Please read 2 Peter 1:12-21 in the version you like best.
The simplicity of Apostle Peter’s words transcends their elegance, meaning that these are words that anyone over the age of eight can understand, yet the profundity of them has the capacity to pierce the toughest human armor.
On reading Peter’s two Epistles recently, I was inspired by the fact that they were written by the man who had been Jesus’ right-hand man during the years of Our Saviour’s mission on earth. This was the man Jesus relied on in so many situations. He was also the man who denied Jesus when the going got tough. Nevertheless, Our Saviour reinstated Peter, following the resurrection, by asking the apostle to feed the lambs and sheep who would follow Jesus from that time on. These two letters form a substantial part of that feeding.
Peter is not the only original apostle to leave us with the actual words of Jesus. John’s Gospel holds some of the most beautiful Christology (study and understanding of Christ) in the New Testament. And, of course, John’s preservation of Jesus’ actual words in both the Gospel and the Book of Revelation is a treasure beyond measure. When we 21st-century believers read these inspired works, we tend to forget that real flesh and blood men wrote these words with real ink on real parchment. To non-believers, these words sound too fantastical to be true. Thus, the Bible is very often relegated to the ash heap of mythology, along with the fantastical tales of Rome, Greece, Pagan Britain, the Norsemen, the Egyptians, and so on.
When non-believers hear such things as: “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life,” they point to the sacred books of ancient Sumer, to the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and others, saying these have similar resurrection and eternal life stories in them. They ask, “What is unique here?”
When non-believers read the book of Genesis, they point to the saga of Enki and Ninhursag, found in the ruins of Nineveh. They cite the North American Anishinaabe legends of the origins of Turtle Island and the coming of mankind and ask of the Biblical account, “So what makes this different from the others?” When non-believers read about Noah, they point to the myth of Utnapishtim, the ancient Chaldean who survived a universal flood by heeding the god Gilgamesh. There are actually ancient legends of a universal flood found on every continent of the world, including the Maya legend of Popol Vuh, which claims the god Huracan (hurricane) flooded the ancient civilization of the wooden people and wiped them out forever.
The people of today’s world have as much of a hunger for something or Someone to believe in as the people of the past did. But as did people in all the ages of the world, they gravitate to believing in a man-centered, man-made god or religion, one that best matches themselves rather than having to change who they are to have a relationship with the Creator God Who made them.
The prophet Isaiah captured the essence of this idea when he asks, “Does the clay ask the Potter what He is making?” (Isaiah 45:9).
So many non-believers, with whom I have spoken over the years, will say something like, “I don’t believe in organized religion. I’m spiritual rather than religious.” I never really understood what that meant before. But in a recent conversation with my sister, I think I finally figured it out. She, and others who believe as she does, sees herself as being part of, quote, all that is, unquote. It is an idea born of quantum physics, in which it is theorized that every atom is connected with every other atom in the universe, and when we physically die, we just revert to being part of that star stuff we are made of in the first place. (And note, they do not join with a being.)
On the other hand, they say being religious means adhering to an organization that dictates how you think, act, and feel. Religious people, supposedly, have never moved on from the 1800s. But, really, modern-thinking people have moved on … from the acceptance and toleration of workhouses and orphanages and mental institutions … to a more enlightened society, one in which all are accepted and tolerated. (They say this with a straight face, all the while having little or no tolerance for Christ, Christianity, or Christians.) What they fail to grasp, very seriously, of course, is that this universe which is, quote, all that is, unquote, is physical.
And, of course, the elephant in the room is that if they are living in a purely physical environment — that is, the entire universe being physical — then how is it that they think they are ‘spiritual’? To paraphrase a line from an old movie, “They keep using that word; I do not think it means what they think it means.”
Our God is pure Spirit. We cannot exist in both the physical and spiritual realms, at the same time, at this point in our existence. He can. We cannot. But the elegant beauty of following Christ is that at some future time, we will exist in both realms. We are promised this amazing existence when we believe in Jeshua Messiah and follow His precepts to repent of our sin and embrace Him as LORD.
It is what He died for. It is what He shed His blood for. The Innocent Lamb sprinkles His untainted blood to cover our sins so that the Father sees our sin no more but only the blood, the DNA, if you like, of our perfect Lamb and Saviour, His One and Only begotten Son, born of a virgin by the will of God, not by the will of man.
So where is all this going, according to our Scripture reading?
Peter was coming to the end of his life when he wrote these two epistles. And by the way, I remind you that the word Epistle is simply the anglicized version of the Greek word epistole, meaning letter or message. He writes that he wants to remind them all of the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ while he is still in the tent of his body, for the LORD has made clear to him that his time left on earth is short. He writes so they will have a permanent record from him, an actual eyewitness of much of the life and mission of Jeshua, and so they will not forget what he taught them.
And then the revered apostle says something stunning: “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”
At that time, the citizens of the known world mostly believed in stories and fables and legends which the ancient people had handed down for centuries. Civilizations tended to prosper when their citizens believed in the same gods and goddesses and the myths surrounding them, for, united in esprit, they were united in purpose as well.
When one civilization was conquered by another, the old legends were supplanted by the legends and myths of the new civilization. Some of the old gods would be incorporated into the new pantheon (the roster of gods) so that by the time of the Romans, there were literally hundreds of myths as well as hundreds of gods and goddesses.
No wonder the world hated the Jews. They had followed ONE God for the better part of 2,500 years! And they had prospered in the past as no other nation on earth had done. Their God, Elohim, even came out to do battle for them from time to time. The miracles among the Jews were legendary among the nations around them.
There are those who say the Epic of Gilgamesh pre-dates the Bible by a thousand or so years. Try this: Noah and his family told the stories from pre-flood times, and their descendants carried this narrative verbally until the time of Moses. The stories which were written down in ancient Sumer, Egypt, and other places were more likely corruptions of the original narrative told by Noah and family. Thus, every ancient civilization had a flood story as well as stories of the antediluvian world.
Now that God had taken on flesh and visited the earth, the old narrative, The Old Testament, rather than being changed as a conquered system would have been, was now added onto with the new information that was written down by eyewitnesses, who not only had memory of the wonderful ministry of Jesus, His birth, crucifixion, and resurrection, but who were also inspired by God’s own Holy Spirit to write it all down for coming generations to cling to until Jesus returned, as promised by Himself in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.
Now, here is Christ’s right-hand man reassuring His followers that what was being preached and what was being written was fact, not “cleverly devised myths.”
Peter cites one indelible memory of the majesty of Jesus the Christ. “He received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is My Son, Whom I love; with Him I am well-pleased.'”
Now just think about this for a moment, okay? The man who wrote the words of two Epistles actually heard the voice of Almighty God! Think about it! Peter, James, and John not only saw Jeshua’s transfiguration on the mount, not only experienced the glory of seeing Jesus accompanied by Moses and Elijah, but actually HEARD the voice of the Creator of the Universe! They didn’t hear “the universe,” as so many moderns call the spiritual realm. They heard the CREATOR of the Universe. God Almighty.
They heard Him glorifying His One and Only Son.
Peter goes on to say that not only are these words of his memory reliable, but so are the words of Bible Prophecy. He adds, “You will do well to pay attention to it [Prophecy], as to a light shining in a dark place.” How long do we pay attention to Bible Prophecy? In Peter’s words, “Until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” He adds, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
My friends, I was urged to bring this message to you for a couple of reasons. For the past few years, we have been waiting for the Rapture to come at any moment. We have held true to our faith and kept the Name of Jesus with us at all times. Yet, we see the world devolving into some of the most heinous wickedness ever witnessed in history. To echo the pagans, “Where is our God?”
Well, according to several extremely reliable witnesses, including the Apostle Peter, the LORD has given us hope in His Holy Word that His Light will appear, shining in a dark place, like the Morning Star. And what the LORD promises, the LORD always delivers.
Peter says we would do well to pay attention to those promises. Jesus said, “Take heart, for I have overcome the world.”
Friends, we need to stay strong in our faith for just a little while longer. Hebrews 10:23 says it this way: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” And all God’s children shouted, “HALLELUJAH!”
Let us pray:
“Heavenly Father God,
As we look around this world at what people are doing to other people and getting away with it, we could lose hope so easily. But we cling to You, LORD God, the Author of our Hope, as we wait, sometimes rather impatiently, for Our Saviour to come and snatch us up to meet Him in the air.
And especially in this beautiful month of June, which has been co-opted by so much wickedness, we pray, Might it be today, LORD?
Please quiet troubled hearts and minds which would put off the promise because of their attachment to earth through children or possessions. Reaffirm for them, dear LORD, that there is nothing that will last beyond the Tribulation, so whether we leave it now or later matters not. Assure them also, Father, that little ones will come with us, and so we will be together with them for eternity. More, we will be with You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.
This we pray in Jesus’ precious Name.
Amen and Amen.
Dear ones – please read on, and if you are moved by the Holy Spirit to adopt the ABCs, please find a Bible-believing Pastor and ask for further instruction. Meanwhile, repent of your sin, give your life to Christ, and begin your eternal journey right away. God bless you!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
A – Admit that you are a sinner in need of a Saviour.
Admit what you have done wrong and ask forgiveness.
Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.”
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
B – Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again as payment for your sins.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
C – Confess Jesus as LORD of your life.
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
This article, based on God’s Holy Word, was written by the inspiration of His own Holy Spirit.
All glory to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, forever. Amen.