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Hastening the Coming of the Day of the Lord (2 Peter 3)

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The Destruction of Heavens and Earth (Rev. 21:1; 2 Pet. 3:6-12)

2 Peter Chapter 3: An Exposition

Is There A Delay In Christ's Return?





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2 Peter 3

Prophecy of the last days
This is now, beloved, the second epistle that I write to you; and in both of them I stir up your sincere mind by putting you in remembrance: 2 that you should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets and the commandments of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles.
   3 Knowing this first, that in the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their own lusts, 4 and saying: Where is the promise of his coming? For from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Judgment to come
   5 For this they wilfully forget, that there were heavens from of old and an earth compacted out of water and amidst water, by the word of God; 6 by which means the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. 7 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.
   8 But beloved, do not forget 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 count slackness, but is longsuffering toward you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should came to repentance.
   10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief. Then the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
   11 Seeing that these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be- in all holy living and reverence toward God. 12 Looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. 13 But, according to His promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.
   14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing you look for these things, give diligence that you may be found in peace, without spot and blameless in his sight. 15 And consider, that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation. Even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote to you; 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things. In his letters there are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the other scriptures.
   17 Therefore beloved, you, knowing these things beforehand, beware; lest, being carried away with the error of the wicked, you lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.


3:1 Remembering is a major theme of Peter’s letters. It seems that his initial audience had heard the Gospel but were forgetting it; this problem is seen in the way Paul writes too. We need to regularly remind ourselves of the basic Gospel.

3:6,7 The physical planet wasn’t destroyed by the flood, but the wicked human system upon earth was. ‘Heaven and earth’ is a phrase used in the Bible to refer to a system of things- the rulers are likened to the heavens, e.g. the sun, moon and stars refer to the fathers of Israel; and the earth refers to the ordinary people. The literal heaven and earth won’t be destroyed (Ecc. 1:4), but the system of human evil which is currently here will be. The new heavens and earth will therefore be “righteous” (v. 13).

3:15 This along with v. 9 could imply that God is delaying the return of Christ because He is so passionate for human repentance, so that as many as possible may live eternally in His Kingdom. We should therefore not only repent ourselves, so that our spiritual development hastens the return of Christ (:11,12); but also seek to spread the Gospel to others and thereby hasten the second coming (Mt. 24:14).