6.

20 Genesis 17:17.

21 Genesis 21:14.

Bro Roger Lewis - Abraham and Sarah Ch 9



Weaker vessels

Husbands, says the apostle, ought to care for their wives as being the weaker vessel. Her weakness does not consist in her capacity to endure suffering, or in her ability to grasp divine principle. In these matters she has equality with the man. Her weakness springs from the very gifts with which God has endowed her for the outworking of her role.

When God made them male and female, He provided in His wisdom different gifts. From the beginning the divine endowment to womankind enabled her to give support, but she would thereby also know the pain of empathy. Unto her it was also given to provide nurture, but through this she would experience the anxiety of care.

Her softer nature, and more gentle physical constitution were fitted for the exercise ofthese responsibilities, but these very strengths would also bring an inverse weakness. For Sarah, the promise of a child tested her in these most vulnerable aspects of her womanhood, her emotions, her intuition, and her body.

But Abraham, mindful of her weakness in this respect, showed care in helping to bring her to mutual faith. All wise and loving husbands will seek to do likewise in recognising their wife's precious and diverse role.

Bro Roger Lewis - Abraham and Sarah Ch 9



Heirs together

Peter's final advice was for husbands to recognise that they are heirs together of the grace of life, so that their united prayers might ascend freely to God on high. Abraham and Sarah were the pre-eminent example of this spirit. Both of them were blessed by the grace of God who had intervened in their lives.

Their names, both of them, had been altered by the inclusion of the special letter from the divine Name itself, to indicate that His grace would rest upon them both in the granting of a son. That quickening power resting upon an old man and an old woman, brought forth a child in their old age according to the grace of life. What better example for godly marriage could be brought forth than this one?

How vital that they be seen side by side, as so often they do in the New Testament account. Together they experienced the grace of God and together they revealed the spirit of Christ.

Bro Roger Lewis - Abraham and Sarah Ch 9


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

The sons of God answer to this character. Unity, compassion, love, prevail among them-even now. Where contrary conditions exist, it is because of the presence of a foreign element. There will be no foreign element in the perfected body of Christ.

The mustered family will be perfect and entire, lacking nothing. A powerful mutual affection, on the basis of mutual and unblemished excellence, and nurtured by the unfailing strength of the spiritual and immortal nature, will provide a chief and glorious feature in the feast of good things to come that awaits the accepted brethren of the Lord Jesus.

Seasons 1.85.



Enlightened men in hearty love with the truth are in love with all who are of the truth...Men of fundamental divergence of principle cannot long run in the same traces.

The Christadelphian, June 1886

"Be of one mind"


is the exhortation that runs through the writings of the great apostle to the Gentiles (2 Cor. 13:11; 1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 1:27; Rom. 15:5, 6). This oneness of mind is not impossible of attainment, whatever disobedient men may say to the contrary.

The Ecclesia manifested this unity at the commencement, and did so as the result of a hearty reception of the truth as apostolically delivered (Acts 2:41, 42: 4:32). The Babel which the religious world has become is the outcome of unfaithfulness to divine teaching. This deplorable condition of things was foretold, and the brethren were enjoined to be watchful lest they should become parties to its development.

How earnest and solemn are the warnings. Here are two examples:

"Stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle" (2 Thess. 2:15); "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (1 Tim. 4:16).

Let us, who in this late day have been blessed with a knowledge of the truth, heed the divine warnings, and stand apart from those who do not believe, or who do not obey, the words of inspiration. It is the only way of preserving both the truth and the required unity.

An obedient stand in this matter will bring down upon us the censure of those from whom we have to separate, but what of that? If we are faithful, we have the satisfaction of knowing that we are obeying Christ, and following in the steps of approved first-century believers.

If Babeldom is to be augmented from the ranks of those once holding the truth (and, alas! there are signs that such is the case), let us see to it that we are not instrumental in the business, either by condoning or promulgating unscriptural teaching. Our safeguard-the divine preventive-is the earnest, sincere, humble, daily meditation of Bible revelation.

Bro AT Jannaway

The Christadelphian, Jan 1905



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

Godliness has no pleasure in irritations of any kind, but loves peace and seeks it; and is therefore liable to flee from the presence of strife and seek in solitude that communion with God which is obstructed by the disunions of men. There is a possibility of erring in this direction; for it is one of the appointments of God in the present evil state that godliness should fight the evil and earn the crown that waits a faithful course at the end.

My Days and My Ways Ch 16



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


"Give attendance to reading; meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them" (I Tm. 4:13-15).

...God's assurance of guidance depends wholly upon our giving ourself ENTIRELY to His Word and work.

He has put it all in His inspired Book of Life. He will help us find it and understand it and remember it-IF we will "give ourselves wholly to it." "Wholly" is the key. We must put it first in our lives at all times: "Seek ye first .

We may have, with great and self-satisfying effort, worked the things of God all the way up to 2nd place in our lives, and we may thereby feel a great sense of accomplishment.

But 2nd is no good at all. It might just as well be 102nd. It must be first, or nothing.

Bro Growcott - BYT 4.24




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.

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

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:

In the original, the word rendered quickened signifies " to impart life ; to make alive."

Anastasis

.


19 19 By which also he went and preached unto the [disobedient v20] spirits [at large, but now] in prison [hades];


And Yahweh said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

In process of time, Noah was "warned of God of things not seen as yet." Noah believed them, and "God, by His spirit" in him, "went and preached to the spirits (now) in prison " (1 Pet. 3:19), that is, to the Antedillivians, "who were disobedient in the days of Noah."

He warned them of the coming flood, which would "destroy them from the earth;" and proved to them his own conviction of its certainty by

"preparing an ark for the safety of his own house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith " (Heb. 11:7).

But, his faith, thus made perfect by his works, made no salutary impression upon his contemporaries.

Elpis Israel 1.4.



v18,19. Christ put to death as to flesh, but made alive as to the Spirit, by which (spirit) he went and preached to the spirits in prison, formerly disobedient, when, once for all, the long-suffering of the Deity waited, in the days of Noah, while the ark was being built

In this passage, there are two things, the flesh that was put to death, and the Spirit that restored it to life. This same Spirit was in the prophets (1 Pet. 1:2; Neh. 9:30; ) in Noah, Abraham, (Ps. 105:15) Moses, and the rest in Jesus and the apostles; and by it, the Eternal Father testified and made proclamation to the disobedient antediluvians, to the Egyptians, to the Israelites, and, last of all, to the Gentiles of the Roman earth.

When they were preached to by the Spirit, they were not "spirits in prison," but spirits at large-disobedient spirits, like the ecclesiastical world-rulers of the darkness of this aion, whose class Paul denominates

"the spiritual (or spirits) of the wickedness in the heavenlies,"

or official high places of society. Let our friend, the teacher of Greek, consult this text in the original, and he will come to know what are spirits not yet in prison.-(Eph. 6:12.)

In Paul's day, the spirits the Spirit preached to through him and others, were the rulers of the Jews, secular and sacerdotal; and the governors, pro-consuls, kings, and priests of the pagan world; all now dead spirits, or spirits in the pit, or prison, "where no water is;" and from which some of them will never come forth.-(Zech. 9:11; Isaiah 26:14.)

The spirits in our day to whom the Spirit hath not preached as of old time, are the world-rulers in church and state-the blind-leaders of the blind peoples into the ditch. The spirits before the flood, and the spirits in all ages and generations since, who cause the people to err, are their leaders-(Isaiah 9:16.)


But, why did the apostle of the circumcision introduce this supposed incomprehensible and mysterious passage into his epistle? For a very obvious and simple reason. The end of the power of the spirits who were persecuting the faithful was at hand.

James, who wrote about the same time, says

"the presence of the Lord hath arrived: the judge standeth before the doors."-v. 7-9;

and Paul, who wrote both of the presence of Christ against Jerusalem, and of his epiphany to destroy the power and kingdom of the devil-clergy, in all his epistles speaks of these widely-different crises, though in such a way, that the unlearned and unstable progenitors of the reverend classical spirits of our age, who knew more of Greek than of the gospel, wrested what he wrote to their own destruction.-(2 Pet 3:16.)

Paul, I say, said, in Phil. 4:5, "the Lord is near; " and John also said "My little children, it is the last hour." The time had arrived referred to by Jesus in Matt. 10:23; "the End of the Age," the sunteleia, or co-end of the Mosaic body politic, (then become a carcase;) and of the apostles' mission to Israel.

In forewarning the faithful of the judgment coming upon the spirits who were plotting his death, and whom he styles "serpents," "vipers," "murderers," and "hypocrites," Jesus told them that "as the days of Noah" so shall also the presence (parousia) of the Son of Man be."

The day and the hour the Father had not revealed; but the times of Noah's contemporary spirits were given as a sign that would find its counterpart in the scoffing disobedience, recklessness, and revelry of the spirits, who were to be arrested in their criminal career, and shut up in the prison-house of the dead, by the eagle-host given to the little horn of the goat against the daily.-(Dan. 8:11, 12; Matt. 24:15.)

Peter, as a faithful apostle, wrote his two letters to stir up the pure minds of his brethren on the subject of the impending vengeance, and to remind them of the signs given of the approaching end. In the execution of this purpose, he called their attention to the times of Noah, the fate of whose contemporary spirits would soon be the fate of those spirits among themselves, who had privily brought in heresies of destruction, denying he Lord that bought them, and, by reason of whom, the way of the truth was blasphemed.-(2 Epist. 2:1, 2.)

Lastly, that "spirits" signifies false teachers, false prophets, or living flesh-and-blood deceivers of that ilk, is manifest from 1 John, 4:1.

"Beloved," saith he, 'believe not every spirit (pneuma), but scrutinize the spirits (ta pneumata)' whether he is (esti) of the Deity; for many false prophets have gone out into the world." "They went out from us," saith he, "but they were not of us."

Letters from Bro Thomas, Ambassador of the coming age, Feb 1869
 



"The Spirits in Prison"

"A Seeker after Truth," having his mind more or less perplexed by the remains of the old heathen traditions indoctrinated into it by the clerical fictions in which he was trained, is in difficulty about "spirits in prison," and the preaching of the Gospel to the dead. He thinks he can see in these, dead men alive in a spirit-state; yet he cannot reconcile the crotchet with the Scripture declaration, that

"the dead know not anything."

They are irreconcilable. He must, therefore, give up one or the other. If he hold on to the crotchet, he must reject the Scripture; and if he adhere to this, he must leave his spirit-bubble to the air. But let us see if we can help him out of the difficulty which flesh, but not the Spirit, has created. Peter's words are,

"Christ once for all suffered on account of sins-a just one on behalf of unjust ones-that he might lead us to God."

How did he suffer, who said, "Before Abraham was, I am?" Hear Peter,

"Having been put to death indeed for flesh, but made alive for the Spirit. By which (Spirit) also having gone, he preached to the spirits in prison; to the disobedient formerly, when one time the long-suffering of God waited in Noah's days, while the ark was being prepared-in which a few, that is, eight souls were saved by means of water; to which an antitype, baptism, also now saves us, &c.

In these words, Peter does not say, that Jesus preached to them; but that Christ did. On Pentecost, Peter said,

"Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."-Acts 2:36.

Was he "Christ" while dead in the sepulchre? No. Was he "Christ" when he came to life? Yes. How so? "God made him Christ." By what means? The Spirit of God entered into the dead body called Jesus, and christed, or anointed, it in all its atoms, so that it became Spirit; and, as Peter saith,

"was made alive for the Spirit."

Thus was he born of the Spirit, and became spirit; so that when he speaks to the Seven ecclesias of Asia, he saith,

"He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith to the ecclesias."

To prevent misunderstanding, we remark, further, that before Jesus died, he was Christ also; because he was "sealed of the Father;" and the Spirit filled him without measure. But he was not Christ, or Anointed (which is the meaning of the word), until his baptismal anointing. He was for thirty years "Son of God," as Adam the first was "Son of God" (see Luke 3:38); who was to be made Christ at his baptism, and afterwards at his resurrection.

"Though we have known Christ after the flesh," saith Paul, "yet henceforth know we him no more."-2 Cor. 5:16.

In speaking, therefore, of the Resurrected One in his relation to Noah's days, Peter says, "By which (Spirit), having gone, he preached." What the Spirit did in Noah's days Jesus is said to have done also, as "the Lord the Spirit." If Jesus had not become πνευμα ̔γιεσυνηζ, pneuma haghiosunes, by resurrection, Peter would not had said he preached in Noah's days; because it was as Spirit, not as flesh, he preached then.

Peter says, Christ's Spirit was in the prophets.-1 Pet. 1:11. Noah was one of these, so that the Spirit of Christ was in him also. Being in him, the Spirit preached through him, warning the Antediluvians of what was coming upon their generation; and endued Noah with ability to construct a ship, which, for due proportion and convenience, has not been surpassed by the most skilful naval architects of our day.

But the longsuffering of God ceased with the completion of the Ark; he therefore swept the disobedient into the invisible by the flood. Before the waters subsided, they would have been resolved into the chemical constituents of flesh and blood, held in solution by the deep. They were no longer bodies; but

"a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again."-Ps. 78:39.

What better could Peter term them than "winds," or spirits? for wind is the primitive meaning of the Greek word, rendered "spirits." Chemistry has reduced animal bodies almost entirely to airs or gases; about five sixths to one of earthy matter. It is said by David, as already quoted, "flesh is a wind that passeth away;" so that revelation and science are here agreed. They are winds in prison, pent up in the caverns of the deep; so that they can blow no more.

When preached to they were not "spirits in prison;" but "fleshly men and women," criminals at large, like the worldly religionists of our own time. The Spirit of Christ, or Christing spirit, preached to them while the Ark was building; not afterwards. When judgment overtook them the preaching ceased, and they became prisoners of the deep. Peter designates them "spirits in prison" while he was writing; but not as such while the preaching was in progress.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Mar 1857



In verse 18, two things are predicated of Jesus, namely, he was put to death for flesh; and secondly, he was quickened, or made alive, for the Spirit, 1. e. of God. In this verse, there are two personages named, to wit, God and Christ; the Spirit of God, which is his power, or agent, by which he affects every thing. In the next verse, it continues,

'by which also having gone he preached to the spirits in prison, to the disobedient formerly, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, &c.'

-Here we have the relative εν ώ, 'by which.' This pronoun by rule claims 'the Spirit' for its antecedent. 'By which Spirit also having gone, preached, &c.,' is the reading; but the question upon which the correct interpretation of the passage turns, is-by which Spirit of God, who went and preached? The answer is, God went and preached to them, not Jesus, nor the Ghost of Jesus; but God went, and by his Spirit preached to the Antediluvians.

He also preached to them in time past, as well as to us in time present, and raised up his Son Jesus, and all by his Spirit: for

'in sundry times and in divers manners, God, who spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,'

and by the same Spirit.

'Many years didst thou forbear them, and testified against them by thy Spirit in thy prophets; yet would they not give ear.'

This, though affirmed of Israel, is equally true of the Antediluvians; for the history shows, that God, not Jesus testified against them by his Spirit in Noah.

But, it is supposed, that whoever went to preach to them, did so, in the interval between the death and resurrection of Jesus! It does not mean, that the Spirit preached to them while in prison; but, that he went and preached through Noah to the Antediluvians, who were then living, but, while Peter was writing, were in the custody of Death, and in the prison-house of the deep. He did not mean to say, that the Spirit preached to dead men, or to the ghosts of dead men; but to men living in Noah's day, and dead in his.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Mar 1857 



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.

 "THE SPIRITS IN PRISON"


This is a mere synonym for the men now in hades, or the death state, of which you may be satisfied by carefully reading the context.

"By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison, which sometime were disobedient when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing.

-(1 Pet. iii, 19, 20.)

Now who were disobedient in the days of Noah? The men who were contemporary with him. Hence "spirits" and "men" are in this case equivalent. What was the condition of those men at the time of Peter's writing? They were dead and in their graves, and gone to nothing. Hence "prison" is interchangable with grave, of which we have illustration in Isaiah xxiv, 22; Zech. ix, 11, 12.

The grave is certainly a prison of the most effective description; there is no escape from it, and dead men wasted to nothing in it, may, with a retrospective glance at their having once lived, be well described as "spirits."

When were these disobedient men preached to by the spirit? The answer is, "in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing." The spirit preached through Noah, who is styled "a preacher of righteousness."-(2 Pet. ii, 5.) This was "the spirit of Christ which was in the prophets," (1 Pet. i, 2), and in Noah amongst the rest.

The anointing spirit, of which Jesus of Nazareth was the complete embodiment, (being God manifest in the flesh), was common to all the servants, messengers and prophets of ancient times. Hence, the spirit which quickened Jesus in his resurrection, and developed a saving name through him, was the same power, influence, or agency that operated through Noah in proclaiming a salvation which Peter says was a figure of that to be achieved through Christ.-(2 Peter vi, 21.)

If it be asked why Peter should suddenly diverge from Christ to Noah, the context would suggest that he did so to show the parallel between the two dispensations, thus: There was preaching in Noah's time, and preaching in the apostles' time; disobedience in both; salvation in both; by water in both.

If you contend that Peter means that Christ in a disembodied state, went to hell during the three days he was in the grave, and preached the gospel to the immortal souls of those who were drowned at the flood, you involve yourself in strange difficulties. Christ did not go himself, observe; he went by the spirit, and preached, &c. Why by the spirit? Did he inspire some devil in hell to preach the gospel? and why was the preaching confined to the souls drowned at the deluge, when, according to the theory in question, hell had received countless millions of souls since the flood, all as wicked, and all as much in need of the supposed privilege?

But in truth, these difficulties are perfectly gratuitous. There is no hell, no disembodied state, no immortal souls. These are myths of paganism. The truth of the matter we have endeavoured to set forth.

Your other questions anon. Forbear with the delay that has taken place, which you seem to regard unfavourably. Remember that these exertions are put forth amid labour and travail, and are not the pastime of leisure.

The Ambassador of the Coming Age, Dec 1867. p319.



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:

Under Moses' law, if a man touched a grave, or a bone, or a corpse, he contracted a defilement, from which he could not be cleansed under a week. This was styled "filth of the flesh" (1 Pet. 3:21) and typified the real nature of all bodies coming forth from the grave. The "flesh" of these is that peculiar constitution of their substance which forms its earthiness. The subject of such a nature, however excellent a character he may be, or may have been, is materially defiled, or unclean.

Therefore, nothing born of a woman is clean, even though it have been begotten in her substance by the power of the Spirit (Job 14:4; 25:4). Now, this is a principle of the knowledge revealed to us, and is of universal application. It obtains in relation to Jesus himself. In Gal. 4:4, Paul says, the Son of the Deity sent forth, "was made of a woman, made under the law". The body so made and born was therefore unclean materially and Mosaically; and could no more "enter heaven itself to appear in the presence of Deity for us" (Heb. 9:24) in that nature, than that flesh and blood should inherit his kingdom (1 Cor. 15:50).

Would any one intelligent in the Word affirm that an unclean body, made yet more unclean by becoming a corpse, and therefore defiling to every one who touched it, becomes clean by being put into an unclean place, and lying there for three days, less or more? Would the simple fact of that corpse coming to life in a tomb which its presence had Mosaically defiled, and walking out of it, make it a clean body, or nature? If it be replied that it would, why then was not Lazarus, whom Jesus raised, clean of nature? If it be replied, "he was"; then Jesus was not the "first out of a resurrection of dead ones" (Acts 26:23).

But, passing through the grave cleanses no one. They who emerge thence, "come forth" with the same nature they carried into it; and therefore their coming forth is Resurrection. If the same kind of body did not come forth that was buried, it would not be Resurrection, but only surrection, as in the case of the first man. Jesus "rose AGAIN" (1 Cor. 15:4); his coming forth was therefore resurrection. He rose again the same Jesus that was buried, only that instead of being dead, he was alive again.

Eureka 16.3.1.



This precious "blood of sprinkling, which speaks better things than the blood of Abel," the sanctifying blood of the covenant shed for the remission of the sins of many (Heb. xii. 24: x. 29,22; Matt. xxvi. 28) is the principle which makes the Yahweh-Name sin cleansing, or a covering for the hiding of sin, so that the believer upon whom the name is invoked, may have "no more conscience of sins," or, as Peter expresses it, may have "the answer of a good conscience toward God" (1 Pet. iii. 21).

Eureka.



Ask Peter, if the Laver may be abolished?

What saith he? His words are, that

"Baptism now saves us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

Saves whom? The man that has no faith in the things covenanted to Abraham and David? No; baptism will not save him: but it saves "us" who have faith in the blood-sprinkled covenant, by giving us access to the most Holy Altar and Holy Place.

What did Peter do with Cornelius and his friends who believed what he and Jesus preached? He sent them all to wash in the laver; as it is written,

"He commanded them to be baptized."

Did he tell the three thousand on the day of Pentecost to believe and be saved? Nay; he understood God's righteousness too well to do that. He sent them also to the laver, to be washed that they might touch the altar, and be holy: "Repent," said he,

"and be baptized unto remission of sins on account of the name of Jesus Christ."

The name and the altar are inseparable; it is there that Yahweh has placed his name; and to the Altar Jesus

"give all the prophets witness, that every one believing into him ες αυτον shall receive remission of sins through his name."

Though Paul had seen, and spoken with Jesus, and believed, he was still in his sins until the moment he obeyed the message of the Lord by Ananias. Did he say to Paul, "Thou hast become a praying soul, and very penitent of heart; thou believest that Christ died for you, and by this belief thou layest hold of him, and his righteousness is imputed to thee for remission of sins: now then, arise and be comforted, and go, and join the church? Did Ananias speak thus; or did he not rather say,

"Arise to be baptized, and to wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord?"

He obeyed, and carried his sins with him to the Laver, and called upon the name by being baptized into it, and for the sake of that name he returned with a perfect conscience.

Now what he did himself he prescribed to others. When therefore, he went to Corinth he preached the word,

"and many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized."

... What you heard, you believed, and joyfully embraced, waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hearing and believing, ye were

"washed, sanctified, and justified, by the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God."

They were washed by the name and by the Spirit in believing the gospel and being baptized into the name; or in being

"sanctified and cleansed by the bath of the water with the word."

The bath of water cleanses, not by virtue of anything infused into the water, but because of the association of the name of the Lord with immersion in water.

"Peter commanded the household of Cornelius to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."

Hence, having the indispensable prerequisite of a Scriptural faith, when washed they were also sanctified and justified by the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God. They were saved by baptism in the sense in which Peter uses the words. But, if they had been immersed without a true and scriptural faith, they would have been sanctified, justified, and saved, neither by the name, the spirit, nor baptism.

The bath of water sanctifies and cleanses no one apart from "the word;" for without faith, blood, water, spirit, bread, wine, prayer, or song, leave the sinner in his sins, and subject to death, as it is written,

"He that believes not the gospel shall be condemned."

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Mar 1857



The filth of the flesh


was defilement contracted by touching any thing forbidden to be touched, or pronounced unclean by the law. To touch a dead body, a bone, or a grave was legal contamination of the flesh, which could not be got quit of under any circumstances in less than seven days; and if the unclean person neglected the carnal ordinance appointed in the law for the cleansing of such as he, he was to be cut off from Israel.

"A carnal ordinance" was an institution for the cleansing of the flesh contaminated as before mentioned. It had nothing to do with the conscience; for when the man was cleansed from the defilement of a bone, he might still be troubled in conscience for having coveted his neighbour's goods.

Now Christ[adelph]ian baptism is not a carnal ordinance although the body is bathed in water. It was not appointed for the putting away of the filth of the flesh; for since "the emendation" of the law, it is not that which toucheth or entereth into an Israelite that defiles him, but that which proceedeth out of his heart.

Filth of the flesh cannot be legally contracted now. There is no legal defilement to be put away by carnal ordinances, therefore carnal ordinances have been long since abolished; and were never imposed upon Gentiles unless they became citizens of the Mosaic kingdom.

Mosaic baptisms and Christ[adelph]ian baptism are essentially different; the former having regard to the flesh; the latter to the spirit or conscience.

The sprinkling of the heart must precede the bathing of the body; for it is the sprinkling of the heart from an evil conscience by the blood of sprinkling which speaks better things than the blood of Abel, that makes a purification for sin to the believer in the gospel of the kingdom whose body is bathed in water into the holy name.

A man of unsprinkled heart, of an unsanctified disposition, whose head is full of theory but his heart untouched, though dipped with all the parade and circumstance of speech, prayer, baptistry and song, is in the predicament of the Jew who would bathe himself on the seventh day without having been previously sprinkled with the water of separation on the third. He would be cut off from Israel. Fifty immersions would avail nothing to the Gentile or Jew who was previously ignorant of the gospel of the kingdom; for it is

"he who believes the gospel and is baptised shall be saved;"

and not, "he that is bathed in water first, and believes the gospel afterwards."

Christ[adelph]ian baptism, then, is a spiritual, and not a carnal, ordinance; and may be defined as Immersion in water into the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, of a man of Abrahamic disposition, who believes the things of the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ; by which sprinkling of heart and immersion of body he is united to the name of Jesus, and in being so united his belief of the truth is counted to him for righteousness or remission of sins, and his disposition, for repentance unto life, in, by, and through the name thus named upon him in the formula prescribed.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, July 1851



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

Is there not a mighty comfort in having thus a friend at the Highest Court? For consider: his present exaltation has reference, among other glorious things, to the requirements of his brethren. He is their priest and mediator.

"He ever liveth to make intercession for them" according to the will of God (Heb. 7:25).

He is touched with the feeling of their infirmity; and having suffered like them-being tempted-he is able also to succour them that are tempted (Heb. 4:15; 2:18).

All this means an invisible care-taking and guidance in this present darkness, which must be a source of comfort and confidence to every one whose heart opens in faith to the attested and demonstrated fact.

But if the present friendship of the risen and glorified Christ be a comfort, what words shall tell the consolation afforded by the realisation of the fact that he is coming, and that when he comes, he will deliver us from this present evil world, and bruise its whole diabolism under our feet?

It is only the weakness of human faculty that ever dims this glorious prospect. The facts are all there, whether we apprehend them or not. They are outside of us; they are independent of us; they remain true even if we should faint and fail utterly. The sun shines in the sky even if a man shut up in a dungeon cannot see it and cannot realise it. We are all more or less imprisoned. Darkness covers the earth.

We walk by faith and not by sight; and because we are weak in ourselves, we may falter and grow weary, faith failing to see at all times clearly the things that are promised, and that are pledged, and that are coming.

But the sun shines nevertheless. God remains from everlasting to everlasting; His purpose cannot fail; His word cannot be broken; no tarrying can alter it; no decay of man or failure of human enterprise or perishing of human hopes can affect the root and foundation of the hope that is in Christ. Yahweh's covenant stands fast; it is established in the heavens. At the appointed time the wondrous sequel of Christ's past work on earth will become a fact.

Attended by an august and imposing retinue of the angels, he will arrive on the earth at the spot chosen for the purpose; the dust of his dead will respond to the formative energy of his power, come to awakening form and life again, and come forth; the hearts of his living disciples will thrill with fearful gladness at the intimation sent abroad; in their mustering multitudes the living and the (in times past) dead will come to his presence; the judgment will sit; the dread secrets of the divine remembrance will be disclosed, and to all will be meted out reward according to their works.

Oh, then the gladness of the chosen, who stand victorious on the rock of life eternal, after the toilsome and tearful journey of "Time's dark wilderness of years"; and, oh, the unavailing terror of the rejected multitude who depart with reprobation from the presence of the most glorious Son of God, filling the air for a moment with weeping and gnashing of teeth!

When we ask to which of the companies we desire to belong, there is but one answer from the heart of all men. And there is but one way to realise the wish of the answer in the great day of account, and that way you know: the way of faith; the way of obedience; the way of patient continuance in well-doing, holding fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope stedfast to the end.

Seasons 1.99.