We’re going to look at a few verses of Scripture from the Second Epistle of Peter. He wrote this epistle to “them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:1). We will begin our text with verse 16 of the first chapter.
II Peter 1:16-18 We did not
follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of His majesty.
17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
Peter had made known to those of like precious faith the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that not by “cunningly devised fables” for he, along with James and John, had been eye witnesses of His majesty. Obviously, there were doubters as there are today, for later he says that some were saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were” (II Peter 3:4). Even in our day Christians themselves have various opinions about the coming of the Lord. A few verses down we will discuss this a little further but right now let’s continue with Peter’s comment.
Peter said, “We made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Greek word translated “coming” here is parousia, which literally means “presence.” It is the word that theologians use when speaking of the Second Coming of the Lord. However, that is not what Peter is referring to here. He is referring to the transfiguration of Jesus on the Mount in Matthew 17:1-8. So immediately we understand that “The Parousia of the Lord” is not always referring to an end-time event. Let’s look at Matthew’s account of this coming of the Lord that Peter is referring to and then we will come back to Peter.
Matthew 17:1-8 Now after six
days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high
mountain by themselves;
2 And He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.
5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!
6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.
7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, Arise, and do not be afraid.
8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
The Greek word translated “transfigured” in verse 2 is metamorphoo. Our English word “metamorphosis” is derived from it. It means a change in life form. Matthew does not call this “the parousia” or “the coming of the Lord,” but Peter does. He says, “We were eye witnesses of His majesty; we were eye witnesses of the power and coming (parousia) of the Lord Jesus Christ!” Jesus’ face shone like the sun and His clothes became as white as light. Moses and Elijah also appeared in His parousia with Him.
Again, Peter calls this transfiguration of Jesus Christ the parousia. Does that mean that the word “parousia” always means such a transformation? No, it doesn’t. Does this coming of the Lord Jesus Christ nullify the coming of the Lord when every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7)? No, it doesn’t. Does it nullify His coming in judgment or His coming to be glorified in His saints (II Thessalonians 1:10)? No, it does not. Does the parousia of the Lord always refer to an end-time event? No, it does not. There have been many comings of the Lord – some in the Old Testament and some in the New. The term “Second Coming” has been used so much that many Christians are only expecting one, and they have that one pushed off into the future.
Christians have many various interpretations of the coming of the Lord in the Scriptures. Some teach a pre-tribulation rapture, some a mid- or post-tribulation rapture, and some no rapture at all. Some teach the second coming to take place before the millennium and some after. The same is true for all Scripture; there are many different interpretations. Why are there so many various opinions concerning the Scriptures? It is because they are opinions. They are the opinions of man’s wisdom. The Apostle Peter tells us we do not have a right to personal opinions.
II Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this
first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,
21 For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Now, before we go any further let’s establish this fact: All Scripture is prophecy. The Word of God is eternal. It is just as alive today as when it was first spoken. It doesn’t die; it is never exhausted. That is what prophecy is! Prophecy is not to be relegated down to predictive facts! We are not talking about some prediction by a psychic; we’re talking about the Scriptures – the Word of God! Scripture came through holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit and it is never divorced from the presence of God. I wouldn’t give you 2 cents for every prophecy ever spoken by man. The Scriptures on the other hand are eternal and you can lay your life on them, if you really hear what is being said. But if you are resting on man’s opinions, you are on shaky ground!
The fact that there are so many different opinions of what God is saying in the Scriptures means that man doesn’t hear what God is saying. Listen, Peter said that holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. They weren’t moved by the will of man. And only holy men of God that are moved by the Holy Spirit will be able to understand the Scriptures. They are not written for just anybody to understand. After Jesus gave the parable of the Sower before the multitude, the disciples asked Him why He was speaking in parables, for the people didn’t understand Him. Jesus answered, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given” (Matthew 13:11). The Word is for those who have a heart to walk with the Lord! If a person is willing to do His will, he shall know the teaching (John 7:17).
No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation. That means you don’t have the right to have your own personal interpretation. Oh, the arrogance of man to think he is wise enough to interpret the Divine Word of God! The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. I Corinthians 2:14. Man will never be able to understand the Scriptures leaning upon his own understanding. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. Proverbs 3:5-7. Depart from the evil of being wise in your own eyes and humble yourself before the Lord that He might give you understanding. Peter said, “We did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The cunningly devised fables are products of human reasoning. Listen, the Lord Jesus Christ is still in that transfiguration glory and you can experience Him in His parousia if you will turn away from the fables and open your heart to Him. His power and parousia can be made known to you, too.
Copyright © 2005 by Henry DuBose