Google+ 04/20/13 Billions and Billions Rejected Me!

1 Peter 3:18-20

 

Christ suffered for our sins once for all time.

He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.

He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.

So he went and preached to the spirits in prison—

Those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat.

Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.

 

This is the first part of a two-part devotion that will conclude tomorrow.  There is no other place in the Bible that better shows the "rock-like" quality of Peter than this epistle.  Peter is writing to all persecuted Christians.  Those that have rejected Petrine authorship, place the writing of 1 Peter sometime between 90 A.D. and the second century.  These persecutions would have been under the rule of Domitian or Trajan.  Conventional, Biblical wisdom and historical study shows that Peter was writing about the current persecutions of Nero, around 65 A.D., and expected the current persecution to continue after his death.  This accurately places the writing of 1 Peter well within Peter's lifetime.  Christians were savagely treated in Rome and this practice most likely extended into the entire Roman Empire.  The persecutions that Peter is speaking about were probably not governmental though.  Christians were considered odious in the eyes of their Roman neighbors.  They were not believed and felt that their testimony was contrived at best.  To most of the Roman people and government, the story of the resurrection of Jesus was just not believable.  Hence, Peter delivers this encouraging message to all Christians through our Scripture lesson today.  Peter tells us about Christ, His sinless nature, and the key fact that He died for all that were sinners.  Then Peter talks about the resurrection of Jesus.  He is forcing his audience to re-live and celebrate Easter once again!   Here is a fact, that if your past Bible studies have not been comprehensive, you might have missed or simply didn't know.  Peter reports that Jesus goes to preach to the "spirits in prison."  Who are these people? Get ready for the big finale.  These "spirits" are all those lost souls in hell that heard the Word of God from Noah and disobeyed.  These people who rejected Noah's prophesy, represent the single largest group of mankind that fell under God's universal judgment, all at one time.  Yes, Jesus descended to hell to inform all that rejected Him what they were missing, and what they had now "earned" for all eternity.  In other word's, Jesus says, "I told you so!"  You will remember, that of the entire earth's population at the time, God only saved eight human beings.  Before you dismiss this number, it would be appropriate to determine how many people were actually on the earth prior to the flood.  While this number is not easily attainable and requires much calculation, it is safe to say that there were somewhere between 7-15 BILLION people on the face of the earth.  In case your Sunday school was somewhat like mine and we were led to believe that there were maybe a few million, consider yourself educated at this point!  So, was Noah's flood and His obedience a big deal?  Yes it was, and it also gives us insight into how bad Revelation will be for those that reject God and Jesus Christ again.  Tune in tomorrow to see how Peter closes up this part of Scripture, but until then, imagine what it would be like if God had the "Golden Arches" that are present at every McDonald's, worldwide.  Underneath where McDonald's lists how many hamburgers have been served, it would say, "Billions and Billions Rejected Me!"   

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