Lawrenceburg, Ky., NOV. 13, 1875.
MY DEAR BROTHER CHICK: - I have read in the last received number of the SIGNS a communication from you, on 2 Peter ii. 1, in response to the request of brother Staton, and having views somewhat different on the subject, have concluded to present them to you. I first thought of replying through the same medium, but thinking that by so doing I might subject myself to the charge of criticism, fault-finding or controversy, I would submit them to your judgment first, and if you think them worthy a place in the SIGNS OF THE TIMES you can forward what I say on the subject; but all is respectfully submitted to your discretion to publish or throw aside. But to the text.
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."
You seemed to be at a loss to know in what sense the Lord bought those false teachers, while I do not think that the text inculcates the idea that he bought them at all, in any sense; nor can I see that a fair and strict grammatical construction of the language will admit the idea that he bought them. It appears evident to me that the noun "people" in the text is the antecedent to the pronoun "them," and the "false teachers" the antecedent to the pronoun "themselves." By noting this view of the subject I think we will be able to arrive at a correct interpretation of the language. Let us read carefully and see. "But there were false prophets also among the PEOPLE, [the Jewish people among whom were the false prophets] even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought THEM [the Jewish people] and bring upon THEMSELVES [the false teachers] swift destruction."
Now, if this construction of the language is correct, it was not the false teachers, but the Jewish people that were bought; and it is palpably shown in the scriptures that they were bought with a redemption price. When the Lord was about to redeem the people of Israel from Egyptian bondage he directed Moses to say to them, "I will REDEEM you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgment." - Ex. vi. 6. Again, "Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? Is he not thy father that hath BOUGHT thee," &c. - Deut. xxxii. 6. But further, "And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to REDEEM for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods." - 2 Sam. vii. 23. See also Ex. xv. 13, Deut. vi. 8, ix. 26, xiii. 5, Mic. iv. 10, which show conclusively that the Lord did buy or redeem the PEOPLE of Israel from their bondage in Egypt, as well as from their captivity in Babylon. But where there is a redemption, there must be a redemption price paid. But the price paid when he bought or redeemed Israel from bondage or captivity, was very different from the price paid when he redeemed his people from the curse of the law. But what was the price paid for the Israelites to redeem them from bondage and captivity? Solomon says, "The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright." – Prov. xxi. 18. And accordingly the Lord says, "I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee." Also, "I gave men for thee, and people for thy life." - Isa. x1iii. 3, 4. Then the price that the Lord paid for the redemption of his people from their sins, was the broken body and shed blood of Jesus; but the redemption paid for Israel from Egyptian bondage and Babylonian captivity was "men and people."
Now, my dear brother Chick, you have my views on the text under consideration, and if you think them worth anything to yourself, brother Staton, or any others of the household of faith, you can publish them; otherwise throw them aside, and I shall not complain. Do not think that I feel capable of instructing you at all, for I feel more like being instructed by you at all times. We should be much pleased to receive correspondence from you at any time.
Your brother most truly,
J. F. JOHNSON.