2 Peter Message #7 “Conclusion” Ed Miller, Oct. 19, 2022

Listen to audio above while following along with the transcript below (also available to download in Word from www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)

We’ve come, of course, to behold the Lord.  That’s why we gather.  I would like to read a verse from Ephesians 1:7-10, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.  In all wisdom and insight, He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention, which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of time,” and here is the expression I want to focus on, “That is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in heaven, things on the earth in Him,” summing up everything in Jesus.  Now, that will be true some day, everything in heaven and on earth will be summed up in Jesus.  We are at our last lesson in 2 Peter, and we want to give a summary.  We want to sum it up, and I’ve been praying that we would sum it up in Christ, because all things are summed up in Christ.  That’s true of the little epistle of 2 Peter.

There’s been a song on my heart.  I can’t sing.  I wish my grandson were here to sing it.  But I’m going to recite two verses of it because the message of 2 Peter is to grow in the Lord, and you might know the song, “Higher Ground.”  Anyway, that’s the prayer of my heart as we come to the end of 2 Peter.  He’s encouraging us to grow. 

“I’m pressing on the upward way, new heights I’m gaining every day, still praying as I’m upward bound, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.  Lord, lift me up and let me stand, by faith on heaven’s table land, a higher plain than I have found, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.  My heart has no desire to stay where fears annoy and doubts dismay.  Though some may dwell where these abound, my prayer, my aim is high ground.  Lord, lift me up, let me stand by faith on heaven’s table land, a higher plane than I have found.  Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” 

In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  That will be our prayer.

Let me just review a little bit, please.  2 Peter 3:17&18 summarizes the theme of the book, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men, and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.”  The theme can be summarized in these two expressions, grow, but be on guard; grow but be aware because there’s an enemy out there.  This was Peter’s dying book.  It’s the last thing we have of his word, and with his dying breath he just encourages Christians to grow, grow in grace, grow in a heart-knowledge of Jesus Christ.  I hope you can thank God as I can thank God that He hasn’t given me ten things to remember.  He hasn’t given me five things to remember, and not even two or three.  The entire Christian life is just summarized in this, “grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  If you’re growing in grace and knowing Jesus more and more through the study of the word, everything else will fall into place.  If you have to work at it, it’s not real.  It’s automatic; you look to Christ and see Him in reality, and then everything else works out.  So, growing in grace and a heart-knowledge of Christ is the one evangelical duty that He’s called us to, and we need to grow.  All I ever need is to grow.  That’s all I need for life.  2 Peter 1:3, says that’s He’s given us with His precious promises everything that pertains to life and godliness.  Nothing is left out, everything in Christ. 

It’s all I need, also, chapter 2 is all about false teachers and false teaching, the entire chapter.  How can I be safeguarded from error in all of its subtle forms?  The answer is once again to grow, grow in the grace and in the heart-knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and you’re as safe as a baby in the arms of Jesus.  You don’t have to worry about false teaching.  So, God has made the Christian life very simple, just know the Lord, know and trust the Lord, and your relationship will become more intimate day by day, and you’ll become more like Him.  That was the theme, grow but beware.

The prevailing revelation of Christ in 2 Peter is a little different than the theme.  It’s the how to the theme.  2 Peter 1:19, “We have the prophetic word made more sure, to which we do well to pay attention, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts.”  The prophetic word is the Bible, it’s a word from God.  It’s called a lamp, a lamp shining in a dark place.  Scripture is the prophetic word, and God said to pay attention, close attention, to the Scriptures until, until what?  It’s until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your heart.  The distinctive revelation of our Lord Jesus in 2 Peter is the morning star.  He will rise.  So, we pay attention to the Bible until we see Jesus.  We don’t study the Bible to know the Bible.  We study the Bible to know the Lord, and the more we pay attention, the more the Holy Spirit will give us new revelations of Christ; He’s our Savior, He’s our Lord, He’s our Priest, He’s the Potter, He’s the Door, He’s the Mind, and on and on.  There’s no end, and we’ll just keep seeing Jesus.

The idea of the day star is that morning star is the transition.  It’s the last star at night, and some suggest that it’s Venus, the last bright star at night, and then it’s followed by the sunrise.  So, the morning starts, it’s Jesus saying, “Goodbye night, and hello day.”  That’s the morning star.  It says goodbye to night and all that’s represented by night, all of the darkness and all of the gloom and all of the discouragement, and whatever, “Goodbye night and bondage, and hello day.”  It’s the promises for a new day.  But the day star must arise in our heart.

So, the Christian life, as you know, is not a bunch of rules to follow, and it’s not ceremonies that we celebrate, it’s not rituals that we share or spiritual disciplines that we keep every day.  The Christian life is Christ.  It’s a Person, and to the degree we are growing in an intimate relationship to Him, to that degree He’s allowed to live His life through us.  So, that’s the theme, grow and beware, and that’s the revelation of Christ, the Morning Star.  How do I grow?  It’s by beholding the Lord Jesus in the Bible, by beholding the Lord Jesus in this lamp shining in a dark place.

When we left off our meditation, we were in 2 Peter 2, all about false teaching and all about false teachers. I told you that students who have studied the Bible have seen how close 2 Peter 2 is to the little epistle of Jude.  In many places it’s word for word, and some people think Peter copied Jude, and some people think that Jude copied Peter.  I believe the Lord could inspire both at different times and say the same thing, and we have that many times.  In his first letter in 1 Peter, he warned us about enemies out there, persecution.  2 Peter warns us about enemies in here, in the church and in my heart, these deceptive people have come inside.  So, to take 1 & 2 Peter, we’re safe by our relationship with Christ, but it’s a different emphasis.

I like the way Jude 4 describes it, “Certain persons have crept in unnoticed.”  Sometimes they creep in unnoticed.  2 Peter 2:1, “False prophets arose among the people.  There will be false teachers among you who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master that bought them.”  It’s secretly introduced. 

I hope you are not where I was some time ago.  I’m not there now, but I was there, “I’m too smart to fall into error.”  That’s what I thought, that I’d never get sucked into the teaching of a cult or of a false teacher.  After all, look who Peter is addressing.  2 Peter 1:12, “I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them and have been established in the truth which is present.”  So, I say that I already know these things, and I’m established in the truth.  Isn’t that enough to keep me safe?  I’m established in the truth.  Who are the false teachers?  2 Peter 2:14, “Having eyes full of adultery, never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls.”  I’d say that’s not me.   I’m not unstable.  I am well established in the truth.  Perhaps we should never forget 1 Corinthians 10:12, “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands, beware and take heed, lest he fall.” 

Notice how the warning is brought up at the end of this letter.  2 Peter 3:17, “You, therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard, so that you’re not carried away by the error of unprincipled men,” now note this expression, “and fall from your own steadfastness.”  “I’m steadfast and well established in the truth.”  Be careful; you can fall from your steadfastness.  Do you realize this, that I can be steadfast today and as unstable, Ruben is described as unstable as water, and I can be like Ruben.  I can be unstable as Ruben tomorrow.  Stable today, take my eyes off Christ, and I’m vulnerable.  Take your eyes off Christ, and you’re vulnerable.  So, don’t trust your steadfastness, don’t trust the fact that you know the Bible or you’re rooted in the truth.  Trust Jesus.  That’s your only hope and my only hope.

Since 2 Peter and Jude go together, let me just quote Jude.  I love the way it begins, and I love the way it ends.  Jude 1, “Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God, the Father, kept for Jesus Christ.”  Note that, please.  Another translation doesn’t say that, but that’s the original, “Kept for Jesus.”  Then Jude ends, “Now unto Him,” verse 24, “who is able to keep you from stumbling and make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ, our Lord, be glory and majesty and dominion and authority for all time and now and forever.”  What is my single hope for being kept safe from false teaching and the ways of false teachers?  It is not my steadfastness.  I’m being kept.  Jude begins, “Kept for Jesus,” and ends, “kept by.” 

If someone says, “Will you keep this for me?” there might not be intrinsic value in what they ask you to keep, but you keep it for them.  They’re precious, and the thing you’re keeping might not be that valuable, but the person you are keeping it for.  I have an illustration.  Take a look at this beautiful toiletry bag.  Lillian’s father who was ninety-eight and ready to die, and he said to me, “Ed, this was my Dad’s.  I’ve been keeping it for him, and I know when I die somebody is just going to throw it away.  There’s no value in this.  He said, “Will you keep it for me?”  You couldn’t give me a thousand dollars for this thing, don’t try it, no I’m kidding, because there’s not value in this, but there is value in the one I’m keeping it for. 

Do you know why that’s important?  It’s because of Jude 1, you’re being kept for Jesus.  You might not have a lot of intrinsic value, but the One the Holy Spirit is keeping you for is precious, and God is keeping you for Jesus.  That’s your safety.  Not only is He keeping you for, but He’s keeping you by His mighty power.  I love John 10:28 in this regard, “I give eternal life to them; they will never perish.  No one will pluck them out of my hand, and My Father who has given them to me is greater than all.  No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”  Isn’t that precious!  What a security, brothers and sisters in Christ that we have!  We’re being kept safe, kept for Jesus and kept by Jesus.

When we closed last time, I called attention to the characteristics that are listed in chapter 2 of these false teachers, and I handed out a summary sheet of that; they’re deceptive and they’re destructive and they’re covetous, and they’re independent and proud and carnal and after the flesh, all of those kinds of things.  The warning is deeper than being on guard against what they say.  Be on guard on what they teach. 

This chapter also gives the way of false teachers.  As I pointed out in our last study, I want to be free from the teaching of the false teachers, but I also want to be free from the ways of false teachers.  To any degree there’s pride in my life, or independence in my life, or greed in my life, or sneakiness or underhandedness in my life, or carnality in my life, to any degree the way of the false teacher is in my life, to that degree I am vulnerable of the teaching of the false teacher.  So, I need to be delivered from what they say, but I also need to be delivered from those characteristics in my own life.  If I’m growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ, I’ll be manifesting Christ.  I won’t be looking like the false teacher.  When I ended up, I said that if you don’t want to end up at a certain place, get off the road that leads to that place.  If you don’t want to go to Egypt, get off the road that leads to Egypt.  That’s what Jeremiah said, “If you don’t want to go to Assyria, get off the road that leads to Assyria.”  If you don’t want to end up in false teaching, then have the Lord deliver you from the ways of the false teacher.  That’s enough for the review.

I’m not quite done with chapter 2.  I have a couple of more observations, and then we’ll look at chapter 3.  I want to home in on one of the characteristics that are listed in chapter 2.  I love to compare 2 Peter 2:12 with Ephesians 2:12.  2 Peter 2:12 says, “These, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct, to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed.”  Then in Ephesians 2:12, “Remember,” he’s looking back before you knew Jesus, “you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenant of promise, having no hope, without God in the world.”  Those two expressions, separate from Christ, having no hope without God in the world, if you are separate from Christ and have no hope, and you’re without God, you’re going to live like an animal.  You put those two things together.  When you have Christ, you are going to live like man, as God intended man to live, but when you’re separated from His life, when you’re separated from the Lord, as Jude says, and also Peter says, you’re going to be living like an animal.  There are some nice animals.  There are some nice dogs and nice cats and birds and sheep and rabbits and horses, and that kind of thing, but there are some very vicious animals.  They have no regard for life, and all they care about is their stomach and all they care about is themselves, and they’re unreasoning animals, and I don’t know about you, but I turn on the news these days and I see what’s happening in the streets of some of our cities with no regard for life.  I’ll tell you why; they’re without God.  They are separated from the life of Christ, and they’re living like animals. 

Peter calls attention to that, but in the same passage he says, verse 12 chapter 2, “reviling where they have no knowledge.”  They not only act like animals, but they’re ignorant.  They have no knowledge.  They want you to think they’re smart.  The false teacher wants you to think that he knows his Bible, and sometimes when you get involved with them you say, “Oh my, they know so much.  They are able to quote this and that.”  It is not possible to be separated from the life of Christ and have no God in this world and still know your Bible.  It’s not possible.  That’s His Word.  In fact, Jude says in verse 19, “These are the ones who cause division, devoid of the Spirit.”  That means they don’t have God.  They don’t have the Holy Spirit.  1 Corinthians 2:14, “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God.  They’re foolishness to him.  He cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”  He’s ignorant.  All false teachers are ignorant.  They want you to think they’re smart and that they know a lot, but they don’t.  They don’t know anything about spiritual reality.  2 Peter 3 :3, “Know this first of all, in the last days mockers will come with their mocking.”  Because they are ignorant, they can’t answer you.  They can’t give an argument, so they mock you. That’s all they can do.

There’s a verse in Proverbs that wonderfully describes this, Proverbs 29:9, “When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.”  That’s all he can do.  He can rage or mock, because he has no answer.  He’s ignorant.  So, you see that sometimes.  I’m not going to get into politics, but sometimes you see it in politics.  They have no answer, and so they just scream and rant and rave and they stomp out of the room, or else they just mock, “How stupid you are to believe that.  How can you possibly believe that?”  They have no answer, so the Bible calls them fools.  They are ignorant, they’re fools and they either going to rage or they’re going to mock.  That’s the only thing that they have.  Be careful, then, if you just rage and mock, because you might be a fool. 

Anyway, you’ll find as you grow in the Lord Jesus, that God always appeals to faith.  As I go through the Bible, I’m amazed at how many things God mentions as He appeals to faith, that gives the other side ammunition.  In other words, in this second chapter which is all about false teaching, he mentions in verse 16 about Balaam, “He received the rebuke for his own transgressions from a mute donkey, speaking with the voice of a man, restraining the madness of the prophet.”  That’s a powerful illustration, a donkey talking.

I had a, I don’t know what to call her, she was in charge of a church, pastor, pastoress, I don’t know.  She had one of the high churches, very liberal, and I had a conversation with her, and she used that passage, “How can you believe the Bible that a donkey speaks?”  Her whole point was mocking because she had no answer, and raging.  The point I’m making is, why did God put that in 2 Peter:2?  It’s because He deliberately appeals to faith.  If you want to reject the Lord, He gives you plenty of ammunition.  As you go through the Bible, I wouldn’t say there’s more, but there’s an awful lot of reason to reject the Lord, because of the things that He said, but He’s calling us to faith.  If you don’t come by faith, you don’t come.  If I don’t come by faith, I don’t come.

Before we leave chapter 2, I want to also revisit verse 7-9.  This is the rescue of Lot from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding city, “If He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men for by what he saw and heard, that righteous man while living among them felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds, then the Lord knows how to rescue the Godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the Day of Judgment.”   

When I read the Old Testament, I can read about Lot’s situation and his moral character, and that’s why I took comfort, and I mentioned it last week, from verse 9 in that little phrase, “The Lord knows how.”  The reason I call attention to that is because Lot’s condition.  He had made a series of terrible decisions that got him deeper and deeper into Sodom and the culture of Sodom and the ways of Sodom and the bondage of Sodom, and he’s sort of caught, and now he’s supposedly a man of God and he’s into this sinful city, and he doesn’t find a way out.  He’s locked in because of his stupid decision and the consequences of that.  Here he is in the middle of a situation, and God is about to destroy that whole city, and the question I raised is, “Is there a way out when there’s no way out?”  The answer, “The Lord knows how.”  I took great comfort in that, because I’ve made some decisions and I wonder, “How in the world am I going to get out of this mess?”  The Lord knows how, and it’s different for each one of us.  So, you can always have hope, no matter how badly you bungled your life.  The Lord knows how.

Lot represents that one that blew it and closed every possible door to escape, and yet he was rescued.  But there’s a second observation that I want to make now, not only the Lord knows how, but when you read 7 & 8, He rescued righteous Lot.  He saw that righteous man while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day.  My question is, “Peter, haven’t you ever read the Old Testament?  Did you read the record about Lot?  Vexed, tormented from day to day from the sensual conduct of unprincipled men?”  When I read the Old Testament, he didn’t look very vexed.  Lot didn’t look very troubled.  He didn’t seem annoyed.  He made terrible decisions, even putting his daughters in a place of tremendous danger.  He didn’t seem provoked at all.  His compromised life let the reader think he’s one of them.  If all I had was the Old Testament, I would have assigned Lot to hell, and I would have put Balaam in heaven.  It’s just the way it reads, but God gives us new life.

How do we know he had a righteous soul?  How do we know he was righteous and vexed day after day by the sensual conduct of Godless, unprincipled men?  We know it because God told us.  1 Samuel 16:7, “God sees not as man sees.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  Praise God for that verse!  We must not be presumptuous and think, “I’ve made some stupid decisions and I got in a corner, and, well, God’s going to get me out.  The Lord knows how.”  Maybe not.  He looks at your heart.  He looks at what man can’t see.  These eyes can’t.  Deliverance in terms of what God sees.  In this connection I love 1 John 3:20, “In whatever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things.”  Aren’t you glad of that?  I can’t praise God enough, because you can look at me and the decisions I’ve made and the mess I got into, and my response to it seemed so carnal and so worldly, but God sees the heart.  That’s why He can save David, “A man after My heart.”  That murderer?  That conniver?  That guy who took a man to the enemy and turned him into fertilizer, ground over them?  A man after God’s heart?  God says, “You don’t see what I see.  I see your heart.” 

So, Lots’ deliverance and Sodom’s destruction are put together.  I don’t know what to make of this.  The Lord knows how.  Here is how it’s worded; you can decide what to do with it.  God destroyed the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, for the Lord knows how to deliver the Godly out of temptation.  Would He destroy five cities just to deliver you?  Would He deliver five cities just to deliver me?  I’ll just take a principle, because I don’t know to be literal or what, “Whatever it takes.”  If the Lord sees your heart and you’re vexed from day to day, and even though you can’t express it so others see it, the Lord will see it, and He has a way, and He’ll deliver.

Well, we’ll leave chapter 2 there, and we come now to chapter 3, the clincher, the consummation, the final wrapping up and summing up everything in Christ.  What I’d like to do is sort of home in on chapter 3.  This is such a tremendous chapter.  You could stay here a long time, but I want to give a large overview of the whole chapter, and then move in until we finally see, “Where’s Jesus?”  I want to end up with Jesus.  You didn’t come here to hear about 2 Peter 3.  You came to behold the Lord.  I didn’t come here to preach 2 Peter 3.  I want to present the little bit of light, my twilight, on the Lord Jesus.  So, let me give you a large overview.

2 Peter 3 is a clincher chapter, and it brings the theme “grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ” to a wonderful climax.  But in this chapter, Peter is comprehensive.  He starts here and then he skips over all of this, and he ends up here.  For example, 2 Peter 2:4, “Where is the promise of His coming?  Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues, just as it was from the beginning of creation.”  2 Peter 3 begins at the beginning of creation.  He jumps over a whole bunch of stuff, and where does he end up?  2 Peter 3:10, “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and the works will be burned up.”  Verse 12 same idea, “Looking for and hastening the coming of the Day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with fervent heat.”  He begins with the beginning of creation, and he ends up with the end of creation.  This is a big chapter; He’s including a lot.

You can’t do what Peter does and then just suggest that those other things don’t exist.  Just because Peter didn’t mention them, they might be mentioned in Corinthians or in another gospel, or something like that.  2 Peter 3:6, talks about the world that was, and 3:7 talks about the world that is, and then 3:13 talks about the world that will be.  In other words, he is comprehensive.  He starts at creation, and he ends at the end, this is the world that was, this is the world that is, and it’s the world that will be.  He just covers everything.  Verse 13, “According to His promise, we’re looking for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 

It’s amazing when I read some of the theologians.  Peter doesn’t mention the rapture, and Peter doesn’t mention the tribulation period, and he doesn’t mention the judgment seat of Christ, and he doesn’t mention the marriage feast of the Lamb, and he doesn’t mention the 1,000-year millennial reign of our Lord Jesus, and some, because he doesn’t mention it, say, “That’s all manmade.  That doesn’t exist.”

When I grew up, I grew up with this idea, “You live your life, and some day judgment day.  God is going to come and there is a big judgment,” and nothing is in between.  There’s no talk about the rapture, the marriage feast, and you just jump over it.  Because of that, some say that it’s made up, and there’s no such rapture in the Bible and there’s no millennial kingdom.  One day we’ll read it.  One day is like a thousand years.  That’s a figure of speech.  Jesus isn’t going to reign on earth for a thousand years.  Theologians, like Hodge, he’s a millennial.  He doesn’t believe it’s literal.  He just believes that it’s symbolic, and so on.

Peter has two expressions which show you how comprehensive he is.  He goes all the way back.  The one expression in verse 3, “Knowing this first, in the last days mockers will come.”  That expression “last days,” and then in 2 Peter 3:10, “The Day of the Lord will come like a thief.”  When it talks about the second coming, actually that expression is not in the Bible.  Nowhere in the Bible will you read about the second coming of Christ.  You’ll read about the facts of it, but that expression “second coming” is not in the Bible.  And the Bible never says that He’s coming soon.  It says that He’s coming quickly, He’s coming unexpectedly, He’s coming like a thief.  Some people say, “The Lord is going to return soon.”  Maybe, but the Bible doesn’t say “soon”.  It just says unexpectedly.

Anyway, when people ask you about, “Do you think we’re living in the last days?” what they’re really asking is, “Do you think we’re living in the last days of the last days?  Do you think we’re living at the last time, just before Jesus comes?”  That expression “last days” begins at Pentecost.  Peter stood up, verse 17, and quoted Joel and said, “It shall be in the last days that God says I’ll pour out My Spirit on all flesh, on all mankind.”  So, last days is all the way back to Pentecost, and may include the first coming of Christ, and it’s all the way through Hebrews 1:2, “In these last days God has spoken to us in His Son.”  That’s right now, in these last days.  The same thing is true of the Lord.  So, last days is from Jesus to the end.  We’re in the last days.  Are we in the last days of the last days?  That’s a question all its own, and I’ll leave it to you hermeneuts and prophetic teachers, and so on.

That other expression “the Day of the Lord”, is also one of those things that starts way back and keeps going on and on.  Sometimes it’s negative, the Day of the Lord, day of ending.  Sometimes it’s positive.  Sometimes the passage is both ways, “I’m going to destroy you and restore My people to their land.”  Here’s a negative illustration.  Amos 5:18, “Alas, you who are longing for the Day of the Lord, what purpose will the Day of the Lord be to you.  It will be darkness, not light, as when a man flees from a lion, and a bear meets him, or goes home and leans his hand against the wall and a snake bites him.  Will not the day of the Lord be darkness instead of light, even gloom with no brightness in it?”  So, that’s all negative.  That guy is all out of breath running from the bear and leans against the wall and a snake comes out and bites him.  A lot of people pray, “Thy kingdom come,” and they’re not ready for His kingdom to come.  It’s going to be a day of gloom and sadness.

 Anyway, again the Day of the Lord.  We call every Sunday “the Lord’s Day”, that’s the Day of the Lord.  John was on the Isle of Patmos on the Lord’s Day.  Was that the day after Saturday, or was that meditating on the second coming, in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.  So, I’m calling attention to how Peter in this chapter starts here and ends here, and he talks about the last days and goes to the last days and talks about the Day of the Lord and he goes all the way to the Day of the Lord.  He’s covering all the ground until we get to verse 13, “According to His promises, we look for a new heaven and a new earth.”  And even there he did a jump.  I’ll tell you why. 

That’ expression “new heaven and new earth”, Isaiah has that expression, “new heaven and new earth,” Isaiah 65:17, “I create new heavens and a new earth.  Former things will not be remembered or come to mind.”  Then he describes what that will look like, verse 20, “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days.  The youth will die at the age of 100, and the one who does not reach the age of 100 will be thrown a curse.”  When Isaiah speaks about the new heaven and the new earth, he says there are going to be long life.  That sounds like the millennium, but when Peter talks about new heaven and new earth, he jumped over that millennium, and he’s later than that.  Revelation 21:1, this is John, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth.”  Anyway Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will no longer we any death.”  When Isaiah says, “new heaven and new earth”, it means long life.  When John says, “new heaven and new earth,” no death.  Same expression, I’m just trying to show you that Peter starts at the beginning, and he takes you to the end.

One other overview and then we’ll look at the summary in our Lord Jesus.  The way this chapter is written, there are three notable contrasts.  The first contrast is the attitude that people have about the return of Christ, about the second coming.  For the unbeliever, they’re mockers, “Where is the promise of His return?”  For the believer, they are expecting and are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth.  That’s a contrast.

The second contrast is the final outcome.  On one side there is terrible destruction.  You read that in verse 3:10, “The Day of the Lord will come like a thief in which heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heart, and the earth and all its works will be burned up.”  That’s one side, but on the other side we’re looking for a new heaven and a new earth.  So, the response and also the outcome of the coming of the Lord is going to be different. 

When we read about what Peter is talking about, he just talks about the destruction of the whole universe.  We know the full record that he’s describing, though he doesn’t mention these words, what we call the “white throne judgment”.  The reason we know that is Revelation 21:11, “I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away.”  See, that’s what Peter was talking about, earth and heaven fled away.  But we’re at the white throne judgment, and I don’t know in all the word of God a more frightening passage than this white throne judgment.  Verse 12, “I saw the dead, the great, the small standing before the throne, and the books were open.  Another book was open which is the Book of Life.  The dead were judged from the things written in the books according to their deeds.” 

There is a judgment day.  There is a white throne judgment.  God has kept records, not because He would forget.  God has kept records from your birth until the day you die, everything you’ve ever said, every place you’ve ever gone, any thought you’ve ever had, anything you left unsaid, every place you ever went and everything you’ve ever done.  It’s all recorded.  God says that sin must be judged, “I’m a holy God.  Nothing but a perfect, holy person can ever enter heaven.  One sin and you must go to hell forever.”  God has taken records, and He says, “There is going to be a judgment and heaven and earth pass away, and sinners will stand before Me from all ages.”  And the books were opened, and they were judged.  God says, “You’ve got two options.  You can either stand before God and pay for your own sin, or you can accept the gift.”  He said, “I love you, and I’ll take your punishment.”  When Jesus died on the cross, He crushed eternity into three hours, and he suffered everything you would suffer if you had to go there forever.  A finite person sinning against an infinite God requires infinite wages.  We could never pay what we owe, so He said, “The books are open.  You can either pay for it yourself, or you can accept My gift for free.

God kept records on your life.  He also kept records on the Life of the Lord Jesus.  He has a record book, and it’s called the Lamb’s Book of Life.  The Book of Life is not like a telephone directory, “If you got saved, you’ve got your name in this telephone directory.  It’s a record book, and you either stand on your record or He puts your name in His record book, and you have the righteousness of Christ. It’s not only like just as if I never sinned; it’s just as if I’ve always been the Lord Jesus.” 

Listen to these verses at the end, 2 Peter 20:15, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the Lake of Fire.”  Now, people can mock that, and they can argue it and say that it doesn’t exist, but there it is.  So, Peter brings us to this place at the end, and he mentions the universe, and he says in verse 10, “It’s going to pass away with a roar.”  Wuest says, “a rushing noise.”  KJV says, “a noise.”  Other places describe it like a shout or the blast of a trumpet.  We’re told that the earth began with a big bang.  I don’t know about that, but that’s how it’s going to end.  I think they might have just gotten the timing wrong there.  I don’t know.  And, when you read what Peter said, I hear a lot about global warming, Peter believed in it.  If you read those verses, you can’t get hotter than that.

Anyway, the contrast is over that destruction by fire on one hand, and then the new heavens and the new earth on the other.  I’m not sure if it’s annihilation of the universe or if it’s just purification.  Some would say, “Well, He destroyed the flood in Noah’s day, and He didn’t annihilate the earth.”  I don’t know.  I remember one time it bothered me, and I came before the Lord, and I was praying, and I said, “Lord, I don’t understand.  Why can’t sinners just get annihilated?  You aren’t going to lose any glory.  Just annihilate them.”  And in my heart the Spirit of God said, “I didn’t want to annihilate My Son.”  He’s our substitute, and so it has to be this way, because He didn’t want to annihilate the Lord Jesus.

There is a third contrast, and then we’ll get to the revelation of Christ.  That is that there is a double aspect of the manifestation of His glory.  2 Peter 3:18, the very last words of this epistle, “To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.”  The contrast is that God gets glory from grace and mercy, not willing that any should perish.  God gets glory, but He also gets glory from judgment and from justice.  The day will come when we’ll finally have our resurrection, glorified head screwed on the right way, and we’ll focus on His glory.  In that day our heart will rejoice.  On the level of earth, we wonder somehow, “How in the world am I going to be happy in heaven, if I know someone in my family didn’t make it, or some loved one I had or some person I’ve shared Christ with, some relative.  How can I be happy in heaven if I know someone didn’t make it? 

Well, I know there’s a way, because Jesus loves them more than you do.  He’s in heaven and He’s happy, so there must be a way.  Someone says, “I can’t have any rest in my heart until I know where my loved one went after they died.”  Isaiah 26:3, KJV, “Thou wilt keep them in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Christ,” not on when they know where their loved one went.  Your rest and peace and my rest and peace comes from the Lord Himself.  We make the salvation of souls everything.  It is not.  The glory is God is everything, and He’s going to get glory from mercy and from judgment.  Some people for the whole ages of eternity will be singing His glory.  Some people for all the ages of eternity will be weeping His glory, but He will get glory.

You are familiar with the Old Testament word “Hallelujah, Praise Ye the Lord.”  It’s interesting that that word doesn’t appear in the New Testament until you get to Revelation 19.  It’s like God saved that word, Hallelujah.   Listen to 19:1&2, “After these things, I heard something like a loud voice, a great multitude in heaven saying, ‘Hallelujah, salvation and glory and power belong to our God because His judgments are true and righteous’.”  He’s judged the great harlot and their hallelujahs are because of His judgment.  19:3, “A second time they said, ‘Hallelujah, her smoke rises up forever and ever.’”  Don’t think that there’s not such a thing as Hallelujah judgments.  God is going to get glory from grace, and He’s going to get glory from judgment.

Let me close by taking you to Jesus.  That’s why we’re here.  Let’s do it.  You’ll probably see more, but I see three great revelations of Jesus in this last chapter of 2 Peter.  The first is the great patience of the Lord Jesus.  2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promises, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.”  God wants sinners saved more than they want to be saved.  God has patience.  In that connection, 3:15, “Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.” 

One of the greatest revelations that I’ve had in my little experience with the Lord, I first trusted the Lord in 1958, a lot of years ago, and I’ve seen over and over, we’ve had some precious time, and I’ve departed from the Lord, and I’ve sinned much against the Lord during those years.  One of the greatest revelations to me is the amazing patience of the Lord.  I would have given up on me a long time ago, and He didn’t give up on me.  When Paul was on his first missionary journey, on a sabbath day they went into the synagogue, and one of the synagogue officials said, “Do you have anything to share with us?”  In Acts 13:18, He said, “For a period of about forty years,” that’s the wandering, “He put up with them in the wilderness.”  Forty years, and He doesn’t mention a thing about what happened in those forty years, except that He put up with them.  When I look back in my life, my Lillian can testify that He’s put up with a lot.  I can’t thank Him enough for His patience.  Peter ends with that, “The Lord is long suffering.” 

Now patience… He has omni-attributes.  He’s omniscient.  He knows everything.  He’s omni-present.  He’s almighty, He’s omnipotent, but He’s not omni-patient.  If He were omni-patient He’d never judge.  He can’t be omni-patient.  He’s long suffering, and there will come a time when His patience, if He took one more step of patience, He would violate His own character, His holiness.  He doesn’t fly off the handle.  He doesn’t lose His cool.  He comes to the end of His patience, and then He rises up calmly and judges.  He has to because that’s who He is.  The patience of God is a great revelation in this chapter.

The second is the transcendence of the Lord Jesus.  What is transcendence?  I looked it up in the worldly dictionary, one man’s opinion, and it says, “Someone above and independent of the physical universe.”  Who could that be?  Above and independent of the physical universe.  Verse 8, “Do not let this one fact escape your notice, that one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.”  Underscore that word “like”, or “as”, this is like this.  It’s a figure of speech.  It’s a simile.  It’s a figure of speech. 

Some people deny the millennium because they say, “A thousand years is like one day, and so He might just be talking about one day, not a thousand years.”  The millennium in Revelation is not a figure of speech.  It’s literal.  He reigned for a thousand years.  It’s not “like”.  But this is a figure of speech.  You studied that in school.  “He eats like a bird.”  Or my grandmother used to say, “Butchie, you eat like a pig.”  It’s a simile, a figure of speech.  “He’s got the appetite like a bear.”  “He’s as tall as a giraffe.”  That’s just a figure of speech.  What that means is that He is transcendent.  He’s beyond, and He’s not under the law of time.  He’s not in bondage to our clock.  He’s not in bondage to the way we keep time.  I’m eighty years old now.  That’s not a minute in His time.  One day is like a thousand years.  If God said to me, “Welcome to the new day,” I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep for a thousand years.  I need my nap.  I’ve got to go to sleep. 

Ask God to measure your growth and your ministry by His time.  If you had five days of meeting, God could accomplish five thousand years of fruit from five days of meeting.  So, He’s not under the law of time.  Sometimes we get frustrated because we pray, “Make haste, oh God, to deliver; hurry up, God,” and He doesn’t run His train on our schedule.  He has His own clock.  But the Bible says in verse 15, “Regard His delay as salvation.”  Every time God delays in your life, it’s redemptive.  Every time God delays anything in my life, it’s all about salvation.  He’s doing things we can’t even begin to understand.

But there’s a final revelation in this passage.  He’s not only patient and transcendent, but this is the consummation of the book.  2 Peter describes Jesus as the Day Star.  We’ve been through that for several lessons.  Remember that the Day Star is that transition between night and between day.  It says, “Goodbye darkness, hello day.”  What do you have in chapter 3 except the final rising of the Day Star?  2 Peter 3:10, “The heavens will pass away with a roar.”  Goodbye darkness.  “The elements will be destroyed with intense heat; the earth and its works will be destroyed.”  Burned up.  That’s the Day Star saying, “Goodbye to the whole universe.  Goodbye to all of this darkness.”

What is verse 11?  “Since all these things are to pass away, what sort of people are you to be in holy conduct and conversation?”  In the light of this, everything is going to pass away.  What kind of people are you to be?  Then verse 12, “Looking for and hasting the coming of the Day of God in which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with fervent heat, but we look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.”  So, goodbye darkness and hello new heaven and new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. 

When you read a verse like verse 12, “hastening the coming of the Day of God,” some people think we can hasten His return by how we live, that our growth in Jesus will affect how soon He comes.  That’s not the case.  His coming is fixed.  Acts 1:7, “He said to them, ‘It’s not for you to know the times or epics which the Father has fixed by His own authority, but you’ll receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my martyrs, my witnesses.”  When I studied this with my Lillian, she said, “What I can’t understand is why do people keep building their house in tornado valley, and why do people want to build where there are so many earthquakes, and why are they choosing to build where there are sink holes, and some people build below sea level.  It doesn’t make sense to me.”  Well, in the light of this, he says that.  In light of the fact that everything is going to be burned up, what kind of people are we to be?  Why would we build our nest in a forest destined for fire?  We have nothing here. 

Time by seconds tick away, first the hour, and then the day.  Days go by, the week appears, weeks are swiftly turned to years.  Like the tide that ebb and flows, generations come and go.  Of all the evils men should fear, having heart and portion here.

There’s nothing here.  It’s all going to be destroyed and go up in flames.  So, this last chapter shows us the final Day Star.  As I see Him day by day in this book, He is preparing me by present revelation for the final revelation of Christ.  That’s where Peter takes you.  I hope through our little study you’ve learned something about 2 Peter, but I hope you’ve also seen the Lord Jesus in a fresh way.  He’s the Day Star, the One who is patient in your life, the One not under the laws of time, and He’s the Day Star that will finally say goodbye to this.

Abraham was a millionaire on the level of earth, and he never owned a plot of ground, except a grave.  This world has nothing else to give us.  Very soon, very soon.  When I saw our brother, Rick, I walked into the house, and there he was on the bed, and honestly, it swept over my spirit, I said, “You lucky dog!”  I didn’t mean dog in a wrong way.  I was so jealous, so envious.  There he was moments before he would see the Lord, and in a few hours we’ll all be there.  Let’s pray.

Father, thank You for Your word, not what we think it might mean, but everything You’ve inspired it to mean.  Will you work that in our hearts and in our lives?  Oh, Lord, thank You for Your great patience in our life, and that you put up with us, so many days and in so many ways.  We love you, Lord.  Take us forward in a heart knowledge of Christ.  Teach us what it means to grow by grace.  Keep us safe for Jesus.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.