Share This Episode
Grace To You John MacArthur Logo

The Triumph of Christ's Suffering, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
July 26, 2023 4:00 am

The Triumph of Christ's Suffering, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1151 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

July 26, 2023 4:00 am

Click the icon below to listen.


So you have at the cross an unjust suffering, you have at the cross a terrible persecution, and in the midst of it all, a triumphant sin-bearing and a triumphant sermon. And Jesus, in the midst of His suffering, triumphs over sin and triumphs over Satan, hell, demons, and death at the very same time. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. It's been said that to have suffered much is like knowing many languages. It gives you access to many more people.

And that's true. God can use the struggles you face to equip you to minister to others who are suffering. Today on Grace to You, John MacArthur continues a series that can help you prepare for the trials you can expect as a Christian. It's a compelling look at 1 Peter that can help you find the path through suffering to triumph. That is the title of John's study.

So follow along now with John as he begins the lesson. 1 Peter chapter 3, we're looking at the triumph of Christ's sufferings, the triumph of Christ's sufferings. The suffering of Jesus Christ, as you know, was the time of His greatest humiliation, a time of unjust treatment. But it was also the time of His greatest triumph, for when He suffered most, He accomplished most.

Now the point that Peter wants you to understand is this. When Jesus was crucified on the cross, His body died and His body went where? To the tomb. But when His body was dead, His spirit was what? Alive. Now the question is, where did He go?

Where did He go? This living spirit. Well it tells us in verse 19. It says in which, that is in His spirit also, He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison.

You say, well now wait a minute. If Jesus went to a place where demons are in prison, how come demons are running around all over now? Different demons, different demons. Not all demons are in the prison.

Can I give you a little diagram, a little angelology, short course? The first line, angels, okay, angels, splits into two kind, holy, elect angels, fallen angels. Of the fallen angels, there are two kinds, loose and bound. Of the bound, there are two kinds, permanently bound, temporarily bound. What we're talking about here then are the angels, fallen, bound, permanently.

Got it? That's your course in angelology. The loose ones, by the way, and there are a lot of them running around loose, we know that. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against what? Demons.

The lot of them running around loose, and you want to know something about the loose ones, let me give you a characteristic of the loose ones. Luke chapter 8, verse 31, and they were entreating Him, these loose demons, and their name was Legion. You remember, they were in the demoniac, and many, many demons had entered this man.

They were all over the place in him, Legion. They were entreating Jesus not to command them to depart into the, what? Abussas, the abyss. Please, Jesus, don't send us to the abyss.

They didn't want that. In fact, in Matthew 8, 29, they said to Jesus, what do we have to do with you, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time? Aren't you off schedule?

What are you doing here now? Are you going to send us to that place now, before the time? They didn't want to go there.

Now you say, wait a minute. Okay, some are loose and some are bound. Some are loose and some are bound. How did they get bound? What did they do to get permanently bound in this place? Verse 20 tells you, well, they once were disobedient. You say, wait a minute. Demons are always disobedient.

Well, what in the world does that mean? Once, at some point in the past, they overstepped even God's limitations. They went too far. You say, well, when were they disobedient? Well, obviously they were free to roam around for a while, but they were disobedient once. When was it? Verse 20, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark in which a few, that is, eight persons were brought safely through the water.

Oh, now we know when it was. It was during the time of what? Of Noah.

So there is a prison filled with bound demons who have been there since the time of Noah, and they were sent there because they overstepped even the bounds that God has established on their own wickedness. And it was during the time when Noah spent 120 years building an ark. You say, well, that ark was a boat, wasn't it? Yeah, but that wasn't really its main purpose. Its main purpose wasn't to be a boat. First of all, its main purpose was to be an object lesson. It was 120 years' worth of preaching about the impending coming judgment of God.

It was only a boat for a year. It was a sermon for 120 years. Unfortunately, nobody heard the sermon, and they were all drowned except eight. So it was a sermon about judgment. Just in general, the wickedness of the time of Noah was total. In fact, it says back in Genesis that all the imagination of man's heart was only, what, evil continually.

You know what that means? That means the demon spirits were having a heyday back in Noah's time. They were running riot through the earth, doing their pleasure. They were filling up the world with all their wicked, vile, anti-God activity, and that's why God had to drown the whole earth. So the time of Noah was apparently a heyday for demonic activity, and they successfully corrupted and infiltrated the whole of the human race so that God literally had to drown His entire creation, with the exception of eight people. And those demons who overstepped the bounds in the time of Noah were the ones put in prison. By the way, this must have been very familiar stuff to Peter's readers, because he makes such a minimal explanation here.

It must have been something with which they were very familiar, or he would have gone into it in a greater amount of detail. Everybody must have known about the spirits imprisoned because of their overstepping the bounds that God had set, even on their wicked behavior in the days of Noah. Now, were all the demons put in prison? No, because some are still what? Loose.

Which ones were? Turn to 2 Peter chapter 2. Hold on to your seat here now. 2 Peter chapter 2, verse 4. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness reserved for judgment, and didn't spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly.

You can stop at that point. Peter's talking about the same thing. In his second epistle, he brings it up again. There was a time when God took fallen angels who overstepped their bounds and threw them into hell, into the pit of darkness, and imprisoned them for judgment.

And again, he says, it was at a time when Noah, the preacher of righteousness, preached and when God brought a flood on the world of the ungodly. And then he mentions two other illustrations of judgment. The condemnation of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, where God judged, and the condemnation of the cities of God judged. And then the condemnation mentions Lot, who was rescued, noted in verse 7.

Please notice, he refers to Lot. What book in the Bible tells that story? Genesis. He refers to Sodom and Gomorrah? Genesis. It seems to me highly likely that whatever it is he's referring to with these angels who sinned and were cast into the pit of darkness reserved for judgment must have occurred at the same time of Lot, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Noah.

And not only that, it must have been such common knowledge to the readers that he doesn't need to make some large explanation about it. By the way, the word hell, would you notice that word in verse 4, is the word tartarosos, or literally we can call it in an English transliteration tartaros. Now tartaros was a name in classical Greek mythology. And they used it to describe the subterranean abyss in which rebellious gods were punished. The word was taken over into Judaism and it was used to refer to the prison of fallen angels. It is so used, by the way, in the non-biblical but ancient book called the book of Enoch. And we know that the Jews were familiar with the book of Enoch. Jude in his epistle even makes reference to the book of Enoch. The book of Enoch discusses the Genesis account of the angels who overstepped their bounds. So, I believe it Peter and 1 Peter and 2 Peter in referring to this record, is referring to something commonly known by the people because they read about it in the book of Enoch.

Even though the book of Enoch was not a biblical book, the people knew its contents and the book of Enoch covers the same story in the same way. So Peter in 2 Peter 2, 4 is saying God took these angels who sinned and He put them in the murky abyss of fallen angels, the prison of spirits. Now, God didn't send all of them there. Which ones did He send? Go to Jude, verse 6.

Which ones? Jude. Which ones were put in the prison? Well, he says, verse 6, and angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.

You'll notice also in verse 7, he's talking about another story in Genesis again, Sodom and Gomorrah, which leads me to believe whatever he's referring to in verse 6 is also back in Genesis. Now, angels who didn't keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode are kept in eternal chains. These chains are eternal. There are some, remember, who are temporarily bound, these permanently bound.

Permanently bound. What was their specific sin? Look at verse 7. They didn't keep their own domain. They abandoned their proper abode just as Sodom and Gomorrah.

And the cities around them, since they in the same way as these, that is, these demons in the same way as Sodom and Gomorrah, indulged in gross, what? Immorality. Porneia. Pornography. They indulged in gross immorality.

What kind? They went after what? Strange flesh. Do you remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah? Do you remember Lot was living there? Do you remember that some angels came to visit Lot? And the angels, Genesis 19, came into Lot's house? Do you remember what kind of sin was rampant in Sodom and Gomorrah? What sin?

Sodomy. And here were these two magnificent creatures, holy angels who had taken on human form. They came to Lot's house and the men of Sodom and Gomorrah went crazy. They saw what they wanted.

They came to Lot's house. They tried to rape those angels. They were going after flesh, strange flesh, outside of their domain. They were going after angels.

Do you remember what happened? The door was shut and God struck them all blind and instead of running in fear in their blindness they kept beating on the door because their lust was so great that even though they had become stone blind they tried to break the door down to get to those angels. That's how lust had driven them. Now whatever these angels did to get sent to the permanent pit is something like what the men of Sodom did, that's what he's saying, in going after strange flesh, heteros flesh, a different kind of flesh. They literally lusted after angels.

What did these angels do? Let's go back to Genesis 6 and find out. By the way, I'm sure Jude along with Peter knew Enoch and his book. He refers to it in verse 14. And I'm sure Jude also knew Genesis 6 and knew that the book of Enoch interpreted Genesis 6 this way.

Follow this now, will you? Genesis 6, 1. We're way back now in the time of Noah. It came about when men began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them.

Listen carefully. That the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful. They took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with men forever because he is also flesh.

Nevertheless, his days shall be 120 years. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days and also afterward when the sons of God came into the daughters of men and they bore to them, those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. What in the world is this? I'll tell you what it is. Sons of God are demons. Sons of God is a term used in the Old Testament to refer to angels. And what you have here is fallen angels who came down, took on human bodies in some kind of form, cohabitated with women and produced a generation of rosemary's babies.

If you remember that story. Some kind of a demonic hybrid. It is possible that they are called the Nephilim, a term with interesting meaning. It can mean fallen ones.

It can have reference from the verb naphil, to fall. It can have reference to violent ones. It suggests when used only one other time in Numbers 13, giant type people.

Then you will notice also the terms mighty men and men of renown. Apparently what happened was these demons cohabitated with women and produced some kind of monsters, some kind of demon possessed offspring that were very powerful, giants, very violent. Now some people believe that the sons of God simply refers to people in the line of Seth. And it means simply that the line of Seth, which was the godly line, intermingled with the ungodly line. But I take it that what it says here is exactly what Peter and Jude are alluding to at the time of Noah. That has to be something more than that. You say, well, they attempted then to breed a sort of unredeemable race, didn't they?

Yes. And that's one of the reasons God had to drown the whole earth, to drown that race. They wanted to corrupt, now listen to this, the human stream. If you can create a demon man, then he's unredeemable. Because Christ as the god man has come to redeem men, not demon men.

They wanted to pollute the human stream to make it unredeemable. There are a number of reasons why this interpretation is fitting in Genesis 6. One, it is the oldest and most widely held interpretation. Two, the sons of God, Bnei Halahim, always refers to angels in the Old Testament. In fact, some manuscripts translated angels. Sons of God specifically is used, listen to this, to refer to those brought into existence directly by God, not to those procreated. So therefore it would refer to angels because men at this time would be procreated. They would be the sons of men, not the sons of God.

The early church held this view until the fourth century. And by the way, if it simply means men, then all the sons of God must be male because it says the sons of God cohabitated with the daughters of men. And the sons of God would therefore have to be all male, which would be a strange way to interpret it. And I think if it was referring to men, it would simply say the sons of men cohabitated with the daughters of men. Furthermore, if this was the sons of God called such because they were believers in the line of Seth, why did God drown them all? And we could go on and on with that kind of reasoning. I believe that these demons came down, left their natural estate and went after strange flesh.

Follow the analogy. In Sodom, men went after angels. Here, angels went after women, both perversions. It's not just intermarriage between believers and unbelievers. There was no prohibition given for that yet. So why would God drown everybody for doing that, even the believers?

No. You got the picture? Genesis 6, some demon sinned, went outside the bounds that God would tolerate, put them in a permanent pit. They've been there a long time, folks. When Jesus came to the cross and hell thought we've won and all those demons in the pit might have thought that somebody got the keys from Jesus, namely Satan, and they're down there hoping this might be the moment of their release, Jesus shows up. Turn to Colossians chapter 2. I love this. What's the last word in verse 14?

What is it? Last word in verse 14 of Colossians 2. Cross. Okay, we're at the cross. That's what Paul's talking about. At the cross, when He, that is Christ, disarmed the rulers and authorities. Those are terms for demons. At the cross, they thought they were triumphing.

They were wrong. He disarmed them. And then it says, He made a public, what, display of them having triumphed over them through Him. I believe Paul is referring to the same thing. And when Jesus' body was dead, His Spirit was alive and He went down where they were bound and He announced His triumph over them. So you have at the cross an unjust suffering. You have at the cross a terrible persecution and in the midst of it all, a triumphant sin bearing and a triumphant sermon. And Jesus, in the midst of His suffering, triumphs over sin and triumphs over Satan, hell, demons, and death at the very same time. Isn't that a marvelous triumph? Peter wants us to understand that when we suffer, we may triumph as well.

Will you bow with me in prayer? Thank you, Father, for the great triumph of our Christ. Oh God, how we rejoice that angels and authorities are subject to Him. And that in the moment of what hell thought was its greatest triumph, it was foiled. And the Son Himself, the living Spirit, showed up alive to announce His glorious triumph.

And then but a few hours later, entered that lifeless body and it came alive from the grave. And because of that event, we too enter into His triumph. It's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary. His current study here on Grace to You is called Through Suffering to Triumph. John, given the size of our audience, I'm certain that we have multitudes of listeners who are in the midst of suffering right now, some of them even suffering for their faith in Christ. And I have to believe that this study is encouraging them. And something else I also think will encourage our listeners is the letter you have in front of you. This is an amazing story of persecution and triumph. In fact, you take it from there. Please read this letter. Yes, this is an incredible letter.

Let me just jump right in. My name is Samantha and my fiancé is from Morocco. He converted from Islam to Christianity about five years ago. And because of his faith in Christ, his family in Morocco has been nothing short of hard. They have disowned him.

The mother poisoned him to the point that he almost died. He has been harassed by the police, gone to jail, been tortured for sharing the gospel. His love for Jesus is unshakable. Recently, I was on the phone with my fiancé telling him about the new study Bible I had just received, the MacArthur Study Bible.

It came very highly recommended by my pastor. My fiancé was so excited. He also has a MacArthur Study Bible in Arabic and he told me that it was priceless to him. He then told me some details about his persecution that I had never heard. My fiancé and a friend had been sharing the gospel with a man. The police saw him and began chasing them and told my fiancé to drop the book, namely his MacArthur Study Bible.

He remembers thinking that he could run faster if he were to drop it. However, he would not let go. You see, he uses his MacArthur Study Bible when he teaches and shares the gospel. It was given to him as a gift from his pastor. Well, the police caught up to my fiancé and pushed him off some sort of high place about 20 meters high near a construction project with scaffolding. I asked him how he did not die. He said that when he was pushed, he jumped toward the scaffolds and landed on them. When he woke up, he still had his Bible and he said he looked like a dirty dog.

His leg was broken, but he was able to get inside a building and then call his pastor who took him to the hospital. My fiancé said he wanted to share with me so that I would understand how special my new MacArthur Study Bible is and to take very good care of it. He said, my pastor, myself and John MacArthur believe the same things in the Bible. He told me I will learn so much from my study Bible. I asked my fiancé if I could share his story with grace to you and he said yes.

And can you ask John if I can meet him when I come to the USA? Well, my fiancé has had so many things happen to him and you've had such an impact on him. Thank you for being willing to allow the Lord to use you. You may be in the USA, but your Bible teaching is reaching the people of Morocco. God bless you.

And she signs her name, Samantha. I think that's probably the most amazing story about a MacArthur Study Bible that I've heard. And it's a reminder again that when you support grace to you, you are helping people to minister in very difficult circumstances. You're helping us give people biblical truth to strengthen them in the face of dire persecution. So thank you for standing with us.

Yes, thank you. And thank you, John. Friend, it's true that as you support grace to you, you are helping equip God's people, including men and women in dangerous circumstances, with biblical truth that sustains and comforts and emboldens them for the glory of Christ. To help strengthen people in your area and around the world with verse-by-verse teaching, make a donation when you contact us today. You can mail your tax-deductible donation to Grace To You, Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412. Or you can also donate online at, or when you call us at 800-55-GRACE. Let me also mention a way to support grace to you people frequently take advantage of, and that is through Legacy Giving. To find out how to support this ministry through your estate plan and to help make our verse-by-verse Bible teaching available for generations to come, give us a call at 800-55-GRACE or visit our website at And remember, you have access to thousands of free Bible teaching resources at

You'll find helpful blog articles. You can catch up on radio broadcasts that you may have missed. You can also download more than 3,500 of John's sermons in MP3 and transcript format. And all of that and much more is available right now at And to connect with Grace To You on social media, be sure you follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Now for John McArthur and our staff, I'm Phil Johnson inviting you back for another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Tomorrow's Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-26 05:46:42 / 2023-07-26 05:56:32 / 10

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime