PETER AND THE SANCTUARY
INTRODUCTORY THOUGHTS TO TIE IN WITH PROPHECIES
Daniel, in the seventh chapter of his book, told us that near the end of earth’s history, God convenes a heavenly court where millions of heavenly beings are present, books are opened and judgment is in session. In this court, judgment is passed against the false, persecuting political/religious system, while God’s saints are vindicated.
In Revelation we saw the martyrs in the fifth seal crying out, “How long until judgment?” Again we see that they are vindicated, as white robes are given them, yet they must sleep in death a little longer until the number of the ones who will be martyred in the final great trouble will be completed. The sixth seal shows those who are not judged righteous as they rush for mountains and rocks to fall upon them. The cry “Who will be able to stand?” goes forth. (Rev. 6) Chapter 7 tells us those who are sealed, which is part of the sanctuary, investigative judgment work, will be able to stand. There is a special seal for the 144,000 who must stand through the final crises, as well as the seal of approval and white robes for the multitude of redeemed for all ages.
Now let’s see what Peter says about the investigative judgment. Here are three key verses, later, after we have walked with Peter through the first phases of the sanctuary, we will look at more evidence that indeed Peter knows there will be an investigative judgment.
|“The Father, Who without partiality judges according to each one’s work.”
1 Peter 1:17
“They will give account to Him Who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”
“Because the time of the judgment begins from the household of God,
One of the biggest falsehoods in modern theology is the concept that a onetime justification means a person is unconditionally saved, and as long as he continues to believe this, he remains saved no matter how many pet sins he is still clinging to. It teaches that there is no investigative judgment, no accountability for him who has named the name of Christ. This theology has the idea that actively resisting sinful habits should be discouraged. This is a dangerous, deceptive, teaching, which Christ, Himself warned against in Matthew 7.21-23 Not everyone that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.(practice lawlessness). Here are people who think they are justified but refuse to submit themselves to the law of God.
The modern concept that a person who has once claimed justification, is always justified, with no more possibility of condemnation, is seen to be a deadly and deceptive belief. When one understands the sanctuary doctrine, which is the center of Christ’s salvation for mankind a person finds the true path of salvation FROM sins.
HOPE OF SALVATION, NOT AUTOMATIC SALVATION
Peter’s epistle follows the sanctuary path from the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God– without which the work of the ministry of Christ in the sanctuary for us could not take place, the sprinkling of the blood, the work of sanctification and both the investigative cleansing and judgment, and the executive cleansing and judgment which results in a new heaven and new earth.
By following the sanctuary path, Peter puts the true meaning on justification and sanctification and judgment.
Often people will say, why would Peter worry about the investigative judgment if it doesn’t convene until 1844? The answer is simple enough? The condition of a person’s spiritual life must be developed during the person’s life time. A person living in 46 A.D. can’t wait until after 1844 A.D. to make things right with God — they must do it in their lifetime. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”. (Hebrews 9:2) Thus, following the true understanding, Peter leads his readers through the entire sanctuary.
Salvation for Peter, is a living HOPE!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy brought us into a living HOPE, through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3
“Rest your HOPE fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13 For He was foreordained before the foundation of the world…so that your faith and hope are in God!” 1 Peter 1:21 We can have this HOPE because: He who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes we are healed. 1 Peter 2:24
Christ’s death is foundational to the atonement process!
“And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame. Therefore, to you who believe He is precious: but to those who are DISOBEDIENT, Christ is a stumbling block…they stumble, being disobedient.” Peter 2:6-8
While Christ is precious to true believers, it is evident that people can actually come to Christ and stumble and lose out on salvation! How can this be possible? Do you notice that belief is used as an antonym of disobedience? Yes, believe in Christ and you will be saved, but disobedience is a direct sign that a person is NOT BELIEVING.
Peter refers to Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the precious cornerstone several times in his writings. It is quite revealing when one goes and reads the full prophecy.
Therefore this is what the Lord God says:
Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not be ashamed. Also I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet; and the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place. Your covenant with death will be annulled…. For the bed is too short to stretch out on, and the covering so narrow that one cannot wrap himself in it. For the Lord will rise up as at Mt. Perazim, ..That He may do His work, His awesome work, and bring to pass his act, his unusual act. Therefore, do not be mockers, lest your bonds be made strong. For I have heard from the Lord God, a destruction determined even upon the whole earth.” Isaiah 28:16-22
We will refer back to this prophecy later as Peter’s epistle references from it in several places. But notice now — the people made a covenant with death, (a false theological covenant which promises escape from death) this covenant will be annulled. The bed is too short — (they are looking for rest but find only a fitful rest) and the covering too narrow (their sins are not covered) Judgment is definitely part of Isaiah’s prophecy! For, Isaiah says, “This is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the Lord.” Is.30:9
Peter draws from Isaiah’s prophecy in his epistle.
“Therefore to you who believe He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, the chief cornerstone has become a stone of stumbling, a rock of offense, they stumble, being disobedient to the word.” 1 Peter 2:8
Rest your hope fully upon grace…..conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in FEAR. 1 Peter 1:13,17 The promises of God are sure, the provisions are sure. We can rest upon the chief cornerstone, in the assurance that God has and will do His part. Don’t doubt God! He is faithful! Peter tells us in his sermon: There is no salvation in any other name under heaven given among men by which we must be save. Acts 4:12
So Peter points us to Christ, the Lamb who bore our sins in His own body. He points us to the altar of sacrifice and the perfect Lamb who alone can take away our sins. Yet, it is not just Christ who dies, our sinful natures must be placed on that altar with Christ. If we do not surrender those sins we will stumble and be confounded, for the chief cornerstone will become a stone of stumbling for us.
He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we HAVING DIED to sin, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed. 1Peter 2:23
CONDUCT YOURSELVES IN FEAR
In the earthly sanctuary the blood of the sacrifice was taken within the holy place and sprinkled before veil between the altar of incense and the ark of the covenant. Signifying the removal of the sin from the person and sending it into the sanctuary where intercession is made and the sin is covered by the blood.
Peter leads us through this step in the heavenly sanctuary setting, where we have a better priest and better blood.
“Elected in sanctification of the spirit, for obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. . . conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold,.. but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish. 1 Peter 1:1,17-19
This is a love based fear. A fear of misconducting ourselves in a way that will bring pain and separation from the One Who has done so much for us! Our motivation is described in (1 Peter 1:8,9)Jesus Christ, Whom having not seen, you LOVE, though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with inexpressible joy in the hope of receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls.
What does this love based fear motivate us to do?
Therefore we gird up the loins of our minds, we are sober, …as obedient children, not conforming to the former lusts, but as he who called us is holy, we are also to be holy in ALL OUR conduct. 1 Peter 1:13-16 We lay aside ALL malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and ALL evil speaking. 1 Peter 2:1
We abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. …By our good works, which others observe, we glorify God. 1Peter 2:11,12 We love the brotherhood. We fear God. We are law abiding citizens. 1 Peter 2:17 We turn away from evil and do good. 1 Peter 3:11 We cease from sin, that we no longer should live the rest of our time for the flesh, but for the will of God. 1 Peter 4:1,2 We have love for one another…ministering to one another…1 Peter 4:8,11
We do all things that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever. 1 Peter 4:11
It is the love of God that constrains us and causes us to conduct ourselves in fear. Yet it is still our decision. We must be willing to lay all our sins upon the altar, our carnal nature must die with Christ ,”who bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, HAVING DIED TO SINS, might live for righteousness.” 1 Peter 2:24
Peter points out that this giving up of sin is a battle which we must fight with diligence. It involves repentance (the turning away from sin), humbling ourselves before God, walking before Him in fear and steadfastness and sobriety. “Repent therefore and be converted, so your sins may be blotted out” Acts 3:19 “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…Acts 2:38 “Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober.” 1 Peter 1:13 “Arm yourself with the same mind as Christ,…cease from sin 1 Peter 4:1 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. RESIST HIM, be steadfast in your faith. For through these trials and temptations, may the God of all who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:6-10
Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, or a day. It is a continual growth in grace. Just because we feel saved one day, does not mean we can sit back and relax thinking the battle is over! Satan lives, and is active, and every day we need to cry earnestly to God for help and strength to resist him. As long as Satan reigns we shall have self to subdue, sins, both inherited and circumstantial, to overcome, and there is no stopping place, there is no point to which we can come and say I have arrived, the battle is over.
The rest Christ promises is in our hope and faith in Christ, not in sitting back in complacency in our sins.
WALKING THROUGH THE HOLY PLACE WITH CHRIST
The journey through the sanctuary can never be taken alone. It is totally dependent on Christ. For it is Christ Who redeemed us with His own precious blood and opened the way into the sanctuary of salvation. It is Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope… and we are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation.” 1 Peter 1:4,5 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 It is only in Christ that we have forgiveness of sins, we are all naturally slaves to sin with no power of our own to be free. He has redeemed us. It is the realization of how great a price God paid for our redemption–“the precious blood of Christ” (1:19) that brings to our dull senses the high and terrible price of sin and builds within our own minds a horror of sin that leads us ever closer to Christ with a longing to rid ourselves of the bonds sin has upon us.
The word “rid” or “laying aside” in 1 Peter 2:1 means to “strip off” as in stripping off one’s garments. We must strip off the filthy garments of sin and self-righteousness, before we put on Christ’s robe of righteousness. Notice in Zechariah 3, where Joshua receives the robes of righteousness; Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and was standing before the Heavenly Being. Then He spoke “Take away the filthy garments from him.. and to him He said, “See I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” Then the Heavenly Being admonished Joshua, “Walk in My ways, keep My commands.”
Peter Shows us the Laver
After giving ourselves in complete consecration to Christ at the altar, we next go to the laver for cleansing. Peter understood the importance of being washed by Christ, for in the upper room, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, Peter had first resisted: Peter said unto him, You shall never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me. (John 13.8)
Now Peter tells us in his epistle:
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, …and powers are subject to him. 1 Peter 3:21-22
People are not saved by being washed in water, but by having their consciences purified by divine power. There could be no forgiveness of sin without the high priestly mediatorial ministry of Jesus Christ in heaven.
Baptism also symbolizes the dying to the old way of life and rising to newness of life with Christ. “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. For by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 At the altar, the old nature dies as it beholds Christ, and surrenders, stripping away the filthy garments of sin. Baptism symbolizes the washing and awakening, like a resurrection, to new life in Christ.
It is only by walking with Christ, and partaking of the provisions He has made available to us that we are sanctified — that is separated from our sins. 1 Peter 1:22 tells us we are PURIFIED by obeying the truth through the Holy Spirit. This develops in us SINCERE love, for there is, in the carnal heart a deceptive, counterfeit love which has often been mistaken for and taken the place of SINCERE love.
Once purified (forgiven, cleansed) we walk the sanctified life with Christ in the sanctuary. Notice Peter says “We become living stones, part of building up a spiritual building, a HOLY PRIEST HOOD, offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.” 1 Peter 2:5
The priests underwent a cleansing ceremony before being allowed into the sanctuary. In the same way, we are cleansed by Christ’s blood and the removal of sins at the altar, we are baptized, and clothed with Christ’s righteousness. Then we walk in the sanctuary with Christ, offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.
Peter shows us the table of showbread.
The Word of God which lives and abides forever. (1:23) This word is necessary in the born again experience. The word of God–the truth–is the channel through which the Lord manifests His Spirit and power. Obedience to the word produces fruit of the required quality –“sincere love” This love is heaven-born and leads to high motives and unselfish actions.
When truth found in God’s Word becomes an abiding principle in the life, we are “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever.” This new birth is the result of finding and receiving Christ in the word for He is the Word of God. When by the Holy Spirit divine truths are impressed upon the heart, new conceptions are awakened, and thoughts and motives are aroused to co-operate with God.
Peter shows us the altar of incense.
He tells us to; “call on the Father” (1:17) to make Him the “shepherd and Overseer of our souls” (2:25) to be serious and watchful in prayer (4:7) to humble ourselves before Him, while casting all our cares upon Him (5:6,7)
Our prayers, mingled with the incense of the perfection of Christ, will ascend as fragrance to the Father, and answers will come. We can only approach God through the blood of Christ which cleanses us, and the incense of His merits, which makes our offerings acceptable.
Peter leads us to the burning candlesticks
The candlesticks represent the people of God, filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit and burning with the light of Christ, bringing glory to God.
Peter often refers to the oil of the Holy Spirit which empowers. Yet notice, that the Holy Spirit must first aid in the work of cleansing us, before we become lampstands in God’s sanctuary, shining for His glory. “He called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…having your conduct honorable … that by your good works, which people observe, they glorify God. 1 Peter 2:10-12 “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through THE SPIRIT (you produce the evidence of a born again life). 1 Peter 1:22
At Pentecost Peter attributed the great power with which they went forth to preach to the Holy Spirit. For Christ had arisen and had been exalted in the heavenly sanctuary, and one of His first tasks as our High Priest was to light the candlesticks on earth.
For Christ being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the father the promise of the Holy Spirit, poured out this Spirit which you now see and hear. Acts 2:33 Repent and let every one of you be baptized for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit preached unto them….and they realized that he had been with Jesus. Acts 4:8,13. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31
The sufficiency of the apostles was not in themselves, nor will it ever be in ourselves, it is in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, whose gracious influences fills the soul, bringing every thought into subjection and obedience to Christ. When the oil of the Holy Spirit cleans and fills our lamps, then the light of Christ can shine and our ministry becomes fruitful.
Thus we have seen the sanctuary journey which, if followed, prepares us to stand in the investigative judgment.
Peter’s rendition of the judgement phases of the sanctuary is continued on
PETER AND THE INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT
Peter’s Sermon in Acts and the Investigative Judgment Peter Gives More Details on the Judgment in His Epistles The Judgment Gives Strength to the Persecuted Judgment and False Prophets and Teachers The Executive Judgment and Final Cleansing
PETER’S SERMON IN ACTS AND THE INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT
Acts chapter three tells the story of the healing of the lame man at the gate Beautiful. As he went, leaping and walking and praising God, the people were amazed, wondering how Peter and John had accomplished such a feat, and all ran together to the porch where Peter and John stood.
When Peter saw it, he responded to the people: Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently as though by our own power or godliness we made this man walk? …God glorified His Servant Jesus, …Whom you denied and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead…through faith in His name has this man been given perfect soundness. . . Acts 3:12-16
Perfect soundness came through faith in the Prince of Life. Perfect soundness resulted in visible evidence in the life of the one who was made sound. What would the people have thought if the lame man claimed to be given perfect soundness by faith, yet refused to walk? Christ, the Prince of Life, became the Lamb, killed, yet raised and glorified by God. He alone can restore those who have true faith in Him. Spiritual restoration to perfect soundness will also have clear visible evidence in the life of the person restored. Peter, in his sermon, wastes no time in moving from physical healing to spiritual restoration.
He says: (Verse 18) Those things, which God foretold by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he has so fulfilled.
What part of His work had Christ fulfilled in A.D. 31? The work of suffering and dying for a lost humanity. But this is only the beginning of Christ’s ministry in the sanctuary journey.
(3.19-21) Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
There is a great deal of information in these verses!
- Evidently the sins are not automatically blotted out by just believing Christ died. Repentance (being genuinely sorry for our sins and turning from them) is necessary. Also we must be converted, (transformed, made new, changed from the old way of life into a new way, given a new heart and thoughts.) Then our sins will be blotted out.
- The work of the investigative judgment with the blotting out of sins is to be accomplished before the second advent of the Lord. Times of refreshing usually mean outpourings of the Holy Spirit. The context here indicates that the blotting out of sins accompanies the latter rain which is poured out just before Christ comes. Compare this with James 5.7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. See the husbandman who waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. When the investigative judgment closes, Christ will come, and His reward will be with Him to give to every man as his work shall be.
- Obviously all the prophecies of the Old Testament were not fulfilled at the cross. For here it says Christ must be received in heaven until restitution of all things is made. This reminds us again of Revelation 5 where we see that the heavenly sanctuary stands open but no one is found worthy to administer the work that must be done. No one was worthy until Christ, as the lamb that was slain, was received and declared worthy!
In his epistle, Peter tells us: 1 Peter 4:5,6 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, for they were judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
Since the dead are to be judged out of the things written in the books, it is impossible that the sins of men should be blotted out immediately as they are confessed. No, they are not blotted out until the judgment, at which their cases are to be investigated. As Peter has told us, “they will be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ.”
The theme of God’s investigative judgment reversing the judgment of earthly courts is prominent in the Bible. In the above verse we see Christians judged by the pagans (men in the flesh) and put to death, but in God’s investigative judgment they will be assured eternal life. We will explore this concept in another section, for now, notice that God’s judgment doesn’t happen automatically when a person dies. A time will come when God judges the living and the dead.
Whose sins will be blotted out of the books? Earlier Peter wrote: “Repent … be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins. Acts 2:38 The word for remission is “aphesis” and means “sending away”. Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the sending away of your sins. Where are the sins sent, too? When we understand the sanctuary doctrine we know they are sent to the sanctuary.
Later Peter tells his listeners to repent so there sins can be blotted out. (Acts 3:19) Sins that are confessed, repented of, forsaken are sent to the sanctuary where they are covered. These sins will be blotted out in the investigative judgment, they will not come up for review before the vast throngs of heavenly beings for “pardoned” is written over then. They will then simply be erased forever. However, if the individual has confessed, but then decided he/she wanted them back; that he/she wanted to continue in the sin or sins, Peter has words on this as well:
If, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment. 2 Peter 2:20-21
As we turn to other books of the Bible we realize that if the sins are not covered and blotted out, the names will be blotted out of the book of life.
Exodus 32.33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan. Yet we have the promise in
Revelation 3:5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
Peter ends his sermon in Acts three with these words: God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
PETER GIVES MORE DETAILS ON THE JUDGMENT IN HIS EPISTLES
- The investigative judgment is fair and just! 1 Peter 1:17 The, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work. 1 Peter 2:23 Commit to Him who judges righteously. 1 Peter 4:19 Commit your soul to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
- The judgment begins with those who claim or profess to be Christians. As we saw earlier, Jesus said, not all who say “Lord, Lord” will be saved. Even though it looks like they are active, involved Christians. But they have not submitted themselves to God’s authority. Jesus say to them “Depart from me you who practice lawlessness.” “He who does the will of My Father shall enter the kingdom of heaven.” (See Matt. 7:21) Therefore the investigative judgment begins with those who have made profession to being Christians, for this is where the greatest questions arise.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time for judgment begins at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?
- We are called to humble ourselves before God, submit to Him and resist the evil one.
1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him. Be sober, be vigilant…resist the devil, be steadfast in the faith. 1 Peter 2:25 You were sheep going astray, return to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 2 Peter 3:14,17-18 Be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in grace…
- It is only through Christ that we will be able to stand. 1 Peter 5:10 God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you. 1 Peter 1:5 Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope…for you who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation. 2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations.
THE JUDGMENT GIVES STRENGTH TO THE PERSECUTED
The people Peter was writing to were suffering persecution. Some of them must have been wondering if it was worth it. Those around them were speaking evil against them (1 Peter 2:11) some were beaten for their faith (2:20) they being threatened and harassed (3:14) and some even gave their lives (4:6). How does the judgment message strengthen and encourage people in these situations?
The interesting discovery as we study the investigative judgment is to notice how often it is presented in the context of persecution. The investigative judgment is very much part of the solution to the great war or controversy between good and evil, between Christ and Satan. Satan and his followers call good, evil and evil, good. They judge Christ’s true followers as evil, and the lawless ones as good. The courts of earth often judge falsely. Therefore knowing there is a higher court gives great assurance, hope and strength. Knowing that God is the ultimate judge lifts the thoughts above the false accusations and harassments to compromise our faith and conform with a society in opposition to God’s laws, and helps the individual stand firm for God.
We see this concept in Revelation 6:9-11 as the martyrs in the fifth seal cry out, “How long? How long until judgment?” Obviously the investigative judgment had not yet taken place. They had been judged by corrupt earthly courts which condemned them to death– often claiming to condemn them to eternal death. But then we see that the martyrs who were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held, are vindicated by God’s judgment. White robes are given them. Yet they must sleep in death a little longer until the number of the ones who will be martyred in the final great trouble will be completed.
The great judgment scene in Daniel 7 is set in the context of the little horn who was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was made in favor of the saints and the beast with its little horn was slain and destroyed.
The two scenes go hand in hand. The great persecutions of the middle ages (1260 years) ended just before the investigative judgment began, yet those vindicated from that era, sleep a little longer, for the beast and his image will have one last gigantic show of strength just before the final end. Will we then have the assurance of the investigative judgment to strengthen and uphold us?
Peter carries this theme throughout his epistle.
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you. . .if you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you. . .If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time for judgment begins at the house of God…. therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to the faithful Creator. 1 Peter 4:12,17
In regard to those that think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is prepared to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are now dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 1 Peter 4:4-6
Was it worth it for those who were put to death after they had the gospel preached to them? Peter says they were judged by men in the flesh and put to death, but according to God’s judgment they will have life! YES! It is worth it. For God will judge. He will investigate. The whole world may judge you as evil when you cling to God’s commands, but God will judge righteously.
So do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. 1 Peter 3:14,15 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 1 Peter 3:12
For Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: …when He suffered, he did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously. 1 Peter 2:21,23
Judgment and False Prophets and Teachers
This section of Peter’s epistle is extremely forceful and to the point and it behooves us to take note. THOSE WHO PREACH THERE IS NO JUDGMENT AND NO ACCOUNTABILITY FOR SIN are reserved for the blackness of darkness forever!
The people here referred to are not those who openly claim to have no faith in Christ. These are people who profess to believe the truth, they are part of the Christian congregation. But they “secretly bring in damnable heresies,” they exploit true believers with deceptive words,” “For they speak great swelling words of emptiness to allure,” “the way of truth will be blasphemed” “they have forsaken the right way” “and many will follow their pernicious ways; and cause the way of truth to be evil spoken of.” Yet in all this they “feast with” God’s true people.
The leaven of false doctrine will infiltrate and be accepted in preference to the truth, right in the church!
Peter likens these false teachers to Balaam. What did Balaam do?
Balaam was known to be a prophet of God! Yet when he was promised a large reward to curse Israel, he tried to twist God’s arm into allowing him to do so. We all know that God interposed and Balaam ended up blessing Israel. BUT that is not the end of the story. Balaam wanted his monetary reward and he secretly devised a plan whereby he would bring the wrath of God upon Israel. Balaam had already yielded to temptation, now he became fully the agent of Satan. He suggested enticing the Israelites into sin! Beautiful Moabitish women were to infiltrate the camp and lead the Israelites to transgress God’s law. Thus iniquity would be found in them, and God’s blessing would not rest upon them.
Balaam’s strategy had devastating success. Like wildfire the poison of this sensual based religion, which these women were promoting, spread throughout the Israelite camp. The rulers and the leading men were among the first to transgress, and so many of the people were guilty that the apostasy became national. “Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor.” The infiltration was done quietly, in a friendly manner. When Moses was aroused to perceive the evil, the plots of their enemies had been so successful that not only were the Israelites participating in the licentious worship at Mount Peor, but the heathen rites were coming to be observed in the camp of Israel. (See Numbers 25:1-4; 31:16) Many Israelites died as a result. The power of the prophet (turned into an agent of Satan) nearly worked their ruin, it was only deep repentance and total turning from sin that reversed the plunge into ruin. The false prophet traded his heavenly reward for earthly riches and ended up losing both. (See Numbers 31:8)
These false prophets which Peter warns against have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor who loved the wages of unrighteousness. 2 Peter 2:15
The speak “great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh. 2 Peter 2:18
Many are speaking great swelling words of vanity, saying, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” They are obeying the spirit of sensuality rather than the Spirit of God. They bring into the churches all manner of things that entertain the people. The right hand of fellowship is given to the very ones who bring in false theories and sentiments. In this way people become confused as to what is right and true. They become deadened as to what constitutes right principles. Conscience becomes insensible to warnings and reproofs. The call to repentance, and forsaking of sin has been shut out.
They deny the Lord that bought them and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1 Earlier Peter mentioned we were ransomed, not with gold or silver but with the precious blood of Jesus. We were slaves to sin, but Christ bought us out of slavery. To then go back and continue to be slaves to sin is denying that Christ bought us — that now we belong to Him and serve Him– it is despising the blood of Christ.
But there is an accounting, Peter makes this perfectly clear! He cites as proof the flood in Noah’s day and the fire of Sodom and Gomorrah. Condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly.
Yes, God will judge! The false Christians will be judged guilty, but God’s people will be saved, for God did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, a preacher of righteousness.
Noah, is contrasted with the false prophets. Noah was a preacher of righteousness!
Lot was also spared, for he tormented his soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds.
For the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment, for the day of judgment. 2 Peter 2:9
Notice here again, God will judge! During the investigative judgment those fighting against God’s will are slated for punishment and reserved to the day of executive judgment to receive their punishment. False teachers will increase in numbers. Satan is seeking to lead men and women captive through deceptive reasoning, wresting the scriptures to their own damnation.
“They allure the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption. If, after having escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior, we are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse than the beginning. It would have been better to have never known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment.
Never were those who have heard the truth more in danger than at the present time. We must pray and watch unto prayer, making the word of God our counsel. As we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. We must walk the sanctuary journey with Christ, or we will be swept away by these false theories and come to the investigative judgment unprepared. To come face to face with God’s glory without walking with Christ through the sanctuary, means destruction. God is a holy God, and only people who have been made holy will be able to stand in His presence.