2 Kefa Jewish New Testament and comment David H. Stern
1. From: Shim‘on Kefa, a slave and emissary of Yeshua the Messiah
To: Those who, through the righteousness of our God and of our Deliverer Yeshua the Messiah, have been given the same kind of trust as ours:
Shim'on bar-Yochanan and Kefa are names for Peter the emissary (apostle). See Mt 4:18, 10:2-4, 16:17-18&NN; Yn 1:42&N; 1 Ke 1:1N. To: Those who... have been given the same kind of trust as ours, namely, Messianic Gentiles (Kefa's first letter was written to Messianic Jews, 1 Ke 1: l&N). "Ours," in the plural, refers to Messianic Jews in general (see, e.g., Ep 1:11-14&N, 2:3N). Messianic Gentiles are considered righteous by God because of their trust, which is the same as that of Messianic Jews (see references in Ro 1:16N). Kefa had made this discovery earlier (Ac 10:1-11:18&NN) and made it part of his life (Ac 15:7-11&NN), even though on at least one occasion he needed reminding about it (Ga 2:11-21&NN).
The righteousness of our God consists in his forbearance in regard to sins committed before Yeshua came, and his making people righteous on the ground of Yeshua's faithfulness to God when dying on behalf of sinners (see Ro 3:25-26&NN). The righteousness of our Deliverer Yeshua the Messiah is the sinlessness which made his dying on behalf of sinners a genuine atonement. As Kefa puts it elsewhere, "The Messiah himself died for sins, once and for all, a righteous person on behalf of unrighteous people, so that he might bring you to God" (1 Ke 3:18; see also I Ke 2:21-24, Ro 8:3,MJ 4:15).
2. May grace and shalom be yours in full measure, as you come to a full knowledge of God and Yeshua our Lord.
3. God’s power has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through our knowing the One who called us to his own glory and goodness.
4. By these he has given us valuable and superlatively great promises, so that through them you might come to share in God’s nature and escape the corruption which evil desires have brought into the world.
5. For this very reason, try your hardest to furnish your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge,
6. knowledge with self-control, self-control with perseverance, perseverance with godliness,
7. godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
8. For if you have these qualities in abundance, they keep you from being barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.
9. Indeed, whoever lacks them is blind, so shortsighted that he forgets that his past sins have been washed away.
10. Therefore, brothers, try even harder to make your being called and chosen a certainty. For if you keep doing this, you will never stumble.
11. Thus you will be generously supplied with everything you need to enter the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah.
Try your hardest and try even harder to add these qualities to your faith. Faith saves, but not if so-called "believers'" are merely passive spectators of their salvation, for then they are barren and unfruitful (Ya 2:14-26&NN), and fail to make their being called and chosen a certainty. Instead, they deceive themselves into thinking they are saved when they are not (see MJ 6:4-6&N). The only way to be certain one will enter the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Deliverer Yeshua the Messiah, is by letting God act through you as you develop the qualities named in vv. 5-7. For similar chains of qualities see Ro 5:2-4.8:29-30, and in the Apocrypha, Wisdom of Solomon 6:17-20.
12. For this reason, I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you already have.
13. And I consider it right to keep stirring you up with reminders, as long as I am in the tent of this body.
14. I know that I will soon lay aside this tent of mine, as our Lord Yeshua the Messiah has made clear to me.
15. And I will do my best to see that after my exodus, you will be able to remember these things at all times.
As our Lord Yeshua the Messiah has made clear to me. Yeshua indicated how Kefa would die at Yn 21:18-19, though without saying when. Here Kefa knows it will be soon. According to tradition, Kefa was crucified upside down, saying he did not deserve to be crucified right side up like his Lord.
Exodus. The Greek word "exodos" ("departure") appears three times in the New Testament, each time, of course, recalling the original Exodus of the Israelites. In this verse the world and heaven are implicitly compared with Egypt and the Promised Land. See Lk 9:31N.
Like Moshe in Deuteronomy 31:24—33:29. Kefa before he is to die makes known his "last will" for God's people.
16. For when we made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, we did not rely on cunningly contrived myths. On the contrary, we saw his majesty with our own eyes.
17. For we were there when he received honor and glory from God the Father; and the voice came to him from the grandeur of the Sh’khinah, saying, “This is my son, whom I love; I am well pleased with him!”
18. We heard this voice come out of heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.
Also like Moshe, Kefa encountered God on a holy mountain. Three of the four Gospel writers report this event, the Transfiguration of Yeshua, when Kefa, Ya'akov and Yochanan saw the majesty of the Messiah made manifest (Mt 17:1-9, Mk 9:2-10, Lk 9:28-36). The words, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased," were also heard when Yeshua was immersed by Yochanan the Immerser (Mt 3:17, Mk 1:11, Lk 3:22); and they allude to Psalm 2:7, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father," itself quoted at Ac 13:33 and at MJ 1:5, 5:5.
Kefa testifies here to his own personal experience with Yeshua the Messiah
1) in order to establish his credentials as a reliable interpreter of prophecy (vv. 19-21&NN), and
2) to contrast the historical veracity of the events of Yeshua's life, death and resurrection with the cunningly contrived myths and "fabricated stories" (2:3) used by the false prophets. The Greek word "sophismenos" ("cunningly contrived"), could be rendered by the English word which it generated, "sophisticated."
On the Sh'khinah, God's glorious presence, see numbered paragraph (3) of MJ 1:2-3N.
19. Yes, we have the prophetic Word made very certain. You will do well to pay attention to it as to a light shining in a dark, murky place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts.
Kefa had the prophetic Word set forth by the writers of the Tanakh concerning God's "valuable and superlatively great promises" (v. 4) made very certain. First, his direct experience with Yeshua and his glory (vv. 16-18) made him confident. And second, since many of the words of the Prophets concerning the Messiah had already been fulfilled at Yeshua's first coming, Kefa could be certain that the rest would be fulfilled at his second coming (this Kefa had known long before; see Ac 3:21). The import of Kefa's having "the prophetic Word made very certain" is that he, not the false teachers of Chapter 2, is the one whose interpretations of prophecy should be trusted.
The Day" refers to Yeshua's second coming (compare Ro 13:12, 1 Ke 2:12), but there is also an underlying hint at the Day of Judgment (3:10, Yd 6). As the Day dawns, then, the Morning Star is Yeshua the Messiah. This seems to be a reference to Numbers 24:17, "There shall come a star out of Jacob," taken in Judaism as pointing to the Messiah (for example, Testament of Levi 17:3, Testament of Judah 24:1-5). Rabbi Akiva acclaimed the leader of the Second Rebellion (132-135 C.E.), Bar-Kosiba, as the Messiah and called him Bar-Kochva, "Son of a Star," in allusion to this verse. In the twelfth century the Ramban (Nachmanides) wrote:
"There shall step forth a star out of Jacob.' Because the Messiah will gather together the dispersed of Israel from all the corners of the earth, Balaam compares him [metaphorically] to a star that passes through the firmament from the ends of heaven, just as it is said about [the Messiah]: 'and behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man,' etc. [Daniel 7:13]." (Commentary on the Torah, translated by С. В. Chavel, Volume IV, p. 283) See also Malachi 3:20(4:2), Mt 2:2&N, Lk 1:78, Rv 22:16.
20. First of all, understand this: no prophecy of Scripture is to be interpreted by an individual on his own;
No prophecy of Scripture (i.e., the Tanakh; but see 3:16&N) is to be interpreted by an individual on his own. Or: "No prophecy of Scripture comes from an individual's own decision" — but this rendering makes v. 20 say the same thing as v. 21 and does not contribute to the ground being laid in vv. 19-21 for the argument against the false prophets of Chapter 2.
A prophecy of Scripture must be interpreted not on the basis of thoughts rooted in a person's old nature, such as those of the false prophets of Chapter 2, but on the basis of what the Holy Spirit makes clear about its meaning, since Yeshua sent the Spirit to guide believers into the truth (Yn 16:13). But since he sent the Holy Spirit to the believers as a community, be cautious of those who offer "the true word" but avoid subjecting their opinions to the scrutiny of other believers. Much false teaching both in Kefa's day and our own arises from people's developing their own idiosyncratic interpretations, supposedly hearing the Holy Spirit, but without examining other views or admitting that their own could be mistaken. Prophets are not to be subjected to eisegesis putting one's own preconceived ideas in), but to exegesis (getting the writer's ideas out). Moreover, the exegete ought not to make interpretation of prophecy a vehicle for self-aggrandizement and self-exaltation, gaining a reputation at the expense of perverting Holy Writ.
21. for never has a prophecy come as a result of human willing — on the contrary, people moved by the Ruach HaKodesh spoke a message from God.
Never has a prophecy come as a result of human willing. This is why prophecy should not be interpreted on the basis of one's own preconceptions, one's own willing and thinking (v. 20). Just as people moved by the Ruach HaKodesh (compare Ac 1:16, MJ 1:1) spoke a message from God, so people moved by the Ruach HaKodesh should interpret the message from God.
General principles concerning the right way to interpret Scripture are set forth here in order to establish the standard against which the false prophets of Chapter 2 may be judged.
- chapter 1
- chapter 2
- chapter 3