Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 55
II Peter 1:1 – 2:8
All right, now we finished verse 15 of chapter 1 of II Peter in the last lesson, so we’re ready for verse 16. And here’s a verse that we can just take to heart for ourselves. Just as true for us as it was for these Jews, where Peter says:
II Peter 1:16a
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables,…” Now you know that’s what the scoffer claims the Bible is. Well, how can anybody be so foolish when we know that this Book is so intricately put together. Intricately! It all fits. And then they try to tell us that it was all concocted around the campfires of antiquity and some of these foolish statements. But Peter hits the nail on the head.
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.”
Lest you think I’ve been stretching the envelope when I’ve been stressing all the time that these little epistles are looking forward to the coming of Christ again – now remember He’s been crucified, He’s ascended back to Glory – and, during these writings, we’re in those years just after that. And so they know there are seven years of Tribulation that are ahead of them, and then He’s going to return and yet set up the Kingdom, which we would call now the Second Coming. But turn with me to the little book of Jude. Only one chapter, verse 14. And I find it to be an interesting verse. Remember Jude is in the same category as Peter, James and John. And he writes:
“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,” Well what was that? That’s a reference to His Second Coming and it’s what Peter is referring to that He’s going to be coming with power and glory.
All right, so that’s what Peter is referring to as we read in verse 16. “For we’ve made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” They know that He’s coming. Even though Peter has now realized that he probably won’t live to see it because he’s going to be martyred. But for these people to whom he’s writing, they can still expect everything to happen in their lifetime. All right, reading on in verse 16:
II Peter 1:16b
“…but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” They got a glimpse of what He’s going to be like when He returns. Just a glimpse. Because, after all, you want to remember that when Christ came at His first coming, He didn’t lay aside His Deity. He didn’t lay aside any of His righteousness or His holiness. But He did lay aside his glory. He did not walk up and down the dusty roads of Israel, shining brighter than the noonday sun. But, Peter, James and John did get a glimpse of it at the transfiguration and, of course, that’s back in Matthew chapter 17.
We looked at it briefly a couple of tapings ago, I think, but this is what Peter is referring to in his letter when he says that “we saw a glimpse of his majesty.” So let’s look at it again. Remember this is in His earthly ministry.
“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, (and of course He’s referring to the Twelve) which shall not taste of death, till they see (physically) the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” Now that threw a curve at them, didn’t it? That there would be some of them who would not die until they would see the coming of the kingdom. Now drop down into chapter 17 and we get what He was talking about.
“And after six days, Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, (that would be one of the mountains of Israel) 2. And was transfigured before them: (He was just immediately changed from His common physical appearance to His Glorious) and his face did shine as the sun,.…” Now that’s not a stretch on words, that was just a glimpse of His glory. That was just a glimpse of His power.
“…and his raiment was white as the light. 3. And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.” Well, this is what Peter is making reference to, that he and James and John had the privilege of just getting this glimpse of a preview of the glory that is yet to follow. All right, so back to II Peter chapter 1 and verse 17.
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, (And what did the voice say?) This is my beloved Son in whom I am (what?) well pleased.” My goodness what an experience! Does anyone remember where else that happened? At His baptism. The same identical thing, when the voice from Heaven said, word for word, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Now verse 18.
II Peter 1:18
“And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” Quite an experience! See we live by faith, don’t we? We live by faith, not by sight. But see, over and over throughout Israel’s history, quite a few Jews saw God in one way or another. We know Abraham did. We know Moses did. And Elijah probably did. And so various of the patriarchs saw God in human form back there. And then, of course, at His baptism, when they heard those words. But at the transfiguration, that was something I think that was so mind-boggling that Peter, James and John probably took a long time getting over it.
Now verse 19 is a verse that I’ve always really hung on to. As great as that experience was (and that was exhilarating. That was proof that this Jesus of Nazareth was Who He claimed to be, when He was transfigured right there before them and heard the voice from Heaven on top of all that. But), look at the next verse:
II Peter 1:19a
“We have also a more sure.…” Now what does that tell you? Do we have to have exhilarating experiences like the transfiguration to believe? No. We can take all this by faith, we don’t have to have sight. We don’t have to have experiences. We take it by faith. And that’s why I think in this Age of Grace we have so little of the supernatural, if any, because now God has given us the Word of God and He expects us to believe it. And that’s why it’s going to be so awful for people of unbelief because all He’s expected the human race to do is to believe what He’s said – and when they refused to believe, it’s almost a slap in the face, as it were, and telling Him, “But I don’t believe it.”
All right, now look at this next verse – even as great as that transfiguration experience was, Peter can yet say, again by inspiration, never forget this.
II Peter 1:19
“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:” Well now Who’s the Day Star? The Lord Jesus Christ. And how does He arise in our hearts? By faith! We take it all by faith and He becomes real to us. He’s with us moment by moment.
Now, once in a while things will happen to families and I can appreciate when they begin to wonder, “Where is God’s grace?” when just one horrible thing after another can happen. And that’s a human reaction. But on the other hand, we have to come right back and claim the promises of God that are sure – that, in spite of whatever may happen, He’s aware of us. He knows. And He’s with us and He’ll never leave us nor forsake us. All right, and so He is already in our walk of faith; He is the Day Star that has already arisen in our hearts. Now verse 20. Here is that which is more sure than even the proof of His transfiguration.
II Peter 1:20
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” Or a better translation I think is, of “human origin.” We can look at this Book and it is more of a manifestation of Who God is and what He has done and what He is to us, than the transfiguration was to Peter, James and John. Now I know that’s a strong statement. But listen, this Book is so refined. It is so intricately put together that we never have to doubt it. And it just proves itself precept upon precept. And even though the scoffers may scream and ridicule it, yet, we who see the intricacy of it, we know it is the Word of God. And we know it’s true. And we know that everything it says is going to happen IS going to happen.
We don’t have to have any doubt whatsoever. And so I like to make that comparison. Yes, Peter, James and John saw Christ transfigured. They saw His Glory with their physical eyes. But we’ve got something that’s even more sure and that is the Word of God itself. Now that’s exhilarating! Isn’t it? All right, let’s go on. Looking at the first part of that verse again.
II Peter 1:20a
“Knowing this first, (and above everything) that no prophecy.…” Now the word ‘prophecy’ here in the New Testament, usually does not mean telling the future, it means speaking forth. That’s why in I Corinthians 14, the greatest gift was prophecy, the giving of the gift to speak forth the Word of God before it was printed. Now, you all remember, I’m always emphasizing, there were about eighteen years from the time that Paul began his ministry among the Gentiles until he writes his first epistle. So, for eighteen years, what did the early believers depend on? Gifted men who could speak forth the Word of God and that’s why it was the primary gift. And then verse 21 is the answer.
II Peter 1:21
“For the prophecy (or again the speaking forth) came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved (or carried along) by the Holy Ghost.” And that’s the inspiration of Scripture. And you can pick it up all the way through the Book. I don’t ridicule very often, but when people will make foolish, stupid, statements like “Luke must have been a tremendous keeper of a diary or he could have never written any of the Four Gospels and the book of Acts.” Now, to me, that is ridiculous. No writer of Scripture went back to notes in a diary. They didn’t write on what they had remembered. They didn’t write on the basis of hearsay. They wrote as the Holy Spirit funneled those thoughts through their minds. And they were moved – that’s the inspiration of the Scripture.
Otherwise, how in the world could Moses write about creation, which took place 2,500 years before? How in the world could Moses write about his own death, which was out in front of him? But he did. That’s the inspiration of the Scriptures. See? And the same way with all of the writings of Scripture. How could these men name King Cyrus 150 years before he was ever born? By inspiration. How could Daniel lay out so perfectly the coming Gentile empires, one after the other, long before they happened? By inspiration. And so it is throughout this whole Book, that which is still future, it is just as reliable as that which is past. So the Holy Spirit moved holy men to write the things that God wanted written and, of course, as Paul puts it in II Timothy:
II Timothy 3:16
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
All right, now then I guess we can go on into chapter 2, and verse 1, and the first word you see is “But.” Now you know in the original there was no chapter break. But, horror of horrors, what has happened to the truth of the inspired Scriptures? Oh, it’s been attacked and underwritten and undermined, by what kind of people? False teachers.
II Peter 2:1
“But (even though the Scripture is true, even though holy men of God were moved by the Spirit to write) there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” Now this is Peter. Who else says the same thing? Paul. Paul is constantly reminding his early converts “beware!” Beware. They’re coming! In fact his greatest warning is in Galatians 1. Let’s go back and look at it. God has had to put up with the Satanic attacks against Himself and His program and against His Word since day one. And it’s inspired by the adversary – Satan.
All right, but now you’ve got Galatians chapter 1 verse 6 – my, we use this over and over. But I don’t have to apologize for it because it is always apropos. Every day of the week, you’ve got this kind of thing going on, even in the Christian community.
“I marvel (he’s amazed) that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ. (that is through Paul’s preaching) unto another gospel:” Now remember he’s writing to Gentiles who had just come out of paganism, idolatry and all that was part of that. And now Paul has established his Gospel of Grace; for them to believe that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. And here comes, immediately, the false teachers trying to undermine the Apostle’s teaching. And they’re falling for it – and he said, “I’m amazed. you’re falling into another gospel.” Now verse 7.
“Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, (it’s not something totally different, but these false teachers have taken what I have brought you ) and would pervert (or pollute) the gospel of Christ.” They’ve added to Paul’s pure Gospel of Salvation, just like many do today. But now look what Paul puts on these false teachers.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” In other words, in it’s purity. And that’s what he called it in Corinthians. He said, “I didn’t come to you with a false product, I came to you with the pure truth of the Gospel.” And here he’s reminding the Galatians of the same thing – that if you’re going to partake of anything but the truth of Paul’s Gospel of salvation, then you’re going to be in trouble. And the messengers that have perverted Paul’s message are going to be accursed. And in verse 9, Paul repeats that warning. They’re under the anathema of God. False teachers. And oh the world is full of them. Always has been.
I was just talking with somebody on the phone last night and they had such a heartache (which reminded me of Paul and his heartache). So turn with me to II Timothy, chapter 1. What a heartbreaking statement; and again inspired by the Holy Spirit. And this is what Paul writes to Timothy in verse 15.
II Timothy 1:15a
“This thou knowest, that all they…” And I’m a stickler for words. I believe it was every one of them. I think that all of these believers that had become followers of the Apostle Paul had all turned against him and had followed the false teachers. Well, we’re seeing it today – wholesale. The further out in left field these guys get, the bigger the crowds. All right, completing the verse.
II Timothy 1:15-16
“This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia (now remember Asia is Asia Minor, that’s present day Turkey) be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus, and Hermogenes. (of course, were the leaders) 16. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:”
But nevertheless, coming back to II Peter now, it’s always been this way. Let me remind you. How long was it after Abel had brought the right kind of a sacrifice and was accepted of God (Cain, on the other hand, brought the wrong sacrifice and was not accepted; which immediately put a wall of demarcation between those two young brothers, how long was it) until Satan intervened with the crime of murder? Not long. And Cain rose up and killed Abel. Well, who prompted Cain to kill Abel? Well, the Devil did, of course. And why? Because Satan thought that if he could get rid of that very first prodigy in the promises, that would end it all and he’d have the victory before it ever started.
Well, that’s the way it’s been all the way up through human history. As soon as God revealed something, Satan attacks it with everything he’s got. And that’s why I’m always reminding people everywhere I go, “Why in the world do you suppose Israel has always had so much opposition? The satanic power. Why do you suppose the world in general tonight would like to drive the Israelites into the sea and be rid of the problem? Satanic power. But it’s not going to happen because God is always victorious, He has always overcome.”
All right, back to II Peter, chapter 2, and verse 1 again. Oh, the warning against false teachers. But in spite of the divine revelation of the writers of Scriptures:
II Peter 2:1
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily (or secretly. They’re not going to come out and get into a pulpit and say, hey – I’m going to lead you astray today. No. They come in secretly, underhandedly,) shall bring in damnable (or condemnational) heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (they’re not going to get by with it)
II Peter 2:2a
“And many (many, not a few – many – Paul said all. Peter says many) shall follow their pernicious ways;….” Goodness sakes, if you know anything about medicine, you should know what the word ‘pernicious’ means. We’ve got a disease called what? Pernicious anemia. Well, what’s the disease pernicious anemia? It’s a disease that eats away the red blood cells; and that’s why, when someone gets anemic, they lose their color, because pernicious anemia is constantly chewing up and destroying the red blood cells. Well the word means the same thing here. These false teachers are perniciously chewing up the truth so that it becomes useless. Now finishing verse 2.
II Peter 2:2b
“…by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” My goodness, if you read anything at all you know this is what we’re up against. I read it on every hand, that this is exactly what they’re doing with the truth. They’re chewing it up and spitting it aside. Now verse 3.
II Peter 2:3a
“And through covetousness.…” Now we talked about coveting the last half-hour didn’t we? It just pops up in Scripture because it’s the number one sin of the human race. It’s the one that Paul said opened him up to his sinful state, that when the Law said, “Thou shalt not covet,” then Paul or Saul at that time suddenly realized that he was guilty, as guilty can be.