Excelling Glory

  • By Pastor Boffey
  • on Thursday, August 20, 2015
2 Peter 1:16-18 (16) For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (17) For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (18) And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. Peter here revisits the experience of James, John and himself on the Mount of Transfiguration, thrice recorded in the gospel (MAT 17:1-8 c/w MAR 9:2-8 c/w LUK 9:28-36). Jesus had immediately before that told his disciples that there were some of them that would not taste of death until they had seen Him coming in His kingdom with power (MAT 16:28 c/w MAR 9:1 c/w LUK 9:27). He shortly thereafter fulfilled His promise by giving these three disciples an eyewitness glimpse of Himself in His majesty (the dignity or greatness of a sovereign; sovereign power, sovereignty). The divine royal reign in glory that the Son of man would inherit by virtue of His death, burial and resurrection (PSA 2:1-9 c/w ACT 13:32-34 c/w ACT 2:29-36 c/w 1PE 3:22) was shown unto these men who had heretofore only known Him in his humility. Let us consider some things from our text. The Christian faith is not a cunningly devised fable, the clever parable of a fabulist like Aesop; it is not a manufactured morality tale. Nor is it a cunningly devised, pseudo-scientific delusion of a myth-monger like Darwin, for whose theory's sake once-heralded “truths” have often been abandoned for newer, hopefully less bankrupt ideas (and this crooked story all told with a straight face). By contrast, the gospel is the same today as it ever was, declaring Jesus Christ as the Creator Who became flesh, died for sinners, rose from the dead and ascended bodily to heaven to reign over all. Further, the gospel is based upon fact and eyewitness testimony, the details of which were so compelling that the apostles and many disciples preferred martyrdom over denial of what they had seen (and lying hypocrites are not willing martyrs). It is doubtful that many macro-evolutionists would die rather than deny their theory. No, it seems that the hard-core zealots of that school would rather kill because of their theory, deeming Australian aborigines to be unevolved sub-human animals suitable for hunting as game (a historical example), or purging out the human weeds that they deem to be a drain on resources or are otherwise obstacles to progress and societal perfection. Our text is also contrary to Dr. Scofield et.al. who suppose that Christ has not yet entered into His glory, it supposedly being reserved for a future “kingdom age” of one thousand years of earthly peace and prosperity. This is essentially an old Jewish fable (TIT 1:14) that was advanced in apostate Judaism's apocalyptic writings (a doctrine which Jesus opposed but which is now virtually point-for-point affirmed in modern-day premillennial theory promoted by many Christians). But Christ is not awaiting His glory; His resurrection state IS NOW one of received glory (PHIL 2:9; HEB 2:9). God “...raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory...” (1PE 1:21). These apostles on the mount “...beheld his glory...” (JOH 1:14). LUK 9:31 reveals that while in that glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, they “...spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.” This is most appropriate since the crucifixion was not the thwarting of Messiah's glory but the very means of His gaining it: “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” (LUK 24:26). For someone to be (as Christ now is) in their glory means “...in one's highest state of magnificence or prosperity.” What more glory could Christ enter into? Our text also provides an evidence of the plurality of the Godhead: God the Father speaking from heaven to God the Son on the mount. This fact was seen in even greater detail at Christ's baptism where the Father spoke from heaven, the Word (as the Son, Jesus Christ) was in the water, and the Spirit descended like a dove upon Him (MAT 3:16-17). Indeed, “...there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1JO 5:7). Our text curiously overlooks two other notables who appeared on the mount with Jesus in His glory: Moses and Elijah (see MAT 17:3; MAR 9:4; LUK 9:30). Peter was impressed enough with Moses and Elijah that he desired to make them tabernacles as well as one for Jesus (MAR 9:5). But here in our featured text, they didn't even rate a mention. It may be observed that the disciples (Peter included) back then had misconceptions about the true mission of Messiah, as witnessed by their puzzled discussion on the way down from the mount, “...questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean” (MAR 9:9-10). It was not until after Christ had risen from the dead, ascended back to heaven and then poured out the Holy Ghost to flood them with grace, knowledge and power that their doctrine was purified. For Peter and the majority of his countrymen, Moses (the Law) and Elijah (representative of the Prophets) were central to everything. But once the reality of what the Law and the Prophets had anticipated had come, Peter's focus was on Jesus the Christ. A New Testament was in force, wrought in the blood of the Lamb of God, disannulling and abolishing the first Testament (HEB 9:15-17 c/w HEB 7:18-19 c/w EPH 2:15). As glorious as were Moses and the Law, they “...had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth” (2CO 3:10), a New Testament where the blood of sprinkling is not applied on earth as it was for the Old Testament (HEB 9:19-22) but in heaven (HEB 9:23-24; HEB 12:22-24), the excellent glory (our text). The Sun of Righteousness (MAL 4:2) had arisen to drive away the shadows of the Law and the Prophets (COL 2:14-17 c/w HEB 10:1 c/w 1PE 1:10-11). “The law and the prophets were until John...” (LUK 16:16), their season trumped by Christ and His present kingdom. Let Peter's change of focus be instructive to all. The Law (and its inherent curse, GAL 3:10) “...was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (JOH 1:17), by Whom also came eternal salvation (HEB 5:9), the death of death (2TI 1:10), the hope of bodily resurrection (1CO 15:19-23), the defeat of Satan (HEB 2:14), the Holy Ghost for instruction and comfort (JOH 14:26), the promised kingdom (MAT 16:18-19) and the expectation of “...new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2PE 3:13). Moses brought none of these things. Elijah was a great prophet in whose spirit and power John the Baptist ministered (LUK 1:13-17 c/w MAT 17:10-13). But even John's witness took a back seat to Christ's (JOH 5:36). Jesus is “where it's at,” not Moses or Elijah.

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