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2 Peter Chapter Three


2 Peter 3

In the last chapter, as we have said, it is materialism: trust in the stability of that which can be seen, in contrast with trust in the word of God which teaches us to look for the coming of Jesus, the return of the Lord. They judge by their senses. There is, say they, no appearance of change. This is not the case. To the eye of man it is indeed true that there is none. But these believers are willfully ignorant of the fact that the world has been already judged once; that the waters, out of which by the mighty word of God the earth came, had for the moment swallowed it up again, all perishing except those whom God preserved in the ark. And by the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. It is not that the Lord is slack concerning the promise of His return, but that He is still exercising grace, not wishing any to perish, but that all should come to repentance. And a thousand years are to Him but as a day, and a day as a thousand years. But the day of the Lord shall come, in which all things will pass away, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat and all that is on the earth will be consumed. Solemn consideration for the children of God, to maintain them in complete separation from evil, and from all that is seen, looking for and hastening the day in which the heavens shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat! Everything on which the hopes of the flesh are founded shall disappear for ever.

Nevertheless, there shall be new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness shall dwell. It is not here said, "shall reign," which would be the thousand years of the Lord's dominion; here it is the eternal state, in which the government, that has brought all things into order, will terminate, and unhindered blessing will flow from God, the kingdom being given up to God the Father.

It is in following out the ways of God in government that the apostle carries them on to the eternal state, in which the promise will be finally accomplished. The millennium itself was the restitution, of which the prophets had spoken; and, morally, the heavens and the earth had been changed by the imprisonment of Satan and the reign of Christ (see Isaiah 65:17, 18, Jerusalem having been made a rejoicing); and the heavens indeed entirely cleared by power, never to be defiled by Satan again, the saints on high too in their eternal state, the earth delivered, but not yet finally freed. But, materially, the dissolution of the elements was, necessary for the renewal of all things.

It will be observed, that the Spirit does not speak here of the coming of Christ, except to say that it will be scoffed at in the last days. He speaks of the day of God, in contrast with the trust of unbelievers in the stability of the material things of creation, which depends, as the apostle shews, on the word of God. And in that day everything on which unbelievers rested and will rest shall be dissolved and pass away. This will not be at the commencement of the day, but at its close; and here we are free to reckon this day, according to the apostle's word, as a thousand years, or whatever length of period the Lord shall see fit.

So solemn a dissolution of all that the flesh rests upon should lead us so to walk as to be found of the Lord, when He comes to introduce that day, in peace and blameless; accounting that the apparent delay is only the Lord's grace, exercised for the salvation of souls. We may well wait, if God makes use of this time to rescue souls from judgment, by bringing them to the knowledge of Himself, and saving them with an everlasting salvation. This, the apostle says, had been taught by Paul, who wrote to them (the Hebrew believers) of these things, as he did also in his other epistles.

It is interesting to see that Peter, who had been openly rebuked before all by Paul, introduces him here with entire affection. He notices that Paul's epistles contained an exalted doctrine, which they who were unstable, and not taught of God, perverted. For Peter in fact does not follow Paul in the field on which the latter had entered. This however does not prevent his speaking of Paul's writings as forming a part of the scriptures; " as also the other scriptures," he says. This is an important testimony; which moreover gives the same character to the writings of one who is able to bestow this title on the writings of another.

Let Christians then be watchful, and not allow themselves to be seduced by the errors of the wicked but strive to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen!

── John DarbySynopsis of 2 Peter


2 Peter 3

Chapter Contents

The design here is to remind of Christ's final coming to judgement. (1-4) He will appear unexpectedly, when the present frame of nature will be dissolved by fire. (5-10) From thence is inferred the need for holiness, and stedfastness in the faith. (11-18)

Commentary on 2 Peter 3:1-4

(Read 2 Peter 3:1-4)

The purified minds of Christians are to be stirred up, that they may be active and lively in the work of holiness. There will be scoffers in the last days, under the gospel, men who make light of sin, and mock at salvation by Jesus Christ. One very principal article of our faith refers to what only has a promise to rest upon, and scoffers will attack it till our Lord is come. They will not believe that he will come. Because they see no changes, therefore they fear not God, Psalm 55:19. What he never has done, they fancy he never can do, or never will do.

Commentary on 2 Peter 3:5-10

(Read 2 Peter 3:5-10)

Had these scoffers considered the dreadful vengeance with which God swept away a whole world of ungodly men at once, surely they would not have scoffed at his threatening an equally terrible judgment. The heavens and the earth which now are, by the same word, it is declared, will be destroyed by fire. This is as sure to come, as the truth and the power of God can make it. Christians are here taught and established in the truth of the coming of the Lord. Though, in the account of men, there is a vast difference between one day and a thousand years, yet, in the account of God, there is no difference. All things past, present, and future, are ever before him: the delay of a thousand years cannot be so much to him, as putting off any thing for a day or for an hour is to us. If men have no knowledge or belief of the eternal God, they will be very apt to think him such as themselves. How hard is it to form any thoughts of eternity! What men count slackness, is long-suffering, and that to us-ward; it is giving more time to hisown people, to advance in knowledge and holiness, and in the exercise of faith and patience, to abound in good works, doing and suffering what they are called to, that they may bring glory to God. Settle therefore in your hearts that you shall certainly be called to give an account of all things done in the body, whether good or evil. And let a humble and diligent walking before God, and a frequent judging of yourselves, show a firm belief of the future judgment, though many live as if they were never to give any account at all. This day will come, when men are secure, and have no expectation of the day of the Lord. The stately palaces, and all the desirable things wherein wordly-minded men seek and place their happiness, shall be burned up; all sorts of creatures God has made, and all the works of men, must pass through the fire, which shall be a consuming fire to all that sin has brought into the world, though a refining fire to the works of God's hand. What will become of us, if we set our affections on this earth, and make it our portion, seeing all these things shall be burned up? Therefore make sure of happiness beyond this visible world.

Commentary on 2 Peter 3:11-18

(Read 2 Peter 3:11-18)

From the doctrine of Christ's second coming, we are exhorted to purity and godliness. This is the effect of real knowledge. Very exact and universal holiness is enjoined, not resting in any low measure or degree. True Christians look for new heavens and a new earth; freed from the vanity to which things present are subject, and the sin they are polluted with. Those only who are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and sanctified by the Holy Ghost, shall be admitted to dwell in this holy place. He is faithful, who has promised. Those, whose sins are pardoned, and their peace made with God, are the only safe and happy people; therefore follow after peace, and that with all men; follow after holiness as well as peace. Never expect to be found at that day of God in peace, if you are lazy and idle in this your day, in which we must finish the work given us to do. Only the diligent Christian will be the happy Christian in the day of the Lord. Our Lord will suddenly come to us, or shortly call us to him; and shall he find us idle? Learn to make a right use of the patience of our Lord, who as yet delays his coming. Proud, carnal, and corrupt men, seek to wrest some things into a seeming agreement with their wicked doctrines. But this is no reason why St. Paul's epistles, or any other part of the Scriptures, should be laid aside; for men, left to themselves, pervert every gift of God. Then let us seek to have our minds prepared for receiving things hard to be understood, by putting in practice things which are more easy to be understood. But there must be self-denial and suspicion of ourselves, and submission to the authority of Christ Jesus, before we can heartily receive all the truths of the gospel, therefore we are in great danger of rejecting the truth. And whatever opinions and thoughts of men are not according to the law of God, and warranted by it, the believer disclaims and abhors. Those who are led away by error, fall from their own stedfastness. And that we may avoid being led away, we must seek to grow in all grace, in faith, and virtue, and knowledge. Labour to know Christ more clearly, and more fully; to know him so as to be more like him, and to love him better. This is the knowledge of Christ, which the apostle Paul reached after, and desired to attain; and those who taste this effect of the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, will, upon receiving such grace from him, give thanks and praise him, and join in ascribing glory to him now, in the full assurance of doing the same hereafter, for ever.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 2 Peter


2 Peter 3

Verses 2-3

[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,

Be the more mindful thereof, because ye know scoffers will come first - Before the Lord comes.

Walking after their own evil desires — Here is the origin of the error, the root of libertinism. Do we not see this eminently fulfilled?

Verse 4

[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.

Saying, Where is the promise of his coming — To judgment (They do not even deign to name him.) We see no sign of any such thing.

For ever since the fathers — Our first ancestors.

Fell asleep, all things — Heaven. water, earth.

Continue as they were from the beginning of the creation — Without any such material change as might make us believe they will ever end.

Verse 5

[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:

For this they are willingly ignorant of — They do not care to know or consider. That by the almighty word of God - Which bounds the duration of all things, so that it cannot be either longer or shorter.

Of old — Before the flood. The aerial heavens were, and the earth - Not as it is now, but standing out of the water and in the water - Perhaps the interior globe of earth was fixed in the midst of the great deep, the abyss of water; the shell or exterior globe standing out of the water, covering the great deep. This, or some other great and manifest difference between the original and present constitution of the terraqueous globe, seems then to have been so generally known, that St. Peter charges their ignorance of it totally upon their wilfulness.

Verse 6

[6] Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

Through which — Heaven and earth, the windows of heaven being opened, and the fountains of the great deep broken up.

The world that then was — The whole antediluvian race.

Being overflowed with water, perished — And the heavens and earth themselves, though they did not perish, yet underwent a great change. So little ground have these scoffers for saying that all things continue as they were from the creation.

Verse 7

[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.

But the heavens and the earth, that are now — Since the flood. Are reserved unto fire at the day wherein God will judge the world, and punish the ungodly with everlasting destruction.

Verse 8

[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.

But be not ye ignorant — Whatever they are.

Of this one thing — Which casts much light on the point in hand.

That one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day — Moses had said, Psalms 90:4, "A thousand years in thy sight are as one day;" which St. Peter applies with regard to the last day, so as to denote both his eternity, whereby he exceeds all measure of time in his essence and in his operation; his knowledge, to which all things past or to come are present every moment; his power, which needs no long delay, in order to bring its work to perfection; and his longsuffering, which excludes all impatience of expectation, and desire of making haste.

One day is with the Lord as a thousand years — That is, in one day, in one moment he can do the work of a thousand years. Therefore he "is not slow:" he is always equally ready to fulfil his promise.

And a thousand years are as one day — That is, no delay is long to God. A thousand years are as one day to the eternal God. Therefore "he is longsuffering:" he gives us space for repentance, without any inconvenience to himself. In a word, with God time passes neither slower nor swifter than is suitable to him and his economy; nor can there be any reason why it should be necessary for him either to delay or hasten the end of all things. How can we comprehend this? If we could comprehend it, St. Peter needed not to have added, with the Lord.

Verse 9

[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.

The Lord is not slow — As if the time fixed for it were past.

Concerning his promise — Which shall surely be fulfilled in its season.

But is longsuffering towards us — Children of men. Not willing that any soul, which he hath made should perish.

Verse 10

[10] But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief — Suddenly, unexpectedly.

In which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise — Surprisingly expressed by the very sound of the original word.

The elements shall melt with fervent heat — The elements seem to mean, the sun, moon, and stars; not the four, commonly so called; for air and water cannot melt, and the earth is mentioned immediately after. The earth and all the works - Whether of nature or art.

That are therein shall be burned up — And has not God already abundantly provided for this? 1. By the stores of subterranean fire which are so frequently bursting out at Aetna, Vesuvius, Hecla, and many other burning mountains. 2. By the ethereal (vulgarly called electrical) fire, diffused through the whole globe; which, if the secret chain that now binds it up were loosed, would immediately dissolve the whole frame of nature. 3. By comets, one of which, if it touch the earth in its course toward the sun, must needs strike it into that abyss of fire; if in its return from the sun, when it is heated, as a great man computes, two thousand times hotter than a red-hot cannonball, it must destroy all vegetables and animals long before their contact, and soon after burn it up.

Verse 11

[11] Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

Seeing then that all these things are dissolved — To the eye of faith it appears as done already.

All these things — Mentioned before; all that are included in that scriptural expression, "the heavens and the earth;" that is, the universe. On the fourth day God made the stars, Genesis 1:16, which will be dissolved together with the earth. They are deceived, therefore, who restrain either the history of the creation, or this description of the destruction, of the world to the earth and lower heavens; imagining the stars to be more ancient than the earth, and to survive it. Both the dissolution and renovation are ascribed, not to the one heaven which surrounds the earth, but to the heavens in general, 2 Peter 3:10,13, without any restriction or limitation.

What persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation — With men.

And godliness — Toward your Creator.

Verse 12

[12] Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

Hastening on — As it were by your earnest desires and fervent prayers.

The coming of the day of God — Many myriads of days he grants to men: one, the last, is the day of God himself.

Verse 13

[13] Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

We look for new heavens and a new earth — Raised as it were out of the ashes of the old; we look for an entire new state of things.

Wherein dwelleth righteousness — Only righteous spirits. How great a mystery!

Verse 14

[14] Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

Labour that whenever he cometh ye may be found in peace - May meet him without terror, being sprinkled with his blood, and sanctified by his Spirit, so as to be without spot and blameless. Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22.

Verse 15

[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

And account the longsuffering of the Lord salvation — Not only designed to lead men to repentance, but actually conducing thereto: a precious means of saving many more souls.

As our beloved brother Paul also hath written to you — This refers not only to the single sentence preceding, but to all that went before. St. Paul had written to the same effect concerning the end of the world, in several parts of his epistles, and particularly in his Epistle to the Hebrews. Romans 2:4.

Verse 16

[16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

As also in all his epistles — St. Peter wrote this a little before his own and St. Paul's martyrdom. St. Paul therefore had now written all his epistles; and even from this expression we may learn that St. Peter had read them all, perhaps sent to him by St. Paul himself. Nor was he at all disgusted by what St. Paul had written concerning him in the Epistle to the Galatians.

Speaking of these things — Namely, of the coming of our Lord, delayed through his longsuffering, and of the circumstances preceding and accompanying it. Which things the unlearned - They who are not taught of God.

And the unstable — Wavering, double-minded, unsettled men.

Wrest — As though Christ would not come.

As they do also the other scriptures — Therefore St Paul's writings were now part of the scriptures.

To their own destruction — But that some use the scriptures ill, is no reason why others should not use them at all.

Verse 18

[18] But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

But grow in grace — That is, in every Christian temper. There may be, for a time, grace without growth; as there may be natural life without growth. But such sickly life, of soul or body, will end in death, and every day draw nigher to it. Health is the means of both natural and spiritual growth. If the remaining evil of our fallen nature be not daily mortified, it will, like an evil humour in the body, destroy the whole man. But "if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body," (only so far as we do this,) "ye shall live" the life of faith, holiness, happiness. The end and design of grace being purchased and bestowed on us, is to destroy the image of the earthy, and restore us to that of the heavenly. And so far as it does this, it truly profits us; and also makes way for more of the heavenly gift, that we may at last be filled with all the fulness of God. The strength and well-being of a Christian depend on what his soul feeds on, as the health of the body depends on whatever we make our daily food. If we feed on what is according to our nature, we grow; if not, we pine away and die. The soul is of the nature of God, and nothing but what is according to his holiness can agree with it. Sin, of every kind, starves the soul, and makes it consume away. Let us not try to invert the order of God in his new creation: we shall only deceive ourselves. It is easy to forsake the will of God, and follow our own; but this will bring leanness into the soul. It is easy to satisfy ourselves without being possessed of the holiness and happiness of the gospel. It is easy to call these frames and feelings, and then to oppose faith to one and Christ to the other. Frames (allowing the expression) are no other than heavenly tempers, "the mind that was in Christ." Feelings are the divine consolations of the Holy Ghost shed abroad in the heart of him that truly believes. And wherever faith is, and wherever Christ is, there are these blessed frames and feelings. If they are not in us, it is a sure sign that though the wilderness became a pool, the pool is become a wilderness again.

And in the knowledge of Christ — That is, in faith, the root of all.

To him be the glory to the day of eternity — An expression naturally flowing from that sense which the apostle had felt in his soul throughout this whole chapter. Eternity is a day without night, without interruption, without end.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on 2 Peter


Chapter 3. Things to Recall

A Day is Like a Thousand Years
A Thousand Years Is Like a Day

I. Original Heavens and Earth

  1. Original Creation
  2. Go through Destruction
  3. Deluged by Water

II. Re-created Heavens and Earth

  1. Present Heavens and Earth
  2. Patient Waiting to Repentance
  3. Melt by Fire

III. Future Heavens and Earth

  1. Future World
  2. The Home of Righteousness
  3. Make Preparation to Meet the Lord

── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament

When People Scoff About The Lord's Return (3:1-9)
1. A wonderful promise that serves to motivate Christians toward godly
   living is that concerning our Lord's return...
   a. A promise made first by Jesus Himself - Jn 14:1-3
   b. A promise made at His ascension into heaven - Ac 1:9-11
   c. A promise not far from the lips of devoted disciples...
      1) "O Lord, come!" - 1 Co 16:22
      2) "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" - Re 22:20
2. But it is also a promise that some delight to scoff  (i.e., to mock,
   deride, reproach, ridicule) - cf. 2 Pe 3:3-4
3. As we patiently await the coming of the Lord, what can we do when 
   faced by those who ridicule the hope that we have?
4. Peter addresses this concern in 2 Pe 3:1-9, and will serve as the 
   basis for this lesson entitled:
              "When People Scoff About The Lord's Return"
[The key element to dealing with such scoffers can be summarized in one
word:  "remember"
This becomes evident as we find Peter stressing that we should 
      1. Earlier in this epistle, Peter stressed his desire to remind
         them - 2 Pe 1:12-15
      2. Now, he does it again - 2 Pe 3:1-2
      3. In both passages, his desire is to "stir up" their pure minds 
         - 2 Pe 1:13; 3:1
      1. The words spoken before by the holy prophets
         a. Peter may have reference to New Testament prophets
         b. But he might also be referring to Old Testament prophets, 
            to whom we were told to give heed earlier in this epistle 
            - 2 Pe 1:19
      2. The commandment of the apostles of the Lord and Savior
         a. As the Lord's "ambassadors" (cf. 2 Co 5:20), the apostles
            speak for the Lord Himself - cf. 1 Co 14:37
         b. Therefore, we need to "continue steadfastly in the 
            apostles' doctrine" - Ac 2:42
      1. We will know that they will come "in the last days" - 2 Pe 
         a. A reference to the age of the Messiah
         b. Which began with His first coming, and will be culminated 
            at His second coming - cf. Ac 2:16-17; 1 Co 10:11; He 1:1-2
         c. Thus we can expect scoffers at any time during the 
            "Christian dispensation"
      2. We will know the motivation behind their scoffing... - 2 Pe 
         a. For they will be "walking according to their own lusts"
         b. Knowing that coming of the Lord is designed to judge the 
            ungodly, they "scoff" as a way to soothe their guilty 
      3. We will know the major argument they are likely to use - 2 Pe
         a. Their argument will be:  "all things continue as they 
         b. An argument akin to the doctrine of "uniformitarianism"
[Knowing that scoffers will come, and what their charges will be, we 
can prepare for it.  But again, only if we will be sure to remember 
what the holy prophets and apostles have said.
For example, the apostle Peter would have us...]
      1. In arguing that "all things continue as they were from the 
         beginning", they overlook the fact such was not the case with 
         the flood - 2 Pe 3:5-6
      2. Peter says they "willfully" forget...
         a. They purposefully choose not to remember an event that 
            proves their argument wrong
         b. Of course, their desire is not to determine truth, but to 
            justify their lifestyle
         c. Many people today resort to the same tactics...
            1) Conveniently ignore evidence that would weaken their 
            2) Ridicule the opposition rather than dealing with it 
               fairly and seriously
      1. By God's word, the world was once destroyed by "water" - 2 Pe
      2. By the same word (God's word), the universe is "kept in store"
         (treasured up, reserved) for "fire" - 2 Pe 2:7
      3. The same word that promised and carried through with the 
         promise about the flood, is the word that promises and will 
         carry through about the Lord's coming and the conflagration to
         accompany it
      4. Since God kept His first promise to destroy the world, we can 
         expect Him to keep His present promise as well!
["But," the scoffer might say, "it has been so long since the promise 
was made!"  Indeed, for us today it has been nearly two thousand years 
since the promise of the Lord's return and the world's destruction was 
But as Peter continues, we should...]
      1. "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand 
         years as one day."
      2. This is not a passage revealing some sort of key to 
         interpreting prophecy...
         a. Such as, "a day in prophecy equals a thousand years in 
         b. For if so, then why could not one just as easily say "a
            thousand years in prophecy equals a day in fulfillment"?
         c. Indeed, such efforts are a clear "twisting" (cf. 2 Pe 3:16)
            of this passage
      3. The point is simply that time is irrelevant to God
      1. To God that is no different than two days! - cf. Ps 90:4
      2. Another two thousand years could pass, and God's Word would 
         not be weakened at all...
         a. It was two thousands years before God fulfilled His promise
            to Abraham ("in you all the families of the earth shall be 
            blessed" - Gen 12:3)
         b. It was at least four thousand years before He fulfilled His
            promise to the serpent ("And I will put enmity...between 
            your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you 
            shall bruise His heel." - Gen 3:15)
      3. Since God kept His promise about the first coming of Christ, 
         we can expect Him to fulfill the promise of His Son's return!
      4. As for the "times and seasons", that should not be our concern
         - cf. Ac 1:7
[Finally, we will not be moved by the scoffers' arguments about the 
delay of the Lord's return if we...]
      1. It _has_ been nearly two thousand years since the promise was 
      2. And while _man_ might consider that slackness, there is
         another reason for the delay
      1. While God is a just God, He is also a merciful and loving God
      2. While His justice requires "judgment and perdition of ungodly 
         men", His love and mercy is willing to give them time to 
      3. This explains the Lord delay in returning:  He has given every
         generation that has lived during the last two thousand years 
         time to repent!
      4. Thus He has "suffered long", hoping that people will repent...
         a. Such goodness is designed to encourage people to repent - 
            cf. Ro 2:4
         b. But for those who despise His longsuffering...
            1) They are "treasuring up...wrath in the day of wrath" - 
               cf. Ro 2:5-6
            2) Just as the Lord has "treasured up" the heavens and 
               earth for fire at the day of judgment - cf. 2 Pe 2:7
1. Peter will have more to say about "the day of the Lord" and what 
   will occur when He comes again, in the next section (2 Pe 3:10-13)
2. But that we might not lose heart, nor be discouraged by the scoffers
   who will ridicule the idea of the Lord's return, Peter has left 
   these words by which we can "stir up your pure minds by way of 
   reminder" - 2 Pe 3:1
3. Has the thought of the Lord's return and the day of judgment stirred
   you up?
   a. Remember that the Lord wants you to be saved...
      1) He sent His Son to die for your sins
      2) He has delayed the sending of His Son a second time, to give 
         you time to repent
   b. Remember, though, that in His justice things are being "treasured
      1) The heavens and earth are "kept in store" (treasured up) for 
         the day of judgment
      2) Those who despise God's longsuffering are "treasuring up" for 
         themselves "wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the
         righteous judgment of God" - cf. Ro 2:5
   c. How much better, then...
      1) To receive the "riches of His grace" in obedience to the
         gospel of His grace
      2) Instead of receiving the "treasures of His wrath" to be given
         at the day of judgment!
As Peter said on the Day of Pentecost, "Be saved from this perverse
generation." (Ac 2:40)  The context reveals how one might be saved
- cf. Ac 2:36-41


The Day Of The Lord (3:10-13)
1. In our previous study, we saw where Peter encouraged us not to be 
   troubled by those who scoff at the promise of the Lord's return:
   a. Remember that scoffers are to be expected - 2 Pe 3:1-4
   b. Remember that God's Word is consistent - 2 Pe 3:5-7
   c. Remember that God is not affected by time - 2 Pe 3:8
   d. Remember that God is longsuffering, not slack - 2 Pe 3:9
2. In verse 7, he briefly alluded to what will happen when the Lord 
   "But the heavens and the earth which now exist are kept in store by
   the same word, reserved for fire until the day of judgment and 
   perdition of ungodly men."
3. It is now in verses 10-13 that Peter describes our Lord's coming in
   greater detail...
   a. An event that is called "the day of the Lord" - 2 Pe 3:10
   b. Now, there are some who believe that "the coming of Christ" and 
      "the day of the Lord" are actually two separate events...
      1) That "the coming of Christ" is a secret coming in which He 
         will "rapture" His saints
      2) And "the day of the Lord" is the final day of judgment which 
         occurs much later
   c. But Paul, like Peter, uses these expressions interchangeably...
      1) Having described "the coming of the Lord" and its implications
         for the righteous (1 Th 4:13-18), Paul calls it "the day of 
         the Lord" as he discusses the timing of these events (1 Th 5:
      2) A similar use of these terms is found in 2 Th 2:1-2
   d. So as we turn to our text in 2 Pe 3:10-13, we are considering 
      what is true about the coming our Lord Jesus, as promised in Ac
[What does the apostle Peter, who was among those who heard the promise
of the Lord's return as Jesus ascended into heaven, have to say about 
our Lord's coming?]
      1. Paul used the same expression in 1 Th 5:1-3
      2. And so did Jesus, in His Mt. Olivet discourse - Mt 24:42-44
      3. So the Lord's coming at the Last Day will be unexpected, with
         no warning
      1. The day of the Lord should not "overtake you as a thief"
         - 1 Th 5:4-6
         a. Not because they know the "day or hour" of His coming, nor 
            because of any revelation that pinpoints the time of His 
         b. But because they heed the command to "watch!" - 1 Th 5:6; 
            cf. Mk 13:32-37
      2. However, notice what Jesus said to those Christians who do NOT
         "watch" - Re 3:1-3
         a. They must "remember", "hold fast" and "repent"
         b. Otherwise, the Lord will come upon them as a thief as well!
[So the first thing Peter tells us about the day of the Lord is that it
will come unannounced, like "a thief in the night."  He also tells 
II. IT WILL BE "CATASTROPHIC" (10b, 11a, 12b)
      1. While "the heavens" could refer to the atmosphere, I believe 
         it more likely refers to the universe, including the stars 
         (see below)
      2. The heavens will "pass away", or "disappear" (NIV, NEB), 
         "vanish" (MOFFAT)
         a. Consider Mt 24:35; Re 20:11; 21:1
         b. This certainly suggests that Peter is describing an 
            "annihilation" of the universe, and not simply a fiery 
            purification of it
      1. The "elements" likely signifies the celestial bodies (sun, 
         moon, stars)
      2. According to Jewish belief, in the last day even the stars 
         will be destroyed - cf. Isa 34:4 (The New Testament 
         Commentary, Peter and Jude, Kistemaker, p. 336)
      3. The term "melt" {luo}, in verse 10...
         a. Means "(lit. or fig.):--break (up), destroy, dissolve,
            (un-)loose, melt, put off"
         b. It is translated "dissolved" in verses 11 and 12
            1) "all these things will be dissolved"
            2) "the heavens will be dissolved being on fire"
      4. The term "melt" {teko}, in verse 12...
         a. Means "to liquefy"
         b. As translated in The Emphasized New Testament (J. B. 
            Rotherham):  "...the elements becoming intensely hot are to
            be melted"
      1. Having described the destruction of the universe, attention is
         now given to the earth in particular
      2. Some manuscripts have the phrase "laid bare" for "burned up"
      3. This has led some to suppose that Peter is describing only a 
         purification of the universe, not an annihilation of the 
         present order
      4. But as we have seen, both the immediate context ("pass away",
         "melt", "dissolve", in 2 Pe 3) and the remote context ("pass
         away", "no place found for them", Re 20:11; 21:1) speaks 
         strongly for annihilation - cf. also He 12:25-29
[The "day of the Lord" will truly be a cataclysmic end to the earth and
universe as we know it!
Should this be cause for despair?  Not at all, for Peter also tells us 
      1. This "new order" is described more fully by John in Re 21:1-5
      2. It includes "the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of 
         heaven" for which...
         a. Old Testament saints looked forward - He 11:10,13-16
         b. New Testament saints were said to seek - He 13:14
      3. Indeed, this "new heavens and new earth" with its "heavenly 
         city" is the ultimate destiny of the redeemed!
      1. We look forward to this "new heavens and new earth" because of
         God's promise
      2. Which promise?  The only promise made concerning such things 
         prior to Peter and John's is that found in Isa 65:17-25; 
         a. In which the same themes are discussed as those found in 
            Re 21-22
         b. But in language and figures that would have provided 
            special comfort to the Israelites of Isaiah's day
      3. If Peter is indeed alluding to the promises of God through
         Isaiah, there is an important implication...
         a. Isaiah not only foretold events pertaining to the
            "inauguration" (the first coming) of the Messianic age
            - e.g., Isa 2:2-4; 7:14; 9:6-7
         b. Isaiah also foretold events pertaining to the "culmination"
            (the second coming) of the Messianic age - e.g., Isa 65:
            17-25; 66:22-24
         c. And some passages in Isaiah - e.g., Isa 11:6-9...
            1) Which the premillenialist applies to a 1000 year reign
               on earth
            2) And some amillenialists apply to the current "Christian
            ...may in fact have reference to the "new heavens and new 
            earth" of which Peter and John speak!
[In any case, we certainly have the promise of Peter and John of the 
"new heavens and new earth" as found in the New Testament.
And without question an important implication of this promise which 
will be fulfilled in the day of the Lord is that...]
      1. Everything we may acquire in this life will be "dissolved" 
         (our wealth, our fame, our physical relationships)
      2. The only thing that has "promise of the life to come" is 
         GODLINESS - 1 Ti 4:8
      3. HOLY CONDUCT is able to "store up...a good foundation for the 
         time to come" - 1 Ti 6:17-19
      OF GOD" (12a)
      1. If we "look for new heavens and a new earth" (v.13), we 
         should certainly "look for...the coming of the day of God"!
      2. Indeed, we should "hasten" the coming of that great day!
         a. It may be that "hastening" means "earnestly desiring" the 
            day of the Lord
         b. But it can also mean in this passage "to speed its coming"
            1) Is it possible to shorten the time set for the coming of
               the Lord?
            2) If the delay is due to God's longsuffering so that men 
               can repent, what if they repent?  Would there be reason 
               to delay any longer?
         c. Not only can we pray for the Lord to come (1 Co 16:22), 
            but Peter says elsewhere that we may do something to speed 
            His coming! - cf. Ac 3:19-21
            1) "Repent therefore and be converted..."
            2) "...that He may send Jesus Christ..."
1. According to Peter, then, "The Day Of The Lord" will be...
   a. A day that is unexpected
   b. A day that will be cataclysmic
   c. A day that will usher in a new order
   d. A day for which we ought to look and hasten
2. Peter does not describe all the events that will occur on that 
   a. He says nothing about the resurrection, though that is clearly 
   b. He says little about the judgment per se, though it too is an 
      important feature
   ...but what he says is adequate to encourage us to consider how we 
   shall respond
3. How shall we respond to the words of Peter?  I know of three 
   possible ways...
   a. We can mock them
   b. We can ignore them, delaying obedience, and likely be found 
   c. We can humbly heed them, responding to God's longsuffering 
      through obedience to the gospel
   -- Just as there were three different reactions to the preaching of
      Paul - cf. Ac 17:30-31
Dear friend, how will YOU respond...?


Peter's Final Exhortations (3:14-18)
1. We come to the final section of this second epistle of Peter, a 
   letter in which...
   a. Peter has endeavored to "stir you up by way of reminder" - 2 Pe 
      1:13-15; 3:1-2
   b. Peter has exhorted those "who have obtained like precious faith":
      1) To be diligent in abounding in spiritual growth - 2 Pe 1:5-11
      2) To heed the prophetic word made more sure - 2 Pe 1:16-21
      2) To beware of false teachers that will lead many astray - 2 Pe
      3) To not be deterred by scoffers of the Lord's coming - 2 Pe 3:
      4) To live holy lives in view of the coming Day of the Lord - 
         2 Pe 3:10-13
2. As Peter draws his epistle to a close, it is evident that he is 
   filled with love toward his brethren...
   a. He calls them "beloved" in 2 Pe 3:1,8
   b. And now in our text, he uses this "term of endearment" twice - 
      2 Pe 3:14,17
3. With such love in his heart, Peter pens his final words...
   a. He knows that he will soon die - 2 Pe 1:14
   b. As far as we know, he wrote no other epistle
4. This ought to give special significance to "Peter's Final 
   Exhortations" that we find in our text...
   a. Just as the final words of any dying man are significant, in that
      they reveal what is of greatest concern to that person
   b. What are the concerns of this aged apostle, who dearly loves his 
[In verse 14, we find first of all his exhortation to...]
      1. Found twice before - cf. 2 Pe 1:5,10
      2. The word means "earnestness, zeal, sometimes with haste"
      3. There it was applied to growing spiritually
      1. How will the Lord find us when He comes?
      2. Will he find us to be people of faith? -cf. Lk 18:8
      1. "in peace" can refer to both...
         a. Our relationship with God - Ro 5:1
         b. Our relationship with man - 1 Pe 3:11-12
         -- Focusing on our peace with God will help us have peace with
            man - Pr 16:7
      2. To be found by Jesus as "without spot and blameless"?  How can
         that be?
         a. Only through the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ - Ep 5:
         b. Who redeems us from sin through His precious blood, as "of 
            a lamb without blemish and without spot" - 1 Pe 1:18-19
         c. If we continue to walk in the light, we continue to enjoy 
            that precious blood - 2 Jn 1:7
      1. "...looking forward to these things, be diligent...'
      2. It is only as we "look forward" can we hope to prepare for 
         what is to come - cf. 1 Pe 1:13
      3. As we look for the grace that is to come, especially in 
         reference to the new heavens and a new earth (2 Pe 3:13), we
         will find the motivation to "be diligent"
[Are you looking forward to the new heavens and a new earth in which 
righteousness dwells?  If not, you will not be diligent to be found 
ready when the Lord comes.
If you have allowed the lure of this world to distract your aim you 
because of the delay of our Lord's coming, then Peter's exhortation in
verse 15 speaks to you...]
      1. For time is irrelevant to God - 2 Pe 3:8
      2. Rather, the Lord is willing to suffer long so that people 
         might repent - 2 Pe 3:9
      1. Every day, year, or century that our Lord does not return, 
         should be thought of as "the day of salvation" -  2 Co 6:1-2
         a. The day for souls to obey Christ
         b. The day for erring Christians to return to their Lord
      2. Like Peter, Paul wrote of God's longsuffering and its 
         motivation to salvation - Ro 2:4
[Peter himself certainly took advantage of God's longsuffering to 
repent, not only when he denied Jesus, but also when he played the 
hypocrite and had to be rebuked by Paul (Ga 2:11-21).
Peter's repentance in the latter incident is evident by his description
of Paul ("our beloved brother Paul").  He clearly held no animosity 
toward Paul for what may have occurred at Antioch.
Shall we not likewise take advantage of God's longsuffering to "work 
out our salvation with fear and trembling"?  As we do so, let's be 
careful to heed the exhortation implied in verse 16...]
      1. They can "save your souls" - Ja 1:21
      2. For they are given by inspiration of God - 2 Ti 3:16-17
      2. Because of this, they are "living and powerful, and sharper
         than any two-edged sword" - He 4:12
      1. Just as a sword can be misused to the harm of the one wielding
      2. Twisted, the Scriptures can even lead one "to their own
      3. Those most susceptible to misusing the Word of God are...
         a. The "untaught"
            1) Armed with a little knowledge, they believe they are
               ready to "do battle"
            2) But "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
            3) Unless one has studied the context (both immediate and 
               remote) of a passage, it is so easy to misapply it
         b. The "unstable"
            1) This would be the "babe" in Christ, the immature
            2) Who seeks to "run" with the Scriptures before they have 
               even learned to "walk", often "stumbling" as a result
      4. Thus the need to heed not only Peter's warning, but Paul's
         admonition in 2 Ti 2:14-18, where he gives the example of
         Hymenaeus and Philetus
[With such warnings, perhaps we may better appreciate James' 
admonition:  "...receive with meekness the implanted word." (Ja 1:21)
In passing, it is interesting to note that Peter places Paul's writings
on par with "the rest of the Scriptures", implying that Paul's writings
are to be considered as much a part of the canon as the Old Testament 
Finally, Peter concludes his epistle with two exhortations that 
summarize the content of his entire epistle...]
      1. This verse (17) summarizes all that Peter was doing in 
         chapters two and three
      2. Peter's concern is in view of the very real danger of apostasy
         a. He has already described those:
            1) Who were guilty of "denying the Lord who bought them" 
               - 2 Pe 2:1
            2) Who "have forsaken the right way and gone astray" - 2 Pe
            3) Who having "escaped the pollutions of the world" are 
               "again entangled in them and overcome" - 2 Pe 2:20
         b. He has just described those:
            1) Being "untaught and unstable..."
            2) "...twist the scriptures to their own destruction" - 
                2 Pe 3:16
      3. Brethren, the danger of apostasy is very real, and so Peter 
         says "beware lest you also fall..."!
      1. This verse (18) summarizes the main points of chapter one
      2. In which Peter had described:
         a. Blessings which come by the grace and knowledge of Jesus 
            Christ - 2 Pe 1:1-4
         b. How one grows in the knowledge of Jesus Christ - 2 Pe 1:
         c. The need for frequent reminder, and to heed the testimony 
            of apostolic testimony and the prophetic word - 2 Pe 1:
      3. In this verse, then, is the key to avoiding apostasy:  "Grow!"
         a. Grow in the grace of Jesus Christ, by appreciating and 
            appropriating all of God's unmerited favor
         b. Grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ as defined by Peter 
            in chapter one, developing those Christ-like qualities he 
1. Peter closes his second epistle with a simple yet heartfelt 
   expression of praise:
   "To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen"
2. It was not long after Peter penned these words that he "put off his 
   tent" (2 Pe 1:14), and joined that great multitude described by 
   his fellow apostle John...
   "{9} After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude
   which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and
   tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed
   with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, {10} and crying
   out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who
   sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" - Re 7:9-10
3. Brethren, don't we desire to join that throng one day?  If so, then 
   let us heed these final words of Peter to his beloved brethren...
   a. Be diligent to be found in peace, without spot and blameless
   b. Remember, the longsuffering of the Lord is salvation
   c. Don't twist the Scriptures to your own destruction
   d. Beware lest you fall, being led away by error
   e. Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ
Are you using the longsuffering of the Lord to apply all diligence in 
growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord?  Have you even begun?  
If not, then heed the words of Peter in his first gospel sermon... 
- cf. Ac 2:36-39


--《Executable Outlines


Things to recall

A day is like a thousand years

A thousand years is like a day


I.  Original heavens and earth

1.    Original creation

2.    Go through destruction

3.    Deluged by water

II.Re-created heavens and earth

1.    Present heavens and earth

2.    Patient waiting to repentance

3.    Melt by fire

III.       Future heavens and earth

1.    Future world

2.    The home of righteousness

3.    Make preparation to meet the Lord

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament