Today’s selected reading continues in and concludes the second epistle written by the apostle Peter unto those who had received like precious faith. More specifically today’s passage is found in the third chapter of this New Testament book. “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:1-10).
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written 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. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:11-18).
When you come to the third and final chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Peter you will find him concluding his final writing just prior to his impending death. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the opening chapter of this epistle you will discover the apostle Peter was well aware of the time for his departure from this world and his subsequent entrance into the realm of eternity. Much like the second epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto Timothy the apostle Peter recognized and understood that the time of his departure was in fact near. It’s actually quite interesting to consider the words which are found in the opening chapter of this epistle for they call and draw your attention to the words the apostle Peter desired to say and write unto his audience. We know that this epistle was not written unto a specific group of people as the first epistle was being written unto the pilgrims who were part of the Dispersion in the earth during those days. This second epistle written by the apostle Peter was indeed written unto the elect of God who had obtained like precious faith together with the saints of God present in the midst of the earth. In writing this final epistle the apostle Peter sought to speak directly to their faith—not only demonstrating they were such individuals of like precious faith but also demonstrating the tremendous need to add to their faith. It was in the first epistle the apostle Peter spoke of their faith as being of more worth and value than gold which is tried in the fire.
As you read the words which are found in this second and finally epistle written by the apostle Peter you will find him writing unto these dear saints that he must shortly put off his tent just as the Lord Jesus Christ showed him. What makes this all the more interesting when you take the time to think about it is when you consider that in the final chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John the Lord Jesus did in fact reveal unto the apostle Peter the type of death he would die. In fact the apostle John even emphatically states and reveals that what the Lord Christ did was in fact reveal unto the apostle Peter the means whereby he would in fact die. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the final chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find the following words which were written by the apostle concerning the type of death the apostle Peter would in fact die in this world—and not only the type of death he would die but also the type of death he would die that he might indeed glorify the living and eternal God and that the sufferings of Christ might be manifested within his physical body. Oh this is something which warrants strong consideration for it’s one thing to die and pass from this life to the next, however it’s another thing altogether for our death to not only glorify the living and eternal God and to manifest the sufferings of Christ within our flesh. People die and pass form this life into eternity all the time and yet there are very few individuals who through death glorify the living and eternal God. There are very few whose deaths in the physical realm do in fact glorify the living God as they breathe their last and pass from this life to the next. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the final chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John concerning the apostle Peter’s question concerning the apostle John himself and Jesus’ instruction unto him to follow Him:
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon son of Jonah, do you love me more than these? He said to Him, Yes, Lord; You know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs. He said to him again a second time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me? He said to Him, Yes, Lord; You know that I love you. He said to him, Tend my sheep. He said to him a third time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me? Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, Do you love me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said to him, Feed my sheep. Most assuredly I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish. This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple, whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, Lord, who is the one who betrayed? Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, But Lord, what about this man? Jesus said to him, If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow me. Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” (John 21:15-23).
The words we find here in this passage of Scripture are absolutely astounding when you take the time to think about it for not only do we find the Lord Jesus restoring the apostle Peter but we also find Jesus revealing unto the apostle Peter by what means he would die. What’s more is Jesus not only restored the apostle Peter unto Himself, not only revealed by what means he would die but he would also call him to follow Him. In all reality the words which we find here in this passage are intrinsically linked and connected to the words which the Lord Jesus spoke unto the disciples, unto the rich young ruler and even unto the masses concerning following Him. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand concerning the Lord Jesus and His call to follow Him it’s that this call was directly linked and connected to denying oneself and taking up one’s cross. What makes this all the more remarkable when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that the apostle Peter would not only die a similar death as the Lord Jesus Christ but his death would also be linked to the symbol of discipleship which the Lord Jesus spoke unto the disciples and crowds during those days. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for when we come to the final chapter of the gospel written by the apostle John we find the Lord Jesus revealing the death whereby the apostle Peter would die and glorify God and it’s direct link to the clarion calls He gave to follow Him. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in certain passages present within the Synoptic gospels found in the New Testament:
“Therefore whoever confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter in law against her mother in law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. He who love father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:32-39).
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26).
“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, Whoever desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:34-38).
“Then He said to them all, If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, of him the Son of man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:23-27).
“Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? So Jesus said to him, Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is, God. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother. And he answered and said to Him, Teacher, all these things ai have kept from my youth. Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me. But he was sat at this word and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:17-22).
“Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciples. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple. Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is nether fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear let him hear” (Luke 14:25-35).
We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for within them we are brought face to face with Jesus’ words concerning following Him. What’s more is that within these passages of Scripture we not only find Jesus calling men to walk with and follow Him but we also find Jesus directly linking and connecting the cross to w following Him. You cannot read the words found in these passages of Scripture and not encounter the tremendous truth surrounding Jesus’ clarion call to the twelve disciples as well as to the rich young ruler and to the multitudes to deny themselves, to take up their cross and follow Him. What we must needs acknowledge when reading the words which are found within the four gospels—and not only the four gospels but the New Testament itself—is that before the cross was ever something Jesus carried upon His back and shoulders along the Via Dolorosa through the city of Jerusalem, and before the cross was ever the instrument of torture, suffering and ultimately the death of the Lord Jesus it was in fact an instrument and symbol of discipleship. There would be those who would like to consider the cross solely in terms of it being the piece of wood upon which the Lord Jesus Christ died. There are countless men and women among us who view the cross—not as a symbol of our discipleship—but rather as an instrument of Christ’s suffering and death. Oh we do ourselves a great disservice when we think about and view the cross solely as a means of the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus and not as an instrument and symbol of our discipleship. We do a great dishonor and disservice to the living and eternal God when we view the cross—not as a means of our own discipleship and walking with and following the Lord Jesus but solely as a means of the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I sit here today thinking about the tremendous implication of the words which our Lord spoke within the gospels and how the cross is and has always been more than the instrument of His suffering, His torture and His death. The cross has indeed been made to be nothing more than an instrument of the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus Christ while allowing men and women to somehow escape the responsibility of taking up, carrying and bearing their own cross in this life. You will notice that when speaking unto the rich young ruler, when speaking unto the disciples and even when speaking unto the multitudes Jesus not only called them to deny themselves and take up their cross but also that anyone who did not deny themselves and take up their cross was not worthy of Him. Oh I can’t help but wonder how many men and women are attempting to escape the responsibility of taking up and carrying their own cross that they might in fact live a life of convenience, comfort and ease. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are countless men and women among us in this generation within our churches who do in fact view the cross solely as a symbol and instrument of the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus and cannot view it as an instrument of discipleship for themselves. Countless men and women among us within our culture and society are such who cannot acknowledge the cross as a means of discipleship and that it demands and requires something of them. The more we think about and consider this the more we are brought face to face with the incredible truth that the cross is indeed a call to self-denial and to lose our lives in this life for the sake of Jesus and for the gospel.
If you read the words which our Lord spoke unto the apostle Peter after He had been raised from death to life you will find Him declaring that when he was younger he walked where he wished and even girded himself as he wished. When he was older, however, he would stretch out his hands and another would gird and carry him where he did not wish. The apostle John reveals and demonstrates that these words were intended on signifying the type of death the apostle Peter would glorify God. Oh it is quite obvious when reading the words found in these passages of Scripture that not only did the apostle Peter hear the clarion call of Jesus to deny himself and take up his cross but now just prior to the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ he was hearing and it was being revealed unto him the death by which he would die. OH what makes this truly captivating when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that not only would the apostle Peter be called to deny himself and take up his cross, not only would the apostle Peter hear that anyone who was not willing to take up their cross was not worthy of Him. What we find here in this passage of Scripture is Jesus revealing unto Simon called Peter the type of death he would die—and not only the type of death he would die but also the type of death he would glorify the living God. The apostle Peter was indeed called to deny himself and take up his cross and now when Jesus restores him unto Himself we find him learning the type of death whereby he would glorify the living God. This is something which requires a tremendous amount of understanding for when you look at the apostle Peter you will find him being one who would not only hear the call to deny himself and take up his cross but we also find him learning that it would be the cross whereby he would glorify the living God and whereby he would pass from this life to the next.
It’s quite interesting when you consider the words the apostle Peter wrote in this second epistle written unto those who had obtained like precious faith for he knew the time of his departure was indeed near. The apostle Peter knew that he was coming to the end of his life and that the time of his departure and of the putting off of his earthly and natural tent was drawing to a close. When you read the words found in the first chapter of this second epistle you will find the apostle Peter writing of his putting off the earthly tent and then speaking of it being exactly as the Lord had showed him. The apostle Peter remembered the words which the Lord Jesus had spoken unto him concerning the type of death whereby he would glorify the living God and might very well have known how he would have passed from this life to the next. Scripture is unclear whether or not this epistle was written by the apostle Peter upon getting the sense that he would pass from this life to the next or whether it was written having learned of his impending fate and death within the earth. We have absolutely no clue whether or not the apostle Peter was aware of the time of his death drawing to a close or actually being sentenced to the death. Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the righteous in Christ as they approach and draw near to death is there seems to be this overwhelming sense that their time is drawing near. Many of the righteous who have died in Christ have this internal sense within their spirit that the time of their departure is indeed coming and is drawing near. I have heard stories and accounts of men and women who have recognized and understood that the time of their departure is drawing to a close and have this internal sense within their spirit that they are about to pass from this life to the next. Oh consider if you will the following words which are found in the first chapter of this second epistle written by the apostle Peter as well as the words which are found in the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy his spiritual son in the faith:
“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease” (2 Peter 1:12-15).
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will give to me on that day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
Both the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul knew the time of their departure from this world was drawing near. As you read both of their second epistles you will find that it was essentially their final words before departing from this world and entering into the realm of eternity. With this being said I find it absolutely necessary to ask you if you are one whose life is such that glorifies and honors the living and eternal God. The apostle John wrote concerning the revelation of Christ to the apostle Peter that it was the revelation of the type of death whereby He would glorify the living God. Oh we know and understand that we have been called to be such who glorify God in life, however, the question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are such who will not only glorify God unto death but who will also glorify God in death. GLORIFY GOD UNTO DEATH! GLORIFY GOD IN DEATH! One of the greatest realities we must needs recognize and understand when considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is that it is one thing to glorify God so long as we are in this earthly tent, however, it is something else to glorify God until the time of our decease and departure from this world. There is something to be said about glorifying the living and eternal God in this life in the flesh, however, it is something else entirely to glorify the living God throughout our entire life in Christ and continue to glorify Him unto the time of our death. Moreover it is something absolutely beautiful and wonderful if one glorifies the living and eternal God in and through their death. Oh such individuals glorified and honored the living God throughout their entire life in Christ and now they have come to the end of their lives and the question remains whether or not they can and will glorify the living and eternal God unto and through their death.
Scripture makes it abundantly clear in the epistle written unto the Hebrews that it is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment and yet the question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are such who live our lives to glorify the living and eternal God. Are we such who glorify, honor and please the living God in this life or are we such who live solely and only for ourselves. In all reality I am convinced there is a great need for a generation of men and women who can and will glorify the living and eternal God so long as they are in this earthly tent. What’s more is there is a great need for men and women to glorify the living God in their flesh all the way to the time of their death and passing from this life into the realm of eternity. Not only this but the question remains whether or not men and women can in fact glorify the living and eternal God through the death they die in this life. There is something truly beautiful and captivating about men and women who are indeed able to glorify the living God throughout their entire life in Christ and who are able to glorify the living God throughout their lives and even in death continue to glorify the living God. Each and every day men and women die and pass from this life unto the next and yet the truth of the matter is that there are very few who through death continue to glorify the living God. The apostle Peter would die at the hands of the Romans as he would be crucified upon a cross just as his Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. What we must recognize concerning the death of the apostle Peter was that his death would be slightly different than the death of the Lord. Tradition and history tells us that when the apostle Peter knew that he was to be crucified he asked to be crucified upside down because he did not consider himself worthy enough to die in the same manner in which his Lord died. The apostle Peter desired to be crucified upside down as he would still glorify God through his death, however, he would not die in the same manner as his Lord did all those years earlier.
If you continue reading the words which are found in this epistle you will find in the final verses of the first chapter the apostle Peter recounts the experience and encounter he had atop the mountain of transfiguration when Jesus was still present among them. IN verses sixteen through twenty-one the apostle Peter recounts for his readers and audience an experience and encounter he had with the one true and living God there upon the mountain together with James and his brother John. It would be there atop the mountain where they would not only see the Lord transfigured before them but would also see Moses and Elijah appearing together with the Lord Jesus. There atop the mountain of transfiguration the appearance of the Lord Jesus would be altered as His appearance would become white such as no fuller could whiten it and his appearance would be likened unto the sun shining in all its strength. It would be there atop the mountain the Lord Jesus Christ would appear talking together with the Moses and Elijah and Luke reveals that the subject of their conversation was indeed the decease in which Jesus would Himself accomplish there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Moses, Elijah and Jesus all spoke upon the mountain concerning the death in which the Lord would die and glorify God the Father. There atop the mountain the Lord Jesus would be transfigured before the apostles Peter, James and John and it would be there where they would also hear the voice of the Father speaking through the midst of the glory radiating and appearing all around them. The voice of the Father would not only declare that this was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased but also instructed them to hear and listen to Him. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following accounts of the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus atop the mountain in the presence of these three disciples whom He personally invited there together with Him:
“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to t hem, talking with Him. 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 of you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. 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! And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, Arise, and do not be afraid. When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus o not. Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, Tell the vision to no one until the Son of man is risen from the dead. And His disciples asked Him, saying, Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? Jesus answered and said to them, Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of man is also about to suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist” (Matthew 17:1-13).
“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles; one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah—because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son. Hear Him! Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves. Now as they came down from the mountain, He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of man had risen from the dead. So they kept this word to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant. And they asked Him, saying, Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? Then He answered and told them, Indeed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I say to you that Elijah has also come, and they did to him whatever they wished, as it is written of him” (Mark 9:2-13).
“Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John and James and went on the mountain to pray. As he prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became whit and glistening. And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him. Then it happened, as they were parting from Him, that Peter said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah—not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the clouds, saying, This is my beloved Son. Hear Him! When the voice had ceased, Jesus was found alone. But they kept quiet, and told no one in those days any of the things they had seen” (Luke 9:28-36).
It is necessary for us to recognize and understand the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for within them we encounter and are brought face to face with the tremendous and incredible reality of Jesus being transfigured before the apostles Peter, James and John. What’s more is that within and throughout the gospels and even the New Testament book of Acts we don’t have any record of any of these individuals speaking unto others concerning this experience and encounter they had atop the mountain. There is nowhere in any of the four gospels nor in the New Testament book of Acts where we find any of these three apostles of Christ speaking or making mention of the transfiguration atop the mountain and that experience and encounter they had with Him atop the mountain. Here we find the apostle Peter drawing to the end of his life and we find him recounting that time atop the mountain when he would indeed experience the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ. There atop the mountain the apostle Peter would experience a measure of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ which He had with the Father from the beginning. Atop the mountain the apostle Peter—together with the apostles James and John—would see a glimpse of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ which He laid aside to take upon the flesh and blood. Up until that time they were used to seeing Him in flesh and blood and yet here we have His appearance being altered and they were no longer looking upon Him in the flesh and blood alone but were looking upon Him in a measure of the glory He had with the Father from the beginning. On the mountain that day these apostles would witness and behold the appearance of Jesus Christ being transfigured before them and would see a beautiful and wonderful picture of the glory of the living God among them as Jesus would radiate the glory of the living God. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely wonderful that would have been to see and observe the glory which the Lord Jesus Christ had with the Father in the beginning.
As you come to the second epistle written by the apostle Peter unto those of like precious faith you will find him recounting the experience he and the brothers James and John had with the Lord Jesus Christ atop the mountain as they beheld the glory. In the opening chapter of this epistle you will find the apostle Peter declaring unto his readers that they did not and had not followed cunningly devised fables when they made know them the power and coming oof the Lord Jesus Christ. What they did instead was speak unto them the truth which they received having been eyewitnesses of the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter together with the other eleven apostles personally walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ and heard and listened to His words. The apostle Peter received the call to come after and follow Jesus together with his brother beside the Sea of Galilee and they would leave everything to follow after the Lord Jesus Christ. Eventually there would come a time when they would be taken by the Lord Jesus Christ atop the mountain where they would be eyewitnesses to His power, to His glory, and to His majesty. The apostle Peter would reveal unto his readers and audience how they were eyewitnesses of the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ which He received from God the Father when a voice came to Him from the excellent glory. There atop the mountain the Lord Jesus received from God the Father honor and glory as the Father would declare the same thing he had at the Jordan River—“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
It’s important for us to recognize and understand the words which are found within this passage of Scripture for the apostle Peter sought to compare the witness and testimony they themselves had having been eyewitnesses to the Majesty of the living and eternal God. The apostle Peter was not speaking to them of his own accord nor even of his own inspiration but was speaking unto them based on that which he had personally experienced. Much like the apostle John who began his first epistle by speaking of those things which they saw, heard, and touched so also the apostle Peter would speak of those things which they themselves saw atop the mountain when the appearance of Jesus was transfigured before them. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the apostle Peter preaching—not of his own inspiration or of his own imagination but based on personal experience with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is something we dare not and must not miss for during those days and in that generation there were many false teachers, false prophets, false apostles and even false brethren who were preaching of their own accord. There were during those days false apostles and false teachers who were preaching seducing doctrines of demons which they neither heard nor received from the living God. During those days and in that generation deception within the churches was entirely and altogether rampant as false apostles, false prophets and false teachers would infiltrate them introducing heresies and doctrines of demons which they would teach the people that they might lead them astray. This is what the apostle Paul wrote and spoke of in the eleventh chapter of the second epistle written unto the Corinthians when he wrote of those who transformed themselves into ministers of light just as Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
If you continue reading the words which are found within this epistle you will find the apostle Peter clearly contrasting the vast difference between those who truly walked with and followed the Lord Jesus and were eyewitnesses of His Majesty and therefore preached the word and truth of the gospel unto them and those who preached of their own inspiration and imagination. This is something we must needs grasp for in the second and third chapters of this epistle the apostle Peter would write and speak of false teachers, false apostles and false prophets who would indeed seduce the people through their myriad of false teachings, doctrines of demons and seductive practices. Perhaps one of the greatest truths found within those days is the introduction of false teachers, false apostles and false prophets who would infiltrate the churches and would teach seductive practices and doctrines of devils that they might deceive the people into abandoning their faith, their trust, their hope and their confidence in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. That which the apostle Peter sought to convey within this epistle was warning these saints of like precious faith of the dangers of false teachers, false prophets and false apostles who were present among them during those days. What makes this all the more intriguing when you consider it is that there were other warnings and alarms that were sounded concerning false teachers, false prophets and false apostles. The apostle Peter, the apostle John, the apostle Paul and even Jude spoke of such realities which would be present among them during those days. What’s more is that even the Lord Himself would speak of false apostles, false prophets and false Christs who would enter in among them.
I am convinced we must needs consider the words which are found in the New Testament concerning false prophets, false apostles and false teachers but must also recognize and understand that even during the days of the ancient Hebrew prophets there were false prophets who would prophesy of their own inspiration and imagination. There is perhaps no greater evidence and manifestation of this than the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah. It is in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah we find and encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the false prophets which were present during those days. Oh I have always said and I continue to believe that as long as there is the true and the real there will always be the false and the fake. As long as there is truth there will always be lies, deception and falsehood and it is up to us to be those who are able to recognize, understand and discern the presence of them among us within our midst. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it brings us face to face with the tremendous warning that is needed within our hearts and lives in our midst as we need to guard ourselves from the false and seductive practices of those who would seek to deceive and destroy the faith of the people of God. OH it is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah for it describes the presence of the false teachers which were present during the days of this ancient Hebrew prophet:
“My heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all myth bones shake. I am like a drunken. Man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the LORD, and because of His holy words. For the land is full of adulterers; for because of a curse the land mourns. The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up. Their course of life is evil, and their might is not right. For both prophet and priest are profane; Yes, in my house I have found their wickedness, says the LORD. Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery ways; in the darkness they shall be driven on and fall in them; for I will bring disaster on them, the year of their punishment, says the LORD. And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria: They prophesied by Baal and caused my people Israel to err. Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem: They commit adultery and walk in lies; they also strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns back from his wickedness. All of them are like Sodom to me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah. Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets: Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall; for from the prophets of Jerusalem profaneness has gone out into all the land. Thus says the LORD of hosts: Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the LORD. They continually say to those who despise me, the LORD has said, You shall have peace; and to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, no evil shall come upon you. For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD, and has perceived and heard His word? Who has marked His word and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD has gone forth in forty—a violent whirlwind! It will fall violently on the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings. Am I a God heard at hand, says the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him? Says the LORD; Do I not fill heaven and earth? Says the LORD. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed! How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, who try to make my people forget my name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot my name for Baal. The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? Says the LORD. Is not my word like a fire? Says the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who steal my words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who use their tongues and say, he says. Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams, says the LORD, and tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all, says the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:9-32).
Consider if you will the following words which were spoken by our Lord unto His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount as well as in the Olivet Discourse when He spoke of the last Days:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:15-20).
“And Jesus answered and said to them: Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:4-14).
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, Look, here is the Christ! Or there! Do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive if possible even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, Look, He is in the desert! Do not go out; or, Look, He is in the inner rooms! Do not believe it” (matthew 24:22-26).
Consider the following words which the apostle Paul wrote in the first and second epistles written unto Timothy his spiritual son in the faith beginning with the first epistle:
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, disposers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn way! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, awlays learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Joanne’s and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was” (2 Timothy 3:1-9).
Consider the following words which are found in the epistle written by Jude and the warning and alarm he sounded concerning false teachers and false doctrines:
“But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed these who did no believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke you! But these speak of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam prophesied about these men also, saying, Behold, the LORD comes with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering to people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit” (Jude 5-19).
Consider the following words which are found in the second chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Peter beginning with the first verse:
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—then the LORD knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and toy reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, whereas angels, who are grater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord. But these like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to various in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity; A dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds carried by a temptest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they hav escaped the pollutions of the world through the knwoledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to his own vomit, and, a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Peter 2:1-22).
As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to come to the third chapter of this epistle for it is within the third chapter the apostle Peter seeks to declare the certainty and the imminence of the coming judgment which the living God can and will execute upon the wicked and the unrighteous. The apostle Peter wrote of their coming in the last days scoffers who walked according to their own lusts and asking where the promise of the coming of Christ was. These scoffers would go on to declare that since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. The apostle Peter goes on to write how these individuals willfully forget that by the word of God the heavens were of old and the earth standing out of the water and in the water persisted being flooded with water. The apostle Peter goes on to describe how the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. He would go on to declare that one day with the LORD is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day. The LORD is not slack concerning His promise as some would count slackness but is longsuffering toward us not being willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. The apostle Peter goes on to admonish them to be ready and prepared for the coming of the day of the LORD which he describes will come as a thief in the night in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat —both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. What we must needs recognize and understand is we ought to be a certain type of people within the generation. We as the saints of God must needs be those who move in holy conduct and godliness as we look for and hasten the coming of the day of God. We as the saints of God must needs look for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. We are to be deligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation. OH that we would be men and women who recognize the true call to holiness, righteousness and peace in the midst of this generation and in the midst of this culture and society. Oh that we would be men and women who conduct ourselves as those who walk in holiness, righteousness, obedience, purity and godliness in this generation.