2 Peter 1:19
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) We have also a more sure word of prophecy.—Rather, And we have the prophetic word more sure (so Rheims alone); or, And we have, as something more sure, the prophetic word, as a second proof of the truth of my teaching respecting Christ’s coming. The expression, “the prophetic word,” occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. “The Scripture” given below (Note on 2Peter 3:4), as quoted by Clement of Rome, is quoted again in the so-called Second Epistle of Clement (chap. 11) as “the prophetic word.” The quotation in both cases is probably from some uncanonical book of prophecies. Here the expression means the whole body of prophecy respecting the subject in hand; but the meaning of the whole sentence is not quite clear. It may mean (i.) that the Transfiguration has made prophecies more sure, for we who were there have thus witnessed their fulfilment. In this case, however, we should have expected something more than “and” to introduce the statement, such as “and hence,” “and thus,” “whereby,” &c. Or it may mean (ii.) that in the prophetic word we have something more sure than the voice from heaven. Here a simple “and” is natural enough; and the word of prophecy is suitably compared with the voice from heaven. But how can the word of prophets be more sure than the voice of God? In itself it cannot be so; but it may be so regarded (1) in reference to those who did not hear, but only heard of, the voice from heaven; (2) in reference to the subject in hand. (1) For the readers of this Epistle the many utterances of a long line of prophets, expounded by a school of teachers only second to the prophets themselves, might easily be “more sure” evidence than the narrative of a single writer; and “if they heard not Moses and the prophets, neither would they be persuaded” by the report of a voice from heaven. (2) The Transfiguration, though an earnest of Christ’s future glory, was not so clear a promise of it as the express words of prophecy. If this latter interpretation be right, we have another mark of authenticity. A forger would be likely to magnify his own advantage in hearing the voice from heaven over the ordinary proofs open to every one. In any case, the coincidence with 1Peter 1:10-12 must not be overlooked. (Comp. also St. Peter’s speech, Acts 3:20-21).

Whereunto ye do well that ye take heed.—Or, and ye do well in giving heed to it—a gentle mode of exhortation, by assuming that the thing urged is being done. The exhortation is quite in harmony with 1Peter 1:10. We have a similar construction in 2Peter 2:10, “Do not tremble in speaking evil.”

A light that shineth.—Better, a lamp that shineth. Prophecy, like the Baptist, is a “lamp that is lighted and shineth,” preparatory to the Light. (See Note on John 5:35.) Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, circ. A.D. 170, has (Autolycus II. xiii.) “His word, shining as a lamp in a chamber;” too slight a parallel to this passage to be relied upon as evidence that Theophilus knew our Epistle. (See below, second Note on 2Peter 1:21.)

In a dark place.—This translation is somewhat doubtful. The word rendered “dark” occurs here only in the New Testament, and its usual meaning is “dry.” From “dry” we pass easily through “rough” to “dirty,” meanings which the word has elsewhere (comp. the Latin squalidus); but the passage from “dirty” to “dark” is less easy, and there is lack of authority for it. “In a waste place” would perhaps be safer; and the image would then be that prophecy is like camp-fires in the desert, which may keep one from going utterly astray, till sunrise frees one from difficulty. The “waste place” is either the wilderness of this world or the tangled life of the imperfect Christian.

Until the day dawn.—Literally, until the day beam through the gloom. Here, again, the meaning may be two-fold: (1) Christ’s return in glory to illumine the wilderness of this world, to clear off its obscurities, and show the way through its mazes; or (2) the clearer vision of the purified Christian, whose eye is single and his whole body full of light. (Comp. 1John 2:8.) No comma at dawn; “in your hearts” belongs to both “dawn” and “arise,” if to either.

And the day star arise.—An amplification of “until the day dawn.” “Day star” occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Christ calls Himself “the bright morning star” (Revelation 22:16).

In your hearts.—It is difficult to determine to what these words belong. The Greek admits of three constructions: (1) with “take heed “; (2) with “dawn” and “arise”; (3) with “knowing this first.” The last is not probable. Perhaps “and ye do well in giving heed to it in your hearts” is best—i.e., let it influence your lives, not receive a mere intellectual attention.

2 Peter 1:19. We have also — Peter speaks here in the name of all Christians, a more sure word — Than that voice from heaven, or any particular revelation, not in itself, but more satisfactory to us, as being less liable to be mistaken; of prophecy — He means the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah, which, one being consistent with another, and connected together, might properly be represented as one and the same word of prophecy. Some are of opinion that the apostle intended no comparison in this place, but that the comparative is used for the positive, and that his words were only intended to signify a very sure word of prophecy, or prophetical word; and it is certain that there are many instances in the New Testament of a similar kind, in which, though the comparative degree is used, the positive or superlative is evidently intended. Others assert, with much truth and propriety, that the series of prophecies contained in the Old Testament concerning Christ, when explained in the light of the New Testament, is a much clearer proof of Jesus being the Messiah, than any single miraculous fact, such as Christ’s transfiguration was. Whereunto — Unto which chain of prophecy concerning the conception and birth, the character, doctrine, miracles, sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension, and exaltation of the Messiah, with the erection and establishment, the extent, prosperity, and duration of his kingdom, and his second coming to raise the dead, and judge the world in righteousness — all evidently accomplished in Jesus of Nazareth, ye do well to take heed — In order that your faith, instead of being shaken by the objections of the enemies of the gospel, may be more fully confirmed; even as unto a light — Λυχνω, a lamp, that shineth in a dark place — The whole world anciently was indeed a dark place with respect to the knowledge of divine things, except that little spot, Judea, where this light shone; until the day should dawn — Till the full light of the gospel should break through the darkness. As is the difference between the light of a lamp and that of the day, such is that between the light of the Old Testament and that of the New. Or the apostle meant by these words, that those to whom he wrote should attend to these prophecies concerning the Messiah, and compare them with the facts attested by the apostles and evangelists concerning Jesus of Nazareth, till their minds should be more fully enlightened by the word and Spirit of God; and the day-star should arise in their hearts. — Till the Lord Jesus, the bright and morning star, (Revelation 22:16,) should be more fully revealed in them. Or “till the Holy Spirit should discover to their souls the glory and excellence of the gospel, and by his sanctifying and comforting influences give them the dawning of heaven in their hearts; and till the knowledge of Christ, and the experience of his power, truth, and love, had formed within them an assurance and anticipation of the light, holiness, and felicity of the saints in the presence of their glorified Saviour, even as the morning-star preceded and ushered in the rising sun and the perfect day.” — Scott. Who adds, that nothing can be more manifest than that the day-dawn and day-star are spoken of as arising in the hearts of true Christians, and that no external evidence of the divine origin of Christianity is meant, nor even that internal evidence of the divine inspiration of the Scriptures which they contain in themselves, arising from the excellence of their doctrines, precepts, promises, &c. But the expressions must mean what is internal in our own experience. “The unnatural and far-fetched interpretations of those who oppose this conclusion, serve only to confirm the author in his judgment. This inward demonstration of the truth of Christianity would render the external evidences less necessary to those who enjoyed it; as they could no longer doubt of it when they saw the glory, and tasted the comfort of it, and experienced the truth and power of it in their hearts, and manifested it in their conduct.”1:16-21 The gospel is no weak thing, but comes in power, Ro 1:16. The law sets before us our wretched state by sin, but there it leaves us. It discovers our disease, but does not make known the cure. It is the sight of Jesus crucified, in the gospel, that heals the soul. Try to dissuade the covetous worlding from his greediness, one ounce of gold weighs down all reasons. Offer to stay a furious man from anger by arguments, he has not patience to hear them. Try to detain the licentious, one smile is stronger with him than all reason. But come with the gospel, and urge them with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, shed to save their souls from hell, and to satisfy for their sins, and this is that powerful pleading which makes good men confess that their hearts burn within them, and bad men, even an Agrippa, to say they are almost persuaded to be Christians, Ac 26:28. God is well pleased with Christ, and with us in him. This is the Messiah who was promised, through whom all who believe in him shall be accepted and saved. The truth and reality of the gospel also are foretold by the prophets and penmenof the Old Testament, who spake and wrote under influence, and according to the direction of the Spirit of God. How firm and sure should our faith be, who have such a firm and sure word to rest upon! When the light of the Scripture is darted into the blind mind and dark understanding, by the Holy Spirit of God, it is like the day-break that advances, and diffuses itself through the whole soul, till it makes perfect day. As the Scripture is the revelation of the mind and will of God, every man ought to search it, to understand the sense and meaning. The Christian knows that book to be the word of God, in which he tastes a sweetness, and feels a power, and sees a glory, truly divine. And the prophecies already fulfilled in the person and salvation of Christ, and in the great concerns of the church and the world, form an unanswerable proof of the truth of Christianity. The Holy Ghost inspired holy men to speak and write. He so assisted and directed them in delivering what they had received from him, that they clearly expressed what they made known. So that the Scriptures are to be accounted the words of the Holy Ghost, and all the plainness and simplicity, all the power and all the propriety of the words and expressions, come from God. Mix faith with what you find in the Scriptures, and esteem and reverence the Bible as a book written by holy men, taught by the Holy Ghost.We have also a more sure word of prophecy - That is, a prophecy pertaining to the coming of the Lord Jesus; for that is the point under discussion. There has been considerable diversity of opinion in regard to the meaning of this passage. Some have supposed that the apostle, when he says, "a more sure word," did not intend to make any comparison between the miracle of the transfiguration and prophecy, but that he meant to say merely that the word of prophecy was very sure, and could certainly be relied on. Others have supposed that the meaning is, that the prophecies which foretold his coming into the world having been confirmed by the fact of his advent, are rendered more sure and undoubted than when they were uttered, and may now be confidently appealed to. So Rosenmuller, Benson, Macknight, Clarke, Wetstein, and Grotius. Luther renders it, "we have a firm prophetic word;" omitting the comparison.

A literal translation of the passage would be," and we have the prophetic word more firm." If a comparison is intended, it may be either that the prophecy was more sure than the fables referred to in 2 Peter 1:16; or than the miracle of the transfiguration; or than the word which was heard in the holy mount; or than the prophecies even in the time when they were first spoken. If such a comparison was designed, the most obvious of these interpretations would be, that the prophecy was more certain proof than was furnished in the mount of transfiguration. But it seems probable that no comparison was intended, and that the thing on which Peter intended to fix the eye was not that the prophecy was a better evidence respecting the advent of the Messiah than other evidences, but that it was a strong proof which demanded their particular attention, as being of a firm and decided character. There can be no doubt that the apostle refers here to what is contained in the Old Testament; for, in 2 Peter 1:21, he speaks of the prophecy as that which was spoken "in old time, by men that were moved by the Holy Ghost." The point to which the prophecies related, and to which Peter referred, was the great doctrine respecting the coming of the Messiah, embracing perhaps all that pertained to his work, or all that he designed to do by his advent.

They had had one illustrious proof respecting his advent as a glorious Saviour by his transfiguration on the mount; and the apostle here says that the prophecies abounded with truths on these points, and that they ought to give earnest heed to the disclosures which they made, and to compare them diligently with facts as they occurred, that they might be confirmed more and more in the truth. If, however, as the more obvious sense of this passage seems to be, and as many suppose to be the correct interpretation (see Doddridge, in loc., and Professor Stuart, on the Canon of the Old Testament, p. 329), it means that the prophecy was more sure, more steadfast, more to be depended on than even what the three disciples had seen and heard in the mount of transfiguration, this may be regarded as true in the following respects:

(1) The prophecies are numerous, and by their number they furnish a stronger proof than could be afforded by a single manifestation. however clear and glorious.

(2) they were "recorded," and might be the subject of careful comparison with the events as they occurred.

(3) they were written long beforehand, and it could not be urged that the testimony which the prophets bore was owing to any illusion on their minds, or to any agreement among the different writers to impose on the world. Though Peter regarded the testimony which he and James and John bore to the glory of the Saviour, from what they saw on the holy mount, as strong and clear confirmation that he was the Son of God, yet he could not but be aware that it might be suggested by a caviller that they might have agreed to impose on others, or that they might have been dazzled and deceived by some natural phenomenon occurring there. Compare Kuinoel on Matthew 17:1, following.

(4) even supposing that there was a miracle in the case, the evidence of the prophecies, embracing many points in the same general subject, and extending through a long series of years, would be more satisfactory than any single miracle whatever. See Doddridge, in loc. The general meaning is, that the fact that he had come as the Messiah was disclosed in the mount by such a manifestation of his glory, and of what he would be, that they who saw it could not doubt it; the same thing the apostle says was more fully shown also in the prophecies, and these prophecies demanded their close and prolonged attention.

Whereunto ye do well that ye take heed - They are worthy of your study, of your close and careful investigation. There is perhaps no study more worthy of the attention of Christians than that of the prophecies.

As unto a light that shineth in a dark place - That is, the prophecies resemble a candle, lamp, or torch, in a dark room, or in an obscure road at night. They make objects distinct which were before unseen; they enable us to behold many things which would be otherwise invisible. The object of the apostle in this representation seems to have been, to state that the prophecies do not give a perfect light, or that they do not remove all obscurity, but that they shed some light on objects which would otherwise be entirely dark, and that the light which they furnished was so valuable that we ought by all means to endeavor to avail ourselves of it. Until the day shall dawn, and we shall see objects by the clear light of the sun, they are to be our guide. A lamp is of great value in a dark night, though it may not disclose objects so clearly as the light of the sun. But it may be a safe and sure guide; and a man who has to travel in dark and dangerous places, does well to "take heed" to his lamp.

Until the day dawn - Until you have the clearer light which shall result from the dawning of the day. The reference here is to the morning light as compared with a lamp; and the meaning is, that we should attend to the light furnished by the prophecies until the truth shall be rendered more distinct by the events as they shall actually be disclosed - until the brighter light which shall be shed on all things by the glory of the second advent of the Saviour, and the clearing up of what is now obscure in the splendors of the heavenly world. The point of comparison is between the necessary obscurity of prophecy, and the clearness of events when they actually occur - a difference like that which is observable in the objects around us when seen by the shining of the lamp and by the light of the sun. The apostle directs the mind onward to a period when all shall be clear - to that glorious time when the Saviour shall return to receive his people to himself in that heaven where all shall be light. Compare Revelation 21:23-25; Revelation 22:5. Meantime we should avail ourselves of all the light which we have, and should apply ourselves diligently to the study of the prophecies of the Old Testament which are still unfulfilled, and of those in the New Testament which direct the mind onward to brighter and more glorious scenes than this world has yet witnessed. In our darkness they are a cheering lamp to guide our feet, till that illustrious day shall dawn. Compare the notes at 1 Corinthians 13:9-10.

And the day-star - The morning star - the bright star that at certain periods of the year leads on the day, and which is a pledge that the morning is about to dawn. Compare Revelation 2:28; Revelation 22:16.

Arise in your hearts - on your hearts; that is, sheds its beams on your hearts. Until you see the indications of that approaching day in which all is light. The period referred to here by the approaching day that is to diffuse this light, is when the Saviour shall return in the full revelation of his glory - the splendor of his kingdom. Then all will be clear. Until that time, we should search the prophetic records, and strengthen our faith, and comfort our hearts, by the predictions of the future glory of his reign. Whether this refers, as some suppose, to his reign on earth, either personally or by the principles of his religion universally prevailing, or, as others suppose, to the brighter revelations of heaven when he shall come to receive his people to himself, it is equally clear that a brighter time than any that has yet occurred is to dawn on our race, and equally true that we should regard the prophecies, as we do the morning star, as the cheering harbinger of day.

19. We—all believers.

a more sure—rather as Greek, "we have the word of prophecy more sure (confirmed)." Previously we knew its sureness by faith, but, through that visible specimen of its hereafter entire fulfilment, assurance is made doubly sure. Prophecy assures us that Christ's sufferings, now past, are to be followed by Christ's glory, still future: the Transfiguration gives us a pledge to make our faith still stronger, that "the day" of His glory will "dawn" ere long. He does not mean to say that "the word of prophecy," or Scripture, is surer than the voice of God heard at the Transfiguration, as English Version; for this is plainly not the fact. The fulfilment of prophecy so far in Christ's history makes us the surer of what is yet to be fulfilled, His consummated glory. The word was the "lamp (Greek for 'light') heeded" by Old Testament believers, until a gleam of the "day dawn" was given at Christ's first coming, and especially in His Transfiguration. So the word is a lamp to us still, until "the day" burst forth fully at the second coming of "the Sun of righteousness." The day, when it dawns upon you, makes sure the fact that you saw correctly, though indistinctly, the objects revealed by the lamp.

whereunto—to which word of prophecy, primarily the Old Testament in Peter's day; but now also in our day the New Testament, which, though brighter than the Old Testament (compare 1Jo 2:8, end), is but a lamp even still as compared with the brightness of the eternal day (compare 2Pe 3:2). Oral teachings and traditions of ministers are to be tested by the written word (Ac 17:11).

dark—The Greek implies squalid, having neither water nor light: such spiritually is the world without, and the smaller world (microcosm) within, the heart in its natural state. Compare the "dry places" Lu 11:24 (namely, unwatered by the Spirit), through which the unclean spirit goeth.

dawn—bursting through the darkness.

day star—Greek, the morning star," as Re 22:16. The Lord Jesus.

in your hearts—Christ's arising in the heart by His Spirit giving full assurance, creates spiritually full day in the heart, the means to which is prayerfully giving heed to the word. This is associated with the coming of the day of the Lord, as being the earnest of it. Indeed, even our hearts shall not fully realize Christ in all His unspeakable glory and felt presence, until He shall come (Mal 4:2). Isa 66:14, 15, "When you see this, your heart shall rejoice … For, behold, the Lord will come." However, Tregelles' punctuation is best, "whereunto ye do well to take heed (as unto a light shining in a dark place, until the day have dawned and the morning star arisen) in your hearts." For the day has already dawned in the heart of believers; what they wait for is its visible manifestation at Christ's coming.

Peter having proved the certainty of the evangelical doctrine, by their testimony that had seen Christ’s glory in his transfiguration, and heard the Father’s testimony of him, now proves the same by the testimony of the prophets under the Old Testament, and calls the

word of prophecy a more sure word, comparing it either:

1. With the voice from heaven, than which he calls the word of prophecy more firm or sure, not in respect of truth, (which was equal in both), but in respect of the manner of its revelation; the voice from heaven being transient, and heard only by three apostles; whereas the word of prophecy was not only received by the prophets from God, but by his command committed to writing, confirmed by a succession of their fellow prophets in their several generations, and approved by Christ himself, and by him preferred before miracles themselves, Luke 16:29,31. Or:

2. With the testimony of Peter and the other two apostles concerning that voice which came to Christ, than which testimony the word of prophecy is said to be more sure; not simply and in itself, but in respect of those to whom the apostle wrote; it was more firm in their minds who had received it; or, more sure as to them that were Jews, and had so fully entertained the writings of the prophets, and had them in so great veneration, being confirmed by the consent of so many ages; whereas the testimony of these apostles did not so fully appear to them to be Divine, as not being heretofore expressed in Scripture.

Whereunto ye do well that ye take heed; i.e. that ye search and study it, subject your consciences to the power of it, and order your conversations according to it.

A light; or, lamp, to which the word is often compared, Psalm 119:105 Proverbs 6:23; because, as a lamp or candle lighted dispels the darkness, and gives light to those that are in the house or room where it is; so the word gives light to all that are in God’s house, as the church is called, 1 Timothy 3:15.

A dark place; or, dirty, squalid, because places that have no light are usually filthy; the dirt which is not seen is not removed.

Until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts; either,

1. The last day, called the day by way of excellency, because when it once begins it will never end, and will be all light without any darkness: and then what is said of the word of prophecy is to be understood of the whole Scripture; and the sense is, that whereas the whole time of this life is but a kind of night of error and ignorance, God hath set up his candle, given us the light of the Scripture to guide us and lead us, till we come to the glorious light of the future life, in which we shall have no need of the light of the Scripture to direct us, but shall see God as he is, and face to face, 1 Corinthians 13:12. According to this exposition, the dawning of the day, and the day-star arising, do not signify different parts of the same day, but rather the whole day, as opposed to that darkness which would totally overspread us, were it not for the light the word affords us: our minds of themselves are dark, in them the light of the word shines, and dispels the darkness by degrees, according as the Spirit gives us more understanding of it; but yet the darkness will not be wholly removed, till the day of eternal life dawn upon us, and the day-star of the perfect knowledge of God in the beatifical vision arise in our hearts. Or:

2. By the day dawning, and the day-star arising, may be understood a more full, clear, and explicit knowledge of Christ, and the mysteries of the gospel; and then this relates particularly to the prophecies of The Old Testament; and, as Paul calls the times of the Old Testament a night, Romans 13:12, as being a time of darkness and shadows, in comparison of the light and knowledge of Christ under the New Testament; so Peter here compares the writings of the prophets to a candle, which gives some, but less light, and the preaching of the gospel to the dawning day, and day-star arising; and commends these Christian Jews to whom he wrote, for making use of and attending to even this lesser light, till they attained to greater degrees of illumination, and the day-star of a more full and clear knowledge of Christ, as revealed in the gospel, did arise in their hearts. This exposition is favoured by Acts 17:11; they there, and so the Jewish converts here, did search the Scriptures, to see if the things spoken by the apostles did agree with what was before written by the prophets; and as they there, so these here, are commended for their diligence in so doing, and intimation given them, that they must attend to the light of the Old Testament prophecies, till they were thereby led into a greater knowledge and understanding of the gospel revelation. Though this word of prophecy is generally understood of the writings and prophecies of the Old Testament concerning Christ, yet different ways are taken to fix the comparison: some think the sense is, that they are more sure than the cunningly devised fables, 2 Peter 1:16 but as these have no certainty nor authority in them, but are entirely to be rejected, the apostle would never put the sacred writings in comparison with them: and it is most clear, that the comparison lies between this word of prophecy, and the testimony of the apostles, who were eye and ear witnesses of the majesty and glory of Christ; but how prophecy should be a surer evidence of Christ, and the Gospel, than such a testimony, is difficult to understand; and is a sense which all agree to reject, by different methods: some think that a comparative is used for a positive, and that the meaning is, that besides the testimony of the apostles, prophecy is a very sure evidence; and this is countenanced by the Syriac version, which renders it, "and we have also a firm", or "true word of prophecy"; to which the Arabic agrees, "and we have a word of prophecy very true": others choose to retain the comparison, and which indeed ought not to be thrown out; but these are divided about it; some are of opinion that it is to be understood of the Jews to whom the apostle writes, and he himself was one, and the sense to be this; not that prophecy in itself was surer than an apostolical testimony, but that it was surer to the Jews, and more valid with them, who had been trained up in, and long used to the prophetic writings; and who had a greater esteem for the prophets of the Old Testament than for the apostles of the New; but it is scarcely credible that the apostle, who had been an eye and ear witness in the holy mount, would put himself in among them, and say, "we have", &c. for whatever prophecy was to them, it could not be surer to him than what he had seen with his eyes, and heard with his ears. Others suppose that the meaning is, that prophecy was "now" surer to the Christians than it was "before", it being confirmed and established by facts and events, and also by miracles, and even by the attestation of this voice heard on the mount, and by the majesty of Christ seen there; but if this had been the sense of the apostle, he would have used these words, "now" and "before"; and besides, this puts the comparison quite out of its place, which manifestly stands between former prophecy, and the present testimony of the apostles: but the truth of the matter is, that this word of prophecy is not to be understood of the prophetic writings of the Old Testament; for though these are the word of God, and do testify of Christ, and are to be taken heed, and attended to, as proofs and evidence of Gospel truths, and are a light to direct and guide in matters both of faith and practice, yet they are not the only light, and are far from being the clearest, and what are only to be attended to; for the Gospel that came by Christ, and is preached by his apostles, and is contained in the writings of the New Testament, is a much clearer light, and at least equally to be attended to: nor are the prophecies of the Old Testament, which particularly relate to Christ, designed; there are many of this kind, which, put together, may very well be called the word of prophecy, and which were to the Jews a light in a dark place, until Christ came in the flesh; and though they are to be attended to, and compared with facts, to show the truth of the divine revelation, yet they are not a surer evidence, nor so sure an evidence, as the evangelical testimony is, which is of facts, and these supported by miracles; for now the dayspring from on high hath visited us, and Christ, the bright and morning star, has appeared: but the word of prophecy, concerning Christ's second coming, is here intended, whether it lies in the words of the prophets of the Old Testament, as in Psalm 96:13 or in the words of Christ, Matthew 16:27, which latter is most likely. The Ethiopic version understands this of some particular prophecy, and as if the words were a citation of some prophet, rendering the words thus, "and we have a voice more ancient than this of a prophet, saying, ye do well who take heed", &c. Sir Isaac Newton is of opinion, that the apostle refers to the book of the Revelation of St. John, which would not be unlikely, could it be proved that it was then written. Now this prophecy or prediction, concerning Christ's coming again with power and great glory, was a surer evidence of it than what the apostles saw with their eyes, and heard with their ears upon the mount; nothing was surer to them, nor could anything make it surer to them, that he was honoured and glorified, than what they saw and heard: but then this did not so certainly prove that he would hereafter be glorified, or come again in glory. What they saw and heard was a presumptive proof that it "might" be so, and was a confirming pledge and evidence to them that so it "would" be, and was a glorious representation of it; but Christ's prophecy or prediction, that so it "should" be, more strongly ascertained it, since he said it, to whom all things were known from the beginning, and whose counsel shall stand, and not one word of his shall ever fail.

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. The prophecy concerning Christ's second coming is as "as a light"; it is a revelation of that which was in the dark, lay hid as a secret and mystery in the heart of God; and which could not be known by men, had it not been foretold by God; and it is made as prophecy in all other cases is, by throwing light, as to this affair, into the mind of him, or them, to whom it is revealed; and is a light to them to whom it is delivered, and which they should attend unto, as to a lamp or torch to guide and direct them; though in some sense it is but a feeble one, and is as a light "that shineth in a dark place"; meaning not the world, which is a place of darkness, ignorance, and error; nor merely the state of the saints in general in this life, who, at most and best, see but through a glass darkly; but has a particular respect to the darkness which attends the saints, concerning the second coming of Christ, and which will especially attend them a little before that time. Prophecy holds out clearly that Christ will come again; that he will come in great glory, in his Father's, and in his own, and in the glory of his angels, and with great power, to raise the dead, and judge mankind; and though it gives hints, that, upon this, the saints shall be with Christ in the air, on earth, and in heaven; and that there will be new heavens, and a new earth; and that the saints shall reign here with Christ a thousand years, after which the Gog and Magog army will attack them without success; yet these are not so clear, as for saints to be agreed in the sense of them; and much more are they in the dark about the time of his coming. Now prophecy is the surest evidence and best light the saints have concerning this matter, "until the day dawn"; not the Gospel day, so much spoken of by the prophets, that had dawned already; rather a more clear knowledge of Christ, and Gospel truths, which will be in the spiritual kingdom and reign of Christ hereafter; or else the latter day glory, at the personal coming of Christ, when the light of the moon shall be as that of the sun, and that of the sun shall be sevenfold as the light of seven days; yea, when there will be no need of sun or moon, but Christ shall be come, and be the light of his people; see Isaiah 30:26 after which will follow the everlasting day of glory, when all darkness will be gone, and saints shall see face to face, and know as they are known:

and the day star arise in your hearts; or "the sun", as the Syriac version renders it; not Christ, the morning star, the dayspring from on high, and the sun of righteousness, who was already risen upon them; nor the grace of God implanted in their hearts, by which they were already called out of darkness, and made light in the Lord; but as the day star is the bringer of light, as the word used signifies, or the forerunner of the day, so it here intends the immediate signs and forerunners of the coming of Christ; which when observed in their hearts, and by their understandings, as being come to pass, they may lift up their heads with joy, because their redemption draws near, Luke 21:28 and so the Ethiopic here renders it, "and redemption, arise for you in your hearts". Now till this time the sure word of prophecy concerning Christ's second coming is to be "taken heed unto", as a lamp, light, and torch, to direct us to it, to encourage us to love it, long for it, and hasten to it: and in so doing we shall "do well"; it will be well for the glory of God and Christ, this being setting our seals to them as true; and well for ourselves to keep up our faith, hope, and expectation of it, unmoved.

{11} We have also a more sure word of prophecy; {12} whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day {l} dawn, and the {m} day star arise in your hearts:

(11) The truth of the gospel is by this revealed, in that it agrees wholly with the foretellings of the prophets.

(12) The doctrine of the apostles does not contradict the doctrine of the prophets, for they confirm each other by each others testimonies, but the prophets were like candles which gave light to the blind, until the brightness of the gospel began to shine.

(l) A more full and open knowledge, than was under the shadows of the law.

(m) That clearer doctrine of the gospel.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Peter 1:19. καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον] “and we have as one more stable (surer) the word of prophecy.” The second testimony for the glory of Christ in His second coming is “the word of prophecy.” This Luther understands to mean the “gospel;” Griesbach: “New Testament prophecies;” Erasmus: “the heavenly testimony mentioned in 2 Peter 1:18.” But the connection with what follows shows that it is the Old Testament promises which are here meant. On the singular Bengel rightly says: Mosis, Esaiae et omnium prophetarum sermones unum sermonem sibi undequaque constantem faciunt; non jam singularia dicta Petrus profert, sed universum eorum testimonium complectitur; only that here reference is made specially to the promise with regard to the δύναμις καὶ παρουσία of Christ.

The expression προφητικός, besides here, only in Romans 16:26 : γραφαὶ προφητικαί.

The article τόν marks this as a definite prophecy, well known to the readers. With regard to it the author says: ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον; for the force of βέβαιος, cf. especially Romans 4:16; Hebrews 2:2; Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 2:17; 2 Corinthians 1:6. βεβαιότερον is neither to be connected directly with the object, nor is the comparative to be taken as synonymous with the positive or with the superlative. Luther trebly inaccurate: “we have α stable prophetic word.”

How then is the comparative to be explained? Oecumenius says by the relation in which the fulfilment stands to the promise, in this sense, that the truth of the latter is confirmed by the former, and that accordingly the prophetic word has now become more sure and stable than it was formerly (thus, too, Fronmüller). But the promise here in question still awaits its fulfilment. De Wette’s view is more suitable. According to it, the comparative is put with reference to the event mentioned in 2 Peter 1:17-18, so that the thought would be: “and the prophetic word is more stable to us (now) from the fact that we saw and heard that” (thus, too, Schmidt, II. p. 213, Brückner, Dietlein, Schott[51]). Wiesinger combines this view with that of Oecumenius. There are objections to this view; de Wette himself raises them: (1) That any more precise allusion to this sense by a ΝῦΝ or an ἘΚ ΤΟΎΤΟΥ is wanting; (2) That in what follows the thought stated is neither held fast nor developed. These, however, are easily removed, when it is considered that there is no intention here of giving prominence to the point of time, and that in what follows the reference is precisely to the prophetic word confirmed by the above-mentioned fact; cf. Brückner. It is incorrect to take the comparative here as implying that the word of prophecy is placed higher than something else, for this could only be that event mentioned in 2 Peter 1:16-17.[52] But the very stress laid on it and on the ἐπόπται γενηθέντες τῆς ἐκείνου μεγαλειότητος, is opposed to this view. How inappropriate would it be, if in comparison with it the word of prophecy should be brought prominently forward as more stable and sure! The nominative to ἔχομεν is not the apostles generally (against Hofmann), hardly either can it be Peter and his readers; but, as the close connection of this verse with what precedes shows, the subject to ἔχομεν is no other than that to ἠκούσαμεν. The author does not, indeed, here appeal to any of Christ’s own prophecies of His second coming. But this is to be explained, not by assuming that these were unknown to him, nor because “the rapid succession of the advent on the destruction of Jerusalem, foretold in them, had not taken place” (de Wette), but simply because the writer’s aim here was to point to the testimonies regarding Christ and what related to Him (and thus not to those of Christ Himself) (thus, too, Brückner).

ᾧ καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχοντες] “whereunto to take heed, ye do well,” as Hebrews 2:1 : “to give heed to something with a believing heart.” The searching into the word of prophecy is only the consequence of this. The same construction of καλ. ποιεῖν cum Part. Acts 10:33; Php 4:14; 3 John 1:6 (Joseph. Ant. xi. 6. 12: οἷς [γράμμασι Ἀμάνου] ποιήσατε καλῶς μὴ προσέχοντες).

ὡς λύχνῳ φαίνοντι ἐν αὐχμηρῳ τόπῳ] The comparative particle ὡς points to the nature and significance of the λόγος προφ.; it is in the sphere of spiritual life, the same as a λύχνος in outward world of sense.

φαίνοντι, not: qui lucebat (Bengel); it is rather the present, an attribute of λύχνῳ. αὐχμηρός (ἅπ. λεγ.), literally: parched, dry, then: dirty, dingy (opposed to λαμπρός, Arist. de colorib.[53]) It is used with the latter meaning here. ΑὐΧΜΗΡῸς ΤΌΠΟς has indeed been explained as a desert, or a “place overrun with wild scraggy wood” (Hofmann); but this would make sense only if the idea of darkness or night were added in thought (as by Steinfass), for which, however, there is still no warrant.

ἝΩς ΟὟ ἩΜΈΡΑ ΔΙΑΥΓΆΣῌ] ἝΩς ΟὟ (generally construed with ἌΝ), c. conj. aorist, expresses the duration of the act until the arrival of a future event which is looked upon as possible; that is: “until the day breaks,” etc., “not until the day shall have dawned” (de Wette), cf. Matthew 10:11; Matthew 10:23; Matthew 10:39 ff. Some commentators (Bengel, etc., Schott too, and Hofmann) join ἕως οὗ with ΦΑΊΝΟΝΤΙ; incorrectly; it belongs rather to ΠΡΟΣΈΧΟΝΤΕς, which in the context has the accent. Taken with ΦΑΊΝΟΝΤΙ it would be a somewhat superfluous adjunct, if it be not at the same time applied, according to the thought, to ΠΡΟΣΈΧΟΝΤΕς, as is done by Dietlein, though without any linguistic justification.

ΔΙΑΥΓΆΖΕΙΝ, ἍΠ. ΛΕΓ., used frequently in the classics of the break of day, when the light shines through the darkness; Polyb. iii. 104: ἅμα τῷ διαυγάζειν.

καὶ φωσφόρος ἀνατείλῃ] ΦΩΣΦΌΡΟς, ἍΠ. ΛΕΓ., is not meant to designate the sun (Hesychius, Knapp, etc.), but the morning star; many interpreters (Besser, etc.) incorrectly understand by it Christ. The adjunct ΚΑῚ ΦΩΣΦΌΡΟς ἈΝΑΤΕΊΛῌ serves only further to complete the picture—that of the morning which precedes the full day.

ἘΝ ΤΑῖς ΚΑΡΔΊΑΙς ὙΜῶΝ] belongs not to ΠΡΟΣΈΧΟΝΤΕς (Schott), far removed from it, to which it would form a somewhat dragging supplement; nor is it to be taken with the subsequent ΤΟῦΤΟ ΠΡῶΤΟΝ ΓΙΝΏΣΚΟΝΤΕς (Hofmann). For, on the one hand, the observation that the reference here is to a heart knowledge, would have a meaning only if ΓΙΝΏΣΚΟΝΤΕς contained an exhortation to such knowledge; and, on the other, the position of the words is opposed to this connection. Consequently ἘΝ ΤΑῖς ΚΑΡΔΊΑΙς can be joined only with the clause immediately preceding, ἝΩς ΟὟ Κ.Τ.Λ. (de Wette-Brückner, Wiesinger, Fronmüller). As to the reference of the figure, commentators are much divided among themselves. De Wette understands ΑὐΧΜΗΡῸς ΤΌΠΟς of “the time previous to Christianity, which still continues for those who were not in the faith, and to whom the readers belonged.” But opposed to this is the fact that in 2 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:12, the author speaks of his readers as believing Christians. Gerhard (with whom Brückner formerly concurred) takes the reference to be to the former condition of the readers, when as yet they did not believe. Against this, however, is the present ᾯ ΚΑΛῶς ΠΟΙΕῖΤΕ ΠΡΟΣΈΧ. The only adequate meaning to attach to ΤΌΠΟς ΑὐΧΜ. is: the world in its present condition (Wiesinger, Brückner, in the 3d ed. of de Wette’s Commentary). The world is the dark place which is illumined only by the light of the divine (more precisely: the prophetic) word; therefore the Christians do well to give heed to this word, since otherwise they would be in darkness. In taking exception to this view, Hofmann says that it is “a mistake to identify the place where the light shines with that where those are, for whom it is lit up.” In his view the meaning should be, that to him who looks into the final future, to which the prophetic word points, this word will perform a service similar to that of a light in a … pathless region at night,—this service, namely, “that the believer does not stand helplessly before the future, which lies before us like a confusion which is enveloped in night.” But against this explanation it must be urged, that the figure employed by Peter would be appropriate only if the place in which the λύχνος shines were compared with that in which the believers are, and that the reference to the uncertain future is purely imported.

The words: ἝΩς ΟὟ Κ.Τ.Λ., show that for the believer another condition of matters will commence. The time when the day dawns in the hearts of the Christians, and the morning star arises, and when consequently they can do without the light, has been variously determined. According to Dorner, it is “a time within the development of the Christian life in the individual; that time, namely, when what is matter of history shall become living knowledge, influencing entirely the whole life” (Lehre v. d. Pers. Christi, 2 ed. part I. p. 104). But such a separation of the development of the Christian life of his readers into two periods can the less be assumed here, that the author would thus accuse them of still possessing a purely outward Christianity, and it can hardly be supposed that he should have considered the word of prophecy as unnecessary for the advanced Christian. Early commentators already correctly applied the words to the Parousia. It is erroneous, however, to understand them of that event itself, for with the advent the morning passes into the perfect day. The point of time which Peter has in view is that immediately preceding the second coming, the time when the σημεῖον of the Son of man appears (Matthew 24:30), when believers are to lift up their heads because their ἈΠΟΛΎΤΡΩΣΙς draweth nigh (Luke 21:28), when accordingly the morning star which ushers in the day shall arise in their hearts; similarly Wiesinger and Brückner.[54]

[51] Hofmann, too, interprets thus, only that he looks upon the fact, by which the word of prophecy is made “more sure,” not as being Christ’s transfiguration, with the divine testimony, but His resurrection and ascension.

[52] Steinfass, indeed, thinks that the μῦθοι are referred to; Gerhard has already proved the incorrectness of this assumption.

[53] Hofmann’s entirely unwarranted assertion: “It is in vain to appeal to the fact, that in Aristotle αὐχμηρός occurs as antithesis to λαμπρός; the antithesis to λαμπρόν there is ἀλαμπές; on the other hand, αὐχμηρός, in its original meaning of ‘dry,’ is antithetical to στίλβον;” is contradicted by the passage itself to which he appeals, and which runs thus: ποιεῖ δὲ διαφορὰν καὶ τὸ λαμπρὸν ἢ στίλβον εἶναι τὸ μιγνύμενον ἢ ποὐναντίον αὐχμηρὸν καὶ ἀλαμπές (Arist.: περὶ χρωμάτων; Becker, II. 793); and how should στίλβος mean “wet”?

[54] The difficulty of this verse is not diminished by the connection of the words ἐν τ. καρδ. ὑμ. with προσέχ., and of ἕως οὗ ἡ ἡμέρα κ.τ.λ. with φαίνοντι (Schott), since, if these words ἕως οὗ are not to be almost meaningless, the question remains, what that morning is to which they refer. Schott, indeed, passes lightly over this difficulty by saying: “It is left to the reader to transfer this metaphor correctly to the dawn of the future day of perfect consummation.”2 Peter 1:19-21. The Transfiguration confirms Prophecy. “Thus we have still further confirmation of the words of the prophets, a fact to which you would do well to give heed, as to a lamp shining in a murky place, meant to serve until the Day break and the Day-Star arise in your hearts. Recognise, above all, this truth, that no prophecy is restricted to the particular interpretation of one generation. No prophecy was ever borne through the instrumentality of man’s will, but men spoke, direct from God, impelled by the Holy Spirit.”19. We have also a more sure word of prophecy] Better, And we have yet more steadfast the prophetic word. The force of the comparative must have its full significance. The “prophetic word” was for the Apostle, taught as he had been in his Master’s school of prophetic interpretation, and himself possessing the prophetic gift, a witness of yet greater force than the voice from heaven and the glory of which he had been an eye-witness. He uses the term in its widest sense, embracing the written prophecies of the Old Testament and the spoken or written prophecies of the New. It is a suggestive fact that the Second Epistle ascribed (though probably wrongly) to Clement of Rome, contains what is given as a quotation from “the prophetic word” (chap. xi), and that that quotation presents a striking parallel to the language of St James on the one hand, and to that of this Epistle on the other. “If we are not servants to the Gospel of God because we believe not the promise, wretched are we. For the prophetic word saith, Wretched are the double-minded, those who doubt in their heart (James 1:8); who say, All these things we heard in the days of our fathers, but we, waiting day by day, have seen none of these things” (2 Peter 3:4). Was the Apostle referring to a “prophetic word” such as this, which was then actually extant, and was to him and others as the sheet-anchor of their faith? The words quoted by the pseudo-Clement prove the existence of such a document, as held in high authority, and, though the book itself is lost, there is nothing improbable in the thought that the Apostle should refer to it, and the continuous guidance of the Spirit of which it was the token, as confirming all his previous belief, and assuring him that he had not followed cunningly-devised fables nor been the victim of an illusion. In any case we must think of him as referring to the continuous exercise of the prophetic gift, the power to speak words which came to the souls of men as a message from God, which had been given to himself and others. We can scarcely fail to note the identity of thought with that expressed in the Apostle’s speech in Acts 2:16-21.

whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place] Better, as to a torch shining in a gloomy place. It may be noted (1) that the “torch shining” is precisely the term applied by our Lord (“the burning and the shining light,” John 5:35) to John the Baptist as the last in the long line of the prophets of the older covenant; and (2) that the Greek word for “dark” or “gloomy” (not found elsewhere in the New Testament) is applied strictly to the squalor and gloom of a dungeon. Interpreting the word, we find in the “gloomy place” the world in which the lot of the disciples was as yet cast. For them the “prophetic word,” written or spoken, was as a torch casting its beams athwart the murky air, preparing the way for a radiance yet brighter than its own.

until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts] The imagery reminds us of that of Romans 13:12 (“the night is far spent, the day is at hand”), but with a very marked and manifest difference. In St Paul’s thoughts the “day” is identical with the coming of the Lord, as an objective fact; the close of the world’s “night” of ignorance and darkness. Here the addition of the words “and the day star arise in your hearts” fixes its meaning as, in some sense, subjective. The words point accordingly to a direct manifestation of Christ to the soul of the believer as being higher than the “prophetic word,” as that, in its turn, had been higher than the attestation of the visible glory and the voice from heaven. So understood, the passage presents an interesting parallelism with the “marvellous light” of 1 Peter 2:9, as also with the “day-spring from on high” of Luke 1:78. The word for “day star,” the morning star (literally, Lucifer, the light-bearer), the star that precedes and accompanies the rising of the sun, is not found elsewhere in the New Testament or in the LXX., but it is identical in meaning with the “bright and morning star” of Revelation 2:28; Revelation 22:16, and the use of the same image by the two Apostles indicates that it had come to be recognised as a symbolic name of the Lord Jesus as manifested to the souls of His people.2 Peter 1:19. Ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον, we have a more firm) He does not say, more clear, but more firm. Wherefore it is here unnecessary to inquire [or discuss] concerning the difference in the clearness of prophecy before and after its fulfilment. But, undoubtedly, the word of prophecy becomes more firm from its fulfilment: Romans 15:8. For the same reason the word spoken by prophets is not more firm than that spoken by apostles, either in itself or in relation to those to whom Peter writes: 2 Peter 1:12; 2 Peter 1:16.[3] Even the word of prophecy was always firm of itself; but it became more firm, I will not say in the minds of the apostles, but at all events in the minds of their hearers (in whose name he says, we, not ye have), to whom the apostles were demonstrating the complete fulfilment which had already taken place in Jesus Christ, and were, moreover, drawing inferences from this as to its future fulfilment. The day when it dawns upon, you, confirms the fact that you saw correctly, however indistinctly, the objects which you had already seen more faintly by the light of a lamp. See note on 2 Peter 1:20, does not become.—τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον, the word of prophecy) The words of Moses, of Isaiah, and of all the prophets, make up one word, in every way consistent with itself. For Peter does not now bring forward individual sayings, but he embraces their whole testimony, as now laid open. Comp. Acts 10:43. Moses, too, had been with them on the mount.—καλῶς, well) Peter does not upbraid them for their dulness, in still attaching greater credit to the prophets than to himself and the rest of the apostles. Every one ought to praise that which is the support of his own faith, on which he especially rests. He calls them, however, to further objects.—προσέχοντες ὡς, taking heed as) The light of the day does not take away the beholding and looking upon the lamp, but yet it overpowers it. By the greater light, the lesser one is both acknowledged to be lesser, and is strengthened: by the lesser light, the excellence of the greater one is shown. [Grateful remembrance of it is inculcated; comp. ch. 2 Peter 3:2.—V. g.]—λύχνῳ, a lamp) which is used in the night. [But the lamp of prophecy even still benefits those now walking in the day.—V. g.]—φαίνοντι) which was shining, [but Engl. Vers., present, “that shineth.”] It is imperfect (as ὄντες, when we were, 2 Peter 1:18); for there follows, until the day should dawn, etc., with the same force of time, not in the present, διαυγάζῃ, ἀνατέλλῃ, (may) dawn, rise.—αὐχμηρῷ, dark) where there is neither water nor light.—τόπῳ, place) Such a place is our heart.—ἕως οὗ, until) The use of Scripture is not altogether taken away in the case of the enlightened, especially in convincing others, as we learn from the example of Peter himself. Comp. until,[4] Matthew 1:25. And yet the enlightened now possess that very thing of which the prophets testify. Wherefore John, for instance, in his first Epistle, while he writes to such persons, and so often reminds us that he writes, never appeals to the prophetic, It is written; he only adduces the testimony of the apostles: for the darkness was past, and the true light was now shining; 1 John 2:8. And so you may find that the phrase, It is written, is of much more frequent occurrence in the older books of the New Testament, than in those which were written afterwards.—ἡμέρα, the day) The full light of the New Testament. See how the light of a lamp differs from that of the day! just so does the light of the Old Testament differ from that of the New. See the first Epistle of John 2:8.—διαυγάσῃ, should dawn) Having burst through the darkness.—φωσφόρος, the morning star) Jesus Christ: Revelation 22:16.

[3] Nor is even the word of the prophets preferred either to the seeing or to the hearing of the apostles. The “day,” in fact, is what prevails in the New Testament: and a choice beam of the day itself was the seeing and hearing on the holy mountain: so far is it from being the case, that the palm must he given to the “lamp.”—V. g.

[4] Including the time fixed on as the limit. So here until does not exclude the time being, when the day was shining.—E.Verse 19. - We have also a more sure word of prophecy; rather, as in the Revised Version, and we have the word of prophecy made more sure; or, we have the word of prophecy more sure (than the testimony of the heavenly voice). The rendering of the Authorized Version is ungrammatical; we must adopt one of the other modes of representing the original. The second seems to be preferred by most commentators. Thus Archdeacon Farrar, translating the passage, "And still stronger is the surety we have in the prophetic word," adds in a note, "Why more sure? Because wider in its range, and more varied, and coming from many, and bringing a more intense personal conviction than the testimony to a single fact." But when St. Peter applied the epithet "surer" (βεβαιότερον) to the word of prophecy, does he mean in his own estimate of it, or in that of others? If he is speaking of himself, it is surely inconceivable that any possible testimony to the truth of the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ could be comparable with the commanding authority of the Divine voice which he himself had heard borne from heaven, and the transcendent glory which he himself had seen flashing from the Saviour's human form and bathing it in an aureole of celestial light. That heavenly voice had made the deepest possible impression on the apostles. "They fell on their faces," as Moses had done under the like circumstances, recognizing it as the voice of God. Peter had said, "Lord, it is good for us to be here;" and evidently all through his life he felt that it was good for him to dwell in solemn thought on the treasured memories of that august revelation. No written testimony could be "surer" to St. Peter than that voice from heaven. But is he rather thinking of the confirmation of the faith of his readers? He is still using the first person plural, as in verses 16 and 18; in this verse, indeed, he passes to the second; but the retaining of the first person in the first clause of the verse shows that, if he is not still speaking of apostles only, he at least includes himself among those who have the word of prophecy; and to him certainly the testimony of that word, though sacred and precious, could not be "surer" than the testimony of the heavenly voice. To Jewish Christians the evidence of the prophets of the Old Testament was of supreme importance. Nathanael, the "Israelite indeed," was drawn to the Lord by the assurance that, "We have found him of whom Moses in the Law, and the prophets, did write." The Lord himself insisted again and again upon the testimony of the prophets; so did his apostles after him. Still, it seems difficult to understand that, even to Jewish Christians, the testimony of the prophets, however sacred and weighty, could be surer than that of those apostles who made known the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, having been eye-witnesses of his majesty; while to Gentile Christians the testimony of those apostles of the Lamb who declared "what they had heard, what they had seen with their eyes, what their hands had handled, of the Word of life," must have had greater power to convince than the predictions of the Hebrew prophets, though these predictions, fulfilled as they were in the Lord Jesus, furnish subsidiary evidence of exceeding value. On the whole, the more probable meaning of St. Peter seems to be that the word of prophecy was made more sure to himself, and, through his teaching, to others by the overwhelming testimony of the voice from heaven and the glory of the Transfiguration. He had become a disciple long before. His brother Andrew had first told him that Jesus was the Messiah; he himself, a week before the Transfiguration, had confessed him solemnly to be "the Christ, the Son of the living God? But the Transfiguration deepened that faith into the most intense conviction; it made the word of prophecy which spoke of Christ surer and more certain. It is not without interest that the writer of the so-called 'Second Epistle of Clement' quotes (chapter 11) from "the prophetic word" (προφητικὸς λόγος), passages which resemble James 1:8 and 2 Peter 3:4. Whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place. There is a parallel to the first clause of this in Josephus, 'Ant.,' 11:6, 12; to the second in 2 Esdr. 12:42. The word rendered "light" is rather a lamp or torch; our Lord uses it of John the Baptist (John 5:35). The word translated "dark" (αὐχμηρός) is found only here in the New Testament; it means "dry, parched, and so squalid, desert;" there seems to be no sufficient authority for the rendering "dark." God's Word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path; the word of prophecy guides us to Christ. Until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts; literally, until day dawn through; i.e., "through the gloom." There is no article. The word for "day-star" (φωσφόροv, lucifer, light-bringer) is found in no other place of the New Testament; but comp. Revelation 2:28; Revelation 22:16. St. Peter seems to mean that the prophetic word, rendered more sure to the apostles by the voice from heaven, and to Christians generally by apostolic witness, shines like a guiding lamp, till the fuller light of day dawns upon the soul, as the believer, led by the prophetic word, realizes the personal knowledge of the Lord, and he manifests himself according to his blessed promises to the heart that longs for his sacred presence. He is the Bright and Morning Star, the Day-star, the Light-bringer; for he is the Light of the world - he brings the light, the full light of day. The prophetic word is precious; it sheds light upon the surrounding darkness - the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of the heart that knows not Christ; but its light is as the light of a torch or a lamp, compared with the pervading daylight which the felt presence of Christ sheds into those hearts into which God hath shined to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (comp. 1 Peter 2:9; Luke 1:78). Some understand "day" here of the great day of the Lord. Against this interpretation is the absence of the article, and the fact that the last words of the verse seem to give a subjective meaning to the passage. We have also a more sure word of prophecy (καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον)

The A. V is wrong, since more sure is used predicatively, and word has the definite article. We may explain either (a) as Rev., we have the word of prophecy made more sure, i.e., we are better certified than before as to the prophetic word by reason of this voice; or (b) we have the word of prophecy as a surer confirmation of God's truth than what we ourselves saw, i.e., Old-Testament testimony is more convincing than even the voice heard at the transfiguration. The latter seems to accord better with the words which follow. "To appreciate this we must put ourselves somewhat in the place of those for whom St. Peter wrote. The New Testament, as we have it, was to them non-existent. Therefore we can readily understand how the long line of prophetic scriptures, fulfilled in so many ways in the life of Jesus, would be a mightier form of evidence than the narrative of one single event in Peter's life" (Lumby). "Peter knew a sounder basis for faith than that of signs and wonders. He had seen our Lord Jesus Christ receive honor and glory from God the Father in the holy mount; he had been dazzled and carried out of himself by visions and voices from heaven; but, nevertheless, even when his memory and heart are throbbing with recollections of that sublime scene, he says, 'we have something surer still in the prophetic word.'...It was not the miracles of Christ by which he came to know Jesus, but the word of Christ as interpreted by the spirit of Christ" (Samuel Cox).

Onto a light (λύχνῳ)

More correctly, as Rev., a lamp.

In a dark place (ἐν αὐχμηρῷ τόπῳ)

A peculiar expression. Lit., a dry place. Only here in New Testament. Rev. gives squalid, in margin. Aristotle opposes it to bright or glistering. It is a subtle association of the idea of darkness with squalor, dryness, and general neglect.

Dawn (διαυγάσῃ)

Only here in New Testament. Compare the different word in Matthew 28:1, and Luke 23:54, ἐπιφώσκω. The verb is compounded of διά, through, and αὐγή, sunlight, thus carrying the picture of light breaking through the gloom.

The day-star (φωσφόρος)

Of which our word phosphorus is a transcript. Lit., light-bearer, like Lucifer, front lux, light, and fero, to bear. See Aeschylus, "Agamemnon," 245.

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