Peter has just finished talking about his personal interaction and eyewitness testimony of the power of Jesus and his future coming. Now he is adding to it that there is a wealth of prophecy which shines light into darkness and toward the hope we have in Christ’s return.
19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
In fact, prophecy shines the light of hope of future glory and heaven into the darkness of this world to encourage our souls. Yes, there is judgement for those who do not receive Jesus, yet for those who embrace his love and forgiveness, his coming is a final fulfillment of the entire plan of redemption which God prepared before the world was formed.
Peter also gives us some teaching and boundaries for prophecy, which are helpful in a world in which many claim to speak for God. He teaches that prophecy does not come from a prophet’s interpretation of things, and doesn’t originate in the human will. The Holy Spirit carries them along and fills their mouths.
When one looks at the prophets of old (think of the Psalms, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, for example), they would have no idea of how their prophetic words would take on fulfillment and meaning in the life and gospel of Jesus Christ. This is an example of how prophets speak words which are from God and through the Holy Spirit.
Although Peter doesn’t say it here, there is an implication as well that the prophet’s words will not contradict the Bible’s teaching. If the Bible is God’s word, then the prophet speaking God’s word only clarifies or reinforces God’s word. As we listen to prophetic voices where they may speak today or identify themselves as such, this is our test.
And ultimately, prophecy according to Peter’s teaching here draws us toward the future coming of Jesus, to which we all look forward. Come Lord Jesus!