We Are Almost There
Arlen L. Chitwood
Always In Remembrance (2)
Things that Christians should know and never forget
For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.
Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,
knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.
Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty [Gk., superlative; lit., ‘His greatest (regal) magnificence’].
For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1:12-18)
That to which Peter referred in verses twelve, thirteen, and fifteen — seeking to make certain that those to whom he was writing always remembered “these things” — had to do with the way Christians are to presently conduct and govern their lives, with a view to the coming kingdom of Christ. And different facets of the matter can be seen throughout the first eleven verses of the chapter.
Christians possess a calling to“glory and virtue [‘moral excellence’ (v. 3; cf. v. 5)],” having to do with “exceedingly great and precious promises” (v. 4), to be realized in the coming “kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (v. 11). And Christians, relative to this kingdom, are to make their “call and election [lit., ‘out-calling’] sure” (v. 10).
(The words “call” and “election” in v. 10 are the same word in the Greek text [meaning, “call,” “calling”], with the preposition ek [“out of”] prefixed to the latter word. Thus, the latter word, contextually, could only have to do with a calling out from the called.
All Christians have been called to “glory and virtue” (v. 3); but it will only be those called out of the called, those removed from the complete body of Christians, who, in the kingdom of Christ, will realize that to which they had been called.)
In verses three and eight, reference is made to a mature knowledge of Christ in relation to these things (the Greek word epignosis is used in both verses, calling attention to things beyond that which would be seen by the use of the regular Greek word for knowledge, gnosis). And in verse nine, a Christian lacking the things described by this mature knowledge — having to do with the entire purpose for a Christian’s salvation and life — is seen as:
1) One who is blind, who cannot see afar off (having to do with a knowledge of the Word relative to his calling, out-calling, and the kingdom of Christ).
2) One who has allowed Christ’s present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, as it relates to his calling and out-calling, to escape his attention (cf. John 13:5-8).
On the Mount
The Christians to whom Peter wrote had already been well-taught in the things which he was presenting. But Peter considered these things of such importance that he was going to keep on setting these truths before these individuals until they had heard them enough times that they could never get away from them, even after he was dead and gone (vv. 12-14).
Then, to drive the entire matter home, Peter called attention to an event in his life that had occurred years before, probably about three decades before that time, when Christ was on earth. He called attention to the scene on the Mount, in Matthew 17:1-5, when he, James, and John had been allowed to see “the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:28).
He, James, and John had not followed “cunningly devised fables” when they “made known . . . the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” These three men had been eyewitnesses of that future day. They had seen “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom”; they had actually seen the Son of Man in that future day when He will appear in “His greatest [regal] magnificence” (v. 16).
Peter had seen, with his own eyes, the kingdom to which Christians have been called. He had seen, with his own eyes, the kingdom that Christians can one day enter into, realizing a joint-heirship with Christ therein. And, because of that which Peter knew and had seen, he was not reluctant to keep on hammering away at things pertaining to a Christian’s calling and Christ’s coming kingdom.
(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, Coming in His Kingdom)
Blinded Christians, Apostates
Second Peter chapter two deals with false teachers, apostates, which is simply a continuation from chapter one. And both chapters deal with the saved, not with the unsaved.
Chapter two continues with thoughts on those which are seen as spiritually blind pertaining to truths concerning Christ’s coming kingdom from chapter one. The appearance of these false teachers, able to lead Christians astray, lead them away from their calling and out-calling (vv. 1, 2), is something that began very early in the dispensation.
And today, near the end of the dispensation, when the leaven that the woman placed in the three measures of meal back in these early years is doing its final, damaging work (Matthew 13:33), one needs to only look around at the churches of the land to see what has happened.
Where are those proclaiming the message seen in 2 Peter chapter one? The question is self-answering.
Septenary Structure of the Epistle
Chapter three then continues the matter of false teachers from chapter two, with a reference back to blinded Christians and a septenary structure of the epistle introduced in chapter one. And the latter, in turn, is a reference back to the opening chapter of Genesis, dealt with in chapter three.
knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts [‘their own desires’],
and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation [contextually, a reference back to the creation of the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1:1].” (2 Peter 3:3, 4)
God’s actions occur in relation to set times that He Himself has established. Things may appear to go on and on, relatively unchanged, for long periods of time — for centuries, even millennia. But this is no indication that changes have not occurred in the past, or that changes will not occur in the future. The only thing seen by long periods with seemingly no change is very simple and singular:
God’s set times when He will step into man’s affairs and bring about changes have yet to arrive.
But these set times will arrive, for they are set. And when they do arrive, things will begin to change, probably quite rapidly at times. Matters will then be seen as described in the two continuing verses, describing past set times arriving on God’s calendar:
For this they willfully forget: that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,
by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.
(2 Peter 3:5, 6)
Though these individuals could have known that all things had not continued unchanged “from the beginning of creation” — for the Word reveals that they hadn’t — they had chosen to ignore the Word, living their own lives, after their own desires. And, ignoring the Word, the only true means by which these things could be known, they found themselves attempting to deal with, often questioning, something that they really knew nothing about — “Where is the promise of His coming . . .?”
Continuing in the passage, attention is then called to that which these individuals could have known. Had they only gone to the Word, they would have found that a time had arrived in the past when God stepped in and destroyed “the world that then existed” through raging waters covering the earth (not the Flood of Genesis 6-8 but that which is seen in Genesis 1:2a) — a destruction resulting from Satan’s fall, the ruler over the earth then and now.
(Sixteen hundred and fifty-six years following the restoration of the ruined earth, God once again stepped in and destroyed the earth by water [the Noachian Flood]. This though was not the destruction referenced in 2 Peter 3:6. The Flood during Noah’s day was a destruction having to do with the present earth, not the earth “that then existed.”
The destruction of the earth “that then existed” included the heavens as well, for the heavens were darkened [the heavens associated with this earth; Genesis 1:2a]. This would parallel a future destruction of both that are seen in the passage [v. 7], which the subsequent Flood during Noah’s day did not do.
The Flood during Noah’s day is not seen in the passage, though it does show another example of things not continuing indefinitely apart from change.)
The passage in 2 Peter chapter three then continues with a future time when God will once again step into the affairs having to do with man and the earth. And this time major changes will result — the complete destruction of the present heavens and earth, followed by the creation of “a new heavens and a new earth” (cf. 2 Peter 3:7, 10-13; Revelation 21:1ff).
Then the passage shows how to avoid ever falling into the type of uniformitarian thinking held by the scoffers back in verses three and four. And that is seen in verse eight:
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing [lit.: “stop allowing this one thing to escape your notice” (Gk. text — a command to stop doing something that they were doing)], that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
This verse is the apex toward which thoughts in the preceding verses in the chapter move; and, as previously seen, the allusion in the near context is back to a septenary structure of the book first seen in the opening chapter (vv. 16-18) and in the far context all the way back to the opening verses of Genesis, where this septenary structure is introduced and established.
In other words, get the matter straight in your thinking at the outset of Scripture concerning how Scripture begins and can only continue. Then you will have no problem with false uniformitarian teaching when it arises, for you will know what the Word has to say about the matter.
And, having an understanding of these things will allow an individual to see and understand not only what is happening in the world today but that which is about to happen as well. Such an individual will then know about where we are on God’s prophetic calendar, that the next set time is about to arrive, and that major changes are in the offing.
(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, The Study of Scripture, Chapter 2, “The Septenary Arrangement of Scripture.”)