MP3: Traveling Down the Rapture Road in 2 Peter, Lesson 7
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).
Last Day Scoffers
Nathan Jones: Let’s begin to wind down our study of 2 Peter with chapter 3 verses 14-18.
“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
Vic Batista: What a wonderful closing! I have to say when I was reading through this passage that quite a number of things came to my mind. For instance, after talking about the dreaded Day of the Lord, Peter now encourages Christians with the good news of the coming of the Lord who by His long-suffering brings salvation.
Earlier in 2 Peter, we learned that quite a lot of people in the last days when it comes to the subject of the Rapture of the Church will become scoffers. They’ll say, “We have been hearing about the Rapture for a long time now and it never has happened or ever will happen.” They are correct in a certain respect that the Church has been waiting for many centuries. But, instead of giving up on Jesus, we need to follow Christ’s example and be long-suffering. We need to recognize that God’s timing is not our timing.
Nathan Jones: No, it is not. Remember back to 2 Peter 3:3 which prophesied: “First of all, you must understand in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They say, ‘Where is the coming He promised?’ For ever since our fathers died everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
Peter went on to explain how these scoffers would willingly forget that the Creation and the Flood ever happened. What Peter was really identifying is the modern-day Evolutionist — the modern-day Atheist — who scoffs at God as the Creator and who came in judgment in the Flood. In doing so, they think they can fend off the prophecies concerning Christ’s return in judgment once more at the Day of the Lord.
If you are a Bible-believing Christian who is anxiously awaiting the Lord’s return, then you’ll hear such scoffing all of the time. People laugh at us for believing what the Bible teaches. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to stick to the Bible. The Bible is, after all, the very Word of God. The Bible is what changes lives and transforms people from scoffers to Christ-followers. We know for sure that the Bible is the Word of God because of how it transforms lives. Our own individually transformed lives provide perfect examples of the life-changing power of the Gospel. So, I will trust the Bible alone and not what the scoffers have to say.Nathan Jones: I don't know about you, but I'm going to stick to the #Bible. The Bible is, after all, the very Word of God. Click To Tweet
Vic Batista: Excellent point! That’s substantiated in verse 16 which says that people twist things to their own way. Peter mentions that the Apostle Paul’s letters contain some things that are hard to understand “which untaught and unstable people twist.” Isn’t that the truth? When people don’t understand Scripture or biblical prophecy, or when they don’t read it in its proper context, so much of their thoughts get twisted out of proportion.
Nathan Jones: Absolutely right! We have to interpret the Bible literally in order to understand it.
I find it interesting that Peter adds a little commentary here about his fellow Apostle. I get the feeling, especially when reading the book of Acts, that Peter and Paul, even though they worked together periodically, didn’t quite get along. Peter was a fisherman. He was a man of the earth. He wasn’t especially educated, though his knowledge came by learning at the feet of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit. So, Peter wasn’t uneducated, but he wasn’t unschooled either.
In contrast, Paul would be considered the educator who holds the two PhDs. He’d earned the equivalency today of a doctorate for he studied under some of the best teachers of the Mosaic Law and he was a learned Pharisee. So, when Peter teaches and preaches, he aimed more for the common man. But Paul, he would get into these really deep theological points as a true theologian would.
And so, Peter knew that some people had trouble understanding Paul. I don’t believe that Peter is condemning Paul, for he calls him “beloved brother” in verse 15, but rather he is just saying that since Paul was gifted with such a great intellect that at times it was hard to understand him. And, with some people, when they encounter topics that are hard to understand, they run off and distort the teaching into what they want it to mean.
So, Peter is saying that it might be hard to understand biblical teachings at times, therefore, we allow the Holy Spirit to work through the Scriptures so that we too may live “according to the wisdom given” (verse 15). Study the passage, keep it in context, and reread it over and over in prayer, see what the experts have to say in their commentaries, and eventually, you will be given understanding and so “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (verse 18).
One of the most scoffed at doctrines particularly is the doctrine of end times or Eschatology. People abuse that subject terribly. Well, Peter doesn’t want us to do that, for he wants us to gain the hope that only Bible prophecy can provide. We gain the blessed hope knowing that there’s a coming perfect New Heaven and a New Earth.
Vic Batista: Good point that there have been those in the Bible who at times have not always gotten along as Christian brothers. But, God continues to use us in His service even when we all hail from different backgrounds and educational levels. I’m reminded of the broken partnership between Barnabas and Paul, and yet, they both went on to serve.
Nathan Jones: Right, yes, Paul and Barnabas didn’t agree on bringing along John Mark, so they split ways. Paul took Silas along instead. It happens. We’re humans so we don’t always get along, even in ministry. Therefore, we have to keep an eye on the bigger picture. Peter was not condemning Paul or saying, “Don’t listen to Paul.” Rather, he is saying Paul is hard to understand at times, and people will use that to spread heresy, but then Christians should not reject the biblical teaching either just because it’s challenging to understand.
Vic Batista: Christians don’t always agree on things, but we should never be twisting Scriptures. Peter and Paul were still teaching the same doctrines as the Holy Spirit led them. Like with our churches today, there may be a number of ministries that I don’t necessarily agree with, but as long as they are not teaching heresy, say they just utilizing different styles of doing things, then in the end we must remember that we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Nathan Jones: A growing hostility has infected some of the mainstream churches against teaching Bible prophecy. I believe they have been burned by too many false teachers, such as Harold Camping who was always date-setting. Hal Lindsey’s book “The Late Great Planet Earth” started a concerted movement in studying Bible prophecy back in the early 1970s. Today, Christians more often than not label this prophecy stuff as nonsense. I get along with those people just fine. Sure, I don’t agree with them and I don’t understand their contempt for some aspects of the Gospel.
But, Peter makes the point of being patient as Christ exhibited longsuffering (verse 15). Twice in this chapter, Peter says we’ve got to be patient. The Lord’s very patience is our salvation. “Consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (verse 15). Jesus Christ doesn’t want anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance.
So, it might seem like the Lord is taking a long time in coming back. A reason exists for the long wait because God wants all of those living in the Church Age to be saved. If Christ wasn’t patient and He came back, say, during the first century, then you and I wouldn’t even exist. Praise the Lord for God’s patience! None of today would be happening if the Lord wasn’t patient.
Sure, I want Jesus to come back this very day. I want Christ’s Millennial Kingdom to start even now. I want the end to all of this nonsense happening on this fallen earth that mankind has been enduring. But, at the same time, people still need to be saved. And, as Christians, we still need to get out there and share the Gospel.
Who knows, maybe you will be the one who will reach that very last person in the Church Age who will then wonderfully hear Jesus calling us up in the Rapture. Then it will, at last, be the time to go home. So, while we wait, we get out there, live holy lives, and evangelize the lost.
In the twenty-fourth and final part of our faith journey down the Rapture Road through the book of 2 Peter, the Apostle Peter will leave us with a parting message.