Throughout my lifetime I have heard the promises of Christ’s second coming and the end of the world repeated over and over again. (The latest example of this was yesterday’s (Dec 21st) expectation of the end of the world.)
During this same period of time, we have seen “signs of the times” come and go all seemingly telling us that Christ is coming soon…. and, so far, with no results. With an absence of His coming after 5000+ years of promises, what are we to think? Why should we continue to believe He is coming again?
The Lord helps us to understand this very issue in 2 Pet 3:1-9…. In this section of Scripture He defends the promise of His second coming by giving us undeniable proofs of His coming. Within this text, He also gives us basic principles on to handle the denials and doubts that the world may possess, as well as dealing with the questions that may enter our minds…
2Pet 3:1-9 (KJV)
1) This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in [both] which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
2) That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
3) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.
5) For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6) Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7) But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8) But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9) 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.
2Pet 3:1-9 (KJV)
This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in [both] which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
Peter describes to us the purpose for his writing of Second Peter. He tells us that he is writing this to remind Christians of the teachings of the Old Testament prophets, as well as the responsibilities that had been placed upon them by the Apostles. Both the OT prophets, and the NT Apostles, presented to the world teachings concerning Jesus the promised Savior. It is this same Jesus who was King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the One we are all responsible to follow and serve.
Peter now begins to share some encouraging words to these Christians who were facing persecution from an unbelieving world…
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.
Christians living in the times between Christ’s first and second comings will always be faced with those who deny and mock the promises of God.
Of these Divine promises, one of the greatest is the assurance of Christ’s second coming to this world in judgment. A chief argument of scoffers is that since the second coming has not happened during the generations of our ancestors, why should we believe it will happen in our generation, or the next?
The promise of His second coming extends back well into the Old Testament times of the prophets. If after 5000+ years He has not come back, why should we think anything will be different now?
For this they willingly are ignorant of,
Peter now begins a list of truths that these scoffers refuse to acknowledge as truth (“willingly ignorant of”). Although these truths are displayed plainly to man, they choose to disregard them as they continue in their denial of His second coming.
that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
Truth #1 – The same powerful, reliable Word that was the instrument of the creation and continuance of this world, is the same steadfast Word that guarantees His second coming.
In Gen 1: we are told that this world was spoken into existence by our Lord. Further, we are told that it is this same Word that is used by God to hold everything in its place (Hebrews 1:3). If we understand these principles, we also understand that the consistent existence of creation is an unceasing proof of the power and reliability of the Word of God.
Therefore, using the perpetual continuance of this world to deny His second coming is faulty reasoning on the part of scoffers. In actuality, the enduring presence of this world is proof that the promises for his second coming come from an absolutely reliable source… the Word of God, thus ensuring the occurrence of His second coming.
Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
Principle #2 – In His reliable Word, we find that the world was universally judged due to mankind’s sin. If the world was historically judged in this way, it is reasonable that a Just God is obligated to judge an equally sinful world in the future.
The Lord judged a sinful world with a world-wide flood in the days of Noah (Gen 6:-8). The sinfulness, scoffing and unpreparedness that is taking place in these latter days is characterized as being similar to the unbelief and unsuspecting attitude of the coming judgment of Noah’s time (Luke 17:25-30)
Based upon the sinful condition of the unsuspecting world and its continual rejection of the truth obligates the second coming of Christ to judge the world for its sin. The justice of God renders certain His second coming and the judgment that is to come.
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Peter once again reminds us that the latter days in which we are living continue on simply because the heavens and earth are being “kept in store”. In other words, they are held in reserve until God’s judgment arrives. At that time the wicked will stand before God, a verdict of “guilty” will be rendered by the Almighty (judgment), and then the lost will be permanently consigned to an eternity of punishment for their sins (perdition).
This judgment will also affect the earth and will be by fire as the Lord consumes and purifies this creation from the sin that has filled it. (2 Pet 3:10) This will then make way for the new heavens and new earth that will be our eternal dwelling place (Rev 21:).
Note that His judgment is said to come at “the day of judgment”. In other words, God has a set time for his second coming and the following judgment of the world to take place. It is the “day” that has been appointed (Acts 17:31) for His righteous judgment to fall.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Principle #3 – In the Lord’s perspective there is no such thing as time. Based upon the absolute certainty of the fulfillment of His eternal counsels His second coming has already taken place.
Another very important point to remember is that, from our perspective, His second coming seems to be delayed and that much time has elapsed between the OT prophesies and their fulfillment at His second coming. However, from God’s perspective this time delay is a non-issue.
In God’s view, the second coming is already a completed act. In the counsels of God, what He has decreed is already accomplished…. NOTHING can stop His plans from attaining fruition, they are “as good as done”. Much like His decree to save us renders us already “glorified” in His sight because of the certainty of its occurrence (Rom 8:29-30).
In the same way, believers in the Old Testament are saved from their sins through the shed blood of Christ although He had not yet died (Heb 9:11-14). In God’s counsels the death of Christ was already accomplished and therefore, its merits could already be had by men in the Old Testament days (Rev 13:8. 1 Pet 1:19-20).
From God’s standpoint, in actuality, the second coming has already taken place. It is done.
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.
But from man’s perspective, why has there been such a long “storage period” for this world? Why is His second coming delayed for such a long period of time? As a part of his eternal counsels, He has placed a long time period between prophesies of His second coming and the second coming itself so that His chosen people can come to repentance and belief in Him. Remember, He will not lose any of His chosen ones (John 6:38-40, John 10:27-30 John 18:9). He is working during this time period of delay to bring all of his elect to repentance and faith.
For those who have trusted in Christ.
What wonderful, loving, merciful and PATIENT Lord we serve! What a wonderful blessing to know without a doubt that this same Lord is coming again to take His people home to live with Him for an eternity.
For those who have never trusted in Christ.
What a solemn, sure warning we have of His coming time of judgment against sin. What a wonderful act of God’s grace in giving us this forewarning of His coming judgment. In response the great needs of our life is to change our attitude about our sin and Christ, turn from that sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness, salvation and a sure eternity with Him.
If you have any questions about salvation you are welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.
Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”. On this page, you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.
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www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.comTo see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at http://www.youtube.com/settledinheavenIf you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.comFollow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace
May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”