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 in their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?”
II Peter 3:1-4
Jesus Christ is coming back… soon!
The Lord’s coming for His church, often called the Rapture, is the next major event from the prophecies of the Word. It can happen at any moment!
For centuries, the reality of that wonderful promise has formed the crux of expectation for the believer. Consider what it encompasses– It is the church’s blessed hope (Titus 2:11-14), the time of redemption for believers (Eph. 4:30), a time of judgment (II Thess. 2:1-12), introduces Christ’s earthly kingdom (Rev.20:6), reigning with the Lord in holiness (II Tim. 2:12; Rev. 5:10), the hope of bodily resurrection (I Thess. 4:13-18), and a righteous world system, governed by our Lord Jesus (Isa. 9:6-7). All these are tied to the return of Jesus. For good reason the early church believers gained great comfort in the anticipation of the second coming of Jesus.
One author explains– “The hope of Christ’s coming was of paramount importance for the early church. In fact, its certainty was so real that first-century believers would greet one another with the term “maranatha,” meaning “Lord, come quickly.” Instead of being frightened by the possibility, they held it tight as culmination of everything they believed. Not surprisingly, the New Testament reflects this intense anticipation by referencing Jesus’ return, whether directly or indirectly, in every New Testament book except Philemon and Third John.”
When Christians live with anticipation of Christ’s promised return, they demonstrate an anticipation and enthusiasm for Him. John called such anticipation a purifying hope (I John 3:3). Should believers forget about the second coming they are apt to become absorbed in the temporal and cold toward the eternal. In this letter Peter is warning the church of false teachers, who had already set-up-shop, along with the cynics who plagued the church with heretical thoughts of a delayed, or even a non-returning Christ. We would be wise to heed the warning of Peter, every bit as valid in our own time today.
Later in this third chapter from Peter brings up this issue of delay. With love he reminds– “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.”
God exists outside of time. In the eternal realm, you have a whole different measurement…in the eternal realm there is no time. In Psalm 90:4, Moses wrote, “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.”