2 Peter 1:16-21
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ…
In laying out the grounds of his own faith, and the grounds, too, on which he would have his readers build their faith, St. Peter indicates the lines of a threefold evidence.
I. THE TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES.
1. They were "eye-witnesses" - a rare word, describing spectators who were admitted into the highest grade of initiation into mysteries. How true of Peter and James and John, with regard to the life of our Lord!
2. They were eye-witnesses of a wondrous revelation. "His majesty;" no one event only, though chiefly the Transfiguration.
3. They had heard a Divine voice. "The voice we ourselves heard." No hallucination: we all heard, we all saw.
4. The recollection of such vision and voice was forever sacred. "The holy mount." We know not its name, but it was to them for ever a consecrated height. Any spot becomes "holy" to the soul that has had there a deep sense of God's presence; has been awed by his greatness, touched by his love.
II. The testimony of THE EARLIER PROPHETIC WORD. "The word of prophecy." Does this mean "prediction" only? We think not.
1. That can scarcely be said to be more sure than the testimony of "eye-witnesses."
2. The usual scriptural use of the words "prophet" and "prophecy" is wider than that. "Take my brethren, the prophets." Are not Paul, John, Peter himself, New Testament prophets?
3. The significance of the words point to a wider meaning: "speak forth," or "speak for another." It tells of insight as much as of foresight.
4. The last verse covers the whole Scripture, not merely prediction, If the whole of Holy Scripture be thus meant, why is it called "more sure" than the oral testimony of witnesses?
(1) Because it is a more comprehensive record.
(2) More manifold authority.
(3) More able to be tested. Thy Word is tried. Concerning this "sure word of prophecy," this passage teaches:
(1) It is of wide application. "Not of private," that is, single "interpretation." Deals with principles, not merely with events.
(2) It is not a discovery, but a revelation: "No prophecy ever came by will of man," etc.
(3) It has a Divine Source: "Men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Ghost." "Borne along" - a strong word, denoting a ship before the wind.
(4) Is of great practical use. "A lamp shining in a dark [or, 'squalid and gloomy'] place;" a camp-fire in the desert.
(5) Must be observed. Christianity, as Dean Mansel says, is regulative rather than speculative. "Whereunto ye do well that ye take heed."
III. THE TESTIMONY OF CONSCIOUSNESS. This is the strongest of all.
1. In the best region: "In your hearts."
2. The outcome and end of all the rest: "Day-star arise." Better even than lamp is the Day-star. So much better is the knowledge of Christ as a power and presence on the soul than any other testimony.
(1) One is without, the other is within.
(2) One is passing, the other is perpetual.
(3) One is stationary, the other harbinger of eternal day.
Notice the signs of this dawn.
(1) What are they?
(2) Seek for them.
(3) Rejoice in them. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning. - U.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.