We have also a more sure word of prophecy - Εχομεν βεβαιοτερον τον προφητικον λογον· We have the prophetic doctrine more firm or more confirmed; for in this sense the word βεβαιοω is used in several places in the New Testament. See 1 Corinthians 1:6; : Even as the testimony of Christ εβεβαιωθη, was Confirmed, among you. 2 Corinthians 1:21; : Now he which stablisheth us, ὁ δε βεβαιων ἡμας, who Confirmeth Us. Colossians 2:7; : Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, βεβαιουμενοι, Confirmed in the faith. Hebrews 2:3; : How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ἡτις εβεβαιωτη, which was Confirmed to us. Hebrews 6:16; : And an oath, εις βεβαιωσιν, for Confirmation. This is the literal sense of the passage in question; and this sense removes that ambiguity from the text which has given rise to so many different interpretations. Taken according to the common translation, it seems to say that prophecy is a surer evidence of Divine revelation than miracles; and so it has been understood. The meaning of the apostle appears to be this: The law and the prophets have spoken concerning Jesus Christ, and Isaiah has particularly pointed him out in these words: Behold my servant whom I uphold, my Chosen in Whom My Soul Delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him, and he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and Them That Sit in Darkness out of the prison house, Isaiah 42:1, Isaiah 42:7. Now both at his baptism, Matthew 3:17, and at his transfiguration, Jesus Christ was declared to be this chosen person, God's only Son, the beloved One in Whom He Delighted. The voice, therefore, from heaven, and the miraculous transfiguration of his person, have confirmed the prophetic doctrine concerning him. And to this doctrine, thus confirmed, ye do well to take heed; for it is that light that shines in the dark place - in the Gentile world, as well as among the Jews; giving light to them that sit in darkness, and bringing the prisoners out of the prison house: and this ye must continue to do till the day of his second, last, and most glorious appearing to judge the world comes; and the day star, φωσφορος, this light-bringer, arise in your hearts - manifest himself to your eternal consolation. Or perhaps the latter clause of the verse might be thus understood: The prophecies concerning Jesus, which have been so signally confirmed to us on the holy mount, have always been as a light shining in a dark place, from the time of their delivery to the time in which the bright day of Gospel light and salvation dawned forth, and the Son of righteousness has arisen in our souls, with healing in his rays. And to this all who waited for Christ's appearing have taken heed. The word φωσφορος, phosphorus, generally signified the planet Venus, when she is the morning star; and thus she is called in most European nations.
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.
There are light and glory in the truth that Christ was one with the Father before the foundation of the world was laid. This is the light shining in a dark place, making it resplendent with divine, original glory. This truth, infinitely mysterious in itself, explains other mysterious and otherwise unexplainable truths, while it is enshrined in light, unapproachable and incomprehensible. 1SM 248.1
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2). “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up” (Matthew 4:16). Here the pre-existence of Christ and the purpose of His manifestation to our world are presented as living beams of light from the eternal throne. “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:1, 2). 1SM 248.2
“We preach Christ crucified,” declared Paul, “unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:23, 24). 1SM 248.3Read in context »
After His resurrection Jesus appeared to His disciples on the way to Emmaus, and, “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27. The hearts of the disciples were stirred. Faith was kindled. They were “begotten again into a lively hope” even before Jesus revealed Himself to them. It was His purpose to enlighten their understanding and to fasten their faith upon the “sure word of prophecy.” He wished the truth to take firm root in their minds, not merely because it was supported by His personal testimony, but because of the unquestionable evidence presented by the symbols and shadows of the typical law, and by the prophecies of the Old Testament. It was needful for the followers of Christ to have an intelligent faith, not only in their own behalf, but that they might carry the knowledge of Christ to the world. And as the very first step in imparting this knowledge, Jesus directed the disciples to “Moses and all the prophets.” Such was the testimony given by the risen Saviour to the value and importance of the Old Testament Scriptures. GC 349.1
What a change was wrought in the hearts of the disciples as they looked once more on the loved countenance of their Master! Luke 24:32. In a more complete and perfect sense than ever before they had “found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write.” The uncertainty, the anguish, the despair, gave place to perfect assurance, to unclouded faith. What marvel that after His ascension they “were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.” The people, knowing only of the Saviour's ignominious death, looked to see in their faces the expression of sorrow, confusion, and defeat; but they saw there gladness and triumph. What a preparation these disciples had received for the work before them! They had passed through the deepest trial which it was possible for them to experience, and had seen how, when to human vision all was lost, the word of God had been triumphantly accomplished. Henceforward what could daunt their faith or chill the ardor of their love? In the keenest sorrow they had “strong consolation,” a hope which was as “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” Hebrews 6:18, 19. They had been witness to the wisdom and power of God, and they were “persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,” would be able to separate them from “the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “In all these things,” they said, “we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Romans 8:38, 39, 37. “The word of the Lord endureth forever.” 1 Peter 1:25. And “who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Romans 8:34. GC 349.2
Saith the Lord: “My people shall never be ashamed.” Joel 2:26. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5. When on His resurrection day these disciples met the Saviour, and their hearts burned within them as they listened to His words; when they looked upon the head and hands and feet that had been bruised for them; when, before His ascension, Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up His hands in blessing, bade them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel,” adding, “Lo, I am with you alway” (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:20); when on the Day of Pentecost the promised Comforter descended and the power from on high was given and the souls of the believers thrilled with the conscious presence of their ascended Lord—then, even though, like His, their pathway led through sacrifice and martyrdom, would they have exchanged the ministry of the gospel of His grace, with the “crown of righteousness” to be received at His coming, for the glory of an earthly throne, which had been the hope of their earlier discipleship? He who is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,” had granted them, with the fellowship of His sufferings, the communion of His joy—the joy of “bringing many sons unto glory,” joy unspeakable, an “eternal weight of glory,” to which, says Paul, “our light affliction, which is but for a moment,” is “not worthy to be compared.” GC 350.1Read in context »
It was impossible, however, for Adam, by his example and precepts, to stay the tide of woe which his transgression had brought upon men. Unbelief crept into the hearts of men. The children of Adam present the earliest example of the two different courses pursued by men with regard to the claims of God. Abel saw Christ figured in the sacrificial offerings. Cain was an unbeliever in regard to the necessity of sacrifices; he refused to discern that Christ was typified by the slain lamb; the blood of beasts appeared to him without virtue. The gospel was preached to Cain as well as to his brother; but it was to him a savor of death unto death, because he would not recognize, in the blood of the sacrificial lamb, Jesus Christ the only provision made for man's salvation. 1SM 231.1
Our Saviour, in His life and death, fulfilled all the prophecies pointing to Himself, and was the substance of all the types and shadows signified. He kept the moral law, and exalted it by answering its claims as man's representative. Those of Israel who turned to the Lord, and accepted Christ as the reality shadowed forth by the typical sacrifices, discerned the end of that which was to be abolished. The obscurity covering the Jewish system as a veil, was to them as the veil which covered the glory upon the face of Moses. The glory upon the face of Moses was the reflection of that light which Christ came into the world to bring for the benefit of man. 1SM 231.2
While Moses was shut in the mount with God, the plan of salvation, dating from the fall of Adam, was revealed to him in a most forcible manner. He then knew that the very angel who was conducting the travels of the children of Israel was to be revealed in the flesh. God's dear Son, who was one with the Father, was to make all men one with God who would believe on, and trust in Him. Moses saw the true significance of the sacrificial offerings. Christ taught the gospel plan to Moses, and the glory of the gospel, through Christ, illuminated the countenance of Moses so that the people could not look upon it. 1SM 231.3Read in context »
He who knows the end from the beginning has provided for the attack of satanic agencies. And He will fulfill His word to the faithful in every age. That word is sure and steadfast; not one jot or tittle of it can fail. If men will keep under the protection of God, His banner will be over them as an impregnable fortress. He will give evidence that His word can never fail. He will prove a light which shineth in a dark place until the day dawn. He, the Sun of Righteousness, will arise with healing in His beams.... RC 129.5Read in context »