2023 Study Summary 48: “REJOICE WITH JOY UNSPEAKABLE AND FULL OF GLORY”
1 and 2 Peter
“REJOICE WITH JOY UNSPEAKABLE AND FULL OF GLORY”
1 Peter 1. The trial of our faith precedes salvation—Christ was foreordained to be the Redeemer.
1 Peter 2. Converts are newborn babes in Christ—He is the chief cornerstone—Saints hold a royal priesthood and are a peculiar people—Saints are in subjection to the laws of man.
1 Peter 3. Husbands and wives should honor each other—Saints should live by gospel standards—Christ preached to the spirits in prison.
1 Peter 4. Peter explains why the gospel is preached to the dead—Saints should speak as the oracles of God—The righteous will be tried and tested in all things.
1 Peter 5. The elders are to feed the flock of God—Humility and godly graces lead to perfection.
2 Peter 1. Peter urges the Saints to make their calling and election sure—Prophecy comes by the power of the Holy Ghost.
2 Peter 2. False teachers among the Saints are damned—Lustful Saints will perish in their own corruption.
2 Peter 3. Some in the latter days will doubt the Second Coming—The elements will melt at the coming of the Lord.
What are considered as some of the Old Testament Prophecies about the foreordained Messiah?
“I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel . . . Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.” (Numbers 24:17,19) “Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver” (Psalm 60:7) “O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.” (Psalm 67:4) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16) “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations . . . “He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth…” (Isaiah 42:1,4) “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon colt the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9)
What happens to “herald” a newborn baby?
A new name! When we are born again, we can anticipate another new name! It is a common practice among religious Jews that a special Hebrew name is given to the newborn child. It is an additional name to the one the person is usually known by. A girl receives her name at birth and the boy at eight days of age, at the circumcision. Conversion to Judaism is always accompanied by giving a new name. For men, it is usually Abraham or Ben Avraham (son of Abraham). When blessings are given for health, at marriages, and at other festive occasions, often the ‘new’ or ‘special’ name is used. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are reminded repeatedly that they have taken the name of the Lord upon them. Receiving a new name reminds us of a fresh start, in a sense, being a newborn. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4)
What does the chief cornerstone mean to me?
Note that the metaphor of a building was used in ancient times to denote the structure and stability of the Lord’s organization in the “last days.” “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” (Psalms 118:22) “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16) “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?” (Matthew 21:42) “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22) Since this is a visual image, picture a building fitly framed with all parts of it functioning and without apparent holes or breaks in it. From a western building style architectural view, a cornerstone really cannot be removed, and the building still remain “fitly framed.” Therefore, it helps to visualize an eastern building style, a pyramid. Its chief cornerstone is the capstone. It can be removed, and the building is still “fitly framed.” The U.S.A. one dollar bill has that image with the top, cap or chief cornerstone shown with rays beaming forth from an all-seeing eye. The pyramid also has twelve blocks as its foundation. The imagery can be carried into the family. As the children start their own family, the parents are “removed” from their former role yet still maintain a spiritual influence through their previous teaching and subsequent prayers and spiritual influence on their children. The unity of the family can still be imaged as “fitly framed.” As with any home, protection from unwarranted outside influence is necessary. Security systems or defensive armor are part of the proper stewardship of the family’s leaders. With the Lord as the Chief Cornerstone and following His instructions to defend ourselves with truth, righteousness, preparation, faith, spirit, prayer, and perseverance, we can protect our families inside or outside of the home.
What is the foreshadowing of the royal priesthood and a peculiar people?
Again, recognizing a prediction of the Messiah and His people we find this counsel: “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:5-6) Much more than meaning to be isolated from the rest of mankind, God’s purpose was to encourage us to be peculiar as seen in the Saints being counselled to be an amenable people of order, even being in subjection to the laws of man. “. . . Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21) “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” (Articles of Faith 12) “Submit yourselves to everyone of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” (1 Peter 2: 13-16) It might seem that the “rebellious, protestors and demonstrators” of current times may be experiencing ignorance, misusing their freedoms and abusing their liberties.
How can I sense that Jews once had a better knowledge of “life after death?”
Apostle Peter taught that the Messiah went on to teach in the post mortal life. “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” (1 Peter 3:19) The Jews have an echo of life after death as we can see from their burial rituals. “One of the functions of the hevra kaddisha (voluntary Jewish burial society) is the Taharah rite (burial preparations). This is washing the corpse and preparing it for burial . . . The corpse is dressed in simple white shrouds and, as a rule, wrapped in the tallit (religious garment) he wore during his lifetime. The tallit is, however, invalidated by having one of the zizit (corner strings of knots representing the commandments) removed.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) “The mechanics of the tahara are precise . . . the body . . . is immersed in a mikva (immersion font) . . . It is then dried and dressed in . . . clothing (that) is symbolic of the priestly garments, with white pants, a long shirt, a top coat, belt, apron, head and (for women) face covering . . . the deceased, like the bride (and groom), is dressed completely in white.” (https://www.chabad. org/library/article_cdo/aid/2302277/jewish/The-Last-Precious-Gift.htm) It is recognizable that religious Jews bury in similar clothing as they were married in. “In Ashkenazi tradition it is not just the bride who wears white on her wedding day. The groom, too, stands under the canopy wearing his white kitel, or robe, over his wedding finery. The day of their marriage is a solemn one for the bride and groom. They pray that their past sins will be forgiven and they can start their life together afresh. The white of their clothing symbolizes the purity and the forgiveness of sin for which they are hoping. For this reason, a similar garment is used to clothe the dead for burial. The kitel therefore also serves to remind the wearer of how brief life is, and of the necessity for atonement.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How are true prophecies spawned and understood by the power of the Holy Ghost?
The concept of the “Holy Ghost” is unclear for Jews, yet the Hebrew term “Ruach Elohim” means the Spirit of God. Ruah, the Hebrew word for breath and wind is closely related to spirit. There are several Biblical verses using these words. One of my favorites is the vision of dry bones. “So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army . . . And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.” (Ezekiel 37:7-14) Ezekiel spoke of breath and of wind bringing life into a dead skeleton. As the sticks (ETZ-emot) of the body are clothed again with flesh and come alive again, so shall the stick (ETZ) of Judah, the dead skeleton of a once true and living religion come together with the stick of Joseph. This symbolizes the true religion and with the “breath” of the Lord (His spirit), a resurrection and a new life begins. “Flesh is the term used in the Bible to distinguish mortal man from God. The Hebrew word for flesh, basar, is contrasted with the Divine Spirit, ru’ah, with which man is temporarily endowed. Thus: “My spirit shall not abide in man forever, for that he is also flesh; therefore shall his days be a hundred and twenty years.” (Genesis 6:3).. The Talmud and Midrash refer to man as basar va-dam (“flesh and blood”) to indicate his mortality as against the eternity of God.” “Ruah ha-Kodesh (holy spirit) is often used as a synonym for prophecy. However, according to some rabbis, unlike prophecy, there are some types of ruah ha-kodesh which also can be attained by doing good deeds.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) The Jewish expression of the “Holy Spirit” has been used to describe various righteous teachers and sages. “. . . Luria already had a reputation as a man of striking personality who possessed the holy spirit.” “. . . Nahman was the great-grandson of the Ba’al Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism, and his mother was said to “possess the holy spirit.” “. . . Phinehas is known to have traveled to redeem captives, and on one journey a river in flood parted for him, so as not to delay his mission. He constructed the famous “ladder of saintliness” in which caution (against evil) leads through eagerness (for good); cleanliness, purity, asceticism, holiness, humility, fear of God, attainment of the Holy Spirit (divine inspiration), ultimately to the Resurrection of the Dead.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) A tool or gift of spirit used by ancient and modern prophets is the Urim and Thummim. “The exact meaning of the words “Urim” and “Thummim” have puzzled scholars over the generations. Both in the Greek and Latin translations of the Bible they were rendered as “revelation and truth” or “teaching and truth” and this understanding gave rise to the incorporation of the Hebrew words Urim ve-Thummim on the official seal of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) In older Hebrew the two words simply mean “yes” and “no.” The point to consider is that to understand prophecy, you must study it out, decide, and the Spirit of the Lord will reveal, “yes” or “no.” Tthe Lord’s gift of spirit reveals and teaches truth.
How can the Holy Ghost become a gift to me?
For a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the procedure of ‘confirmation’ after having been baptized for the remission of sins, includes the giving of the gift of the Holy Ghost. One of its blessings is helping us understand the scriptures. “. . . the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26) “In this last great gift through one of the Godhead, even the Holy Ghost, is to be found the way to the certain knowledge, after one’s study of the scriptures . . .” (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye In Holy Places, Pg .317) The companionship of the Holy Ghost is like a dear friend. A wise Orthodox Jew once told me, “It is easy to be friendly, but it is rare to be a friend.”
What are some of the signs of the Second Coming?
The Messiah-Savior told the prophet Joseph Smith, “I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory … and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.” (Doctrine and Covenants 29:11) There are certain signs and events will presage the Second Coming. For millennia many have looked forward to the Second Coming as a time of peace and joy. However, people of the earth will experience trials and calamities. The scriptures relate how God wants us to be prepared for troubles, spiritually ready when the Savior comes in His glory. To help ourselves to be prepared there are events that precede the Savior’s Second Coming, wickedness, wars, and turmoil. The ancient prophet Daniel told us that before the Messiah’s return there would be a time of trouble as the earth has never experienced before. (Daniel 12:1). The love of men shall wax cold, as iniquity abounds (Doctrine and Covenants 45:27). “And all things shall be in commotion; and … fear shall come upon all people.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:91) Anticipate earthquakes, disease, famines, great storms, lightnings, and thunder (see Mtthew 24:7; Doctrine and Covenants 88:90). Hailstorms will destroy the crops of the earth (see Doctrine and Covenants 29:16). In His first coming, Jesus told His Apostles: “Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars . . . For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matthew 24:6–7). The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “Be not discouraged when we tell you of perilous times, for they must shortly come, for the sword, famine, and pestilence are approaching. There shall be great destructions upon the face of this land, for ye need not suppose that one jot or tittle of the prophecies of all the holy prophets shall fail, and there are many that remain to be fulfilled yet” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 252).On the other hand, many events preceding the Second Coming bring joy to the world. “Light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel.” (Doctrine and Covenants 45:28) The “gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations” (Matthew 24:14); see also (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:31). They will hear the gospel in their own languages. (see Doctrine and Covenants 90:11) Before the Second Coming and during the Millennium, the Lord will bring the truth to all nations. In that sense, Israel will be the last. (Matthew 20:16) Elijah has already restored the sealing powers so families could be bound together. He also inspires people to be concerned about their ancestors and descendants. (See Malachi 4:5–6; Doctrine and Covenants 2) The prophet Elijah came to Joseph Smith in April 1836. Since that time, interest in genealogy and family history has grown. We are also able to perform sealing ordinances in the temples for the living and the dead. These are only a few of the signs that the Lord has given us. The scriptures describe many more. Remember, as things get worse, other things get better!