Volume. XXIV, No. 4
Sunday, 26 July 2009


A More Sure Word of Prophecy (2 Peter 1:19)


Introduction

Faithfully exhorting and challenging his readers during his final years of ministry, the Apostle Peter writes to his readers in 2 Pet 2:19, “We have also a more sure Word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” There is no doubt that “a more sure Word” is referring to the Old Testament Scripture in relation to the authenticity of Christ’s first coming, His work and ministry (2 Peter 1:14-18). However, why is the Old Testament Scripture “a more sure Word” in contrast to the personal testimonies of the Apostle Peter himself (2 Peter 2:17&18), and what is the practical implication for Christians today?

There are two reasons why the Old Testament Scripture is “a more sure Word” compared to Apostle Peter’s own personal testimonies. First, it was “more sure” because God’s own testimony or the testimony of His own inspired Word carries infinitely more weight than Peter’s own personal testimonies. 1Jn 5:9 says, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.” Nevertheless, we should not assume that Apostle Peter’s testimonies were invalid or carried no significance at all. The Apostle Peter’s intention for elevating the Old Testament prophecy or the Word of God was to present a case in defence of the authenticity of Christ’s first coming, His work and ministry, not only based on his own personal eyewitness account or testimonies. Why would Peter do this? The reason is because the Word of God is the highest and ultimate Testimony; because the Word of God is verbally, plenary and divinely inspired, thus infallible and inerrant in every way. Jn 5:39 says, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” The Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter One, paragraph IV also asserts, “The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.” In a nutshell, the Apostle Peter was exalting the divine testimony or the “internal testimony of the Holy Spirit” over man’s own personal testimonies, desiring that his readers would build their faith and trust on God’s Word alone (Eph 2:20) and not on man’s word.   

Second, the Old Testament prophecy was “a more sure Word” also because there are overwhelming numbers of prophecies written by different prophets in the Old Testament that pointed toward Christ’s first advent, which had been completely fulfilled altogether. Our Lord appeared in His resurrected body and said to Peter and other disciples, “…these are the Words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” (Luke 24:44) Apostle Peter must have had these words of Christ in mind when he penned these Holy Spirit inspired Words. At any rate, the comparison that the Apostle Peter made between the two testimonies (ie. OT Scripture and his own) was not only made based on its quality but also based on its quantity of witnesses (ie. number of Old Testament prophets). For, according to Jewish legal system, two witnesses are enough to establish a valid witness, but the testimony concerning Christ had hundreds! In other words, it was “a more sure Word” because for all of the hundreds of prophecies to be fulfilled on one person simply by chance was probabilistically impossible. To illustrate this, let’s do a calculation. There are, in fact, 332 distinct Old Testament predictions regarding the Messiah that Jesus fulfilled perfectly. The combination of this evidence together, from a simple statistical perspective, is absolutely overwhelming. Professor Peter Stoner who was a Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College, California has calculated that the probability of any one man fulfilling just eight of these prophesies is one in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (ie. 10 to the 17th power). Just imagine that you are supposed to blindfold yourself to pick up a coin that mark with X from as many coins that would cover the state of Texas which is 696,200 square km (ie. almost twice the size of South Australia) of two feet deep. And this is based on 8 prophecies. Stoner says that if you consider just 48 of the prophecies, the odds become one in 10 to the 157th power. A person in his logical mind can’t conclude that Christ fulfilled all 332 prophecies by mere chance, for this is absolutely in doubt probabilistically impossible.

Knowing the above truth, what is the practical implication for you as a Christian today? The implication is that not only the Scriptures alone is “a more sure Word” that testifies that Christ is the Son of God, but it also assures the saints that Christ is coming again, and this should give great comfort, encouragement and strength to those who are wearied, suffering and persecuted. In verse 19b, we see the Apostle Peter also wishing to urge his readers to “take heed” until the day dawn…ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place…” Take heed of what one may ask. It is to take heed of the a more sure Word of prophecy, not only concerning Christ’s first advent, but also His second advent which serves as “a light that shineth in a dark place…”(Acts 1:10,11; Rev 19:11-16) Why? Because “a more sure Word” of Old Testament prophecy concerning Christ’s second coming is “a light of hope” (Titus 2:13) as God’s children walk in the “a dark, corrupt and sinful world. This “lamp of prophecy” would assure His people of His promised return amidst trials and sufferings among scoffers, mockers and blasphemers (2 Pet 3:1-5) who often persecute Christians in various ways. While our faith may be assaulted by Satan and his cohort as in the days of Noah, we must take heart and carry that lamp with us wherever we go and not be “….tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Eph 4:14). This same lamp only shines “…until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19b) because the “day dawn” refers to the Second coming of Christ and the “Day Star” is the “Morning Star” our Lord Jesus Christ mentioned in Revelation 22:16. Logically speaking, when the “Morning Star” reveals Himself, God’s people can put their lamps down, for there is no longer a need for an assurance of His “second” coming when His people behold His face in glory. 

In Conclusion

God’s people must remember that Scripture is the highest and ultimate testimony concerning Christ’s first advent, His work and ministry. There is also no reason for a child of God to doubt that Christ is coming again for the same “sure Word of prophecy” promises that He will return again. Meanwhile, Christians today must still lift up that “lamp of prophecy” and carry it with them wherever they go in this dark and sinful world filled with skeptics and mockers of God, and be mindful of His promises, for it will surely be a source of comfort, strength and encouragement in the midst of sufferings, trials and temptations.

Ps Weng


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements

Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Bro Phil Surman

If you are interested in Sunday School teaching or  as a helper, please let Sis Josephine Wong know. Training will begin next Sunday evening at 7:30pm and will run every Sunday evening in August.

For this year’s ACM, except for financial details, reports to members will be sent by email. If you prefer paper reports please let Dn Edwin D’Mello know.

Christmas Concert 2009 - All are encouraged to participate. If you can participate please see Sis Sally Teng.

Missions Committee: Sis Lydia Fan will represent the AFG in the committee.

 

Looking Ahead

Annual Congregational Meeting on Saturday, 29 Aug, 7:30 pm. (All members are expected to attend)

Christmas Concert: Sat, 5 Dec 2009

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren (Brisb), Bro Colin Gan & family; Bro Joseph Selvanayagam & family (Adl); Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong (Melb); Bros Richie Hornung, Samuel Ki (Adl), Jonathan Liaw (S’pore) & Jason Tan (Adl/Kapunda); Sis Suzanne Lim (Adl).  

Church activities: BBK Class; Reformed H&A Class; Session Meeting; Sparks4Christ; Wed Prayer Meeting & Bible Study; YAF Bible Study; Working Bees.

Daily mercies, protection, and guidance.

 

Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev John & Mrs Christine McKenzie; Rev Stephen Khoo, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Colin Creaser, Makoto Kobayashi, Elton Law, Alan Marion, Len & Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, Fred Volvricht & Hans Ziegelmann; Mr Swee Liang Ng, Mr Yeom; Grandpa Ki (surgery in Korea); Auntie Oei; Sisters Mabella Booth, Nita Chong, Annie D’Mello, Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL); Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Aranka Rejtoe, Sally Teng, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; Mrs Win Hooper; & others in affliction.

Missions - Cambodia (Pastors in remote Cambodian villages); Kuching Ministry (Teo family); Hopefuls fellowshipping in S’pore.

Special Prayer: Bro Surish Dharmalingam - for his family & ministry in Vientiane & Siem Pang.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Pr H S Lim

Pastor & Sis Ki - ministry in New Life BPC, London.

Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions (IBPFM - USA) - For missionaries & funds

Journey mercies: Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong (Adl);  Bro Jason Tan (Kapunda/Adl); Bro Jonathan Liaw & Sis  Wendy Liang (Adl) &  those travelling during the school vacation.

Pastor Weng: family & ministry in Hope BPC.

Job - Bro Cong Pham; Sisters Marion Chan, Tabitha Heah, Judy Li & Corinne Teng.

God’s comfort, strength, guidance & care: Sisters Kathleen Creaser & Margaret Hooper.

Bro Max Opaskiatikul serving the Lord in MV Doulos.

Fellowship Exams - Bro John Wong (Melb today)

Australian B-P Churches - for unity of doctrine & fellowship

Believers under persecution in Islamic countries

Bro Winston & Sis Christabelle Selvanayagam in Toronto: For God’s guidance & protection.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063