The Prophetic Testimony

“And we have the prophetic Word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” —II Peter 1:19, RSV

THE long reign of sin, suffering, and death is likened in the Bible to a nighttime, a time of darkness. However, the Bible assures us that this long period of darkness will not last forever, that there will eventually, and in God’s due time, come a glad new day of peace and happiness for mankind. Psalm 30:5 reads, “His [God’s] anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Not only has the sighing and crying of the world been a part of the nocturnal experiences of the human race, but through all this sorrow there has been little true knowledge of the Creator and of his loving design for the ultimate release of mankind from sin and death, and this lack of understanding has contributed to the “darkness” of human experience. The various concepts of God which are held in the heathen world, and to a large extent in the professed Christian world, have tended to instill fear into the hearts of the people, and this has increased the unhappiness of their existence.

God’s “anger” (Ps. 30:5) is manifested in the sentence of death which came upon man because of his transgression of divine law. This anger is contrasted with God’s favor which, in his own due time, will bring joy and life to the people. The Scriptures reveal that this “favor” was manifested by the Creator’s gift of his beloved Son to be the Redeemer and Savior of the world from sin and death, and that this time of restoration to life provided by the ransom will be ushered in by the long-promised kingdom of Messiah.

One of the beautiful symbols denoting the blessings of the kingdom is found in Malachi 4:2, where Jesus in the lifegiving authority and power of his kingdom is described as “the Sun of Righteousness” which arises with “healing in his wings.” It will be this glorious “Sun of Righteousness” which will dispel the noxious vapors of darkness and suffering which have plagued the human race so long. This will be in that new day of blessings mentioned by David in the assurance that “joy cometh in the morning.”

Our text (II Pet. 1:19) is found in a very interesting setting. In verse 11 of this chapter Peter speaks of the faithful followers of the Master as having an abundant entrance “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This is the messianic kingdom of promise, and Peter is reminding us that the faithful followers of the Master will, in the “first resurrection,” enter into that kingdom to live and reign with Christ.

And then, in verses 16 to 18 Peter says, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming [Greek, presence] of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor 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.”

The reference here is to the transfiguration vision which is recorded in Matthew 17:1-9. Just previous to this miraculous vision Jesus had said to his disciples, “There be some standing here which shall not taste death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Matt. 16:28) It was evidently in the transfiguration vision that Peter, James, and John experienced the fulfillment of his promise. They did not see Jesus in his actual kingdom, but they did see a vision portraying the glory of the messianic kingdom, and because of what they saw Peter was prompted to say, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming [presence] of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”


It is clear that what Peter saw in the transfiguration vision had assured him that Jesus truly was the Messiah, and that in due time the glory and majesty of his kingdom which they had seen in vision would become a reality. Probably one of the elements of the vision which had helped to convince Peter of this was the appearance of Moses and Elijah. The Jews sent priests and Levites to John the Baptist to find out who he claimed to be. He said, “I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias [Elijah]? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.—John 1:19-21

Moses tells us of a promise the Lord made to him concerning “that prophet.” We quote, “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” (Deut. 18:18,19) To the devout Jews who knew of the promises of God this prophecy took on a very important meaning, for in addition to the Messiah himself, they looked for the coming of “that prophet,” (though they are one and the same) hence the inquiry of John the Baptist as to whether or not he was this great one.

Then, in Malachi 4:5,6 we have a promise of the coming of an Elijah: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Because of this prophecy the Jews also looked for the coming of “Elijah,” so John the Baptist was also asked concerning him, “Art thou Elias [Elijah]?”

So it is that in the great array of messianic promises and prophecies of the Old Testament three important figures stand out—the Messiah, one like unto Moses, as “that prophet,” and “Elijah.” No careful student of the prophecies could be fully assured that Jesus truly was the Messiah if “that prophet” and “Elijah” did not in some way enter into his kingdom plans, so in the transfiguration vision of the kingdom Peter, James, and John saw that in addition to the Messiah these other two figures had a part, for they appeared with Jesus. Thus the entire prophetic testimony concerning the Creator’s kingdom plan as it centered in Christ was accounted for in that wondrous vision of the kingdom. They had not followed “cunningly devised fables.”

A Lawgiver

Moses was Israel’s lawgiver, and this will be one of the functions of the Messiah throughout the age of his kingdom. This is explained in the prophecy concerning “that prophet.” In the New Testament the Apostle Peter quotes the prophecy and shows that its fulfillment will come through Christ following his second advent. The quotation is in Peter’s sermon concerning “the times of restitution of all things,” which, he declares, had been “spoken by the mouth of all his [God’s] holy prophets since the world began.”—Acts 3:19-23

After making this sweeping statement concerning God’s promises of restitution, the first proof text he quotes is the prophecy of Moses concerning “that prophet.” And it is interesting to note the full implications of that wonderful prophecy: “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren.” This promise, then, applied to the Israelites of Moses’ day to whom it was addressed, and shows also that the great “Prophet” of promise would be raised up from a later generation, which was true of Jesus.

This denotes that in order for the Israelites of Moses’ day to receive the fulfillment of this promise it will be necessary for them to be raised from the dead. Peter knew that the prophetic testimony concerning “restitution” included an awakening of the dead, for he would know of that wonderful promise, “The ransomed of the Lord shall return with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”—Isa. 35:10

This is no assurance of universal salvation for all mankind, not even for the Israelites, for after they are awakened from the sleep of death they will need to obey that Prophet, otherwise they will be destroyed from among the people. This point is covered in the original prophecy concerning that Prophet by the expression, “I will require it of him.”—Deut. 18:19

The Elijah Type

The Prophet Elijah was the one used so mightily to restore the worship of the true God in Israel. We all recall the courageous manner in which he challenged the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel. (I Kings 18:25-40) This agrees with the prophecy concerning the antitypical Elijah, of whom it was foretold that he would turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers—in other words, a work of reformation.

To a small degree, John the Baptist conducted a work of reformation in Israel by his ministry of repentance. Throughout the Gospel Age the faithful followers of the Master, in proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom, have called upon the people to repent. (Acts 17:30) But both these efforts have been largely ineffective so far as the vast majority of the people are concerned, and the full work of reformation, and of turning the people to the worship of the true God remains to be accomplished during the messianic kingdom reign. While there will be appropriate agencies in that kingdom to carry on this work, it will be actually centered in Christ, for he is that true Light which eventually enlightens every man that cometh into the world.

Importance of Prophecy

By means of the transfiguration vision God’s Word of prophecy had been confirmed and, as Peter indicates, the Lord’s people do well to take heed unto it, not for a little while, but until “the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” Without doubt the faithful followers of the Master throughout the age have observed this wise counsel. The prophecies had revealed the great falling away from the faith which occurred beginning shortly after the death of the apostles. They foretold the rise and the fall of the great antichrist system, and many of the details which would be involved.

The prophecies told of the signs which would accompany the Master’s second presence, and that he would be the “Chief Reaper” in a great “harvest” which would occur at the end of the age, and in the beginning years of his presence. The prophecies foretold that in his presence his long-promised kingdom would be established, and that this would involve the bringing forth of his faithful followers from the sleep of death in what the Bible describes as “the first resurrection,” and that these would reign with Christ a thousand years.—Rev. 20:4,6

These are referred to in the Scriptures as “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” They will share with Christ in the work of “that prophet,” and in a global-wide work of filling the earth with the true knowledge of God, and restoring a united worshiping of the great Creator. (Zeph. 3:9) Thus will the darkness which has enshrouded the human race for now more than six thousand years—the ignorance of the true God, and the sorrow and sighing of a dying race—be removed.

The Day Dawn

This will be the glorious new day of the prophecies, the one referred to by David when he said that “joy cometh in the morning.” (Ps. 30:5) This day dawns much as does a literal day. Peter admonishes us that we should give heed to the sure Word of prophecy until “the day dawns and the morning star rises” in our hearts. Here the reference is to the period just before the sun rises. It is then that the “Morning Star” rises. Jesus is this Morning Star. He testified, “I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”—Rev. 22:16

While the morning star is shining it is still measurably dark, and this is particularly true with respect to this prophetic day mentioned in our text. In this case the world in general does not even recognize the presence of the “Star” that betokens the approach of a new day. The Lord’s own people do not see him literally, but by the eye of faith and a discernment of the prophetic signs which were to indicate his presence. Peter puts it beautifully when he says that he rises in our hearts; that is, we become convinced that he is here.

Webster’s Dictionary defines dawn as “to begin to grow light in the morning.” In the prophetic day of our text the world does not even note the first gray streaks of dawn, for it is a time fraught with trouble, and it seems to those uninstructed by the sure Word of prophecy as though the darkness is more dense than it has ever been before; and indeed, in many respects this is true.

However, as we see in this a further fulfillment of the sure Word of prophecy which foretold that Satan’s social order must be destroyed in a “time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21,22) So it is, as foretold by the Prophet Isaiah, that while “the morning cometh” there is “also the night.” The Swedish translation reads that while the morning cometh “it is still dark.” We are now in that dark period of human experience, and through the sure Word of prophecy we are privileged to discern the “Morning Star” and thus are assured that the present travail of sorrow upon mankind is the harbinger of that glorious new day of blessing.

The Scriptures are concise in their use of symbolisms. The “Morning Star” symbolism is most revealing in connection with the present time of human experience, but the reality of the full burst of day is illustrated by the actual rising of the sun. In a text already quoted we are told of that glorious time when the “Sun of Righteousness” shall arise “with healing in his wings.” (Mal. 4:2) So we might say that now we are in the “Morning Star” period of the Master’s presence, this “Star” having risen in our hearts. This means that the rising of the “Sun” is near, when the glorious rays of healing will begin that period of joy in human experience when “all families of the earth” will be blessed.

Blessings of the New Day

As we have noted, Peter referred to the blessings of the new day as “restitution,” and explained that “the times of restitution” had been foretold by all God’s holy prophets. This testimony of the prophets is also part of the sure Word of Prophecy to which we do well to take heed, for just as the present dark time of trouble came upon mankind in fulfillment of what the Lord had foretold in his Word, so likewise the blessings of the new day are sure to come in God’s own due time.

And how the world of mankind will then rejoice! There will come global-wide and lasting peace. Blind eyes will be opened, and deaf ears will be unstopped. “The lame man shall leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing.” (Isa. 35; Micah 4:1-4) Death will be destroyed, and tears will be wiped from all faces. (Isa. 25:8,9) Eventually, as the day progresses, all the dead will be awakened and given an opportunity, through obedience, to be restored to perfection—the perfection which Adam lost when he transgressed divine law.

The soothing, life-giving powers of the “Sun of Righteousness” will be felt upon every continent of earth, and in the isles of the sea. Its light and life-giving power will be felt by the whole suffering world of mankind. The enlightening rays of that “Sun” will fill the earth with a knowledge of the glory of God. This means that all “doctrines of devils,” all nocturnal hallucinations and superstitions, all human creeds and dogmas, all the precepts of men by which people are taught to fear God rather than love him, are to be swept away, and replaced by a true knowledge of God and of his righteous laws.—Isa. 11:9

With a knowledge of the glory of God filling the earth, there will come also the clearing out of all the myriad citadels of sin, vice, and crime. As the glorious “Sun of Righteousness” forces its enlightening and healing rays into the various dens of iniquity, the satanic darkness of these rendezvous of evil will give place to the glorious enlightenment of the new day. There will not be a nook or corner of the earth where the light from that glorious “Sun” will not penetrate. Truly the Word of prophecy reveals a glorious new day for the human race!

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |