Dear Student of the Word,
My, it's been too long - since before Christmas - since I have sent you the next and final installment from Peter's second epistle. I had a great holiday season and I am busily preparing for a life transition as I step away from my role at church to engage more writing and publishing. I will continue to edit and publish, however, these studies that I began in 2001, for as I do, I continue to learn and grow in my ability to handle God's word. In this week's edition, Peter gave us his interpretation of what the end of time would be like, as you can read from this third part of the seven-part study that you can download below:
Study Three, Part Three
6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
3:6 – The flood is a fascinating study, and I took some time in seminary to do just that. When I fly over some interestng rock formation or visit a geographic wonder like the Grand Canyon, I don’t believe that it took millions of years to form. I attribute it to the Noah’s Flood. One of the things that dawned on me in my study is that the Flood wasn’t regional; it was worldwide. nd it had to cover the highest mountain peak with enough water to allow the ark to float over. What’s more, many ancient civilizations had their own Flood account, so that the account, while varied, isn’t just found in the Bible.
My point is that I believe that there was a literal Flood whose waters covered the whole earth. I think is an important point, because it points to the reality that God destroyed the earth once and will do it again as promised. God spared Noah, but destroyed all other human life. (Some creation scientists believe that there could have been one billion inhabitants on earth at the time of Noah’s flood.)
3:7 – God promised He would not destroy the earth by water ever again (see Genesis 9:11). The next judgment will be by fire when the Lord returns to establish a new heaven and new earth. It is interesting to me how many movies incorporate an end-of-the-world theme, and it usually is considered a “horror” or science fiction movie. There must be something in our human subconscious that attests to the truth of a cataclysmic end. For us as believers, the only one who could orchestrate that end is the Creator, God Himself. For that reason, the believer and only the believer can rest in the truth and reality of the end, for God will destroy the wicked and preserve His righteous ones when the end does indeed come.
3:8 – I use this verse when I teach on time management. In this context, Peter was refuting those who denied the reality of the coming judgment. They were saying that there would be no judgment, that things would go on in creation as they always had. Peter was warning these skeptics not to misinterpret God’s gracious patience. In the next verse, he went on to explain why God delays His coming judgment.
Before we move on, let me explain how I use this verse in time management training. I urge those I train to have faith for time, just like they would for money. I point at that a 1,000 years is like a day to the Lord. That means that one hour would be the equivalent of 47 years and one minute would be equal to nine months. So I go on to say that if the Lord ever indicates that He will help you in just a minute, you may have to wait some time before the help actually comes!
But notice that that the opposite is also true—a thousand years is like a day. That means that something you thought would take a long time could happen quickly. We often procrastinate because we don’t think we have enough to do a project or do t well. With faith, what we thought would take a long time could be done quickly (nine months can be like a minute). So we can use this verse to spur us to action, trusting that God will help us do what we don’t think we have time to do. Are you procrastinating out of fear that you don’t have enough time to do what’s in your heart, or enough time to do it well? Then perhaps you need to have faith for time, using this verse as the basis for your trust.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the unpublished daily devotional entitled A Daily Taste of Proverbs. Thank you and I will be coming back to you in a few weeks with a new study from a different New Testament book.