By Nathan Jones
Who got a glimpse of the divine majesty of Jesus Christ and so bore witness to His divinity?
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will embark on a study of the Apostle Peter's message in 2 Peter 1:16-21.
Eyewitnesses of His Majesty
Vic Batista: I'm stuck by how in 2 Peter 1:16 the Apostles were eyewitnesses not just of Jesus Christ as a man, but of Christ's majesty as the divine God. Verse 16 reads again: "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty."
Doubting Thomas and the other disciples of Jesus, they were not only eyewitnesses, but some of them were actually able to touch the Lord when they wanted to see if He was for real. We find Peter was one of those who touched the resurrected Christ, for in 1 John 1:1 he says, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life."
Nathan Jones: John the Baptist saw Jesus in His majesty at Jesus' baptism, for God Himself out of the sky right afterwards spoke, "This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Then, at the Transfiguration, Jesus took Peter, James and John up the mountain and there Jesus partially revealed His glory. Moses and Elijah were also there in their glorified bodies. The Apostles were stunned! They didn't know what to say. Peter managed to mumble out something stupid like, "Shall I put some tents up for you guys?" He didn't know what to say because it was all so amazing. Then God's voice boomed out of the sky again the same declaration, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" The three Apostles heard the actual voice of God!
Because the Apostles were eyewitnesses to Christ's majesty, they were 100% sure that Jesus Christ was the real Savior. They were so positive that they died for this belief, because they feared the punishment of God for denying Jesus Christ more than death.
Vic Batista: Being an actual eyewitness is why Peter's testimony is so encouraging to the Christians who were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. These budding churches needed encouragement. And, besides the testimony of Jesus Christ, there is nothing more encouraging than Bible prophecy, especially in the tough times that we are living in today.
Nathan Jones: True, we live in very difficult times. The persecution of Christians is the worst it's ever been, according to the ministries that keep track of martyrs. The 21st Century is going back to the Roman gladiatorial times in its death toll. Christians are dying by the scores every day across the planet. We have seen the persecution of Christians increasing all across the world.
Such horrors committed against Christians can make us get a bleak outlook on life. We begin to doubt Christianity and think we must be on the losing side. We begin to think that God is not powerful enough to defend us. Christians start losing faith.
But, when you study Bible prophecy, then you'll understand that, no, God is biding His time. The reason He's holding back is because He wants all people to come to know Jesus Christ as Savior, or as many as who will accept Him. When that last person finally accepts Jesus, He is ready to Rapture the Church off this earth and up to Heaven before He unleashes His wrath upon the world over seven years.
Vic Batista: That's why we are proclaiming this hope today. There is a lot of suffering and persecution, but God loves His children. There is still some time left for people to come to Jesus as Savior and avoid His wrath. But, that wrath is surely coming. God is a righteous God. He has to punish sin. Those who have not placed their trust in the Lord, who continue to rebel against Him, will be subject to that judgment, according to John 3:36. That judgment is not God's initial intent for humanity, but we bring it on ourselves when we're not covered by the saving work of Jesus Christ.
Nathan Jones: Exactly, God doesn't want any to perish, but all to come to salvation, according to 2 Peter 3:9. Will all come to salvation? Sadly, no. In fact, those who accept salvation will be in the minority. God is allowing these crazy world events to continue on and on and on until every last person who is supposed to get saved in this age gets saved. So, Vic, when you say there is still time to accept Jesus, I don't know when that next person who gets saved will become the last person in this Church Age.
After the Church is gone and we are out of here, when we are raptured up to Heaven, there will be no one left here who is saved. Then some will realize just what they missed, while others fall under a delusion. I pray that many people will become saved after the Rapture, but oh the seven years they will have to endure! Living post-Rapture means enduring 21 judgments where God basically annihilates the planet over that time period. It's not a time anybody should want to be living in.
Even without the Rapture, any of us could die at any moment. I had a buddy of mine whose mother was just cooking dinner and she slipped on some water, fell, hit her head against the counter, and snapped her neck. She died instantly. So, we don't know when we will die.
In the fourth segment of our study of 2 Peter 1:16-21, we'll look at why having the Holy Spirit in one's life bolsters one's faith in God.