Chapter 2: A Vision of God’s Majesty
If you carefully study this booklet about Peter’s epistles, you will see that God is giving us a more comprehensive overview than ever before.
Peter saw this overview. In his epistles he acquitted himself beautifully as God’s chief apostle.
Peter’s first epistle deals primarily with enemies outside the Church. His second epistle deals mainly with the more dangerous enemies within the Church.
But in order to introduce that very sobering topic, Peter expounds on the greatest hope in the Bible.
Called to God’s Glory
This second epistle begins, “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). Notice what Peter said there: We can possess the same towering faith that Peter and the other spiritual giants of the Bible had!
In both epistles, Peter established that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ. Why? Because people inside and outside God’s Church were questioning his office!
“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord [the knowledge of the God Family], According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (verses 2-3). In the rsv, verse 3 says that God “called us to his own glory and excellence.”
Consider it! God never called the angels to “his own glory and excellence.” We are called to a glory that exceeds that of the angels—called, in fact, to the very glory of the God described in Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 1!
That is hope beyond compare! God is re-creating Himself. How can we believe that truth and not be filled with hope?
The fiery angels yearn to understand about God re-creating Himself. How much more should we who are being created in God’s image?
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (verse 4).
This verse demands that I comment on it.
Human beings have “desperately wicked” human nature (Jeremiah 17:9). The whole world worships the devil—has his nature (2 Corinthians 4:4). However, mankind was created with the potential to receive God’s nature—have the very nature of our Creator!
One definition of the word nature in 2 Peter 1:4 is “constitution.” You were created to have the divine constitution. That is another way of saying you will be God—members of God’s own Family—if you obey Him.
God is building His own nature only in the very elect today. They are preparing to be born into God’s own Family with divine nature!
The people of this world have been blinded to their own human potential. We have a potential the angels were never ever given.
God saw after Lucifer’s rebellion that only His nature could rule and beautify the universe, so He implemented the plan to re-create Himself in man.
No wonder the angels desire to look into what God is doing!
Do you yearn to look into these things as the angels do? Actually, we should yearn to look into these things even more, since we are the ones to be born into God’s Family!
Perhaps if we couldn’t have it, we’d yearn more to look into it. But if God just hands it to us, are we not interested? We are dust—tabernacles that were created to die—yet God says, I want to give you the divine nature! You’re made after the God kind! God is re-creating Himself through dust! (Genesis 1:26).
This is the hope we must have in order to fulfill our commission. We must be excited about what we are doing! When someone first comes into God’s Church, often he or she is on fire with “first love”—extremely stirred up about God’s truth. We who have been in the Church for some years should not be less excited than those individuals! We should progress from first love, to second love, to the third, fourth and so on! That love should be growing right up to the moment we are born into God’s Family! We should be overflowing with excitement to be a part of this awesome plan orchestrated by our heavenly Father.
Though Peter faced imminent death, the more he got into this subject, the deeper became his hope. Facing death helped him immensely in digging out this living hope!
God begets His people with His Holy Spirit. He implants within us His spiritual seed—a part of His very essence. As we use it, that Spirit grows and multiplies within us, and we take on more and more of the characteristics of our heavenly Father (2 Peter 1:5-7). “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (verse 8). With God’s Spirit abounding in us, we are molded into the image of God—the mind and character of God.
“But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (verse 9).
Peter was dealing with the same problem inside the Church that we grapple with today in the Laodiceans: people who are spiritually blind! (Revelation 3:17). They have forgotten that they were purged from their old sins, and they have gone back to them!
Throughout this second epistle, Peter discusses the serious problems he saw within God’s Church, which was only a type of the Laodicean era today. So it has extraordinary significance for us. Peter both identifies the problems and provides solutions.
The Present Truth
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11). This is a promise from God: Having received from Him our calling and election, we can secure our position in His Kingdom forever if we remain diligent in “these things.”
Peter is telling us today how not to fall. And what an appropriate subject, since 95 percent of God’s people have fallen away from God in this end time. That should never have happened, but it shows that this is dangerous knowledge. We have the potential to be sons of God, but it’s so easy to “neglect so great [a] salvation.”
Peter shows us how to make our “calling and election sure.” He teaches us how to prevent the greatest catastrophe of all! Will we heed what he says? Do we really want to achieve our mind-splitting potential? It’s ours for the taking, but we must give diligence—that means giving the required diligence to be born into God’s Family, and nothing less.
“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth” (verse 12). In order to safeguard our calling and election, our studies should include two parts: remembering past truth, and becoming established in present truth.
The Philadelphia Church of God owns and publishes a bounty of material from Mr. Armstrong. Do we remember that past truth—past revelation from God? We continually instruct our ministers to teach it to the members.
God restored all things in this end time through Mr. Armstrong. How much will He require of us because of that? He holds us accountable for every single word!
God has also given His Church today volumes of present truth—new revelation from God. Are we established in it? Do our ministers make certain that our members become established in it? That is our job.
What consequences will we suffer if we neglect to ground ourselves in both past and present truth? Just look at the Laodiceans who, at best, are spiritually stagnant, receiving no nourishment from God, in terms of new revelation—and at worst, are spiritually dead.
Verse 12 sets the Philadelphia Church of God (pcg) apart from the Worldwide Church of God (wcg) and all the other groups who come out of our mother church.
Only the Philadelphia Church today has “present truth,” or new revelation. Here is the major truth of where God is and where His Church is!
None of the Laodicean churches of God have been given any new revelation. Not one.
That means that Jesus Christ is only speaking to the pcg today! God speaks to His very elect through new revelation.
A Laodicean member once asked me, “How does your group differ from all the other groups?” (She meant the wcg and the other groups that came out of the wcg.)
I explained to her that it was the new revelation (or the “present truth”). Christ always gives new revelation to the Church doing His Work. The Work then must deliver that message—new revelation—through the open door, which Christ provides (Revelation 3:7-8).
The “present truth” implies that there is also past truth or past revelation that was given to God’s true Church—in our case, the Church that was led by Herbert W. Armstrong. It also implies that you must cling to that revelation, no matter what the cost.
We fought in court for six years to win the right to print Mr. Armstrong’s books, booklets and correspondence course. All of that past revelation was given to him.
God has given new revelation to me about all of the major and minor prophets, Lamentations, Daniel, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, the epistles of Peter and John, the books of Jude and Revelation and others—an abundance of present truth.
All of this revelation for the Church was given to me in this Laodicean era—just as all of the revelation was given to Mr. Armstrong in the Philadelphia era.
Nobody else has been given any revelation in this end time—nobody!
God “revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7)—especially in this worst crisis ever that is facing mankind. The individual must respond to God’s calling and seek out that prophet—prove who and where he is. (For more information, request our free booklet Who Is ‘That Prophet’?)
The Laodiceans should ask, “Why don’t we have new revelation?” Then they would clearly see where God’s true Church is not. Then they could easily see where the only Church is that is doing God’s Work of getting that past and present truth to the world.
God has not given the Laodiceans an open door, because they have rejected His revealed message—much of what Mr. Armstrong taught and all of the new revelation God has given the pcg in this Laodicean era.
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10). Because we have kept God’s word—all the revelation He gives—God is going to protect us from the coming nuclear holocaust (also see Revelation 12:14). And that is just the physical reward.
The Laodiceans will be plunged into the Great Tribulation.
God always gives new revelation to His loyal Church and He always has a Work to proclaim that revelation.
The very elect that hangs on to the past revelation is given the new revelation, or present truth.
New revelation should show all of the Laodicean churches where God and His Work are today. Again, it is the major proof of where God is! Christ speaks through new revelation. Then He opens a door for His Work to deliver that revelation to the Laodiceans and the world. All of the revelation given should convict the world of where God was in the past and is in the present.
Why Peter Suffered
Peter referred to his physical body as a “tabernacle” (2 Peter 1:14). That is all it is! It is temporary—we were created to die. Peter was ready to put his tabernacle off—because he was ready to put on immortality!
We all want to live—but we must put off this temporary body sooner or later.
God’s plan was for Peter to be put to death. Why? There is more to it than just His desire to refine Peter’s character.
With the crisis in the Church, his personal trials and the knowledge of his imminent death, Peter had so much he could have been negative about. But Peter was learning a lesson specifically so he could teach the Philadelphia Church of God in this end time! We must learn it, so we can build this solid hope into our lives—and then proclaim it to the world!
What Peter went through was a stupendous blessing for us!
God has a plan to get this lesson into our minds as we go forth to broadcast a difficult message in the most difficult times ever! This is what will keep us going when we don’t want to keep going.
This hope is for the whole world. We must be globally minded, as God is. Christ gave His life for the world. We have been called to follow in His steps. We must not be bitter and hateful toward the world. God says we are to love our enemies. Mr. Armstrong said that even for the fiercest enemies of the Church, he never asked God to curse them—but only to bless them. (Of course, sometimes a blessing can look like a curse. God has His means of correcting people.) Can we love our enemies enough to die for them, as Christ did? If God hadn’t opened our minds to understand the truth, we would be just like them!
What wouldn’t we give to see the people of this world repent and not have to go through the Tribulation coming upon it? Would you die for them, as Christ did? God loves even those who hate Him.
The way we can show our love to the world is by giving people the wonderful hope Peter talked about.
Revelation 10:11 shows that we have a warning for the whole world. But just a few verses later, in Revelation 11:15, we see the kingdoms of this world becoming the Kingdom of God! Yes, there is a warning—but a warning with awesome hope.
As we will see, 2 Peter 2 contains one of the strongest warnings in the Bible. But look at how Peter set it up: Verses 13 through 21 in chapter 1 provide a powerfully inspiring introduction! Peter knew he couldn’t just rush in and tell them (and us) how our loving God is going to correct His sons. First he gave the vision of hope. People need vision before they’ll respond to correction.
It is our responsibility to give the Laodiceans and the world this vision of hope just before what is discussed in 2 Peter 2 is fulfilled.
Peter specifically speaks to those who were going blind spiritually, trying to stir them up: “Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me” (2 Peter 1:13-14). You can sense Peter’s urgency in trying to reach those whose spiritual lives were in jeopardy—and to get their minds on eternal glory!
Here Peter prophesies of his own imminent death. Here is Peter’s farewell address—he knew he would die, and not of natural causes! Christ had told him about what would happen (John 21:18-19). As Peter faced death, his main concern was what would happen to God’s precious people when he was gone!
He had only a short span of time to help them. We have precious little time to warn the Laodiceans.
Peter was trying to get them to remember what they had been taught by Christ and the apostles. They were forgetting. How urgently this applies to the Laodiceans today. They are forgetting, or have forgotten, what God taught them through Mr. Armstrong. There is no excuse for any of us to forget.
Peter knew that he would “shortly” put off his temporary “tabernacle”—or be killed. Tradition says that he insisted on being crucified upside down. He didn’t consider himself worthy to be crucified as Christ was.
At a violent time like that, he wrote the epistles. The epistles of Peter are the best writings in the Bible on the subject of hope!
As we face the most terrifying times on Earth, we must have hope to grow and survive.
God has revealed this book to us today so we can be filled with hope, as Peter was.
“Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance” (2 Peter 1:15). Again Peter prophesies of his death. Peter wanted so much for the people to remember! Seeing how closely the book of Jude parallels 2 Peter 2, I’m sure Peter gave this instruction to Jude, and he followed through—after Peter’s death—unlike the leadership in the wcg after Mr. Armstrong died. This admonition is just like the one Mr. Armstrong gave before he died: Remember the liberalism that almost destroyed God’s Church in the 1970s, and hang on to the truth—lest history repeat itself!
The Philadelphia Church of God has followed Jude’s example today. (Request our free booklet on Jude to see how it is tied to Peter’s epistles.)
Peter continues, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables [or fantasies], when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (verse 16). We must base our beliefs on the bedrock of God’s truth, not on fables.
Here the apostle referred to the vision of Christ’s Second Coming he received with James and John on the mountain during Christ’s ministry. I witnessed what it is going to be like, Peter said. I’ve told you all about that! Doesn’t that move and stir you? Don’t you get it? Are you blind to that?
The chief apostle had quite a problem on his hands within the Church of God.
Let’s review the vision he was talking about—and we will see that it too is tied right in with our Work today.
The Most Pivotal End-Time Prophecy
One day, Jesus Christ said to His disciples: “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:28). Six days later, He fulfilled this promise.
Jesus took Peter, James and John—perhaps the top disciples—to a high mountain. “And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him” (Matthew 17:2-3). In vision, Christ’s face radiated like the sun and His garments glistened. That is what we will look like very soon. Our face will shine; our raiment will glow. God is about to give us His own glory and excellence!
“While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (verse 5). Notice: The Father is at the head of His entire Family, directing everything! This one verse shows the God Family vision.
When they heard that voice, the disciples were afraid and fell on their faces. Christ soothed them and told them not to fear. When they looked up, that wonderful vision was gone—but it had been seared in their minds and hearts. “And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead” (verse 9).
These disciples had seen a vision of the Second Coming. Now notice what is tied right in with it: “And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias [Elijah] must first come [that is, before Christ returns]? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things” (verses 10-11).
That vision given to Peter, John and James tied right in with the arrival of an Elijah in the end time, just before Christ returns! That vision was tied directly to a man named Herbert W. Armstrong! This is a sign to the world that Jesus Christ’s return is imminent. When “all things” are restored, that is the beginning of the end!
Herbert W. Armstrong was that end-time Elijah. He played the key role in restoring God’s truth. He prepared the way for Christ’s Second Coming!
The Philadelphia Church of God plays a critical part in this prophecy as well, because since Mr. Armstrong’s death we have had to sustain those restored truths and fight to keep that sign visible! The pcg has kept all those restored truths alive. We must ensure that the world remembers that sign, so it will know Christ is about to return. Christ’s return is getting closer all the time. After all, the end-time Elijah has come and gone! (For proof, request A Pivotal Sign of the End Time.)
The prophecy of all things being restored just before Christ’s return implies that those restored truths would remain as a sign for the Laodiceans and the world! They may have been cast down, but God would quickly “raise up [the] ruins” (Amos 9:11) of His Work and proclaim those restored truths to the world again.
Even as we fought in court for Mr. Armstrong’s writings, those truths were in the public eye. If the Worldwide Church of God had won in court, those restored truths would have been buried. I believe this is actually another prophecy that we would win our court battle!
This is, after all, the sign Christ gives—so He made sure it would remain evident for people to see. Can you conceive of Christ—the Head of His Church, who gave those restored truths as an integral part of the vision of His Second Coming and a sign of His imminent return—actually allowing someone to destroy that sign for the world? If there is any faith on this Earth, if there is any work to be done, it is inconceivable He would allow that!
Christ did not leave it to chance. He personally ensured those restored truths survived!
Of course, He did make us fight for those truths to prove our love for Him.
We could not have fulfilled our commission to prophesy again (Revelation 10:11) without Mr. Armstrong’s books and booklets concerning those 18 restored truths! Without them, Satan would have blocked the foundational part of our message to the world. God would never allow that—as long as there are any loyal people left to do the Work.
So we prophesy again for the last time before Christ’s return! Again we take those restored truths to the world after they were cast down by the Laodiceans (Daniel 8:11-12).
After Mr. Armstrong died, the pcg was put on center stage. We have to keep this major sign of Christ’s Second Coming alive.
What an honor to prophesy again.
Peter wrote about this vision mainly for the pcg. That is why God is revealing the epistles of Peter to us today.
Peter, James and John received a foretaste of Christ’s Second Coming. This made it possible for them to teach us about this vision with profound feeling and impact! We need this hope to endure to the end.
Can you see how Christ’s first coming and Second Coming are connected and intertwined with the Philadelphia Church of God today?
This Matthew 17 prophecy is the single-most pivotal prophecy in this end time. It is the major sign to the world that the Second Coming is almost here. (See Mark 9:1-12 for Mark’s version.)
These restored truths have not ceased to be a sign the world can see. Christ wants that sign visible. He sent an important personality at a critical juncture in history—a man to restore all things. If you want to get ready for my Second Coming, Christ is saying, learn about those truths and go to where they are being taught and disseminated.
If you act on that, you will have living hope!
Peter was there and saw that vision. He became a martyr for that hope.
And Christ inspired Peter to emphasize that vision for God’s Philadelphia Church today. All prophecy in this end time revolves around that amazing prophecy!
Look at the exalted position Christ assigned to Mr. Armstrong, tying that man directly in with the vision of His Second Coming. Yet 95 percent of God’s people don’t think he fulfilled that role. That is drop-dead spiritual blindness! All of the top leaders who worked with Mr. Armstrong rejected his office and some or all of the doctrines he taught. That is a mountain-sized blindness. If they saw clearly, they would cling to that man’s office and what he taught!
In this confusing world, things can seem complicated. Here Christ keeps it simple: If the world wants to find God’s Work today, all it has to do is understand the end-time Elijah.
Learning about the Elijah gives you a foundation of hope! It is an undeniable sign that Christ is about to return to right every wrong and bring justice to this unjust world.
Find who has and is proclaiming those restored truths and you will find God’s very elect today! There you will find God’s Work—His revealed message.
That is a major way to know where God is now!
The world must be introduced to its Creator. He is coming shortly to solve all of our hideous problems. There is no other solution.
A Vision of Hope
Why did Christ give these disciples that vision? To give them hope! Most of them were going to have to die for God. God knew these men would face overwhelming troubles, which meant that, in order to endure them, they needed a gigantic hope!
Can you imagine being given a vision of Christ’s Second Coming so you would actually know what it will look like? Wouldn’t that motivate you more? Surely it would strengthen your resolve. And if God decided that you would have to die in order to enter the Kingdom, it would be much easier to accept that fate.
Those apostles endured terrible times. But can you imagine hearing Peter or James or John preach about the breathtaking vision they saw with their own eyes? You would think people would have clamored to hear more about it—eager for every detail of what Jesus Christ and God showed them about the most important event ever to occur in the universe. That had to make for some dynamic messages! People were honored to be able to hear them.
These men had this vision etched in their memories. And so must we, if we are to be filled with hope.
Having given these men this vision, God was able to use Peter and John in special ways—ways that are particularly meaningful for us in this era right before Christ’s arrival. John’s writings form the basis of our understanding of the God Family vision. John and Peter both spoke about antichrists and other problems the very elect are dealing with today; they spoke specifically about our court case.
Have no doubt: Christ is intimately aware of what we are doing. God the Father knows all about us.
The voice from the cloud said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him. The same God tied Mr. Armstrong right in with that vision. Realize: He isn’t just concerned about His Son—He has many, many more sons about to enter His Family, and He talks in specific detail about them!
There is no gospel without the Father. He is the Head of the Kingdom, or Family.
What a marvelous truth! God the Father wants to say about all of us, These are my beloved sons, in whom I am well pleased! They act like me—their Father! Can you grasp what God is offering you?
Peter continues the thought in his epistle: “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. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount” (2 Peter 1:17-18). Now, for someone who believes in God being a trinity, this may be confusing. But when you understand that God is a Family, and there was a Father who was happy to praise His beloved Son, you know exactly what Peter is talking about.
Peter was with the Son, saw a vision of His Second Coming, and then heard a voice from the Father. No wonder he could write so powerfully about our living hope!
The Father wants to draw us into His bosom to share that Family love! What a vision of hope!
The Day Star
“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” (2 Peter 1:19). Your hearts, Peter wrote. He is making this very personal.
What did he mean by saying “a more sure word of prophecy”? Remember, it is in the context of his reminiscing about that vision on the mountaintop.
When Peter saw that image of God’s Kingdom, he didn’t have God’s Holy Spirit in him. He is saying that when the Spirit of God comes into you and gives you revelation, then that is the most sure, certain word of prophecy there is—having God directly inject it into your mind via the Holy Spirit!
He says that we should “take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn”—which day? The sunrise of the wonderful World Tomorrow! That is what we live for. The Second Coming is the living hope Peter talked about.
But notice: It doesn’t end there, with Christ ruling the Earth. Then comes something even more spectacular: “and the day star arise in your hearts.”
Hearts refers to the center of our spiritual lives—and this is the center: Revelation 22:16 calls Christ “the bright and morning star.” Revelation 2:28 says that God will give the overcomer “the morning star,” speaking of our becoming the Bride of Jesus Christ and shining as He does! This occurs after “the day dawn.” Christ will return, He will meet His saints in the air—and then the day star will rise in our hearts! Christ in us will rise in our hearts, and in a sudden change we will be sons of God who look like Christ, and we will be the Bride!
Thayer’s Lexicon says about 2 Peter 1:19: “I will give to him the morning star, that he may be irradiated with its splendor and outshine all the others, like the morning star.” That’s right! God is going to give His firstfruits a measure of glory that He won’t give the others. It will burn brighter and exceed the glory of everyone else who is added to the eternal firmament of God’s Family.
That is the hope Peter talked about: the eternal sunrise in our hearts, or our spiritual lives. This is why we are here: to become Christ’s Bride. And the very elect remnant will shine with greater glory than the Laodiceans who repent in the Tribulation. Paul discussed rewards of gold, silver and precious stones. He also said our reward could be burned (“wood, hay and stubble”), even though we are saved (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). Paul explained how one star differs from another star in glory, as we will in the resurrection! (1 Corinthians 15:40-42).
The more our heart is in this Work, the greater our shining glory in the resurrection. You need to ponder these words carefully!
Peter was dealing with people of God who were turning their backs on this truth—the most obscene thing you can imagine. Yet the same thing has happened in this end time. This message is mainly for you and all saints in this last hour.
Most commentaries do not understand the order in this verse because they don’t understand about man becoming God! We are not trying to rule this world today while it is shrouded in darkness. Christ will return—we will be changed—and then, when that day dawns, we will help Him rule the Earth! At that point, our face will be like Christ’s—shining like the sun!
How much is this future reality a part of our day-to-day thinking? How profoundly do we grasp it?
The more I study, the more obvious it becomes how little the world knows. These universe-shaking truths are too God-level and wonderful for the carnal mind to comprehend!
This is where most of God’s people have made their big mistake. You will never submit to God’s government if you don’t comprehend this vision. You will never endure the trials God gives you unless you see this splendid reason to do so.
You can trace this truth right back to Genesis 1:26, where God’s plan from the beginning was to make man in His image and likeness—that is, after the God kind. We must not let the world’s faithlessness rub off on us: We must have faith in God’s Word! Read it and believe it! Christ said we are to live by every word of the Bible.
Still, it takes the Spirit of God to believe. How can you envision becoming God if you have only the human spirit?
Colossians 1:27 reads, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” What is that mystery? It is Christ in you. It is the morning star—which outshines all the others—rising in your heart, and you becoming the Bride of Christ.
Romans 10:4 tells us that the end of the law is Christ. If you keep that law, the end result is becoming like Christ. We are going to be like Christ and God! This is our hope of glory—the living hope Peter described.
Peter, facing intense trial, was digging more deeply into the hope of God, trying to help the people see it. If you have this hope, you will never fall. We are getting close to the time when our faces will shine like the sun!
This truth is really the theme of Peter’s epistles. “[T]ake heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place”—that is, the world today—“until the day dawn”—the World Tomorrow—“and the day star arise in your hearts”—when you become a member of the Family of God.
Let me emphasize this again to make sure we really get it.
Some of the commentaries say this order is reversed. That is because they don’t understand God’s master plan. First, we have a light that shines in this dark world when we are called and given God’s Holy Spirit. Second, Christ returns and the day dawns—this evil world becomes the wonderful World Tomorrow ruled by Christ. Third (this is the part that seems out of order to many Bible scholars), “and the day star arise in your hearts.” We are not changed into spirit beings until Christ returns. Remember the vision where Christ’s face shone like the sun—so will ours! And our raiment will be white as light. We will shine like the stars and the brightness of the firmament when Christ returns. We become sons of God.
Some commentaries even reverse the order, thinking it is wrong. That is because they don’t understand that God is re-creating Himself (Genesis 1:26; Philippians 3:21; Psalm 17:15; Daniel 12:2-3; 1 John 3:1-2). They won’t believe their own Bibles. They can’t believe the hope of all hopes: that we are going to become Gods!
The world calls this blasphemy. (Our potential is so staggering that the human mind can’t fathom it!) The very elect calls it the most transcendent truth in the Bible.
This is the gospel!
You and I must think deeply about this spiritual lightning of the mind. It is easy to let a truth of such magnitude slip away. But it is so out-of-this-world that we must not let that happen.
No trial will stop us if we retain this living hope of cosmic glory!
How can we become the Bride of Christ and not be God? How can we become sons of God and not be God? It is time that all humanity rip Satan’s deceit from their minds.
This understanding is at the heart of why Peter became the chief apostle. He felt honored to submit to God’s government of hope. Because he comprehended government so well, God gave him authority over all the apostles.
He didn’t feel worthy to be crucified the way Christ was. Peter knew he was facing such a brutal end. But just before it happened, he wrote the most hope-filled book in the Bible! How do you explain that? Trials cause us to dig deeper spiritually. First of all, God revealed this sublime hope to him. Still Peter struggled to get this hope deeply into his thinking so he would be ready for anything!
And why did this evil world kill Peter? Because he tried to teach it this hope! It will persecute us for the same reason.
Even though Peter didn’t know it, he wrote those hope-filled epistles mainly for us today.
This living hope motivated Peter. He didn’t face his savage death in discouragement!
We are entering into the greatest crisis ever. God is revealing the epistles of Peter to us so we can face our trials with nobility and dignity, as Peter did.
This is the living hope that no man could even imagine!
God has given us new revelation from Peter to prepare us for the future. This is not a book about fables. It’s about your majestic, celestial potential. This is why you were born.
We must face this mad world with profound hope, as Peter did—not with bitterness.
No matter how bad it gets, that eternal, living hope is always there. Peter’s vision of hope is a critical key to finishing our work.
This stunning vision of hope is Peter’s introduction to the trials described in 2 Peter 2.
The context of that vision is where Christ’s own face shone as the sun! Christ prepared Peter specifically to give us this message today. This is the fantastic vision Peter was teaching—and this is what Christ wants us to understand in this end time.
This is the gospel—the good news of the coming Family of God! It’s about children being born into God’s Family—just like physical children are born into a physical family. This is the hope of all hopes—if only men would believe!
Do you deeply believe? Do you get it?
In these difficult times, we need to deepen and enhance this marvelous hope. We must work hard to do so. If we do, no trial will stop us. That hope will impact the individual contribution that each one of us makes to God’s Work! It will feed our zeal and enthusiasm.
How quickly could we grow and develop spiritually if we just got ourselves out of the way and let God fill us with His mind, His power, His hope? Considering what God is offering us, is there any room for arrogance or pride, or rebellion against God’s government? Is there any reason we can’t humble ourselves and become as little children?
We need the overview Peter had. If you understand what he was saying, “The Incredible Human Potential” seems like an inadequate title for that book!
The Origin of Prophecy
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). Do you recognize that any prophecy that comes into this Church is based on God’s Word? It doesn’t come from human beings. The rsv reads, “… no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.”
“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy [Spirit]” (verse 21). God’s revealed word doesn’t come from men. The word prophet in the Old Testament means “an interpreter of God.” In other words, God revealed Himself to these men, and they taught what He revealed! They would have been powerless without the Holy Spirit moving them. They were moved by the Holy Spirit. This is how God speaks to mankind. God gives each person on Earth the responsibility to know when men are moved by the Holy Spirit.
This is how we receive revelation today as well: God puts revelation into His Church. That is how He speaks to us and the world today. That is how the living God speaks. Of course, He speaks through a man—but it is God’s message!
Mr. Armstrong said that 90 percent of Bible prophecy is for our time today. God must reveal that prophecy for it to be worth anything!
Of course, the revelation He gives today is all based on Scripture, which is not subject to private interpretation. It cannot come by the will of man.
We must see the origin of that prophecy. It comes not from here on Earth, but from the throne of God in the third heaven! If you have prophecy based on God’s Word, that is where it came from!
God has revealed more prophecy faster to His very elect during the Laodicean era than perhaps any period in the Church’s history. There is a practical reason why: Satan has been cast down and prophecies are being fulfilled both within the Church and on the world scene at a phenomenal rate. A number of scriptures indicate that God would reveal much during this last hour in human civilization. God is revealing as quickly as events are unfolding. After all, most of these events were prophesied.
We are living in a time of “no more delay” (Revelation 10:6; rsv). Events and prophecy have accelerated as never before.
Mr. Armstrong worked to teach us where the Church’s prophecy originates. Ninety-five percent of God’s people never got it—or if they did, they also lost it.
If the United States president were in town to speak, many people would go to hear him simply because of the office he holds. God has a spiritual office, occupied by a man, through which He gives revelation. We should want to hear what God says! What men say—apart from God—has little or no value.
Notice how the Apostle Paul came to know God’s truth: “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery …” (Ephesians 3:3). That is the same way God taught the mystery to us, through Mr. Armstrong.
Paul continued, “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (verse 5). Paul mentioned that the truth would be revealed to apostles and prophets. That is how God speaks to His collective body. Paul is not talking about the Old Testament, but New Testament times!
Can you discern when God is speaking? If not, expect to be deceived.
God gives revelation to His Church only through apostles and prophets. People can denigrate me personally; they could make a list of all my faults and I would probably agree with a lot of what they said. Every leader in the Bible had flaws. But none of that means anything as long as God is using somebody!
People will look for anything they can find to demonize us. We must be clear about what we believe in order to stand up to the trials that await us. God says He won’t test us beyond what we can stand, but you can be sure that our immediate future will be intensely challenging.
The leaders in God’s Church are imperfect. The important question is, are they striving to overcome? We are not arguing that we don’t have flaws—but we do say that we are walking in the way of truth.
Of course that doesn’t mean we never stumble. King David committed some serious sins—but he is still going to be my boss in the future, and yours!
This is how God works. He uses men. His truth flows down from heaven, through a man, to the ministry and God’s people. God does everything decently and in an orderly fashion (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40). To reject that system is to deny God’s rulership over His Church!
God speaks to His Church! He speaks to the group that fulfills His commission. How privileged we are to hear Him and to do His Work.
The first chapter of this second epistle contains the heart of Peter’s hopeful message. It is an inspiring and important introduction to the second chapter of this epistle. This second chapter is a scathing warning to the Church of God. That warning, like everything else in these epistles, is primarily for our day.