MP3: Traveling Down the Rapture Road in 2 Peter, Lesson 6
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).
Vic Batista: We now find ourselves in 2 Peter 3. This chapter primarily talks about the scoffers who will become louder and more prolific the closer the world gets to the Day of the Lord.
Nathan Jones: I am excited that we are now in chapter 3 because preparing for the end times is a topic that needs to be studied. The Lord wants us to know His plan for the ages and what the future holds. When we neglect God’s special message, we lose the excitement about Christ’s victory and knowledge about history’s movement towards that victory.
Vic Batista: I love the way you put it — Christ’s victory. God has given the Church the time to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and the hope-filled message that He is coming soon.
Nathan Jones: Amen! Jesus is coming soon. Revelation 22 declares this fact three times: “I am coming quickly. I am coming quickly. I am coming soon.” It seems like 2,000 years is a long time to wait, but what we will read here in 2 Peter 3 will explain why it seems God has been “slack” about fulfilling His promise to return.
Vic Batista: Absolutely, yes, so we have to have patience. God exists outside of our timeframe, and so time for Him passes differently than it does for mankind.
Nathan Jones: I believe time was created for human beings. I’d imagine that once we are in Heaven, time likely will have no meaning for us as it once did in our earthly bodies.
Vic Batista: We have been making our way through this wonderful, prophetic book of 2 Peter. It is a small book, but it is just packed with incredible prophecies. We’ve explored chapters 1 and 2. For those who may have missed our previous lessons, let’s provide a quick recap of what we saw in chapter 2 and then move on to chapter 3.
Nathan Jones: Chapter 2 was all about false prophets. As a matter of fact, when Jesus in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 was teaching about the end times, three times He brought up the fact that false prophets would be prevalent in the last days leading up to His return. As more false prophets proliferate and deceive more people, then we would know that we were getting closer and closer to Jesus’ return.
Peter wanted to help protect the churches. He wrote his second epistle for the purpose of giving Christians more discernment by being able to recognize false teachers and prophets and so be able to avoid them. Peter scathingly and publically rebuked these false teachers. Peter’s purpose with this epistle is to rescue God’s children from being deceived.
Cry of the Scoffers
Vic Batista: The Bible speaks clearly that as the days grow closer to the Lord’s return that more and more people are going to scoff at the idea of the coming of the Lord. Some Christians can likely list many examples of individuals who have scoffed at this notion when they brought it up. Undeterred, we still go on believing in the fact that the Lord is nearer than ever before. And, that is what we are going to be looking at in 2 Peter 3:1-7.
“Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder, 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 scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to 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.’ For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
Vic Batista: There’s a lot packed in those verses! I love verse one because I know that people have a tendency to forget things, and so Peter makes a note to the reader that he already wrote an earlier epistle.
Nathan Jones: Yes, there was a first epistle by Peter titled, well, 1 Peter. For anyone who might not know what “epistle” means, the word means “letter.” The early churches didn’t have the New Testament yet. They had letters that the Apostles would write, along with the Gospels, which was their first-hand witness to Jesus’ life. The churches would pass these letters around from church to church. They mailed them to each other via messengers. Eventually, the Church made these inspired letters official when canonizing the Bible. The early Church leaders acknowledged the letters’ inspiration and so they were canonized and placed into what we now call the New Testament. But, during Peter’s time in the first century, the New Testament was nothing more than a collection of letters that were mailed around from church to church.
Vic Batista: In verse 2, Peter writes confirming that the Scriptures were given to the Prophets and Apostles by the Holy Spirit. We read about that earlier in 2 Peter 1:21 — for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.. When it comes to biblical prophecy, we must recognize that it came of no man’s interpretation, but rather it came directly from the Holy Spirit as inspiration.
Nathan Jones: Yes, and the different synods acknowledged this fact and confirmed that these letters were truly inspired by Jesus Christ. They met the strict criteria. There were known witnesses. Their authenticity was a fact. They jived with what Jesus and the Old Testament taught. Verse 2 even points back to the Old Testament prophets to confirm their validity.
In other words, these churches weren’t just reading the Apostles’ letters, but they were also studying the Old Testament. That’s a great lesson to churches today not to neglect the Old Testament. After all, the New Testament church relied heavily on the teaching of the Old Testament, and that is what Peter is referring to here in verse 2.
Vic Batista: Prophecies found in the Bible are so precise in their fulfillment, even if some of them haven’t, of course, yet occurred. You have to wonder why people would scoff at these prophecies concerning the Second Coming of the Lord when 300 general and 109 specific prophecies were fulfilled by Christ’s First Coming.
Nathan Jones: Scoffers seem to be growing more and more vocal these days, aren’t they?
Vic Batista: Yes, and maybe for good reason. I am reminded of false date-setters, such as Harold Camping and so many others throughout Church history, who have again and again set false deadlines for the coming of the Lord, and which never came true. With all of these date-setters erroneously predicting the timing of prophetic events, no wonder so many disappointed people are left to conclude that nothing is ever going to happen.
Nathan Jones: When Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth came out around 1970 or so, everyone became so excited, crying out, “Jesus is coming soon! Jesus is coming soon!” And then the Left Behind movies brought about another renaissance of interest in Bible prophecy. Again, people were crying out, “Jesus is coming soon! Jesus is coming soon!” As the days passed, nothing happened. Jesus didn’t come back when some had expected He would, so people just gave up. Some of those who have given up have actually become rather bitter about it. And, to top it off, you’ve got the likes of Harold Camping and others who are going around saying the end of the world will be on this day or that day. Those days come and go, leaving many dejected people believing this whole Bible prophecy thing is nonsense. They wail: “People have been saying for decades that Jesus is coming back. Jesus Himself said that, and that was over 2,000 years ago. Clearly, this promise is all nonsense.”
Vic Batista: I can understand their position. I have learned throughout the years to recognize that the Lord can come at any moment and not to listen to date-setters, because I think they are the cause for why people are let down. The Great Commission remains clear — Jesus’ goal is to make disciples of all nations. So, we just need to be busy with what the Lord has called us to do. And in the midst of that, when the Rapture takes place, and it will, well, praise the Lord! But, at least we are busy doing what He called us to do.
In the nineteenth part of our faith journey down the Rapture Road through the book of 2 Peter, we’ll continue exploring chapter 3.