Coming in His Kingdom
Arlen L. Chitwood
Christ’s Greatest Regal Magnificence
For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.
Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,
knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.
Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.
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 [Greek: superlative; lit., “His greatest (regal) magnificence”].
For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came 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 1:12-18)
Peter wrote his second epistle about 60 A.D., which would have been almost three decades beyond the events on the mountain, seen in Matthew 17:1-5. And these events had been of such a nature that after all these years they were still uppermost in his mind.
At the end of instructions and exhortation pertaining to present Christian living with a view to that which lies out ahead (vv. 1-9), Peter called attention to the Christians’ “call and election” (v. 10). And, within context, a Christian’s “call and election” have to do with “exceedingly great and precious promises,” to be realized in the coming “kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (vv. 4, 11), which Peter goes on to deal with through that which he, James, and John had seen when they were with Christ “on the holy mountain” (vv. 16-18).
“Call and Election”
Individuals are to give diligence to make their “call and election sure.” The word “election” could be better translated called out. The words translated “call” and “election” in verse ten are from the same root forms as the cognate words in the Greek text translated “called” and “chosen” in Matthew 22:14, which should literally be translated, “For many are called, but few are called out.”
(Both, an individual’s calling and out-calling, have to do with the same thing. His calling can’t pertain to the Christian’s presently possessed salvation, for he cannot make that anymore “sure” than it already exists. Salvation by grace through faith has already been made “sure,” based on Christ’s finished work at Calvary.
An individual has been saved for a purpose; and that “purpose” would equate to his calling, just as “realizing that purpose” would equate to his out-calling. Both have to do with a future salvation, the salvation of the soul; and both have to do with Christians one day being called out of the called and realizing positions as co-heirs with Christ in His kingdom.)
The word “diligent” in verse ten is from the same word translated “diligence” in verse five. With the same intensity that a person is to abundantly supply in his faith virtue . . ., he is to make his calling and out-calling “sure.” The word “sure” is the translation of a word that means “certain,” “firm,” “secure.” And to make his calling and out-calling “sure,” a Christian would have to be knowledgeable (v. 8, Greek: epignosis, “mature knowledge) concerning that which is in view.
There can be no such thing as following biblical guidelines surrounding the purpose for one’s salvation and, at the same time, ignoring one’s calling and out-calling. The entire concept widely promulgated in Christian circles today that states or teaches that the one really important thing is just to be saved has no basis in Scripture whatsoever. Scripture places the emphasis on the purpose for one’s salvation. It is man who has turned this around and placed the emphasis back on salvation itself.
The entire purpose for the present dispensation is to procure a bride for God’s Son, with a view to the coming age when the Son will reign over the earth with His consort queen (procured during the present dispensation).
God has set aside an entire dispensation lasting 2,000 years for this purpose. He sent His Spirit into the world at the beginning of the dispensation with specific instructions (seen in the type in Genesis 24:3-9). And the work of the Spirit throughout the dispensation, though it includes breathing life into those who have no life (salvation of the unsaved), is primarily concerned with procuring a bride for God’s Son. And the bride is to be taken from the saved, not from the unsaved (seen in the type in Genesis 24 by and through the specific instructions that Abraham gave his servant and that which the servant did once he was in Mesopotamia — went to the city where Abraham’s kindred resided, and went to Abraham’s kindred in that city [vv. 3-27]).
The whole of the matter surrounding the reason for the Spirit being sent into the world at the beginning of this dispensation has to do with one’s calling and out-calling. And Christians are to be knowledgeable concerning God’s plans and purposes for the present dispensation, making their calling and out-calling “sure.”
“On the Holy Mountain”
Peter, following his exhortation to Christians pertaining to making their calling and out-calling sure (v. 10), with a view to an abundant entrance into the kingdom (v. 11), then states to those to whom he is writing to “not be negligent to remind you always of these things.” And Peter was going to do this even though these Christians were already “established in the present truth” (vv. 12ff).
Peter knew that these Christians already possessed a firm foundation (literal understanding of the Greek text) in the things that he was proclaiming (v. 12b). But that was of no moment to Peter. In time past he had seen something that they had not seen; he had witnessed something that they had not witnessed. He knew something from firsthand experience — the importance of keeping the whole overall teaching surrounding that awaiting Christians at the time of Christ’s return before them at all times.
Peter went on to state that he, along with others (James and John), had seen, with their own eyes, that of which he spoke. He had been on the mountain with James and John years earlier and had seen “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” He had seen, with his own eyes, the Son of Man in “His majesty (‘His greatest [regal] magnificence’ [v. 16]).
And God announced at this time,
This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (v. 17)
“Sonship” implies rulership. Only “Sons” can rule in God’s kingdom. That’s the way it has always been, and that’s the way it will always remain.
This announcement by God at this time — at the time when Peter saw the Son of Man coming in His kingdom — is simply an announcement stating which God recognized as the One possessing the right to hold the earth’s scepter.
In this respect, “Satan,” the incumbent ruler, was/is a rejected son of God (“a son of God” because of creation, as are all angels). Christ though, at the time Satan tested Him for forty days and nights (Matthew 4:1-11), showed that He was the One possessing the right to hold the scepter, in Satan’s stead. Christ showed that He, as God’s Son, was fully qualified to take the scepter as the second Man, the last Adam (note Satan’s repeated statement, “If You are the Son of God . . . .” [vv. 3, 6])
Where Adam had failed, Christ could not fail. And that which Adam had lost in the fall Christ would redeem [which included both man and the forfeited domain].
(The redemptive terms for man are set forth early in Genesis — death and shed blood — pointing to Christ’s finished work at Calvary.
The redemptive terms for the forfeited domain [the earth] though are set forth in Revelation 5:1ff, a passage drawing principally from two Old Testament types that deal with the subject [Ruth 4:1ff; Jeremiah 32:1ff].
For information on the preceding, refer to the author’s books, Salvation by Grace through Faith and The Time of the End, Chapters 8, 9).
Again, relative to sonship and rulership, note God’s statement concerning Christ following His baptism, immediately before being tested by Satan. It is exactly the same as His statement in Matthew 17:5: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Then note Peter’s statement in Matthew 16, responding to Christ’s question, concerning Christ’s identity:
You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. (v. 16)
It would not have been possible for Peter to have responded in a more accurate and complete manner. This is why Jesus, in response, said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (v. 17). Peter had identified Christ by saying, in effect, “You are the One who will rule and reign, the Son whom God recognizes to possess this right.”
It was shortly after the preceding though that Peter was chastised by the Lord because of something that he stated in a completely opposite respect, which came from below, not from above.
The Lord, following the announcement concerning building His Church (Matthew 16:18, 19) began revealing to the disciples approaching events pertaining to His death, burial, and resurrection. Peter, only a short time before, having made the statement concerning Christ’s Sonship and reign, couldn’t understand this at all. And, as a result, Peter took the Lord aside and “began to rebuke Him” (vv. 20- 22).
Jesus, in response, associating Peter directly with Satan, said to him: “Get behind Me [i.e., ‘get out of my sight’], Satan . . .” (v. 23, cf. Luke 22:31, 54-62). Peter’s actions shortly before this had emanated from above, from God; now his actions emanated from below, from Satan.
(In reality, these are the only two spheres from which a person’s actions can emanate. A person, in his actions, can either be brought forth “from above” or “from below.” There is no middle ground [Luke 11:23].)
Six days later though, the Lord allowed Peter, along with James and John, to have an experience pertaining to his confession concerning Christ’s identity, which he would never be able to get away from or forget. And that is the experience recorded in Matthew 17:1-5.
The Lord allowed Peter to see something that would change his outlook on life completely. The Lord allowed Peter to see that toward which all of Scripture moves — “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
And almost three decades later, having seen Christ in “His majesty (‘His greatest [regal] magnificence’), the scene had so impacted Peter that he could never get away from it. This is the one event in his life that he referenced in order to reveal why he was going to keep on hammering away at teachings surrounding Christ’s coming reign, even though the people whom he addressed were already well-grounded in these truths.
Because of the importance of that which Peter knew — Christians keeping their eyes fixed on that which he had personally witnessed — he was going to keep on proclaiming things pertaining to Christ’s coming kingdom to the point that they could never forget it. He was going to proclaim this message to the point that even after he was dead and gone they still would never get away from it.