1 Peter 1:20
Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
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(20) Who verily was foreordained.—There is a sharp contrast intended between the two clauses of this verse, and in the Greek the tenses are different. “Who had been foreknown, indeed, before the foundation of the world, but for your benefit was (only) pointed out at the end of the times.” St, Peter is returning once more to the great argument of 1Peter 1:10-12, “Do not treat your share in the gospel liberation as if it were, at best, a piece of good luck, and so learn to despise it. Neither think of it as if Paul and Silvanus were preaching to you a novel invention at discord with the spirit of the old covenant, under which you were bred. God knew from all eternity who was to be His Messiah and His Lamb, but for your sakes the particular and personal declaration of Him was reserved till now. For you has been kept the revelation of a secret which underlay the whole Old Testament system.” The grammatical antecedent of the relative “who verily” is not “lamb,” but “Christ;” and the word for “foreordained” is, literally, foreknown, only as in 1Peter 1:2 (see Note), with the additional notion of coming to a decision. We see that St. Peter’s doctrine has not changed since the great day of Pentecost (Acts 2:23). The foreknowledge (as that passage would show) includes not only the knowledge and decision that Jesus should be the Christ, but that the Christ’s history should be what it was; and this seems to involve not only the doctrine that the Incarnation was no mere episode, consequent upon the Fall of man, but also the doctrine that, “before the foundation of the world,” God had foreknown, and predecided to allow, the Fall itself. The same doctrine seems to be involved in Revelation 13:8, but only indirectly, because there the words “from the foundation of the world,” are to be attached, not to the word “slain,” but to the word “written.”

Was manifest.—Better, was manifested, i.e., unambiguously shown, pointed out. The context shows that it does not simply mean the visible life of the Incarnate Word among men, as in 1Timothy 3:16; 1John 3:5; but that the Messiah and Lamb of God was pointed out as being identical with the Man Jesus. And this was the work of John the Baptist, to say of the particular Person whom he saw walking by Jordan, “Behold the Lamb.” So St. John Baptist himself described his mission: “The whole purpose of my coming was that He might be manifested, singled out and shown to Israel,” as the Person round whom all their Messianic hopes were gathered (John 1:31).

In these last timesi.e., not merely “in modern times,” “lately,” but “at the end of the times,” showing St. Peter’s belief that the end of the world was not far distant. (Comp. once more Daniel 12:4; Daniel 12:9; Daniel 12:13.) Almost exactly the same phrase is used in Hebrews 1:2; 2Peter 3:3.

1:17-25 Holy confidence in God as a Father, and awful fear of him as a Judge, agree together; and to regard God always as a Judge, makes him dear to us as a Father. If believers do evil, God will visit them with corrections. Then, let Christians not doubt God's faithfulness to his promises, nor give way to enslaving dread of his wrath, but let them reverence his holiness. The fearless professor is defenceless, and Satan takes him captive at his will; the desponding professor has no heart to avail himself of his advantages, and is easily brought to surrender. The price paid for man's redemption was the precious blood of Christ. Not only openly wicked, but unprofitable conversation is highly dangerous, though it may plead custom. It is folly to resolve, I will live and die in such a way, because my forefathers did so. God had purposes of special favour toward his people, long before he made manifest such grace unto them. But the clearness of light, the supports of faith, the power of ordinances, are all much greater since Christ came upon earth, than they were before. The comfort is, that being by faith made one with Christ, his present glory is an assurance that where he is we shall be also, Joh 14:3. The soul must be purified, before it can give up its own desires and indulgences. And the word of God planted in the heart by the Holy Ghost, is a means of spiritual life, stirring up to our duty, working a total change in the dispositions and affections of the soul, till it brings to eternal life. In contrast with the excellence of the renewed spiritual man, as born again, observe the vanity of the natural man. In his life, and in his fall, he is like grass, the flower of grass, which soon withers and dies away. We should hear, and thus receive and love, the holy, living word, and rather hazard all than lose it; and we must banish all other things from the place due to it. We should lodge it in our hearts as our only treasures here, and the certain pledge of the treasure of glory laid up for believers in heaven.Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world - That is, it was foreordained, or predetermined, that he should be the great stoning Sacrifice for sin. On the meaning of the word "foreordained," (προγινώσκω proginōskō,) see Romans 8:29. The word is rendered which knew, Acts 26:5; foreknew and foreknow, Romans 8:29; Romans 11:2; foreordained, 1 Peter 1:20; and know before, 2 Peter 2:17. It does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. The sense is, that the plan was formed, and the arrangements made for the atonement, before the world was created.

Before the foundation of the world - That is, from eternity. It was before man was formed; before the earth was made; before any of the material universe was brought into being; before the angels were created. Compare the Matthew 25:34 note; John 17:24 note; Ephesians 1:4 note.

But was manifest - Was revealed. See the notes at 1 Timothy 3:16.

In these last times - In this, the last dispensation of things on the earth. See the notes at Hebrews 1:2.

For you - For your benefit or advantage. See the notes at 1 Peter 1:12. It follows from what is said in this verse:

(1) that the atonement was not an afterthought on the part of God. It entered into his plan when he made the world, and was revolved in his purposes from eternity.

(2) it was not a device to supply a defect in the system; that is, it was not adopted because the system did not work well, or because God had been disappointed. It was arranged before man was created, and when none but God could know whether he would stand or fall.

(3) the creation of the earth must have had some reference to this plan of redemption, and that plan must have been regarded as in itself so glorious, and so desirable, that it was deemed best to bring the world into existence that the plan might be developed, though it would involve the certainty that the race would fall, and that many would perish. It was, on the whole, more wise and benevolent that the race should be created with a certainty that they would apostatize, than it would be that the race should not he created, and the plan of salvation be unknown to distant worlds. See the notes at 1 Peter 1:12.

20. God's eternal foreordination of Christ's redeeming sacrifice, and completion of it in these last times for us, are an additional obligation on us to our maintaining a holy walk, considering how great things have been thus done for us. Peter's language in the history corresponds with this here: an undesigned coincidence and mark of genuineness. Redemption was no afterthought, or remedy of an unforeseen evil, devised at the time of its arising. God's foreordaining of the Redeemer refutes the slander that, on the Christian theory, there is a period of four thousand years of nothing but an incensed God. God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4).

manifest—in His incarnation in the fulness of the time. He existed from eternity before He was manifested.

in these last times—1Co 10:11, "the ends of the world." This last dispensation, made up of "times" marked by great changes, but still retaining a general unity, stretches from Christ's ascension to His coming to judgment.

Who verily was fore-ordained; by God’s decree appointed to the work of redemption, and to be that Lamb that should take away the sins of the world, Ephesians 1:9.

Before the foundation of the world; from eternity; there being nothing before the world began but what was eternal, John 17:24.

But was manifested; not only by his incarnation, 1 Timothy 3:16, but by the preaching of the gospel. See these Scriptures: Galatians 4:4 Ephesians 1:10 Hebrews 1:2 9:26.

In these last times; last, in comparison of the times of the Old Testament; the same as the fulness of time, Galatians 4:4.

For you; that you, with other believers, might partake of salvation by him. The fruit of Christ’s redemption reacheth all ages, but much more abundantly the times after his coming in the flesh. The sum of the argument is, Christ was ordained from eternity, promised to the fathers, but manifested to you: your privilege therefore being greater than theirs, Matthew 13:17 Hebrews 11:39,40, you should be the more holy.

Who verily was foreordained,.... Or "foreknown"; that is, by God; and which intends, not barely his prescience of Christ, of what he should be, do, and suffer; but such a previous knowledge of him, which is joined with love and affection to him; not merely as his own Son, and the express image of his person, but as Mediator; and whom he loved before the world was, and with a love of complacency and delight, and which will last for ever. It includes the choice of him as the head of the election, and the pre-ordination of his human nature, to the grace of union to his divine Person, and the pre-appointment of him to various things. The Syriac version adds, "to this"; that is, to be the lamb for a sacrifice, to be a propitiation for the sins of his people, to be the Saviour and Redeemer of them by his precious blood. The allusion is to the taking of the passover lamb from the sheep, or from the goats, and keeping it separate, from the tenth to the fourteenth day of the month, before it was slain; so Christ, as man, was chosen out from among the people; and as Joseph's antitype was separated from his brethren, and that

before the foundation of the world; for all God's decrees and appointments, relating either to Christ, or his people, are eternal; no new thoughts, counsels, and resolutions, are taken up by him in time. The affair of redemption by Christ is no new thing; the scheme of it was drawn in eternity; the persons to be redeemed were fixed on; the Redeemer was appointed in the council and covenant of peace; and even the very Gospel which proclaims it was ordained before the world, for our glory. A Saviour was provided before sin was committed, and the method of man's recovery was settled before his ruin took place; and which was done without any regard to the works and merits of men, but is wholly owing to the free and sovereign grace of God, and to his everlasting love, both to the Redeemer and the redeemed. The Jews (h) reckon the name of the Messiah among the seven things that were created before the world was; in proof of which they mention, Psalm 72:17 but was manifest in these last times for you; he was before, he existed from everlasting; he lay in the bosom of his Father from all eternity: and was veiled and hid under the shadows of the ceremonial law, during the legal dispensation; but in the fulness of time was manifest in the flesh, and more clearly revealed in the Gospel, and to the souls of men; his manifestation in human nature is principally intended, and which was in the last times of the legal dispensation, at the end of the Jewish world or state, when a new world, or the world to come, took place. It is a rule with the Jews (i), that whenever the last days or times are mentioned, the times of the Messiah are designed: and this manifestation of Christ was for the sake of some particular persons, even for all God's elect, whether among Jews or Gentiles, and who are described in the following verse. The Alexandrian copy reads, "for us"; and the Ethiopic version, "for him",

(h) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 59. 1. & Nedarim, fol. 89. 2.((i) Kimchi in Isa. ii. 2.

{12} Who verily was foreordained before the {k} foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

(12) The taking away of an objection: what was done to the world, before Christ was sent into the world? was there no holiness before, and was there no Church? The apostle answers, that Christ was ordained and appointed to redeem and deliver mankind, before mankind was: much less was there any Church without him before his coming in the flesh: yet we are happiest about the rest, to whom Christ was exhibited indeed, in this that he having suffered and overcome death for us, does now most effectually work in us by the power of his Spirit, to create in us faith, hope, and charity.

(k) From everlasting.

1 Peter 1:20. προεγνωσμένου μέν] is indeed not simply and at once: praeordinatus (Beza), but the foreknowledge of God is, with respect to the salvation He was to bring about, essentially a providing, cf. 1 Peter 1:2 : πρόγνωσις. In regard to Christ it was provided (προεγνωσμένου refers not directly to ἀμνοῦ, but to Χριστοῦ) that He should appear (φανερωθέντος δέ) as a sacrificial lamb to redeem the world by His blood. The passage does not say that Christ would have appeared even though sin had never entered.

πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου] a frequent designation of antemundane eternity, John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4. This nearer definition specifies the sending of Christ as having originated in the eternal counsels of God, in order thus to give point to the exhortation contained in 1 Peter 1:17.

φανερωθέντος δέ] here of the first appearing of Christ, which in this passage is represented as an emerging from the obscurity in which He was (chap. 1 Peter 5:4, of His second coming); it is incorrect to refer φανερωθέντος to the obscurity of the divine counsels (as formerly in this commentary), since φανερωθέντος applies as much as προεγνωσμένου to the person of Christ. Between the πρόγνωσις and the φανέρωσις lies the προφητεία, 1 Peter 1:10. Rightly interpreted, φανερωθέντος testifies to the pre-existence of Christ.[94] The sequence of the aorist participle on the participle προεγνωσμένου is to be explained from this, that by φανερωθέντος an historical fact is mentioned.

ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων] ἔσχατον: a substantival use of it, “at the end of the times.” This ἔσχατον of the times is here conceived as the whole period extending from the first appearance of Christ to His second coming; in like manner Hebrews 1:1; otherwise 2 Peter 3:3, where by ἔσχατον is meant the time as yet future, immediately preceding the second coming of Christ; in like manner 1 Peter 1:5.[95]

Note the antithesis: ΠΡῸ ΚΑΤΑΒ. Κ. and ἘΠʼ ἘΣΧΆΤΟΥ Τ. ΧΡ.: beginning and end united in Christ.

ΔΙʼ ὙΜᾶς] refers in the first instance to the readers, but embraces at the same time all ἘΚΛΕΚΤΟΊ. Believers are the aim of all God’s schemes of salvation; what an appeal to them to walk ἘΝ ΦΌΒῼ ΤῸΝ ΠΑΡΟΙΚΊΑς ΧΡΌΝΟΝ! There is as little here to indicate any reference to the heathen (Hofmann) as there was in εἰς ὑμᾶς, 1 Peter 1:10.

[94] Schmid rightly says (bibl. Theol. II. p. 165): “προεγνωσμένου does not deny the actual pre-existence, because Χριστοῦ includes a designation which is not yet realized in the actual pre-existence, but will be so only in virtue of the φανερωθῆναι.”

[95] It is indeed correct that, as Schott says, the end of the times is so, through the manifestation of Christ; but it is an arbitrary assertion to say that ἐτί serves to give more prominence and precision to this thought.

1 Peter 1:20. As the paschal lamb was taken on the tenth day of the month (Exodus 13:3) so Christ was foreknown before the creation and existed before His manifestation. The preexistence of Moses is stated in similar terms in Assumption of Moses, i. 12–14, “God created the world on behalf of His people. But He was not pleased to manifest this purpose of creation from the foundation of the world in order that the Gentiles might thereby be convicted.… Accordingly He designed and devised me and He prepared me before the foundation of the world that I should be the mediator of His Covenant.” So of the Messiah, Enoch (xlviii. 3, 6) says: “His name was called before the Lord of spirits before the sun and the signs of the zodiac were created.… He was chosen and hidden with God before the world was created. At the end of time God will reveal him to the world.” Alexandrian Judaism took over from Greek philosophy (Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle) the doctrine of the preexistence of all souls. So in the Secrets of Enoch (xxiii. 5) it is said “Every soul was created eternally before the foundation of the world”. The author of Wisdom was a goodly child and obtained a good soul or rather being good came into a body undefiled (Sap. 8:19 f.); and Philo found Scriptural warrant in the first of the two accounts of Creation (Genesis 1:26 f.). Outside Alexandria, apart from the Essenes (Joseph, B. J., ii. 154–157) the general doctrine does not appear to have been accepted. But the belief in the preexistence of the Name of the Messiah if not the Messiah Himself was not unknown in Palestine and was latent in many of the current ideals. The doctrine of Trypho was probably part of the general reaction from the position reached by the Jewish thinkers (A.D.) and appropriated by the Christians. There are many hints in the O.T. which Christians exploited without violence and the development of angelology offered great assistance. Current conceptions of Angels and Wisdom as well as of the Messiah all led up to this belief. Apart from the express declarations of Jesus recorded by St. John, it is clear that St. Peter held to the real and not merely ideal pre-existence of Christ, not deriving it from St. Paul or St. John and Heb. It is no mere corollary of God’s omniscience that the spirit of Christ was in the prophets.—προεγνωσμένου, cf. κατὰ πρόγνωσιν, 1 Peter 1:2; only here of Messiah, perhaps as a greater Jeremiah (cf. Jeremiah 1:5)—but see the description of Moses cited above.—πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου. The phrase does not occur in LXX but Matthew 13:35 = Psalm 78:2 renders מני קדם by ἀπὸ καταβολῆς (LXX ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς) Philo has καταβολὴ γενέσεως) and αἱ καταβολαὶ σπερμάτων and uses ἐκ κ. = afresh. In 2Ma 2:29, καταβολή is used of the foundation of a house; cf. κατασκευάζειν in Heb.—φανερωθέντος, of the past manifestation of Christ. In 1 Peter 5:1 of the future implies previous hidden existence, cf. 1 Timothy 3:16 (quotation of current quasi-creed) ἐφανερώθη ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. The manifestation consists in the resurrection and glorification evidenced by descent of spirit (21): cf. Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, risen, exalted, Jesus has sent the spirit: therefore let all the house of Israel know surely that God hath made Him both Lord and Christ. St. Paul speaks in the same way of the revelation of the secret, which is Christ in you; see especially Colossians 1:25-27. Compare John 1:14.—ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων, at the end of the times, cf. ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν (Hebrews 1:1 and LXX). The deliverance effected certo tempore by Christ’s blood is eternally efficacious, cf. αἰώνιον λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος Hebrews 9:12 and the more popular statement of the same idea in Revelation 13:8, the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

20. who verily was foreordained] Literally, foreknown, but the foreknowledge of God implies the foreordaining. Here also we note the coincidence with St Peter’s language in Acts 2:23; Acts 3:18. The Greek for “these last times” is literally the end of the times. The Apostle’s language was determined probably in part by the prophecy of Joel which he cites in Acts 2:17, in part by his belief that with the manifestation of Christ in the flesh, the last period of God’s dealings with mankind, the duration of which it was not given to him to measure, had actually begun. In the thought that the foreknowledge of God was “before the foundation of the world,” we have the very phrase which St Peter had heard from our Lord’s lips in Matthew 25:34, Luke 11:50, John 17:24, and which he may have read with the same force as in this passage in Ephesians 1:4.

1 Peter 1:20. Προεγνωσμένου, who was fore-ordained) Acts 2:23.—πρὸ, before) Therefore all the good pleasure of God is fulfilled in Christ.—φανερωθέντος δὲ, but manifested) The foreknowledge was in God alone.—χρόνων) times, viz. of the world.

Verse 20. - Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world; rather, as in the Revised Version, who was foreknown indeed; literally, who hath been fore known. But the foreknowledge of God implies the exercise of his will, therefore the "foreordained" of the Authorized Version, though not here an exact translation, is true in doctrine. St. Peter had asserted the same great truth in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:23; comp. also Acts 3:18 and Acts 4:28). He had heard the words, "before the foundation of the world," again and again from the lips of Christ; he may possibly have read them in the Epistle to the Ephesians (Ephesians 1:4). The incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ were not the result of a change of purpose to meet unforeseen circumstances; they were foreseen and foreordained in the eternal counsels of God. Those counsels are wholly above the range of our understanding; we cannot see through the veil of mystery which surrounds them; we cannot fathom the awful necessities which they imply. But was manifest in these last times for you; rather, as in the Revised Version, with the best manuscripts, was manifested at the end of the times for your sake. The aorist (φανερωθέντος) marks the Incarnation as an event which took place in time; the purpose of God was eternal, before all time. For the phrase, "at the end of the times" (ἐπ ἐσχάτου τών χρόνων), compare the reading of the most ancient manuscripts in Hebrews 1:1 (ἐπ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων, "at the end of these days"); also in Jude 1:8 (ἐπ ἐσχάτου χρόνου). "This is the last time," St. John says; or, rather, "the last hour (ἐσχάτη ὥρα)" (1 John 2:18); the last period in the development of God's dealings with mankind is the time which intervenes between the first and the second advents of Christ. 1 Peter 1:20Foreordained (προεγνωσμένου)

Lit., and better, foreknown, as Rev.

Manifested (φανερωθέντος)

Observe the difference in tense. Foreknown is the perfect participle, has been known from all eternity down to the present "in reference to the place held and continuing to be held by Christ in the divine mind" (Salmond). Manifested is the aorist participle, pointing to a definite act at a given time.

In these last times ( ἐπ' ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων)

Lit., as Rev., at the end of the times.

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