II Peter 3

 

 

1 “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you;” -  literally, this

Epistle already a second one I write unto you. The ἤδη - haedae already -

implies that the interval between the two Epistles was not long. The

expression “beloved,” four times repeated in this chapter, shows the

apostle’s affectionate interest in his readers – “in both which I stir up your

pure minds by way of remembrance:” - literally, in which, i.e., “epistles;”

the word second” implied an allusion to a First Epistle. Peter repeats the words

which he had used in chapter 1:13, “I think it meet… to stir you up by

putting you in remembrance.” Mind (διάνοια – dianoia) is the reflective

faculty (see I Peter. 1:13); that faculty should be exercised in holy things.

The thoughts that pass through the Christian’s mind should be holy thoughts; his

mind should be pure. The word rendered “pure” (εἰλικρινής – eilikrinaes

sincere).  Eἰλικρινής according to the common derivation (from εἵληeilae –

sunlight,  and κρίνω – krino - judge), means “judged in the full light of the sun,”

that is, pure, true; and occurs in Philippians 1:10; the corresponding substantive

is found in I Corinthians 5:8; II Corinthians 1:12; 2:17. It is said of things which

can bear to be judged in the sunlight, and so means “pure, clear,” or (according

to another possible etymology) “unmixed,” and so “genuine, sincere.”

 

2 “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy

Prophets,” - That ye may be mindful” is represented by one word in the Greek

(μνησθῆναι – mnaesthaenai – to be reminded); compare the exact parallel in

Luke 1:72. Great stress is laid on the word of prophecy in both Epistles (see I Peter

1:10-12 and in the last chapter – v.19) – “and of the commandment of us the

apostles of the Lord and Saviour:” -  rather, as in the Revised Version, and the

 commandment of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles. All the best

manuscripts read ὑμῶν humon – your  - here. It is a remarkable expression;

but Christ’s apostles can be rightly called the apostles of those to whom they are sent,

as being their teachers, sent to them for their benefit; just as the angels of God are

called also the angels of Christ’s little ones (Matthew 18:10). Compare also

“the angels of the seven Churches” in the Revelation.  Peter shows an intimate

knowledge of several of Paul’s Epistles, and of that of  James; he is writing to the

Churches addressed in his First Epistle, most of which were founded by Paul or his

companions. We must therefore understand this passage, as well as v.15 of this chapter,

as a distinct recognition of the apostleship of Paul. The translation of the Authorized

Version, “the apostles of the Lord and Saviour,” involves a violent disturbance

of the order; it seems best to make both genitives depend on “commandment:”-

“your apostles” commandment of the Lord;” the first genitive being that of

announcement, the second of origin. The commandment was announced by the

apostles, but it was the Lord’s commandment.  (For the double genitive, compare

James 2:1 and Acts 5:32. For the whole verse, see the parallel passage in Jude 1:17.)

 

3 “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers,” - Peter

has the words, “knowing this first,” in ch.1:20, where he is speaking of the

interpretation of prophecy; he repeats them now when referring to the scoffers who

mocked at the long delay of the Lord’s coming foretold by the prophets. (For

the last days,” see note on I Peter 1:20.) The Revised Version has, “Mockers

shall come with mockery.” This represents the words ἐν ἐμπαιγμοπνῇ - en

empaigmopnae - found in nearly all the best manuscripts (omitted in the Authorized

Version), which give emphasis to the expression after the Hebrew manner. The word

ἐμπαιγμονή occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and ἐμπαῖκται

empaiktai – scoffers -only in the parallel passage, Jude 1:18 – “walking after

their own lusts.” Self-indulgence often leads to skepticism.  There is a

definite correlation between strong unbridled desire and SCORNFUL

UNBELIEF! 

 

The mockers of the last days are motivated, not by truth, nor by fact, but by prejudice,

and by prejudice founded on their walking after their own lusts, i.e. – (Abortion

on demand; the push for acceptance of perverted sexual life styles, the availability

of free condoms, political correctness based on false values, etc. – CY - 2010),

and their loose mode of life. In Psalm 1, those that “walk in the counsel of the

 ungodly” are next represented as “standing in the way of sinners,” and then as

“SITTING IN THE SEAT OF THE SCORNFUL.”

 

Likewise, Lot - So here, THOSE WHOSE LIVES CANNOT BEAR SCRUTINY, 

dislike the Second Coming because it means a check to them, and a threat.  In

the next verse,  they are represented as saying, with an air of  mocking triumph,

“WHERE IS THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING?” -  i.e., it has turned out to

be vain and mendacious.

 

4 “And saying, Where is the promise of his coming?” -  (compare Malachi 2:17,

“Where is the God of judgment?”). The Lord had prophesied of His coming; Paul

had spoken more than once as if that coming were very near at hand (I Corinthians

15:51; II Corinthians 5:4; I Thessalonians 4:15). Yet He came not. Already men

were beginning to mock, and to question whether the long-delayed promise

would ever be fulfilled  - “for since the fathers fell asleep,” -  better, from the

day that. By “the fathers” must be meant here the fathers of the Christian

Church. Peter was writing more than thirty years after the Ascension.

The first generation of Christians was rapidly passing away. Stephen “fell

asleep” first, then James the son of Zebedee, the other James the Lord’s

brother, and many others who had looked, it may be, to see the coming of

the Lord among those “which are alive and remain” (I Thessalonians

4:17). But they had died, and He came not; and from the day of their death

things went on as they were. Should men look for Him still, the mockers

asked, when the fathers looked in vain? The mockers adopted, in mockery,

doubtless, the Christian phrase for death. The Lord first had said, “Our

friend Lazarus sleepeth” (John 11:11); then the holy Stephen “fell asleep”

(Acts 7:60); and so “they which are asleep” (I Thessalonians 4:15) became

the recognized name for the dead in Christ.  Death is like sleep; the holy dead

 rest from their labors (Revelation 14:13. They “sleep not idly,” for they are at

home with the Lord, and they are blessed; but yet the quiet rest of Paradise,

though “far better” (Philippians 1:23) than this earthly life, is sleep

compared with the perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul,

which the redeemed of the Lord shall enjoy at last in His eternal glory –

“all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

Literally, all things continue thus, as they are, and as they have been from

the beginning. There has been no sudden catastrophe; the world has gone

on as it was; the laws of nature are still working with their changeless

uniformity.

 

“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore

 the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil”  (Ecclesiastes

8:11).   No doubt but that this fact is an obstacle for scoffers to overcome.

They misinterpret God’s longsuffering as an evidence of His lack of

concern in the world.  From the first such persons have asked,  “Where is the

promise?” Unbelief has taken the form of RIDICULE.   And, even worse,

the FEAR OF JUDGMENT HAS BEEN CAST OFF!  “There is no

fear of God before their eyes”  (Romans 3:18),   Like the servants who,

finding that their lord delayed his coming, began to eat, drink, and be

drunken, and to abuse their fellow-servants (Luke 12:45-46), so the scoffers

have flung aside every restraint (a word to the wise in this depraved culture

in which we live – in Proverbs 29:18, where is says “where there is no

vision the people persish” – really means “WHERE THERE IS NO

RESTRAIN THE PEOPLE PERISH.”  - CY – 2012, have spurned every

check, and have abandoned themselves to the indulgence of their carnal lusts.

 

5 For this they willingly are ignorant of,” -  literally, for this escapes them

of THEIR OWN WILL!   All things have not always been as they are; there have

been great changes; THERE WAS ONCE A GREAT CATASTROPHE

 but this THEY WILFULLY FORGET !  - It required an effort on their

part to SHUT IT OUT!” In the previous verse, their argument is drawn from

the idea of uniformity in nature.  “All things continue as they were from the

 beginning of the creation.” We are warranted in proceeding on the

uniformity of nature — on the sun rising tomorrow as it has done today,

and in days past. Nor is it surprising that scientific men should be more

than ordinarily impressed with the fact of uniformity, by their researches

into nature. Peter here prophesies that in the last days mockers would seek

to turn the fact of uniformity against Christianity, and it has remarkably

turned out as he prophesied. This is really the line that has been followed

by many skeptics. They have said, “All things continue as they were from

the beginning of the creation.” On this ground Hume argued (but Hume did

not know EL SHADDAI!  DO YOU? – I recommend Genesis 17 –

El Shaddai – Names of God by Nathan Stone – this web site – CY – 2012)

Against miracles. “A miracle,” he said, “is a violation of a law of nature: but the

universal experience of ourselves, and of the whole human family, proves

that the laws of nature are uniform, without exception.” Strauss and his

school have sought to establish, not merely the incredibility, but the

impossibility, of miracles. Their argument bears against such a subversion

of the present order of things as is connected with the second coming, but

unwittingly, they have thus unconsciously fulfilled prophecy -“that by

the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the

water and in the  water.” The first part of the statement refers to the bringing of

the heavens into existence. There were heavens from of old, by the Word of God.

This is the first thought of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the

heavens.”  It did not exist from eternity, but was brought into existence by the

creative word of God. The second part of the statement refers, not to the bringing

of the earth into existence, but to its receiving its present form. An earth

was compacted out of water, i.e., as material. The reference seems to be to

the waters of chaos in the Mosaic record (Genesis 1:2). It was also

compacted, not “amidst water,” as it is unwarrantably in the Revised

Version, but “by means of water,” i.e., as the instrumental element. The

reference seems to be to the gathering together of the waters into one

place. Behind the water as material and instrumental element was the

directing and POTENT WORD OF GOD.   Having made this statement,

Peter introduces the Flood as his answer to the mockers. The connecting words

are, “by which means.” The use of the plural creates a difficulty. The most

probable solution is that the reference is to the water and the Word of God.

This is favored by the latter being carried forward in v.7.  Water, let loose by

God, flooded the then world, i.e., not the earth simply, but the earth as supporting

its then inhabitants. There was catastrophe of great magnitude!  There was

(let the mockers note it) A MIGHTY DISTURBANCE OF UNIFORMITY!

 THE WORLD THAT THEN WAS PERISHED!   The Revised Version translates,

 That there were heavens from of old,  and an earth compacted out of water and

amidst water, by the Word of God.  The mockers say that all things continue as they

were from the beginning of creation. That creation itself was a great, a stupendous

change, a mighty effort of the power of God.  Peter refers to it in words evidently

derived from the Book of Genesis, not from any other sources, whether Greek,

Egyptian, or Indian.  There were heavens from of old (the word ἔκπαλαι – ekpalai –

 of old -  occurs elsewhere only in ch. 2:3). There was an earth formed or standing out

of the water.  The Greek participle here used is συνεστῶσα, – sunestosa – having

 together stood - , literally, “standing together or consisting” (compare Colossians

1:17); it may be taken closely with both prepositional clauses, “earth consisting of

 water and by means of water.” Thales had taught that water was the beginning

of things, the original element; the narrative in Genesis represents water as originally

overspreading all things: “The earth was without form [ἀόρατος – aoratos –

invisible - Septuagint], and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2-3)

We may therefore understand Peter as meaning that the earth was formed or

compacted out of water, or out of those substances which the water at first held

in solution; and that it is kept together in coherence and solidity by means of water.

If, on the other hand, we regard the participle as closely connected with the second

preposition only, the meaning will be that the earth, held together and compacted by

means of water, rose up out of the water, and appeared above it, when God said,

“Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and

let the dry land appear” (Ibid. v.9).  It is possible, again, to understand the

preposition διά - dia - locally, and to translate “amidst water.” Compare Psalm

136:6, “He stretched out the earth above the waters;” and Psalm 24:2, “He hath

founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.” Of course,

neither Peter nor Moses is speaking in the language of science; their

object was, not to teach scientific truth, but to present the great fact of

creation in an aspect suitable to our poor capacities. For the clause, “by the

Word of God (τῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ λόγῳ – to tou Theou logo|),” compare Hebrews

11:3, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the

Word of God (ῤήματι Θεοῦ - rhaemati Theou ). (the significance of ῤήματι

as distinct from λόγος is exemplified in the injunction to take “the sword of the

Spirit, which is the word of God,” - Ephesians 6:17; here the reference is not to

the whole Bible as such, but to the individual scripture which the Spirit brings to

our remembrance for use in time of need, a prerequisite being the regular storing

of the mind with Scripture.  Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testamnet

Words)  Peter may be referring to the formula, “And God said,” so constantly

repeated in the account of the creation, or (what is really the same truth) to the fact

that “all things were made by Him [by God the Word], and without Him

was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3)

 

6 “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water,

perished:”  The Greek for” whereby” is dij w=n – di on - literally, “through

which things.” The plural here presents some difficulty. The most obvious

antecedents are “the heavens and the earth” of the last verse; but many

commentators refer the relative to the twice-repeated “water.” The meaning

will be the same whichever view we take. “The fountains of the great deep

 were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened”  (Genesis 7:11);

that is, the Deluge was brought to pass by means of the heavens, i.e., the

waters that were above the firmament, and the earth, i.e., the waters that

were below the firmament, which came from the earth as the waters first

mentioned came from the heavens. Another possible view is that of Huther,

who refers diJ w=n to the water and the Word of God. By the world here

must be meant the world of living creatures. This is Peter’s answer to

the mockers: there had been one great catastrophe; THERE WILL

BE ANOTHER!

 

7  “But the heavens and the earth, which are now,” -  rather, the

heavens which are now, and the earth. The “now” does not refer, as some

think, to any change wrought by the Flood, but distinguishes the present

heavens and earth from THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH

which Christians are to look for (v. 13) - “by the same Word are kept in store,

reserved unto fire” - Several of the better manuscripts have “by His Word,”

which, on the whole, seems to give the best meaning. The reading in the text may,

indeed, be understood in a similar sense, “by the same Word of God;”

otherwise it would mean that the original word of creation determined also

the duration of the world and the means of its destruction. The words

rendered, “are kept in store,” are, literally, “have been treasured

τεθησαυρισμένοι εἰσίν – tethaesaurismenoi eisin – having been

placed into tomorrow)(compare Romans 2:5). It seems better to

take the dative πυρί - puri - with fire - or “for fire”) with this verb rather

than with the following, as in the Authorized Version. If we take the first

meaning of the dative, the sense will be that the world has been stored with

fire, i.e., that it contains, stored up in its inner depths, the fire which is

destined ultimately to destroy it?   But the other view seems on the whole

more probable; the heavens and the earth are stored up for fire or unto fire,

i.e., with the purpose in the counsels of God of their ultimate destruction

by fire. This is the clearest prophecy in Holy Scripture of THE FINAL

CONFLAGRATION OF THE UNIVERSE  but compare Isaiah 66:15;

Daniel 7:10; Malachi 4:1; II Thessalonians 1:8. Such a doctrine formed part of

the physical theories of the Stoics; it is also found in the ‘Book of Enoch’ -

“against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” The

participle “reserved” (τηρούμενοι - taeroumenoi) is best taken with this

clause: “reserved against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

 

Above, in v. 5, we discussed a catastrophe in the past but here the Bible teaches

that  THERE WILL BE A CATASTROPHE IN THE FUTURE!  But the

heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored

up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction

of ungodly men.”  There is suggestion, not of their ceasing to be heavens and

earth, but rather of there being still heavens and earth, only not such as we now

see them.  The Word of God has fixed the destiny of the new heavens and earth.

There is catastrophe in store for them. They are here represented as STORED

UP FOR FIRE!  The agency is not far to seek, being in the heart of the

earth. There is suggestion of the FIRE BEING NEEDED for the new heavens

and earth ON ACCOUNT OF THE UNGODLY MEN WHO HAVE

DEFILED THEM!   For their God-forgetting, God-defying life, they —

when the appointed day comes — are to be adjudged to destruction (See

ch. 2:12).  The heavens and earth that they have defiled are to be subjected,

not to water (which is forbidden by promise – Genesis 9:8-7), but to an

agency more penetrative and subduing. The same Word that carried out

THE CATASTROPHE OF WATER  is to carry out THE CATASTROPHE

OF FIRE!

 

8 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing,” -  literally, let

not this one thing escape you, as especially important -“that one day is

with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

A thousand years is a long time with us. Men used to think of that as the limit

of human life. But we cannot now think of our living a hundred years. But a

thousand years is nothing with God. “With the Lord” means in His sight, in

His estimate of things (compare Psalm 90:4, “A thousand years in thy sight

 are but as yesterday”).  GOD IS ETERNAL: His thought is not, like

ours, subject to the law of time; and even we can understand that one day,

as the day of the Saviour’s death, may have far more of intense action

 compressed into it, and far more influence upon the spiritual destiny

of mankind, than any period of a thousand years.  (I highly recommend

a sermon by Jonathan Edwars on The Preciousness of Time – # 7 - this web

site - CY – 2012)

 

 

The Eternal God is Independent of Time (v.8)

 

In all likelihood this sublime statement was suggested by the language of

Psalm 90:4) - “A thousand years in thy sight are as yesterday when it

is past.” It is a glorious conception of the Divine greatness which is in this

passage brought before our minds; whilst at the same time it has a practical

bearing of a most valuable character upon the conduct of human life.

 

  • Time is for man, not for God. We human beings have but a few years

allotted to us as the period of earthly work; within the scant limits of

those years we must do what we have power to do, or we must leave

it FOR EVER UNDONE. This is not so with the Eternal He has the

vast range of all human history in which to carry out His designs. The

dispensations follow one another with no haste. (I highly recommend

Dispensational Truth by Clarence Larkin – for local people it can be

found in the library of Second Baptist Church -  CY – 2012)  The ages

are the province within which God works.

 

From the human side, judgment deferred is made an excuse for perseverance

 in sin. If the Divine King were under the same restrictions as to time by which

an earthly ruler is governed, the case would be otherwise. As it is, the

withholding of retribution is misconceived. Yet judgment deferred is, in

truth, not judgment reversed, but JUDGMENT DELAYED!

 

Regarded from the Divine side, another lesson comes to light. Judgment delayed

IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR REPENTANCE!. Long-suffering on God’s part

HAS THIS MERCIFUL SIGNIFICANCE.   Time may teach when other

instructors are disregarded; forbearance may be fruitful even when threatening is

 barren.

 

From God’s people’s view, sometimes deliverance deferred is made a ground

for fear that deliverance may never come. But the Christian is appointed to

learn that deliverance deferred is only DELIVERANCE DELAYED!

The day of disappointment, of persecution, of seeming desertion, may

appear to the afflicted like a year; the year may appear to be an age. But if

the matter be regarded from the Divine side — as our text invites us to

regard it — what a change comes over it! The distinction between a longer

and a shorter period now almost vanishes. “What of the night? The

morning cometh; and also the night.” The rescue is near; the daybreak has

already begun. Interposition is to be measured, not by years or by

centuries, but by Divine purposes and promises.

 

These considerations should CHECK THE ARROGANCE OF SCOFFERS

and UNBELIEVERS; and should sustain THE FAITH, THE COURAGE,

AND THE HOPE of the Church militant.

 

9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men

count slackness;” -  The Lord here, as frequently in these Epistles, is God the

Father; it is He only who knoweth that day and that hour (Mark 13:32).

Some take the genitive τῆς ἐπαγγελίας – tae epaggelias  - the promise - with

“the Lord,” and translate, “The Lord of the promise is not slack.” This is a possible

connection, but, not so satisfactory as the ordinary rendering.  The latter clause may be

understood, “as some think it, i.e., the delay of the judgment, to be slackness;” or

better, perhaps, “as some understand the meaning of slackness.” Men are slow

in fulfilling their promises from various, often selfish, motives; THE LORD’S

DELAY COMES FROM LOVE AND LONGSUFFERING!  -  “but is

long-suffering to us-ward,” -  rather, to you-ward, which seems to be the

best-supported reading; two ancient manuscripts give “for your sake.” St.

Peter has the same thought in the First Epistle (I Peter 3:20); there he

reminds us how the long-suffering of God waited “while the ark was a preparing”;

here he tells us that the delay of the judgment, at which unbelievers scoff, is due

to the same cause. We note here an item of evidence for the common authorship

of the two Epistles (compare Habakkuk 2:3, quoted in Hebrews 10:37) -

“not willing that any should perish,” -  rather, not wishing or desiring

(μὴ βουλόμενος – mae boulomenos – not intending). The participle gives the reason

of the Lord’s delay; He hath no pleasure that the wicked should die (Ezekiel

18:23, 32, and 33:11) – “but that all should come to repentance.”  The Greek

word for “come (χωρῆσαι – choraesai – to make room), occurs in the same

sense in Matthew 15:17; compare I Timothy 2:4 combined with II Timothy 2:25).

 

God does not wish that any man, woman, nor child, should perish. It is not according

to His heart that even one whom He has created, and for whom Christ has died, should

remain in misery. This is a thought which comes out strongly in the prophecy of Ezekiel.

“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die, saith the Lord God?”

(Ezekiel 18:23) – “For  I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith

the Lord God” (Ibid. v.32). “Say unto them [that pine away in their sins], As I live,

 saith the Lord God, I have  no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that

the wicked turn from his way and live:  TURN YE, TURN YE FROM YOUR

EVIL WAYS; FOR WHY WILL YE DIE, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL.” (The

 positive side of the Divine wish is THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO

REPENTANCE!   He has not an interest merely in some, BUT IN ALL!

 None can be happy in sin; it can only be pining away, as the prophet puts it.

None can be happy without repentance, i.e., change of mind; but this change

of mind he wishes for all. And it is not a mere wish, but it is a wish that has been

manifested in the cross of Christ (AND COST HIS LIFE FOR YOU AND

ME!); and, in the operations of the Spirit, and in the workings of Providence,

 THIS IS THE END WHICH IS SOUGHT!   LET US ALL RESPOND then,

to the Divine wish which accompanies the Divine long-suffering.

 

God would teach us even from our experience of the bitterness of sin (in fact, we

recently studied the book of Judges – in that book’s account of the sinfulness of

Israel where “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”, I came away

with this profound idea from the Pulpit Commentary – It is good that our lives

which are so full of sin, is so short!  - at first that grated on me but the truth

I plainly understand because without God, it never gets any better – CY – 2012)

Let us not, then, misinterpret the delay of the coming of Christ; let us not mistake

what is long-suffering for slackness in promising, or indifference to sin.

 

10 “But the day of the Lord will come” -  The word ἥξει – haexei - will

come; shall be arriving -  stands emphatically at the beginning of the clause;

whatever the mockers may say, whatever may happen, come COME

CERTAINLY WILL THE DAY OF THE LORD!   “THE DAY OF

THE LORD” meets us often in the prophets; it is usually associated with

THE THOUGHT OF JUDGMENT!  (see Isaiah 2:12; Ezekiel 13:5; Joel 1:15;

Malachi 3:2). In the New Testament it signifies THE SECOND ADVENT

OF CHRIST!  (I Thessalonians 5:2; I Corinthians 1:8; Philippians 1:6;  

II Thessalonians 2:2) - “as a thief in the night;” – The best manuscripts omit

here “in the night.” Peter is evidently echoing the Lord’s words in that great

prophetic discourse on the Mount of Olives, which must have made such a deep

impression upon the apostles (Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39).  This illustration of

the sudden coming of the thief is repeated not only by Peter here, but also by Paul

(I Thessalonians 5:2), and twice by John (Revelation 3:3 and 16:15) - “in the

which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise,” - The Greek for

“with a great noise (ῤοιζηδόν – roizaedon – boomingly; with a booming

noise) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and is one of those remarkable

poetic forms which are not unfrequent in this Epistle: the noun ῤοῖζος – roizos

whizzingly; with a crash -  IS USED OF THE WHIZZING OF ARROWS,

OF THE RUSH OF WINGS, OF THE SOUND OF THE MIGHTY WINDS

OR ROARING WATERS!  It may be understood here of THE CRASH OF

A FALLING WORLD or of THE ROAR OF DESTROYING FLAMES!   

The word rendered “pass away” is that used by our Lord in the prophecy just

referred to (Matthew 24:35; also in Matthew 5:18 and in Luke 16:17) - “and the

elements shall melt with fervent heat,” - It is uncertain whether by the elements

(στοιχεῖα – stoicheia) Peter means the four elements (in the old and popular use

of the word), or THE GREAT CONSTITUENT PARTS OF THE UNIVERSE;

 the heavenly bodies. Against the first view is the assertion that one of those

elements is to be the agent of destruction. But the word rendered λυθήσεται -

 luthaesetai – melt - means “shall be dissolved” or “loosed;” and it may be

Peter’s meaning seems to be that the στοιχεῖα - elements or rudiments, of which

the universe is composed and compacted, will be loosed; that is, the framework

of the world will be disorganized.  The dissolution is contrasted with the consistency

described by the word συνεστῶσα – sunestosa – having together stood - literally,

 “standing together or consisting” – in v. 5. THE HEAVENS ARE RESERVED

FOR FIRE, AND WILL PASS AWAY WITH A RUSHING NOISE, AND

BEING SET ON FIRE, WILL BE DISSOLVED; THE ELEMENTS WILL

BE ON FIRE AND MELT, AND BE REDUCED TO A STATE OF

CONFUSION; THE EARTH AND THE WORKS THEREIN WILL BE

BURNT UP!  There does not seem, therefore, to be any cause for abandoning

the common meaning of στοιχεῖα, the elemental principles of which the universe

is made.” On the other hand, the word στοιχεῖα is certainly used of the heavenly

bodies by Justin Martyr (‘Apolog.,’ 2. c. 5, and ‘Dial. cum Tryphon,’ c. 23); and

the heavenly bodies are constantly mentioned in the descriptions of the

awful convulsions of the great day (Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24-25;

Luke 21:25-26;  Acts 2:20; Revelation 6:12-17).  (Let us not forget  Isaiah 24:18-23 –

CY – 2012)   The objection that the word does not bear this meaning elsewhere in

Holy Scripture is of little weight, as this is the only place in which it has a physical

sense. The literal translation of the clause is, “The elements, being scorched, shall be

dissolved.” The word for “being scorched” (καυσούμενα – kausoumena

burning by combustion) occurs in the New Testament only here and in v.12;

it is used by the Greek physicians of the burning heat of fever. The verb λυθήσεται

means “shall be dissolved or loosened” as cited above - “the earth also and

the works that are therein shall be burned up.”  By “the works that are

therein” Peter seems to mean all the works both of God and of man. There is

a very remarkable reading here (supported by the Sinaitic and Vatican and another

uncial manuscript), εὑρεθήσεται – eurethaesetai - “shall be discovered,”

 instead of κατακαήσεται,– katakaaesetai -  shall be burned up. If we

understand “the works that are therein” of man’s works and actions, this

reading will give a good sense (compare I Corinthians 3:13, “Every

man’s work shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it, because it

shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work, of what

sort it is”). Or the clause may be regarded as interrogative, “Shall the earth

and the works that are therein be found?” But the reading, “shall be burned

up” is well supported, and suits the context best.

 

 

The Certainty of the Lord’s Coming (vs. 1-10)

 

Peter took a deep interest in the spiritual welfare of the Christians of Asia Minor; he

felt a great affection for them; he calls them “beloved” four times in this chapter.

We do not know whether he had ever seen them face to face. It may be that Silvanus

Had made known to him their circumstances, their dangers, their temptations.

So he writes to them. In the First Epistle he comforts them in the presence

of great persecution; in the second he warns them against the seductions of

false teachers. He is an example to Christian ministers of diligence, of

affectionate care for souls.  To confute the scoffers he writes:

 

·         To stir up his readers. Their minds, he says, were pure. They were

single-hearted Christians; their religion was genuine, sincere. Nevertheless,

it was well to stir them up. We all need to be aroused from time to time.

We live on in the same way day after day; the daily prayers, the daily life,

are ordered according to rule; there is danger of becoming lukewarm,

formal, of acting from habit rather than from the conscious desire of

pleasing God, hence the need of exhortation. We ask God to “stir up the

wills of his faithful people.” It is he only who, by the power of His Spirit,

can really arouse us; but He uses men as His instruments. He used the

agency of Peter to stir up the minds of the Asiatic Christians.

 

·         To remind them of the words of the prophets and apostles. He had

urged the study of prophecy in the first chapter of this Epistle; he had

dwelt upon the subject of prophetical inspiration in both Epistles; he was

constantly referring to the prophets both in his speeches and letters.

Christians ought to study the writings of the prophets; they ought to

give heed to the Word of prophecy. So also they should be always mindful

of the Lord’s commandment given through the apostles. “God who in times

past spoke by the prophets, hath in the latter days spoken unto us by

His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2).  The writings of prophets and apostles come from

the same source — the inspiration of God (ch. 1:20-21); both have a message

for us. It becomes us to be mindful of that message; to forget it is to be wanting

in reverence and gratitude to Him from whom the message comes. The

commandment, delivered to us by the apostles, is in truth the commandment

of our Lord and Saviour, who, as our Lord, has a right to our obedience, and,

as our Saviour, has a claim upon our tenderest feelings of love and gratitude.

 

·         Scoffers will come. It has always been so; there have always been men

who mocked at those who trusted in God. It was so with Lot in Sodom,

with Isaac the heir of the promise, with the psalmist, with the Lord Jesus

Himself. Those of whom Peter speaks were men of sensual habits,

walking after their own lusts. There is such a thing as honest doubt, like

that of Thomas; there are men who would give the world to believe, if

they could; their temperament, their education, their habits of thought,

throw immense difficulties in their way; such men, we hope and trust, will

be guided, sooner or later, to the truth. But IN ALL AGES A VERY

LARGE PROPORTION OF THE PREVALENT SKEPTICISM

HAS ISSUED OUT OF AN UNGODLY LIFE!   Men have rejected

the faith because they were unwilling to believe. The pure morality of the

gospel offends the self-indulgent; IT IS A CONSTANT REPROACH

UNTO THEM,  THE TEACHING OF SCRIPTURE CONCERNING

THE JUDGMENT IS REPULSVIE TO THEM, they try to keep such

thoughts out of their minds.  (I highly recommend  Isaiah 1 – Spurgeon

Sermon – To the Thoughtless – this web site – CY – 2012)  And, besides this,

sin hardens the heart; a sensual life blinds the eye of the soul, (ask

General Petraeus who is in the news – November 13, 2012 – CY)

and makes men incapable of appreciating spiritual truth. “The natural

man [the ψυχικὸς – psuchikos – lower part of the immaterial in man –

in whom the animal soul is predominant] receiveth not the things of the

 Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can

he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians

2:14). Such men come with their mockery, saying, “Where is the promise

of His coming? The fathers have fallen asleep; generation after generation

has passed away. Christians have lived in expectation of the Lord’s coming

according to His promise; they have waited for Him, but He came not; they

are in their graves. Are men still to pass their lives in waiting for an advent

which seems to be continually receding? All things continue thus, as they

are, and as they have been; the laws of nature work on in their changeless

uniformity. Where is the promise?” These men took the Epicurean view of

the Deity. God might have created the world; He might have called into

being the forces which are working in the universe. But now, they thought,

He leaves those forces to their mutual action and reaction upon one

another; He does not interpose either in the natural world or in the affairs of

men; He leaves all to the silent rule of law. THE TEACHING OF HOLY

SCRIPTURE IS DIRECTLY OPPOSED TO THIS FORM OF

AGNOSTICISM.   “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work,”

said the Lord Jesus to the Jews (John 5:17). “In HIM we live, and move,

and have our being,” said Paul to the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers,

as well as to the men of Athens generally (Acts 17:28). God sustains the

universe from day to day, from hour to hour, with His continued

            agency.  Without His support the world would fall into ruin;

WITHOUT HIS PROVIDENCE, EVEN THE ORDER OF

SOCIETY WILL COLLAPSE!  (I would like to interject that through

God’s grace I have tried to teach the Adult Bible Class of Second

Baptist Church in Hopkinsville, for 41 years.  This teaching has gone

on for 68 years through the auspices and kindness of  Radio Station

WHOP and efforts of the church.  We even been on television the last 20

years or so, but Time-Warner, recently has gained control of the local cable

which we are on and it is my understanding that after the first of the year,

perhaps, April of 2013, we will not have this avenue of sharing God’s word

anymore.  Perhaps this is a harbinger of my next statement!  Since 1971,

during my tenure as teacher, I have been led to perceive that THE HOLY

SPIRIT is being gradually taken away from our society!!!!????   It is

not without precedence, as God did so in the days of Noah and at the time of

the overthrow of Israel by Nebuchadnezzar in 612 B.C.  [for verification I highly

recommend Ezekiel 43 – this web site – CY]  - On the internet yesterday, I read

of a movement of 25 states or more whose citizens are signing petitions to secede

from the United States of America.  Lest, by the length of this comment, you

forget what I was talking about – it refers to THE COLLAPSE OF

SOCIETY WITHOUT GOD – CY – 2012)  The laws of nature are but

observed uniformities, sequences of cause and effect; they are not forces;

they have no life, no power; THEY ARE THE EXPRESSION OF

THE DIVINE WILL!   God changeth not;  (“For I am the Lord, I change

not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” – Malachi 3:6) and

those laws which He has impressed upon the material universe exhibit the

hand of the Creator, they too are changeless within the sphere of the

all-controlling will of God. HE  SUSPEND THEIR OPERATION, FOR

HE IS LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT; (I highly recommend  Genesis 17 –

Names of God – El Shaddai – by Nathan Stonethis web site – CY  - 2012)

but as a rule His working is uniform, continuous. If it were not so, the world

would be A SCENE OF DISORDER  — all its rare beauty would be lost,

life in its present conditions could not be sustained, society would be impossible.

That uniformity which is THE RESULT OF THE WISDOM OF

GOD must not be made an argument against the providence of God. He

works in the uniformities of the laws of nature as certainly as in disturbances

of those uniformities (How about Katrina and Sandy just for starters –

one week before they hit, who would have thought that New Orleans

in 2005 or parts of the Big Apple in 2012, could be brought TO A

 STANDSTILL?   Even as I type this there are scenes of destruction splattered

all over television and the internet of the results of Hurricane Sandy – In all our

deviant sexual prowess with constant advertisement hailing the benefits of

sexually enhancing drugs, one would think that OUR IMPOTENCE in our

 inability to do anything  to cope with such occurrences in nature, we

could get the point of man’s DESPARATE NEED for help from THE

GOD WHO CONTROLS  NATURE AND HUMANKIND! - CY – 2012).

There have been such disturbances; the uniform course of nature has been

broken by Divine interpositions on a great scale. (I did not write this last

statement – it was written a couple hundred years ago!  - CY – 2012)

 

Peter’s answer for the scoffers is that all things have not always continued as they

are. For:

 

·         Creation itself was the introduction of a vast change; it was a mighty

interposition of Divine power. “In the beginning God created the heaven

and the earth” (Genesis 1).  We are not concerned here with the scientific

interpretation of phenomena, (though when God told man to “subdue” the

earth,” - Ibid. v.28 - inquiry was a part of the command – CY – 2012) 

The Bible was not intended to teach us that knowledge which men may by

patient labor obtain for themselves, but to reveal to us the relations between

man and God, so far as those relations are within our comprehension, and to

show us the duties which arise out of those relations. We are not told how

many ages, or what processes of creation, may have their place between

the second and the third verses of the first chapter of Genesis. It is the great

fact of creation which is forcibly declared in those emphatic words

with which the first of the sacred books begins. “By faith we understand

that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which

 are seen were not made of things which do appear.”  (Hebrews 11:3)

This is the great truth: “By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made;

and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth” (Psalm 33:6).

(By that same breath will they be destroyed!  II Thessalonians 2:8).

It was He who said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered

together unto one place, and let the dry land appear” (Genesis 1:9).

The scoffers willfully forget this; even if they do not formally deny the

possibility of creation, they shut their eyes to it, and forget that HE

WHO MADE THE WORLD CAN ALSO DESTROY IT - that the

great change of creation may be preparatory for other changes as great in

The future.

 

·         One such catastrophe was the Deluge. The earth, which God had once

pronounced to be “very good,” had become corrupt, and was filled with

violence (Genesis 6:11).  Then God brought in the Flood upon the world of

the ungodly.  By His Word “were all the fountains of the great deep

broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened” (Ibid. ch.7:11).

“And all flesh died that moved upon the earth” (Ibid. v.21).  That awful

visitation was a warning of coming judgments. All things did not go on in

the same unvarying course as the scoffers said.  When all flesh had

corrupted his way upon the earth, then God interposed in His awful justice,

and the earth was, by a baptism of water, restored and purified,

 prepared for a new beginning.

 

·         All things will not always continue as they are. By God’s Word the

heavens and the earth were made at the first; by His Word they are now

maintained in being (v.7). But as the old world contained in itself the element

which swept away the ungodly race of men, so THE WORLD THAT

NOW IS contains in itself the agent of its own destruction.

 IT IS STORED WITH FIRE;  there are stores of fire hidden within it,

which are to work the last most awful change, which are to destroy the

present order of things, and by their purifying and refining power to work,

as by a baptism of fire, THE REGENERATION OF THE UNIVERSE

 into a new life. And it is stored up for fire, reserved unto the day of

 judgment, WHEN THE LORD JESUS SHALL BE REVEALED

FROM HEAVEN IN FLAMING FIRE  (II Thessalonians 1:7-10).

That great day is presented to us in Holy Scripture as a day of terror with

surroundings most awful and overwhelming. It will be A DAY OF

DESTRUCTION TO THE UNGODLY;  it will sweep them into

UTTER DEATH -  THAT DEATH OF THE SOUL WHICH IS SO  

MUCH MORE DREADFUL THAN THE DEATH OF THE BODY,

FOR IT IS DEATH ETERNAL,  A STATE OF SEPARATION

FROM the life of God, separation from light and joy and love, FELT

IN ALL ITS BLANK AND UTTER MISERY!  Then all things will not

continue as they are; He who made the world at the first, He who interposed

when that world had become corrupt, and swept away the wicked with the

waters of the Flood, — He will come again, but this time “in flaming fire,

taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the

gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Apparently the misnamed Progressives

of our current society have no clue, and like the people in the days of the

Flood, “knew not until the flood came, and took them all away.”

(Matthew 24:39).  The mockers may mock; but the Word of God

endureth for ever (I Peter 1:25),  it must be fulfilled — He will surely

come.   “But the day of the Lord will come! (v.10)

 

God is always on time.  What if He had come too quickly?  You

or I may never have been born!  In a worst case scenario, His haste

may have been prior to our being saved and in that case we would

be in the same predicament as Judas, “good were it  for that man

if he had never been born.”  (Mark 14:21)

 

 

 

EXPLANATION OF THE DELAY OF THE JUDGMENT

 

·         With the Eternal, Time is Not. We think under the laws of time; time

is an essential element in our thought — we cannot think without recognizing

it.It is not so with God; the thought of God is not subject to the law of time.

HE IS ETERNAL; PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE  are all within

the sphere of His immediate knowledge. To Him one day is as a thousand

years, and a thousand years as one day. To Him that inhabiteth eternity the

longest time that human thought can conceive is but as a speck. Even we

can understand that real life is measured not by mere time, but by action.

How much of life was there concentrated in the three years of our

 Lord’s ministry, those years filled full with works of love and holy

teaching!  While, on the other hand, the seventy years or more of many

men pass by in careless living, in listless idleness, without energy

 either of thought or action, without any good results either for

themselves or for others. It is thought, love, action, that measures life,

not the hand of the clock, not the mere lapse of hours and years.

 

·         The Lord is long-suffering. The delay does not mean indifference; it

does not mean that the Lord heedeth not the conduct of men. The ungodly

say, “Tush, God hath forgotten: He hideth away His face; He will

 never  see it” (Psalm 10:11).  But it is not so. The delay of the judgment

comes from a far different reason. God is not willing that any should

 perish.  Alas! men do perish in their sins; THE DAY OF JUDGMENT

IS THE DAY OF PERDITION OF UNGODLY MEN!  But

it is not of God; it is of their own willfulness and obstinacy; they bring

upon themselves swift perdition. God has bestowed on man the awful

gift of power to choose good or evil; without that power there could be

no moral action, no responsibility, no obedience, no holiness, no love; life

without that power would be the working of a machine, not the energy of a

creature made after the likeness of God. Man, alas! has too often abused

that great and perilous gift, and has turned that which should have led to

holiness into an occasion of sin; and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans

6;23).  But God hath “no pleasure in the death of the wicked;” His desire

is that “all should come to repentance.” Therefore He gives them time.

“The goodness of God leadeth them to repentance” (Romans 2:4).

We cannot enter into life without repentance, without a deep and real

change of heart. “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,”

was the first sermon of John the Baptist and the first sermon of our Lord.

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you… for the remission of

sins,” was the exhortation of Peter in his first great sermon (Acts 2:38).

And God willeth that all should come to repentance; for “the Lord is

loving unto every man;” and Jesus Christ our Lord “tasted

death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9).  And “there is joy in heaven

over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:7,10).  THEREFORE

HE GIVES US TIME!   The delay comes from the longsuffering

love of God. How sad that men should scoff at that which should

be the ground of adoring gratitude!  (Men stand in long lines for

many things on earth!  One would expect that men would be in long

lines beating the doors of the church down like they do at midnight

madness at the University of Kentucky or the Super Bowl, etc.! –

CY – 2012)

 

·         BUT THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME!   It must be so,

for so it is decreed in the counsels of God. The mockers may mock in

their mockery; they may ask in bitter sarcasm, “Where is the promise

 of his coming?” The Christian knows the answer; it is hidden in the

secret purpose of God, in the mystic book sealed with seven seals,

which none can open save the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation

5:1-14).  But the day of the Lord will come — that we know, though

we know not the time.  (Mark 13:32)

 

Ø      Its coming is certain, sure as the Word of God; the Bible tells

us it will come; our consciences bear witness also; the warning voice

of conscience points forward to the coming of the awful day. And it

will come suddenly, as the thief cometh — when men are not

looking for it. Men will be living, as, alas! so many men are living

now, heedlessly; eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage

(Matthew 24:38), without a thought of God and the solemn

future. Then, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, shall the sign

of the Son of man be seen in heaven, and the archangel’s trump

shall sound  (I Corinthians 15:52; I Thessalonians 4:15-17).

“Therefore take ye heed,” saith the Lord, “lest that day come

upon you unawares.” (Luke 21:34)

 

Ø      And its coming is terrible.  Peter’s words bring vividly before our

thoughts the awful scene — the crash of falling worlds, the roar

 of the destroying flames, the dissolution of the elements into

chaos, the conflagration which shall burn up the earth and

all that is therein. All the works that are therein, the palaces of

kings, the fortifications of cities, the cathedrals and churches built for

the worship of God, (our utmost treasures that we have collected

all our lives – CY – 2012) — all shall be involved  IN THAT

ONE TREMENDOUS RUIN!  This is the apostle’s answer to

THE SCOFFERS!

 

THE DAY OF JUDGMENT MUST COME; THEREFORE  LET US

REPENT WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME!.

 

11 “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved,” - rather,

seeing that all these things are being dissolved. The participle is present,

and IMPLIES THE CERTAINTY OF THE EVENT FORETOLD,

and, perhaps, also that the germs of that coming dissolution are already in

being, that the forces which are ultimately to bring about THE FINAL

CATASTROPHE are even now at work.  Some of the better manuscripts,

instead of οϋν – oun – then – read οὕτωςoutos -  thus: -“seeing that all

 these things are thus being dissolved” -  “what manner of persons ought

ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness? The Greek word for

“what manner of persons” - ποταποὺς - potapous - means literally, “of what

country;” it seems to point to the great truth that God’s people are fellow-citizens

of the saints, that the commonwealth of which they are citizens is in heaven.

The word for “to be” is the emphatic ὑπάρχειν – huparchein – to be belonging –

which denotes original, essential, continuous being. (On the word for “conversation

(ἀναστροφαῖς – anastrophais -  behavior, conduct), see note on I Peter 1:15.)

Both this noun and the following are plural in the Greek, and therefore mean “in

all aspects and forms of holy conduct and godliness.” Some commentators

connect these last words, “in all holy conversation and godliness,” with the

next verse: “looking in all holy conversation,’’ etc. Some, again,

understand this verse as asking a question, which is answered in the next;

but the Greek word for “what manner of persons” (ποταπός) seems to be

used in the New Testament as an exclamation only, not interrogatively.

 

12 “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God.,” - The

preposition “unto” is inserted without authority. The second participle σπεύδοντας

speudontas – hasting; hurrying -  is followed directly by the accusative, and is

evidently transitive. In the Septuagint Version of Isaiah 16:5, σπεύδων δικαιοσύνην

speudon dikaiosunaen - represents the “hasting righteousness”

of our translation.  Here the translation “hastening” is most appropriate. The

Father hath put the times and seasons in His own power; but as the long-suffering

of God waited in the days of Noah, so now He is “long-suffering to us-ward,

not willing that any should perish;” and in His gracious mercy waits

for the repentance of His chosen.  Peter seems to represent Christians as

“hastening the coming [literally, ‘presence’] of the day of God” by working

out their own salvation, and helping to spread the knowledge of the gospel

(Matthew 24:14), and so rendering the long-suffering patience of God

no longer necessary. The words imply also the duty of praying for that

coming, as we do in the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer, and in the

Funeral Service, “Beseeching thee, that it may please thee, of thy gracious

goodness, shortly to accomplish the number of thine elect, and to hasten

thy kingdom.” Compare Peter’s speech in Acts 3:19-20 where he says,

“Repent ye therefore… that so (ὅπως ἄν – hopos an – so that) there may

come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and that He may

send the Christ” (Revised Version). This remarkable coincidence of thought

furnishes an argument of considerable weight in favor of the genuineness

of this Epistle. Another possible rendering of the word is “earnestly

desiring,” which is adopted in the text of the Revised Version, and is

preferred by some commentators -  “wherein the heavens being on fire

shall be dissolved,” -  The Greek for “wherein” is δἰ,' ἥν – di aen - , on

account of which -  i.e., on account of the day of God, or, what comes to much

the same meaning, on account of the coming, the presence, of that day. Old

things must pass away because of the coming of the day of God; the old

order must give place to new - “and the elements shall melt with fervent

heat.”  The apostle repeats the striking words which he had already used in

v.10, with a different verb. The Greek word for “shall melt” here is not

λυθήσεται, as in v.10, but a stronger word τήκεται – taeketai -  are being

melted, or wasted away; being decomposed.  The tense is the prophetic present,

IMPLYING A CERTAIN FULFILLMENT!   There is probably a reference

to Isaiah 34:4, where the Septuagint rendering is Καὶ τακήσονται πᾶσαι αἱ

δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν.  Kai takaesontai pasai aidunameis ton

ouranon – And all the  host of heaven will be dissolved.

 

13 “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and

a new earth,” -  rather, but, according to His promise, we look for. The promise

is that in Isaiah 65:17, “Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth” (see

also Ibid. ch.66:22 and Revelation 21:1).  John saw in vision the fulfillment of the

prophecy of Isaiah and  Peter: “The first heaven and the first earth were

 passed away.” It may be that, as the water of the Deluge was the baptism of

the ancient world into a new life, so the fire of the great day will be the

means of purifying and refining the universe, transforming it into new

 heavens and a new earth, making all things new. Our Lord’s use of the word

“regeneration,” in Matthew 19:28, seems to favor this view. In the regeneration

of the individual soul the personality remains, the thoughts, desires, affections, are

changed; so, it may be, in the regeneration of the world the substance will remain, the

fashion (σχῆμα – schaema) of the old world will pass away (I Corinthians 7:31).

But it is impossible to pronounce dogmatically whether the new heavens

and earth will be a reproduction of the old in a far more glorious form,

through the agency of the refining fire, or an absolutely new creation, as

the words of Isaiah seem to imply. John, like Peter, speaks of a new

earth, and tells us that that new earth will be the dwelling-place of the

blessed. He saw THE HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM, coming down

from God out of heaven; THE THRONE OF GOD AND OF THE LAMB

(he tells us) shall be in it: “The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will

 dwell with them.” The holy city, Jerusalem, which is above, is in heaven now;

the commonwealth of which the saints are citizens is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).

But heaven will come down to earth; the throne of God and of the Lamb shall

be there; there his servants shall serve Him. The distinction between earth

and heaven will be abolished; FOR WHERE GOD IS THERE IS

HEAVEN!   - “wherein dwelleth righteousness.”  (Compare Isaiah 60:21,

“Thy people shall be all righteous;” also Isaiah 65:25; Revelation 21:27;

Romans 8:21).

 

If the catastrophe which the apostle describes in vs.10-12 stood alone, it might

well fill the mind of the believing reader with foreboding and with awe, and

paralyze all his energies.  However, revelation passes beyond the epoch of

destruction, and assures us that what seems the end is not the end of all

things. The old will certainly decay, but only to give place to the new. How

this reconstitution is to be effected, we know not; yet that it shall be

brought to pass is assured in the promise of “NEW HEAVENS AND A

NEW EARTH!” 

 

If there is vagueness as to what is material, NOTHING COULD BE MORE

EXPLICIT THAN THE REVELATION AS IT RELATES TO THE

SPIRITUAL!   The character of that kingdom is revealed in language

simple enough for us all to understand –“wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

The contrast between the prevalence of unrighteousness on this earth, and

the reign of righteousness in the  reconstructed world, is striking in itself,

and it furnishes a true satisfaction to the mind which by reason alone cannot

confidently anticipate a change so blessed.  In this hope our soul can

confidently rest, assured by “THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSETH

ALL UNDERSTANDING!”   (Philippians 4:7)

 

14 “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things,” -

rather, these things, the coming of the Lord, the restitution of all things,

the new heavens and the new earth. “be diligent that ye may be found of

Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”  Literally, give diligence (or,

be earnest — the same word which is used in ch. 1:10) to be found

without spot and blameless in His sight in peace. Christians who look for

the coming of Christ must EARNESTLY STRIVE TO IMITATE their

Lord, the “LAMB WITHOUT BLEMISH AND WITHOUT SPOT!”

 In the word ἄσπιλοι,– aspiloi - without spot - we have a link with I Peter

1:19. The word for “blameless” (ἀμώμητοι – amomaetoi) is found elsewhere

only in Philippians 2:15. The dative αὐτῷ  - auto - should be rendered, not

of Him” or “by Him,” but “in His sight” or “before him.” Peace is used in

its fullest sense — peace with God and with man; the peace which

Christ giveth; “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding.”

(Philippians 4:7)  “In peace” was a common inscription on Christian graves.

 

15 “And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation;” - The apostle

is referring to v. 9. Scoffers count the delay of the judgment slackness; the Christian

should count it salvation; it is for the salvation of the elect that the judgment tarrieth.

It is almost certain that by “our Lord” here Peter means the Lord Jesus, whom he

describes by the same title in v. 18 - “even as our beloved brother Paul also” –

 The plural pronoun may be intended to imply that Paul was known to the

Churches to which Peter was writing, and was beloved there. Peter

addresses his readers as “beloved” four times in this Epistle; he here uses

the same epithet of Paul – “according to the wisdom given unto him hath

written unto you;: -  rather, wrote to you. That wisdom was given unto him,

as he himself says (I Corinthians 3:10). If we ask to what Epistles of Paul is Peter

referring, the passage which at once occurs to us is I Thessalonians 4 and 5. This

Epistle was probably known to Peter; there may be a reference to I Thessalonians

5:2 in v. 10 of this chapter; and Silvanus, whose name Paul associates with his own

in both Epistles to the Thessalonians, was with Peter when he wrote his First Epistle

(I Peter 5:12). But Peter’s Second Epistle is addressed (primarily at least)

to the same churches to which the first was written (v.1).

 

16 “As also in all his Epistles,” - The true reading is probably ejn pa>saiv

ejpistolai~v – en pasais epistolais – in all epistles - without the article. The words,

therefore, do not imply the existence of a complete collection of Paul’s Epistles, but

mean only “in all Epistles which he writes” -  “speaking in them of these

things;” -  that is, of the day of God, the end of the world, etc. Peter was

acquainted with other Epistles of Paul besides those addressed to the

Asiatic Churches. There are evident indications of his knowledge of the

Epistles to the Thessalonians and Corinthians, as well as of that to the

Romans -  “in which are some things hard to be understood,” -  The

manuscripts vary between ἐν οῖς– en hois and ἐν αῖς – en ais.  The first reading

would refer to the words immediately preceding — “these things;” “among the

subjects on which Paul wrote there are some things,” etc. The second would

refer to “all his Epistles,” and would mean that there are certain difficulties

in Paul’s Epistles generally. Peter does not tell us what difficulties

were in his thoughts — whether Paul’s teaching about “the man of sin,”

and “the day of the Lord,” or his doctrine of justification by faith, and his

assertion of Christian liberty, which might be perverted into anti-nomianism

by such men as the false teachers censured in ch. 2. The word δυσνόητος

dusnoaetas -  hard to be understood or apprehend - occurs nowhere else in

the New Testament – “which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest,”  -

rather, the ignorant and unsteadfast. Both words are peculiar to this Epistle; the

last occurs also in ch.2:14, the first here only in the New Testament. The verb also

translated “wrest” (στρεβλοῦσιν – streblousin – are twisting) is found only

here; it means “to twist with a windlass,” and so “to strain, to torture, to

distort” -  “as they do also the other Scriptures,” - This passage is of the

greatest interest, as showing that some of Paul’s Epistles had by this

time taken their place in the estimate of Christians by the side of the sacred

books of the Old Testament, and were regarded as Holy Scripture. By “the

other Scriptures”  Peter means the Old Testament, and also, perhaps,

some of the earlier writings of the New, as the first three Gospels and the

Epistle of  James. Paul, in I Timothy 5:18, quotes a passage which seems to

come from Luke 10:7 as Scripture (compare I Peter 1:12) – “unto their own

destruction.”  Literally, their own destruction of themselves. The use of both

adjective and pronoun intensifies the meaning (compare ch. 2:1,12).

 

17 “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing that ye know these things before,” –

The pronoun “ye” is emphatic; others have gone astray; “continue

ye faithful.” The construction is participial, and there is no expressed

object; literally, “knowing before,” i.e.  that false teachers will arise -

“beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall

from your own steadfastness.”  Rather, as in the Revised Version, lest, being

carried awayye fall. It is interesting to notice that the word rendered

led or carried away” is used by Paul, in Galatians 2:13, of Barnabas, who,

along with Peter himself, was then “carried away” with the dissimulation of

the Judaizers. The word rendered “wicked,” rather “lawless,” is used

elsewhere in the New Testament only in ch. 2:7. The word for “steadfastness” –

(στηριγμός – staerigmos) occurs only here.

 

18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour

Jesus Christ.” Growth is necessary for steadfastness; we cannot

persevere unless we continually advance in faith (compare I Peter. 1:5-7;

2:2). Peter insists on the knowledge of Christ as essential for growth in

 grace, at the beginning, as at the end, of this Epistle. “To Him be glory both

now and for ever. Amen.”  We notice the doxology addressed to Christ; it

reminds us of the hymn which Pliny, in his famous letter to Trajan, says the

Christians of Bithynia (one of the provinces mentioned in I Peter 1:1) were

wont to address to Christ as to God. To Him be (or is) the glory — all the

glory which belongs to God, which we ascribe to Him. “For ever” is, literally,

“for the day of the age or of eternity (εἰς ἡμερὰν αἰῶνος – eis haemeran

aionos –into day of eon ).” This remarkable expression is found only here, and is

variously interpreted, as “the day on which eternity begins as contrasted

with time, but which day is likewise all eternity itself.” St. Augustine said

“It is only one day, but an everlasting day, without yesterday to precede it,

 and without tomorrow to follow it; not brought forth by the natural sun,

which shall exist no more, but by CHRIST THE SUN OF

RIGHTEOUSNESS!”  (Revelation 21:23; Malachi 4:2)

 

(Consider the person who is obsessed with physical fitness.  Physical fitness

is important to many and rightfully so.  All of us should be concerned about

our physical health.  God had a reason to physically create us and He is

concerned immensely with our health and well being!  But there is more

to man than the physical.  Consider the moral nature of man. Symmetry of

character is just as essential to the soul and spirit as muscle tone, bulk and

flexibility are to the body.  Harmonious as well as vigorous development

of the renewed spiritual nature should be the aim of all whose

desire is to please God.  Instances abound in which the possession of one

excellence is presumed to compensate the absence of others. But to be bluntly

honest and uncourteous, or to be discreet and untender; to be amiable but

unable to resist evil influence, is SPIRITUAL DEFORMITY!   Whilst

perfection is to be found in God alone, each follower of Christ aspires to grow

up in all things unto Him who is the Head. “Ye are complete in Him”

(Colossians 2:10). 

 

We are to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul prayed, on

behalf of the Colossians, that they might increase in the knowledge of God.

And our Lord Himself deemed this knowledge so important that He made it a

petition of His great intercessory prayer that His disciples might “know the

only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He had sent.” Now, all human

knowledge is susceptible of increase; and the Lord and Saviour in whom

we trust is a theme, an object of knowledge, SO VAST AS TO BE

INEXHAUSTIBLE!

 

 

      Exhortations to Look For and Hasten the Great Day (vs.11-18)

 

The Christian must live for and expect the day of the Lord’s coming. They must

Daily look for the presence of the great day, and by thus looking for it, and

making ready for it, they must hasten its coming. For that day cometh not till the

chosen of God are safe. “Haste thee, escape thither,” said the destroying angel to

Lot; “for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither” (Genesis 19:22).

So now “the lightnings of the judgment-day pause yet a while” (Matthew 24:27),

stored in the  armory of God till God’s elect are numbered, till they are ready,

not one of them lost, for their eternal home. Then there is a sense in which,

very strange and awful though it may seem, Christians may hasten the coming of

the day of God. When the bride hath made herself ready, when the work of

repentance is wrought out in the hearts of God’s people, when they have

washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, —

THEN THE DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME!   Now the long-suffering

of God waiteth, as it waited in the days of Noah (120 years – Genesis 6:3). It is a

holy and a blessed truth — He waits for us in His tender mercy; He is long-suffering,

not willing that any should perish; His wrath does not strike at once the sinner in his sin.

He is waiting now, giving us time; but that gracious waiting cannot be protracted

for ever; THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME!  . It is our duty to do what

lieth in us to hasten its coming, by the preparation of our own hearts, by stirring up

others to repentance, and by our prayers. “Thy kingdom come,” is our

daily prayer, the prayer which the Lord Himself puts into our mouths. “The

kingdom of God” has more senses than one in Holy Scripture; but certainly

one thing to which the Lord directs our prayers in those words is the

coming of the day of God, WHEN THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD

 SHALL BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD AND OF HIS

CHRIST; AND HE SHALL REIGN FOR EVER AND EVER!   This is to be

our daily prayer; if we use it in thoughtful faith, it will fix our hearts upon our eternal

home. The Church on earth prays, “Thy kingdom come;” in Paradise the souls

under the altar cry with a loud voice, “How long, O Lord, holy and true?”

 (Revelation 6:9-10). He will hear the prayer that goeth up to Him day and night;

He will avenge His own elect (Luke 18:7); the great day must come!

 

Be aware that that day will be a day of terrors. Because of its presence the visible

heavens will be on fire; they shall be dissolved. The earth and the heaven,

in the vision of judgment that was revealed to John, fled away from the

face of Him who sat on the great white throne, and there was found no

place for them (Revelation 20:11).  Peter, too, saw the awful scene presented

to the eye of his mind — he uses the prophetic present — the elements are

melting, wasting away, with fervent heat. Those startling words suggest thoughts

of exceeding awe and terror: “Take ye heed; watch and pray.” (Luke 21:36)

 

There will be a new home for the righteous. John heard the voice

of Him that sat on the throne saying, “Behold, I make all things new”

(Revelation 21:5).  God had promised this long ago by the mouth of his prophet

Isaiah (Isaiah 65:17).  He will surely fulfill His word. He will not leave His

people desolate and homeless. He provided a city of refuge for Lot, when his

old abode was destroyed by the fire of the wrath of God. So, out of the appalling

conflagration of the dreadful day there will arise a new and blessed home for His

elect. We look for new heavens and a new earth; and they shall abide for ever.

As once the promise came to Noah that there should not be any more a flood to

Destroy the earth, so God hath promised that “the new heavens and the new

earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord”

(Isaiah 66:22).  Heaven and earth shall then be very near, the one to the other;

for the holy city, new Jerusalem, shall come down from God out of heaven;

and the tabernacle of God shall be with men, and He will dwell with them

(Revelation 21:2-3).  The commonwealth that is in heaven shall be established

(so Holy Scripture seems to teach us) upon the new earth. It shall come down

 from heaven, having the glory of God; the throne of God and of the Lamb

shall be in it; THERE HIS SERVANTS SHALL SERVE HIM!   Heaven

will come down to earth; and so the new earth will become a part of heaven,

very closely joined with heaven. God will dwell there with men, AND THEY

SHALL SEE HIM FACE TO FACE and live in that new earth the life of

heaven; for it is THE UNVEILED PRESENCE OF GOD THAT MAKES

HEAVEN WHAT IT IS,  the abode of joy, and love, and holiness, and

 Entranced contemplation of the Divine beauty.   What a joy it will

be to see the king in His beauty  and to behold the land that was very

 far off - (Isaiah 33:17)  Into that city entereth nothing that defileth; righteousness

dwelleth there (Revelation 21:27; here v. 13).  The earth that now is hath been

defiled with many sins; it has been stained with blood, devastated by war

and cruelty, polluted with sensuality and uncleanness. BUT THE NEW

EARTH SHALL BE ALL HOLY!  The refining fires of judgment will work a

complete and everlasting change. The Deluge cleansed the old world, but only

for a time; sin soon began to reassert itself. The fires of the great day will

purely PURGE AWAY ALL THE DROSS  and leave only THE

REFINED GOLD!   RIGHTEOUSNESS WILL DWELL FOR EVER

IN THAT NEW EARTH!   The people of the holy city shall be all righteous;

for they shall abide in the presence of Him who is the Sun of Righteousness,

and shall be made like unto Him, for they shall see Him as He is. (I John 3:2)

 

These thoughts of heaven must enforce upon us the necessity of diligence

in the religious life. Men who really believe that after death cometh the

judgment cannot live listlessly and idly. Many professing Christians, alas!

live careless lives; but that carelessness evinces a practical unbelief. The

momentous issues of the great day must stir the believer to earnest effort.

Peter had urged the necessity of diligence in the first chapter; he urges

it again in the last. Then he appealed to the grace of God, His gifts, His

promises; the love of God, the blessed hope set before us, ought to arouse

us to love and zeal. Now he appeals to the awful future, the judgment that

is coming. CARELESSNESS IN THE PROSPECT OF JUDGMENT

IS NOTHING SHORT OF MADNESS!  Those whose faith is real must be

diligent. “That day cometh as a thief:” how will it find us? What will be the

state of those who are surprised in sin? Our hearts sicken in shuddering dread

at the fearful thought. Then let us give diligence to make our calling and

 election sure.  (ch. 1:10)  God’s elect must be conformed to the image of His

Son.  His Son, the holy Lamb of God, was without blemish and without spot;

so must His servants be. They must wash their robes, and make them white in the

blood of the Lamb. “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin;” but it

cleanseth only those who “walk in the light” (I John 1:7).  Therefore let us be

diligent to walk always in the consciousness of God’s presence, in the light that

streams from the cross. That light will show each spot and blemish that rests upon

the soul; it will bring us to repentance and confession; and then God “is

faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all

unrighteousness” (Ibid. v.9).  Those who “follow the Lamb

whithersoever He goeth” are without fault before the throne of God

(Revelation 14:5), for every fault has been washed away in the precious

blood. Their sins once were like crimson, but now they are whiter than snow;

they are clothed with the wedding garment, the white robe of righteousness;

therefore they are found in peace. Christ is their Peace; He hath made peace

through the blood of His cross. Those who abide in Christ have peace with

God now, in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment. Such men account

that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation. They know that life is a sacred trust,

that the time of probation is precious; and they will strive by God’s gracious

help to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that

the night cometh, in which no man can work.

 

Pay attention to the warnings of Holy Scripture.  Both Peter and Paul press

earnestly upon us the great danger of spiritual sloth; both warn us that the day

of the Lord cometh suddenly, like a thief; both urge us to be watchful. Let us

listen to those two holy men as they echo the solemn teaching of the great Master.

The written Word is a most precious gift, but men may wrest it, and do wrest it,

to their own destruction. Receive it in simplicity and faith, and it will save the soul.

God reveals its deep holy meaning to babes in Christ. But if men with perverse

ingenuity will use it as the weapon of party strife, and twist its sacred words

to suit their selfish purposes, then it may — alas! that it should be so — increase

their condemnation.

 

There is need of thoughtful watchfulness. False teachers distort the meaning

of Holy Scripture; they wander far from the truth; they are self-willed,

lawless, disobedient to the Law of God written in the heart, revealed in His

Word.  Therefore Christians must be on their guard; they must “not believe

every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they be of God: because many false

prophets are gone out into the world”  (I John 4:1).  This conflict of

opinions sometimes produces painful doubts and uncertainties; it is one of

the trials of the Christian life.

 

There is need to grow in grace.  God will reveal the truth to the babes in Christ.

He will not leave the humble, faithful soul in darkness and perplexity. Only

let a man earnestly pray for the grace of God; only let him strive daily to

draw nearer to Christ, and to gain that inner knowledge of Christ Jesus the

Lord, in comparison with which all things else are dross; and the light of

the presence of Christ will surely dawn upon him, and in that light he will

find a Guide to bring him to eternal life. For His is the glory now and to the

day of eternity, and He is “able to save to the uttermost all who come to

God by Him.”  Let us study the Scriptures in faith and prayer, that we

may grow in grace.

 

 

   Duty in View of  the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (vs. 11-18)

 

“Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons

ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness?” The catastrophe that is to

accompany the second coming is here put down in time present in the original, to

raise an impression of ITS CERTAINTY -  seeing that these things are thus all

dissolved.  The catastrophe thus vividly presented is here made a reason for our

attending to ourselves. “What manner of persons,” Peter exclaims, “ought ye

to be in all holy living and godliness?” Holy living is the living of those who

are set apart to the service of a HOLY GOD!   Godliness points to this living

as based on our relation to God. By the use of the plural in the original there is

brought out the manifold workings and forms of a godly life. There is the

feeling of dependence on God and of fear toward Him, desire for the blessing

from God and trust in Him for the blessing, the feeling of love toward God FOR

WHAT HE IS  and of gratitude toward Him for His mercies, knowledge of

God’s will and THE RESOLUTION TO DO HIS WILL — all this finding

expression in worship, self-command, and sacrifice for others.

 

Our attitude toward the Day of God is to be that of expectancy.  We are to

look for its coming and His Presence!  We are to allow it to dwell in our

hearts and minds, so as to call forth our earnest desire after it!  The proper

translation is to “hasten on.” The idea of hastening on the coming is unusual;

but it is remarkable that it is elsewhere expressed by Peter. “Repent ye therefore,”

he said to the assembly in Solomon’s porch, “and turn again, that your sins may

be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence

of the Lord; and that He may send the Christ who hath been appointed for

you, even Jesus: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restoration

of all things” (Acts 3:19-21).  It is interesting to think of the coming as an event

which may be accelerated by our repentance and prayers and efforts for the

diffusion of the gospel.

 

The new heavens and new earth are to correspond to newness of character —

a correspondence of the outward to the inward NEVER TO BE DISTURBED!

 It is said in Isaiah 66:22, “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I

shall make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and

your name remain.” The expression of the idea here is, “WHEREIN DWELLETH

RIGHTEOUSNESS” -has its permanent abode, from which it will never

take flight. It will be a world where there is no superstition or infidelity, where there

is:

 

·         a correct, bright conception of who God is, and

·         a due appreciation of the work of  Christ.

 

It will be a world where there is nothing to interfere with social well-being, where

jealousies and antipathies are unknown. “The wolf and the lamb shall feed

together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the

serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain,

saith the Lord!” (Isaiah 65:25) - When we see the new heavens and the new

earth, there will be no regret that the former things have passed away, and “shall

not be remembered, nor come into mind”  (Ibid. v.17).   God has made a world

suitable for His people in their present imperfect state, and is preparing a world

suitable to them  when He puts glory on them.  (John 14:1-3)

 

 

Doxology (v.18)

 

“To Him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.” It is to Christ that the

adoration is offered. To Him be glory now; for it is to the knowledge of Him that we

owe all of grace that we have. To Him be glory for ever, literally, “to the day of

the age” — the day on which eternity, as contrasted with time, begins, and which is

never to be broken up, but is to be one long day. To Him we are indebted, as for all

that we have now, so for all that we hope to have hereafter. Thus does the Epistle

end without the customary salutations, simply with the carrying forward of Christ into

our eternal life. It becomes every one who has followed out the thought of the Epistle

to add his devout “Amen.”

 

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