The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
July 10, 2011
1) 2 Peter 1:14-21 (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
2 Peter 1:14-21
by Tom Edwards
The KJV, and some other versions, refer to Peter's body as a
"tabernacle" (2 Pet. 1:14). It is also translated as "tent" in
the NKJV, which is literally what a tabernacle is. The NASB
renders it as Peter's "earthly dwelling," and some other versions
simply call it Peter's "body." The idea of referring to a body as
a "tent" seems very appropriate for those who live in houses and view
tents as more of a temporary structure. But, actually, in
comparing our earthly body to a heavenly one, there is, by far, a much
wider extreme of temporary to permanent.
Paul also referred to the body in this way in 2 Corinthians 5:1-4: "For
we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we
have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the
heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with
our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be
found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being
burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so
that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life."
Referring to the body as a "tabernacle" or a "tent" is another way of
indicating man's brevity of life, upon this planet -- and why,
therefore, man should be more concerned with where the eternal abode
for his soul will be. For concerning the brevity of life,
consider the following:
"Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just
a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away" (Jms.
"Man, who is born of woman, Is short-lived and full of turmoil.
Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow
and does not remain" (Job 14:1,2).
"Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as
nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere
breath..." (Psa. 39:5).
This phrase Peter uses in 2 Peter 1:14, "the laying aside of my earthly
dwelling," is also interesting. Though Peter is speaking about
his death, he refers to that as if it were like taking down or
evacuating a tent. In other words, man is more than his temporary
body. For Jesus shows the distinction in the body and the soul by
saying, "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the
soul..." (Matt. 10:28). Death has been referred to as
a time when the body returns to dust, from which it was made (Gen.
3:19); but "the spirit will return to God who gave it" (Eccl.
12:7). We think, too, of the second to the last thing Stephen
said to the Lord, prior to Stephen's death, in Acts 7:59, "...'Lord
Jesus, receive my spirit!'" Soon after saying this, Stephen's
body then fell to the ground -- and remained there until it was moved
-- but his soul (or spirit) had immediately departed to a better realm.
In like manner, from the cross at Calvary, Jesus' last words, prior to
His death, which he cried out "with a loud voice," were, "...'Father,
into Thy hands I commit My Spirit.'..." (Luke 23:46).
Clearly, the Lord's Spirit had departed from His body at death. The
body did not depart, it remained on the cross until it was taken down
and placed for 3 days in a tomb. Meanwhile, however, the Lord's
Spirit, that was committed to God, was in a beautiful place called
"Paradise." That is also what He had promised the penitent thief
on the cross in Luke 23:43, "And He said to him, 'Truly I say to
you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.'" So while the
Lord's body was in the burial tomb, His soul (or His Spirit) was there
in the Hadean realm of Paradise.
These thoughts are good to keep in mind for refuting the misconception
that some believe today that man doesn't have a soul -- man is a
soul. And, therefore, any lost person who dies will simply become
no more. For when his body perishes, his soul also perishes
(since they are the same). This, for instance, is what the
Jehovah Witnesses believe; but, though the term "soul" is used to
sometimes include the body (cf. Gen. 2:7 KJV), it is also seen as
separate or distinct from the body (as we saw earlier in Matthew
What Peter next expresses in 2 Peter 1:16-18 is exactly what the Lord
had called him and the other apostles to be -- His witnesses.
Peter declares: "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 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." Peter shows
that what he is teaching is not merely second-hand information --
regardless of how clever it might have been put together.
Rather, he is teaching that which he himself had personally
witnessed. This particular reference pertains to what Peter had
seen on the Mount of Transfiguration, which is recorded in Matthew
17:1-9, Mark 9:2-9, and Luke 9:28-37. From Matthew's account, it
wasn't Peter alone, but also James and John who witnessed this.
These have sometimes been referred to as the "inner three," due to the
closer relationship they appear to have had with the Lord.
Another occasion in which these were the only three apostles the Lord
allowed to accompany Him was when Jesus raised the Synagogue official's
12-year old daughter from the dead: "And He allowed no one to accompany
Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James" (Matt.
5:37). We do read, however, that when they arrived at the home,
Jesus allowed the girl's father and mother to also enter the room with
them (v. 40). And though all the apostles -- except Judas -- were
with Jesus when He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray on the
night of His betrayal, it was only Peter, James, and John who
accompanied Him farther into the garden, according to Mark
14:32-36. When these three apostles heard for themselves the
voice of God the Father, at the Mount of Transfiguration, it was
similar to what the Father had also declared when Jesus was baptized by
John the Baptist; but there is now an addition. While Jesus stood
there with Moses (the great Lawgiver) and Elijah (who represents the
prophets), He was standing with the two men who symbolized the Jews'
religion -- and that being, the Law and the Prophets. But now the
Father is not only expressing how pleased He is with His Son Jesus, but
also exhorting Peter, James, and John to "listen to Him!" (Matt.
17:5). In other words, Jesus and His message would far surpass
that of Moses and Elijah. And this is exactly what the Hebrew
writer shows, in various ways. That in Christ, we have a better
covenant, a better sacrifice, a better priesthood, a better hope, a
better resurrection, a better many things (which Jesus has made
potentially possible for each individual). We, therefore, must
take heed to His message today. For to not do so would be very
foolish, as we can infer from the warning in Hebrews 10:28,29, "Anyone
who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony
of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you
think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and
has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was
sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?" So what the
Father was saying about Jesus on the mount was truly glory and an honor
According to tradition, the Mount of Transfiguration was Mount
Tabor; but it has also been pointed out that that could not be it, for
in the days of Christ and His apostles, there was a fortress on the top
of this mount; and it was a populated area; so, since that is so, how
could it then be said that the Lord had taken them "apart." We
would assume, instead, that it would be to a deserted area where they
went. Many commentators have suggested Mount Hermon as the
possible sight. It truly was a high mountain. According to
Baker's Bible Atlas, it is 9,232 feet above sea level and covered with
snow much of the year. But, still, the Bible doesn't say where
the Mount of Transfiguration actually was. Mount Tabor, by the
way, is just 1,800 feet.
Peter then goes on to say more about the sureness of his message in 2
Peter 1:19-21: "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. 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."
Peter speaks of having this prophetic message made "more sure."
This comes from the Greek word "bebaios," which Strong defines as
"stable (literally or figuratively): - firm, of force, stedfast,
sure." Throughout the OT are numerous prophecies. It has
been said that there are about 332 pertaining to Jesus. All of
these were "sure" prophecies for it was the Lord who gave them.
We have noted of the past-tense wording in many of them, which seems to
also indicate their sureness. For instance, consider Isaiah
53:3-5, which was written about 700 years before the Lord's
crucifixion: "He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He
was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He
Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him
stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced
through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The
chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we
Another Messianic prophecy of the crucifixion is in Psalm 22, which was
written about 1,000 years before the time of Christ's sacrifice.
Notice verses 12-18: "Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of
Bashan have encircled me. They open wide their mouth at me, As a
ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, And all
my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within
me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue
cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death. For dogs
have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They
pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They
look, they stare at me; They divide my garments among them, And for my
clothing they cast lots."
What could make these OT prophecies "more sure"? How about the
fulfillment of them? As we have considered, the odds of just 8
prophecies coming about by mere chance or coincidence (and even
omitting the one of the virgin birth) are so astronomical (1 in 10 to
the 17th power, according to Peter Stoner in "Science Speaks") that
mere chance or coincidence must be ruled out. For the odds of
that happening is the equivalent of finding one specially marked silver
dollar, blind-folded and on the first try, in a mass of silver dollars
two feet deep and covering the entire state of Texas! Peter
Stoner had also calculated the odds of just 48 of these prophecies
coming about by mere chance; and he found those odds to be 1 in 10 to
the 157th power! And 10 to the 157th power is 1 with 157 zeros
after it!!! This in itself is something that can strengthen our
faith in the divine inspiration of the word of God.
Also, we think about the faith of those who lived prior to the coming
of the Messiah. Many believed -- for hundreds of years -- that
the Messiah would one day come. And, eventually, "in the fulness
of time" (Gal. 4:4), which means "the proper or destined time," He did
come. Now, we today, however, can look back and see that He did
come; and the very fact that He came the first time, helps us to
believe in His second coming, as well.
In addition, Peter had just been speaking about what he heard and
witnessed on the Mount of Transfiguration: Jesus took on a glorious
appearance, the Father referred to Him as not only His Son; but also as
one with Whom He was well-pleased. In other words, just as God's
word had been confirmed by the signs that followed; would that not also
be the case with this "sure word of prophecy" and the supernatural
events Peter witnessed on the mount?
The greater our faith becomes in the Lord, the more easier we can
believe and accept His word. Would it not seem that everything we
have during the NT age, including the prophetic word, is better than
before? For instance, with regard to OT prophecies, now we have
the interpretation of those prophecies, as explained in the NT by the
apostles or prophets. Now we can know, for instance, that John
the Baptist is that Elijah who was to come (Mal. 4:5; Matt.
17:11-13). And now we can know that the "fallen booth of David"
that the Lord would "raise up" (Amos 9:11) is a prophecy of the church,
which would be for not only the Jews; but also the Gentiles (Acts
15:14-19). Yes, now we can know that "the last days" that Joel
prophesied (Joel 2:28- 32) began on the day of Pentecost, 50 days after
the Lord's death, 10 days after His ascension (Acts 2:16-21). Now
we can understand that Christ's being "begotten" (Psa. 2:7) has
reference to His resurrection (Acts 13:28-37) -- rather than to His
conception in the womb of Mary. Now we can see that the "seed" of
Abraham, in whom all nations of the world can be blessed (according to
Gen. 22:18), is fulfilled in none other, but Jesus Christ (in Gal.
3:16,19). Much of the NT is a referral back to the OT, in showing
a fulfillment and giving an explanation. With regard to many of
these OT prophecies, the old saying is true that "The OT is the NT
concealed; and the NT is the OT revealed." So when we study the
NT, the OT can become clearer to us -- and vice versa.
According to A.T. Robertson, in his "Word Pictures," "The
Transfiguration scene confirmed the Messianic prophecies and made clear
the deity of Jesus Christ as God's Beloved Son." "The testimony of
these prophets was thus made more sure by that which Peter, James, and
John had witnessed in the holy mount, and which Peter was then
Peter, James, and John had the OT. They had read about the
Messiah; but now He was right there in their midst. They saw him
transfigured right before their eyes. His face shown like the
sun, and His garments became as white as light. It was a
miraculous event, with two great OT characters also present -- Moses
and Elijah. Peter, James, and John also heard the voice of God
acknowledging that not only was Jesus His Son, but He was also one in
whom the Father was well-pleased and wanted them to listen to. If
Peter, James, and John were reflecting on any of those Messianic
prophecies at this time, how much more this event must have made those
prophecies even more real to them -- "more sure" -- through what they
The phrase "pay attention" (2 Pet. 1:19), from "prosecho," is
rendered in the KJV as "take heed" in this verse; and here we see that
it is the "prophetic word," God's word, that we need to give our
serious attention to.
God's word is likened to a "lamp shining in a dark place." Thayer
defines the Greek word for "dark" as "1) squalid, dirty 1a) since dirty
things are destitute of brightness." So Guy N. Woods likens this
to "a squalid, filthy, and dark dungeon," which is "a fitting
description of the condition which characterizes men without the light
of truth." He goes on to say, "Into such a world the lamp of
prophecy sheds its light bringing hope and cheer. To such a lamp
Peter's readers were to look 'until the day' should dawn through the
gloom of night and the daystar (Christ) should shed its full brilliance
upon them." Though the Lord's second coming will be a glorious
time for the redeemed, Peter appears to be rather focusing on the
illumination, the hope, and the good cheer that God's word can bring to
a people who had been lost in a dark world of sin. As the
psalmist declares in Psalm 119:105, "Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and
a light to my path."
In Revelation 22:16, Jesus refers to himself as being "the bright
morning star." He is also "the light of the world"; and He gives
the promise that "...he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness,
but shall have the light of life" (Jn. 8:12). We are, therefore,
to "walk in the light" by living according to God's word -- rather than
walking in the darkness by rejecting that truth (1 Jn. 1:6,7).
Peter concludes this chapter by pointing out that prophecy did not come
about by human will; but, rather, by the Holy Spirit. This can be
seen in the fulfillment of the numerous OT prophecies. As we
considered earlier, how could man have just made lucky guesses for all
of these hundreds of prophecies to come true -- when the odds of just a
few such prophecies finding fulfillment through mere chance would be so
highly astronomical that chance or coincidence must be ruled out.
The only logical conclusion is that God truly did reveal His
word. So these prophecies did not come about through merely the
prophet's own private or personal interpretation.
In addition, it needs to be pointed out that this passage is not
teaching, as some assert, that man does not have the ability to read,
understand, and explain the Scriptures. (For the Bible clearly
shows in Ephesians 3:4 that one can.) Rather, Peter is simply
indicating that the prophets were more like writing pens in the hand of
God. For it was He who, by the Holy Spirit, gave them every word
to speak, which is the meaning of the "verbal inspiration" of the word
of God -- and also exemplified in the apostles speaking in tongues in
Acts 2, where they used languages they did not know, but were declaring
of the mighty acts of God. So there was no way that could have
been done by their own private or personal interpretation. Also,
sometimes the prophets did not even fully understand everything about
the prophecies God gave them, as Peter shows in 1 Peter 1:10-12.
Corresponding to this, Paul writes, "All Scripture is inspired by God
and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training
in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for
every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16,17). The phrase "inspired by God"
is from the Greek word "theopneustos," which literally means "God
breathed." So in thinking of the inspiration of the Scriptures,
it is as if God breathed out every word of it to form this divine book.
As we end this chapter, it's interesting to note the test of a true
prophet, as shown in the OT (Deut. 18:20-22). This passage
indicates that anything less than being 100% correct would have
resulted in death, for it would then mean that the prophet had spoken
presumptuously -- rather than spoken the word of the Lord.
How thankful we should be for God's "prophetic word made more sure,"
which we have in the gospel, to illuminate with the truth of God's word
and dispel the darkness.
News & Notes
For those of us who are Christians, let us continue praying for the
Danny Holton, who has
pancreatic cancer in the 4th stage.
Dottie Newcomb and her
Caleb Newcome who were involved
recent 3-wheeler motorbike accident that put them both in trauma
hospitals in Memphis. They are now back home, but have to take it
easy for a while. Dottie is also experiencing more dizziness than
she had before -- which actually began with some type of inner ear
infection when she went on an ocean cruise a couple years ago.
Bill Barfield, who has prostate
cancer. He is 85 and doing poorly. Since his stroke 11
years ago, he has not been
able to walk very well and seldom has been out of his house over the
last couple months -- and, then, just mainly for doctor
Anthony Branton, Ken
nephew, who recently had surgery in New Orleans for
Crohn's disease, which resulted in the removal of his entire large
intestine. He is only 28.
Bill Holt, who has been in the
hospital the last couple weeks, due to intense pain, which is thought
to be caused by a stone in his pancreas.
R.J. Evans, who is being treated with antibiotics to try to
lower his PSA level (which can be
indicative toward prostate cancer). Since his PSA level is
still high, R.J. will be having a biopsy to better determine the
Cheryl Crews, who has been
having various health problems -- and even more so, over the last
months. We were glad that she had finally been having a couple
good days and was able to be with us at church Sunday morning; but she
soon started developing a terrible migraine during the morning service
that hindered her from being able to be back for the evening
service. Having serious migraines is one of the re-occurring
problems she has been having.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
CHURCH OF CHRIST
9923 Sunny Cline Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 6 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
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