“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,” (2 Peter 1:19).
What was the Apostle Peter’s attitude toward what is commonly referred to as the Old Testament? Peter referred to the OT as the prophetic word. Prophetic (προφητικός; prophetikos) literally means “of the prophets.” It refers to the divinely inspired tetachings and writings of the Old Testament prophets.
As Peter remembered the unforgettable experience of Jesus’ transfiguration, the Living and Eternal Word, he also recalled another form of God’s Word: the written Word. It was the revelation by God through the prophets. In fact, God’s voice on the mountain made the word of the prophets … more certain or more fully confirmed (bebaioteron; cf. bebaian, v. 10). The transfiguration pictured the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophets. Both the Old Testament, and the Transfiguration, directs our attention to Jesus’ kingdom on earth. However, of theses two sources of revelation, the written Word of God takes preference over experience.
Believers in Peter’s day, as well as our own, would do well to pay attention (προσέχω; prosecho) to these prophetic words. They are symbolically described as a lamp shinning in a dark place. The darkness of this fallen world prevents sinners from seeing the truth until God causes the light to shine. The light is the word of God (cf. Ps. 119:105; John 17:17).
One commentator explains that, “The Old Testament text describes the coming day of the Lord in terms of a sunrise (Malachi 4:2) because God would come like the sun (cf. Psalm 84:11). The point here seems to be that the morning star (Venus) heralds the advent of dawn; a new age was about to dawn (cf. 2 Peter 1:11).”
However, the historical and prophetical reality of Jesus’ incarnation and ultimate second coming is to be coupled with this same morning star being within the human heart. The word “heart” (καρδία; kardia) refers to the mind, emotions and will of the believer. In other words, the inner self or soul of the individual.
Dr. John MacArthur writes that, “The “prophetic word” refers not just to the OT major and minor prophets, but to the entire OT. Of course, all of the OT was written by “prophets” in the truest sense, since they spoke and wrote God’s word, which was the task of a prophet, and they looked forward, in some sense, to the coming Messiah (cf. Luke 24:27). The phrase “more fully confirmed” could indicate that the eyewitness account of Christ’s majesty at the transfiguration confirmed the Scriptures. However, the Greek word order is crucial in that it does not say that. It says, “And we have more sure the prophetic word.” That original arrangement of the sentence supports the interpretation that Peter is ranking Scripture over experience. The prophetic word (Scripture) is more complete, more permanent, and more authoritative than the experience of anyone. More specifically, the word of God is a more reliable verification of the teachings about the person, atonement, and second coming of Christ than even the genuine first-hand experiences of the apostles themselves.”
The Old Testament is not to be discarded as some pastors and theologians suggest. May we read the Old Testament with a greater appreciation as to its content and comprehensiveness regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Soli deo Gloria!