Lesson 4 - Chapter 1: 16 - 21

Lesson 4 - Chapter 1: 16 - 21

Lesson for August 18, 2013

The Book of II Peter

Chapter 1:16-21

Verse 16

For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

For we did not follow means to imitate or to follow authority.  Cleverly devised means skillfully invented.  Tales is translated fables in the King James VersionPeter was simply saying that the writers of Scripture were not making up stories to tickle the ear or to entertain.  He did not use human experience as his criterion.  Peter used the doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ as the basis for establishing the true criterion for the Christian life – a personal sense of destiny.  Peter actually saw a glimpse of the Second Coming on the mount of transfiguration.  

Verse 17-18

For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with Whom I am well-pleased” - and we ourselves heard this utterance made from Heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

The Greek word for honor is “time” meaning a value that cannot be measured.  The Greek word for glory is “doxa” referring to the perfect character of God (literally, honor that comes from a good opinion).   God’s opinion of His Son Jesus Christ should be obvious since Christ exhibited the character of deity throughout His time on earth.  God the Father confirms this opinion regarding Christ many times in His Word.  The Greek word for utterance is “phone,” which means a voice.  In this case, it was no ordinary voice – it was God the Father speaking from Heaven at the Transfiguration.  

The Transfiguration

(Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:1-13; Luke 9:28-36)

This well-known event in the life of Christ had specific application for the disciples.  The Greek word for transfigure is “metamorphoo” and means a change in form.  This change can be a literal change (as in the case of Christ at this event) or it can be a figurative change (as in the life of the believer – Romans 12:2 – transformed is the same Greek word).  In the case of the Transfiguration, Jesus Christ’s physical appearance was changed for a brief period.  The reason for this event was to completely convince His disciples that He was the Messiah by giving them a glimpse of the future.  What the disciples saw was Jesus, Moses and Elijah talking about the resurrection of Christ.  This event gave the disciples a great deal of spiritual strength (a personal sense of destiny) in order to endure the events that would follow.  Not long after this event, Jesus was taken, tried as a criminal and crucified by the Romans, but was resurrected three days later.

There can be no doubt from the context of Scripture that the physical appearance of Jesus changed.  Matthew says that His face shone clear and bright as the sun and His clothing became as white as light.  Mark calls it “divine brightness.”  Luke echoes the accounts of both, but adds that His clothing flashed as lightning.  Jesus allowed His closest followers, Peter, John and James to witness a glimpse of the glory of His resurrection body (Moses and Elijah also appeared in some majestic form – perhaps an interim glorified body).  Surely this would convince them of what Jesus had been teaching them - that He was the God-Man (both human and divine) and that He would have to suffer and die, but be raised from the dead.  Once again, Peter stepped to the forefront and showed that he still didn’t fully understand the purpose for which Jesus had come.   While it may have seemed good on the surface to offer to build an altar to Elijah, Moses and Jesus, Peter had made an error in judgment.  Peter had knowingly or unknowingly put Jesus on the same level as these two Old Testament prophets. 

Peter also entered a conversation in which he had no business.  No one had spoken to Peter, but he was obviously listening to the discussion regarding the resurrection of Christ.  God the Father corrected Peter’s error by speaking directly from Heaven.  God the Father simply said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased, hear ye Him.”  This statement from God the Father did not diminish the role that Elijah and Moses had played in the fulfillment of God’s plan for Israel or their roles during the Tribulation. (Revelation 3)

After Jesus had charged His disciples not to tell anyone about this vision, the disciples asked Him a question regarding the coming of Elijah (Elias).  Their question was regarding the scribes’ teaching that Elijah must come first, before the Day of the Lord (Christ’s second coming).  The disciples were struggling with the idea of Christ’s resurrection, assuming He was referring to the Second Coming, as evidenced from Mark 9:10.  The scribes had taught correctly that Elijah would come as a forerunner to Christ’s second coming. (Malachi 4:5)  What they missed was the fact of Christ’s first coming as a servant and savior.  These events were prophesied throughout the Old Testament, but were ignored by the mainstream scribes and Pharisees (some believed in Christ – John 3:1-8; 12:42; 19:39)  Jesus answered the disciples’ question by telling them that Elijah had already come.  The disciples understood that Jesus was referring to John the Baptist, who had come in “the power and spirit of Elijah.” (Matthew 11:7-14; Luke 1:17) 

Verse 19

And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

Prophetic word refers to the teachings of God’s Word – Bible doctrine.  Specifically, it refers to the doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ referred to in this passage.   More sure is the Greek word “bebaios” meaning more certain or more reliable.   It is Bible doctrine that shines the light of truth into the darkness of human viewpoint thinking.  Peter reminds us that God’s Word is a lamp unto our path in life as a guide to victorious Christian living.  Light is an analogy for truth. 

Until the day dawns and the morning star arises is a parenthesis in this verse referring to the Second Coming of Christ.  Christ as the Light of the world will return.  The Second Coming is compared to the dawning of a new day.  The new day is the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.

The word daystar is the Greek word “phosphoros” meaning light-bearer from which we get the English, phosphorous.   This is a reference to Jesus Christ who is the light-bearer at the Second Coming.  There will be darkness covering the earth and Christ will actually light up the world when He returns at the Second Coming.  The daystar is a light-bearing body.  And that light-bearing body is the resurrection body of Jesus Christ. (Zechariah 14:6-9)

Verse 20-21

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.


  1. The principle of inspiration.  The Greek noun, THEOPNEUSTOS, or “God-breathed” (II Timothy 3:16), entails the principle of inspiration and involves both inhale and exhale.  In the inhale, the Holy Spirit communicated to human authors God’s complete and coherent message (II Samuel 23:2, 3; Isaiah 59:21; Jeremiah l:9; Matthew 22:42-44; Mark 12:36; Acts 4:24, 25; 28:25). In the exhale, the human writers of Scripture wrote without waiving their human intelligence, their vocabulary, their personal feelings, their literary style, their personality or individuality.  God’s complete message to man was permanently recorded with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture.
  2. The origin of Scripture. The Scriptures are not human viewpoint, but rather, the Holy Spirit’s use of human agencies and human language. (II Peter 1:20, 21)
  3.  The Bible is the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) Therefore, it is the absolute criterion for believers. (Psa. 138:2).
  4. The Bible existed in eternity past. As the mind of Christ, the Bible existed prior to the time it was reduced to written form. (Proverbs 8:22-31)
  5. Pre-canon revelation from God occurred through the Holy Spirit. (II Samuel 23:2; Ezekiel 2:2; 8:3; 11:1,24; Micah 3:8; Heb. 3:7)  There was no written Scripture until the time of Moses.  Prior to that time, God the Holy Spirit revealed doctrine to members of the human race.
  6. Four categories of Old Testament revelation in addition to Scripture.  In Old Testament times, God spoke in four different ways to prophets and others:
    1. The spoken Word (Isaiah 6:8-10)
    2. Dreams (Genesis 15:12; 31:10-13, 24; Numbers 12:6; Dan. 10:9)
    3. Visions (1 Kings 22:19; lsaiah 1:1; 6:l)
    4. Angelic teaching (Deuteronomy 33:2; Psa. 68:17; Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19)
  7. The extent of Inspiration:
    1. Unknown Past.  The Bible portrays historical statements and details unknown to man and unconfirmed by human records (Genesis 1:11). Inspiration guarantees the accuracy of these events.  For example, in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, we have two accounts of the fall of Satan.  Satan existed long before man; yet we have in writing, with perfect accuracy, all that God wants us to know about Satan’s fall. There are several accounts of the creation of the universe.  These are found throughout the Scriptures from Genesis to Isaiah, to Colossians 1.  Man would have no way of knowing these events were it not for the fact that God Himself provided the information through inspiration so that we might know about eternity past.
    2. Ancient History. Although the Bible is not a history textbook, it contains many historical citations. All of these are necessary and accurate, and form the basis and background for the communication of doctrine (isagogics).  As late as fifty years ago, many scholars of history teamed up with certain archaeologists and said that the Bible was in error with regard to certain parts of its history.  Since there were no records to substantiate the historical authenticity of certain passages, they claimed those events never occurred.  Since then, however, there have been numerous discoveries from the ancient world, including the translation of Ugaritic (pagan Canaan literature) and the excavation of Troy.  These historical records bear out and actually demonstrate the perfect accuracy of the Scriptures.
    3. Objective-Type Law.  In certain portions of the Word you will find laws governing various phases of individual and national life.  For instance, there is the Law of Volition.  Man has a free will, and he is free to operate under his volition.  He may decide to depend upon God or to act independently of God.  We also find laws of Marriage, Family and National Entity.  Inspiration of Scripture guarantees that these are divine laws.  It is to man’s benefit that they be followed and executed.  These laws perfectly express the essence of God and His will for the people to whom they were given.  The repetition of these laws in Scripture demonstrates their application to every generation.
    4. Dictation and Prophecy. Some portions of the Bible contain direct quotations from God.  On occasion, God made known future events which man had no way of foreseeing or understanding at the time of their revelation.  The most significant area of accuracy in the Old Testament prophecies is those which deal with the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  For example, God said that Messiah would die on a cross (Psalms 22:16); yet at the time of these prophecies, crucifixion was unknown to the Jews.  Even as history was the fulfillment of the prophecies of the past, so will the future prophecies of the Tribulation, the Second Coming of Christ and the Millennium be fulfilled!
    5. Devotional Literature.  This includes the Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes and Job.  
    6. Recording of Falsehoods.  The record of human or satanic lies in the text of Scripture does not imply that falsehood is truth; but inspiration guarantees the accuracy of the lie.  For example, we have the devil’s conversation with the woman in the Garden (Genesis 3:1-5): while this is exactly what the devil said, it was not truth.