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Chapter 1

Sparkling Revelation


It would be recommended to read SMR - Appendix  C and D - before this chapter, as its message is prior.

The fact is that nothing highly expository of evil, condemnatory of its guile, revelatory of its spurious motives, godless profiteering, seductive slither and corrosive corruption is likely to be popular where any of its methods are in vogue, in view or in process.

As Paul told the Ephesians elders (Acts 20), wolves were due to appear, from within the fold. As Peter in II Peter 2 asserts just the same, it might have seemed best to many, then as it may now,  at least to remove II Peter! for after all, the church at the earlier times was far spread, and the heresies trying their teeth on the lambs were numerous, and the more so as the time passed.

With something like II Peter at such length and with such amazing criteria of authenticity in every dimension, it would probably seem a good device to any self-respecting devil, to remove it, or cast doubt on it, or in some way devise a counter-weapon. This is like an analysis of how unscrupulous men administer Mickey Finn's to unsuspecting young girls, and if some object of humanity, called a man, should wish to engage in such practices, any handbook about it would perhaps seem to such to be worthy of removal, by some means or other. It would be bad for business. There is in other words sufficient motive for many, in view of the enormous efforts of large and swelling numbers to assail and assault FROM WITHIN the integrity of the Christian Church, as Paul declared would be the case (II Timothy 3, I Timothy 4, Acts 20:29).

The slackness in some churches both then (as in Revelation 2-3), and now, allows such taunts against the truth to move some not founded,  just enough to be confounded, before  falling altogether, and for others who do not take the time or have the structure for the treatment of such slurs, to become concerned.

The opposition to this epistle of II Peter seems to have grown, as we shall attest shortly, over the years since its composition. You see just the same now, when it is far too late to make any useful attack on the canon, how people try to seduce, or at least act so as to seduce, the clear teaching of Jude, which is in some points exceedingly close to Peter, from its practical effects! That is in OUR day! (Cf. News 43, 88; Things Old and New Ch. 2, End-note 2 .)

Warfield in his exceedingly scholarly way has an excellent article on the historical, internal and correlative features of II Peter. It is published in Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield - II (Presbyterian and Reformed Publ. Co. New Jersey, 1973 republication).

This 13,000 or so word coverage is exceedingly interesting and rewarding. In considering our topic we shall be considering some of its presentation, as we pass.

Warfield traces multitudinous testimony back to quotations from Justin Martyr which are virtually impossible to sever from reference to this very epistle (147 A.D.), to Irenaeus (175 A.D.), and Barnabus, around 106 B.C.. The last is virtually a direct quotation of what is written. It would normally be unquestionable that it is from this text. No other place in scripture has just this tang and ring, and the words are very close to those of Peter, not showing the passage of time when it is past, as a dream, but the fact that right now, a day is like a thousand years. THAT is Peter's point, to the effect that God is not slack about returning as Christ, for such is the time condensation when HE is in view. An Age to Him can be like a day to us, in what it is to accomplish.

Justin Martyr in his Dialogue declares a mere half century or so, perhaps, after John's death, "In the same manner  also as there were yeudoprofetai among the people, as also among you shall be yeudodidaskaloi, who shall subintroduce damnable heresies" - a passage virtually lifted from Peter, and why not ? It continues with an ascription: "of whom our Lord forewarned us." Now Christ was quite clear about what HE would do by His Spirit (John 14:15-18,26). Not only would He lead them into all truth, but He would bring back to their remembrance the words spoken, and teach them. Christ directly warned them (Matthew 24:24), and Peter likewise as ordained and authorised with the other apostles as we have just seen. Justin here virtually quotes from II Peter, using the notable and memorable Greek terms that Peter does, and in the same order: false prophets and false teachers.

Not only so, but we might add that Jude 17-19, in the midst of the most earnest and dismissive dealing with mounting judgment and the asperities of indignation, indicates that it was of JUST SUCH THINGS that the apostles had warned them, reminding his readers, and us with them,  "how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time, who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts." There is nothing so close to this in kind as II Peter, and it is covered by him admirably, though of course there is not lacking other warning. It is his warning however which is here virtually quoted. It is apparent and by anything approaching evidential sensitivity,  ineluctable therefore, that II Peter was known to Justin and that it was scripture; and only by what is tantamount to disregard of evidence, could Jude likewise be denied knowledge of this passage as a word of an apostle. The impact of verification is indeed exceptionally heavy.

Irenaeus, noted for his scholarly care, around the end of the second century, indicates "adduces Noah, then Sodom and Gomorrah, and Lot, to show that God will punish the wicked and save the holy" - Warfield p. 52. This is precisely the word of II Peter 2:4-7, and of course, in itself, while not directly proving knowledge of this passage, does enforce a likelihood that such material was about, rather than that Irenaeus invented it! It is just this which in turn reinforces that which is so well attested earlier. It is not only that the message is the same, but those cited are there and in the same order. Is there then other indication to confirm Irenaeus' knowledge of II Peter as suggested in his 4th book ? Yes, for Irenaeus also refers to a day for the Lord being as a thousand years, not in order to diminish the impact of the past, as in the Psalm, and to show His overriding power, but to show the extent of the time available for His action, in the far extending FORWARD New Testament Age, just as in II Peter 3:8. This is found in his 5th book.

Firmilian (died around 264 A.D. ) quotes II Peter as an authoritative letter of Peter "the blessed apostle", when writing to Cyprian in North Africa. Warfield points out (p. 66) that we should therefore expect that he expected concord on the topic, in Cyprian. II Peter is in fact part of the North African Canon of the third century, being "included in the Claromontanian Stichometry". This is not a matter of being put there; it is merely that what the canon was includes this. II Peter was in fact made the subject of a Commentary by Clement of Alexandria and occurs in both the Egyptian version and in the early form of the Peshito, all of 2nd century date. By now we are beginning to see that doubts appear later rather than earlier!

What however does Firmilian say ? Speaking of  one named Stephen at his own day,  in the text of that letter, he declares this of the action to which he there objects:  "breaking the peace against you, which his predecessors have always kept with you in mutual love and honour, even herein defaming*1 Peter and Paul the blessed apostles, as if the very men delivered this who in their epistles execrated heretics, and warned us to avoid them." (Emphasis added.)

What then is Firmilian here found to imply ? This: that not only Paul, but Peter also could be correctly characterised as those who in their epistles "execrated heretics and warned us to avoid them." Firmilian is not making a point to his correspondent, Bishop Cyprian, about Peter, but about what follows from the fact that Peter so wrote. There is NOTHING known as written under the name of Peter which does this, except II Peter; there is ALL the basic thrust that is given in II Peter. It is highly characteristic of II Peter, where Peter does just his.

Put differently: the descriptive language of Firmilian fits nothing so well as II Peter 2 (not to say Ch. 3 as well! see News 74, p. 103 Joyful Jottings   8, Divine Agenda Ch.   4; Answers to Questions Ch.  5....); and nothing at all, in the Bible, of them, outside II Peter.

Without consulting more of the available data of citations or indications of II Peter in the so-called church fathers, let us realise that we have now traced evidence in the days of Barnabus, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Firmilian, moving around times from 106 A.D. to about 250 A.D..

This is not all however, but only a selection from this small parcel of what is available. There are moreover notable relationships between various parties, personages, as history progresses, so that what is affirmed by one without a quaver, in basic matters, is not likely to be absent from or opposed by the other.

Small wonder that the highly industrious Jerome with his textual knowledge, wrote categorically around 400, "Peter wrote two epistles which are called catholic, the second of which is denied by very many, to be his on account of dissonance of style with the first." Jerome is not among those opposed to it. Whatever pretext or slack argument had been used, it did not influence him at all, any more than Warfield.

It is found without comment or differentiation in the famous early codex Vaticanus and is attested, Warfield notes (op.cit. pp. 558-59) as belonging to the canon "by Eusebius*2, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory Nazianzen, Epiphanius, Athanasius, Augustine, Rufinus, Jerome, Philastrius, the third Council fo Carthage,  by the {Canons of Laodicea}, Adamantius, Synopsis Athanasii, the Decreta of Damascus, Gelasius, and Hormisdas, the apostolic canons, and so on, down to our own time." The 3rd Council of Carthage was held in 397 A.D., allowing nothing but our canon, and all of it, as New Testament scripture. Before this, Augustine had included the same canon in a pastoral letter, indicating the nature of the case.

Indeed you can go back from Origen (around 220 B.C.), who was most categorical about it, and move back towards the first. As to the exceedingly famed, textually versed and active scholar Origen:

  • a) he quotes words from II Peter
  • b) quotes them as scripture
  • c) combines this as equally Peter's with I
  • d) distinguishes it from I Peter
  • e) clearly names both together.

Some, he avers, doubt; but he is not one of them (cf. Warfield p. 49, op.cit.). It therefore could not possibly have been manufactured in his day, quite apart from the other evidence, on this alone! Clement of Alexander, one of his OLDER teachers, could not likewise be expected to be contrary, or ignorant on such an assured matter, likewise. This inference is verified in the data given above, concerning Clement. All is in one direction, as far as primary testimony is concerned. His outlines of canonical books did not omit these epistles. This must take us back at least to the beginning of the second century.

Clement's commentary on this epistle is further attestation that to his mind, there was no question at all. What then of his own teachers, going back ? Further, as Warfield notes, Clement's canon was not private but public. Back then we go, fortified on all sides as to objective evidence, to Irenaeus, in turn an elder and famed scholar back of Clement's day. We have noted the indications that Irenaeus indeed knew of and adopted this as scripture, so fortifying the natural inference of this scholarly line, and the knowledge of each, transferred on, the results in constancy reflecting assurance. We are around 180 A.D.. Older than Irenaeus, is Melito of Sardis, whom Warfield also mentions, preserving a Syriac rendering  so similar to our own II Peter 3:5-7 and 10-12, as to require something of a special dispensation if one would even dream of imaging some other and unknown source. Going back further, we come to Justin, already mentioned and in full harmony evidentially, indeed giving considerable new force to the interpretation that he also both knew and accepted it.

In all this we have not only many individual indications, some decisive, but a harmony of expectation and confirmation throughout, reflected in due course in the later series of agreements and confirmations listed above. This of course is a series including some of the weightiest scholarly names in the history of the church! Small wonder councils accepted II Peter. For the whole concept of the Canon, see SMR Appendix  C, which traces this aspect in its own light. Here is merely an analysis of some of the material concerning one particle. Naturally, the attitudes to the WHOLE are intensely relevant in dealing chiefly with a part (II Peter); and it is there that matter is exhibited in detail and broader scope.

With Justin we are approximating 150 A.D., and thus moving into the day of intimate knowledge of those who knew and related to the apostles, father and son, friend and relative, colleague and witness.

Thus when, to return,  we come to Firmilian, and his assured use of II Peter to Cyprian, we are moving into further verification, for how in any serious and not merely far-flung outlying matter of divergence on such a topic, could one appeal to something unsure in order to make sure something else which depended on it! There is indeed not merely the FACT of its usage in this way by Firmilian, akin in certainty to the view of Origin, but the ASSURANCE and the VIGOUR of it, in bringing to mind what from the outset it has been suggested may well have been a major feature in the later reluctance to accept II Peter shown by some. It hit and hit hard where many were vulnerable; and it virtually single-handedly evacuated a whole domain from burrowing and rabbit-holing with treason, by its exposure of the fact that this was precisely what would happen.

How lax have been many churches in the 20th century not to heed the advice of Firmilian so near to the beginning, and to apply both the strictures and the instruction of II Peter, which incidentally, as shown in our references above, deals for the LATTER DAYS with specific heresies which have marred the 20th century, and must betoken the approaching return of Christ.  (See: News 74, p. 103 Joyful Jottings   8, Divine Agenda Ch.   4; Answers to Questions Ch 5....)

It should be observed that the canon was really a matter of apostolic or cum-apostolic (apostolic aura if you like) source, written to the people in the name of the Lord. Associates could relate,  including Mark and Luke of course, both exceedingly close to the apostles. In the end, the diversified sites and cultures of Christendom were brought to find the integrity of what is included, and after the 3rd Council of Carthage 397 A.D. , there was little difficulty.

As the day of Christ on earth, accordingly, passed, so did the way of His word even to the last aspects, become clear, as the peripheral books were seized with a common assurance. There was no instant communication in those days, and the various scholars made their exhibition of the facts. Thus Athanasius put out the current canon list in recognition in 367, Jerome presented the same in his day of intense specialisation, and incidentally, made a very clear distinction between the Old Testament books of the Jewish canon, such as we rightly have (see SMR Appendix D), and the rest, while Augustine was likewise active, and there was an increasing liaison which came to flourish, so that the matter of the New Testament canon was one with considerable and substantial uniformly beheld (cf. F.F. Bruce The New Testament Documents pp. 25-26). .

As to the view that the Bible itself was unclear as to its nature re canon, it is to be realised that the CHURCH NEVER decides the Bible. As is repeatedly pointed out, the councils did not create, did not enforce, but rather recognised the scriptures for what they were, adding their consensus to the reality of the genuineness of what had been passed down. Their words do not signify creation but acknowledgement, whether it be the Old or the New Testament. The recipient does not create but is merely moved to acknowledge. The situation is not and was not diffuse, but washed with a divine authority, a direction from the Lord with awareness of the same (as in Acts 4:23ff., I Cor. 2:9-13, I Peter 1:10ff., II Peter 1:19ff., Acts 21:13ff.  cf. SMR Appendix D).

The actual word of God did not come because man decided to elevate writings; but man decided to elevate writings because, knowing and being persistently and continually persuaded that Christ and His written word were indeed permanently given, the latter for use till He came, they attested that it was so. Thus it behoved them to be clear concerning not merely most, not merely all except a very few, but about entirely ALL of the works handed down. It was so at Jamnia, and so in the New Testament case likewise. This was the attitude of recognition and reassurance where challenge came for any reason.

What data we have been considering here, they could largely consider there, and far more, being nearer. Their realisation was merely an acknowledgement of authenticity, like that of light about a star, of authorship, of reception being genuine at the first, confirmed at the last;  and a removal of the dross of misconception. Authenticity of authorship was the question, the authoritative declaration from apostolic times, in the milieu of the Lord's mastery: not feelings about what it would be cute to add.

In fact, it was here exactly as it always had been. The Lord called Moses and to him was the word of God given. The Lord called the prophets, the scribal presenters, and to them was given what He intended. These things Christ acknowledged. To his apostles, He asserted this, that they would be led into all truth; and so He superintended. Mostly from the apostles themselves, but at times from their intimate associates, came the new word of God, that of the New Covenant as predicted in the Old often enough (cf. Jeremiah 31:31ff.), surrounding the inception of the incarnation, and the consummation of the resurrection in its overthrow of physical death's penal plight. These things prophetically given were received in the aura of the assured witness to the Lord. Then it ceased, as surely as His coming commenced; and so the New Testament sat, some wanting as indeed happened interestingly once at Jamnia, to check this or that, but the authentic without justifiable doubt, continuing alone.

Thus His promise, His premiss of authority and revelation to come for them, His authority via His apostles, their acceptance and the thrust of the word of God into the Church, as with the prophets of old, were now the highway of holiness. As before, it happened; as before with Moses, so in the Gospels; as before in the rest, so in their assured acceptance in the confines of the church, the generic adoption. As some challenged Moses (cf. Numbers 16), so some challenged these works, or tried to add to them. However, what was accepted at the first, remained to the last, and the word went out at Carthage, preserving the New Testament to remain, unalloyed, uncloyed, austerely certain, and certainly of one measure, a matter not of disquisitions, but declarations, not suggestions, but announcement. All were of one whole, one message, one depth; each of individuality: the whole filled with challenge, charity and goodness, at one with the Old Testament, one before the Lord.

The New Testament ceased entirely to be a subject of question as the scrutiny and meeting of many, and the testimony of many for long, came to be brought to the point. The last lingerings of spiritual desire or listlessness were dispelled, and the word of God was then made clear to and for all, and has stayed that way for many centuries, as we note in SMR Appendices  C and  D, in topic and theme, in this style from the first, in detail and consummation in that way at the last during the vast expansion of the faith in the first 3 centuries till all was stated of the New Testament at the end of this (397), not innovative any more than for the Jewish testament at Jamnia, but appreciative and uniform in attestation.

As to the Old Testament, though the distinction, scripture and other works, two categories,  is quite explicit in Jerome's listing, one of great repute, yet the failure to keep to these bounds on the part of some, could not be ignored. Just as the Jewish usage as to the books which they themselves had handed down, clear in their utilisation at Jamnia, was and is most clear, so the slowness to come to terms with this by many in the Christian church, was a source of much evil. Additions to this list are not a matter of enterprise but misguided laxity. Self-importance for the church is not something which any council may be assured in omitting! It is the realities that remain. On this Old Testament canon area, see also Chapter 2 below.

The New Testament was indeed enabled to be determinate by the Christian Church, and has been so over a vast Age; the Old Testament was similarly defined via Israel, and its position is similarly free from all change. Ignoring what Christ declared is not an authority given to the Church (Matthew 5:17ff.). It leads, has led and will lead only to confusion through misdirection, in the very face of the word of the Lord Himself personally, both qualitatively assessing the well-known canon as contradistinct from all else, and deploring the additive tendencies (Matthew 5:17-19, Mark 7:7ff.).

The desire for tradition has been one of long standing, and its dispelling raised just as vast a confrontation with Christ in His day, from the side  of the traditionalistic Pharisees, as it does in this, on the part of the Romanists, who would add not merely to the Jewish Old Testament*3 (Romans 9:1-4), their unauthorised deliverance, but more things of their own, sanctifying in their Canon Law a whole mass of diverse and divergent phenomena, enough to remove any clarity in all charity, and to bring the word of God once again into the hands of man (cf. SMR pp. 1056ff., 981, 1088A). That was the essence of the crucifixion, and it still is (a matter of wide application! cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7).

Christ condemned such practice concerning His word, the word of God,  with a terminal velocity of detestation, like a wind to destroy; and they as far as they could in terms of flesh, destroyed Him, as they nullified His word by their intrusions (Mark 7:13); and the fact that this infinite desecration was part of the sacrificial provision of God to cover sin, in no way lessened the guilt. It was murder of the Son, as it is marring of His word. Mark 7:7-9  for all time gives the divine measure on human licence with the Lord, adding the words of flesh to the divine dictation, command, one in entire singularity and immiscible sovereignty, issuing without limit to its authority, or error within it. "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition."

It has to be borne in mind that there is ON LORD, and that the number of those in any capacity who may add their names to His in this capacity is ZERO (Matthew 23:8-10); and the number of those who may act as lords over our faith is ZERO (I Peter 5). The number of words which may be added to the divinely authorised spread is ZERO; the number of Old Testament books which may be added to the divinely apportioned list from Israel, as acknowledged in Christ's day,  is ZERO. The number of books which have been seriously protested for millenia, as relating to the New Testament, is ZERO. The Bible is and has been, as it has come, first the Old Testament, and then following the Apostolic Age, the New, its light being recognised in KIND and then in EXTENT precisely, given by God, incalculable in its testimony, inveterate in its declarations, irrepressible in its performance, irreducible in its deposition, without addendum.

What GOD HAS SAID, as for millenia attested, is not in doubt; it is man who is in doubt.

Doubtless, it is to the word of God man must come, if he is to avoid the judgmental work of that word, for adding to the word of God is fit for rebuke, and the avenue to the entitlement: LIAR (Proverbs 30:6). What does it take ? What now ? Shall man start to speak as if GOD! He has done it often enough, and the grand finale approaches as in II Thess. 2, an area of our considerable study in the last work, Deliverance from Disorientation, covering the testimony of Daniel.

There we saw it, the very intimacy as in Daniel 10 and elsewhere of the divine impartation of His word. Not a syllable, not a sight, not an understanding, but given by God (cf. I Cor. 2:9-13, Isaiah 34:16, 59:21, Deuteronomy 12:29-32, Jeremiah 1:7-10,17, 15:19-21, 36:17-18, Amos 3:5-8, ).


When you come to the internal considerations, they are entirely overwhelming. Warfield draws attention to so many special words of Peter, and items of special knowledge*4  resulting from His being so close to the dealings of Christ, that its authenticity is if possible even clearer in the internal than in the external attestation.

There is for example that beautifully cohesive, indeed complementary consideration of the inspiration and revelation which is scripture, given in I Peter 1:10ff. and II Peter 1:19ff., each preceded by emphasis on Christ. The second is devolving on the majesty of Christ, attested by prophecy which also brings more light even now as we await Him, and that in I Peter is found specialising on the marvel of Christ, and of that word which envisioned, envisaged and predicted Him, only to be magificently fulfilled, being written in earlier times. In each case, the wonder of the word written and living are alike a spiritual sparkle in Peter, and the mode, mood and atmosphere is entirely one.

In I Peter 1, we see the internal experience of Christ, leading to this delight; in II Peter 1, it is the external facts of what He was like when He came personally. In I Peter, we see the strength of our salvation kept by the power of God; in II Peter we see the strength of folly which imagines that security is unsanctity, or ignores the fact that the devil loves to prowl on the complacent (as is express in I Peter 5). It is one writer from one Lord, with complementary, successive, progressive and yet integral force. I Peter grounds the saints; II Peter tutors them, warns them, exhorts them, brings them to the end. Just as I Peter specialises on the beginning. II Peter, like II Timothy, is a work in which the end of the life of the apostle brings forth a special zeal for the security of continuity for the Church (II Peter 1:13-15, II Timothy 4:6ff.).

Each of the apostles in these writings shows just that sense of dedication, integrity, sensitivity and responsibility, devotion and exultation in Christ (II Peter 1:17-18, I Peter 1:8, II Timothy 4:6,17-18) which is born of no comparison, but from the one original, the translucent life which bearing with the pain and pangs of Christian commitment to duty, yet receives in the midst of it all, the sparkling splendour of the life of Christ, "Christ in you the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27, I Peter 1:8, II Peter 1:19). Moreover, Peter like Paul had great oral contact with the Church, and his exhortations like those recorded of Paul in Acts 20, were doubtless as direct as his frequent manner would exhibit; for the Lord uses how He will, whom He will, using His instruments judiciously. Feeding the lambs DOES involve warning them, by the nature of the case, of the wolves, whether diabolical (as in I Peter 5:9-10) or other.

Again, just as I Peter speaks to those "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (1:2),  with that emphasis on the omnicompetence of the divine Pastor to keep His own, who have received His righteousness, and do receive His power (1:5), so II Peter (1:3) stresses the power, and the righteousness from a wholly other source than oneself, namely Christ (1:1). It is by His RIGHTEOUSNESS that faith has come, and in Him that all the power for protection from impurity arrives (1:3-4). This, as much in II Peter, is bringing the obverse side out, of the same coin. It is in HIM, and in HIS righteousness that one has assured place; but this righteousness is not merely a legal twiddle dangling isolated from some perch. It is a GIFT, it has DYNAMIC and it is a GLOWING thing because it is of and by, through and in Christ, where the believer, being present, is constantly and continually brought up and imbued, moved and disciplined, enabled and led.

The "sanctification of the Spirit" of I Peter becomes the "divine power" of II Peter, and the calling "to glory and virtue" of II Peter corresponds to the "sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience" of I Peter. There is a progression, a diligence of emphasis, a complementarity of concept and a mutuality of co-ordination between these two epistles, exactly like that of a teacher leading his class to every facet and feature, yet with a grand unity of purpose, thrust and a common composure that moves like that of the sun, despite passing clouds, on the pastures beneath.

Thus the "Lord knows how to deliver the godly" and the emphasis of II Peter is on fraud, fake, and the disjoining from the body of Christ of false teaching, false motives, outrageous conduct, endeavouring to subvert the righteous whose righteousness now as always for their standing, is "by the righteousness of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ", seen in I Peter 1:2 in similar trinitarian terms, where the Christians are addressed as

  • "elect according to the foreknowledge of the Father",
  • "in sanctification of the Spirit" and this for
  • "obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ", whom though now you do not see, yet in Him you "rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory" (emphasis added).

With the ascription of salvation to the righteousness of Christ as base, there is equally the sense of gentility on the part of those who are far from seeking dominion over others (I Peter 5, II Peter 1:13-15), but rather lead them in word and deed, ready to depart as the devotion requires, for the unseen but ONLY Lord!

In II Peter we see just that awareness which as we see in John's Gospel (21:18-19), Christ gave to Peter of his coming time suddenly to depart (in fact as a martyr - it was to occur in terms of those who would take him where he had no wish to go!). This is duly found in his reference to "shortly" having to "put off this tent".  Indeed, not merely so, but the very usage reminds us of the glory of the Lord in the transfiguration which Peter and 2 others saw, when the concept of a tent was prominent, as a place in which to dwell. II Peter 1:16 likewise is filled with the sense of personal reminiscence of the transfiguration experience (Matthew 17).

Both are terse, condensed, profound, deep, unapologetic, incisive, addressing issues with an adroitness which is not only the designation of inspiration, but that of a particular vessel being used. There is in each a grace and an authority, never top-heavy, with authority rather than authoritative as far as the writer personally is concerned. Thus, I Peter 5 is linked in its sense of helping not ordering, to II Peter 1, in its sense of being one listed for service, and compassionately concerned while his limited tenure on this earth continues.

You see the sense of amity with Paul in II Peter, as between large-hearted apostles who see in each other a difference indeed, but a joy at the collegiality; and in I Peter a similar joy, though relative to a different generation, relative to young Mark, who by tradition as in the Muratorian Canon, wrote the Gospel in conjunction with Peter. II Peter 1:15 tells us that not only does Peter remind his hearers of these wonders and this gospel, but he will take steps to ensure they continue to have such a resource.The reference to Mark in I Peter, is thus related to the reference to the product to come, in II Peter 1.

Further, in I Peter 4:7 we see the same intense focus on the "end of all things" as in II Peter 3 contains. This IS the last Age before the return of Christ, not to be sure, a matter of moments (as in II Peter 3:8), that there be no misunderstanding, but as in Acts 2:17-21, it is an Age which has no more intervals. Christ HAS COME. He WILL return. The process as in Acts is to the END of the AGE, not to some other. It is one coherent Gospel presenting time, without known end time, but always with impending end, there be no other station before the final platform.

Just as Paul in II Thessalonians 2 warns not to misinterpret these things by illicit behaviour, presumptuous date setting, so Peter in II Peter 3:8 removes misconception on the point likewise. Indeed Peter in II Peter speaks both intimately and significantly of the "beloved brother Paul", whose scriptural writings are from the wisdom given. Not merely then is II Peter like the left hand to the right hand of I Peter, it is like the wicket keeper to the batsman to Paul.

There is a unity of comprehensive character, as of a nurse, to change the figure, now exhorting the patient vigorously to take exercise, now assuring that the disease is not fatal, but merely a phase of health in which rectitude with rigour is needed, but deliverance is at hand. The deliverance as always is through the promises of God, one of which is to be kept by the power of God to a salvation "incorruptible and undefiled, and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you." It is NOT however reserved for the false, the fraudulent, the flatterers who malfunction and abort the truth, seizing the lambs with their false teeth, riveted to their gums by steel, the better to devour.

This warning to the church, against mere formalism and ceremonialism, arrogant institutionalism is of course far from popular with the practitioners thereof, whether then or now; but Peter never was nor could he be, characteristically, anything less than a man of faith, assured in Christ of his place, earnest and enthusiastic, fearless and founded on the Christ who is not some convenience for the spirit of a man, but the Lord, the ONLY LORD whose HOLY SALVATION like the oceans, is deep and clean, with the spiritual winds above it, cooling and masterful. Thus, with all his human and personal variableness, there is a vast tract in common.

In both epistles you see the form of the same man, although so imbued in the leading of the Lord, that it is only by close attention that you perceive it! It is ALWAYS (apart from his known slip or two) the LORD that Peter stresses, always with confident and a sense of glory; and the things of flesh and man, organised or other, are always subjected to Him who lives, being alive from the dead and undying, to return in glory, who now imparts it within (I Peter 1:8, 5:4, II Peter 1:4, 3:10,13).

Were there no evidence of any kind through the years, for or against the authenticity of II Peter, of an external kind, the internal evidence is like two roses side by side, with a fragrance which though the shape of the petals is different on one side and the other, is indistinguishable in each, the one from the other, and distinguishable in both, from other fragrance. As ROSE, it is one with many; but as this plant, it is specific, specialised and highly individual. So it is with the plants of the Lord (Matthew 15:13, Isaiah 62:1-3); the beauty is His, but the individuality is what is conferred when the life is not seeking it, but seeking Christ (Matthew 16:25-26).


*1 The same sort of reluctance, or one similar appears to have occurred in the case of Revelation. Eusebius recorded some doubt, though not his own, concerning it, at a relatively late date, though its testimony had been long and eminently distinguished!

The Lord is not tamed into the New Testament, but burning with mercy; He is not less Judge because He did not come to condemn the world, but to save (John 3:17); for the salvation rejected, as John is so incisive in relaying in John 1:30-36, from the Lord, is judgment as wrath which abides.

Certainly revisionist trends, of which more than enough have become apparent both then and now, find Revelation unpleasant. It is not suitable for waffling, wafting thoughts and reconstruction of the Almighty. That, doubtless, together with the terminus of revelation in the form of scripture as attested in Revelation 22:18-29, is one reason why it is disliked, as it was, by some. The THINGS of this book are however explicitly NOT to be added to, as we there read; nor reduced; and the intention is met with the intensity of the prohibition, a perfect mirror image of the like prohibition in Deuteronomy 4, 12, Proverbs 30:6.

Actually, Revelation as Warfield points out in Ch. 3 (op.cit.), has traces of citation found "as early as Barnatas, Ignatius, and the Test. XII Patt. [Testimony of the 12 Patriarchs]; John's pupil, Papias, witnessed to its credibility; Justin (147) declares it an inspired prophecy of the apostle John. No church writer expresses a different opinion (Gaius of Rome has been misunderstood) until Dionysius of the third century" and even his trouble appears to have been subjectively oriented, without objective, historical ground.

Moreover, Revelation is cited extensively by Irenaeus towards the end of his treatise Against Heresies, and 1) is treated as basic to Irenaeus' eschatology, 2) is ascribed to 'John the disciple of the Lord' (cf. The Canon of Scripture, F.F. Bruce, p. 177).

It is of great interest that this work, like that of II Peter, is set to warn the church as the apostles did when present, and to keep vivid that warning, to the end; and indeed, it is set FOR the end in no small part. Its authenticity was too well attested to allow dissidents to exclude it, nor did they. The completed canon of the Christian covenant was as sure as that from Israel, and has stayed so for millenia, remaining the sure word of the one Lord whose Son was not made the subject of innumerable portraitures by sundry self-inspired writers, but the object of self-depiction from God by His Spirit. Nothing else could possibly be adequate in the case where His rejection is death, and His acceptation is life, when it is by faith with repentance, and not in looseness of libel, with spurious attestations and squalid proposals, as if God could be reconstructed, the death of His Son being inadequate for the pressure tactics of those who not only would mar His word, but use His own name in the process.

On reflection, it is rather easy to understand the warnings of Revelation 22. It is not now just the killing of the Christ, the sacrificial victim; it would be the annulling (to use the term from Mark 7) of the word of God, the Gospel of grace. In the love of God, THAT would be a very different matter; for this, it was both infinitely costly to secure, and infinitely precious as a means of securing sinners to become the saints of the Lord, and so, kept by the power of God, to live for ever.

*2 Eusebius is quoted by Warfield (p. 50, op.cit.), from his Ecclesiastical History, VI.14, to this effect: "Clement, in his 'Outlines', has given, to speak generally, concise explanations of all the Canonical Scripures without omitting the disputed books - I mean the Epistle of Jude, and the other catholic Epistles ...and the so-called Revelation of Peter." He notes Cassiodorus and Photius in support.


EXCURSION into Old Testament CANON

Feeding without being fodder

This end-note excursion has grown to qualify as the separate, if short chapter 2, below.
It should be consulted nevertheless, in terms of the above.

*4 Thus, as Warfield (op.cit. p. 70) notes, there is in common with Jude an emphasis on the "mysteries" of the truth. I Peter 3:19, 4:6, 3:21 may be compared with II Peter 3:5,10, and this is common also to Jude, which shares much with II Peter. Perhaps one would prefer to characterise this as dealings in depths with force and frankness, but the point is valid in kind. See Jude 11,14. Again, new birth through the word of God is a common specialty, noted in I Peter 1:22, 2:2, II Peter 1:4. Again, we would prefer to re-phrase this slightly in terms of new birth and new dynamic for growth jointly and intimately composite, through the word. Yet it is there, this vast inter-relationship of the word of God and the birth and growth, in physical analogy, of the spirit of man, into and in the kingdom of heaven.

Again, the phrasing, "grace and peace be multiplied" is found in both epistles, and nowhere else.

Again, Warfield indicates, rare combinations are found in both Peter's epistles: I Peter 1:19 and II Peter 2:13 both have amwmou kai aspilou, rendered in the former, without blemish and without spot, in the latter, spots and blemishes, the latter simply omitting the negative prefix of the former. Again, he notes the existence of rare words for the New Testament, in BOTH epistles, such as: epopteusantes, isotimos, filadelfia, corhgein, apoqesis, komizesdai.

Further, the change in topic and task, the approach of death, the drama of consummation, the necessities of bringing in new vitamins to the old base, the tutelary zest and the unstereotyped character of the apostle all mean that the normal human tendency to vary with emphasis and purpose, the trend and force, the word and mode, would be expected to flourish.

The present author has within the bounds of this site, a combination of something like versified comedy with a vigorous eschatological thrust, which is not duplicated elsewhere. He is not two persons. Professor Dodgson did not fail to be suitably academic in mathematics, nor so light and airy, that unless you look you scarcely note the keen logical brain at work in Alice in Wonderland; and even in his preface to one of his lighter works, you find a defence of a mode of punctuation (!) which he prefers to adopt, with all the gravity of a logician. If one were to decide on the necessary strait-jacket for writers, one would be likely to end up with the witness of C.S. Lewis. The cognoscenti, who always know, if imagine they may know, the processes of thought, the purposes or programs of writers, seeing behind the lines, and restless to tag their prey, have on no single instance, in his review of reviews of his works, been right.

Perhaps one could remind the reader by citing this once again (SMR p. 859):

Using his own experience about such activities of 'reconstruction', even where it is merely a matter of a fellow human being in the same culture, Lewis laughs uproariously at the pretensions of literary licence with a field as wide as the heavens open to them:

I have watched with some care similar imaginary histories both of my own books, and of books by friends whose real history I knew. Reviewers both friendly and hostile, will dash you off such histories with great confidence ; will tell you what public events had directed the author's mind to this or that, what other authors had influenced him, what his over-all intention was, what sort of audience he principally addressed, why - and when - he did everything... My impression is that of my experience not one of these guesses has on any one point been right. You would expect that on mere chance they would hit as often as they miss. But it is my impression that they do no such thing.

Lewis' point certainly concerns that marvellous omniscience whereby reviewers and critics can assess, as if the human spirit were some kind of exhibit, a sausage being toasted by a nice fire, inducing reverie, and comment were to be passed. They may know your vocabulary, your limits, your ways, your thoughts; and yet be so wholly alien to the facts as to be lamentable, if this is more courteous then being laughable.

The tendency to know "why - and when - he did everything" as Lewis puts it, is endemic to much criticism. However, the kaleidoscope has nothing on the human spirit; its nuances and movements are as individual and at times filled with the diversity of fantasy and imagination, leaps and longings, brio and variability, just as its base is one in the creation, and if Christian, in the Creator. The realms of clutching are like those of an octopus, who can seize with sudden pressure, the unexpected, respond to it, relate to it, or diversify from it; and, to use the Biblical analogy,  the things of a householder in the kingdom of heaven indeed relate to taking things old and new! Purring along on some highly mechanised sportscar is NOT, decidedly not the way of the human spirit. Even this paragraph is not satisfied with one species of imagination or two. On another occasion, none might be used. Not merely tendencies but trends can be so related to purpose and entente with the reader or situation, that the dulling conception of uniformity allowing some physics-like prediction, more suitable for matter, becomes a thing of the night, when it is day.

We are often found wondering how a friend could possibly have done or said ... that! whether in wonder and joy or otherwise. When the Spirit of God works in a man, moreover, there is liberty, and the profundities of creation are given the heights of heaven to stir and in the case of scripture, to direct.

In the case of I and II Peter, however, the continuity and contiguity is so profound as to leave an impress as of left and right feet on the sand. They are not the same; but their similarities are a diverisfication in unity.