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. He received honor 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.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
2 Peter 1:16-18
After the brief transition of the last few verses, Peter is moving on to remind us that he is an eyewitness of Jesus Christ, that he was present when God the Father spoke from heaven on the mountain announcing who Jesus was; Peter knows what he is talking about! Peter is reminding us that he is an authoritative witness to these factual events, and isn’t merely a teller of stories and “oral traditions”, as some might claim. Do you get the impression that he might be building up to something…? I do!
We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 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.
2 Peter 1:19-21
In these last few verses of chapter one, Peter makes a rather bold statement, that he has the prophetic message, and that it is completely reliable. Now our question is this: Is Peter talking about the Old Testament prophets, or is he about the prophesy himself? He goes on to tell us that we had better pay attention, and then reminds us that no prophet speaks on his own, but that they deliver a message from God, as they were led by the Holy Spirit. So, which is it?
The easy thing to do would be to “cheat” and peek at the next chapter; it doesn’t look like Peter is quoting much there, but he sure has a message.
This letter is included in the New Testament because it was believed that Peter, the Apostle, was writing it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Thus, we consider it to be reliable as a message of God. The old prophets prophesied under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and thus their prophecies are considered to be the reliable message of God. Thus, Peter’s statements are on a par with those of the prophets: Prophecy is the delivering of a message from God− it is not telling the future, although sometimes that is part of the process, but most often they are delivering a message from God about a situation that God wants to communicate about. Most often, the books of prophecy in the Old Testament contain God’s indictment of the way His people are acting, including warnings about what might happen if they don’t knock it off.
Peter has just established his own credentials as an eye-witness of Christ, and added the injunction that we’d better pay attention to what is coming… and this after telling us how to grow spiritually. Thus, I just might conclude that in our next session, we are going to receive a serious warning.