MP3: Traveling Down the Rapture Road in 2 Peter, Lesson 2
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Continue traveling down the Rapture Road with Nathan Jones and Vic Batista in this verse-by-verse study of the incredibly prophetic book of 2 Peter! You can start at the beginning with Part 1 or listen in to The Truth Will Set You Free podcast (above).
Peter’s Last Will and Testament
Nathan Jones: The message in 2 Peter 1:12-15 sounds very personal for the Apostle Peter:
“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.”
Vic Batista: Wow! That was indeed a pretty personal message for Peter. There were times in the epistles when the Apostles saw their mortality was coming near the door to eternity and they saw the years of their lives were finally coming to fruition. And yet, Peter is still encouraging the believers, right up until the end.
Nathan Jones: Yes, he is. It is a sad time in Peter’s life for his converts. He is about to be crucified. He is about to be murdered most horribly. This letter is kind of Peter’s last will and testament. It is interesting that the Apostle Peter’s last will for his spiritual children is that they become spiritually mature by growing in Christ. That is what we need to be doing is Peter’s final desire for Christ’s spiritual children.Nathan Jones: The Apostle Peter's last will for his spiritual children is that they become spiritually mature by growing in #JesusChrist (2 Peter 1). Click To Tweet
Vic Batista: What a wonderful way to encourage those you are leaving behind. This reminds me of an earlier story about Peter from John 21:15-19. The resurrected Jesus asked Peter three times, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” After Peter affirmed he did, then Jesus told him to, “Feed my sheep.” Then the Lord prophesied in that conversation a little bit about Peter’s end of life circumstances with: “‘When you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.’ This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God.” The Lord concluded when Peter began to worry about others by commanding he, “Follow Me.” Now, here in 2 Peter, we find the old Apostle also encouraging others in the same way Jesus had encouraged him.
A Radical Transformation
Nathan Jones: Peter is a fantastic example of a person who had grown to spiritual maturity. Just look at Peter in his youth. He was a loud, brash, foot-in-the-mouth follower of Jesus Christ. He always seemed to get it wrong just as he was about to get it right. And, even in the end, when Peter was the only Apostle besides Judas Iscariot who swore he would never leave Jesus, Peter ended up denying Jesus three times the night before His crucifixion.
Then you see the Holy Spirit come upon Peter at Pentecost and he’s out there in the streets boldly proclaiming the Gospel. Peter become the leader of the Early Church. Jesus Himself placed Peter in charge of the other Apostles and ordered him to feed His sheep. Peter was willing to die for his faith. As a matter of fact, when it came time for Peter to die, the Romans had wanted to crucify him, but Peter requested to be crucified upside-down so that he wouldn’t have the same death as Jesus Christ and so people wouldn’t worship him. Unfortunately, some do consider Peter to be the first pope, and he has sadly been worshiped over the centuries, though he shouldn’t have been, being a mere man. We’ve seen from the Bible Peter transform from a spiritual baby to a very spiritually mature man. And, that should be something we Christians emulate.
Vic Batista: You can read about Peter’s crucifixion in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. This book follows Church tradition which shows that all but one of the Apostles were martyred for their faith. All the way to the end, they continued to trust the Lord even while they were being tortured to death. Christians for centuries have been dying for our faith, and the Bible says that we as Christians will continue to experience some kind of persecution, right?
Nathan Jones: Yes, we definitely will. Being persecuted for our faith in Jesus Christ is just part of being a Christian. Jesus in Luke 21:12 and other passages prophesied that the world would hate us because of Jesus’ name. It’s clear to see the world hates Christians because the world hates Christ. After all, what other name is used as a swear word? You never hear the name of Buddha or Muhammad used as a swear word. No, only Jesus Christ!
The world hates the Lord for they hate His moral law and they hate His restrictions on their lives of sin. Therefore, the world hates Christ’s followers as well. They have marginalized Christians and in some places in the world they are killing them. It’s a tough road to travel being a follower of Christ. Jesus didn’t say it was a wide road, but rather a narrow road (Matthew 7:13).
Vic Batista: When you live in a different part of the world outside of the West, you are really experiencing challenges and persecutions we have never experienced here. The world persecuted the prophets before us and stoned and killed them. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11 how a lot of these saints were persecuted severely and yet they still continued to follow the Lord in faith.
Nathan Jones: Martyrdom for Christ is one of the best apologetics, besides Bible prophecy, presenting the fact that the Bible is indeed the Word of God. What man dies for a lie? If the Apostles just got together in a room after Jesus died, and said, “Hey, He was always talking about coming back from the dead, but He didn’t. Let’s tell everybody that He did and we’ll build our own religion, and we’ll make all of this money.” People accuse Christians of having created such a falsehood. But, did the Apostles live well? Did they make lots of money? No! They lived like paupers and itinerant pastors traveling to strange countries which they never would have imagined they would have ended up dying in. I read that Thomas made it all the way to India even. Peter is likely writing 2 Peter from Spain.
So, here we’ve got all of these Apostles who are dying. They were being murdered. They were cut in two. They were crucified. They had their heads chopped off. They were stabbed with spears. Why? Because they believed 100% that Jesus is the Son of God, and they were willing to die for it. If there’s any great apologetic in the Bible, it is the fact that they were willing to die for their faith, so then what they were teaching was the truth.
Vic Batista: Nathan, thank you for reminding us that a Christian’s life is going to get tougher as we are living in these last days. Things are going to become increasingly more difficult. We are seeing Satan on the move. We see all of the hideous crimes that are being committed in our cities. Violence has gotten out of hand here in the United States. Therefore, we need to be ready for more persecution.
This is why the study of biblical prophecy is so crucial for us to understand because it tells us what to expect in the times in which we are living. When we’re looking at a change in the presidency, and we see the concern on people’s hearts and minds having to do with the different national wars and the threats of civil war, there is so much the Bible tells us ahead of time. We can see many signs of the times happening right before our eyes, just as the Bible prophesied.
Nathan Jones: Yes, it is indeed a tough time to be living in, but as Jesus said in Matthew 24, the signs of the times that point to His return will grow increasingly frequent and intense like birth pains. One of those categories of signs includes spiritual events. I don’t know about you, but after watching the latest Presidential election, that sure was a fearful event! I keep praying for a miracle — any kind of miracle — that shows our nation’s sin hasn’t piled up so high that God is going to give us a president we deserve, because right now that is what it looks like. I’m praying that the Lord will work some kind of miracle and we’ll keep Christians in the seats of power.
Vic Batista: The signs of the end times keep us proclaiming the urgency of biblical prophecy with its understanding that the Lord is right at the door and ready to rapture His Church up to Heaven. Jesus is coming soon!
Shedding This Tent
Nathan Jones: Knowing that Peter was prophesied to live to an old age, and here in 2 Peter he has reached that old age, it is rather neat that he refers to his body as a tent. Peter shows us that our true selves — our spirit — will never exist separate from a body. We will always have a body, whether it is this earthly body or a glorified body which we will receive upon our resurrection from the dead. Here Peter is talking about putting off his tent just as the Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated with His own resurrection body. So, that’s a prophecy right there, for Jesus had told Peter that he would live to an old age and that he would be led to his death, which ended up being upside-down on a cross crucified.
Vic Batista: With that reminder, we learn that our bodies are not all that there is of us, as the Humanists teach. God promised us a new tent forged by the hands of the Almighty that will last forever.
Nathan Jones: When my wife’s grandmother died she had lived up to 93 years old. Unfortunately, she died an unbeliever. She refused to even listen to the Bible or be prayed with on her deathbed. So, she was a reminder to me that this tent we all walk around in is very limited. It will inevitably die. Most of us don’t have that much time to live in this life. This short time is the only time where we have the opportunity to give our lives in faith to Jesus Christ. So, it is very important that we do that now because there is no second chance after we are dead.
Vic Batista: I was visiting a hospital this week and met a wonderful lady. Her son had been found dead. The good thing was it was comforting to know that he had turned to Christ at a point in his life and she also knew the Lord. Their souls were ready when their time came. We, too, need to be ready if the Lord calls us to depart this world, which may even be today. It is crucial that we have a saving, personal relationship with Jesus Christ before we die.
Nathan Jones: We all need to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ. Accept in faith that Jesus is the Son of God and your Savior. Ask Jesus for His forgiveness of your sins. Accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. Jesus promises that He will forgive you of your sins because He paid the price of your rebellion on the cross. The guilt of your sins goes upon Him for Jesus already paid the price. You will no longer be found guilty before the Father once you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior. Upon death, you will then be able to stand before the Father whole and pure, and relish in the promises that Jesus has planned for your eternal life.
This new life starts simply with a real and genuine faith that comes from your heart that centers on Jesus Christ being your Savior and Lord. To ask Jesus to save you, pray something like, “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior.” And, Jesus promises that He will do just that. Your sins will be forgiven and you can then upon death stand before the Father pure and holy.
Vic Batista: I love that coming to Christ isn’t complicated. Coming to Jesus is believing in Him by faith.
Nathan Jones: This Gospel is the Good News. Good News! Good News! Jesus Christ is our Savior for He died to take the punishment for our sins. And, when we accept His Spirit’s calling in faith, we too can be saved from that eternal punishment. That’s the Gospel in a nutshell.
Vic Batista: Rejoice! The exciting part about life here and now and forever in the future is that it’s all about Jesus.
Nathan Jones: It is indeed all about Jesus. That message is one of the reasons why I love 2 Peter so much, for this life’s all about becoming more Christlike, meaning becoming more spiritually mature.
Vic Batista: This small book is power-packed! Second Peter really does tie a lot of other books of the Bible together, so please keep reading 2 Peter and we’ll cover even more in the next installment.
In the seventh part of our faith journey down the Rapture Road through the book of 2 Peter, we’ll continue to glean what God reveals!