1 Peter 3:13-22 – The fear of suffering

Updated: Feb 5

The Epistle reading for the Sixth Sunday of Easter comes from the first letter of Peter, his third chapter. In Peter’s first epistle, chapter three (which is not read) begins sounding like a woman’s high school Home Economics teacher [look it up youngsters], talking about good wives and husbands.

Typical Home Ec classroom

That is not what Peter was writing about, as the voice of God on paper. All human beings are of the earth [i.e.: of dust and clay] and all souls given life on earth in a human body are spirit [i.e.: ethereal]. This is the duality of life in humanity on earth. I actually heard a priest on one of these Facebook ‘need to keep the paying customers connected to church by pretending to hold church on streaming video’ productions say, “God is the Father, but [since it was Mother’s Day] some people like to call God the Mother, which is okay.” No, it is not okay.  There is no duality to God – YHWH – Yahweh.   The word “God” is a masculine gender noun. The word “Goddess” is a feminine gender noun. Those two words were created so no one could ever justify saying, “Well God means goddess.”  God is the Father because “God” is a masculine gender noun and “Father” is a masculine gender noun. Has anyone ever heard the term “Mother Earth”?

Meet Gaea – Earth Mother of the Titans.

Well, “Mother” is a feminine gender noun that complements the “Father.” God is masculine and Earth is feminine. Gaea and all her kin are (by the way) elohim.  This is the duality of Creation: God + that not God. Because everything came from God, God is the Father of everything, including Earth. Because humanity is creatures made of dust and clay (and to dust shall they return), we are born of feminine matter (Mother Earth). Thus humanity is feminine, regardless of what sex organs God has given a human being in His womb works. Thus, when Peter seemed to be giving advice to girls to be good wives he was writing to all true Christians (men and women), reminding them of a wifely duty [expectations] to their Husband [God].  So men … don’t start thinking you are gods, when you have not married God yet. Being a wife to God means having ‘spiritual intercourse’, which means the masculine [God the Father] penetrates the feminine [a human being of either human gender]. This is called the “consummation” of a marriage. This is not an act of sex, because God penetrates the soul, which is masculine spirit and masculine deity … the stuff elohim are made of.  The earth of one’s flesh just lies there, as God injects the Holy Spirit, which envelops the soul. There is no physical pleasure or physical climax that comes from the penetration, but there is a continuous sensation of warmth and joy that remains within the soul and surrounding the wife, which is unlike human natural emotional sensations.

Ask Saint Teresa about the feeling.

The soul still exists, but it is then within an ‘egg shell’ of righteousness and holiness. God’s Son goes by the name Jesus, which means “Yah Will Save.” This is a male name because Jesus is the Son of God [and no, just like it is not alright to call God a goddess, it is not alright to call female a Saint a “daughter” or a “mother,” since male priests like being called “father”].

The birth of Jesus in God’s wife brings with it the Mind of God. The Mind of God then communicates with the Son Jesus, who has enveloped the soul of life breath that is within a body of flesh.  When that transformation takes place it represents a repeat of Jesus saying, “I am in the Father as the Father is in me.” At that point, Jesus the Son of God has complete control over the thoughts and actions of the body of flesh, which leads that body to living righteously [NO MORE SIN]. This path of righteousness grants a soul an eternity in Heaven after mortal death, thus Salvation. Therefore, the Mind of God, through the Son of God, becomes the Mind of the Messiah (Savior), also called Jesus Christ. The makes the wife of God become the Son of God, which is a statement about the masculinity of the spiritual within the feminine of the earthly. Think of the dualities you recognize: life and death; awake and sleeping; and, mortal and immortal. The presence of the Son of God masculinity represents the “living waters” Jesus spoke of.  Thus, when a human male is reborn as Jesus, that human male is a wife of God and the Son of God reborn. Likewise, when a human female is reborn as Jesus, she too a wife of God and the Son of God reborn. This means every Apostle-Saint, regardless of human gender, IS a Christian and a brother in the name of Jesus. This context of Peter’s letter must be realized in order to grasp the meaning of his question that begins the reading: “Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good?” This question (which is actually two statements plus a question at the end) is relative to not becoming a wife of God, as opposed to being Jesus Christ reborn and being enabled to withstand the temptations of evil. It is Satan who will bring great harm to one’s soul, without the protection of God as one’s Husband. Therefore, the question is more than being “eager to do what is good,” but being driven (Peter used the word “zēlōtai,” meaning “zealot”) to do good.  Being driven – being a zealot – requires extra help within one’s normal drive mechanisms. As easy as it is to say, “Oh, just sacrifice your self-ego, marry God, and be reborn as Jesus Christ,” the reality of that plan is harder to find.

In the past, when true Christianity was just taking off and spreading rapidly, the grand life of having plenty (thus more to give up) was not as prevalent. Today, especially during this “shelter in place” fear that has government ruling over the citizens, wealth and prosperity is an expectation of many in the world. People are so comfortable with the lures of sin that being forced to do nothing (thereby doing nothing bad, forced to do nothing in the name of Mammon) means many in the world are clamoring for financial handouts and gifts for staying at home.

The meeting Jesus had with the rich, young ruler (a Temple Pharisee), where he was then in the vast minority is gone.  He (I believe he was Nicodemus) was too young, too rich, and too influential to give that up. Most normal Jews had little extra to give away, after taxes to the Romans, the Temple, and the synagogue. Today, most people in the civilized world consider themselves to be too rich to quit being rich or too in debt to stop going further into debt. The want to do good deeds is not enough to become righteous in one’s lifestyle; but it is a start. One has to do what Jesus told the rich, young ruler and 1. Obey the Law; 2. Give up lust for wealth, by spreading the Word to those poor in spirit; and 3. Become Jesus Christ reborn. The problems here are: 1.) Most people do not read the Holy Bible more than ten seconds a week, so they do not have a clue about the Law. 2.) Without knowing the Law, it is impossible to quit work and become an evangelist and count on God miraculously leading one to understand His Word. 3.) Giving up one’s self-ego is like death, and everyone fears death too much to want to die (they fear taxes second most). That is where Peter asking, “If you want to do good, then shouldn’t you be zealous about that desire?” That can only come from becoming the wife of God and giving birth to His Son.  Doing a “Lent” trial run every year might be good practice; but, you will probably need to reach rock bottom first, one way or another, and you have few other choices than trust God. Peter then spoke about fear. He wrote about “suffering for doing what is right.” People fear suffering. It is fear of suffering that keeps so many quarantined in their homes – when physically well, not sick – and to keep that fear motivating people to keep staying at home, all the propaganda networks broadcast, “Death, death, death! Look at the numbers of dead!”

This is more than a ‘catch phrase’ to be thrown about lightly. To “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” means a Holy Matrimony between God (the Holy) and a soul (through the heart). It means the Mind of God has brought His Son to be the Savior (Christ), as the Master of one’s flesh (Jesus is Lord). This does not happen as a matter of self-will. This does not happen because someone in a robe holding a large cracker says, “in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord.”

This does not happen because words have no lasting power.  As soon as one returns to normal life, after kneeling and taking sacraments, the sins start all over again; and, the fears come back.

We know this does not happen when one kneels at a pew, Sunday after Sunday, saying, “Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. Etcetra

Keep in mind the first step in going to heaven is obedience to the Law. Here, it is worthwhile to make a comparison to what Peter said and what David sang in Psalm 66. There we hear his words singing: “Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he has done for me. I called out to him with my mouth, and his praise was on my tongue. If I had found evil in my heart, the Lord would not have heard me; But in truth God has heard me; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.” That is what Peter meant by “in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord.” Still, think back to what Paul was recorded to have said in the Acts reading: “In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent.”

Peter was saying become the bride of God by letting Him “in your hearts,” whereby Paul said, “In him we live and move and have our being.” We become “the offspring” of God as the Son reborn; but none of that is possible if our hearts are filthy from the sins of self-importance and self-lusts. We fear the suffering that comes by killing off self-will, fearing the suffering that comes from giving up everything we sold our souls to get. We fear the unknown, just like a virgin girl fears being given away to some man, with expectations she knows nothing about. All the fears of suffering are imaginary and self-induced.

Get outta my face!

The path of righteousness cannot be traveled alone. God knows that. Still, like a baby needs to fall in order to learn to stand and walk – without the aid of a parent – falling down, suffering, crying, and pains are all part of the growth required to prove to God you are not just ‘flirting’ with Him.

His hand is outreached to you, as a proposal of marriage; but it is up to you to show God you desire being His bride. You have to become (regardless of human gender) a bridesmaid who lamp is always filled with the oil of devotion to good, produced by the sacrifice of self.  Men cannot use the excuse, “Well, I have to go to work to support a family and going to work means sinning with the boy to keep a job.”  There is a way, guys. That typically means years of service, just like we read in the story of Jacob and his bargain with Laban for Rachel’s hand in marriage. That story reflects: It is not up to you to determine when God deems your heart clean enough for His Holy presence in it. You might think you are ready, you might think you are due a reward, but it is not up to you. God will come when He Knows you are ready and not before. In the meantime, you keep doing the work you promised to do and you keep your lamp filled with the oil of self-sacrifice. In that respect, Peter said, “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” Sometimes we have to break off old relationships that always have a tendency to pull us towards sin. Sometimes, our new commitment to doing good will bring about insults and ridicule from people who no longer serve a purpose in our future lives. Sometimes, we are called to look at how much our souls are being sold into a slavery to sin, to the point that we reach a time to decide that major life changes are in order and need to be taken.

Keep you head up, thus the saying “head in the clouds.”

Leaps of faith are not insurable and do not come attached to ‘golden parachutes’. Thus, Peter wrote: “Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil.” Suffering is not avoidable in this world. As the old saying from the eighties goes: “Sh*t happens.” When married to God and reborn as His Son, you can have faith that you will always come up smelling like roses. When Peter then said, “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison,” this can be misconstrued as the catch phrase “Christ died for your sins so you can be saved.” Therefore, it needs to be clarified. This is what Peter wrote [literal translation]: 1. kai [a signal to take note of importance coming] The Anointed One [Jesus] once for all around sins suffered  , 2. innocent on behalf of unjust  , 3. so that you he might bring to God  , 4. having been put to death indeed in flesh  , 5. having been made alive on the other hand in spirit  , 6. in which also by among prison spirits  , 7. having died he preached  . This says: 1. God sent His Son as one seed from which all who live in a world of sins can be saved from suffering. Importantly to realize – There will be no more Messiahs sent, no more Saviors to come, as Jesus was “The Anointed One” who was sent to likewise suffer in this world. 2. Jesus was innocent of all charges from which persecution came. Persecution comes from all who love sin and will unjustly try to destroy those who walk paths of righteousness and teach others how to do likewise. 3. Jesus was sent by the Father to teach human beings how to get to Heaven. 4. In order to reach the vastness of humanity, well beyond the one time Jesus the man walked the earth, Jesus (as the one seed) had to die so the seed could take root and grow into a vine of righteousness that would stretch to the end of the age. 5. The death of Jesus the man gave rise to Jesus the Christ, as the Holy Spirit, the right hand of God the Father. 6. The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ would be joined with the souls [from “pneumasin” – the breath of life souls from God] of those which were imprisoned in the mortal flesh that were his disciples (including those followers well into the future). 7. From those disciples dying of self-will and self-ego, Jesus Christ would be resurrected in Apostles and Saints, who would continue the teachings of Jesus, the one Son of God in a brotherhood of Sons of God. Peter then went into talking about how “God waited patiently in the days of Noah,” which is a statement about God having patience with sinners, whose souls (the breaths of life given by God at birth) life after life [reincarnation] love to wallow in sin so they cannot return and be with God. God flooded the world to remove much of that sin through mortal deaths by drowning, causing those souls to be released, to be later placed back into the world at God’s decision when. Only the eight from Noah’s family were allowed to keep their lives. That means the Great Flood was a cleansing of the earth, which (like the Son of God) will be a ‘one time thing’ and never again. Water is a great cleansing agent. Water also symbolizes the emotional state of human beings, which is always ebbing and flowing, changing with the latest news or events of life. Water can wash away the dirt of dust and clay; but water cannot wash a soul clean from sins. Thus, Jesus Christ was “prefigured” as the “baptism that now saves you.” Jesus Christ is the new Great Flood that will drown all the souls of sinners in their own sins, while only saving those who are led to the ark. When Noah took pairs of animals, realize how the Apostles traveled in pairs. Take notice of how David sang, “I will offer you sacrifices of fat beasts with the smoke of rams; I will give you oxen and goats.” They reflect all the ones who will sacrifice themselves in order to get booked on the ark of Jesus Christ. To get one of those tickets, one has to do as Peter wrote: “appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.”

This is a statement about a series of life changes to come, which begin with sincere prayers for survival, confessing a willingness to change and do good works and to prove one is committed to serving God … to the point of making life-changing sacrifices. God will hear those prayers and God will know the hearts of those praying. Prayers are a first step, but a housecleaning is the follow-up second step. This reading comes in the Sixth Sunday of Easter. Easter must be realized as being a season of waiting for the Lord to come. It represents when the Israelites camped at the base of the mountain, waiting for Moses to return and tell them what God said. Moses would return with the marriage contract offer, but the Israelites became fearful that Moses was dead; and, they built an idol of a golden calf and began praying to it for help. Their fear almost called off the wedding; but God has patience. 

All of that is mirrored in Jesus’ death causing his disciples to hide in fear.  They had all been feeling good about the future, having thoughts of being married to Jesus as they had been for three years.  Then the leaders had Jesus killed and they feared just like the Israelites had.   Jesus resurrected just like Moses came down with the Covenant.  The wedding was back on.

Still, the Easter season represents when Jesus whispered to his disciples encouragement to do good deeds and follow the Law. Jesus prepared his disciples to marry God and give him the body he would need to be reborn into.  When Pentecost came, God entered a new breath into the twelve and Jesus returned in the flesh of his newborn Apostles.

The Easter season means lessons to lead lost sheep into the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd.  The readings are his voice calling out to you.  You call yourself “Christian” so you recognize his voice.  Being lost seems to be not too bad, as long as the pastures are green and the waters are cool and clear.  However, Satan is the wolf that is always watching lost sheep, waiting to pounce when the time is right.  Mortal death is when Satan always feasts, when the sheep have not gone into the sheepfold and found salvation. Each Christian has a different birth of Jesus within (a personal Christmas).  Each Christian has his or her own epiphany, when the realization that change must take place within them occurs.  Every Christian has a different time come that demands sacrifice of self (a personal Lent).  Every Christian finds a different point when death and rebirth come (a personal Easter); and once reborn as Jesus Christ, each true Christian finds a different time when ministry becomes the answer to God’s call (Ordinary time after Pentecost).

For every year that a Christian seasonal cycle comes and goes, with nothing to show but a well-worn pew seat, with none of those markers reached, the less time there is in a mortal’s lifespan to prove to God one’s sincerity and commitment.  The proposal has been made and God is patient, but one cannot let fear cause one’s epitaph to be “Here lies another fool.”  The age old question is, “When we going to make it work?”

Advice for the Young at Heart

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