Notes on 2 Peter 1:10-21
by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)
2 Peter 1:10, KJV Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
He is still speaking to believers in this verse and section. This verse is difficult to understand as written because the calling and election come from God—we had nothing to do with either of these before we accepted God’s gift of salvation. The one idea that is quite clear is that those who add to their faith and give due diligence to their faith will never fall.
Salvation is absolutely a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-10) and cannot be earned. Further, a perfect Christ could not possibly provide anything less than a perfect salvation. We can do nothing to earn salvation so how could we lose something that was a gift and not a reward for works, deeds, and the like?
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Whether this refers to the Kingdom of Heaven, spoken of in Matthew’s gospel or another kingdom (Millennial, or otherwise) is not clear here. Daniel spoke briefly of a coming kingdom (Dan. 2:44) and gave additional details in chapter 7,where one like the Son of Man received a kingdom, among other things, directly from the Ancient of Days, Regardless, believers have the promise that we will reign with Christ when He comes into His Kingdom!
12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know (them), and be established in the present truth.
Peter is aware that truth not repeated is truth soon forgotten. This is not an original thought.
13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting (you) in remembrance;
Note the contrast between the time when Satan had received permission to sift Simon Peter like wheat (Luke 22) and this time when Peter is trying to stir up the minds of the readers. Apparently by the time he wrote this letter, Peter knew that fewer and fewer people had ever seen Jesus or the crucifixion. Even so, the truth remained but was always in danger of being forgotten.
Interestingly Peter calls his body a “tabernacle”. In the Old Testament, the tabernacle was the place where sacrifices were made and the High Priest entered into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. The books of Exodus through Deuteronomy give detailed examples of how the Tabernacle was built, the materials used to create it, and the functions of the priests and Levites. The Tabernacle could be taken down and re-erected other places.
Compare this with the words of Jesus when He said, “Destroy this _temple_, and in three days I will raise it up (John 2:19)”.In verse 21, John reveals that Jesus spoke about His body being the temple which He would raise (from the dead) in three days—after He was crucified. Later, in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21) there will be neither tabernacle nor temple. John wrote, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it (Rev. 21:22)”
14 Knowing that shortly I must put off (this) my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
Jesus had told Peter about his future in John 21. Despite this, we have no record that Peter ever feared dying, even when Herod was ready to put him to death (Acts 12)! He was sleeping soundly even though he was guarded by soldiers and facing execution the next day! Here, he wasn’t sure when he would die but he must have realized it was going to be sooner rather than later.
15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
He wanted to make sure that the truth didn’t die when he died. Paul had said much the same thing in 2 Timothy 2:2, instructing Timothy to “commit” what he had learned from Paul to others, who in turn could teach others later on. Praise God for those who kept the “chain of the truth” or links of truth going from Paul’s and Peter’s day, even to our day and beyond.
Additionally, truth kept always in remembrance will seldom be forgotten. O that we might learn the truth, share it with others, and keep the truth in our own memories.
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.
Paul had also written to Timothy and Titus, warning them to have nothing to do with fables. That some believers were gullible enough to believe these fables is clear: even the Galatians fell prey to the Judaizers (see Galatians 1-3). Knowing the truth kept Peter and others from giving in to the fables.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
In the previous verse, Peter mentioned “we . . .were eyewitnesses of (H)is majesty”. This happened on what was called the “Mount of Transfiguration”—the location was never specified—where Jesus was transfigured before them. His clothes and facial countenance were all changed. While there, Moses and Elijah came and spoke with Jesus. Moments later, Jesus was left alone with Peter, James, and John who had gone to the mountain’s top or summit with Him. Three of the Gospels record this: Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:1-10, and Luke 9:28-36.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
God the Father had spoken these words once before, when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. All four Gospels record this event (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:32-34). This second time only Jesus Himself plus Peter, James, and John—perhaps Elijah and Moses, as well—heard these words. Peter is quoting Matthew 17:5 here.
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:
Peter may be referring back to verse 16, speaking of the “fables” in that day. The more sure word of prophecy probably refers to not only the Old Testament with its legions of fulfilled prophecies, plus the body of truth being circulated in Peter’s day. How much of the New Testament was written, let alone available, is open to debate but at least some of the Apostles (Peter, for one) were still alive and could give living testimony to what they had experienced.
Peter’s references to the day star arising in the believers’ hearts is unclear.
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
A number of thoughts come to mind. First, Peter is speaking of prophecy of scripture, not anything else. False prophets seem to arise from anywhere to speak lies and distortions. They were around in Jeremiah’s day—Hananiah’s false prophecy in Jeremiah 28 is classic, as was the case for the four hundred false prophets who “prophesied” victory for Ahab and Jehoshaphat over the Syrians in 2 Chronicles 18.
Second, God’s prophecies, those spoken by God Himself, were specific; some of these had a definite time, like Isaiah 7:8 and Jeremiah’s prophecies of Judah being in captivity for 70 years. If these, or any other prophecy, ever failed to be fulfilled, that was proof that God had not spoken to that prophet (see Deut. 18:20-22). Third, and finally, no God-spoken prophecy had any other interpretation than what God intended. True prophecies were specific when they were delivered and when they were fulfilled.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake (as they were) moved by the Holy Ghost.
This means that the prophecies, most likely in Old Testament times, came from God and no other person. The holy men, including the prophets, spoke as the Holy Spirit gave them words to say.
Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).