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Thesis: I shall critique this letter attributed to Peter, arguing that it is incongruent with the teachings of the rest of the Scriptural canon, and is certainly not the work of the Apostle Peter.
- This epistle begins by introducing the author as Peter, somewhat similarly to the introductory verse of 1st Peter, but then gives us with an ambiguous reference to the alleged divine power of Messiah in verse 3 “According as his [Christ’s] divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” when Yahshuah made clear that his power was entirely derivative of God’s (the lengthiest statement being John 5:25-37; Revelation 1:1 likewise tells that the revelation was given from Yahovah to His son, and then on to an angel then John, consistent with Matthew 24:36.) This would not be of concern but for the following verse:
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (1:4)
- This phrase “partakers of the divine nature” is the basis of the Orthodox and Catholic doctrine of deification, in my Orthodox Study Bible (St Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology, 2008) a page-long study article is dedicated to this notion that “we participate in God’s energy… We become like God by His grace” or as the Catholic Catechism blasphemes in Chapter 2, Article 3, Point 460:
“460: The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”: 78 For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.”79 “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.”80 “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” [Bold added]
One’s nature is the defining and determining attributes of oneself, not mysterious energies into which others can partake, and the Bible throughout states that Yahovah is not a disembodied mind or force as Christian theologians teach; they teach Plato’s God, not Abraham’s.
- The verses 1:10 and 2:20 exhibit another heresy, the first implying and the second openly claiming that it is possible to lose grace once held:
“1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” [Bold added]
Our salvation is then unsure and endlessly in question which contradicts 1st Peter, the real Peter, 1:23-25:
“23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
But then which of these two letters is consistent with Scripture? Could it be that 1st Peter is the forgery of the heretic? Paul answers in Romans 8:35-39 vindicating 1st Peter and the Reformed doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints:
“35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- The second and third chapters show great parallels with the little book of Jude, leading to the popular argument that one is derivative of the other, or both are of common source. Second Peter has parallels with Jude in: 1:5 with Jude 3; 1:12 with Jude 5; 2:1 with Jude 4; 2:4 with Jude 6; 2:5 with Jude 5; 2:6 with Jude 7; 2:10–11 with Jude 8–9; 2:12 with Jude 10; 2:13–17 with Jude 11–13; 2:18 with Jude 16; 3:2f with Jude 17f; 3:3 with Jude 18; 3:14 with Jude 24; and 3:18 with Jude 25.
- There are wild differences of style between 1st and 2nd Peter, the 2nd parallels Jude in having a polemic, almost ranting tone, and whereas 1st Peter has eleven direct quotations of Scripture the 2nd has with many paraphrasing’s and allusions but only one quotation.
- Jude claims, drawing on the fraudulent Book of Enoch for his evidence, that fallen angels are chained up in some dungeon awaiting judgements:
“6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day…
Likewise 2nd Peter argues that the sinful angels are “cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” the word translated as ‘cast them down into hell’ being Strong’s 5020 ‘tartaroó’ ‘I thrust down to Tartarus’. (http://biblehub.com/kjvs/2_peter/2.htm)
A true Jew as Peter assuredly was would never cite ancient Greek mythology as the author does here, Tartarus being both the deity and the place in Greek legend where under the Earth the titans were imprisoned by Zeus. (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartarus). If I were a speculative man, I would hypothesise that the inspiration for Enoch, Jude and 2nd Peter is this pagan mythology, which directly contradicts the Bible’s teaching about angels and hell. Job 1 and 2 depict Satan as wandering across the flat Earth, not caged under it, “Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” Isaiah 66:24 tells us from his brief glimpse into Hell that “they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh” not the spectacle of a third of the heavenly host in chains.
Revelation 20:13 prophesises that Hell “death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them”, so there are bodies there, but only corpses, not live angels.
- Another parallel to Jude is the reference to ‘brute beasts’ (2 Peter 2:12, Jude 10), a comparison between sinners and sinful angels and unthinking creatures without precedent in Scripture.
- Recalling argument three we see in 3:9 another heresy, the fount of the Arminian doctrine of Unlimited Atonement, a universalist and Pelagian doctrine, with the claim that Yahovah does not wish any of us to perish but that all would repent. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” This is false, philosophically because it undermines Elohim’s omnipotence, it implies that with the vast bulk of humanity damned to death that God is a terrible failure, and theologically it is dissonant with Romans 9:10-25 which defends in detail Elohim’s right to make some to honour and others to dishonour according to his perfect and perfectly good design.