II Peter 1:12-21

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Text:   II Peter 1:12-21

THE MORE SURE WORD OF PROPHECY

INTRODUCTION:

 

I remind you of an episode which occurred in the life of Peter –

Matthew 17:1-9 – (1) And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart [i.e. by themselves], (2) And was transfigured [i.e. changed] before them: and his face did shine as the sun [i.e. his face shone like the sun], and his raiment [i.e. clothing] was white as the light. (3) And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias [i.e. Elijah] talking with him. (4) Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles [i.e. three tents, three shelters]; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias [i.e. Elijah]. (5) While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. (6) And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face [i.e. on their faces], and were sore afraid [i.e. were greatly afraid]. (7) And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid [i.e. stop being afraid]. (8) And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save [i.e. except] Jesus only. (9) And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

 

In II Peter 1 Peter refers to his experience at the transfiguration.

 

In II Peter 1:12-21 , we see a number of truths about the Bible which show us why we can believe what the Bible says.

 

Peter realizes that he will not live much longer, and for this reason he is writing this letter to insure that he can continue to instruct believers after his death. What Peter has taught is not based on some clever fables someone has dreamed up; instead, Peter himself was an eyewitness of the honor and glory Jesus had received from God the Father at the transfiguration. Peter, however, realizes that the Scriptures are even more certain than his experience. They will serve as a guide through the spiritual darkness of this age until the Lord Jesus returns. We can count on the Scriptures to direct our lives because the Holy Spirit led men in their writing with the result that every passage of Scripture harmonizes with the whole of Scripture. Thus, the Scriptures are the Word of God and are an absolutely trustworthy guide for our lives.

We see that –

    I.     THE SCRIPTURES ARE BETTER THAN EXPERIENCE – 1:12-19A

 

II Peter 1:12-19 a – (12) Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. (13) Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; (14) Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. (15) Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. (16) For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (17) For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (18) And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. (19a) We have also a more sure word of prophecy. . . .

 

No matter how wonderful an experience may seem to be, we must be careful that we interpret it and all of our experiences in the light of what the Scriptures really say. The Bible is correct. Our minds may play tricks on us, but the Bible will never play tricks on us. Satan may attempt to deceive us, but the Bible will never deceive us. We are not intelligent enough to be able to see through the deceptions of Satan, and we do not have enough information available to us to see through his trickery. The Bible, however, gives us clear instructions which will never lead us astray.

 

II Peter 1:12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

 

Wherefore is therefore or for this reason and indicates that an inference is being drawn from what Peter has just stated. Since the lack of these qualities mentioned in verses 5-7 may indicate an unsaved condition, and since their presence demonstrates a saved condition, Peter draws his inference.

 

I will not be negligent is I will not neglect or I will not be unconcerned.

 

I will not neglect to put you always in remembrance means I will not neglect to be continuously (or constantly) reminding you.

 

Of these things is about these things or concerning these things and refers to the presence or lack of the qualities of a godly saint mentioned in verses 5-7, i.e. 5 . . . adding to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

 

Though is although and is understood with both know and with be established

 

Know is not the same word previously translated know in this chapter. This word is understood in the sense of see or perceive rather than in the sense of understand. Its tense indicates that its action takes place at the same time as the action of I will not neglect. Although you know these things indicates that Peter’s readers knew these things at the time he was writing to them.

 

Be established is a word which, when used literally, means are set up, are fixed, are fixed firmly, are established, or are supported. When used figuratively as it is in this verse, it means are confirmed or are strengthened. Its tense pictures an action completed in past time with its result continuing on and thus indicates a settled position. They had already been established in the faith when Peter wrote his epistle, and they continued to be established in the faith. They were not about to be moved from it.

 

Although you are established in the present truth suggests although you are established in the truth of Christianity. They had placed their faith in Christ, and they were saved.

 

II Peter 1:13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.

 

Yea is used in this verse in an emphatic way meaning indeed or in fact.

 

I think it meet is I consider it right.

 

Tabernacle is a temporary dwelling place such as a tent. By tabernacle Peter is referring to his body as a temporary residence in contrast to his resurrection body in heaven, a body which will last forever and will never get sick, wear out, or die.

 

Consequently, as long as I am in this tabernacle means as long a period of time as Peter is physically alive or until Peter dies.

 

What Peter considers right as long as he is in this body is to stir you up by putting you in remembrance

 

To stir you up means to wake you up or to arouse you. It pictures you as being asleep. Its tense suggests an ongoing or repeated action. Once will not be enough. They will likely need stirring up regularly or from time to time.

 

The way Peter will stir them up is by putting them in remembrance, i.e. by means of a reminder.

 

II Peter 1:14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.

 

Verse 14 provides the reason Peter considers it right to stir up believers.

 

Knowing is used in the sense of because I know in the sense of because I see or because I perceive. Its is an ongoing perception.

 

What he knows is that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle.

 

I must put off is literally the removal of or the getting rid of.

 

Shortly is coming soon or is imminent and is placed in a position of emphasis.

 

This my tabernacle refers to Peter’s earthly body which will die and go to the grave. He knew that the removal of his body was imminent, that he would soon die.

 

Even as introduces the reason he knew this and means just as . . . also, i.e. just as our Lord has also shown me.

 

His knowledge came as a revelation directly from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, as hath shewed me suggests.

 

II Peter 1:15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

 

Moreover is a combination of two words which, when used together, suggest an emphatic continuation of the thought in the sense of and indeed, and certainly, or and in fact.

 

I will endeavor is I will make every effort, which indicates Peter’s resolve to do something. Peter realized that he would not live much longer. From this verse it is apparent that he realized that Christ would not return during his lifetime. While he was alive, he could testify regarding things he had seen and heard. After his death and the deaths of the other apostles, there would be no eyewitness testimony. Therefore, he determined to write this epistle so that he could be a witness regarding the things of Christ after his own death.

 

After my decease is after Peter’s death.

 

That ye may be able . . . to have these things always in remembrance suggests to enable Peter’s readers to remember these things at all times whether Peter was alive or dead.

 

That ye may be able is that you may have the possibility or that you may be in a position.

 

What Peter desires them to be able to do is to have these things always in remembrance, i.e. to remember these things at all times.

 

Again, these things refers to the qualities of the Christian life in verses 5-7 which are an evidence of their salvation.

 

II Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

 

For introduces the reason Peter will make every effort to provide a constant reminder long after his death of the things which accompany salvation. It is because it is the truth.

 

We suggests Peter himself.

 

Have not followed suggests more than a mere trailing after something. It connotes following an authority or obeying an authority.

 

Cunningly devised is craftily devised or cleverly devised.

 

Fables is tales, myths, legends, or stories.

 

No one had made up what Bible Christianity teaches. What Peter had followed was the truth as revealed by God.

 

When we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ suggests the time when Peter proclaimed the gospel message. Jesus Christ is coming again with power and great glory. The reference is to the second coming of Christ at the conclusion of the great tribulation.

 

Of our Lord Jesus Christ makes it specific that it is Christ’s power and Christ’s coming to which Peter is referring.

 

But introduces a strong contrast to what has preceded.

 

Were eyewitnesses of his majesty indicates that Peter had seen some glimpses of Christ’s power as well as of His glory during Christ’s earthly ministry when he accompanied Jesus throughout His three and one-half year ministry. According to John’s gospel alone, Peter had seen Christ turn the water into wine, heal the nobleman’s son at a distance, heal the impotent man, feed the 5,000, walk on the water, restore the sight of the man born blind, and raise Lazarus from the dead. Peter had also witnessed such things as the transfiguration, the resurrected Christ, and the ascension. The fact that Peter was an eyewitness means that he did not have to rely on someone else for his information. He saw these things himself.

 

Majesty is used in the sense of grandeur.

 

 

II Peter 1:17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

 

For introduces an explanation of just how Peter was an eyewitness of Christ’s majesty.

 

He received refers to Christ and means He obtained.

 

From God the Father indicates the source of this gift of honour and glory.

 

Honour is used in the sense of esteem. Such esteem from God should result in reverence or respect from man.

 

Glory is used in the sense of majesty.

 

When there came such a voice to him is when a voice such as this was uttered to Him.

 

From the excellent glory is by the excellent glory, and the excellent glory is none other than God the Father.

 

Excellent is majestic or magnificent.

 

What God the Father said was, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Christ has a unique relationship with God the Father in that He is the Father’s only-beloved Son.

 

I is emphatic and refers to God the Father.

 

In whom I am well pleased suggests in whom I take delight.

 

II Peter 1:18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

 

This voice refers to the voice of God the Father which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

 

Which came from heaven is out of heaven or from heaven. It may indicate that heaven is the source of the voice. Another possibility is that heaven does not refer to the place but refers to God the Father. In either case God the Father said it; and He was in heaven when He said it.

 

We heard indicates that Peter heard it himself. We is emphatic. No one had to tell Peter about this at some later time.

 

When we were with him in the holy mount tells when Peter heard this voice and where he was when he heard it. It was in a high mountain, and a voice from heaven spoke these words mentioned by Peter.

 

It is referred to as the holy mount because a holy event took place there.

 

II Peter 1:19 a – We have also a more sure word of prophecy. . . .

 

Peter’s experience at the transfiguration made a lasting impression upon him. However, it was in the past and would never be repeated. Furthermore, there was something better and even more certain than his experience at the transfiguration.

 

We have implies something that is lasting, something which is a timeless truth.

 

By we Peter may mean himself, or he may mean believers generally.

 

Also suggests in addition to.

 

What we have in addition to the experience at the transfiguration is a more sure word of prophecy.

 

Sure is literally firm or permanent. When it is used in a figurative sense as it is in this verse, it means reliable, dependable, or certain.

 

The form of sure used in this verse indicates that Peter is making a comparison as is made clear by more.

 

It is more certain than the experience Peter had at the transfiguration. Now there was no uncertainty about the transfiguration, but this prophetic word is even more certain than the transfiguration. Those in our day who place so much emphasis upon things which are experiential in nature would do well to heed Peter’s statement regarding his experience. We must always evaluate all experiences in the light of the written Word of God.

 

A more sure word of prophecy is the more sure prophetic word. It is the Scriptures; and it is more certain or dependable than the experience Peter, James, and John had at the transfiguration.

We also see that –

  II.     THE SCRIPTURES MUST BE HEEDED AS A LIGHT THAT SHINES IN A DARK PLACE – 1:19B

 

II Peter 1:19 b – . . . Whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place. . . .

 

Whereunto refers to the more sure word of prophecy and suggests to which.

 

Ye do well suggests that this is the right course of action to be taken and indicates continuous action.

 

That ye take heed is that you pay attention to

 

As unto a light that shineth in a dark place describes how the believer should take heed to, pay attention to, or follow the prophetic word. When one is in a place where it is very dark, his attention is naturally drawn to a light or lamp off in the distance, especially if he is in need of direction or assistance. The Scriptures are like that. They will show you the way you need to go.

 

They will show you how to be saved.

 

They will show you how to live a godly life.

 

They will show you how to treat your wife or your husband and your children.

 

They will show you how to raise your family.

 

They will meet every spiritual need you will ever have.

In addition, we see that –

 III.     THE SCRIPTURES MUST BE HEEDED UNTIL THE DAY DAWNS – 1:19C

 

II Peter 1:19 c – . . . That ye take heed . . . until the day dawn . . . .

 

We are to take heed to (or to pay attention to) the Scriptures until the day dawn. When daybreak comes, you no longer need to follow the light like you did during the night.

 

The day dawn suggests the time of Christ’s return. The Scripture has been given to us to guide us in this age in which we live. When Christ returns, we will no longer need the illumination of the Word of God because Jesus will be present to guide and direct us.

 

We must study the Bible and live according to it until the time the Lord comes back for us.

Furthermore, we see that –

 IV.     THE SCRIPTURES MUST BE HEEDED UNTIL THE DAY STAR ARISES IN YOUR HEARTS – 1:19D

 

II Peter 1:19 d – . . . That ye take heed . . . until . . . the day star arise in your hearts.

 

The day star is the star which shines very brightly just before dawn.

 

The day star in this passage refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Revelation of Jesus Christ 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

 

Arise suggests springs up.

 

In your hearts is best understood with arise and, therefore, tells us where the day star arises.

 

The fact that the star arises in your hearts means that we must pay attention to the Scriptures until such time as we become perfectly Christlike in our hearts. As we study the Scriptures and submit our hearts and minds to them, God the Holy Spirit will produce a Christlikeness in our lives. A Christlikeness in our hearts will result in a Christlikeness in our actions.

 

In this life, however, no matter how much progress we may make toward Christlikeness, we will never quite make it to the point where we are completely Christlike because we have old sin natures. Nevertheless, we must keep making progress toward Christlikeness, and we must approach it as closely as we possibly can. I must be more like Jesus in my life today than I was last year. Next year, I must be more like Jesus than I am this year. Ten years from now I must be far more Christlike than I am today.

 

We must study the Scriptures until the Holy Spirit produces a perfect Christlikeness in us.

Furthermore, we see that –

   V.     THE SCRIPTURES ARE NOT OF ANY PRIVATE INTERPRETATION – 1:20

 

II Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

 

This does not mean that one person may interpret a passage of Scripture in one way and someone else may interpret the same passage of Scripture in another way and both be right. They may both be wrong, but they may not both be right.

 

Instead, this means that no passage of the Bible may be interpreted by itself apart from all the rest of the Bible. In other words, the Bible will harmonize with itself. There are no contradictions from one part to another. Scripture must be used to interpret Scripture.

 

Knowing suggests because you know. What we know is that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.

 

First suggests in the first place, above all, or especially.

 

That no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation is what is known above all else. It is an absolute and all-encompassing statement. It is literally, every prophecy of Scripture is not of its own interpretation. Every prophecy includes every portion of the Scripture, but it also limits prophecy to the prophecies found in the Sacred Writings.

 

Is implies that this is a timeless truth.

 

Private is its own or belonging to itself.

 

Interpretation is used in the sense of explanation. As the next verse makes clear, the meaning is that every Scripture is interpreted by the entire body of Scripture. It is not to be interpreted privately, i.e. separately from the rest of Scripture. Scripture interprets Scripture.

Next, we see that –

 VI.     THE SCRIPTURES ARE NOT JUST A HUMAN PRODUCTION – 1:21A

 

II Peter 1:21 a – For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man. . . .

 

If men wrote the Bible without the aid of the Holy Spirit, there would be all kinds of contradictions from one writer to another; but the Bible is a book which has no contradictions.

 

Verse 21 serves to explain verse 20 as for indicates. Verse 21 is a general truth regarding prophecy; whereas, verse 20 is specifically given in regard to the prophecy of the Scripture.

 

The prophecy is simply prophecy. The omission of the in the Greek text before prophecy indicates that it speaks of prophecy generally rather than of a specific prophecy. It refers to the prophetic words or utterances of prophets.

 

Came is was brought in the sense of was uttered.

 

Not and by the will of man are placed in positions of emphasis in the Greek text.

 

The prophecy was not uttered or was never uttered by the will of man where man is the generic term for humanity which includes females as well as males.

 

At any time is at some time or other of the past, once, or formerly. When joined with not, it implies never. No one ever determined of his own will to produce a prophecy which is now a part of the sacred writings of Scripture. The Scriptures were written over a period of 1,600 years by approximately forty authors. Had it been produced by the human will, it is inconceivable that it would not be filled with all sorts of contradictions; and a harmony of it would be impossible. Since the Scriptures are a product of the divine will, and since the mind of God will never contradict itself, one can count on the fact that the Scriptures will never contradict themselves. One can have full confidence that no matter what harmonization difficulty or apparent contradiction someone puts forth, there is a proper way to understand it which will harmonize with the rest of the Bible. If there is a problem, it does not lie with the Scriptures; the problem lies with us and with our limited understanding of them.

Finally, we see that –

VII.     THE SCRIPTURES WERE WRITTEN UNDER THE DIRECTION OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT - 1:21B

 

II Peter 1:21 b – . . . Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

 

But introduces a statement in strong contrast. Rather than the Scriptures being the product of the will of human beings, it was produced through the direction of God the Holy Spirit.

 

Holy men of God are human beings set apart for God or dedicated to God.

 

Men is the generic term for humanity. These individuals belong to God.

 

Spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost indicates that these men of God did not make up their prophecies. God the Holy Spirit moved them, and they spoke as a result.

 

Moved literally means carried or borne along and implies led or directed. The fact that the Holy Spirit directed all prophecy insures that He also directed the writers of Scripture. The result is that we have a Bible which is a divine-human product. Since the Holy Spirit led the writers as they wrote, we have a finished product which is inerrant, infallible, and authoritative. It is a written record which does not change and which we have for constant reference. It is even more certain than the experience of Peter at the transfiguration.

 

Since God the Holy Spirit directed each human writer of the Bible, we have the very words which God intended us to have. Also, there are no errors or contradictions.

 

As a result of this, we have a Bible which we may trust. Whatever it says is true. We need to make every effort to learn what the Bible says and to practice it in our lives. When it says that we need to be doing something, then we need to be doing it. When it says we need to stop doing something, then we need to stop doing it. Each time we learn something new from the Bible, we are to submit ourselves to its teaching. When you do this over a period of time, God will richly bless your life.

CONCLUSION:

 

The Bible is such a book that we can rely upon because it is better than experience.

 

It was written under the supervision of God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we can rely upon it; and we can believe what it says. It is completely trustworthy.

 

We must believe what it says regarding how we may go to heaven.

 

We must build our lives on it and be pleasing to the Lord in all that we do and say.

 

We must submit our hearts and minds to the teaching of the Bible, and watch the Holy Spirit produce a Christlikeness in our lives as a result.