2 Peter 3:1-8
“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That you 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 Savior: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, where is the promise of his coming: for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 10, But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in 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.
Now, almost everyone I hear preaching on the return of the Lord uses verse 9 to substantiate that the reason Jesus has not returned is because one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. They also say that no man knoweth the day nor the hour of His return.
The problem with using the “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years” for their defense of why Jesus has not returned, is that they have taken this verse completely out of it’s biblical context.
This scripture is a reference to Psalm chapter 90 verse 4, “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” In this Psalm, the author is talking about God faithfulness and how God is always faithful, it is not an allusion to make up some sort of time statement concerning the delay of Christ’s return. This is the same as Peter’s remarks.
Let me put it into its proper context. Let’s use the who, what, where, and when principles.
Who is speaking: It is Peter . How do we know that? Verse one in chapter one says this:
“I Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ..grace and peace unto you. This has identified who is speaking and writing.
Secondly, who is Peter speaking to the first century Christians of his day and his generation.
What is he talking about? There were some Christians departing from the faith and becoming scoffers concerning the immediate return of Christ which Jesus promised to them.
Scoff means to be scornful or to reject or make fun of or sneer at.
Peter is using old testament scriptures to refute their scoffing that Christ was not going to return in their generation.
There are a couple of things we must look at in verse 3. Notice it says, knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers. Let us see if we can identify the “last days”. Most folks think that the last days are the days you and I live in now in the 21 century, but this is false and the scriptures will substantiate that.
Lets go to the book of Acts, chapter one verses 15-17: “for these are not drunken as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. This is exactly what was happening on the day of Pentecost and Peter plainly says that this is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel chapter 2 verse 28-32. Furthermore, Peter calls it the last days. Peters’ generation lived during the last days of the old covenant.
Hebrews chapter one verse one and two says: God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days
Spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds:” Notice two things, here..these last days and the worlds which in the greek language does not mean more than one physical world but world here again is the greek word aion or ages. The ages are the old covenant age and the new covenant age.
Now, it is true that Jesus said in Matthew 24:36, that “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Jesus did not know the hour nor the day, but in verse 34, Jesus did know the generation because he said, “verily, I say unto you, this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.”
Folks, Jesus plainly gave the disciples the signs of His coming and the end of the age in Matthew chapter 24.
However, in John chapter 16, Jesus told his disciples that there were many things He could not yet tell them, but that the Father would send the Spirit. When the Spirit came, He would reveal to the disciples “things to come” John 16 verse 13, the Bible says, Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.. and he will show you things to come.,”The Spirit was to show the disciples when the end of the age was going to take place.
An example of this can be found in 1 John 2:18, “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” John is plainly saying this is not only the last days of the old covenant age, but now John is saying that it is down to the last hour. Folks, this was the last days of the old covenant world which was being replaced by the new covenant.
Secondly, to use this verse of scripture as a defense as to why Jesus has not yet returned is an attempt to cover up one’s lack of understanding of the “second coming of Christ”. But this makes matters even worse.
If this verse of scripture is used to say that since there has not been a physical, eyeball seeing , earth destroying return of Christ in the clouds in the air, thus he has not returned and it means it is still yet future, then we are calling Jesus Christ a liar and a deceiver of men, because Jesus plainly told his disciples that he would return in their generation and that there were some standing there that would not see death until they see him coming in glory or judgement, even those that pierced him. It not only discredits Jesus Christ himself, but it discredits the whole Bible as the Word of God!