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2 Peter 1:16 Study Archive

For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.


Second Peter 1:16

“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

Which coming/parousia does “Peter” mean?

1) He refers to the First Advent
2) He refers to the Transfiguration
3) He refers to His coming the “Second time” in AD70
4) He refers to His coming the “Second time” in our future

“nor is the word (parousia) , used of any other coming of Christ, and this will be with power; and it designs his more near coming to take vengeance on the Jewish nation, and deliver his people from the afflictions and persecution they laboured under, and which was with great power; see (Matthew 14:3,30) (Mark 9:1) , or more remote, namely, at the last day” – John Gill

 JamiesonFaussett and Brown
“Power–the opposite of “fables”; compare the contrast of “word” and “power,” 1 Corinthians 4:20. A specimen of His power was given at the Transfiguration also of His “coming” again, and its attendant glory. The Greek for “coming” is always used of His second advent. A refutation of the scoffers (2 Peter 3:4): I, James and John, saw with our own eyes a mysterious sample of His coming glory.” (Critical Commentary, II Peter 1)

Matthew Henry
1. The preaching of the gospel is a making known the power of Christ, that he is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by him. He is the mighty God, and therefore can save from both the guilt and the filth of sin. 2. The coming of Christ also is make known by the preaching of the gospel. He who was promised immediately after the fall of man, as in the fulness of time to be born of a woman, has now come in the flesh; and whosoever denies this is an antichrist (1 Jn. 4:3), he is actuated and influenced by the spirit of anti-christ; but those who are the true apostles and ministers of Christ, and are directed and guided by the Spirit of Christ, evidence that Christ has come according to the promise which all the Old-Testament believers died in the faith of, Heb. 11:39. Christ has come in the flesh. Inasmuch as those whom he undertakes to save are partakers of flesh and blood, he himself also took part of the same, that he might suffer in their nature and stead, and thereby make an atonement. This coming of Christ the gospel is very plain and circumstantial in setting forth; but there is a second coming, which it likewise mentions, which the ministers of the gospel ought also to make known, when he shall come in the glory of his Father with all his holy angels, for he is appointed to be Judge both of quick and dead. He will come to judge the world in righteousness by the everlasting gospel, and call us all to give account of all things done in the body, whether good or evil. 3. And though this gospel of Christ has been blasphemously called a fable by one of those wretches who call themselves the successors of St. Peter, yet our apostle proves that it is of the greatest certainty and reality, inasmuch as during our blessed Saviour’s abode here on earth, when he took on him the form of a servant and was found in fashion as a man, he sometimes manifested himself to be God, and particularly to our apostle and the two sons of Zebedee, who were eye-witnesses of his divine majesty, when he was transfigured before them, and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light, exceedingly white, as snow, so as no fuller on earth can whiten them.”

B.W. Johnson
“29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days.
 The first question, When shall these things be? has now been answered. Here begins the answer to the second, concerning the coming of the Lord. For other passages on the second coming, see 1 Thess. 2:193:134:155:232 Thess. 2:1891 Cor. 15:23Jas. 5:72 Peter 1:163:121 John 2:28. “Immediately” after the destruction of Jerusalem (the tribulation) the series of events begins that leads to the coming of Christ. “

John Wesley
“These things are worthy to be always had in remembrance For they are not cunningly devised fables – Like those common among the heathens. While we made known to you the power and coming – That is, the powerful coming of Christ in glory. But if what they advanced of Christ was not true, if it was of their own invention, then to impose such a lie on the world as it was, in the very nature of things, above all human power to defend, and to do this at the expense of life and all things only to enrage the whole world, Jews and gentiles, against them, was no cunning, but was the greatest folly that men could have been guilty of. But were eyewitnesses of his majesty – At his transfiguration, which was a specimen of his glory at the last day.” (in loc.)

John Gill (1809)
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables
Such as Jewish fables, cautioned against (Titus 1:14) which their traditionary and oral law, their Talmud, and other writings, mention; as concerning the temporal kingdom of the Messiah, the sumptuous feast, and carnal pleasures and entertainments, of that state, with many other things; some of which indeed are not very cunningly put together, but weak enough: or Gentile fables concerning the theogony and exploits of their deities; and which may be meant by fables and endless genealogies in (1 Timothy 1:4) , and especially reference may be had to the metamorphoses of their gods, and their fables relating to them, devised by Ovid, and others, since the apostle is about to speak of the metamorphosis, or transfiguration of Christ; and also other fables with which their poets and histories abound; and likewise the prophecies of the Sibyls, and the oracles at Delphos, and elsewhere: or the fabulous accounts of the followers of Simon Magus concerning God, angels, the creation of the world, and the several Aeones; or the more artful composures of the false teachers, set off with all the cunning, sophistry, wit, and eloquence they were masters of. Now in order to set forth the nature, excellency, and certainty of the doctrine the apostle taught, especially that part of it which respected the coming of Christ; and to show that it was worth his while to put them in mind of it, and theirs to remember it; he observes, that he and his fellow apostles did not proceed in their account of it on such a foundation, but upon an evidence which they had received, both with their eyes and ears, and also on a word of prophecy surer than that:

when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus
not his first coming, though that, and the benefits arising from it, were the subject of their ministry; and that was attended with divine power, which appeared in the incarnation of Christ itself, which was owing to the power of the Highest; and was seen in his doctrine and ministry, which were with great authority; and in the miracles which he wrought, which proved him to have power equal with God, his Father; and in the work of redemption, which he came about and finished; in doing which he made an end of sin, and saved his people from it, redeemed them from the curse of the law, overcame the world, destroyed Satan, and abolished death; and especially in his resurrection from the dead, when he was declared to be the Son of God with power: but notwithstanding his first coming was in great humility, in much meanness and imbecility, he grew up as a tender plant, and was encompassed with infirmities, and at last was crucified through weakness. This therefore was to be understood of an after coming of his, which the apostle had wrote of, and made known in his former epistle, (1 Peter 1:7,13) (4:5) and which he puts them in mind of in this, (2 Peter 3:1-4,10,12,13) , nor is the word (parousia) , used of any other coming of Christ, and this will be with power; and it designs his more near coming to take vengeance on the Jewish nation, and deliver his people from the afflictions and persecution they laboured under, and which was with great power; see (Matthew 14:3,30) (Mark 9:1) , or more remote, namely, at the last day, when there will be a great display of power in raising the dead, gathering all nations before him, separating them one from another, passing the final sentence on each, and executing the same in the utter destruction of the wicked, and the complete glorification of the saints

But were eyewitnesses of his majesty;
meaning, not of the glory of his divine nature by faith, and with the eyes of their understanding, while others only considered him as a mere man; nor of the miracles he wrought, in which there was a display of his glory and majesty, of all which the apostles were eyewitnesses; but of that glory and greatness which were upon him, when he was transfigured on the mount before them; then his face was as the sun, and such a glory on his whole body, that it darted through his clothes, and made them glitter like light, and as white as snow, and so as no fuller on earth could whiten them; at which time also Moses and Elijah appeared in glorious forms: and now this was a prelude and pledge of his power and coming, of his kingdom coming with power, and of his coming in his own, and his Father’s glory, and in the glory of the holy angels. (Exposition of the Bible, II Peter Chapter 1)

Tommy Ice
The transfiguration made such an impression upon John and Peter that both provided a description of the glorified Christ in later writings (Rev. 1:12-202 Pet. 1:16-21).  Both describe the risen and glorified Christ in relation to His second advent (Rev. 1:72 Pet. 1:16).  No one doubts that Peter has in mind the transfiguration in 2 Peter 1:16-18.  I believe that Peter restates in his final epistle the same pattern established by our Lord in the passages we have been discussing above (Mt. 16:28Mk. 9:1Lk. 9:27).  When encouraging believers to remain faithful to the faith (2 Pet. 1:12ff), Peter, like our Lord, reminds his readers of “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:16).  Peter follows Jesus’ pattern of supporting the future Second Advent by citing the past transfiguration (2 Pet. 1:16-18).  In this way, Peter’s second epistle supports the futurist understanding of Matthew 16:28, etc.”

Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge
coming Malachi 3:24:5 Matthew 16:2824:3,27 1 Corinthians 1:7Jude 1:14Revelation 1:7 ” (in loc.)

Robertson’s Word Pictures
“The power and coming
 (thn dunamin kai parousian). These words can refer (Chase) to the Incarnation, just as is true of epipaneia in 2 Timothy 1:10 (second coming in 1 Timothy 6:14), and is true of parousia (2 Corinthians 7:6 of Titus). But elsewhere in the N.T. parousia (technical term in the papyri for the coming of a king or other high dignitary), when used of Christ, refers to his second coming (2 Peter 3:4,12). “

  • 1 Corinthians 15:23: But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:19: For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at hiscoming?
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:13: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:15:  ..we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23: And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:1: Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2: That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3: Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:8: And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
  • James 5:7: Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8: Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
  • 2 Peter 1:16: 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.
  • 2 Peter 3:4: And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
  • 1 John 2:28: And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.