Hope in the Day of the Lord
Key Verse: “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.”
IN TODAY’S LESSON, PETER addresses the return of Jesus Christ, a subject of great interest to Christians throughout the entire Gospel Age. Peter reminds his readers that his epistle is based upon divine authority, as revealed in the words of the holy prophets, and upon precepts that were given by our Lord Jesus Christ.—II Pet. 3:1,2
Peter also issues a warning against false teachers who would scoff at the assertion that Christ would actually return. Such individuals would give evidence of being willingly forgetful that the present sinful order will not continue forever. (vss. 3-7) Jesus illustrated this fact by referring to Noah’s day, emphasizing that just as there was a general unawareness that a flood would occur to destroy that evil social order, in similar fashion, at the time of his Second Advent, there would be a lack of discernment as to the imminent removal of present unrighteous conditions. (Matt. 24:37-39) It should be noted, however, that just as this physical planet was not destroyed by the flood at the end of the first dispensation, the earth will likewise not be literally destroyed by fire in the future because “the earth abideth for ever.”—Eccles. 1:4
“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.” (II Pet. 3:8) This passage refers to the Day of Judgment. Contrary to a widely held belief, it does not refer to an interval of twenty-four hours. Rather, it is a period of considerably greater duration—one thousand years—which will be necessary given all of the work to be accomplished at that time.
Our Key Verse indicates this “day of the Lord” has a dual purpose. First, it is for granting the church a heavenly reward. Second, it is for dealing with the rest of the human family, both living and dead, to the intent that all might receive the benefits of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice.
Consecrated believers who recognize the prophetic evidences concerning the impending dissolution of earth’s society should be stimulated to pursue a life of increased devotion and godliness in completing the work that God has given them to do. The prospect of participating in the reign of a holy, spiritual government that will guide a reorganized earthly social order should make us very diligent in keeping our vows of consecration, and in the doing of God’s will at all costs.—II Pet. 3:11-14; Rev. 20:6
Despite the seeming difficulties and perplexities that surround us on a daily basis, let our hope in the fulfillment of all that God has promised be buttressed by Peter’s final admonition in this epistle. “Ye 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. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”—II Pet. 3:17,18