About Jesus Steve Sweetman
The Day Of The Lord (ch. 3:1 - 18)
verse 1 Peter acknowledges the fact that this is his second letter that he
has written to these people. So,
even though he does not tell us clearly in his opening remarks to whom he
is specifically writing, we know now.
He is writing to those who are in what we would call North West
says the reason for his letters is “to stimulate” his readers to
"wholesome thinking". Peter
knew that the thought process of people is important.
The old phrase, "what you think, you become" is so true.
Or, 'what goes into your minds will come out in your actions” is
also true. Peter probably used
the words "wholesome thinking" because the Antinomian Gnostics
were spreading not so wholesome thinking in all kinds of sexual
says that he wrote both of his letters as a "reminder" for his
readers. The Bible is full of
the word "remember" in terms of "remembering the Word of
the Lord". Of course, you
must firs hear and then know the Word of the Lord before you can remember
it. In this day when there is
so much Biblical illiteracy most Christians can't remember, because they
don't know what is needed to know to remember. If the Word of the Lord is
not in our hearts and minds, then the Holy Spirit has nothing to draw on
in times of need or in times of temptation.
verse 2 Peter says that he wants to "recall the words spoken in the
past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior
through your apostles". There
are a couple of points to note here. One
point is that Peter links the first century apostles with the Old
Testament prophets in the sense that they speak the Word of God.
You might say the New Testament apostles were the Old Testament
prophets for our age. This
elevation of New Testament apostles to the same level as Old Testament
prophets has made some think the place of apostles ended with these New
Testament apostles. It is
fairly clear that there were other apostles mentioned in the New
Testament, other than the twelve plus Paul.
It is my thinking that the ministry of apostles have continued on
this in mind, I believe we need to make a distinction between the twelve
plus Paul and other apostles, including today's apostles.
The twelve plus Paul should be elevated to a higher level than what
I would call secondary apostles. Secondary
apostles would be those other than the twelve plus Paul and apostles we
have today. Secondary
apostles, including today’s apostles, merely repeat what the twelve plus
Paul have already said. They
do not teach new teaching that is not in Scripture.
linking the apostles with the Old Testament prophets Peter in a round
about way would be saying that what the New Testament apostles write would
be on the same par as what the Old Testament prophets wrote, thus hints of
canonization of the New Testament can be seen in the first generation
also the phrase, “your apostles”.
With the addition of the word "your", we see a possessive
understanding of apostles. By
this I mean, apostles are given to people.
This can be clearly seen in Ephesians 4:11.
As a matter of fact, any of the leadership gifts in a church should
be seen as being servants, those who have been given to the people to help
them mature as Christians. I
wouldn't make too much of the word "your".
Some say that "your" suggests an apostolic authority
here. I don't think so.
They say this because, although apostolic authority has some
Scriptural precedent, they think of authority in a heavy handed way. If
you do a proper study on New Testament thinking concerning apostolic
authority, which comes mostly from Paul's writings, you will note that
these apostles considered themselves as servants, both to Jesus and to
those they cared for. They
were not dictators demanding submission in all things.
the word "commandment" in verse 2.
This is an Old Testament word used in a New Testament sense.
The command spoken of here is the command to obey the gospel of
Jesus. You might not see the
gospel as being a command from God but it is.
we get to verse 3 which speaks of the "last days", we should
realize that there are two aspects to the last days as seen in the New
Testament. One is seen in
Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost when he alludes to the fact that
the last days began on that very day when the Holy Spirit came to reside
in the believer. The other
aspect to the last days as seen throughout the whole Bible is the last few
years just prior to Jesus' return. This
last aspect is what Peter is talking about here.
verse 3 Peter says, “first of all”.
He is now going to tell his readers what the prophets of old and
the apostles of their day teach, especially concerning the return of
Jesus. Concerning His return,
Peter says that “scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own
evil desires”. The Greek
word “empatzo” is translated as “scoffer”.
This word is made up of two other Greek words, one meaning “to
play as a child”, and the other, “to make fun of”.
This shows us that the scoffers make fun of those who believe that
Jesus will return to earth.
were scoffers in Peter’s day and there are scoffers today when it comes
to Jesus’ return. These
scoffers make fun of the idea that Jesus could possibly return.
Beyond these scoffers, there is an element in the church that
almost comes close to scoffing. These
are people who say that we should not pay much attention to the return of
Jesus because it takes away from our daily witness and the work of the
Lord we need to do right now. These
people would say that those who look forward to the return of Christ
don’t live for today, and fail to be a good witness.
They say such people are too heavenly minded to be of any earthly
good. This is not necessarily
scoffing, but it is heading in the same general direction, especially if
they make light of those who preach the return of Jesus a lot. I would
suggest the opposite to be true. From
my vantage point, those who believe Jesus will return soon are those who
are serious about having their family and friends come to Jesus.
So, their witness is extremely important to them.
specific scoffers that Peter would have been talking about here were the
Gnostics. They believed that
Jesus was an angel and He would not return to this earth and unite Himself
with an unholy humanity.
this small letter, Peter is spending a fair amount of time speaking of the
return of Christ. Jesus’
return was a very important factor in the apostolic teaching in the first
century. We should not leave
this teaching out of our pulpits either.
scoffers of Peter’s day did more than scoff.
They continued on in their indulgence of their "evil
desires". These people were far from being godly.
These scoffers were the false teachers, the Antinomian Gnostics who
believed that our flesh is so evil and beyond repair that we might as well
give into it and sin all we want.
verse 4 Peter gives an example of what these scoffers say.
They say, "Where is this coming He promised?
Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the
beginning of creation". Now
if people were saying this back in the first century, what would they be
saying if they lived in today’s world?
People still think the same today, and even more so.
Even so-called Christian groups have changed their thinking on just
what the return of Christ really means.
They have no patience to wait, so they change their doctrine on
verse 5 Peter says that these scoffers have deliberately forgotten some
things in their thinking. Note
the word "deliberately". This
forgetting was willful and calculated.
It wasn't a mere slip of the memory.
The scoffers say that everything has remained the same since
creation, but Peter says that is not true.
He says that long ago, "the heavens existed and the earth was
formed from water". This
suggests to me that the heavens existed before the earth was created.
What Peter says here confirms the Genesis account in many respects.
In Genesis 1:1 we see that God created the heavens and the earth. It may
not mean anything, but the word heavens comes before the word earth in
this sentence. Genesis 1:2 tells us that the earth was formless and empty,
but there was water covering the earth. It wasn't until later that
God separated the waters on the earth from the waters in the heavens with
the creation of the sky. It also wasn't until later that God created
dry land to separate the water on the earth from the newly formed dry
land. I believe what Peter is saying here is correct and helps us
understand the Genesis account better. Scripture does interpret
Scripture, and this is one example. The earth might well have been
formed from the water that already existed in the universe, or heavens, or
so it appears to me at this present time.
"word of God" as Peter puts it here reminds me of John 1:1 and
2. "In the beginning was
the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
All things were created by Him and without Him was nothing
created". The very words
that spoke things into existence was Jesus Himself.
verse 6 we see the point to Peter’s answer to the scoffers.
He says that the same water that the earth was made of destroyed
the earth. Although Peter
doesn't speak of this flood as being the flood in Noah's day, it's pretty
well accepted that it is. God
in fact brought judgement to the earth, so the scoffers are wrong.
Things have not been as they were since creation.
God sent major judgement to the earth.
verse 7 Peter says that if God destroyed the earth once, He can, and will,
do it again. "The heavens
and the earth are reserved for fire".
God will judge both the heavens and the earth once again, but this
time it will not be by flood, but by fire.
this fire, some believe Peter is speaking metaphorically or symbolically.
Others, like me, believe this fire is literal.
I think the context would show this to be true.
The flood of water was literal so the fire that burns the heavens
and the earth in the future must be literal. This fire brings judgment to
all the ungodly. This fire
might have some relevance to the
8 is a well known and much quoted verse.
It says, "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a
thousand years like a day". This
verse is quoted many times, and it is also misunderstood.
Many people say that in the eyes of the Lord a thousand earth years
is one day in His time. Therefore,
since two thousand earth years have pasted since Jesus’ first coming,
that is seen as only two days in the eyes of Jesus.
This is not what Peter is saying.
verse does not say that a thousand earth years equals one day in God’s
sight. What it says is that a
thousand years is as one day, and one day as a thousand years.
The two statements cancel each other out.
This means that when it comes to God, there is no such thing as
time. He lives outside of
time. So a thousand years is
like a day, or a day is like a thousand years.
The two are the same because God does not live within our time
domain. That's really what the
name of God, that is, "Yahweh" means.
"Yahweh" means "I AM".
God exists in the eternal present and all that that are and all
things that ever will be exist because "HE IS".
might have had Psalm 9:4 in mind when he wrote these words.
The Psalm says that a thousand years is as a day in the sight of
the Lord. The Psalm doesn't
say the reverse is so as Peter says here. Peter
might have added the second phrase to clarify what the writer of the Psalm
Peter says that the "Lord is not slow as some count slowness".
But what some suggest as being slow should be viewed as being
patient". Jesus is not
slow. He is patient, "not
wanting anyone to perish". Besides,
in one sense of the word, if there is no time when it comes to God, the
word slow is irrelevant.
the words "as some understand slowness".
In the sense that man understands time, slowness should be viewed
as patience. The point here is
that Peter is speaking in human terms of slowness, not God's terms,
because God can neither be slow or fast since He is not constrained by
time as we are.
says that if you understand slowness in human terms, then you must
understand slowness to be God's patience so that all ca come to repentance
and faith in Jesus. Peter
believes that repentance is fundamental when it comes to salvation.
Repentance is one of those Biblical words, concepts, and truths,
that don't get enough press these days.
matter what you think, "the Day of the Lord will come…" Peter
says, and it will come as "a thief".
For those who are not looking for His return, it will be a great
surprise, very much unexpected. For
us who wait for His return, it should not be a real surprise, although I
think it will anyway. We
can’t really imagine what that day will be like. We
may think Jesus is coming soon, but when He actually does come, I think it
will not only be surprising but shocking.
says that "the heavens will disappear with a roar". I
imagine that this roar will be unbearable to the human ear.
Beyond this, the elements will be laid bare, or burned, as some
question raised based on verse 10 is this.
What is Peter speaking of here?
Is he speaking of the return of the Lord to earth when He sets up
his kingdom for a thousand years or is he speaking of the day when the
book of Revelation speaks of a new heaven and new earth?
I really don't know for sure, but I lean to this being the
destruction of the heavens and earth that we see at the end of the book of
Revelation. Some might suggest
that the destruction Peter speaks of here is realized in the Great
Tribulation, and that might be right. That being said, the earth still
exists after the Great Tribulation. What
Peter seems to suggest here is that it will no longer exist in its present
verse 11 Peter asks, "What kind of people should we be"?
We should be holy and godly people "as we look forward to the
Day of God". There
are two things to note here. We
should be godly, and we should look forward to the Day of God.
There is nothing wrong with looking forward to the return of Jesus.
I believe part of what Peter is saying here is that being holy and
looking forward to the return of Jesus can't be separated from each other.
Watching for Jesus' return is part of being holy.
number one way in which we should prepare for the Day of the Lord is to be
more holy today than we were yesterday.
We may think we need to buy gold, move to the country, or whatever,
but Peter simply says to live a holy life.
the usage of the words “Day of God”.
Man and the devil has had many days to do their thing, but there
will come a day when God will be doing the doing so to speak, and all of
creation will sit and watch.
verses 12 and 13 Peter repeats himself by saying "that day will bring
about destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in
the heat". After this
Peter adds a new thought which is the creation of new heavens and a new
earth. The old will totally be
replaced by the new. This tells me that Peter has not been talking about
the return of Jesus to set up His thousand year rule on earth, although
that begins the process. I
believe when Peter speaks of the destruction of the heavens and earth, he
is doing so in terms that we see at the end of the book of Revelation when
after this destruction; there'll be new heavens and a new earth.
in verse 12 that Peter seems to suggest that we can speed the return of
the Lord. I'm not really sure
what this means. Some might
say that there are things we can do, like preach the gospel to the whole
world because Jesus told us that before the end comes the gospel must be
preached throughout the world. Then the more we preach, the sooner Jesus
will return. I tend to believe
that Jesus has a set time when He will return.
That being said, "set time" should be understood in human
time because Jesus lives outside of our time domain.
Note in verse 12 the phrase, "the elements (universe) will melt in extreme heart". On the light side, I think this is the true meaning to the well known concept of "Climate Change".
verse 14 Peter says that we “should be looking forward to that day”.
While we look, we should "make every effort" to be
"spotless, blameless, and at peace with Him".
Looking forward to Jesus’ return does not give a license to
neglect the present. It should
spur us on to holiness because we will soon see Him who is Holy.
We should view Peter's words here as a command from the Lord, just
as Jesus commanded us to "watch and pray".
We cannot lay aside the teaching on the return of Jesus as some
phrase "at peace with Him" is interesting.
Remember, Peter is writing to Christians.
He is telling these Christians to be at peace with God.
That suggests that Christians can find themselves in a place where
they aren't at peace with God. They're
still saved, but their relationship with God is lacking.
verse 15 Peter goes on to say that "our Lord’s patience means
salvation just as our dear brother Paul wrote…"
Christians were being criticized because they preached the return
of Jesus, and probably, the immanent return of Jesus.
Since Jesus hadn't returned yet, non-believers scoffed.
Peter's response is that Jesus hasn't returned yet so more could be
saved. Peter speaks to the patience of God.
God is patient but His patience does have limits.
quotes from Paul, and calls him a dear brother.
goes on to say in verse 16 that Paul writes these things in "all of
his letters, some of which are hard to understand".
Could it be that even Peter at times had a hard time understanding
here that Peter has full love and respect for Paul, even though Paul had
to rebuke him for his hypocrisy, as wee see in Galatians 2.
attributes all of Paul's writings to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
and wisdom of God. Many
commentators see this as a strong suggestion that Peter, and really, all
of the early church, understood Paul's writings to be inspirational and
equivalent to the Old Testament. This
is especially so when Peter uses the word "Scriptures".
This is a clear indication that Peter viewed Paul's writings in the
same way that he would have viewed the Old Testament.
Even though the subject of a canonized New Testament was far from
being fully developed this early in church history, we see the roots of
canonization right here.
think Peter's respect for Paul might say something to the Catholic
doctrine that states Peter was the first pope and that the church would
have been subject to him. Peter
says that he at times had a hard time understanding Paul.
If that was so, how could Peter have been an infallible Pope?
From what we see in the New Testament, this lack of understanding
by Peter, and probably by others, would have come from Paul's many
revelations that it appears Peter didn't have.
I believe this is one verse Catholics miss when they say Peter was
the firs infallible pope.
in verse 16 we see that "ignorant and unstable people distort"
what Paul taught. The specific people Peter would have had in mind were
the Antinomian Gnostics, which Peter says will fall in destruction.
verse 17 Peter closes his letter by acknowledging that his readers know
all of what he has talked about, therefore, they should "be on
guard". The words
"on guard" are a military phrase in Greek.
They should be keeping watch over their souls, over what they
believe, and over their salvation, so they won't "be carried
away" with false teaching.
says that his readers should not follow false teachers in order not
"to fall from their secure position".
Is Peter addressing “once saved, always saved”, otherwise known
as "eternal security"?
Maybe he is. "Falling
from one's secure position" might well suggest the possibility of
losing your salvation. Remember,
Peter is refuting Gnosticism that believes Jesus was a mere angel and not
the Son of God that He really is. This
denial of who Jesus really is goes to the core of the gospel, the core of
our salvation. The Gnostics
believed in a different Jesus than whom Peter and the church gave
themselves. I suggest that
switching to a different Jesus, meaning, trusting you life to another
Jesus, would cause you to lose your salvation.
words "lawless men" in verse 17 refers specifically to the
Antinomian Gnostics, the false teachers who were trying to lead Peter's
readers astray. The very word
"Antinomian" means "no law", or, "lawless".
So it is clear who Peter had in mind when he said these words.
18 ends Peter’s second letter. It
says, "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ". To Him be
glory, both now and forever, Amen.
is both Christ and Lord. As
Christ, He offers us salvation. As
Lord we offer Him our lives because He is supreme over all things
physical, spiritual, or, any other realm that may exist that we know not
says to grow in grace. Grace
has two meanings in the Bible. The
one is unmerited favour. God
loves us even though we don't deserve His love.
The second is God's ability to do His will.
I think this second meaning might well be what Peter had in mind
here. Growing in God's ability
might be easier to understand than growing in unmerited favour.
also told his readers to "grow in knowledge" of Jesus.
Knowledge is important, especially in our present post-modern
society and church where knowledge has been downplayed.
The Bible provides us with full knowledge of Jesus, and if we
neglect to read and study the Bible we can't grow in the knowledge of
Jesus. It's as simple as that.
Our problem today is that Christians and the church aren't all that
interested in growing in Biblical knowledge.
No wonder we are going astray in all sorts of areas, especially in
knowing who the real Jesus is.
may not have Antinomian Gnostics influencing the church today, but we sure
have other false teachers attempting to drive us away from the Biblical
Jesus. Peter's second letter
is thus very important for us.
closes by saying, "to Him (meaning Jesus) be glory for now and
Peter ends with a very lofty point and the is the eternal nature of
Jesus. Peter speaks to the
fact that Jesus isn't a created angel.
He is eternal, without beginning and without end.
He is in fact God. This
is what puts the final nail into the coffin of Antinomian Gnosticism.
matter what generation in which we live, human nature is the same.
For this reason the Bible is always relevant, no matter when we
read it in human history. The
message of Peter's second letter is just as appropriate today as it was in
Peter's day. We have similar
false teachers who are attempting to lead us away from the true Jesus, and
we have scoffers that tell us that Jesus will never return.
The two main themes of Peter's second letter were directed towards
the people of his day but they're obviously directed towards us today as