Yesterday we saw that the false teachers who troubled the original audience of 2 Peter denied that Christ would return in judgment, probably in order to justify moral licentiousness. They wanted to claim the name of Jesus but not submit to the apostolic teaching regarding the second coming of Christ (for example, 1 Peter 2:12).
These teachers made the astonishing claim that the apostles invented the parousia, or the second coming of Christ (2 Peter 1:16). Peter refuted this charge by reminding his audience that he was an eyewitness of the transfiguration. As a manifestation of Jesus’ glory, the transfiguration is a confirmatory sign that His glory will be manifested to all flesh when He returns. Having seen this glory once, the apostles could be sure that it would be seen again.
Today we read that not only do we have eyewitness testimony confirming that Jesus will return, we also have “something more sure” — the prophetic word (v. 19). It is unlikely that Peter viewed Old Testament prophecy as more reliable than his own testimony since as an apostle he too spoke God’s words. Rather, he seems to mean that the surety of the prophecies about the second coming is further confirmed by the transfiguration that anticipates this event.
The prophecies indicating that the Messiah will both suffer and reign visibly in glory (Isa. 53; Dan. 7:13–14) make it clear that Jesus must come again to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy. In denying the second coming of Christ, the false teachers known to Peter’s original audience not only questioned the validity of the apostles, they also questioned the testimony of the messengers God sent before the first advent of the Christ. They were content to accuse the old covenant prophets of falsely foreseeing that the Messiah would one day return to reign and judge (2 Peter 1:20). That is why Peter is so insistent in verse 21 to remind us that no “prophecy of Scripture” is a matter of one’s own interpretation. Rather, all Scripture’s prophecies come from God Himself who moved His prophets to write His words down for us. Therefore, the words of Scripture must be believed and obeyed. Only those who do not know God will question their veracity.
Today’s passage is one of the most important texts that we have regarding the inspiration of Scripture. Though the Holy Spirit used the individual personality and writing style of each biblical author to create the distinctive books of the Bible, He did so in a way that renders the text both authoritative and unified in its teaching. Take some time today to marvel at the power of God displayed in His work of revelation and thank Him for giving us a sure guide for all of life.