2 Peter 1:14
Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ has showed me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle.—This is rather wide of the mark. Among English versions Wiclif alone is right. The meaning is, Knowing as I do that the putting off of my tabernacle will be done swiftly (comp. 2Peter 2:1)—i.e., will soon be over when it once begins. The point is not that the writer believes himself to be near his end, but that his end would be such as to allow of no deathbed exhortations; what he has to say must be said in good time, for Christ had told him that his death would be a violent one (John 21:18). Some of those who have taken the passage in the sense of the Authorised version have supposed a special revelation to be implied in the last half of the verse. But without any revelation an old man might know that his end must soon come; and Christ had already told him that it should come when he began to be old. “The putting off of my tabernacle” involves rather a mixture of metaphors; we have a similar mixture in Colossians 2:11. The word for “putting off” occurs nowhere but here and 1Peter 3:21; but the coincidence is not one on which much stress can be laid.

Hath shewed me.—More strictly, shewed me. The substitution of perfect for aorist is here objectionable, as it obscures the reference to a definite moment in the Apostle’s life. If the reference were to John 21:18, this would be at once fatal to the authenticity of our Epistle; for of course no part of St. John’s Gospel, and least of all the last chapter, was written during the life of St. Peter. But if the reference be to the event narrated in John 21:18, then that narrative confirms what is said here, this being a prior and independent allusion to the same occurrence. In this case we have strong evidence of the authenticity of St. Peter.

1:12-15 We must be established in the belief of the truth, that we may not be shaken by every wind of doctrine; and especially in the truth necessary for us to know in our day, what belongs to our peace, and what is opposed in our time. The body is but a tabernacle, or tent, of the soul. It is a mean and movable dwelling. The nearness of death makes the apostle diligent in the business of life. Nothing can so give composure in the prospect, or in the hour, of death, as to know that we have faithfully and simply followed the Lord Jesus, and sought his glory. Those who fear the Lord, talk of his loving-kindness. This is the way to spread the knowledge of the Lord; and by the written word, they are enabled to do this.Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle - That I must die. This he knew, probably, because he was growing old, and was reaching the outer period of human life. It does not appear that he had any express revelation on the point.

Even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me - See the notes at John 21:18-19. This does not mean that he had any new revelation on the subject, showing him that he was soon to die, as many of the ancients supposed; but the idea is, that the time drew near when he was to die "in the manner" in which the Saviour had told him that he would. He had said John 21:18 that this would occur when he should be "old," and as he was now becoming old, he felt that the predicted event was drawing near. Many years had now elapsed since this remarkable prophecy was uttered. It would seem that Peter had never doubted the truth of it, and during all that time he had had before him the distinct assurance that he must die by violence; by having "his hands stretched forth;" and by being conveyed by force to some place of death to which he would not of himself go John 21:18, but, though the prospect of such a death must have been painful, he never turned away from it; never sought to abandon his Master's cause; and never doubted that it would be so.

This is one of the few instances that have occurred in the world, where a man knew distinctly, long beforehand, what would be the manner of his own death, and where he could have it constantly in his eye. we cannot foresee this in regard to ourselves, but we may learn to feel that death is not far distant, and may accustom ourselves to think upon it in whatever manner it may come upon us, as Peter did, and endeavor to prepare for it. Peter would naturally seek to prepare himself for death in the particular form in which he knew it would occur to him; we should prepare for it in whatever way it may occur to us. The subject of crucifixion would be one of special interest to him; to us death itself should be the subject of unusual interest - the manner is to be left to God. Whatever may be the signs of its approach, whether sickness or grey hairs, we should meditate much upon an event so solemn to us; and as these indications thicken we should be more diligent, as Peter was, in doing the work that God has given us to do. Our days, like the fabled Sybil's leaves, become more valuable as they are diminished in number; and as the inevitable hour draws nearer to us, we should labor more diligently in our Master's cause, gird our loins more closely, and trim our lamps. Peter thought of the cross, for it was such a death that he was led to anticipate. Let us think of the bed of languishing on which we may die, or of the blow that may strike us suddenly down in the midst of our way, calling us without a moment's warning into the presence of our Judge.

14. shortly I must put off—Greek, "the putting off (as a garment) of my tabernacle is speedy": implying a soon approaching, and also a sudden death (as a violent death is). Christ's words, Joh 21:18, 19, "When thou art old," &c., were the ground of his "knowing," now that he was old, that his foretold martyrdom was near. Compare as to Paul, 2Ti 4:6. Though a violent death, he calls it a "departure" (Greek for "decease," 2Pe 1:15), compare Ac 7:60. I must put off; a metaphor taken from garments; the soul, while in the body, is clothed with flesh, and death to the godly is but the putting off their clothes, and going to bed, Isaiah 57:2.

This my tabernacle: see 2 Corinthians 5:1.

Even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me: John 21:18,19, Christ tells Peter of the kind of his death, that it should be violent, but speaks nothing there of the circumstance of the time; and therefore either this apostle had a twofold revelation of his death, the former as to the manner of it, and this latter concerning the time; or, if this here were no other but that, John 21:1-25, it may be said, that, John 21:18,22 Christ intimates that Peter’s death should be before John’s, who should live till he came, viz. in judgment against Jerusalem to destroy it, which Peter now (observing the affairs of the Jews, and considering his Master’s words, Matthew 24:1-51) perceived to be nigh at hand; and thence infers, that his own death was not far off. Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle,.... Which is another reason why the apostle was so pressing in this case, and so much urged the exhortation, and was so diligent in reminding the saints of it, and stirring them to observe it, because he knew he had but a little time to live, and which therefore he was willing to improve for their good. He sets forth his death in a very easy and familiar way, it being not at all terrible and distressing to him; it was but like the putting off of a garment, or unpinning of a tabernacle, or a removing from a tent to a palace. Saints are pilgrims here, they dwell in tents or tabernacles, at death they remove to their own country, and Father's house. Death is not a destruction of man, an annihilation of him, neither of his soul nor body: the soul is not mortal, it dies not with the body; it only removes from this world to another, from a cottage to a kingdom; and the body though it dies, it is not reduced to nothing, it is only like a tabernacle put off, or taken down, which will be put together again in better order than now it is.

Even as our Lord Jesus hath showed me; by some special revelation lately made to him; or by some strong impulse upon his mind; just as the Apostle Paul knew that the time of his departure was at hand, 2 Timothy 4:7 or this may have respect to the words of Christ to Peter, above thirty years before, in John 21:18, which both signified what kind of death he should die, and when it should be; namely, when he was old, as now he was.

Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Peter 1:14. ταχινή “imminent,” cf. 2 Peter 2:1. A poetical word peculiar to 2 Peter in N.T. The process described by ἀπόθεσις can hardly be “sudden,” Plat. Rep. 553D, but there is always an impression of suddenness to the onlooker, who lifts up his eyes some morning, and finds the tent or the encampment gone where he had seen it yesterday. An inscription in C.I.A. III. 13443, reads ζωῆς καὶ καμάτου τέρμα δραμὼν ταχινόν, where sense can only be “brief” (but see discussion in Zahn. Introd., ii., pp. 212 f.). ἀπόθεσιν τοῦ σκην. ἀποτίθεμαι is used of “putting off a garment” (Acts 7:58); and might here be connected with the idea of taking off a tent-cover (So Spitta). Probably “removal” is the proper translation. In B.G.U. 606 (4. A.D.) [πρὸς ἀ]πόθεσιν ἀχύρου (for removal of a chaff-heap) is found. cf. 1 Peter 3:21, οὐ σαρκὸς ἀπόθεσις ῥύπου. καθὼς καὶ.… ἐδήλωσέν μοι. There seems no reason to doubt the reference here to John 21:18-19, as Spitta and others have done (see Introduction, pp. 96 f.).14. knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle] Better, knowing that swift will be the putting off of my tabernacle. He speaks not so much of the nearness of his death, as of the suddenness with which it would come upon him, and he is therefore anxious to make all necessary preparations for it. In the word for “putting off” we have, as in 2 Corinthians 5:1-3, a blending of the two closely connected ideas of a tent and a garment. Comp. a like association of ideas in Psalm 104:2.

even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me] Better, shewed me, the aorist pointing to some time definitely present to his mind. The only extant record of any such intimation in the Gospels is that in John 21:18-19, and, assuming the genuineness of this Epistle, it is obvious that it supplies an interesting testimony to the truth of that narrative. It will be remembered that we have already seen an interesting allusive reference to it in 1 Peter 5:2. Even on the other hypothesis it is, at least, evidence of the early date of a tradition corresponding to that which St John has recorded.2 Peter 1:14. Ταχινή ἐστιν) is sudden. The present. They who are for a long time sick, are able as yet to feed others. The cross was not about to permit that to Peter. Therefore he first does that which he has to do.—ἀπόθεσις, the laying aside) A violent process, but still wished for. Thus departure, 2 Peter 1:15.—ἐδήλωσε, hath disclosed or showed) He had long ago showed this; John 21:18-19, When thou shalt be old. The “old age” of Peter was now close at hand. It is possible that some other indication had afterwards been given him.Verse 14. - Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle; literally, knowing that swift is the putting off of my tabernacle. St. Peter may mean by these words either that his death was near at hand, or that, when it came, it would be sudden, a violent death, not a lengthened illness. So Bengel, "Qui diu aegrotant, possunt altos adhuc pascere. Crux id Petro non erat permisura. Ideo prius agit quod agendum est." Compare the use of the same word (ταχινή) in 2 Peter 2:1. St. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:1-4, speaks, like St. Peter here, of putting off a tabernacle or tent as we talk of putting off a garment. Alford quotes Josephus, 'Ant.,' 4:08. 2, where Moses says, "Since I must depart from life, I have thought it right not even now to lay aside my zeal for your happiness." The word used here for "putting off" (ἀπόθεσις) is one of the links between the two Epistles; it occurs also in 1 Peter 3:21. Even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me; better, as in the Revised Version, signified unto me. The aorist points to a definite time. St. Peter is thinking of our Lord's prophecy, which St. John afterwards recorded (John 21:18); he could never forget that touching interview; he had already referred to it once in 1 Peter 5:2. Shortly I must put off this my tabernacle (ταχινή ἐστιν ἡ ἀπόθεσις τοῦ σκηνώματός μου)

Lit., quick is the putting off of my tabernacle. Rev., the putting off of my tabernacle cometh swiftly. Possibly in allusion to his advanced age. Putting off is a metaphor, from putting off a garment. So Paul, 2 Corinthians 5:3, 2 Corinthians 5:4, being clothed, unclothed, clothed upon. The word occurs, also, 1 Peter 3:21, and is used by Peter only. Cometh swiftly, implying the speedy approach of death; though others understand it of the quick, violent death which Christ prophesied he should die. "Even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me." See John 21:18, John 21:19. Compare, also John 13:36, and note the word follow in both passages. "Peter had now learnt the full force of Christ's sayings, and to what end the following of Jesus was to bring him" (Lumby).

Hath shewed (ἐδήλωσεν)

But the tense is the aorist, pointing back to a definite act at a past time (John 21:18). Hence, shewed me, or, as Rev., signified. Compare 1 Peter 1:11 did signify.

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