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THE DIVINE INITIATIVE
God did not respond to a fallen world, beseeching Him for love, and decide to be loving. God is love*1. He did not accord grace to imperious clamour, and reluctantly resolve to fund a compassion unit in His heart! God does not change (Malachi 3:6), and as we saw last time, His ways are everlasting (Habakkuk 3:6). Is it not interesting that both these scriptural sites are 3:6, while John 3:16 is the same with one more figure. Numerology ? not at all. It is just a providential aid to memory! It helps one to remember the divine initiative.
The world He made; the world fell. God did not fall. His ways are everlasting and sure (cf. SMR Ch. 1).
God was willing, in earnest, to raise. Before the world began, He had so resolved, had so envisaged, so held in the grasp of His greatness, not only the plan of salvation, how He would do it, but the persons to be saved (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29). All were cordially invited; not all would be received (Matthew 22:1-14, John 3:16 cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4, SMR Appendix B).
Some sadly misconstrue and even imagine that He so acted as to cause the fall of mankind, so that He should show the love in the raising. What love is that ? You create the problem in order to exhibit the love you did not show in creating it, by solving it! This is the normal sort of philosophising extraneousness, extrapolation and distortion. In Him, there is no iniquity (Deuteronomy 32:4, cf. Things Old and New Ch. 1, SMR pp. 580ff.), and the very concept of distortion of His Son (Isaiah 52:13-14 cf. With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Chs. 4ff.) in order to show His love implies a distorted character, a snivelling trickster, a heartless rogue, a disposer of sacred things for the sake of news value.
What is sacred is so; it is not a mere exhibition technique. What is exhibited is what is true; and what is true is what is there. Exhibition does not make it; far less does it attest it when its denial precedes what is to be shown! Such a concept is inert, like the inert gases in their chemical activities in so much, to the situation. The most passionate desire to make clear the love is not interested in the most unloving preliminary. That is neither scriptural nor logical. God DID however make a being, man, who could, if he would, become a dedicated ninny, a negation-unit, by an act of will. Being with God, he could leave God; for he was not redeemed at the first, merely created.
Thoughtful creations, spirited beings, these have that option. God knows it; He knows its results, for nothing is without His creative and comprehensive institution, and knowledge does not compel. Guess what ? It merely knows. It is true that He has worked everything out and everything in; that He has planned the way it will have its eventuation; but as to making the evil to do the good, this is mere and sheerest contradiction. What is good, is not interested in evil, except to overcome it. This too He has done. He has known HOW and WHOM He would redeem. This does not limit; knowledge does not compel. But it DOES know ...
What then of this devious and distorting concept of the loving God making a parade of a love that is not there ? It is mere deceit and as such it contrary to His character. His doing and knowing is all one, for there is none who can move Him one inch, one millimetre and or one micron. Nothing IN Him can compel Him. He is as He is, and what He would be, He is; and being always what He would be, and knowing the end of all things, He never changes. What therefore HE has created, is not for kicks, not for the meeting of a need, not for self-fulfilment. HE IS FULFILLED. Nothing lacks. All such hypotheses ipso facto are talking about someone OTHER than He.
It is the devious mind of man, who CAN INDEED put on a show to demonstrate what is not there (if it were possible), which suggests of the Creator the sin which is his own. God is not at war with Himself, despoiling what He makes, for the pleasure of it. His purposes do NOT include frustration of His plans; but they DO include justice, which is the fulfilment of what He has made, in due and proper course; and they DO include truth, which is the verbal equivalent of what He does. As to deceit, to plans beyond truth ? It is not so written, nor is it in the remotest degree even possible*2.
What is written is this: He is of purer eyes than to regard iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13), and that even to see God, your heart must be pure (Matthew 5:8, Isaiah 6:5-7, 59:1-3); indeed, if you give place to iniquity in your own heart, He will not even hear you (Psalm 66:18); and indeed,
CAUSING a fall is causing sin and this is iniquity. With God, He has enabled a fall, in making personality; and CAUSED a redemption in coming to take the brunt of the result, in Person, so that other persons might be picked up, recreated and restored to truth and love.
Indeed, as we noted in SMR p. 580:
As for God, as demonstrated in Chapter 1, He is no grossly squirming, tormented molester of His works, creating them for deception while He acts out in their lives - the lives of His creatures - the restless inferiorities of His own nature. There being no inferiorities in His own nature, there is no restlessness, yearning or seeking or turning for the desired, but unattained: as we have already pointed out.God in fact loved since He is love: that is what He wants to be, always is, and it is not sloppy sentiment but secure steadfastness, otherwise known as faithfulness, but this with an ardour and a purity and a solicitude which is penetrated by righteousness (Psalm 89, 85), so that no part of darkness is permissible (cf. Luke 1:34-36), such a thing being merely a wandering of the will, a work of self-collision, an energy of dissidence in the One whom no dissidence can touch, no invasion allay or betray, since all depends on Him and He is, so He does and as He does, so He is: unconstrained, unpolluted, intransigeant in truth. As to the deeds of His life, these are unpollutable by contraries, for nothing contrary can stand. Of these things we learn in Christ, in the Bible and in His ways according to this; and each of these things has been demonstrated to be so (cf. SMR et al).
Here we must pause a moment to consider the godless character of such a conception, not merely to remind ourselves that it is excluded from logical possibility, for the Creator, but to consider the implications for those of this ilk who are creatures. Instead of realising potential with delight, growing with joy, achieving - with fulfilment of divinely composed task-equipment: people, through ambition or fear, may worry and weary out their folly in a defilement of the wonder of life... before, as here, seeking to project their own incompetent aspirations, impiously, impudently and irrationally onto their Creator. But let us revert.
There are, we said, no inferiorities or restless elements in the nature of God; this is to affirm what we have reasoned in Chapter 1, as being clearly the case. Nor is there any question, in that supreme nature of God, of embattled or embittered psychic components, alert to project themselves into a quarrel with the texture of His creatures: there is no way His words will work against His deeds. For God, truth is as sure as His Being. For confirmation and pith, let us note again, the Scripture says: God ...cannot lie.
What glorious inability; what omnipotent incapacity! How we learn the supernal nature of omnipotence!: it does not deny itself. If it did, it would not be omnipotent, but a writhing system, contorted in its set conditions: and set, one must ask, by whom? Only by God; and since this is He, then not set for Him. He sets what He will and makes all what He would, there being no source or strength for any other action in despite of this. That is the nature of the Almighty, as we have seen at length. Necessarily the case, it is also given by revelation as we see.
We may add, for the sake of completeness, that it is also of necessity true that God is no experimenter, vivisecting His toiling creation - His pressured products - while gaining more knowledge for future divine exploits. He already knows all, as shown in Chapter 1.
Neither morally nor intellectually does God's very nature allow, then, alliance with lies. Accordingly, He has spoken His truth, His word, His remedy - provided His Redeemer to man, Jesus Christ, one infinitely pure, wholly efficacious. Creation is not a covert operation for divine growth, development, catharsis or deception. In confirmation, what does the Scripture say: God does ''not willingly afflict the children of men'' (Lamentations 3:33); ''Thy word is truth'' (John 17:17). It is good in this Chapter of John, to see this; as well as to reason to it, as we do and have done.
Yet there is more. God is lie-less, we have earlier shown; but truth also has in Him its only possible basis, an emphasis of Chapter 3, above. In fact, without God, truth does not exist. (Incidentally, this leads to the delightful absurdities that afflict the atheist - and as we see, the agnostic. If God did not exist, then, we would not truly say that He did not exist; for truth would not be available with which to say any such thing. No statement that He does not exist is logically possible even in terms of self-consistency.) If He were not there, there would be only interaction with no basis of perspective beyond reaction. Shall a cog designate the design ? Without a revealed God, truth is unattainable; including any alleged truth that there is no God... or may not be one. That too is an assertion, not equitable with nullity as an interpretative medium. It requires knowledge to designate such a possibility.
Unless then, God is there and known, it would not be possible to assert meaningfully that He is not. Your speech is then the screeching of cogs as to eminence, and it incorporates the vision of the viewless from the standpoint that is anything... and even that anything is itself a situational squeak, with no station for survey. It is the standpoint that does not stand.
As to His love, see SMR pp. 386ff.. It is filled with initiative, rigorous in remedy and relentless in desire (I Timothy 2, John 1-3 cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4). He goes further. Not merely does He have justice and goodwill; His is also an earnest and inflexible concern, deep and assured, not without means, not without results, but without admixture. For this, He will go, indeed has gone to ANY level, not contrary to truth and righteousness. Personal sacrifice is His, for the WILL to sacrifice goes before it; and the result in Christ is the performance of this, and in this, Christ Himself delighted (Psalm 40 cf. Joyful Jottings 22), already present in His Spirit.
What He would do, He stated, its date (SMR pp. 886ff.), its meaning, its method, its incarnation programmatics, its impact, its ongoing history (cf. SMR Ch. 9, Barbs, Arrows and Balms Ch. 17, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 3). That He would show what He would do, this also, He stated (Amos 3:7).
This we find in the Bible, having first demonstrated its truth in SMR.
All these things we have seen, and here review.
Indeed, we are now moving to the concept of DIVINE INITIATIVE, not only in love demonstrative, but in truth insurgent. How often in the Old Testament do we read, Thus says the LORD! It would be an interesting study for a simple computer program, for this would allay the need for a massive counting! In Amos 4 (see The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9, No. 24), we have that glorious composition, starting with
And what is the immediate contextual relevance of this fact ? It is written in 4:12,
HE SPEAKS. HE WARNS. HE DOES. It is He who declares His mind, who does, who rebukes, who exposes, who declaims, who exhibits, who acts! The action is with THOUGHT, the thought is with WORDS and the words are with CHALLENGE. The whole is with love; but love is not without discipline (Revelation 3:19, Hebrews 12), just as Christ was not without self-discipline (Isaiah 50, Luke 9:51). It is the motivation, the actualisation, the power and the proportion which attest love, amongst many other things (cf. I Cor. 13).
MY thoughts are not as YOUR thoughts, He asseverates, Isaiah 55:8, and hence it is as the rain which comes down and is not fruitless, that His word comes down and is not unneeded! (Isaiah 55:10-11). In that very place, He makes precise predictions (55:13) which have of course been fulfilled (cf. SMR pp. 790ff.). His nature is obvious (Romans 1:17ff.), His love is declared and verified in His word with all the rest of it, and in His vast program of salvation, involving His only begotten Son*3 .
Now it is time for us to consider two texts, in terms of translation, in this milieu of divine revelation, and in so doing, find the utter consistency and reliability verified, one which is always verified in His word. Truth in the power of God is not only consistent with love, it is in the uttermost harmony with it; for in truth, God has made with benevolence and liberty, and has accorded liberty to man, who has made himself slave in many ways. In truth, God has loved man so that he too might be redeemed to walk in truth, and to esteem others as himself.
Now some textual work follows, in harmony with the above, and illustrative of it.
first ? It is
II Kings 8:10
In this case, we find the prophet Elijah approached (with considerable boldness) by the alien Hazael of Syria, a land replete with idols, acrid enemy of Israel, militant opponent, and this Hazael comes on behalf of his master, King Ben-Hadad. This violent and wild seeming character, was one who had lost a battle with Israel because of extreme and drunken intemperance, self-confidence and especially an confused unrealism. It was one reminiscent in recent times, of Hitler, for example at Stalingrad, refusing to YIELD and so to avoid the encirclement which removed, it seems, some 300,000 soldiers from availability for his warlike purposes, his inveterate and calamitous desire for his ... race!
That example, in considerable parallel to Hitler, that tableau of the intoxicated Ben-Hadad is found in I Kings 20, where people were to be taken ALIVE, an erratic scenario ill-suited to success! and so the assured words of man were found to fail before the prophetic words of God (Kings 20:13), who had declared in advance the result of the gross intentions of Ben-Hadad (I Kings 20:5-14). As normal, and indeed as necessary, the depictions of drunken man fell before the declarations of the God of truth and eternity. Such is the endless affront suffered by that proud and witless swath of human history which, refusing to believe, becomes what it is.
Time passed. Defeat of Ben-Hadad was now long past. Death crawled to his bedside. It was this bouncy King who now lay ill. His desire is for life. Can he live ? Where does he turn ?
Like so many, it is to the God whom he has opposed, ignored, mocked and disregarded that he looks, yet impenitently, merely trying to influence His decisions. To the prophet Elisha comes Hazael, his emissary. An enormous gift is a sweetener, carried on camels! Will God yield grace to such reward ? "Shall I recover from this disease ?" he asks via his sent servant (II Kings 8:9).
Now here both the Authorised version and the New King James version here err. It is not so in that expert linguistic work of Keil and Delitzsch, however, which renders the reply thus: "Thou wilt not live, and (for) Jehovah has shown me that he will die." (Commentaries on the Old Testament, the Books of the Kings, pp. 334-335).
What is amazing is this, that many have ignored the kethibh, the written text preserved by the Jews, as distinct from the Keri, the oral suggestion. The formal text has just this! To be sure, some have suggested here an exceedingly rare use of la to mirror lw (transliterated). to mean 'to him', as if the word were at first lw, and then changed by others to la, so that the former, and not what is written, is taken to be the point. Thus the rare usage is commandeered to bring imagined redress, so bringing the translation to the assumed intention of the writer.
Take then such a daring effort to assume the change and to extort a rare meaning from this word in the written text. In fact, wherever the utterly abnormal is in view, one might expect some cue, in clear writing, to enable one to depart so drastically from the wholly established norm! Taking, then, as Keil does, the word la to mean what is its vast and wholly normal case, "not" - for it is indeed a basic word in ANY language, we come to this result:
That is the message given to the king's servant, Hazael, a not disinterested recipient, as we shall see. The logical sequence is smooth, the negativity is confirmed both by the grammar chosen and by the reasoning presented, a double conformity. To make of this, "You may surely recover," with the AV, constitutes one of its exceedingly rare, manifest mistakes. It does certainly seem the most accurate, if not always the most clear, translation; but it is not perfect; although it misleads in no textual doctrine.
The use of this construction, then, with la and infinitive absolute is not common, but it is also an exceedingly striking format, of recognised impact, used in historically dramatic and decisive circumstances, with parallel atmosphere, so making the case readily interpretable from the existing written text. It is no pedantic oddity.
Let us observe, then, that the same grammatical construction, and order, as Keil points out, is used in Genesis 3:4. Here there is a classic example. The devil is interested in subverting Eve - a massive undertaking. When she (inaccurately) relays what God had said to them, the prohibition (thus, apparently already slipping into the sin mode), the serpentine devil takes her up, and to use the colloquial, has her on. In other words, he uses her now manifest interest in his offer of interested involvement with her, to exploit the weakness and secure his target. That ? the 'alternative life style', his own.
tried the same with Christ (Matthew 4:9), without success.
It is not for nothing that one approach to the concept of worship in Hebrew is to 'serve'.
Let us however return to Eve. She has just intimated to the devil that should she take a certain action, she is informed that she will DIE.
The devil does not agree.
You will not surely die! quoth he; or as Berkeley brilliantly has it, "No, you would not die at all!" - just as Elisha gave the message to Ben Hadad: No, you will not live at all! There is a perfected parallel, between these two cases.
It is a case of a strenuous negative, with what is called the infinitive absolute, and the words start with the NEGATIVE, like a panzer division, invading with great gusto, so well captured by Berkeley. The Hebrew word order is this: Not surely will you die.
Exceptional as such an order may be, it is found not only here but in Psalm 49:8 and Amos 9:8, in each case with a similar immense drama of negation, or vast domain for it. These are classic cases, a mode, a genre if you will. For maximal negative impact, allied with drama, this is an historic usage, exemplified strikingly in the Hebrew history.
Why then did Hazael later report that the message was the exact opposite, for to his king he reported that Elisha had said, "You will live". Obviously, it is easier, if you are inclined to be an assassin as he was, to relax your victim in a suffused atmosphere of hope, rather than have him alert and troubled, anxious and interrogatory. Announcing this false message, Hazael then suffocated the sick king (as some seem to say was done to Stalin), and so made sure in his own strength, of the coming kingship which Elisha had indeed announced of him.
It rather reminds of Macbeth. Great, famous and much admired, this possible coming king decided to make sure of things, urged by his wife, and killed King Duncan in his bed, where the royal personage was a guest of that ambitious devil, called Macbeth. So Hazael, impressed with the power of God, and meekly enough speaking with the prophet Elisha, was by no means a man of God. Thus he acted to ensure what was coming, his kingship, according to the counsels of his own murderous heart, successively lying and murdering. True to type, he imposed his way on the ruthless king who went, in more senses than one, before him.
Keil also points out this general position.
Why then on earth should one depart from the established and actual text for some suggested change thrust on us by 'interpreters'. What is WRITTEN is the thing to take first, not what is THOUGHT. Whose thoughts are in view, anyway! When you put your thoughts in the place of God's thoughts, you have the divine comment already clear from Isaiah 55 above: MY thoughts are not as your thoughts! It is well to heed this, in ascertaining the meaning. Do not idly incorporate your thoughts into His words. The disparity is sickening ... It is far worse than trying to make a flower with spider's legs.
Why on earth should one, likewise, insert some wholly arcane meaning into the NORMAL word for 'not', one of the language's basics, as with us ?
Taking the language in normal sense, and the text as it is in fact WRITTEN, we come to a frank and indeed categorical denial of any recovery by Ben-Hadad! Is he indeed to recover ? Sending gifts to the prophet, is he indeed to sway him ? This man of iniquity, this inveterate enemy of the Lord, seeking by silver or gold to sway the verdict! (cf. I Peter 1:18) ? What is to be said of it, thought of it ? It is profane! Small wonder Elisha bounced back with an utterly dramatic and classic case of denial as in Genesis 3:4! This time, via Elisha, the denial was TO Satan, and not from him, as when he deceived Eve!
The impudence of Ben-Hadad, to approach with gifts, without repentance, the God whose word shivers the foundations of the godless! Man who dies without understanding is like the beasts who perish (Psalm 49:20). Indeed: "You were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain way of life, received by tradition fro your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you..."
So speaks Peter of the God who does not change!
Get well amidst these hideous means of manipulation, if it were possible, of the divine, through these ploys! As to God, the cattle on a thousand hills are HIS! (Psalm 50:10). To redeploy from the parallel in Genesis, then, the response of the prophet Elisha is this: No, you will not live at all!
After this vigorous denial, the prophet goes on interpretatively, indicating the reason for the statement, "for the Lord has shown me that he shall surely die". THAT is why he indicated the terse news of doom for the King.
The sense in terms of word order is this: Say to him, Not surely you will live; for the Lord has shown me that surely he will die. Most assuredly is there a NEGATIVE in my reply to you, and it is thus: NOT, and this is very sure, you will live. Calamitously negative is the response, the negation having a species of affirmation of its very negativity via the absolute.
The emphasis, paralleling of plus and minus, sequence of terms is all one. The sense is clear and steadfast, truculently true and truly truculent. The reason why I tell you to instruct him that not and assuredly so, will he live, it is this: the Lord has shown me that assuredly he will die.
No, certainly he will not live; for the Lord has shown me he will die!
The word of God is not tortuous, wreathed, twisted (Proverbs 8:8), but straightforward, more subtle than the subtle who try to outwit it, but so filled with truth and integrity that it resembles in reality what the diamond shows in its intense and intensive radiation with sparkle and clarity, of light. As the light source is back of the light, so God is back of His word.
As Christ declared (John 17:17): "Thy word is truth." Lying is NOT an option for the One who IS the truth. It is the prerogative of those who despise it.
As Amos said to Israel (3:2-8):
“You only have I known of all the families of the earth;There is not only clarity, but there is majesty and judgment. The Lord says, and no excuse do they have who seek to impute falsity to Him: what He says is precisely what He means, and as to what He means, as He declares, it IS THE TRUTH.
Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
"Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey?
"Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing?
Will a bird fall into a snare on the earth, where there is no trap for it?
Will a snare spring up from the earth, if it has caught nothing at all?
"If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid?
"If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?
"Surely the Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
A lion has roared!
Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken!
Who can but prophesy?"
It is therefore exceedingly unfortunate that II Kings 8:10 has been mishandled in this way by both the Authorised Version and the New King James Bible; but it does serve, this collision of principle with presentation in translation.
In what way ? There is a lesson to be learned, as in some other cases displayed in The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9. It is this.
It is useless to pretend that some translator, some translation, because God has used it in many ways, is to be set forth contrary to any divine authority, as THE standard. This many ignorantly have done with the King James version, that exceedingly conscientious version, that wonder of style and perception as in most ways it assuredly is. Its clarity is not its chief point, though this too is considerable.
Its excellence is high indeed, but to put a shrine around it is to do what God has not ordained; and it is to sink into the quagmire of captious loyalty and division, a marvellous contribution to the great translations. Each translation must be assessed at each point, in all things. It is the word as written in the originals which is the standard, and any unwarranted assumptions about it, in terms of secondary things like translations, is near to blasphemy. Nearer yet, of course, is the practice of altering what is clearly written in bare-faced comedies of 'insight' in which change makes man the joint author. Taking what is written, and what is the overwhelming normal use of the Hebrew for 'not', we find far fairer a translation, in all points open and clear.
For more detail on this theme, see The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9.
now turn to our second example in translation, relative to the principles
of this chapter.
II PETER 1:20-21
On this topic, again central in terms of the divine self-sufficiency and competence, sovereignty and faithfulness, initiative and control past all the sins and defects of man, displayed by the Lord in His revelation, we first shall regard what was written earlier. We have met these verses of II Peter 1, before. Let us first remind ourselves of this work, and then we shall add perspective.
Our first port of call is Things Old and New Ch. 6, from which the following excerpt is taken.
But let us pursue the visionary picture in Ezekiel 47. The waters come from the altar and are of such huge amount, like a flood, yet a beneficial and beneficent flood, that they swell and mount. At first the prophet finds himself covered to the ankles, then higher and higher, till he must swim. Then he is borne very much as the prophets of old were borne (II Peter 1:21) when the wrote the scriptures, which are not of any private explanation, BECAUSE this is the case.Our next exhibit comes from SMR pp. 1167ff..
That is, Peter here states that SINCE the scriptures were given by an operation of the Holy Spirit of a driving character, so that He was bearing the prophets along (the word used of the storm tossing the ship before it, when Paul was in the Mediterranean), THEREFORE these same scriptures are of no private explanation. How COULD they be, if GOD provided them with power and impulsion of this heavenly and majestic kind! They are, as stated from GOD, the men moved by His Holy Spirit, so that any other explanation of their existence is blind, unempirical folly!
Paul amplifies even this in I Corinthians 2:9-13. When God wants to speak, He secures His desire and declares to man what His thoughts are (Amos 4).
Any theory which sites them in the individual lives of the writers is asinine, astray, impervious to reality, simply wrong.
The scriptures, then, are not EXPLICABLE in terms of the individuals concerned, BECAUSE GOD is their source! That is the teaching in Peter. Here in Ezekiel 47 is its dynamic counterpart in the vision of the prophet, himself immersed increasingly by stages in the impulsion of the waters, till he must swim, being borne along.
This strong, bearing or impelling quality of the Holy Spirit is felt by Ezekiel as indicated in his vision, as a flood. Yet it is not a violent one, nor a resistible one either, and while it forces him to swim, it also surges on to the places which it refreshes (like the flushing we have in our tiny little Torrens 'River' in Adelaide, when large volumes of water are released from the reservoir to cleanse it); and in this visionary stream are the fishes. Fisherman fish for them! That is of course a primary source of Christ's word: "Follow Me, and I shall make you fishers of men!" (Matthew 4:19). Thus the Lord is at work in the world with His Spirit with the content of that Cross reality which bears the Gospel. Marshy places (Ezekiel 47:11 - like sects which distort the word of God, Titus 3:10) are left.
There follows, for our thought, the passage from II Peter - 1:19-21. Here stress is laid on the irresistible dynamic of the deliverance of divine news and views to the devoted, dedicated, delighted servants of God in times past. Indeed, the Greek verb here used in verse 21, for 'moved' in the translation, is selected to refer to the stormy wind which 'drove' Paul's ship before it, on his way to Rome, described elsewhere in scripture (Acts 27:17).Thus in II Peter 1:20, the verb used about private explanation has the following force: literally loose, or explain, release, uncover, solve. The noun is thus explanation, release, uncovering, solution, and it can be extended to the concept of interpretation, since this may be used to uncover what is already there.
It was not a matter of man, with his will, as we learn indeed in 1 Peter 1:10-12. lt was NOT EVEN to themselves that they 'ministered', as it is written. It was not a matter of man interpreting at all. THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED (the tense is PAST). The coming sufferings of Christ and His subsequent glory, says 1 Peter 1, were not (as the prophets then knew) being depicted in their revelation for their own use. They were provided for the use of others yet to come. No, the matter was unique and challenging, which reached the scripture writers from the Spirit of Christ, says Peter; and it was by no means a matter of THEIR thoughts, but of divine activity donating these scriptures for times yet to come. Thus, II Peter 1:20-21 declares (Weymouth):Above all, you must understand that no scripture came about by virtue of its own release. For prophecy never came from the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit...The word sometimes metaphorically used to mean 'interpretation', as Thayer points out in his Greek dictionary, is in fact to 'loose'. Scripture is meant and sent, not deposited from the work of one's own will. It is not 'idios', one's own (our word for 'idiot' comes from this); and there is a STATED REASON for this fact. It is not one's own unloosing, uncovering, one's own ideas at all.
This is BECAUSE the men who were HOLY and indeed OF GOD spoke in a different climate altogether. Being of God and being DRIVEN (Greek word used of storms on ships), they were under the power of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing about other people's interpretation of scripture; there is nothing at all about what one does with it. It is a cause and a consequence of the clearest character. They did NOT loose their own thoughts BECAUSE in this type of case, they were DRIVEN by someone else; and HE ? He had a special relation to them as men of GOD: HE in fact was, as the Bible here states, the HOLY SPIRIT.
Driven by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1), these men spoke in times past. This we are told. THAT is why it is not a matter of what ANYONE MADE OF IT, or might make of it; that is WHOLLY beside the point. THIS, these words directly attest. GOD gave this to them, so that one's own ideas and constructions (literally, in the text), one's own developments and thoughts, simply are out of the question. It was NOT a faint suggestion: they were DRIVEN, MOVED by the Spirit. THIS, and nothing else or contrary, is precisely what is written.
God in His transcendence invested dependent man with news and views, and those views, being God's, were truth. God the Maker gave man in His image both declaration and information by the Holy Spirit. It was the SAME HOLY SPIRIT who brooded, as we read in Genesis 1:2, who 'hovered', who moved over the waters in that vast display of divine creative energy, at the birth of our material system. It was this same Spirit who brought from the heart and mind of God another spectacular creation.
THIS TIME some men were witnesses! What was THIS ? It was the word of God to man (cf. Amos 4:13, 12:1). God made the STAGE and He made the SCRIPT. The script is scripture. (There is ALSO - see Chapter 2 supra - an extraordinarily biological script written in programmed format into our very HUMAN PROTOPLASM.) We could go further. Peter does so. As man despoiled the CREATED WORLD, so men seek to despoil the WRITTEN WORD of God (cf. II Peter 2:1), which itself is like a world - of its own ? of GOD'S own! His speech world, His direct speech world (for even cells, we recall, are an INDIRECT speech world, crammed with thought, expressed in one language, in consistent code).
Wilfully, many seduce themselves, permit themselves to be seduced from the certainties of God's word, and from God's creation by His word, ignoring the desecration of the world in past judgment (cf. II Peter 3:3-6). In fact, they went so far as to slay the 'lamb' of God, that signally strong Saviour who worked with His Father (Proverbs 8, John 1) in making the world: they desecrated that explicit personal expression of God, whom even to know is a matter of "joy inexpressible and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8). This they did in an act foreordained by the divine thought and word (I Peter 1:19-21, 2:7-8, Acts 2:23-32).
It is ALSO, however, ordained, and was so from the first, that this desecrated divinity, this God-as-Man, the living word who CAME TO the world, will judge men, not vice versa (John 5:27, Matthew 7:21-22, Acts 13:36-41, 17:31). THIS He will do in due concord WITH THE WORDS THAT HE, THIS SAME CHRIST SPOKE (John 12:48-50). It is THIS Christ, who bothered to come and be sacrificed, and NOT another. NOWGod... commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all, by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31).
However the last concept is alien to this context. What is the topic ? Finding what something MEANS, or seeing its security and reliability ? It is clearly the latter, in context, for this is the whole thrust, while the other is not found, relevant or pursued.
Since the theme is God's competence and action, driving and impelling, leaving all thought of man behind, the LAST thing that would be involved is any interpretation by some man, by some human being, since the WORD given is the OBJECT of thought. What we are being told in II Peter 1:21 is this: that as far as the prophetic word of God is concerned, its implantation defies explanation, its deposit is beyond account, except by divine power beyond all that man can do. Man is ruled out; God is ruled in. The word is His. Therefore it is faithful and reliable and to be regarded as stable, securing life in the midst of evils. That is the context.
J.B. Phillips puts it rather well, since the verb is 'become' or arise, not strictly 'is'. He renders this, that no prophecy: "arose from an individual's interpretation of truth." THAT is what is excluded in this appeal to us to rely on these words of the Lord. Actually, it does not so arise (it is really present tense of ginomai - Peter and perhaps Paul were then still writing scripture, and John, in that era), in accord with some individual's interpretation, by someone's philosophy, understanding, because it was never brought by man's will. How it does arise is equally taught by Paul, in contemporary sense as a penman for God, himself, in I Cor: 2:9ff..
In fact, better is found from Thayer, who in treating this very verse in his classical dictionary, notes that ginomai with the Genitive case, as here, means "to become i.e. be changed into something, come to be, issue in, something", and he proceeds concerning this verse in Peter, "no one can explain scripture by his own mental power (it is not a matter of subjective interpretation)". However, while these renderings preserve something of the antithesis made by Peter, they do waft into a theme not present. The actual theme is reliability and the exclusion is the will of man. The grammar is centring on something 'coming to be' as Thayer has it.
What however is the topic ? Scripture, its fact, its presence as sure, sufficient and proficient. What is coming to be, then, in the simplest and most unobtrusive sense ? Scripture. That and that alone is the topic here.
Thus we have this: the prophetic scriptures did not come (or generically, do not come as at the time of Paul, whose writings also included this kind) into being through any individual man as explanation. THIS is not their way, source or origin. It is not through its own intrinsic mental source, that it arises. Not so at all! It is indeed the antithesis. It is not accountable, explicable, resolvable in terms of some normal individual source, the native basics of a mere man. It is not self-explanatory a a literary item.
HOW then DID they come to be ? Not through the work of an individual. Not indeed (v. 21) by the will of man at all. Even the will did not contribute. It was by the power of God. WHAT was by the power of God ? Interpretation of something ?
Of course not. THE ARRIVAL OF SCRIPTURE was by the will of God. THIS is the meaning sustained in the context, through the varied treatments. How such things came is NOT IN THEIR OWN TERMS. Indeed, this, the arrival and production of scripture is not explained by individual perception or enlightenment, power or thought; it not explained as sourced in the will of man: it IS explained by the power and impelling provisions of God in action. It is not explained as to interpretation, but as to existence, origin, presentation, coming to be, arising, becoming as the text has it. One cannot well intrude some other additional material. This is the defined topic, and the defined result, with the negations and affirmations accordingly.
Berkeley version is good in presenting the clear sense that follows:
no prophecy ever resulted from human design; instead, holy men from God
spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
Interestingly, there is the same whole hearted negation as with Elisha's word for Ben Hadad noted above under II Kings 8:10.
Indeed, with it, there is the same whole hearted negation as with Elisha's word for Ahaziah (II Kings 1:6), where frank unbelief was intercepted with the reminder that other gods cannot deliver health or power, precision or portent, but yet with follies unspeakable are they sought, while the truth of the word of God is despised. Death once again was the outcome of devious unbelief; for in the end, there is no life in departure from the living God, and His negations are manifest and manifold (cf. John 3:19,36, Isaiah 8:20), and as to Him, He has spoken and man SHALL live by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).
The devil's ploy, as old as with Eve, Will you REALLY die! and his sinuous implications that God does not speak truth, while his all too well attested deceits are to be relied upon, has made of the history of this world, through categorical and often shameless unbelief, sham indeed masquerading as faith not seldom, that contorted thing which increasingly it is, as good is thrust out and evil is imbibed as if a mother's milk.
No, certainly not, absolutely not, this is the tenor of the negation; and in this it also resembles John 1:12, where we find in parallel in another phase of the declarations and majestic power of God toward mankind, that being born of God is NOT a matter of blood, is NOT a matter of the will of the flesh (it is amazing what it takes to get that across!), NOT of blood, but of GOD, yes God Himself whose inviolable power and undeterrable majesty proceeds with supernatural triumphant power, such as was seen in the resurrection (John 20), inspectable, even pokable for the digits of Thomas, empirical, the categorical event in history which brought the whole vast array of miracles to their prodigious summit in the salvation of man (cf. Romans 10:9, Luke 24).
Such is the historical impact, the dynamic entry, the history-making holiness, the precision of power and the perfection of deity, the mercy of the Lord, through crucifixion to obliterate Christ, leaving the dumbfounded authorities with the same power (Acts 1:1, 4, 5, 12) to face, and the same Lord, who having fulfilled all, including the death at their historical hands, the resurrection at His historical dynamic, left the world for the proliferation of the Gospel as He had announced, reported in Matthew 24:12, until His return.
It is NOT man's power that makes history, it is the divine prescription which, having due regard for all the rebelliousness of man (as in Psalm 2, where the drama is intense and the prediction from a millenium before Christ arrived on this earth, is clear as to the death intended and the resurrection in view, confirmed in detail in Psalm 16), yet has the solutions even for millenia ahead, and those declared, and history follows meekly, for all the furore of rebellion, like a lamb. Such is always the case with the word of God: GOD NEGATES the power of unbelief, and those who seek to NEGATE the majestic power of God are left like Hiroshima, disgraced in their shams and discarded in their falsities, like Ben-Hadad.
NO, new birth has nothing to do with the absence of the power of God, or the presence of the power of man, but ONLY with the dynamic of the regeneration which the Creator ALONE can perform. NO, Ben-Hadad will assuredly die, there is an absolute certainty, an absolute negation and sham has an absolute repudiation of what is simply unbelief. No, history is predicted with empirical accuracy over its long stretches and short interludes by GOD ALONE: such is the testimony of scripture, and the concurrence of history. Such is the absurd denial of unbelief in its very face, as if students seeing a complex laboratory experiment performed in their very faces, then carefully write in their lab books, the exact opposite, as if hypnotised by convention and unable to see. Such too is covered by the omni-competent, indeed majestic word of God (Ephesians 4:17ff., Romans 1:17ff., II Peter 2:1ff., I Timothy 4:1ff., II Timothy 3), for the end of our Age.
There is, thus, in one sense, here something to thankful for: the fulfilments of these predictions, though appearing perhaps ghoulish to some, and they are horrific, yet simply once more attests their accuracy, that the world is on course for the next step, and since this is the return of Jesus Christ for His people (Matthew 24:12,14,33ff.), to conclude the confrontation with the coming man of sin, the world bestialisation (in symbolic terms as in Daniel 7), though carnal imperialism for the globe, this is good news! Nevertheless, in itself, it is simple unbelief, the sort that reaches that absolute NOT from the word of God! NOT of the will of man, not of blood, is the rebirth, and not of the will of man or the power of man or within the parameters of man is the prophetic word, the word of God.
Here in II Peter 1:20, the parallel power has this concerning prophecy: No, it does not come at all like that. It is the entire antithesis of such a concept. In fact, Holy men spoke as DRIVEN ... It came from God, and this is how, not from some philosopher's musings.
Thus the negation is followed by the affirmation; the prohibition (on erroneous thought about prophecy) is succeeded by the explanation of such a rejection. This is good NOW and that is why: THEN it came in that way. That is WHY it is good now.
Nothing could be clearer when you ponder it just a little!
That is the thrust of the passage: Was it some individual's unloosing, release, explanation of things, uncovering, solution, was this was the origin, source, basis, nature of this powerful, protective, wholly divinely sanctioned word of God ? not at al! Such could scarcely be further from the truth. WHY ? It is BECAUSE Holy Men of Old spoke as DRIVEN ALONG by the Holy Spirit that this other hypothesis, the humanistic one, is not applicable. That is why: it was not wrought (in the times past cf. Hebrews 1:1), by man at all. He was merely an exponent of what was deposited, yes driven in to him by divine power.
- so sure and reliable, so much to be exploited, as Peter indicates, in
strengthen ? What is to be said of this amazing phenomenon, this spiritually therapeutic marvel, this resource extraordinary! What ? Why this: Its explanation is not to be sought in the riddles of man's solution at all, but in the deposition of God by the Holy Spirit.
HOW COULD you explain such a thing as the prophecies which Peter has been at pains to exalt before us in the preceding verses ? Would it be by saying that man is the explanation! Rubbish! God is the explanation, and HOW He conveyed these vital words is as Peter then shows, the explanation. It was by the dynamic direction of the Holy Spirit. THAT is how they spoke it. What anyone makes of it is not an issue in the entire chapter. It is what God did to bring it to us, past all flesh. GOD DID IT ONCE, man can benefit now. This is the indubitable teaching.
Thus the translation could be put like this:
Or you could put it: Knowing this first: that no prophecy of scripture is accountable in its own terms ... and then on as before. This gives due attention to the usage of the verb ginomai in this genitive phrase context, to the logic, the focus, the topic and the result in view. It is not some interpretation which is to be accounted for, the idea being conspicuously absent; it is the RELIABILITY and DEPENDABLILITY, it is the ADEQUACY of the prophecy which is in view. Pay attention to this great light source.
Do so, the word of God indicates, KNOWING THIS...
In other words, the principle to follow embraces the fact just stated, confirms it, gives ground for it.
What then is it which gives ground to the reliability, the light source quality of the prophecy which (unlike something else, be it men or institutions) is to be heeded ? It is this thing which we KNOW.
What then is this thing which we know ? It is this: that no prophecy is accountable in its own terms. Why is that the case ? The gar or for to follow then unveils this mystery or reality, also. This in turn is for a most potent reason. The ground of rejection of any assault on the prophetic word, any doubt about it in elevating it to the position of a light source, in a dark place, this world - it is not something else, there is no noticeable attention at THIS point to something else; for it is this. And that is it which we find in the text here ? It is that those humanly responsible for it, the writers themselves of these prophecies of scripture, did not exercise their own wills to achieve it. It is not an individual human sponsorship matter at all. They were not philosophers. Theirs was not the internal inspiration, the authorship brilliance.
Not in the least degree is this so. That is why not in the least degree should you doubt the wisdom of following the LIGHT OF THE WORD OF GOD.
Indeed, to take the matter to completion and conclusion, not only negatively but POSITIVELY, the word of God continues. The fact is this: that they DID speak as they were CARRIED ALONG by the Holy Spirit. It is in this way that the prophecies of scripture were BROUGHT IN. Both terms are passive in the original, emphasising the divine initiative, power, precision, and HENCE RELIABILITY of this word DISTINCTIVELY from ANY announcement, be it new or matter of interpretation for that matter, of mere men.
Mere men were NOT the source, because GOD was and their participation was NOT IN THE LEAST a contributing factor in the outcome, namely the revelatory product, which is precisely in content, what GOD wanted. Anything further from 'interpretation' being handed to someone not having the advantage of being GOD is hard even to imagine! It would foul, indeed contradict the sequence, defy the topic and defile the exhortation.
Thus the translation of the NKJV and AV, if it were not for some measure of ambiguity, would be not only wrong, but appalling! As it is, it is entirely inadequate. Weymouth however has done an excellent job. All of this is only one more reason why the dictatorship of pope or AV is so wrong. God did not ordain man to mix his puny thoughts in this way with His own, and direct the brotherhood (and you are ALL brethren, with only ONE master Christ EXPLICITLY declared - Matthew 23:8-10), and you have but ONE FATHER, who is identified as GOD. We are not polytheists, one Father and one God, and this is that!
The highest wisdom of man and the greatest powers of some individual's or individual work of translation from some or one, it is not this which is the light. It is the word of God which is that light, and in translation there is no divine commission to any one party on record, be it slow in coming in the 17th century, before or after, which is defined and detailed in the Bible to be the one to heed. What presumption to make a mere man, be it pope or translator, or group, the criterion of the word of God! What follies follow, obscuring by the refusal to use ALL the gifts God has provided, in church or translation, the wonders of the light in the very presumption of trying to limit to him or nowadays we had better add it, to her! to these or to those.
from man whose breath is in his nostrils, for in what is he to be esteemed
(as the NASA has it, for Isaiah 2;22). It is only when we are unimportant that the result has good hope to be important. It is only when GOD HIMSELF, that eternal Spirit, is in control, sole recipient of majesty and focus of praise, that magnificent trinity of love and peace, truth and power, majesty and dominion, creation and consummation for all things, revealed in His word, made manifest in His Son: it is only then that the conditions of spiritual prosperity are present. We may rejoice in what He does through us, but do so IN HIM, not in our own works, of whatever magnitude they may appear. The more they are praised, the more the danger that their very human limitations or tendencies to error will become the objects of idolatry, the confines of comprehension. Rejoice in diversity, insist on integrity in the translation of the word, and rest in NONE BUT GOD. His word is very clear.
It is necessary never to enthrone any man or group in the place of God. ALL assemblies even, as the Westminster Confession so rightly says, are subject to error. Trust never in them. Be thankful for them, but rely on God by Christ, and according to His word as your CRITERION, not man, not men, not their ways. The church is good and a fine provision; but its very health comes in NOT TRUSTING in itself, its own works or ways.
Does this mean you never know where you are ? Of course not. The word of God is intrinsically clear (Proverbs 8:8ff.), and it is arrogance which tends to polarise and impose upon it.
It is by such trust in GOD HIMSELF, that the healing, the health comes. It is when the church is humble that it is more nearly holy, and being holy, casts itself in faith on the Lord Himself, not the engineers or engineering of man. It is to rejoice with trembling, not to assert with arrogance that is the task prescribed (Psalm 2)! It is then that the follies of pseudo-sanctified extremes, and the narrowness of preferred traditions, so hated by the Lord because of their intrusion of MAN's things into those of GOD (Mark 7:7ff.), arise, then when man is put level wt. God, and his works are added as if they could direct even the word of God!
that word of prophecy is as far above the thoughts of man as the heavens
above the earth! If you try to bring in man's marvellous nostrums, soon
it is like an asteroid impacting on the earth, all of heaven that is responsive
to human arrogance; and indeed, it is just this which IS predicted in that
prophetic word to which we do well to take heed (see Revelation 8:8-11).
As to the word of God, as the Westminster Confession again so scripturally
affirms, never take anything as from it but what can be PROVED, without
addition, FROM IT.
THE FORCE OF IT ALL, THE PERSPECTIVE AND THE PEACE
Now, since so much evil has come from misuse of this word of the Lord, inII Peter 1:20ff., let us now see it in its contextual sweep and realise to the fullest extent, its teaching.
Of what, then, does the apostle Peter speak earlier in II Peter 1? It is of this: that Christ declared and PERSONALLY expressed God in Majesty, was aurally attested and that this confirms prophetic predictions concerning Him; while the PROPOSITIONAL expression, the written format of the word of God this is a further valuable attestation, one indeed which was in no small measure fulfilled in Christ's own life. As to these writings, says the apostle - "so we have the prophetic word confirmed" - they continue to confirm, and will do so until the Light of the Lord sallies fresh to the hearts of the regenerate in heaven. THAT is their target, their fulfilment, not something else or less: heavenly light IN HEAVEN.
Thus they are an exceedingly valuable resource now that Christ has returned whither He came (and we await the actions of His return at the time appointed - II Peter 3:10).
Very well: "Knowing this ... " (II Peter 1:20), is the very next phrase in the sequence. What it says is therefore confirmatory of what precedes, a basis for the understanding for the above.
In fact, as a prelude Peter at once declares, in explaining his exclusion of man as a basis, that it was not brought by the will of man at any time. This, it is what is written. It guides our thought, directs our understanding. No, man is NOT the explanation, because (past) it did not come by man's will. The PRESENT is dealt with in ONE WAY ONLY. It is in verse 20, and it deals with a contemporary feature, how scripture comes to be (literally, 'becomes', comes into being). It is NOT, this becoming, this coming to be, to be considered, explained, in terms of any individual (i.e. writer) as source. THAT is not the solution of the 'problem', the resolution of the issue (as the term, centring on solve, loose, uncover, has in its thrust). That is not how the matter is to be interpreted. Far from it!
This is not the explanation of the matter at all. Nothing else in thought is present in the text. The whole character of scripture, how it comes to be, is to be considered in the light of established routine. It is NOT a writer's brilliant idea; because it did not come that way at all. We find this appeal to known fact in dealing with present circumstance.
came instead by God's energetic deposition. This past act, and past exclusion
jointly give to the prophetic word its assured status, and issue in the
character of scripture as given at any time; and that, it is far from being,
and simply is not the subjection to the opinion of a man. Acts accomplished,
and described are its ground; actions axed and proscribed guarantee its
A licence to direct man as to their understanding is not given by the fact that in past times man's will was excluded! The value indeed is wholly opposite, an intrinsically sure guarantee, first confirmed by a specific exclusion, then by divine action in times past. THAT is how the thing works, is founded, is explained, comes to the pinnacle of reliability and dominion of certainty which is its inherent right.
It is GOD's word. You cannot explain it by, in or with, through or in terms of ... man! Further, what has GOD's AUTHORITY has it because GOD DID IT. It is not an inference. It is a divine specialised function, to present in dynamic directiveness and assured quality, what is His very word, impelling with purpose, dealing with authority, providing with thrust that nothing can or does resist.
What then are we 'knowing' ? What is the 'this' ? It is that this whole 'burden' of the word of the Lord, of prophecy as exampled in its light and reliability as shown just before, did not come from man's will, is not so explicable, but was driven into the mind of the prophets by the thrusting power of the Holy Spirit. It is this that we are knowing... We could not be knowing this if we were talking about mere interpretation. THAT may be perfect, but if the original is not perfect, it is in vain! The ground of the knowing is the fact that the will of man did not produce scripture. This is written. Something else is NOT!
No mere mortal surmise was this: it is therefore trustworthy always a a light in a dark place, this prophecy. It is not a matter of uncovering some one man's thoughts, his or her 'explaining' of divine mysteries, as if it were by any individual's concept of truth, by stabs in the dark, or purely personal 'inspiration'. It is as far removed from such littlenesses as is heaven from the earth.
Not at all, and far from such a thing is the actual case! What then is the case ? It is this: that God Himself, the thought proceeds in parallel in I Peter, by His own Spirit made His own excursion and incursion into the heart of man by His Spirit, dynamic and undeterred.
This, it was the DIVINE INITIATIVE, WROUGHT IN THE PAST TO SECURE THE STABILITY OF THE PRESENT. In I Peter 1:10-12, we find indeed quite directly that those who wrote realised that they were MINISTERING TO US. This is the basis; this is the ministry. They wrote it; it was for us.
Hence you may with complete safety rest on such a revelation. It is NOT subject to human intervention and sin at all. It was so given ONCE, so that it is faithful NOW. Present actions are EXCLUDED in the ground of the security, which begins "FOR"!
Interpretation by human agencies is then, not merely wholly contrary to the context, it would make of it ludicrous collisions in time and topic.
follows ? Is it this ? Be comforted by the word of God, whatever its
purity , since somehow it will be interpreted aright! What good, however,
does that do, if the thing itself be not first
secure ? It is irrelevant, with no iota of contact with the context, so to interpolate, an example of eisegesis: non pareil, unexampled, perfect as a cancer in kind, like one that blocks the whole bowel, on X-ray when it is discovered. Further, the topic is not only the authenticity and reliability of scripture, but this in CONTRAST with all the works and inspirations of men, which, in comparison with what IS scripture, are just individualistic caprice or superficial soundings. THAT is the contrast in view.
What then ? Why is this prophetic word not of a purely private loosing, explanation, and why is it not so to be esteemed ? Is it because God (past tense) Himself drove it home; or is it so because it is to be interpreted (contra to I John 2:27) by experts and because human tools, not mentioned or in view at all, will perform an explicatory act, so mixing their authority with that tried and tested one of God, by His very own word, expressly so termed, and their understanding with the deposition of men, who wrote as they were driven by the Holy Ghost! If it were to be something of men, or man, then, why contrast with God Himself, in His unique activity, that specifically related in terms of what is past and intimately known by His people ?
Here is the uttermost in stability and authority as a deposition of assured status because of what it has done. We now see that not only is this denial to man's will altogether a source of the scripture being outside mere human explanation, what did NOT happen ; it is also because of the way it HAS come.
Indeed, if it is a matter of what man in his religious propensions can do now, why give the basis in the past ? such is mere presumption within the context, importing without licence; and if it is of man, why speak of what God in ways specifically described, has made His own mandatory and tested transmission medium (cf. Hebrews 1:1)! It is that unique thing, the very word of God written which is defined as the base in view. It is nothing less, nothing else; it is incomparable in kind, in authority and in origination on this earth, all three. Human inspiration ? religious exaltation (forbidden in Matthew 23:8-10 anyway - ONE Master, YOU ALL brothers) ? Forget it. This is not to be given any such superficial explanation. IT has come direct from God, bears His name, is His word.
Are we to ignore what He does say is the reason for the words of II Peter 1:20, and to provide what He does not! Certainly, and by all means, if only we revert to Genesis 3:4, and are hearing the serpent: HAS GOD SAID! He wants his own word to be interpolated, introduced, while Eve is seduced. It is here just the same sort of event which arises.
No, nothing like that! as Elisha said to Ben-Hadad. The prophecy is what it is; and it is this by virtue of its origin, not from what man can do to it! Its sourcing in celestial mind, will and power has no bearing on man's contortions or proportions, but with its calibre, quality and truth AS scripture. The reason WHY it is so, a reliable revelation, is that God by sovereign majesty and power, shown categorically in Christ in the flesh, in words secured this deposit of His meaning, His message, His thought and His will.
Christ and the scripture have come. The one is to be believed; the other
received; and in reception, one is to be assured that it is a constant
fount of inspiration, revelation, fixed, needing no change, authorised,
verified, vindicated, indicated. Because of this status, woe to those who
add their own words, to these (Proverbs 30:6).
II PETER, CHAPTER 2
In Ch. 2 immediately following, we find that despite this, evil men and false teachers will arise in the latter days, as the Age progresses towards its end, people who will bring in wicked and corrupting false teaching. That is a measure of HOW corrupt they are, that they so act in the light of what GOD HAS DONE, and done superbly. HE came as man; HE gave as God the words that went with it. HE confirmed the words in and through the man, and continues to do so.
Is man to do something more now ? Is this not double and mutual assurance of the word of God and the Word of God, to be bypassed, added to, insidiously supplanted ?
There is no excuse for these things. They are obstreperous, intrusive, admirable only in one thing, the pure, unbounded character of the presumption (and Jude with Peter, stresses with very thing).
our text in II Peter 1, however, NOTHING is said about human authority.
It is God's word on
the one side, and man's sleight of mind on the other. What then of these predicted false teachers? Their trouble is not understanding per se: it is motivation. They are interested in money.
Powers of interpretation are not the issue: indeed, it is precisely here that we receive in II Peter 2, immediately following, the WARNING. Willingness to obey, this is!
Would a managing director say, Now you can rely on my words and follow them safely because they will be interpreted aright. How useless! The question is this, whether they ARE right, and what is the sort of power and truth they contain. It is far too late if you are talking about interpreting something; it is the message itself which is the authority and the ground of reliance. If you are subjected to such insertive and assertive private parties pushing their own barrows, or any imagined barrow, then you are in the hands of men. THEIR antics Peter then describes in this Ch. 2 in some detail.
If however you rely on what God by the impelling power of His Holy Spirit HAS done, then you are safe. It is, we notice clearly, not what God is GOING to do, which is the ground of our assurance here, but what HE HAS ALREADY DONE. The thing is past, apostolically certified and defined. The first feature and focus is Christ Himself in II Peter 1, at this point. The second is the prophecy. Its efficacy is mentioned. Then more. And that ? It is the certified action of God, to send His own word, His prophetic word, which is to be explained not in someone's private thoughts about truth, but in HIS declaration AS the truth, and carrying this, His word to man; and as to that, it is by a safe conduct no less than the power of God Himself!
prophecies then are not reliable because they can be interpreted; they
are worth interpreting because they are reliable. Yet interpretation is
not even aroused as an issue. It is the action of God in the past which
is provided. This is what is written. As to these words: They are reliable
because God, personally and in the past, secured their purity past all
human intervention of any kind. Hence those who depart from them, as in
II Peter 2, can be discerned and dismissed. Their object as there defined,
SOME SUMMERY SUMMARY
re II Peter 1:20-21
(it is December here in Australia)!
But let us summarise some of our findings. What does it all mean ? It is this: the concept that II Peter 1:20-21 means that private people, that is individuals of any kind, people not specified by Peter in his giving of grounds for faith in the word of God, are by no means in the equation of stability or the concept of constancy, yes the favours of faithfulness or the grounds of assurance.
No man can come into this realm. If however you should extraneously, presumptuously and intrusively seek to put some such idea into the context, there are a number of areas violated.
Let us list a few.
as well as
Let us look at these.
WRONG TIME: What the apostle Peter is warranting is the PAST performances of holy men of God. This, and not something else in terms of authority or assurance, is what is written. Implying a present power or basis is arresting the authority and placing where it is simply not put.
WRONG THEME: The theme in II Peter 1 as it approaches its terminus, is the certainties of God, in Christ on earth, as attested by God, as attested by prophecy; and of prophecy, as attesting Christ who performed as predicted, in attesting likewise what is to come, this being now an even more verified tool, instrument of faith and guaranteed force in Christian life. BOTH Christ of divine honour and glory, God incarnate (Hebrews 1, John 8:58), and the word of God written, AS provided in the supernatural way noted in II Peter 1:20, are inveterately virtuous, tested, tried and true, sure and steadfast. One IS God in flesh; the other is the WORD of God in writing.
One reason for this is that it is all a verified work of God, done in the past, sure for the future.
WRONG TOPIC: The topic at the point of the text in vv. 20-21 is HOW scripture came to be, and WHAT is its quality. It is nothing whatsoever to do with untested human authority, or indeed man in his coming workings at all.
WRONG TASK: Hence there is, in any concept of a future ecclesiastical domineering or direction, as if this were in view, a failure to realise what IS written, the steadfast reliability of the word of God as already given, its certainties for all future occasions, and a negation with dire emphasis of any outthrust away from this, to invent machineries or approaches wholly dissonant. Such things are not even tangential - for in them, there is no point of contact with the emphasis on things past, things sure, things tried, things verified, the fulfilled power of God in providing a sure guide, no, not even an iota.
PERVERSION OF THE EXHORTATION:
there is not far off, and soon looming into sight, a provision for handling even
that, by an intrinsically sure thing. Rather on the twisted concept of later
interpretation, you gain but a perversion of the
exhortation to STAND by the PROPHETIC word ALREADY given, one made even
more sure and confirmed. In that specious substitute for the word of God,
the concept is that one should stand by what is NOT already given, NOT
tested and verified and NOT mentioned by Peter at all. This perverts faith,
corrupts the passion for purity and makes by devious means zealots instead
of devoted people, trusting in God alone.
BYPASS OF THE WARNING:
instead of leading naturally into the warning, in II Peter 2, about what people will do,
corrupting the faith with damnable heresies, things worthy of condemnation
through false motivation, arising even from within the church, it would
open up the vulnerable to this very vice by assuming that directors can
come in and thrust their own authority into the midst of the word of God,
precisely as II Peter 2 predicts will happen. It indeed has happened, fulfilling
the prophecy of II Peter 2, Acts 20, II Timothy 3, I Timothy 4, all parallel,
and that with a rich fertility, impassioned weeds of poison flourishing
in the soil that has departed from the faith (cf. SMR pp.
699ff., 743ff., 750Bff.,
Out for Christ Chs. 1,
5, Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming ... Ch.
3, News, Facts and Forecasts 122,
123, Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane
82, 87, Repent or Perish
Ch. 5, Things Old and New Epilogue, Ch. 2, Appendix, With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Ch. 11, It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls Ch. 11).
Thus instead of seeing the incoming of deceivers, putting their own authority into action as they corrupt the church through false motivation, gain, themselves corrupt, and being justly warned, this fiddling with the word of God has a perilous outcome. Indeed, this interpolation of extraneous material, emphasis and thought into what is actually written in II Peter 2:17ff., opens up the church to precisely what Peter warns it AGAINST! Moreover, in II Peter 2, this warning is long and sustained, devastating in its condemnation and massive in its implications. Jude acclaims the same.
It is parallel to that of Paul in Acts 20:20 about wolves coming IN, not sparing the flock, yes concerning those of this ilk, who "from among your own selves will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves." This drawing after themselves is precisely what ROMANISM has done, sects have done, false prophets like Muhammad have done (cf. More Marvels ... Ch. 4). In such cases, MAN, as excluded in II Peter 1:20-21, is now the focus. NOT what the word SAYS, but what man says, what someone NOT a writer of the prophetic scriptures, the word of God says: this becomes the test, the criterion.
NOTHING, however, could be further from Matthew 23:8-10, which REQUIRES
LOGICAL NON SEQUITUR:
It really is a massive (literal) impertinence, to thrust a concept of human interpretation of scripture as the thrust of this passage, for more than all the above reasons. It is so for quite another. Simply: it DOES NOT FOLLOW that because
a) men did not 'achieve' scripture from any will of their own andtherefore no one but important people, special people, can interpret it.
b) in fact God by an impelling vigour and direction secured it by His own inalienable and always adequate power,
That, then, is to put into the mouth of God a fallacy: some gift! In fact, and as a point of empirical reality, the stress is quite the opposite. You do not NEED, indeed you MUST NOT HAVE, anything to interfere with this tested scripture, for if you do, then where are you placed under the guarantees given ? Not only would you then be NOT COVERED (as with any insurance policy, when you go outside the prescribed conditions - NO cover is given for any affirmative action whatever relative to the handling of scripture here) , but you would be UNCOVERED DESPITE A GRAVE WARNING of the dangers of precise the area of your vulnerability! This would be gross, outrageous and reckless to the uttermost point, contrary and contrary, using both pronunciations and meanings of the term!
But what a travesty, to seek so hard to bring in a mischief, or to ignore the point, for whatever reason (including cultural conformity and so forth), that you make God by your mere importation of philosophy into the scripture, to be author of confusion! What a confusion it is which is not merely confused but wishes to put into His word, a logical fallacy! FOR, says II Peter 1:21, "prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit".
WHAT then is the case BECAUSE holy men so spoke, BECAUSE the word of God did not come from the will of man at all ? Is it that THEREFORE only special authority may interpret the word of God ? Is it the case that since God is authentic, and this word is tested, tried, true and deposited exclusively by divine action, in its outcome infallible therefore, that MEN MUST authorise its understanding ?
Does it follow ? It is the OPPOSITE of what follows. The result in fact: be careful not to pollute it, as II Peter 2 AT ONCE goes on to direct. This IS the authority: do NOT do such a thing. It is not at all, DO IT! Nor would it follow. If God did it like that, it is not implied in the least degree that we must therefore treat this word to a new authority, so that we can try to catch up with what God was 'trying to say'. Not only it is incongruous, but there is also no way in the world that such a thing would FOLLOW from the exemption of the will of man from the creation of the written word of God. Further, since any such authority would be extraneous to anything Peter here or elsewhere says, this is an INVASION by ILLICIT authority of what is NOT provided for.
FALLACY IMPORTED INTO THE WORD OF GOD:
As a result, such a misinterpretation of this text becomes an actual fallacy imported into the word of God. All this comes before we even look at what it is actually saying. It is merely propounding the negative, what it cannot be deemed to say, both because of contradiction of logic, denial of reason and uninhibited abuse of context. It is, in other words, more than a non sequitur. It is an import as well of extraneous material, offensive and contrary. It is moreover a
FECKLESSNESS OF DEVIATION:
It is no mere wavering of thought, lack of concentration which is involved in this error. It is very dreadful. It abandons restraint and wisdom, looking to what is not merely missing, but what is deplored in the context, when it is present, as it is predicted to be. Moreover it is a
PARADE IN THE FACE OF PARALLELS:
Not merely does it collide with the surrounding parallel with Christ, the living and the written word being the topic, in their whole and integral reliability, both in being tested and sure (indeed made more sure, confirmed in the case of the prophetic scripture), as found in II Peter 1, and the negative parallel of warning in II Peter 2 into which Peter at once proceeds, but it smashes headlong into I John 2:27, where we are advised that you do not NEED any man to instruct, since the anointing suffices.
This does not remove the advantages, the expediency if you will, of help in humble ministration, or genuine presentation with assurance of what is manifestly the word of God beyond all human authority, as in Romans 12 where different gifts minister from one to the other. It does however removes any concept of a MASTER, of a NECESSITY, of an actual intrinsic AUTHORITY, which can in any way come into the scene outside the scriptures of God.
Let us hear John's inspired word, itself part of the scripture:
"But the anointing that you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him" - I John 2:27.
In other words,
the anointing TEACHES concerning all things,
AND is true and is not a lie,
AND just as it HAS taught you,
SO you will abide in Him.
What do you not NEED ? That anyone to teach you. Is a pope covered by 'anyone' ? Of course, he is a man. Is a church council covered ? Of course, each participant is a man. The thing is one body, one authority. What then can a church council do ? ONLY provide by sound and assured reason what cannot be controverted. From John as from Matthew, as likewise we learn that they can have NO authority in themselves. The Westminster Confession is utterly sound here, forbidding an implicit faith in anything of men, and requiring that ONLY the DEMONSTRABLE certainties of what follows from the word of God may be doctrine.
It is even SIN to go further, NOT SANCTITY.
These scriptures utterly exterminate and annihilate the whole authoritarian conception of the church. Its power is only to carry out what is written. Certainly, it can form arrangements expedient, but its power over the faith is zero. The word of God has power over it, and if it in anything goes beyond, it runs headlong into all these scriptures. Pompous prelates like honeyed harridans, prostitute the power of God readily enough, when they intrude into divine things apostolically made, and made in the past (Ephesians 2:19-21), into the foundation "having been built", the Master the increate Christ, the number of masters ONE, and that one, Christ; and the word one, the word of God. There is the gulf of infinity between God and man, and the forgetfulness of this simple fact is the bane of nations, and of many false churches, lords over the heritage of the Lord, having dominion over faith, false Masters, not Christ, not so identifiable any more than is the heaven with the earth.
Even elders are NOT lords over your faith: indeed and rather are they helpers of your joy (I Peter 5). SO says this same apostle. What therefore we have, and have multiply is a
CONTRADICTION OF OTHER SCRIPTURES in any such pollution of this text. It is not merely other than these, adding to them: it actually precisely and directly CONTRADICTS them. Further it produces a
COLLISION with PROHIBITIONS, for there is not only thought in this matter, its denial, its contradiction, but there is also an actual collision about practice. YOU must not and CANNOT do the things which some would bring into this text in II Peter 1, as if the word of God were a mere sink for human thought, precisely as is being DENIED RIGHT HERE, by Peter in II Peter 1:20a. The erected authority in this text, it is scripture (in II Peter 1 in context, after reference to Christ who in times past was so authenticated).
You must realise that its arrival had nothing to do with the WILL of men, and that is WHY it is to be viewed as surpassing all human explanation (II Peter 1:20). You DO NOT NEED such teachers, and you MUST NOT HAVE them (I John 2:27, Matthew 23:8-10). What obtrudes, intrudes. What suffuses, confuses. Men may minister; God alone commands.
Thus, moving in this illicit way in constructing a contrary sense for the text, you actually collide with the word of God about what you MUST NOT DO! Indeed, Paul in II Corinthians 11 shows what folly is wrought when high-minded and mighty individuals start throwing their puny weight around, like wet putty (II Cor. 11:19-20). You suffer it, he says, if some foolish intruder pushes you around and so on! It is however the SAME Jesus, the SAME Gospel, the SAME Christ. NOTHING must alter this at all (Galatians 1), and what chiding comes from the apostle when there is any movement from that sacred and secure, safe and spiritual foundation of all doctrine, the word of God. WHO ELSE knows! WHO ELSE can understand ? Whose word IS IT!
BUT any such intrusion as this is simply another gospel, another spirit, and another Christ. It is alien to the authority in God only, in the word of God only, which is the indubitable and explicit focus of Peter in I Peter 1-2 in general, and in 1:20-21 in particular. Indeed, here, in such a fallacy imposed on this word of God, you have a
DEROGATION OF SCRIPTURE AS SUCH, IN ITS OWN STANDING AND WEIGHT.
Instead of following what is actually in this text, and noting that the validity and reliability, the teaching power and pure certainty of the prophetic scriptures comes from two facts, that the will of man had NOTHING to do with their production, and that the power of God had everything to do with their inditement, provision and presence, there is a perversely contrary procedure. What then is this ? It is nothing less than an entangling of the very thing hated, human will and authority, in the sacred places noted, required to be without addition, and provided with warning about additions.
What is not demonstrable from scripture is assuredly an addition, as any judge would know, who examines what the actual data of a crime are, and what the lawyers think they can make of it. The two are distinct and contra-distinct.
Hence, in making this subversion of theme and topic, logic and parallels, such a perverse misinterpretation of this passage, there is a pushing of powers outside those noted and authorised here, into the arena so specially select, preserved and being of certified purity, safe. This both waters down the word of God and works in another authority, not merely forbidden, but extraneous. It is a simple addition to the word of God, per favour of irrational extension, illicit logic and extensive breach of context and this both immediate, broader in these first chapters and extending throughout the entire epistle, fraught with warning on this very thing.
But let us now look at the actual movement of this passage in Peter. It is not saying that the complete absence of man's will from the production of scripture is a reason why its interpretation should be carried out ONLY by important people, or with deference to their thought, whatever their claims; but that the complete absence of man's will from the production of scripture is a reason why it may be affirmed as having no human explanation, no source in the heart of an individual man, of whatever kind, calibre or character. That is what verses 20-21 are declaring, logically, contextually and in the entire context of the Bible.
What is given is this, and no idios, single or singular action by any man, no humanity, no flesh, has any part at all in it. Man in all his littleness, regardless of his situation, presumption or accolades, is here OUT altogether. The word given by God is outside this domain. Its power rests only on God; its criterion is found in the past; and what is His word has a bearing and autonomy accorded to nothing else.
This, in fact, is what is written. Man can't solve or explain scripture by any of his own thoughts since what ? Since scripture did not even depend on his will at all. HOW COULD you imagine in some humanistic, some naturalistic, some psychic notation of man, that scripture has an explanation! It would be ridiculous. Why ? SImply because it had NOTHING TO DO with the will of man at all. His resources were not the criterion of the advent, his imagination did not create the substance, his powers were not the issue. It was without his very WILL, by which he could summon.
Not only so. It was on the other hand, BY the WILL and POWER of God that the actual impetus, the whole substance, the entire gamut arrived. This is PRECISELY of course what Paul is saying in I Corinthians 2:9-13.
There we find that the THINGS themselves, the substance involved in the scriptures, as Paul declares, came from God AND the words with which to express it were likewise from His provision. This is not necessarily the same as 'dictation' in some narrow sense. It IS however the same as an entire provision by whatever divinely directed means the Lord should choose, of the RESULT.
In the end, it is God and not man who supervised and succeeded in securing the input of substance and the output in words to His entire control with the intended consummation: expression in exactitude of His heart and mind toward man, and of what concerns him, with power. The result has NOTHING of the will of men, and ONLY the output of the power of God, unimpeded, acting as needed to secure the issue of His own will in His own name of His own word. HE has spoken! (cf. the almost endless array of sentences like these - Thus says the Lord, and the Lord has spoken or the mouth of the Lord has spoken and cf. Acts 4:25, where once again, it is Peter who is speaking).
This, then, in II Peter 1:20 is the result of the divulgement of II Peter 1:21. This DOES follow with NECESSITY, with ENTAILMENT, without non sequitur, but with robustly apt logic: that SINCE man's will was not involved in the production of scripture, was indeed a wholly alien matter, and SINCE secondly, on the affirmative side, the POWER and PROVISION of God was involved, and that with impelling and imperial thrust, therefore what we have in the production of the prophetic word of God is not a matter of explanation in human terms at all. That is the word of II Peter 1:20. Nothing else fits the sequence, the situation or the scenario, the logic and the validity.
On the other hand, this is wholly and emphatically, richly and dramatically the exact message of other scriptures; and again, any endeavour to attribute invalid logic to God by intruding a theme not found here, out of the development and contrary to it, is merely a measure of the desperation to deceive, or the inuring of custom and tradition, which does indeed make null the word of God, as Christ warned (Mark 7:7-13). This intrusion, inversion, perversion, addition to what is written, this whole genre is certainly to "reject the commandment of God that you may keep your tradition" and a matter of "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition", as Christ there declares.
that is the end of the whole concept of tradition without more ado. The
traditions of men are merely the provision either 1) of extraneous presumption,
putting the will of man into the word of God, or beside it or 2) the clear
and logically demonstrable presentation of what is actually written. If
the latter, it is however, not tradition but exposition. Exposition that
is nothing else, nor does it add anything. THAT is precisely what man is
permitted, no encouraged and directed to do with the word of God: ADD NOTHING
The perspective is as always, the clout of truth, the invasion of reality, the transmission of the mind of God through the word, spoken and incarnate. In no case is there room for change; in each case, it is self-declarative. The room for man is zero (I John 2:27). Man may help; but he has no capacity to adorn the word of God with opinions. It was precisely the removal of such a possibility in the past, which is the ground for the confidence for the future. That is what is written. How rightly the Westminster Confession insists that ONLY what is written and what is necessarily implied is to be taken. NOTHING of dubiety, nothing of intrusion, incursion is permitted.
That is how the situation stands. God will not stand for those who stand in the way of the light, making themselves arbiters and authorities. ONE is the Master (Matthew 23:8-10), and ONLY one. Who is that One ? Why He is the very one whom Peter speaks of, before these verses, Jesus Christ,
THAT is the conjunction of terms, of realities made by Peter. In each case the divine is made manifest, heard and is to be done. That is ALL there is to it. What then ? in the first case, Peter shows the divine transmission of the Son (to whom none may add so much as one iota), and in the other that of the written word (add not to His words, says Proverbs 30:6 lest you be found a liar!).
With GOD ONLY as your trust (Jeremiah 17), and His expression of His eternal word (Micah 5:1-3), in flesh as your Saviour (I Peter 1:18-19), and in the writing of your assured guide, the one specified by the apostle Peter: you are surrounded with certainties. Small wonder then Peter tells us that we are KEPT by the POWER of God (I Peter 1:1-5) to an inheritance that does not fade away! The word is sure, definitive, declarative, investing truth in the format for man, which gives utter assurance.
you put anything else anywhere near it, no wonder you have trouble with
A chain is only as sure as its weakest link. When the chain is commanded by God, there is NO room for doubt. No link is weak.
THEN you can go forth in the power and faith of God, and become partakers of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4), a cleansed creation, a victorious phalanx (I John 5:4), founded on the rock, on the work and person (Psalm 62), on the words of Christ (Matthew 7:24-29). Nothing, but nothing can touch you there. (Cf. SMR pp. 98-99).
Small wonder then that Christ declared, THEY SHALL NOT PERISH (John 10:9,27-28). When you are dealing with God, rather being dealt with BY Him, the options for failure in life are zero. His word is your guarantee, His work is your cover, His Spirit is your supply, His guardianship is your solace. And there ?
There is the peace which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7), and in whom is it found ? In him, in her in whom God has "begun a good work"*4, and having begun THAT work, will "perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). Thus it is that you look for Him in whom is your trust, according to HIS ONLY word, the one which bears His name, so that "He shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself". There is no dubiety. God has spoken*5.
it is the way it has to be. It is also the way it is. Any other way faces
the NO WAY, GO BACK highway sign. Such a way is not on the highway of holiness
on which a person, though a fool shall not go astray (Isaiah 35). The way
of God, however, is PRECISELY THAT! It IS the way of faith, which accepts
what is offered, and counts it done.
I John 4:7-8 cf. SMR pp. 386ff., Spiritual Refreshings for the DIgital Millenium Ch. 9-12.
See: SMR pp. 580ff. excerpted below, 25ff., Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6-7, Spiritual Refreshings for the Biblical Millenium Ch. 16, Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Acme, Alpha and Omega Ch. 11), and Index, GOD His Freedom, His Integrity, Truth Inviolable.
Cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 9, Appendix IV, Repent or Perish Ch. 2.
A GOOD work, as here stated, does remain. It is the trees which "My heavenly Father" has NOT planted which will be "uprooted"! (Matthew 15:13, Isaiah 61:3). On the brows of His people there is everlasting joy (Isaiah 51:11). These are those whom He has redeemed, with eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12). These, if it were possible might be seduced as in II Peter, by 'interpreters' of the word of God who do not bother to KEEP to it. However, it is NOT POSSIBLE (Matthew 24:15). These are "the elect", chosen in Him before all time (Ephesians 1:4), purchased and kept (Romans 5:9-11), and indeed serviced (Hebrews 12:4-13). See Red Alert ... Ch. 7, The Biblical Workman Ch. 2,
For a biblical doctrine on its own status, see SMR Appendix D. For the relationship of this to its proven character, see SMR Ch. 1.