Monday, July 31, 2017

1 Peter 3:15 – Sanctify Christ As Lord

Isaiah 8:12,13 – Ye shall not say – A confederacy! of everything of which this people may say. A confederacy! And their fear, shall ye not fear or regard as awful: Yahweh of hosts, him, shall ye hallow, – And let, him, be your fear, and let, him inspire you with awe. — Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible translation.
1 Peter 3:14,15 – But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you. — New Revised Standard Version
Many of our trinitarian neighbors would like for us to believe that Peter is calling Jesus “Jehovah” in 2 Peter 3:14,15. They evidently compare this scripture with Isaiah 8:12,13, and conclude that since Isaiah is speaking about Jehovah (Yahweh), then Jesus must be Jehovah.

Peter does not directly quote anything from Isaiah 8:12,13, but his language is similar, and it may be that Peter is using the language of Isaiah 8:12,13 as the background of what he speaking, although it appears more probable that he is not. We agree that in Isaiah 8:12 the context shows that Jehovah is being spoken of. (See also Isaiah 41:10) Does it follow that in 1 Peter 3:15, that Peter’s intent was to claim that Jesus is Jehovah? No. All that is said is that we are to sanctify — set apart — the Christ as Lord in our hearts. Should this lead us to believe that Peter meant that we are sanctify the Christ as Jehovah? Such an idea has to be read into what Peter said, and we have no reason to believe that Peter meant this to be read in such a manner as to lead one to believe that Jesus is Jehovah. The only cause to think this would mean that Peter meant to have this say that Jesus is Jehovah is to support the idea that Jesus is Jehovah.

Peter had already made a distinction between the Father, who Jesus identified as the “the only true God” (John 17:1,3), and Jesus. (1 Peter 1:3) The default reasoning concerning what God is revealing to us by means of the holy spirit should be that Jesus is not the only true God who sent him.

Christians are to sanctify, or set apart, Jesus as their Lord in their hearts. Of course, we cannot consecrate, or set apart Jesus to God, but we can consecrate, or set him apart, in our hearts in recognition of God’s own consecration, or sanctification, of Jesus, and Jesus’ own sanctification of himself. (John 10:36; 17:19) By doing this, one also sanctifies, or sets apart, Jehovah, the God and Father of Jesus, as the homage given to Jesus is to the glory of his God. (Matthew 10:32; 27:46; Mark 15:34; John 15:23; 20:17; Romans 15:6; 2 Cortinthians 1:3; 11:31; Ephesians 1:3; 1:17; Philippians 2:11; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 2:23,24; 2 John 1:3,9; Revelation 3:5) It is the God and Father of Jesus who anointed Jesus and made Jesus both Lord and Christ [anointed one]. The only way to come to Jehovah is through Jesus, and any homage given to Jesus as the One highly exalted by Jehovah is to the glory of the God and Father of Jesus. (John 5:23; 13:31; 14:6,23; 17:1; Acts 4:12; 1 John 2:23; 2 John 1:9; Philippians 2:9-11; 1 Peter 1:21) We certainly would not want to count the blood of Christ as something ordinary. — Hebrews 10:29

While we are discussing these two scriptures, it might be helpful to get an idea of what is being spoken of. It is particularly to the one whom we hold so dear in our hearts, and his sanctified blood which was offered on our behalf, that we should always be ready to give an answer concerning to any who inquires of the hope that is in us, “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) Having given a sacred place for Christ in our hearts, we do not fear as the world does.

Today many in the churches are fearful of many things. Instead of waiting for God through Jesus to settle matters, they feel they must rectify Satan’s world now, to make Satan’s world a better place for Christians to live in. Indeed, many of their efforts through such fears have been noble, and while they have to some extent done good in this world, often it has been accomplished, not by remaining separate from Satan’s world, but by joining hands with the world’s politicians and ruling powers.

Especially since 1914, the world has been in one turmoil after another. Not only do we have local problems to contend with in our homes, neighborhoods, and cities, but we constantly kept informed of threats to world security. Today what happens on the other side of the earth can have a bearing on our life within minutes. Never before in history has knowledge of trouble world-wide become so prevalent as to day. When the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11, 2001, within minutes pictures were being shown of this attack, not just in the U.S., but nations all over the earth.

The prophecy of Isaiah seems to link the fears of the world with the formation of confederacies. A confederacy is a league or covenant, a compact or alliance for mutual support or common action. “In union there is strength,” is everywhere the expressed sentiment of to-day. A kind of security is often felt in such confederacies. Confederacy — Union — is the watchword in civil, social, and religious circles. This sentiment now so common, has grown out of the felt necessities of the times, and the fear of coming trouble and danger.

The prince of this world (John 12:31) sees the approaching storm. He believes and trembles at the sure word of prophecy which indicates the overthrow of his power; but with characteristic genius, energy and presumption, he arrays himself to oppose, and if possible to thwart the plans of the Almighty. At present and for some time past he has been actively engaged in planning, organizing and arranging his unconscious forces. We are glad in one sense to say unconscious, for to be the conscious and willing servants of Satan would imply a fearful state of depravity. And yet we would that men were not so blinded as to be unconsciously led by their wily and deceptive foe.

Leagues or confederated unions have formed all over the world. The governments of the world form alliances for mutual protection against the increasing independence and power of their subjects, against terrorism, etc., while terrorists secretly form confederacies in fear of what appears to them to be giant empires seeking to dominate them. In the U.S., there also militia confederacies that have formed out of fear of the great power of the Federal government and the threat of losing constitutional rights. Confederacies have been formed out of fear and in resistance to enthroned power for all kinds of reasons. Capitalists have formed alliances with each other to protect their interests, while the labor classes also have combined their forces for self-protection. Many look to the United Nations, one of the world’s largest confederacies, as man’s best hope of peace and security worldwide, while others form confederations to keep the United Nations from becoming too powerful.

In religious circles we see the same policy pursued. The two great classes most bitterly opposed to one another are so-called Orthodoxy and Infidelity. Each is struggling for supremacy and power. On the orthodox side are Papacy and Evangelical and Fundamentalist Protestantism, while the non-religious world stands in opposition. All the various sects of Protestantism have formed several confederacies — “The Evangelical Alliance”, “The World Council of Churches”, as well as various national, regional and local councils — for mutual support and common action, agreeing to almost entirely ignore their differences in doctrine, and to preach simply the trinity and morality, and the necessity of union with them and acceptance of their triune God in order to be saved. Even friendly relations and proposals of union are beginning to be thought of between Papacy and Protestantism. It has become common for Papacy leadership to speak of itself as one of the Christian denominations, and of others as their “Methodist and Presbyterian friends, etc.,” while both agree and unite in branding as non-Christian all who oppose their system, no matter how firmly the others’ faith may be rooted and grounded in the word of God. Other religions, heathen, Jewish, Islamic, etc., have also banded together to protect themselves from their perceived threats or to promote the aims of the religion. Atheists and agnostics are also uniting by forming liberal leagues, “freethinkers” associations, and banding themselves together to resist superstition and enforced religion by the state, and to advocate morality and benevolence on a basis of common sense and expediency. While all this seems expedient and necessary to these various classes in the world, while human reason says, Surely in Union there is strength, shall we as Christians who are by no means less interested in the final issues than others, act contrary to such reason, and battle singly and alone with the mighty powers of darkness? In this as in all matters, we look to the Word of God for instruction. And that instruction is given plainly and clearly — “For,” says the Prophet, taking his standpoint down here in our time, “thus, spake Jehovah unto me like a firm grasp of the hand, – when he admonished me, not to walk in the way of this people, saying: Ye shall not say – A confederacy! of everything of which this people may say. A confederacy! And their fear, shall ye not fear or regard as awful: Yahweh [Jehovah] of hosts, him, shall ye hallow, – And let, him, be your fear, and let, him inspire you with awe.” (Isaiah 8:12,13, Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible translation)

Thus instructed we should have nothing to do with these confederacies either civil, social or religious. We are to walk separate from all these, joined in union only to Jehovah by the means He provided, that is, through his Son, and loyal to the kingdom of God as yet unrecognized by the world. We are to have no confederacy, no union with any other, being no part of this world of which Satan is the god and deceiver. — John 5:23; 14:6,20,23; 15:4,19; 17:9,11,14,15,16,21,22,23; Romans 12:5,27; 15:5,6; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 4:5,6; 5:19; Revelation 12:9.

The present conditions are foretold in the scriptures. Jesus referred to the present time as a time of “anxiety of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the waves,” and “men fainting for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world: for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (Luke 21:25,26) The “seas”, representing the masses of mankind out of harmony with God (Isaiah 57:20), are roaring today as never before. The Psalmist speaks of this also: “Their soul melts away because of trouble. They reel back and forth, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits’ end.” (Psalm 107:26,27) These are, indeed, fearful times, but the true worshiper does not share in the fears of the world, having set apart the sacredness of Jesus and his blood in their hearts.

Jehovah’s prophet speaks most emphatically concerning the outcome of all these confederacies. Thus we read (Isaiah 8:9,10, Third Millennium Bible translation) “Associate yourselves, O ye people, yet ye shall be broken in pieces! And give ear, all ye of far countries. Gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces! Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought;  speak the word, and it shall not stand.” How plain and forcible these expressions! They need no comment; and only the unbelief in the word of God — the spirit of infidelity — often found in the church nominal, prevents them from understanding their import.

Immanuel is our sanctuary, our defense, our advocate before Jehovah (1 John 2:1), and only by making Immanuel our sanctuary would we walk with Jehovah, and all who thus walk must walk separate from the world and its walk. (John 15:19; 17:14,16) Those who thus walk with Jehovah (Micah 6:8) are so led into the knowledge of his plans, that those things which cause fear and trembling to others, are to them but the indications of the development of God’s glorious plan. — 1 Corinthians 2:12.

“Behind his frowning providence They see his smiling face.” While Jesus is thus our defense and rejoicing, he is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel — Israel after the flesh and the nominal gospel church. (Isiah 8;14; Romans 9:32,33; 1 Peter 2:8) “Many shall stumble thereon, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.” (Isaiah 8:15) They have stumbled and fallen over the truth in Jesus and are taken in the snare of the adversary, their faith is being shattered and broken; and the great flood of infidelity has been progressively engulfing the church nominal.

But the Prophet continues, “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.” This is equivalent to Daniel’s prophecy, “those who are wise shall understand ” (Daniel 12:10); and David’s — “They walk in the light of your presence, Jehovah” (Psalm 89:15); and Paul’s — “you, brothers, aren’t in darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:4) Yes, to those consecrated ones who walk with God separate from the world and worldly alliances and its organizations of men, the law and the testimony is precious — a constantly unfolding treasure-house of blessed promises, inspiring such with glorious and blessed hopes which dispel all fearful apprehensions. But it is bound up and sealed among these, and none of the unfaithful shall understand their glorious import.

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