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