"Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.  I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles."  

Peter encourages the believers of his day and us today to remember how the OT prophets, Jesus and the apostles, all spoke of the "day of the Lord" when God would judge both nations and people. This is not the Rapture which occurs before the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord begins with the seven-year tribulation and actually is not concluded until after the thousand year reign of Christ (the Millennium) when God destroys the heavens and earth with fire (see vv. 7,10,11, &12) and creates "a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" (see v.13 and Rev. 20:11). Although the Millennial Kingdom will be a time of great blessing on the renewed earth, sin still exists in the hearts of those who will later rebel (Rev. 20:7-10) and Jesus will rule with an iron scepter (Rev. 19:15) and bring immediate judgment for those who sin. Now we will look at the three arguments of the scoffers (false teachers, i.e., they were/are in the church but not saved; like liberal theologians today) against the coming of the day of the Lord and Peter's four arguments for the coming of the day of the Lord. (See John MacArthur – Grace to You.org on 2 Peter 3 for details on the following points). {Notes from the New Scofield Reference Bible: The Day of the LORD (Jehovah), Summary: The Day of the LORD is that period of time when God openly intervenes in the affairs of men–in judgment and in blessing. See Joel 1:15, note. It will begin with the translation of the Church and will terminate with the cleansing of the heavens and the earth preparatory to the bringing into being of the new heavens and the new earth. The order of events appears to be: (1) the rapture of the Church just preceding the beginning of the Day of the LORD (I Th. 4:13-17); (2) the fulfillment of Daniel's seventieth week (Dan. 9:27), the latter half of which is the great tribulation (Mt. 24:21; see Rev. 7:14, note; (3) the return of the Lord in glory to establish the millennial kingdom (Mt. 24:29-30); (4) the destruction of the beast, the false prophet, and their armies, which is the "great and terrible" aspect of the day. (Rev. 19:11-21); (5) the judgment of individual Gentiles according to their treatment of his brethren, the Jewish people (Zech. 14:1-9; Mt. 25:31-46) and the judgment of Israel (Ezek. 20:3438); (6) the millennial reign of Christ on earth (Rev. 20:4-6); (7) the satanic revolt and its judgment (Rev. 20:7-10), (8) the resurrection and final judgment of the wicked (Rev. 20:11-15); (9) the destruction of the present earth and heaven by fire preparatory for the future "day of God" (2 Pet. 3:10-12); and (10) the creation of the new heavens and the new earth ( 2 Pet. 3-.13; Rev. 21:1).}

THE EMOTIONAL ARGUMENT FROM RIDICULE – "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised?"  Here we see the first argument of the scoffers:  ridicule – an emotional argument against anyone who would believe such a "foolish teaching" as they mock God's clear teaching on the day of the Lord, i.e., His coming judgment. Today it might come across as "Oh, you are  one of those fundamentalist Bible bangers that believe in the silly tales of a talking snake (Satan) and a man being swallowed by a fish" etc. etc. This lie may be focused on believers who were/are particularly discouraged and already disappointed that Jesus hasn't come as He promised. And Peter points them and us to the truth of Scripture seen in vv. 1-2. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ." (Rom. 10:17) We can't hype up faith in God; we must read God's Word and it (Jesus – He is the Word) builds our faith.

THE MORAL ARGUMENT – "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires." Basically these false teachers were teaching against the coming judgment of God to try to convince themselves as much as the believers that they could continue in sin ("following their own evil desires") and never face God's judgment (i.e., there are no moral absolutes). This is the same reason liberal theologians twist the Scriptures and why there are so many cults and false religions today – all of them are seeking to redefine sin (e.g., "sin is just bad thinking") and judgment to convince themselves and others (the bigger the crowd the more safe they feel in their sin) that God does not judge sin (He is "only" a God of love they say). Read about the sin and immoral character of some of the founders of cults like Joseph Smith (Mormonism) or Mohammed of Islam or Oprah of the New Age cult (promiscuous, pro-abortion, etc.).

THE INTELLECTUAL ARGUMENT FROM HISTORY/UNIFORMITY – "Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." Uniformitarianism, in the philosophy of naturalism, assumes that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now, have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe. It is frequently summarized as "the present is the key to the past," because it holds that all things continue as they were from the beginning of the world. It denies the supernatural, cataclysmic intervention of God in the past, present or future. {"Charles Lyell had an equally profound effect on our understanding of life's history. He influenced Darwin so deeply that Darwin envisioned evolution as a sort of biological uniformitarianism." Evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/} {"There is a vital link between the law of uniformitarianism and the usual theories of evolution. The theory of the progressive development of living organisms from pre-existing types depends on the supposition that conditions have been fairly uniform. If this earth has been racked by cataclysms and catastrophes, then some of the presuppositions of Darwinian evolution are affected. [1]MacDonald, William ; Farstad, Arthur: Believer's Bible Commentary}

Now we look at Peter's four arguments for the coming of the day of the Lord and the return of Christ.

THE ARGUMENT FROM SCRIPTURE – "Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.  I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles." Peter argues from both the OT and NT that the day of the Lord is coming. "Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come! Therefore all hands will be feeble, and every man's heart will melt, and they will be dismayed. Pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in travail. They will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame. Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the earth a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising and the moon will not shed its light. I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant, and lay low the haughtiness of the ruthless. I will make men more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the LORD of hosts in the day of his fierce anger." (Isaiah 13:6-13) "When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale; the sky vanished like a scroll that is rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the generals and the rich and the strong, and every one, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand before it?'" (Rev. 6:12-17) {"The promise of Scripture is clear, twenty-three out of twenty-seven New Testament books tell us He's coming. There are 260 New Testament chapters and there are 300 references to the return of Christ. So the message is clear, He is coming, He is coming." J. MacArthur}

THE ARGUMENT FROM HISTORY AND PROPHECY –  "Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 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."  Catastrophism as opposed to Uniformitarianism, is the idea that the Earth was shaped by a series of sudden, short-lived, violent (cataclysmic) events like we see in the supernatural creation of the universe (Genesis 1 and Hebrews 11:3), the worldwide catastrophic Flood (Genesis 6) and the prophecy in Scripture of the cataclysmic judgment and destruction by fire of the present universe and the recreation of the new heavens and new earth as seen here in 2 Peter 3 and other Scriptures.

THE ARGUMENT FROM ETERNITY –  "But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day;" (Also see Psalm 90:4). God looks at time differently than we do. He sees the past, present and future all at the same time. So to Him it has only been two days since Jesus walked the earth, died and rose and ascended to heaven. (And maybe, like before, He will come back early on the third day (the early years of the third millennium- which could mean very soon!)

THE ARGUMENT FROM THE CHARACTER OF GOD – "The Lord is not slow about His promise as some count slowness but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay" (Heb. 10:37) His patience (long-suffering) shows His character of love to wait for all who will to come to Him because the second coming of Christ is primarily a day of judgment for all left behind after the Rapture. God waited 120 years after warning Noah of the coming flood for men to repent and Noah preached righteousness for all those years as he built the ark. (1 Peter 3:20; Genesis 6:3) {"Well, if God doesn't wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance," then nobody will perish and everybody will come to repentance. And we call these people universalists and they think everybody is going to be saved. But if everybody is going to be saved, then all of the teaching in the Bible about the day of the Lord is a lie because it says when the day of the Lord comes, sinners are going to be destroyed. So I submit to you then that I believe in the sovereign election of God. I believe in the predestination of believers to eternal life. But I also believe that those who go to hell go because they have made a choice and are responsible for their own rejection and unrepentant heart. God has to harmonize those things, I can't. But I know God's heart is broken when sinners refuse to repent." J. MacArthur}                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          


1) Do you understand the difference between the day of the Lord/second coming of Christ and the Rapture of the church, and could you explain it to someone?

2) Which of the three arguments by the scoffers do you think 1) would be most persuasive (deceptive) to unbelievers and why; and 2) could most easily confuse believers, including yourself? What can you do to guard yourself against it?

3) Which of Peter's four arguments for the certainty of Christ's second coming is most helpful and convincing to you and why? Which one do you think may be most convincing to an unbeliever and why?

4) What is your main take away from the message and table discussion and how can you apply it to your life this week?

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