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Are You A Pilgrim?
The Greek word parepidemos, used in Hebrews 11:13 and I Peter 2:11, is translated as pilgrims.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth, Heb. 11:13.
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul, 1 Peter 2:11.
In each of these two verses, parepidemos is used alongside two different Greek words (paroíkous and xénoi), which are translated strangers. By using Strong’s Concordance one surmises that the people spoken of here, as strangers and pilgrims, means people who are living in a place, but are not native to that place.
If one emigrates to a different land, they become a stranger or pilgrim in that land. They live in a land which is very likely rather foreign to them.
Since our forefathers came from a foreign country, we could, then, consider ourselves to be a stranger and foreigner in this land. Were not the Israelites foreign to the land of Egypt even though they lived in the land for hundreds of years before they left to return to the promised land?
Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt, Exodus 22:21.
Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt, Exodus 23:9.
Even when they returned to the land of Canaan following the exodus from Egypt, they were called strangers.
And I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers, Exodus 6:4.
Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it, I Chron. 16:18 and 19.
The phrase, as strangers and pilgrims, is pointing to those people who live in a land whose customs and actions are quite different from their own. The phrase, as strangers and pilgrims as used in the above scriptures, is most definitely pointing to those people who are trying to do the will of Yahweh, but are constantly being bombarded by societal beliefs which are foreign to their own beliefs. The phrase, as strangers and pilgrims, means Yahweh’s People when taken in this light.
In the first book of Peter we find that he is addressing his letter to just those people who are strangers and pilgrims in the land in which they live. He did not address his letter to a specific people living in a certain locale, but to Yahweh’s People, wherever they may be living. Peter is writing this letter to us.
By nature of our birth we are citizens of that country. Or, one can become a citizen of a country through naturalization. But how can we be citizens of a country and yet be strangers in the land? The answer is not too far fetched.
We are to strive to become future citizens of Yahweh’s kingdom when Yahshua returns to set up that kingdom.
The people Peter is writing to in I Peter, chapter 1, verses 1 and 2, are those who are the elect strangers:
Peter, an apostle of Yahshua the Messiah, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect, according to the foreknowledge of Yahweh the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Yahshua the Messiah: grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
In these verses we are further told to be obedient to the fullest implication that can be given through the cleansing power of the Spirit and Yahshua’s blood.
We are told in I John 1:7 (But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Yahshua Messiah His Son cleanseth us from all sin.) that if we walk in the light, then the blood of Yahshua cleanseth us from all sin.
Peter is earnestly begging us, as strangers living in a land corrupted because of satan’s influence, to continue to be on guard against the wiles of satan.
He tells us to abstain from fleshly lusts:
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul, I Peter 2:11.
Abstain means to deliberately refrain from doing, even if it involves self-denial of an action.
Paul writes to the people of Rome, in Romans 7, beginning with verse 18:
For I know that in me(that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it but sin that dwelleth in me.
Within each of us a game of tug of war is constantly being played. Itissoeasyforustofallpreyto satan’s wiles. We can never let our guard down. For once we do, satan will pounce on us and play havoc with our lives.
Paul further instructs us, in Romans 6:12 and 13:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto Yahweh as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto Yahweh.
Yahweh’s People are looked upon as being different. Many things we do are so different from normal that they believe what we do is really wrong. As long as we do Yahweh’s will, we need not worry about such implications.
But, Peter tells us in I Peter 2:12, when we are dwelling with the Gentiles that our behavior, our conversation, must be honest:
Having your conversation honest among the gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify Yahweh in the day of visitation.
What we say and what we do must be in total agreement with each other. One can not hold a person too high if they say one thing and do something completely contradictory. By saying one true thing and
following through we are showing others what we are all about. By doing good works, we can show others what it really means to be a child of Yahweh.
Verses 13 and 14 of I Peter 2 are telling us to be in obedience to the law of the land:
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man, for the Messiah’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto govenors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of them that do well.
But, you say, are we really to do everything they tell us to do? Well, you should be able to answer that question yourself. Our primary goal is to obey Yahweh and His commandments. If we are told to do something which would go against Yahweh, then, most certainly, we must not do it.
Our initial introduction to this world is not of our choosing, but once we are here, and as we grow up, we are presented with many choices. Some of those choices are trivial, some may seem trivial, and some are monumental in nature.
Duet. 30:13 speaks of one of those important decisions:
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and thy seed may live.
The choice of life referred to here is eternal life. By making this choice, one must recognize what this entails. It is one thing to make the choice. It is an entirely different matter to live up to it.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear Yahweh, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man, Eccl. 12:13.
In this verse we learn that we are to fear Yahweh and keep His commandments, for this is what we are supposed to do. By keeping His commandments, we are to serve Him.
Webster defines servitude as a condition in which one lacks liberty, especially to determine one’s course of action or way of life. If we choose life, then we must obey Yahweh’s commandments. By keeping His commandments, we are to walk along that straight and narrow path which leads to everlasting life. We are to be Yahweh’s servants.
I Peter 2:15-25 tells us how to live as servants:
For so is the will of Yahweh, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of Yahweh. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear Yahweh. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward Yahweh endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with Yahweh. For even hereunto were ye called: because Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls, 1 Peter 2:15-25.
These verses speak of two types of servants. The servants referred to in verse 18 (Servants, be subject to your master with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward) tells how a domestic servant should live, regardless if the master is good or bad. It may be difficult to be obedient to a froward master, but such a servant is told to do so as verse 13 also tells us (Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man fo Yahweh’s sake) .
The other type of servant is also found in verse 18. From the Greek this is a translation which means a bonded servant. A bonded servant is one who has been bought for a price. We have been bought for a price:
For ye are bought for a price: therefore glorify Yahweh in your body, which is Yahweh’s, I Cor. 6:20.
Paul wrote to Timothy, in I Tim. 2:5 and 6, that the price that was paid was the death of Yahshua, our Messiah:
For there is one Yahweh, and one Mediator between Yahweh and men, the Man Yahshua Messiah, Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
The role of a servant may seem difficult at times because we are only human. But we must understand that the roles we are playing in this life is likened to that of an apprentice. We are in training and can only expect to receive like recompense for our actions.
Eph. 6:5-8 speaks on this matter:
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your hearts, as unto the Messiah; not with eyes-ervice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of the Messiah, doing the will of Yahweh from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Master, and not to men; knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Master, whether he be bond or free.
|Endure Suffering and Mistreatment
Have you ever been ill-treated by someone? Have you ever felt the urge to retaliate when someone mistreats you? If the answer is no to these questions, then you are in a very small minority. It is human nature to strike back when you are being wronged. But the scriptures tell us in no uncertain terms to do just the opposite.
When someone mistreats you, have you ever taken the time to ask yourself the question “Why is he/she doing this to me?” By doing so it might help ease the pain and give yourself some time to cool down and consider the ramifications of retaliation.
As long as we are doing Yahweh’s will, we should not let it become a big concern to us as to who is doing it. I Pet. 3:13 tells us,
And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
Just as Yahshua knew that He would have to suffer, we should know that any suffering we do for righteousness sake should be considered a blessing:
But, and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled, I Pet. 3:14.
Why, you ask, should we feel happy, or blessed?
For it is better, if the will of Yahweh be so, that ye suffer for well doing than for evil doing, I Pet. 3:17.
Being punished for a wrongful act is consistent with scriptures. This should be expected, whether the punishment is now or in the future when we are judged. But, if one is punished for a righteous act, then this is a plus and our recompense shall be according to our faithfulness.
Our life on this earth as a stranger and pilgrim will have many different consequences. These can be both good and bad. It all depends on how we live our life.
If we do Yahweh’s will, then they will be good. If we don’t, then we will have to suffer the bad consequences at the time of our judgment. As Paul writes in Romans 12:1-2:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of Yahweh, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto Yahweh, which is our reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of Yahweh.
-Elder Roger G. Meyer
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