The Berean Expositor
Volume 21 - Page 40 of 202
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In this passage we have portrayed the intimate connection between the sufferings of
Christ, and the sufferings for Christ, for a "witness", here, is not a mere spectator, but one
who is willing, if need be, to seal his testimony by death. The word is translated
"witness" and "martyr" in the Revelation (1: 5 and 2: 13). Martyrdom was not far away
from those to whom Peter wrote, and in his closing words he still has this in mind:--
"But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus,
after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect . . . . ." (I Pet. 5: 10).
The second epistle does not add materially to the teaching of the first on this subject,
but is concerned with the denial of the Lord's coming and the problem of its apparent
delay. "Knowing this first" are the key-words:--
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of its own unfolding"
(II Pet. 1: 20).
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers" (II Pet. 3: 3).
The first passage deals with the certainty of the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning
the Lord's coming; the second deals with those who, by misunderstanding the results of
certain dispensational changes, denied the fulfillment of the promise altogether. In both
contexts there is, as we shall see, an appeal to Scripture:--
"For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you
the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Pet. 1: 16).
This statement the apostle establishes in two ways: first, by introducing the type of
the Mount of Transfiguration; and secondly, by the word of prophecy made more sure.
In chapter 3: Peter still holds most firmly to the truth, and will not for a moment
admit that the Lord is slack concerning His promise. It is unwise, the apostle declares,
even to measure length of time by our own understandings, for in some things a day may
be as a thousand years, or a thousand years as a day. The coming of the Lord for which
Peter waited, however, was that coming which is connected with the day of the Lord, the
dissolving of heavens, and the burning up of the elements, events that usher in the new
heavens and the new earth. There is no uncertainty as to what Peter hoped for; the
uncertainty comes in at the point where the subject passes from Peter's province to
Paul's. Referring to the apparent delay in the fulfillment of the promise of the Lord's
return, Peter says:--
"Account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation, even as our beloved brother
Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath writings unto you, as also in all
his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be
understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other
scriptures, unto their own destruction" (II Pet. 3: 15, 16).
Several items of importance are contained in these words:--
Paul's epistles are classed with "the other scriptures", and these Peter has already
testified to be inspired (II Pet. 1: 16-21).