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).
That All Should Come
Nathan Jones: Second Peter 3:8-9 reads:
“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
I cannot help but feel for those dedicated Christians who have been waiting for the Lord to come back but have given up hope. They became excited when they read say a Hal Lindsey book, but when Jesus didn’t come back when they expected, they just gave up on Him ever coming back. We see this attitude in verse 8 and God’s reason for His delay in verse 9. God is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Vic Batista: It’s encouraging to know that God hasn’t closed the door to salvation as He did with Noah’s Ark. He is leaving it open so others will be able to come to salvation. But, those doors will eventually be closed and I believe quite soon.
Nathan Jones: Peter says that for God a day is like a thousand years. The words “as” and “like” are used to show comparison. Some people misinterpret this passage and claim that every thousand years is an actual day for God, but that’s not true. That is not what the Bible says, it says “as a thousand years.”
So, for us, yes, 2,000 years have passed since Jesus ascended to Heaven. And, oh my, it seems like it has been taking forever for Jesus to come back! But, go back to verse 4 which declares “the promise of His coming.” Jesus promised. When God promises something will happen, it will indeed happen. It might seem like it has taken forever in comparison to man’s brief lives, but for the eternal God, it has been like just two days to Him, and that is what Peter is saying. In other words, Peter is making a comparison. Time is a different concept for God than it is for mankind.
When Jesus comes back, and He will be coming back, we will see the spiritual fruit as to why He has been holding off. Why has He been holding off concerning His promise? It is because God wants as many people as possible to come to salvation. God is giving mankind every possible opportunity to repent and turn to Christ for salvation.
We should all be thankful that the Lord didn’t come back during the first or second centuries because we wouldn’t be alive today. There would have been no chance for us today to be born or come to repentance. So, we should praise the Lord for taking His time because we would not exist if Jesus wasn’t taking His sweet old time to fill the Church full.
Vic Batista: God loves people, so He’s giving them every opportunity to reconcile with Him. I’m with you. I’m so glad that the Lord did not return 50 or more years ago or so, otherwise we would not have ever been born.
Nathan Jones: We would not. And, to be honest, I don’t know how much longer we have until Jesus fulfills His promise. I believe the signs of the times that Jesus gave us in the Bible are pointing to His soon return. Clearly, the Jews being back in the Holy Land is the super sign proving that the Messiah is coming back in our era. Sure, it could be 20 or 30 years or more. Who knows for sure? But, we do know that the Lord is patient. He is longsuffering because, as Peter reveals here, He wants all to come to repentance. Now, will everyone come to repentance? No, of course not. But, Jesus is giving everyone every opportunity to come to repentance.
Vic Batista: God is indeed calling all people to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ as their Savior. A lot of hidden and not so hidden sins are being displayed here in the United States of America and in people’s lives all across the world. People need to take the Gospel message seriously. God sacrificed His own Son on the cross. Jesus died for our sins. What a sacrifice! And so, God continues to give people every opportunity to come to Him and repent of their sins and reconcile with their Creator.
Nathan Jones: We hear the word repentance a lot in Christianity. What it means is to make a 180-degree turn. You may be heading in one direction, but you immediately turn and head in the opposite direction. That’s the core meaning of repentance. It’s the act of repenting, asking for forgiveness, and lamenting of the evil actions that you have performed. You go the opposite way and do the opposite thing.
The Lord calls people to repentance all of the time and in every stage of our walk with Him. We don’t just repent to gain salvation, rather repentance is necessary towards turning one’s heart 180 degrees in the other direction, away from sin and towards God. We are no longer living in rebellion against God any more, rather we are conforming to God’s will and to the example made by Jesus Christ. Jesus provided mankind with the only way to gain salvation by His dying on the cross for our sins. The act of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins made forgiveness for our rebellion possible and so we can be saved. But, we also have to repent and ask forgiveness for our rebellion. We turn away from keeping ourselves in the driver’s seat and instead place God’s Spirit in the driver’s seat of our lives.
Vic Batista: As we’ve been reading through the book of 2 Peter, we get this sense of urgency about how important the matter of repentance is and turning to Christ while there is still time, for that grace period will inevitably run out. A real danger that the Bible talks about concerns a great deception that will descend upon the world. People are already scoffing at the idea of Christ’s return, and after He does, Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians warns of a great deception that will cover people’s eyes so that they cannot see and accept the truth. Jesus will come and take all who have repented and put their faith in Him to Heaven, for that’s when the Rapture will occur, and the Lord will come back and leave behind a great delusion.
A Popular Misconception
Vic Batista: A popular misconception exists with some people where they confuse the Rapture with the Second Coming. Let’s clarify the differences.
Nathan Jones: The Bible promises that Jesus will rapture, meaning “take up, or catch up, or snatch up,” to Heaven those who have accepted Him as Savior. When we say “the Church” that label only means all of us who have ever accepted Jesus as Savior during this Church Age, from Pentecost up till the Rapture. Believers in Christ will be taken out on the world before God pours out His judgment. For seven years God’s 21 judgments will be poured out on the world to punish those left behind for their sins. At the end of those seven years, Jesus will return to defeat Satan and the Antichrist and to set up His Millennial Kingdom, which is officially the Second Coming. You could consider the Second Coming as one return in two stages, the Rapture before the Tribulation and the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation.
Vic Batista: That means then that if a person today is a saved believer in Christ, they are going to go up to Heaven at the Rapture, and they will not have to live through the dreadful coming period known as the Tribulation. The Rapture is that blessed hope that the Apostle Paul wants Christians to embrace.
A Saving Relationship
Vic Batista: How can someone begin a saving relationship with Jesus right now?
Nathan Jones: The first step begins with repentance, that turning away from being in the driver’s seat of your life and putting God in control. Realize that you are a scoffer. You live at odds against God. You’ve joined in rebellion against the Almighty with your impure heart and sinful living. But, now you are ready to surrender your life to Jesus Christ and to live by His will.
If you are ready to make that move, then in faith and repentance pray from your heart something like, “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior.” And, Jesus promises to do just that. Your sins will be forgiven. You will be reconciled with your Creator. You will be given a new life in Him. And, you will inherit eternal hope which He has given us of life everlasting with our Savior.
Vic Batista: Amen and praise the Lord! If you prayed that prayer, let us know. We want to celebrate with you and send you a Bible so that you can continue to grow in your relationship with the Lord. We are so excited because God’s Holy Spirit is still at work in these last days calling people to repentance and to turn to Christ while there is still time.
In the twenty-second part of our faith journey down the Rapture Road through the book of 2 Peter, we’ll continue to be amazed by chapter 3.