Most believers today seem to be more that just interested in “end time” or “prophetic” issues. They seem to be undeniably obsessed with thoughts and questions of what will transpire in the months, years, decades, or millennia to come. The big question in their mind is, “What is next on God’s calendar?” I will consider that question in this article.
I would like us to start with a verse of scripture that seems to be either ignored or misinterpreted in the Christian world today.
2 Peter 1:16-20
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 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. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
I like the way Peter presents this to his readers. He tells them that his gospel is not made up tales and stories that he hopes will cause them to follow him or his teachings. He says that when he was with them that he made known to them the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but Peter’s gospel and manner of living for that matter was not according to some whim or fairy tale he imagined. What was the basis of Peter’s teaching? What was the reference point for all that Peter had said and will say? Peter was an eyewitness of the Majesty of Christ. He had seen Jesus.
Now, we know that Peter walked with Jesus during His earthly ministry, but did this constitute the seeing of Jesus? No. Because seeing Jesus is not something we do with the natural eyes, but is a work of the Spirit of God revealing in us the very same Christ who lives in us.
Paul says it this way in 2 Cor 5:16, “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.” Paul’s validation of Salvation was not the Jesus who walked on the earth, but the Risen Lord who brought forth by the power of His Resurrection a New Creation.
Peter continues and says something I would like to focus on, “We have a more sure word of prophecy”. First, let us consider what that does not mean. Peter does not mean that Jesus ensures for the believer that the prophecies for which the church is waiting will happen. He does not mean that the Church has more certain promises for a future fulfillment.
So what does Peter mean when he says that we have a more sure word of prophecy? For the answer, we begin to look at basic Greek word definitions.
The term “more sure” is the from the Greek word “bebaios”. This word means stable, sure, steadfast, in effect, valid. Vincent’s New Testament Word Study translates this verse, “we have the word of prophecy made more sure”. The New King James Version translates it, “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed”. The New International Version reads, “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain”. Finally, the Rotherham Bible says, “And we have, more firm, the prophetic word”.
If we read verse twenty we notice that Peter is speaking concerning the prophets of the Old Covenant. He says that these prophets did not speak according to their own personal convictions and ideas, but spoke as the Spirit of God moved them. Jesus tells us in John 15:26 that the Spirit will only speak of Him. Do we then think that the same Spirit of God moved upon these prophets to testify of something or someone other that Christ? Do we think that these men declared events on calendars instead of spiritual reality that find summation and certainty in Christ Jesus the Lord? They were declaring what the Spirit of God only declares and that is the realty of Christ and Him Crucified.
Barnes Commentary says of this scripture, “There can be no doubt that the apostle refers here to what is contained in the Old Testament; for, in 2 Peter 1:21, he speaks of the prophecy as that which was spoken "in old time, by men that were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The point to which the prophecies related, and to which Peter referred, was the great doctrine respecting the coming of the Messiah, embracing perhaps all that pertained to his work, or all that he designed to do by his advent.”
These men were speaking of a reality that would be brought about by and in Christ through His death, burial, and resurrection. This brings us back to the question of what does Peter mean by saying, “we have the prophets made certain”. He is simply saying that Christ is now, for the Church, the certainty and the substance of every word that was spoken by the Old Covenant prophets. Everything that Israel looked for and desired, the Church is now made to be partakers. How? We are made to be partakers of Christ. In Him, every utterance of God finds its ultimate Amen. Of course, we read this in 2 Corinthians 1:20: For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Let us ponder the word all in this verse. All the promises of God, this takes in every aspect of God’s speech in time past.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews starts his letter by saying the same thing. Hebrews 1:1-2, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son”. God did at one time speak by the prophets. He spoke through them concerning Christ, but now He speaks in His Son. Christ has now come as the effectual Word of God. God has brought forth His final and perfect utterance in Christ. Christ, the same Christ that lives in you, is the full disclosure and eternal exegesis of God's mind and purpose. Therefore, Peter is not speaking of anything future, but the sure and certain Word of The Living God Who did not return unto the Father void, but accomplished (finished, perfected) that for which He was sent (Isa. 55:11).
Remember, Peter is making this comment because of his experience on the Mountain.
And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 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; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 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. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. 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.
There is so much to see in this passage, but I will only comment on a few points. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the mountain. Peter got excited about what he was seeing and requested to build three tabernacles, one for Moses, one for Elijah and one for Jesus.
Moses is the lawgiver and in him, we see the Law being represented. Elijah is the prophet of God and in him; we see the prophets and prophecies represented. Therefore, when Peter sees this, he is seeing the Law, the Prophets, and Jesus and he wants to hold on to all three. Is this not what the Church world wants today? They want to abide by the letter of the Law. They want to hold to the prophecies of old and put them as a future hope. Yet, they also want to boast of the Salvation they have in Jesus. I submit that you cannot have all three. God will not allow this. Notice the scripture says that as Peter was still speaking about the three tabernacles, God overshadowed them with a cloud.
While the cloud was covering them, God spoke saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, HEAR YE HIM. Jesus then comes to them and causes them to Arise. What a beautiful picture of the Resurrection. They were raised in the power of His Life and the authority of His Word. The Law and Prophets spoke of Him, but only the Living Word can give Life. Then when they lifted up their eyes they saw no man, they saw only Jesus. Here is the truth and reality of His Resurrection. No man lives, but by Him.
In this article, I only have the time to mention this point. God says, This is my beloved Son… Hear Him. What is God saying? More importantly, what is God summing up with this statement? God is saying in this, of all that Moses (the Law) said and all that Elijah (the prophets) declared, my Son is the More Sure Word. He is the Word in Whom I find delight. The church today wants all three: The Law, The Prophets, and Jesus, but there is only ONE Living Word and He fulfills all that ever spoke, for they only spoke of HIM. HEAR HIM.
Hear Him: Now we who are in Christ have and are to apprehend the more sure Word of prophecy. Christ is the Word that sums up every utterance of God. Hear Him.
He is the Word, the hearing of which brings the Faith that now is evidence and substance. This Word is not heard by repeating scripture to ourselves, but by the Father revealing His Word in our hearts. Let us hear the Eternal Word that we may walk in the certainty and partake of the reality the prophets said would come, as it has now come in Christ. Hear Him.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
1 John 1:1-2
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)