Lesson 18 - I Peter 3: 20

Lesson 18 - I Peter 3: 20

Lesson for May 19, 2013

The Book of I Peter

Chapter 3:20

Victorious Proclamation

The most startling event ever to be observed by the angels had to be the creation of man.  Here was an inferior form of creation who, unlike angels, could not travel through space, who were limited in power and who were confined to one small planet, yet man was made in the image and likeness of God (Geneis 1:27)! The angels saw that mankind possessed one characteristic in common with them, volition, the power to choose for or against God.

Angels had previously made their choice, as revealed by the two opposing categories: elect and fallen (Mark 5; 8:38; 1 Timothy 5:2).  When Satan exercised his volition and decided against God (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:15), he drew one-third of the angels with him (Revelations 12:4).  For perhaps millions of years before the advent of man, the conflict raged between those angels who followed Satan and those who chose God.

From the fact that the sentencing of Satan and his angels to the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41) is not to be carried out until the end of time (Revelations 20), we can arrive at two conclusions.  First, Satan must have appealed his sentence, and second, man was created by God to resolve this dispute which occurred at the termination of the trial.  The titles Satan and devil, mean adversary, accuser or attorney, which would indicate an appeal.  Based on the above passages, Stan’s argument probably went something like this: “How can a loving God cast His creatures into the Lake of Fire?”  This objection was, in effect, an appeal that demanded a new trial.

The answer to Satan’s protest is given in man’s free will as it relates to God’s grace.  Fallen angels had been given an opportunity under grace to be saved but had rejected it.  Now, while they were crying “Not fair!” God created man in order to demonstrate to them that His position in grace was just and that, in fact, love can express itself only through justice.  God cannot change His character to accommodate any creature, whether angel or man.  God loved the angels, but God cannot love in a way that is inconsistent with the other attributes of His character.  Therefore, when Satan rebelled, God had to make a decision which was compatible with His righteousness and justice, as well as with His love.  So God created man to show Satan how a loving God can save a creature and still maintain His righteous character.  As soon as man was created, God displayed His infinite grace by providing everything that man would ever need and, surprisingly, by setting up a test to make it possible for man to exercise his volition (Genesis 2:17). People often ask why God prohibited the eating of one tree.  Why did He set up any prohibition at all?  It was to give man the opportunity of choosing for or against God.  Since God does not desire to coerce love or obedience from His creatures, man’s volition must come into play.

Adam chose against God in spite of everything that God had given him.  At the very moment Adam sinned Satan became the victor in the first battle of the conflict here on earth, for he immediately seized control of this world and of man (2 Corinthians 4:4).  In Genesis 3:15, we see man’s only hope - God’s solution to the Angelic Conflict.  God made a gracious promise as He sentenced the serpent: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

Here is perhaps the greatest example of the justice and grace of God.  Man had just sinned.  Man had fallen.  Man had turned this planet over to Satan.  Because man deliberately went against God’s command, Satan had won a major round.  “Her seed” is the first messianic title and the first promise of the Savior. .The “Seed of the woman” stresses the virgin birth as the means of bringing the Savior into the world without a sin nature, which is passed down in procreation through the male, and therefore without inherent sin and without personal sin.

“It shall bruise thy head. . . .” “It” is the Seed of the woman, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Christ would bruise or, literally, crush the head of Satan.  This predicts the ultimate defeat of Satan, which will take place at the Second Coming of Christ (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:9:20:10).   Even before salvation was declared, the final victory over Satan was announced.  The bruising of the Lord’s heel is a reference to the Cross where Christ bore in His own body the judgment for every sin in the human race (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24).

Man had forfeited his relationship with God and was in no position to reverse his decision unless God should mercifully intervene.  Therefore, Genesis 3:15 is one of the key passages in the entire Bible, for God’s grace provision was the God-Man-Savior Who would come to earth and provide the solution to the problem of man’s sin.  When God committed Himself to this promise, the whole destiny of the human race, the ultimate result of the battle between fallen and elect angels, and the perfect character of God, were put on the line.  Would God keep His promise?  If God cannot keep a promise, then He is not God, His character is impugned, and there is no hope for mankind or for any other creature!

Down through the ages, many people believed this promise, right up to the coming of Christ at His First Advent. They demonstrated their faith by offering animal sacrifices to God.  The blood of bulls and goats could not save man from even one sin (Heb. 10:4), but every time a man offered an animal sacrifice, even if it was only a pigeon, he was saying, “I have believed Genesis 3:15.”  Today, when you accept Christ, you are saying, “I believe John 3:16.” As a result, anyone who puts his faith in Christ is eternally saved.

When it became apparent that the “Seed of the woman” was to come through the line of Abel, who was the younger of Adam’s first two sons, Satan inspired Cain to murder his brother. This first attempt to prevent the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 was thwarted when the line of Christ was transferred to Seth, but there were numerous other attacks aimed at obstructing the First Advent.  It would be impossible for Christ to become a man unless an unbroken lineage of true humanity existed on the earth!  That may seem like a strange statement, but it is apparent from the sixth chapter of Genesis that Satan conceived an ingenious scheme to corrupt true humanity.  His strategy was to change the nature of mankind into half human, half angelic being through an angelic infiltration into the human race.

This infiltration recorded in the first ten verses of Genesis 6 is the most formidable attack ever made upon our salvation.  It was so successful that the line by which Jesus Christ could enter the world was narrowed down to eight persons, the family of Noah.  Had it not been for the Flood, this satanic attack would have turned into a decisive victory because true humanity would have become extinct on the earth and Christ could never have come.

THE ANGELIC INFILTRATION

That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose (Genesis 6:2).

The Hebrew word beni-ha-Elohim, translated “sons of God,” appears only four times in the Old Testament: Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7 and in this verse.  Another Hebrew word has also been translated “sons of God,” but beni-ha-Elohim is always and invariably used for angels, never men!  In the New Testament, “Son of God” is a designation for Jesus Christ, while “sons of God” refers to believers; but we must not confuse the Greek of the New Testament with the Hebrew of the Old Testament.  Now since “sons of God” in the Old Testament is used for all kinds of angels, both elect and fallen, the question here is, which kind?

Today there are two types of fallen angels: those called “demons” and those who are imprisoned.  All fallen angels in both categories are under the control of Satan, but from passages like I Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 we learn that the angels in Genesis 6:2 later became the bound angels.  These were the angels who observed the beauty of the daughters of men, and these infiltrators would become the recipients of Jesus Christ’s victorious proclamation. “They took them wives of all which they chose” means that they literally cohabited with women on the earth.

Now immediately certain questions arise as to the physical possibilities and capabilities of such a plan. First, aren’t angels invisible to the human race?  The answer to this is yes.  However, they can also appear to human beings.  As a high order of creation, they are extremely beautiful and therefore can appear as strikingly attractive, masculine human beings!  This brings us to a second question.  In view of Matthew 22:30, which says that the angels “neither marry nor are given in marriage,” how is procreation possible between angels and humanity?  We must keep in mind that the pre-flood period was a unique time in history and we are told that Satan performs miracles as the god of this world and his demons can take on the form of human beings.

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown (Genesis 6:4).

As a result of angelic procreation with humanity, a super-race evolved. They were called Nephilim, “fallen ones,” in Hebrew and translated “giants” in English.  They had fallen from the human race in that they were no longer true humanity.  Half man and half angel, they were creatures of remarkable strength and brilliant intellect.  The children which the women bore to these angels “became mighty men which were of old [antiquity], men of renown,” that is, famous men of hero category.

All ancient literature contains stories of heroes, mighty men who performed supernatural feats.  They were all described as half human and half god.  In Greek tradition, Zeus, the chief god, was said to be the father of most of them, such as Orpheus, Theseus, Cadmus, Perseus, Jason, Hercules, Castor and Pollux, etc.  Although this literature is called mythology, it is not entirely mythical.  It is based on fact — facts we see right here in Genesis, chapter 6.  As time went on, the facts were embellished, of course, with imagination.

The half angelic, half human super-race had completely taken over and corrupted the human race of the antediluvian (pre-flood) civilization except for the few who resisted — Noah plus seven!  The reason that Noah and his family did not get involved was that they were faithful believers and God protected them physically from the super race, who were exceedingly warlike and brutal.  Ultimately there was no other way to preserve true humanity than to destroy the Nephilim.  Furthermore, God must keep His Word regarding the promise to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15, as well as continue the Angelic Conflict.  Only twice in the history of the human race is every unbeliever destroyed: the Flood and in the future at the Second Coming when all unbelievers will be wiped out, leaving only believers to enter the Millennium.

And GOD saw that the wickedness [evil] of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [right lobe] was only evil [malignant] continually (Genesis 6:5).

Man’s evil had reached the saturation point because of his involvement with fallen angels.  Evil is primarily what you think, not what you do.  Therefore, the mental attitude is brought in: their thinking lobe was totally engulfed in malignant, satanic concepts.  

 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart (Genesis 6:6).

Repent means to “change the mind.”  God is immutable, and He does not change!  Why then is the Lord said to have changed His mind toward the creation of man?  This is an anthropopathism, ascribing to God human thinking in order to explain in terms of human language His policies, thoughts, acts and decisions. Throughout the Scripture, God often reveals Himself in this language of accommodation so that man might have a frame of reference for an otherwise inscrutable or complicated function. Here God expresses what He would do about man’s choice and about man’s losing the first battle with Satan.  He was not suddenly changing His plans; in eternity past He had designed the Plan of Grace, which would rescue man from the dilemma he had created for himself in the Garden, and restore what had been lost. But God must demonstrate to man the consequences of negative volition.

And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them (Genesis 6:7).   Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD (Genesis 6:8).

God found positive volition in one man.  “Grace” means that Noah had not only believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, but that he had literally discovered and exploited the grace of God to the maximum.  Noah first understood the promise of Genesis 3:15; he further understood that if God did the most for him at salvation, He would do “much more than the most” to protect the believer in the devil’s world.  

These are the generations [family history] of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations [genealogy], and Noah walked with God (Gen. 6:9).

Noah and his family were justified before God.  Noah’s genealogy was uncontaminated by the demon cohabitation, and he therefore represented true humanity in the human race. Between Adam and Noah there was an unbroken line of pure Homo sapiens. This is one of the major reasons why the genealogies of both the Old and New Testaments are extremely important. They demonstrate that at the point of the Virgin Birth there was a line of undefiled humanity from Adam to the virgin Mary.