5/01/20 – 2 Peter 3:1-10
2 Peter 3:1 – This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in [both] which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
second – deuteros (second; one of the two)
epistle – epistole (a letter; epistle) from epistello from epi (upon; at; on; by; before; across; against; of position) and stello (set out; prepare; equip; bring together; contract; shorten; cause to cease; cease to exist; remove one’s self; depart)
Note that apostle (apostolos) is from apostello from apo (a preposition dealing with separation; from out of; off; since) and stello.
beloved – agapetos Peter uses this term 5 times in 2 Peter 3. Four of those times he refers to his readers as “beloved” (Vss 1, 8, 14, 17) and once in referring to Paul in Vs 15). Peter does appear to be emphasising the beloved nature of his readers, seemingly comparing them with Paul whom he calls “our beloved brother”.
Peter uses “beloved” for those of like precious faith to his own (2 Peter 1:1)
pure – heilikrines (pure; sincere; unsullied; found pure when unfolded and examined by the sun’s light) from heile (the sun’s ray) and krino (judge; pick out; select; choose; approve; prefer; determine; resolve; decree) It has the idea of being found pure even when the brightest light is put on it, the ultimate test of purity!
remembrance – hypomnesis (a reminding; remembrance) Peter uses an almost identical phrase in 2 Peter 1:13. Peter seems to have used a number of words and phrases multiple times. Generally, his meanings are similar when he uses similar words.
Peter is reminding his readers (those with “pure minds”) what he wrote about genuine prophecy of the Scripture.
2 Peter 1:20-21 – 20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.
Peter strongly implies that he is merely reminding them of things which they have already previously been made aware.
2 Peter 3:2 – That ye 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 Saviour:
mindful – mnaomai (remind; recall; return to one’s mind; remember; be mindful of)
the words – rhema (that uttered by voice; thing spoken; word; speech; sound produced with definite meaning; narrative)
which were spoken before – proereo (to say before; to say what was said before; to say beforehand, such as prophecies) from pro (before) and ereo (utter; speak; say) Note prognosis (pro + gnosis) = know beforehand, and propheteia (pro + phemi) = prophecy.
apostles – apostolos (apostle; delegate; messenger; one sent forth with orders) from apostello from apo (a preposition dealing with separation; from out of; off; since) and stello (set out; prepare; equip; bring together; contract; shorten; cause to cease; cease to exist; remove one’s self; depart) stello on its own is used twice in the NT, for “avoid” and “withdraw (one’s) self”.
It does suggest that “apostle” has some idea of being “separated from”. They may be seen literally as "one who is sent off". thefreedictionary.com says that an apostle may be an ardent early supporter of a cause, reform movement, etc.
Peter is clearly claiming the authority of an apostle of Christ to give more weight of importance to his words here. This is the commandment of the apostles of the Lord and Saviour, supported by the authority of the holy prophets that have gone before.
Because these words were spoken with the authority of the holy prophets and Christ through the agency of the apostles, they should keep such words in mind.
This remembrance appears to be a major reason for the writing of 2 Peter.
2 Peter 1:13 – Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting [you] in remembrance;
2 Peter 3:3-4 – 3Knowing (ginosko) this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.
first – proton (first in time, place or rank; chief; principal) It is the neuter form of protos = “the beginning” in 2 Peter 2:20. It differs from arche (“beginning” – see further down) in that proton is first in order of occurrence, while arche relates to the origin of something.
shall come – erchomai (come; come from one place to another, and used both of persons arriving and of those returning; make one’s appearance; come forth; show itself; be established; become known) It carries some idea of deciding to do so.
Used for “cometh” in John 6:37 (and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.) to denote those individuals who have made their appearance as followers of Jesus, as opposed to those “All” who must be present in the resurrection to life or to death (All that the Father giveth me shall come (heko – to be present) to me). The “All” that shall come are those spoken of in John 5:28-29.
In 2 Peter 3:3 above, it denotes those who have chosen (not forced but by their own free wills to sin) to come because they are following after their own lusts (desires; longings; desires for what is forbidden). They come because they have willingly (see next Vs) chosen rebellion rather than obedience.
last – eschatos (last in time, place or temporal succession). Note that these two words are used in a different context in 2 Peter 2:20.
scoffers – or mockers. The only other occurrence of this in the NT is in that parallel passage in Jude. In Jude 1:16-18 it is translated “mockers” – 16These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling [words], having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. 17But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
should walk after – or “should order one’s life according to” (their own lusts).
coming – parousia (presence; the coming; arrival; advent) Here it refers to the second coming of Christ.
the fathers – generator or male ancestor; forefathers; ancestors; founder of a family or tribe.
the beginning – arche (beginning; origin; that by which anything begins to be; the first place; principality) It is a different term to proton (“first”) or protos (“the beginning” – 2 Peter 2:20) See “first” above for comparisons between “first” and “the beginning”.
That is, their mockery is that from the beginning everything just goes on as it always has done; nothing ever changes! These scoffers are sarcastic, even cynical. They are pointing out that nothing has ever changed and nothing looks like it’s ever going to change, so why should we repent of our alleged sins if there are no consequences for such except our enjoyment. So eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!
But note 1 Corinthians 15:17-20 – 17And if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.
But if Christ indeed be risen from the dead, then it would be best to be mindful of this by preparing yourself properly. This passage is therefore pointing out that a choice must be made, noting the word “willingly” in Vs 5 below.
2 Peter 3:5-6 – 5For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
willingly – thelo [or ethelo (or theleo or etheleo)] (to will; intend; to purpose; desire; like to do a thing; be fond of doing; take delight in; have pleasure) They clearly demonstrate a free-will decision to be ignorant!
Note its use in Matthew 23:37 – O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have (thelo) gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would (thelo) not! The will of Jesus is that they should come and their will is that they will not come! thelo is an act of the will. The inhabitants of Jerusalem refused to come by an act of their will, just as Jesus desired that they come by an act of His will.
are ignorant of – lanthano (to be hidden; secretly; unawares; without knowing) On its own it has little idea of will involved, yet here it is stated clearly that it is a willing ignorance. Note “hath forgotten” (2 Peter 1:9) is lethe (a contrived forgetfulness; to put out of one’s mind) which is derived from lanthano. These people choose to be ignorant; they choose to forget what God did with such as them with the great flood. They have willingly and knowingly stuck their heads in the sand! They just don’t want to know! They deliberately ignore the facts. Man has free will to choose between good and evil.
Thus, God spoke and it was so.
Psalm 33:9 – For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast.
Hebrews 11:3a – Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God…
the heavens were of old – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
and the earth standing out of the water and in the water – And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry [land] appear: and it was so. And God called the dry [land] Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that [it was] good. (Genesis 1:9-10)
being overflowed – kataklyzo (overwhelm with water; submerge; deluge) The word used for “the flood” (kataklysmos) derives from kataklyzo.
perished – apollymi (destroy; abolish; render useless; kill; pass sentence of death; condemned to eternal misery in hell) from apo and olethros (ruin; destroy; death) where apo here has the meaning of (the place whence anything is, comes, befalls, is taken; origin of a cause) Thus going from life to the place of destruction; the act of being separated from the past. This word is also used for “should perish” in Vs 9 below.
So what are they deliberately ignorant of? That what God has created will not necessarily stand forever. He gives and He takes away (Job 1:21). No-one may demand nor even assume that God is somehow not permitted to destroy that which He has created. The original world was destroyed by the flood and was clearly different in some ways after the flood. Just because God had created it all didn’t mean that He couldn’t (or wouldn’t) also destroy it and rebuild. The scoffers cried out that “all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.” Regarding the promise of Christ’s return as the Messiah, they mocked by declaring that nothing would ever change so how do we know that this is actually real? (Nothing has really changed much today, it seems.)
2 Peter 3:7 – But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
kept in store – thesaurizo (gather and lay up; heap up; store up; accumulate riches; put in reserve; are treasured up) We get our word “thesaurus” from this word.
Thus the heavens and the earth are reserved for a future use or purpose. They are merely waiting for the right time to happen; that time is the day of judgment and the consequential destruction of ungodly men.
reserved – tereo (to attend carefully; take care of; guard; keep one in the state in which he is; to reserve) Peter also uses it in 2 Peter 2:4; 9; 17 where in each case it is used of ensuring that there can be no escape from final and eternal judgment.
judgment – krisis Peter also uses this term in 2 Peter 2:4; 9; 11. Note the connection with the verses containing “reserved”.
perdition – apoleia (destroying; utter destruction; a perishing; ruin; the destruction which consists of eternal misery in hell) Also used by Peter in 2 Peter 2:1; 2; 3; & 3:7; 16. It is derived from apollymi (which is translated “perished” [see Vs 6 above] and “perish” [see Vs 9 below]).
God’s creation (the heavens and the earth which the scoffers claimed would never change) are currently kept reserved for the purpose of destruction by fire on that day of judgment and subsequent destruction of ungodly men. (See Vs 10 below)
2 Peter 3:8 – But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
beloved – agapetos Peter uses this word 6 times in 2 Peter, 4 times referring to his readers. He also uses it 5 times altogether in 2 Peter 3. Notably he uses it when warning his readers not to fall from their steadfastness, but instead to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:17-18). It is clearly a term reserved for those who Peter declares “have obtained like precious faith with us” (2 Peter 1:1).
2 Peter 3:17-18 – 17Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever.
ignorant – lanthano (see Vs 5 above) While in Vs 5 above the scoffers were willingly ignorant, here the “beloved” are not to be ignorant. That is, they are to not be as the scoffers are. The scoffers might say that everything will go on as it always has done so; nothing will ever change. Peter’s readers should be aware that the little or no sign of change does not mean it will not happen. It will come when they (especially the scoffers) least expect it.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 – 2For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
2 Peter is very polarised in that it often presents 2 sides that oppose each other. There are those who have like precious faith, and those who don’t. There are false teachers and those who are not; and those who are not will either respond to the false teaching or they will reject it. Destruction is the end of those who seek false teachings while the end of those who obey is an entrance into heaven. There are those who don’t want to know (i.e. ignorant) and those who do (or should) want to know (i.e. the beloved). In many ways this epistle is like the separating of the sheep from the goats; you have to decide one way or the other. Choose this day whom you will serve!
one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day –
God is eternal; He is the great I AM. He sees today as just part of the whole panorama of time that He can observe all at the same time. A thousand years seems like a long time; not one person has ever lived on earth that long. But a thousand years is like a single day from God’s point of view. We live in a temporal world (that is, bound by time), while God’s world is eternal (that is, not bound by time).
2 Corinthians 4:18 – While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.
We cannot move around in time because we are bound by it. A thousand years is therefore a lot longer than one day! But in the eternal world time is not measured as it is here. So how can you tell the difference between a thousand years and one day? Thus this verse deals with God’s eternal world, a world without time constraints.
Psalm 90:4 – For a thousand years in thy sight [are but] as yesterday when it is past, and [as] a watch in the night.
It seems like there’s too much delay and thus nothing will ever happen. But if God has said something will happen, then it will happen, even though we might never live to see it happen. All too often we want things to be done yesterday. We are impatient, and if it doesn’t happen by the time we think it should have happened, then we begin to consider that perhaps it might never happen. We seem to have great difficulty in comprehending the eternal nature of God. We also don’t appear to understand that our lifetime is but the mere blink of an eye in eternity! We need a better perspective of how long “eternal” actually means before we can understand that what God has promised He will carry out.
Numbers 23:19 – God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Willing ignorance therefore appears to be connected with an inability to comprehend the eternal nature of God.
2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
slack – bradyno (to delay; be slow; retard; to be long; tarry; loiter)
concerning his promise – epaggelia (announcement; promise; a promised good or blessing) Thus the Lord is not slow concerning His promise. That is, it will happen when it is planned it should happen. Ellicott says that the Lord “is not slower than his promise”.
count – hegeomai (to lead; go before; be a leader; rule; command; have authority over; prince; ruler; governor; any kind of leader, chief or commander; spokesman; consider; deem; think) Also used in 2 Peter 1:13 (“think”), 2 Peter 2:13 (“count”) and 2 Peter 3:15 (“account”).
slackness – or “slowness”
longsuffering – or “patient”
willing – boulomai (to will deliberately; have a purpose; to desire)
Firstly, what God has promised will happen at the time that He determined it should happen, not before, and certainly not later. But there is a logical question concerning God’s patience here. Certainly God does not have pleasure in condemning the wicked.
Ezekiel 18:23 – Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: [and] not that he should return from his ways, and live?
But the longer He waits, wouldn’t the number of wicked increase faster than the number of the redeemed? So the longer God waits, the greater the number of mankind in hell for eternity. So is this discussing mankind in general, or is it about the fulness of the Gentiles as per Romans 11:25? It could simply be about saving the lost, but I think it means that that the Gentile church ship waits until the full manifest of all on board is complete, that is, pleroma (of those things which a ship is filled, freight and merchandise, sailors, oarsmen, soldiers) before it sails (the rapture).
Bengel says For this reason He waits, until the number of those who shall be saved shall be complete.
2 Peter 3:10 – But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
(See Vs 12)
will come – heko (to have come, have arrived, be present) Thus “will arrive”. This is the same word used for “shall come” in John 6:37 (All that the Father giveth me shall come to me). That is, all these will be there when required to be there. All will be present at the resurrection; all will arrive as required.
as a thief in the night – When least expected.
Revelation 16:15 – Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Matthew 24:43 – But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
shall pass away – parerchomai (go past; pass by; pass away; perish; pass over; neglect; omit; to be led by; be carried past; come near; come forward; arrive) From para (from; of; at; by, besides; near; with) and erchomai (“shall come” in Vs 3 above).
the elements – the principles and practices of the old covenant world order. Although it could also refer to the 118 elements of the chemistry periodic table, the building blocks of all matter on earth.
Even though some might think that nothing will ever change, it will come so suddenly that they will be caught by surprise. But God’s people should not be so surprised; they should not be overtaken like a thief in the night.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 – 2For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
shall be burned up – see “reserved unto fire” in Vs 7 above.
Vs 7 above makes it clear that the heavens and the earth as we know it are not permanent, for they are “reserved unto fire”. And Jesus taught that even heaven and earth would pass away but His words would remain forever.
Matthew 24:33-35 – 33So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors. 34Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
So, if this all happens as God has promised, then the scoffers (Vs 3 above) should rethink their views on the permanency of the earth and choose life instead of “walking after their own lusts”.
the works – All our works shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is (see 1 Corinthians 3:11-15).