The Certainty of Christ’s Return
2 Peter 1:16-21
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. [2 Peter 1:16]
Knowing the certainty of Christ’s return is a truth that is connected to knowing the certainty of His resurrection. Paul described it like this:
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” [1 Cor 15:20-23]
We can be certain of “His coming” because we are certain of His Resurrection. His tomb is empty; His earthly body nowhere [and never] to be found. And when He comes again, we, too, are certain we will be raised. Christ’s return will also bring a day of reckoning. In that day, judgment will fall upon those who do not know Jesus as Lord, and there will be greater judgment upon false teachers who have led many astray.
This is a great warning in 2 Peter, which is to false teachers. How does one spot false teaching? He must know truth. And how does one know truth? He must intimately know Jesus, “the way, the truth, and the life” [John 14:6].
As we discussed last week, the key theme in 2 Peter is knowledge, not just scholastic knowledge but more importantly, spiritual knowledge; knowledge of the truth. We must know our Lord intimately to know the truth.
Our text this morning connects the prophetic knowledge of God’s word with knowing Christ who has fulfilled that word. Peter describes “the prophetic word confirmed” [2 Pet 1:19] through the experience of the Transfiguration [2 Pet 1:16b-18]. “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables…but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” [2 Pet 1:16b]. “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed” [2 Pet 2:19a]. In short, God’s word was confirmed to Peter by what he experienced at the Transfiguration.
It is a basic principle that the way to know counterfeit is to know [by experience] the real. The principle applies to false teaching and false teachers. Handle the Real. Know by experience Jesus and the counterfeit will quickly [and rather easily] be revealed.