New in last 6 months
Visionary/Revival & Personal
Various
Bible Prophecy

 

 

 

CAN WE SPEED THE LORD'S 2ND COMING?

by Jacques More

For a few years now I have heard preached the idea that you (and I) can bring the event of Jesus' 2nd Coming sooner. This is based on Peter's letter where he makes mention that holy living can 'speed its coming' (2 Peter 3:11-12 see below). Now I don't know if this interpretation has arisen because we are so near the end of a millenium, but I do know there is another way to view this passage which I believe fits in better with the context of the passage and this is what I wish to share here.

. . . You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. . .

2 Peter 3:11-12 NIV

Can we really make this prophetic day happen earlier in time - 'speed its coming'; is that what the passage is saying?

In the context of the whole chapter and letter in which we find this verse I believe the emphasis is upon the perception of the individual believer - how he feels about things around him. And that in the midst of the world of the first Christians being a world with evil and persecution always a reality. i.e. one in which a longing for better things exists. A desire for justice and what is right as will happen at the Lord's return. So that the passage if shown in such a context gives a meaning of 'speed its coming [for yourselves]' i.e. in your perceptions.

_______________________

Picture yourself involved in a task which takes up all your energy, your concentration and effort. Maybe the building of something or the organising of an event. The passage of time in such occasions is said to go quickly. 'Is that the time?' we might cry or, 'Hasn't it gone quickly?'.

Alternatively, involved in a repetitive job or laborious and monotonous activity we may find ourselves decrying the fact that the 'time is going so-oo slo-ow'. This is particularly true if the mental atmosphere - the prevailing attitude - is significantly 'down'. More so when conscious of difficulties, of problems being experienced and at hand. Actual time has not changed, but our perception of it certainly has.

Now Peter in his letter addresses himself to the minds of his readers - to their perceptions:

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. . .

2 Peter 3:1-2

This can be seen by the words '. . .I stir your minds by way of reminder', 'that you may be mindful. . .'. He goes on to address himself to the perceptions of others by saying:

. . .scoffers will come. . .saying, ''Where is the promise of his coming? For. . . all things continue as. . .from the beginning.'' For this they wilfully forget. . .

2 Peter 3:3-5

'Where is the Lord's coming since things are no different now to the way they have always been?' say these scoffers.

Peter then explains how this thinking is not based on truth: it is things forgotten which have given room for this. He urges the reader to perceive things differently to these scoffers by being mindful of the truth that judgment upon evil and wickedness although not immediately apparent now is surely on its way. It will surely come - it will most certainly happen just as it occurred before (a thing forgotten). He says how the first time judgment on the world happened at the occasion of the flood (Vss 5 & 6) and the next time it will be by fire (Vss 7 &10). But it will happen.

In the midst of this explanation he shares how the Lord perceives time and why:

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 long-suffering towards us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:8-9

Here, in context, he is saying 'do not forget'. Forget what? 'This one thing'. Which is, 'that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day'. He is alluding to something they already know: 'do not forget' he says. Remember this also which you heard. Do not forget the Flood and here do not forget this which you already know. And how do we know this? We know because it is part of their Bible, the Old Testament (in the form of the Septuagint, until the future occasion [for them] when the New Testament was to be assembled including Peter's own letter). This is what their Bible says:

For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.

Psalm 90:4

In God's perception - in his sight - a thousand years is like yesterday when it is past. Peter did not say that to God a thousand years is a day and a day is a thousand years. He said a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. In fact the Greek in this verse (in Peter) does not contain the verb to be, only the adverb of comparison as, like as (which is why the translator placed 'is' in italics: it shows it has been added). He is talking of God's perception and that within the immediate context of his patience: 'The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering towards us, not willing that any should perish. . .' This is confirmed by the passage he alluded to in that 'a thousand years. . . are like yesterday when it is past. This is not talk of God's presence in relation to time, but of his perception of time. There is a real and important difference. It is when it is past that a thousand years is like yesterday.

Having introduced his readers to the fact that he wants to address himself to their thinking, Peter then gives an example of a particular perception of time and events which is incorrect. That of scoffers who think that things are no different and the Lord's coming is irrelevant. He then gives the example of the Lord's perception of time within the context of his patience and his purpose in waiting (i.e.salvation Vss 9 &15). It is then he encourages his readers to live holy and godly lives and that with this attitude permeating they will find that for them the coming of righteousness and justice as fulfilled in the Day of God will be a speedy one and not long in coming. Their perceptions will be directly affected by their attitude to life.

In conclusion a longing for justice and for righteousness was prevalent and sorely desired. 'How long shall we bear with this evil around us' an appropriate feeling. This can be seen by phrases like: we, look for righteousness - looking forward to this (Vss 13 &14). Peter is urging patience based on truth. The Lord is patient and that results in salvation for many (Verse 15). I believe verses 11 and 12 mean that in our own patience and perseverance in holy and godly conduct the feeling of waiting will be significantly shortened.

_______________________

As far as the timing of the Day is concerned Peter himself recognised Jesus would not return in his own lifetime. Jesus had told Peter how he would die as an old man (John 21:18-19). It may also be that when he refers to Paul's writings in 2 Peter 3:15-16 (cA.D.66.) he was mindful of the things Paul mentioned were to happen prior to the Lord's Return (e.g. 2 Thess. 2:3-4 cA.D.54.). If the reader is interested in this particular topic I have written HOW SOON IS JESUS' RETURN?: Mainly a look at Matthew 24, then other linked passages, to show up information remaining of primary things to occur before the Second Coming.



Ref. S.012

Unless otherwise stated Bible quotes are from the New King James Version.

© copyright Thomas Nelson Inc. 1979,1980,1982.

© copyright Jacques More 1997. All Rights Reserved.

· The Early Church Fathers and Predestination
· The Impossibility of Evolution
· Harry Potter - The Catalyst
· Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?
· The Characteristics of Deception
· What About Tithing?