The Word of Prophecy
The world is once again interested in prophecy. People are afraid to face the future, and they ignorantly grasp every straw that comes along. Our bookstores have shelves filled with books on Satan worship, fortune telling, black magic, and prophecy.
The Christian does not have to get his information from Hell, because God has given us “the sure Word of prophecy.” When the Bible was first written, at least one-fourth of it was prophetic. In fact, one of the outstanding proofs of the divine inspiration of the Bible is the fact of fulfilled prophecy.
Peter exhorts us to “take heed” to this God-given Word of prophecy because of the kind of word it is.
1. It is the Sure Word
This is what we need today—a sure Word from God! Men are looking to the superstitions of this world, and believing lies, when all the time they can rest their faith on the sure Word of God.
The Word of prophecy is sure because it is factual and not fictional. In verse 16, Peter writes about the “myths” that men believed in his day, and still believe today. The Greek world of that day was filled with myths, and men actually governed their lives by these foolish stories. Well, we have myths in religions today. As I read the books by these “modern prophets” I am amazed that anyone would ever believe them!
Our Bible is factual; it is not man-made stories, but the record of historical facts. The Gospel is not based on myths; it is based on the historic facts of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You can build your life on this kind of Word!
It is sure for a second reason: it is permanent and not passing. In verses 12 and 13, Peter tells us why he wrote this letter: because people have a way of forgetting things! But when something is written down, then it is permanent. Furthermore, Peter himself was about to die and pass off the scene, and he wanted to leave behind a clear record of his experiences and his convictions. Thank God for a permanent Word of God! “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Word shall not pass away.”
Third, the Word is sure because it is objective and not subjective. Peter tells us that he shared in the Transfiguration, and actually saw the glory of God and heard the voice of God from heaven. But then he writes, “The Word of prophecy which you have is more sure!” More sure than visions and voices! We really do not need visions and voices today, because we have the Bible, the objective Word of God. I would certainly hate to base my salvation on the subjective experience of some person.
Yes, we have a sure Word, that is factual, permanent, and objective. Let’s trust this Word; let’s obey it; and let’s rest our hope on this wonderful Word. Everything else is going to fail, but the Word of God is sure and will remain eternally.
2. It is the Shining Word
Peter compares this Word of prophecy to “a light shining in a dark place.” The “dark place” is, of course, this present world in which we live. The word Peter uses for “dark” means “squalid, like a murky swamp.” That is quite a description of this present world!
People tell us we are living in an “enlightened age,” yet Peter says our world is dark and squalid. He is not referring, of course, to the beautiful world of nature; but to the kind of society godless men have made. Men today are morally dark (there were over 700 murders in Chicago in 1972!) and their minds are spiritually dark. Blind men in a dark world without a light! What a tragic condition to be in!
Is there any light in this dark world? Of course there is! “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” The light of God’s Word—“the lamp of prophecy” as Dr. Ironside used to call it—shines clearly and points the way. This light exposes the sin around us; it enlightens the believer so he is not led astray; it encourages him when the way seems difficult. The light of the “word of prophecy” reminds us that Jesus is coming again!
Peter writes about two lights: the light of the Word, and the light of the “Daystar.” Thank God that when the night gets the darkest, we can see the Daystar shining and promising the return of Christ and the dawning of a new day! The Daystar is the distant light that keeps us going in the right direction. The Word of God is the light we hold before us, to direct our steps day by day. How thrilling it is to keep your eyes on that Daystar, and to know that Jesus is coming soon!
This wonderful “Word of prophecy” points to the return of Jesus Christ. Our world is getting darker, and sin is growing bolder, and stronger, but we Christians “look up, for our redemption is drawing nigh.” No matter what the newspapers may say, or the modern prophets and prophetesses, we rest on the unchanging “Word of prophecy.” This is our light; this is our hope.
It behooves every Christian to be a student of the prophetic Word in these days. When I hear a Christian say, “I don’t know much about prophecy!” I tremble for that person. Knowing the prophetic Scriptures is one of the essentials for victory over Satan and his demonic powers. The prophetic Word is light, and we had better follow it.
3. It is the Spirit-Given Word
The Word of God is not the words of men. True, the Bible was written down by holy men of God; but what they wrote was inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. This is why we can trust the Bible, because God gave it to us.
Peter’s statement in verse 20 about “private interpretation” has been grossly abused by some people. They claim that Peter is saying, “No ordinary Christian is allowed to read or interpret the Bible. This is a job especially for religious leaders.” But that is not what Peter is saying! In fact, he would never have written this letter to “common Christians” if he did not want them to interpret what he wrote!
Peter is simply saying that, since the Bible was given by the Spirit of God, it can only be interpreted by the Spirit of God. We are not to come to the Bible with mere human intelligence, although that is important. We are to study the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit Who wrote it. Jesus promised in John 16:13 that the Spirit of truth “will guide you into all truth…”
Have you ever considered how wonderful it is that the Author of the Bible lives within us! This means that He is able to teach us the Word as we surrender to Him and let Him lead. This does not mean that we do not need pastors and teachers, because the Spirit teaches through them as well (Ephesians 4:11-16). But the same Spirit of God Who teaches your favorite preacher the truths of the Bible can also teach you! And not only will the Spirit teach us, but He will also help us to live what we learn—and that is the most important part of Bible study.
In these dark, confusing days, when even religious leaders are going astray and leading people away from God’s will, it is important that we hold to the “sure Word of prophecy.” It is the sure Word—we can depend upon it. It is the shining Word, giving us light in this dismal world. And it is the Spirit-given Word, inspired of God, and profitable for us to read and obey.
But you cannot have the Word of God without receiving the Son of God. The Bible is a closed book to the unbeliever, but it is an open book to those who trust Christ and have the Spirit dwelling within. If you have never yielded your heart to Christ, do so now. Let the light of salvation fill your heart. Receive by faith the forgiveness and eternal life that are found in Christ. Then, turn to the “sure Word of prophecy” and let the Spirit teach you God’s truths. This Word is shining in a dark place. Are you in the darkness—or in the light?
There is no need to fear the future, or to wonder about what is happening in this world. God’s great plan is presented in the Bible, and this “sure Word of prophecy” can be your Word if you will turn to Christ by faith.
“There has not failed one word of His good promise.” And not one Word ever will fail! Thank God for the “sure Word of prophecy” that points us to Christ and shows us the way.